By alandrem and telosphilos
Disclaimer: Blah, Blah, Blah. Same as chapter one.
Author Note: First of all an apology for taking so long, there was just some stuff happening in real life that kept me from posting, and this time, the chapter was indeed finished on time.
To make up a bit this is a long chapter, but I have to warn you that time between chapters is going to be about a month.
For those who want to receive an e-mail of site updates, and you read it on ff.net, you can add me to your author alerts since I just subscribed to the support services. So every time I update ff.net will send you an e-mail.
For those who aren't members of ff.net you can subscribe to http : //groups. yahoo. com /group /iy_ presenttimes_ ff / (just remove the spaces) which is the mailing list for Present Time updates. I'll also take a look at it frequently so if you have questions or comments about the fic you are welcome to post. Just please no chain mail or spam because I will be forced to ban whoever sends this kind of posts.
To get this chapter out soon I did not send it to be edited so please forgive all the mistakes.
So on with the fic and enjoy.
I'm working on a new chapter, but the muses have been giving me one hell of a time as well as real life. I still plan to finish this. Also at the end of this chapter I'm including the author's note I had as chapter 27 due to the new rules implemented by ff.net (they won't allow author notes to be posted as chapters).
"Hojo-kun, wait!" Kagome said standing up, taking the tea and going to him. She was not angry with him, but still the young woman could not remove the edge from her voice. Hojo, being quite dense did not notice it. Kagome walked with him far from earshot of her 'friends'. Her reaction surprised the three girls, after they set her up; Kagome had never gone and tried to talk with Hojo again. "I can't go to the movies tomorrow…" his face saddened. Why was she refusing, had she not agreed a few moments ago?
"Well… then we can go on Sunday or the next week," he really liked her and despite her being so sickly he would not give up on her. Besides her friends were always assuring him that she returned his feelings and was just too shy and sick.
"No Hojo-kun. Here take your gift, I can't accept them anymore," the edge was still on her voice. It was beginning to irritate her that the boy could not just take the hint that she was not interested.
"But why Higurashi? Are you so ill?"
"That's not it," She said with a sigh, her irritation vanishing. The kid was just too clueless. He might have one of the highest scores at school, but he was stupid about everything else, or maybe this was her nosy friends' fault. She had not wanted to tell him about Inuyasha but she guessed that was going to be the only way he would get it.
"Then what is it?"
"Hojo-kun look, I know the girls have made you believe… that I returned your feelings and was playing hard to get. They have gone so far as agreeing for me without waiting to know if I could or wanted to go out…" She shuffled her feet nervously and avoided looking at him on the face. "The truth is… I already have a boyfriend, and I care very much for him, as he does for me…"
"But… but… Higurashi they said… they said you had no one! That you're free."
"I didn't tell them Hojo-kun…"
"But why not? Aren't they your friends?"
"Ano… they are… but… they are too nosy at times… I really didn't want to hurt your feelings, but you see what they did. They made you believe something that wasn't true. I never told them I returned you feelings, in fact, I told them repeatedly that I didn't, but… well they got it into their heads that they wanted us to be a together regardless of how I felt. I tried to refuse your attentions politely. I even told you to go out with other girls, but you took it all wrong!" She sounded a bit exasperated. "I know it's my fault for not saying it from the start, but… I am very sorry Hojo-kun"
"Do I at least know him?" He asked softly.
"No, he's not from around here. That's also why they don't know him either."
"Ah, I see. Is he the guy that's been coming to either bring or pick you up?" He asked sadly. From what he had managed to hear, some of the girls commented the guy was considered very 'hot', but then so was he. He still wanted to try to be close to Higurashi, he might get a chance to win her over once the other guy got tired. Most of those considered 'hot' changed girlfriends as if they were socks, probably even more often. "Can't we be at least friends?"
"Yes, that's him. I am sorry Hojo-kun, but I can't. You might get your hopes high again, but I won't leave Inuyasha."
"But he might leave you, guys like him…" he began saying only to be interrupted a bit forcefully by Kagome.
"You don't know him Hojo-kun, nor do any of the girls. He won't leave me."
"How can you be sure? There's no guarantee…"
"I know he won't."
"Are you… are you engaged or something?" That was the only thing he could think of that might make her be sure.
"Yes, we are," she finally admitted. This seemed to be the only way to make him understand. She had not really wanted to make that little piece of information available to her friends. It would probably end up as one major school scandal. "Please don't tell anyone, I really don't want the girls to make a show out of this. Besides since we're still young my mother doesn't want to make it public yet."
"They can't force you to marry Higurashi, women are free now." He looked at Kagome like she was crazy when the young woman started laughing.
"I know that Hojo-kun," she said when she finally stopped. "But this isn't an arranged marriage, my mother doesn't agree with that kind of thing. He proposed and I accepted, so you see, both of us want to get married. Besides, he knows what the girls were at and he's very angry about it, so please take your tea."
"Keep it, and don't worry I'll keep you secret," he said bitterly and turned away. The girl of his dreams had never loved him, as he was led to believe. In fact, she was so in love with another that she had promised herself so young. Kagome watched him go then returned to her so-called friends.
"Look what you made me do!" She hissed at them. Although she was sure, none heard what she told Hojo, her gestures and his were clear enough. The girls were actually gaping at her, she had actually told him off! "Are you happy now? I refuse to lead him on like that, I never told you I liked him, in fact I said I didn't! Who told you, you could decide who I date or who I don't?"
"Kagome you are dating that violent selfish jerk!" Arumi finally got a clue.
"Hojo-kun's better for you than that Inuyasha. He's so possessive that he won't even leave you alone now when you come to school! Are you blind or something? He's two-timing on you for Kami's sake!"
"Shut up Yuka!" Her tone commanding, she had to admit that continuously arguing with Inuyasha was paying off; her 'friend' looked subdued by her tone of voice. "You don't know the first thing about him! He has good reasons for the way he acts. If you knew even the least bit of what I know you would never say anything like that about him so keep your bossy mouth shut," Kagome was fuming, the girls had never seen her like that before. "And did it ever occur to you that I want him to walk me to school and pick me up afterwards?"
"You actually asked him to do that?"
"Yes, I did." She lied; there was no reason to tell them the truth. And frankly, she liked walking to school with him. "So stop judging him, as I said he has damn good reasons to be the way he is." The fact that Kagome had swore did not go unnoticed by the girls. It was something their friend never did before.
"Oh, like what? What possible reasons could he have to be such a violent selfish jerk?" Yuka could not believe that Kagome could possibly be believing some ridiculous excuse for his bad behavior. That story about living in the woods just sounded… pathetic… or out of a novel.
"You really want to know? Do you really want to know what could turn a fundamentally shy and gentle person into someone like the young man you met this week?" Kagome asked in a very dangerous tone that the girls had never heard her use before. This… this enraged woman was not the Kagome they knew.
"Yes, to me it sounds like you're making excuses for his bad behavior. I know you're not blind Kagome-chan and you seem to believe everything he says. I really don't want to see my best friend hurt by some self-centered jerk." Yuka told her, she was backing down rapidly; Kagome seemed really in love with the jerk. But she was not going to back down all the way and just let her friend stay in a bad situation. She just did not know how to deal with Kagome when she was that angry.
"First of all Yuka, you know my mother wouldn't let anyone hurt me. She took him in, she knows he's my boyfriend and approves of our relationship. That's all the approval I need, not yours or anyone else's. Second, I don't know what the hell you have against him, but I'm sure not accepting any crap from anybody, especially since you don't know him."
"Kagome, I'm sorry!" Arumi whimpered. She was worried that Kagome might just decide she did not want to be her friend anymore, and she really had no others. She never thought her friend could be as she was being at the moment.
"Your mother knows he's your boyfriend?" Yuka asked surprised she would never have thought that Kagome told her mother about the guy. She respected Higurashi-san, and the fact that she approved of the 'jerk' had her in a loop.
"Yes of course she does. We both trust her, so we told her and she accepted our relationship."
"I'm having a hard time picturing Inuyasha as sweet and shy Kagome-chan," Eri pointed out. She was happy for her friend. It seemed she really loved Inuyasha, and… she believed he did too. But, one of her faults was curiosity, so the young woman wanted to know more of his story. "Don't take me wrong, unlike Yuka-chan, I'm happy for you. After talking to him, I also don't think Inuyasha's a bad person, but… what little I've heard of his story has made me curious."
"Yeah I'm curious too Kagome-chan, please tell us more," Arumi joined in wanting to know more.
The young Miko's anger was calming down, so she sighed knowing that the explaining of his story had come much sooner than she expected. She really had so little facts. Inuyasha told her next to nothing about what he found out in the scrolls, but then, she knew he had not progressed much either. He actually got the guts to ask for help when he got stuck with a character or a word he either did not remember or had never seen before. Some of those were either new words or of foreign origin.
"So let's see what excuses he made," Yuka said and her words re-kindled Kagome's anger. She was definitely having enough of Yuka, and began to seriously question if she wanted to keep the girl's friendship.
"I'm going to tell you the short version, and after that you better not judge him Yuka-chan," She warned the young woman, fighting to keep from just acting like 'her hanyou' and telling her friend off. They, after all, had known each other since pre-school and been like sisters for a long time. "When he was five years old, his parents were attacked and very nearly murdered. He witnessed the entire thing and was told to run for it by his mother. Inuyasha believed them dead, so he hid in the forest. He spent years in those woods evading capture and certain death, those horrible people hunted him, and a few still do after all these years."
"He did that? But why didn't he go with the police? I'm sure they would have helped a child…" Arumi began saying and Kagome interrupted her to respond.
"He didn't know who were friends, and who weren't, he only knew that bad people killed his parents. His mom told him to hide, so he hid from everyone."
"But surely his parents would've gone into the woods to look for him," Eri pointed out.
"Their attackers put them in the hospital for over a month and most of that time was spent in the ICU*. It took them even longer to be able to move around freely."
"How'd he know that, this is all a lie Kagome. I don't believe aunt Asami fell for it. It's just too ridiculously fantastic! I gotta give the jerk credit he has such an imagination…"
"It's not a lie Yuka! He didn't know his parents were alive…"
"Then how do you know that they spent a month in the hospital?"
"I'm getting there and if you interrupt one more time I swear I won't talk to you ever again," Kagome glared at the young woman.
"You wouldn't! We've been friends for so long!" Yuka was starting to worry that Kagome would prefer the young man to her. It was something that had not crossed her mind.
"Try me. Our parents were good friends, they're also my dad's," she hesitated a bit here. It still hurt to think about her father. "Business partners, that's why I know about it. They died last year. We didn't know who Inuyasha was at first, but his looks are unusual enough that Mama recognized him. Then Mama finally confirmed he was indeed their son; she got custody of him as they wanted. His parents searched for him for months, once they were able, but the cops told them that it was impossible for a five-year-old boy to survive on his own for that long. They gave him up for dead, but uncle Ryoutou and aunt Itami always believed he was still alive. You see, uncle Ryoutou was a survival in the wild freak, he loved to camp out and taught Inuyasha a lot of tricks."
"Kagome this has got to be the weirdest story I have ever heard!" Arumi exclaimed.
"This can't be true! This just seems out of a novel. I don't know how you managed to believe…"
"She's telling you the truth Yuka-chan," Eri interrupted her. "Now I know why his surname sounded familiar. My parents have investments with Higusenshi Inc. Shirosenshi Ryoutou was not just their consultant; he and his wife were also friends of the family. I remember that once, when talking about security, Shirosenshi-san mentioned something of this sort. I think their attackers wanted to kidnap their son for ransom or something and it went wrong."
"How the hell did you manage to hear something like that Eri-chan?" Kagome asked bewildered. That Eri, of all the people in Tokyo, was able to confirm her story was too much to just be a coincidence. She could not help but wonder what other things would happen.
"Huh… ah… well… I was eavesdropping," the young woman scratched her neck a bit ashamed at having to admit it.
"Ok, so he grew up alone, literally… that still doesn't explain why he's such a violent jerk and 'two-timed on you Kagome-chan."
"You're the limit sometimes Yuka!" Kagome exclaimed exasperated at her friends stubbornness. At least Eri and Arumi believed her. "He's violent because he had to be to survive, and he's also a damn good fighter. Every where he's ever gone, he was rejected or treated with scorn, not unlike you're doing right now Yuka. And, for your information, he isn't two-timing me. The other girl's dead. She died a while ago someone murdered her. He feels guilty about not being able to prevent it, even though it's really not his fault." Kagome glared at Yuka through the entire monologue as she nearly hissed her words out. Her expression was very dark and more than a little frightening to her friends who had never really seen this side of her in action.
"This story sounds so sad Kagome-chan… but I can see now why he might have acted like he did the other day, you said he finally found out his parents hadn't died then. It must've been hard for him to find out they'd lived several years more."
"You've no idea how much Eri-chan! His parents died a year and a half ago. I found out later that the reason he didn't want to deal with any of you on Tuesday, was because he'd just been reading a letter from his mother. They always believed, against all hope, that he'd be found alive."
"It seems like one of those tragic soap operas Kagome. I think I'll like to get to know him better. I think he's going to end being an interesting person. Also, since you and him are together then we might double date some time. I believe Koji and him might get along, he's also the no talking sort."
"Yes Inuyasha's is a very tragic story Arumi-chan I'll tell him about going out together. He doesn't know much about dating or how many of the things work yet, but Koji-kun's a nice guy he might show him around a bit," Kagome said with a smile. She was happy that Arumi was willing to get to know Inuyasha; she already knew that Eri accepted him too.
The young Miko was slowly piecing the scroll's story together and how the fate Kamis has entwined both hers and Inuyasha's destinies. She had to give him credit for deducing that things were just put in such a way that it left no doubt that he was meant to be in the present time with her. She made mental note to ask her hanyou for the first scroll, she believed he had already finished it the day before.
Yuka sat back and thought about what Kagome said. She was biased against the guy before she ever met him. Based on what little Kagome had previously said about him. She was starting to understand why her friend had kept quiet about it too. His story was too unbelievable, and well, instead of feeling happy that Kagome finally had a boyfriend, she had been bitching with all her might against him. Yuka would be surprised if Kagome still wanted to be friends with her.
The young woman also had to admit being slightly hurt that her friend had barely spoken about Inuyasha before. Yuka realized that maybe Kagome knew she would get a reaction like that, and decided that it was better if she kept her boyfriend a secret. Also there had to be a reason why Kagome had said those negative things about him, it was just not like her, then it dawned on the young woman. Kagome had been highly irritated when she said them, and she should have taken into consideration that her friend had one hell of a temper when provoked.
"Kagome, you were mad at him, weren't you? When you called him a possessive, selfish, two-timing jerk months ago when we're bugging you about having a boyfriend…" Yuka said, needing an honest answer, she really did not want to loose Kagome's friendship.
"Yes, I was," Kagome agreed with a sigh. She should have known Yuka would get into protective mode. She was only trying to be a good friend, but being her bossy self; she was not going about it the right way. "I had my reasons at the time. With him, it's easy to confuse possessiveness with protectiveness since he does get jealous easily. He sent me home because the creeps he's having problems with at the time," she decided it was better to omit that Sesshomaru had wanted to kill him; it would be too disturbing for them. "Started to target me, and Inuyasha's badly wounded. I was upset because I wanted to tend his injuries, and he didn't want me there when he couldn't protect me. I was knocked out during the fight that got him wounded, and that scared him into sending me home."
"I see Kagome-chan," was all that Yuka said. She needed to think a bit more about it.
The girls sat in silence for a few moments as they all ate the last of their lunches. Yuka tried to adjust her outlook on the guy, but it was hard. First impressions were important with her, and the one she got from Inuyasha was not a good one. He had offended Kagome, after all, although her friend did not seem to make too much out of it. In the end, she wound up deciding to withhold judgment on him until she had more time to know the boy. Contrary to what she had believed, Inuyasha did seem to have an excuse for being the way he was. Besides, he was not only Kagome's boyfriend now; he was also a friend of her brother. And her baka sibling seemed to think very highly of the jerk. The young woman was sure she would be seeing a lot of him from now on.
Before recess was over Kagome left her friends and went straight to the teacher's offices. She did not look forward to speaking with Suzuki sensei, but she could not refuse. The tanuki had been crafty, knowing that after his class she had recess. There was no way she could find a decent excuse not to visit his office. He was waiting for her there, sitting behind his desk while he surfed the internet on his computer. A website dedicated to ancient Japanese history was displayed on the monitor. When she peeked thought the door he gestured for her to come in, close the door behind her and sit before his desk.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush Higurashi-chan. So tell me, what happened in my class today?" He asked turning to face her. His most frequently absent student looked a bit surprised at his directness. He saw her close her eyes and let her power flare a bit. His guess was that she was trying to find more youkai close by. "Don't worry about eavesdroppers, this room has a seal that won't allow our conversation to be heard by either youkai or human." Kagome just nodded in assent, surprised at not noticing the seal.
"Well, as you might have guessed Sensei, I am a Miko," she paused still unsure if she might reveal too much by answering her teacher's questions. "For reasons I'd rather not get into, an unofficial member of the family put me under a spell to keep me from seeing through youkai concealing spells when I was 5 years old." The tanuki nodded, that kind of spell was not unusual. The girl must have babbled incessantly about youkai and monsters. Some young humans were very sensitive, although if not trained immediately they lost their ability as they grew up. "I was told the spell would wear off slowly until it finally disappeared. Today it did, I… I won't hurt anyone sensei, I was just caught a bit off guard."
Kagome said letting the tanuki draw his own conclusions. She had not revealed too much so far. The teacher wondered why she had felt the need to reassure him, and his students of their safety. Mikos and priests did not harm youkai anymore; they had not for about 250 years. Unless of course, the youkai got involved in criminal activities or on the rare case that the humans turned evil. He knew the later was not Higurashi's case.
"I see, thank you for not drawing attention to us. But your powers seem to be flaring quite a bit today, and I have to admit that it's unnerving, especially for the young ones," the tanuki pointed out.
"I'm sorry Sensei; it's not my intention to worry anyone. But you see, I don't always have conscious control over them. Although they usually don't harm youkai unless they become an active threat to me or mine," Kagome said almost, but not quite meekly. The tanuki had to wonder what she meant by her last statement. Since just as humans did not harm youkai, youkai did not harm humans anymore. They were taken off the menu during the great wars.
"I understand Higurashi-chan, it seems you're still in training," she just nodded confirming that. "Today it looked like you were having a vision, care to talk about it? It seemed pretty gruesome from what I was able to read."
"You… you read it?" Kagome asked completely mortified.
The young woman worried how could she explain about that without actually mentioning the 'Park Killers'? Detective Nomura informed her mother on Tuesday that lieutenant Watanabe talked to the school principal about the police protection. It would have created some problems to have a car with two people parked outside the school during school hours. But she was not sure if the principal had seen fit to inform the teachers about her being the one under police protection.
"Yes, but don't worry. I was the only one who saw it," he reassured the mortified young woman.
"Well… you see… I'm really not allowed to talk freely about it. But I can admit it's part of a murder investigation. I usually got… them at night, and they… seemed like nightmares at first. Today was the first time they appeared during the day."
"Well maybe the spell loosing its effects can explain why you had them during the day," the sensei theorized.
"Hmm… yes… that's probably it Sir. I was taking notes in hopes that I can provide some leads for the police. With these things I haven't had a decent night of sleep for over a week, and I'm a bit tired sensei."
"So this is the reason why you were distracted during classes? I talked with some of your other teachers and they all noticed."
"Well, mostly it is."
"Mostly? Is there something else? Maybe I can be of assistance."
"Yes there's more Sensei, and thank you for wanting to help, but you really can't. A… friend of mine was injured badly yesterday. He's a very small orphan child. His name is Shippou. He's staying at home under the care of… my foster brother. But… Inuyasha isn't that good at taking care of children so I was very worried."
"Foster brother? Has your mother finally decided to take in some of the kids she treats?"
It was a known fact among the teachers that Higurashi Asami was a psychologist that specialized in children of the streets. She had managed to convince the school board to allow them to keep studying. Most of her kids had graduated or kept studying, although she no longer worked full time with them.
"You can say that Sir. I called home a little while ago to check on them, as Mama isn't there. They're doing fine, so I don't have to worry about them."
"Is the little one the kitsune or the inu hanyou?"
"I might not have an inu's sense of smell, but it's still better than a human's. Both their scents are so strong around you that it's hard to miss for any youkai."
"He's the kitsune, Inuyasha's the inu hanyou. They are both living at home so you're probably going to be scenting them on me a lot."
"I can tell the inu hanyou is young too, why isn't he attending school? Your mother would have had the board going nuts to admit him in the middle of the school year."
"Ah… well… you see…" she stammered a bit trying to find a decent excuse as to why Inuyasha was not studying, and decided to go with the truth. "Well he dropped out of school a long while ago and Mama decided to home-school him until he could reach the proper level."
"Ah well, in that case it's fine. Tell her I'll be willing to offer a hand if she needs it."
"Thank you for offering Sensei, I'll tell her. Is there anything else you need to know?" She asked just as the end of recess bell rang.
"Not immediately Higurashi-chan, but I would like to speak a bit more about this. Be sure to book some time later." Kagome would have grimaced but it would not do to get on the teacher's wrong side. "I will inform the youkai teachers and some humans about your visions."
"The human teachers too? Why?"
"There are humans that know about us, they are strong enough to use simple spells to see us. But these humans are the minority. To the other humans I suggest you tell them you're sick. Most won't believe or understand about visions. I'll inform them that you told me you're not feeling well but didn't want to miss school. I think that would be enough to keep you out of trouble.
After all we're here to help you."
"Thank you again Sensei," Kagome said gratefully. The conversation had gone much better than she expected. The tanuki scribbled something in a piece of paper and then signed it.
"Here, give this to your teacher so you can take class. You're already running late, and I know Miss Kawagi is strict on punctuality." She was her biology teacher.
"Thank you again sensei," the young woman told him with a small grateful smile.
With those last thanks, Kagome hurried down the hall to her next class. Miss Kawagi let her in to take her seat beside Arumi and the young woman did her best to pay attention. She had no more visions the rest of the day and after talking with Inuyasha, she was not worried about Shippou anymore. Her mate was taking really good care of him.
Lieutenant Watanabe went to the break room to get a cup of ice water after he and his partner had finished making training decisions for Inuyasha with Ando and Nakada, after they returned from dealing with the death of one of their main informants on the case. It was something that worried them, and the four of them had argued about it being a sign of trouble with their schedule.
In the end, the narcotics cops decided to brief the homicide cops on the tips the informants had given them. So far, there was enough evidence to make the bust doable, even with the informant's death. However, they all agreed that they still needed more intelligence. As things stood, Watanabe did not know if it was a human, youkai or mixed operation, and neither did Goroko, and this worried him. His youkai superior interrupted the neko's musings; she coughed lightly behind him to get his attention, making him jump.
"Goroko-kun, don't startle me like that!" The neko snapped at the kitsune. "But it's fun to make you jump, you do it so well, like an oversized kitten," she replied with a satisfied smirk as the young man rolled his eyes. He just new he was never going to get rid of that nickname. "Any way, I need to talk to you privately for a few minutes about the bust and this morning. Can you join me in interrogation room four for a bit?"
"Sure, there're a few points about the bust we need to go over. Lead the way," the neko answered sounding a touch fatigued.
'This is turning out to be a long day,' he thought tiredly. The worst thing about it was that he was not going to have the weekend off, to rest and think things over like he needed to. 'At least I can talk about some of this with Tsuki tonight.'
In the specially warded interrogation room, they could speak freely or make calls dealing with purely youkai matters without fear of eavesdroppers. It was one of several specially warded areas in the building, even though it looked just like any other room. It was also escape proof, detained youkai or hanyous could not leave or cause damage to it.
"All right Kojiro-kun, what's really going on?" His superior asked when the door shut.
"What isn't? The little boy the pup's taking care of was the victim of a youkai attack in the Untamed Lands Inuyasha came from. There's a special portal at the Higurashi-shrine that they travel through," Kojiro explained as he took a seat on the further side of the table.
"Ok, I get that part, I think. Although this is the first time, recently, that I hear of someone coming to this side from the Untamed Lands. Do we extradite the evil bastard and put him on trial or what?" The kitsune detective asked.
"We can't, first of all, you know it's next to impossible to get an extradition, even for the Youkai Lords. That fucking place," he said and saw her disapproving look. Goroko was used to hearing her co-workers swear, still that did not mean she liked it. "Excuse my language," Kojiro said absently before going on. "That place's lawless and ruler less Goroko. Secondly, the eagle youkai's dead. It was in the middle of trying to murder the cub when Inuyasha and his friends killed it. It wouldn't let Shippou go, I'm amazed the little boy's still alive, especially since he was sick before this all happened. He's all fur, casts, and bandages," the lieutenant replied. "This reminds me, I have some unusual orders from on high dealing with the pup that are going to be important for the bust." Nakada-san growled her displeasure at not being able to prosecute the eagle youkai. Her countenance changed to irritation at the mention of orders not delivered through proper channels. She would have to do a reminder complaint to her boss about it; having more unusual things about the surly little jerk could not possibly be good.
"I really don't like the sound of that. What are they and who are they from?" The woman asked in a thoroughly un-amused tone.
"The one that affects the bust is an order for him to have his katana on his person at all times, especially in a potential combat situation. Lord Sessho himself gave the order," Kojiro answered and awaited the inevitable explosion.
While the kitsune knew that Lord Sessho was the Demon Lord of the Western Lands and the highest-ranking youkai in all of Tokyo, nothing prepared her to hear an order relayed directly from him. What made it so astounding was that it regarded what she considered a low life pup. For a moment the family name, Shirosenshi, and the mention of his parents' file the day before did not really compute in her mind. She just could not accept that the little jerk was related, in any form, to youkai nobility. In addition, Lord Sessho was so high up in rank that the very thought that he could have anything to do with Tokyo Metro PD was down right silly. To the poor kitsune, her friend was just plainly not making logical sense.
"That's utter crap Kojiro. There's no possible reason for him to carry an obsolete weapon into a combat situation. He should leave the thing at home with the rest of his things and good luck charms," the detective argued. It made no sense to her why the boy would need such an archaic weapon in modern Japan.
'This isn't the Untamed lands, the boy has nothing to worry about over here.' Goroko thought still irritated.
"Obsolete?! That katana is a true youkai blade. In no way is that weapon obsolete, besides which, he isn't about to draw it unless he doesn't have a choice. Think of it as a fancy cane if it makes you happy, but he needs to have it with him." The neko martial artist vehemently argued in return.
"It doesn't make sense, why would he need an obsolete weapon? That's why we're going to teach him about the modern ones. They're more effective than old fashioned katanas."
"Philosophically speaking Goroko, no weapon that's effective can be truly considered obsolete. Or why is it the gym's set up for kendo and other weapons based martial arts, and why is the practice officially encouraged?" Kojiro countered. "And as I said, that's a real youkai blade. And I was told he knows how to use it, it's not just a toy."
"How in the seven hells did the pup get a real youkai blade? Those are rare and not for children," the kitsune asked bewildered, finally starting to believe the neko hanyou.
"Don't I know it? I had one briefly twenty years ago as part of my official equipment before I resigned from that career," the neko agreed. "I don't know for certain how Inuyasha got the katana, but the sword chose him over Lord Sessho and Lord Sessho wants him to have it on his person at all times."
"So ok, let's assume we let the little punk carry the sword. But I want to know the reason why he has to," Goroko interrupted him. Her words still did not mean she was going to allow him to carry the katana unless she got an explanation.
"Look Goroko-kun, I know why he has to have it with him at all times, and not just for the bust. But… I was ordered by Lord Sessho not to reveal most of the stuff we discussed during our meeting on Tuesday. I really can't tell you. When the Demon Lord of the West Lands gives an order you don't analyze it, you just find a way to follow it."
"This is ridiculous, if the Demon Lord of the Western Lands were to give an order, there would be a piece of paper with his seal and signature on it, and it would have gone to the chief first."
Nakada Goroko refused to believe the outrageous nonsense coming from her officer. She was starting to wonder if the young hanyou had finally cracked from working on the park killer case for too long. Why would the Demon Lord of the Western Lands have a meeting with a lowly neko hanyou? It just did not follow the traditional lines of command, if the Lord had wanted to talk to a police youkai, then the logical choice would have been her. She was the highest ranked demon there, although the human police chief was still higher than she was. The Lieutenant sighed and pulled out a sheet of paper no bigger than an index card, he had suspected Goroko was not going to be pleased that they had gone over her. After checking it over, he handed it to his superior.
"You mean like that? I think the Chief has his own copy. I went over it with him yesterday evening. I guess he hasn't had a chance to put two and two together and recall that you need to know about this stuff."
"This can't be real," the kitsune stated flatly. She really could not believe what her eyes were telling her. The neko sighed and went over to the phone. He punched in the number Lady Rin had given him. He hated being right sometimes
'Oh what I wouldn't give to be wrong this time.' He did not want to embarrass her in front of the highest ranking Taiyoukai in Tokyo, but it was this or have the Chief order her to desist, which he was not all that sure that would make her. Besides this way, she would have to believe and would ask fewer questions later, once Lady Rin confirmed his orders of secrecy.
"Shirosenshi Rin's office, how may I help you?" The youkai lady's secretary answered the phone.
"Yes, I would like to speak to Lady Rin to reconfirm some of her husband's orders for my superior if she is available," Kojiro said pleasantly as he turned up the speakerphone.
"I'm afraid the Lord and Lady are not in the office at the moment. May I take a message and have one of them call you back?" The secretary asked pleasantly. She seemed almost like some sort of chirping bird with her polite answers.
"Yes please, this is Lieutenant Watanabe Kojiro of the Tokyo Metro PD. I'm calling to confirm the validity of some orders I was given for the sake of my superior's credulity." The neko stated while watching Detective Nakada's eyes attempt to reach the size of saucers.
"Oh! Lieutenant Watanabe, I have orders to pass you straight through to them at any time. You should have given me your name right away; I'll transfer you through to their home line." The secretary really did chirp this time before doing just that without giving the hanyou a chance to protest to the utter congrogglement of both him and Goroko whose eyes were now approaching the size of dinner plates. The phone rang only once before being picked up by a small child.
"Hi, this Aiko. Who's there?" A little girl answered the phone happily.
"Hi Aiko, this is Lieutenant Watanabe. May I speak with your mother, your father, or any other adult?"
"Hmmm… hang on. I'll go get mommy, she sometimes says daddy's childish, so I don't think you'll want to talk to him," the girl said, and both Kojiro and Goroko had to stifle a laugh. The kitsune vixen had to wonder, nobility or not, it seemed male mates were the same all around. That was one of her complaints about her own mate.
"Hello Lieutenant, I hear you just met my youngest pup," Lady Rin said when she picked up the phone. "I hope you had no trouble getting her to call me. Aiko just loves to beat us to the phone."
"Good afternoon milady, and don't worry your daughter was very charming," Kojiro said sounding a bit amused, and then sighed slightly. "I'm sorry to disturb your afternoon at home; your secretary put us through before I could tell her that my business doesn't require your immediate attention."
"Don't worry about it. It's better if you let me be the judge of how important it is anyway, or you would never be able to get a hold of me. My secretary is very good about screening my calls, so it's simpler this way. Now what did you need to call me about Lieutenant?" The human woman asked trying to reassure the neko.
"Well, like I said, it isn't an emergency. I have you on a speakerphone in one of the specially warded rooms here at the precinct. My superior's credulity is a bit strained by all the stuff surrounding the pup, and I need you to confirm the validity of the orders you gave me with regards to Inuyasha on Tuesday," Kojiro said apologetically. "Detective Nakada outranks me, and we have been assigned to her drug bust with Inuyasha because the Police Chief said so."
"Ah I see," the lady said, "I'm pleased the Chief followed the advice of giving Inuyasha something to do, he's just not a patient hanyou. Detective Nakada, consider this phone call confirmation of the Lieutenant's orders. When it comes to Inuyasha, he's in possession of information that makes him much better qualified to make judgment calls than anyone outside the family. I expect you to pay close attention to his counsel. He's also sworn to secrecy, so please refrain from pressing for answers he's ordered not to reveal. And back him up if someone else does. This is very important to us," Rin added anticipating the problem; she could guess the youkai had already tried to press him a bit, hence the call.
"Hai milady," Goroko responded after a moment. She had been ordered not to satisfy her curiosity, but she was going to keep an eye on both hanyous. They might slip something useful. "We were arguing the need for Inuyasha to carry the katana with him to the bust."
"Tetsusaiga goes with Inuyasha everywhere, I don't care if it is to the toilet, it goes with him. I really have to stress this Detective; he must never be too far from reaching his katana. I'm certain between the three of you; you can find a way for it to be discrete." Rin answered firmly leaving no room for argument. In the background, the Taiyoukai himself could be heard griping about such a simple order needing clarification before being shushed by his mate.
"Inuyasha has been keeping it in his bag with his skateboarding gear so far," Kojiro replied to diffuse things a touch. "No one besides me, I think, has noticed it. It has an aura of its own, but he seems to have somehow dimmed it."
"Good, but it probably dimmed itself, or if Inuyasha did it, I doubt it was a conscious action," Rin said to the neko before addressing the kitsune. "The katana is a youkai blade. It has some spells to it for both your and his protection. The spells are rather strong and all but impossible to duplicate, so the sword has to go with him everywhere." In the background, Lord Sessho called out:
"Tell them they can put a peace knot on it if he agrees and is able to break it in case of emergency."
"Did you catch that?" Rin asked.
"Hai, but if he needs to draw it, we don't need to have to wait for him to break the knot. He told me this morning that he didn't believe it would be wise to use it in a city," Kojiro replied, again Lord Sessho could be heard in the background.
"So he's finally using that hard head of his for something."
"Inuyasha's right and so are you, but if your people honestly need the reassurance a peace knot would provide, it's a fair compromise," Rin pointed out. "If you talked to him this morning then I guess you know about Shippou-chan. Asami-chan told me he was brought over last evening."
"Yes milady, I took them to see my sister this morning. She was the only doctor I could think of who could treat the cub discretely," The neko answered
"Oh good, that's even better than what I was going to do. I was getting ready to send over my personal physician, but this is much better, they're more likely to get along with your sister, if she is a hanyou like yourself. And how's the little one?" Rin asked anxiously.
"She is my lady. And they seemed to get along fine. He was a mess this morning, but he still managed to be awake and ask questions. And has started eating again, I was told he hadn't for a few days. It'll take a while for him to heal, but he'll be fine before the end of the month," Kojiro explained without getting into detail about the injuries.
"Good job Lieutenant," there was a smile in the woman's voice. "I'm glad he'll be all right. He's something else. Well Lieutenant, give us another call if something comes up. I've got to do some errands, but my secretary can always locate me if you need me."
"Thank you milady, I appreciate your help and time," Kojiro replied before she hung up the phone. After that, there was not much Goroko could say or ask, so they both left to join Seijuro, Fujimaro and the forgotten discussion about the radio equipment.
Asami arrived home from her meeting with Rin when Inuyasha was finishing cooking, and the nice aroma of the dish he prepared permeated the kitchen. She ate some snacks at Rin's house, but decided to have some lunch when the young man offered, it smelled tempting enough. She set the table while she introduced herself to the little boy and responded the best that she could to his questions.
Shippou had wanted to skip the soup and rice in favor of the stir-fry, but Inuyasha would not let him no matter how he pouted. Asami nodded her approval at the hanyou. He handled the little one perfectly, and thought that Kagome should not have worried about that. So far, it seemed Inuyasha had taken good care of Shippou, and acted promptly when it was needed. Between both kids, they told her the morning's happenings, and she was glad the young man put aside his misgivings of lieutenant Watanabe for the kit's sake.
After she finished her soup and rice, she took a bite of the stir-fry and had to slow down her chewing to savor it. Asami finally understood why the kit was so eager to bypass the rest of the meal to dig straight into the main course. It was simply delicious; the condiment flavors were subtly mixed. It was, in her opinion the best stir-fry she had ever eaten. So she naturally tried to pry the recipe from the young man and found out that he had been experimenting with some of the condiments he found.
They had ended making a game out of finding out what he used. With both Asami and the kit taking turns at guessing and Inuyasha confirming if they were right. He had used white pepper, a bit of powdered garlic, sesame oil (which were things he had never used before), a hint of ginger, celery seeds, and of course soy sauce. All that blended perfectly with the natural flavors of green and red peppers, beanstalks, onions, and mushrooms besides the chicken. She praised his cooking skills eloquently, and decided that at least on Inuyasha's case, Rin's assumption that dog demons were not good cooks was wrong. Or maybe it was that he inherited the ability from his human mother.
After lunch, she helped them pick everything up. To her surprise, Inuyasha had managed to avoid leaving a complete mess. She did the dishes of course. He still refused to do them arguing that it was women's work. But she did not mind, at least he was starting to be considerate by avoiding leaving a mess anywhere he stayed.
Once everything was clean, Inuyasha took the kitsune boy to the TV room and fed him his chocolate. In less than fifteen minutes, they were both sound asleep. The day was slightly chilly so she covered them with a blanket before she went back to the kitchen and started organizing her notes from the morning meeting on the table. She received a lot of information, and not just on youkai and hanyous, but also on some of Ryoutou and Itami's affairs. Their bank accounts as well as their stock with the firm. Inuyasha might not be aware of it, or want anything to do with it, but he was one very rich hanyou.
When it came the time to pick up Kagome at school, she had wanted to take the boys with her, but they were sleeping so soundly that she decided to let them rest. Before she left and just for practice, she put a concealing spell on both. In her eyes, it was not nearly as good as Inuyasha's first attempt on Monday, but at least for the untrained human eye it would not be noticeable. She hoped it would hold until she returned.
On the way out, she met Souta coming back from school; she admonished her youngest son to let the hanyou and the little fox youkai sleep. He should also wait until she returned with Kagome to have lunch; she was planning to order pizza since there was not enough left of what Inuyasha cooked. Asami also wanted to treat him to something special since she had not had the time to pay much attention to him during the week, and Souta simply loved pizza.
Higurashi Asami waited by the curb outside her daughter's school. She arrived a bit earlier than expected and was pleased to notice that the police team doing the surveillance was parked a little ways from the school's door. One of them, a woman by the looks of it, was just getting back into the passenger side of the car. The older Higurashi woman had seen her come around the corner from what seemed to be her round at patrolling the outside of the school. Detective Nomura had informed her on their meeting Tuesday afternoon that the teams would be doing rounds to make sure the killers did not try to infiltrate the school by the back door, so to speak. Seeing them doing their work made her feel more at ease since Inuyasha was not there to protect her daughter.
She settled comfortably on the car seat, and let her mind wander to her meeting that morning with Rin. The woman really needed the time for herself to assimilate all the things her friend had explained. The conversation had certainly changed her views on demons and human society as a whole. It was a rather complicated affair, much more so than she originally thought. Also knowing that Rin was around 500 years old, and Sessho even older were but a couple of the things that unnerved her a bit.
It was true that her friend mentioned that fact during their phone conversation on Tuesday, as it was true she had spoken about it like it was nothing out of the ordinary with Kagome on Wednesday. Somehow, with all the things happening in her household, that, and a few others startling pieces of information about youkai had not sunk in Asami's mind. She had taken things as they came, without really stopping to think and analyze things through.
'I think I must have been in some kind of shock,' she thought shaking her head a bit. 'Or maybe suffering from information overload, and if I wasn't then, I'm sure I am now.' She sighed and rubbed her temples, at least she could feel lucky she was not prejudiced as Jii-chan was. Changing his point of view about demons was going to be hard for him, knowing that his son's best friends had also been youkai was not going to be easy to accept either. The fact that now she was aware that Sessho was a demon did not change her view of him or Rin, as they were still the same Yushiro and her had befriended.
Rin had been a marvel of patience during their meeting. Asami had to admit that she had been extremely curious and confused. Rin took the time to explain as much as she could, and tried also to make it simple, even if some youkai and hanyou facts were rather complicated. She had told her there were still a lot of things she had not covered, but hoped that they could keep meeting so she could. Now that Kagome was aware of their real identities, there was no need to keep away. She also wanted the young Miko to attend, and with luck maybe even Inuyasha; there was knowledge that would be useful to them.
The women were sitting by the terrace enjoying the view of the huge and well-kept gardens as well as the pool. Like the great host she was, Rin offered Asami an excellent breakfast and once they finished, the youkai and hanyou 101-crash course started, while they sipped tea.
They had already covered several topics by mid-morning, including some basic spells and chants Asami could use. She had been surprised that her aura was strong enough to cast them; it was certainly not something she thought she was able to do. It had been funny to see her first attempts at placing a concealing spell, especially since Rin had her practice on Jaken. After she successfully placed one on the toad demon, Rin called a break on practice so they could move on to other things. Asami was curious about some things Inuyasha had mentioned on Tuesday and that Rin had unknowingly confirmed, as well as some others she had been observing. She decided the break was a good time to ask.
"Rin, there's a question that has been plaguing me since Tuesday and after some of the things you have already told me, it has done nothing but become more insistent."
"About what? You know I'll answer if I can, after all this is supposed to be youkai and hanyous 101 according to Nouru."
"Well… you told me that instinct plays a mayor role in inu youkai behavior, and Inuyasha sort of said the same, but without actually knowing it. From what I'm able to understand some behaviors are very similar to those instinctively ingrained in dogs, but… even if I see some that coincide I see many others that simply do not fit with either dogs or humans."
"I shouldn't be surprised that you noticed, yet I am since you have only been constantly around Inuyasha for a week. You're right about that, there're some behaviors that are neither inu not ningen. Most of those are just a mixture or a compromise between two or more behaviors. They're usually general things for most youkai, but there are some that are inu youkai in particular."
Rin explained that in the beginning when demons were completely wild and uncivilized they roamed the lands creating mindless destruction. Slowly they began to create their own set of behaviors and rules. Most like ookami* and inu respected most of the social structure of their animal nature, and they like humans began their fist steps towards evolution.
With time, dog demons realized that some of the instinctive actions of their animal natures were going against them and their development. Something had to be done or the whole breed of dog demons would become extinct, and by their own hands.
A powerful and very intelligent inu youkai, leader of a small pack had observed humans and wolves. He decided that a mixture of their behaviors would work with his people, and he almost literally trained and bred his pack, and later others, out of those behaviors. That time was considered one of the darkest in inu youkai history, even though they did not really have an organized society until after the great demon wars three hundred years past.
He began by staking claim to a territory and working on a status system, much like the wolves, except that not only the alpha couple would be allowed to mate. His status system was supported by forcing the inu youkai to take only one mate and have the males assume responsibility of the couple's pups. The males would help train and support the pups, who will inherit the status of the parents. That way the risk of fierce battles to establish rank at early ages was avoided. This would also make the pack a tighter unit in the end. Before this rule, only the females took care of the young ones and they mated indiscriminately, increasing the youkai population at times, but it also allowed for large numbers of pups deaths. A lone female could not take care and feed all the pups she gave birth to, and many little ones died in the struggle.
Making his pack accept his rules was hard, and he had to apply equally hard punishment. The unfaithful mate was sentenced to death as well as all his progeny. The pack leader believed, that if a youkai was unfaithful in nature, the pups would also be. As a result, the inu youkai bred themselves out of polygamy.
This rule had some exceptions, and it allowed unmated adults some liberty of fooling around while searching for their life mates. But once a claim was stated infidelity was not an option. This was how Sesshomaru came to be, his mother was a strong youkai. She played the part of Inutashio's lead female, but they were only friends and fooled around. She took another pack member as mate, and he much later chose Junrei, Inuyasha's mother as mate. Still Inutashio was an honorable inu youkai, so he recognized Sesshomaru as his first-born son, thus making him his heir.
Polygamy was not the only behavior bred out of their bloodline; there were a few others, minor ones. And those that they could not eradicate by breeding, they were simply trained out off their pups. Many of the other youkai packs realized the benefits of these methods and adopted them. In the end, the inu youkai that implemented them became the first Taiyoukai. Both Sesshomaru and Inuyasha were descendants of his line.
"I have to say that the ways he went about implementing his ideas were ruthless," Asami commented once Rin had finished with her story.
"Ruthlessness is in every youkai's nature Asami. Hanyous too can be, although sometimes their human nature battles against it. But since the great wars, both have been fighting over it. There is little need for that now, except perhaps in business and politics. I can say that most youkai and hanyous have won that battle. On a lighter note you might want to know some of the things both inu youkai and ookami have to be trained out of when they are pups." They heard the main door of the house open but Rin decided to ignore it. One of her eldest kids had probably come home for something.
"I think I should know since I'll be the grandmother of some later on, if I have my way."
"I'm sure you will, although from what you told me I believe Inuyasha wants to wait a bit longer."
"Yes and Kagome too. They're still very young, and besides there is Shippou-chan to take into consideration. Now that you have explained the mark better, I can see them having their hands full trying to adapt."
"Kitsunes are tricksters by nature, so I can imagine. Well, going back to inu youkai and hanyou," Rin said grinning, knowing that Asami was going to have her hands full. "You know the way dogs greet each other?" She was wearing a wide mischievous grin.
"They… sniff each other's butts!" Asami said letting out a peal of laughter and Rin joined her. "You can't be serious Rin! I've never seen Inuyasha, Sessho, or Ryoutou do something remotely like that!" She kept on laughing trying to picture either dog demon in the process of greeting each other that way. To say the image was hilarious was an understatement.
"I know what you're thinking…" Rin told her friend wagging a finger as she laughed.
She had pictured Sesshomaru doing something similar after Keichi was old enough to crawl and started doing that. Sesshomaru had been mortified by the behavior; he was the Lord of the Western Lands. A son of his should not reduce himself to such undignified behavior! Then he was reduced to asking his mother's kin and they told him all dog demon pups did it. A bitch, which held no grudge against hanyous, was kind enough to teach him and Rin how to go about training the pups out of the habit. This was one of her favorite teasing subjects with her husband, after all their years together and with all their pups he still thought the behavior was an affront to him, Sesshomaru.
"I don't sniff butts," a dignified if slightly offended Sessho stated as he came out to the terrace. He carried his youngest daughter, Aiko, in his arms.
"Oh hi Sessho," Asami managed to say between laughs. "Long time no see."
"Nice seeing you too Asami and, that topic IS not funny!"
"It isn't Sess?" Rin said still laughing a bit.
"No, it's not. Inu youkai don't do that anymore."
"Daddy Taiko sniffs everyone's butt! That's the way he says 'hello', besides licking Miss Inoda's chin. He was teaching me how to do it today." The little girl hanyou said with a big smile on her face and sniffing slightly to prove her point. Both Asami and Rin exploded in peals of laughter much to Sesshomaru's chagrin.
"So that's why you're both early today," Rin said knowingly. Aiko was usually a very sweet girl but she got her stubbornness from her uncle, every once in a while. She could only guess Miss Inoda had some hard work with her.
"Aa, they sent her home because she would not stop, they did that to Taiko too. I left him with his mother; I expect a daughter of mine to train her pups better. But I guess this was that ookami, she chose for a mate, fault," he said with a sigh. His grandson was a 3/4 youkai, he probably picked the habit from his father or another member of his pack. "Miss Inoda phoned the office and since you weren't there I decided to pick them up."
"Mommy let's go to the park, please? I promise I won't sniff anyone's butt from now on," Aiko said solemnly.
"I can't go out right now sweetheart, but maybe daddy can. Do you have to be back at the office Sesshomaru?"
"No, Chie and Doi are there, if something important happens they can always call. I'll take her, just tell Jaken to pick Nouru at school and to come home immediately, no stops at the office."
"He's still fooling around with the computer systems?" Asami asked, Nouru was a grade 'A' hacker and could not stay away from a computer for long.
"Yes, he hacked into the police database again," he told them shaking his head in resignation. He really could not understand his pup's fascination with the police and Defense Ministry's computer systems. "I can only be grateful that this time it was not the ningen Defense he infiltrated, and that Chie has contacts with the Police Department or he'd be in more trouble than he already is with me." After he said this Sesshomaru left with Aiko, and both women resumed their conversation on dog demon behavior.
End Flashback>Asami was still waiting for Kagome to come out of school; she decided to think about other things. She had a big smile on her face; Sessho was a bit ruffled by their discussion of dog demon instincts. Something else that she had learned was that inu youkai in general were not very particular on food. They, like their animal counterparts, could eat and would eat just about everything, regardless of taste. That trait did not make them particularly good cooks, but Inuyasha had proved to be the exception to the rule.
"Mama," Kagome's voice brought her mind back to the moment. "Do you think it'll be all right if the girls come home with us today? I told them about Shippou being cute and they want to meet him."
"Well he is cute girls," Asami assured them with a grin, it was true the kitsune was an endearing kid, if a bit hyperactive. "And extremely inquisitive when he's awake," she paused for a moment to think. "I don't see why not, just as long as you remember that he's weak and still injured and should rest a lot. So hop in girls… hmm by the way did you ask permission to your parents?" Asami asked the girls and was glad she left an illusion on those two, and hoped that it would hold until Inuyasha put on one of his.
"Err… well… not yet," Yuka responded for all of them. "We didn't know if it'd be all right for us to visit."
"But we'll call now Higurashi-san," Eri said taking out her cell phone and dialing home. Yuka and Arumi got into the back seat while she called; Kagome sat in the front with her mother. Once Eri finished, she handed the phone to Arumi and she in turn handed it to Yuka once she had talked to her mother. With all the permissions, Asami finally started the car and drove home, noticing on the rear view mirror the police car that followed them discretely.
"Umm… Mama… I don't know how to ask this. But, how bad of a mess did Inuyasha leave in the kitchen? Last time he was let loose in there, it ended like a disaster zone," Kagome asked clearly dreading the task of cleaning. "I called during recess, and he told me he was cooking something."
"Oh, don't worry Kagome. He didn't make a mess, only some dirty dishes but that was all. He was finishing cooking lunch when I arrived, and after we ate, he helped me put everything in order again," Asami assured her daughter then added. "He still refuses to do the dishes and clean his room. So I'm beginning to think I'll never get him to do those things, still he doesn't throw everything every which way anymore like Souta does."
"He helped?" Kagome was amazed. Oh, she knew he could make camp, start a fire, pick up camp, and help erase their tracks when they left, but he complained even about those simple things. "I really don't know how you manage to make him do stuff," the young woman wondered. "I can bet he didn't even grumble!"
"No he didn't," Asami said with a wink and a mischievous smile. "You just have to be careful how you ask him to do what you want."
"Higurashi-san," Arumi began saying. "I asked Kagome-chan earlier if this boy, Inuyasha, was a good cook, she said she doesn't know. But since you brought this up again… I was wondering if…"
"If he's a good cook?" She finished for the girl and saw her nod through the rear view mirror. "What I ate was delicious. It was a very simple dish, but he has a terrific hand for seasoning. If I thought he would follow my advice, I'd be suggesting he attends chef's school."
"That good?!" "And with only one dish?" "Hmphg, sounds hard to believe!" The girls exclaimed at the same time, all three were gaping, although Yuka looked a bit contemptuous. Asami remembered that Kagome told her, her childhood friend, did not like Inuyasha and the feeling was mutual.
"Yes, that good girls."
"Well maybe it was a fluke," Yuka commented.
"According to Shippou-chan, Inuyasha's really good, and I have to agree from what I have tasted so far." The older woman assured not just Yuka but all the girls. "There was some left over, it's not enough for lunch for the four of you, but enough to try it and see for yourselves. Also, between Shippou and I, we managed to talk him into fixing dinner at least once a week. I can see he likes cooking, I think he actually enjoys it a lot. But he's just not the type to admit it openly."
"That will definitely be interesting Mama!" The young Miko commented still surprised that her mother had labeled Inuyasha's food delicious. She was usually a very easygoing person. However, since she was good at cooking, she usually set her standards high.
"I can bet it'll be. He said he'd probably take over kitchen duty on the days he takes Shippou for hunting and tracking lessons. Once the little one has recovered completely; he was thinking that teaching him to run down rabbits would be a good idea," Asami told the girls and Kagome giggled, she could see it in her mind's eye. She could also see the most probable reason for that being the game of choice.
"I take it his main reason is to get Shippou to burn some extra energy."
"I suspect that's one of the reasons, according to him, rabbits are quick and can turn on a dime," Asami chuckled.
"Yes they are," Kagome agreed while her friends on the back seat just stared at them like they were talking about aliens. "And Shippou is hyper most of the times, not counting when he's on a sugar high. No one can keep up with him when he's like that!"
"I'll have to agree. With what little I've seen. But Inuyasha also chose rabbits because he's partial to their meat, it seems it's a favorite of his. He also mentioned that during the fall they were fairly tasty and plump, unlike the rest of the year."
"I think I'm having a VERY hard time understanding all these things about him," Arumi said sounding very confused. "Kagome said he lived in the wilderness for a long time…"
"And all this talk about hunting is sooo weird! Why would he need to teach the boy to hunt in the first place? They're living in a city now," Yuka stated disdainfully after interrupting Arumi. She really could not get over her animosity towards Inuyasha yet.
"Well, I suppose we sort of got used to this kind of talk. I still think that Kagome's the only one fully acclimated to this. And to answer your question Yuka-chan, I really don't see why he shouldn't. It's a useful skill, one that has kept Inuyasha alive for several years. We're all hoping that they both decide to stay in Tokyo, but he might still decide he doesn't like this place and return to his forest."
"But… you're his foster mother Higurashi-san! You can force him…" Yuka began arguing.
"Yuka-chan, no one can force Inuyasha to do something he doesn't want to. He's a free and wild spirit. Forcing the young man to do anything, like staying in Tokyo for example, would kill him, if you ever managed to force him in the first place. Instead, I try to show him what he's been missing; get him to like what he has here. But specially allow him to keep his freedom and accept him as, and how he is. Inuyasha needs to know he doesn't have to change unless he wants to. And believe me Yuka-chan, he's a very responsive kid, much more so than some city bred ones."
'So that's how she does it,' Kagome thought surprised the formula sounded so simple, and yet, she had not used it much. 'Usually when I want things done, I end sitting him when he refuses. No wonder he gets so stubborn. I guess I can change too, and try to use Mama's method, besides he seems to have gotten much more agreeable since he talked about the pack and being mates.'
"By the way Mama, don't let Inuyasha hear you call him a kid. He really hates the word. And after hearing that, I can see why you get him to do things for you."
"With all this talk about him living in the wilderness I would be very worried about what he brings home for dinner," Eri said with a slight shudder.
"Oh my! I think I'll refrain from asking him," Asami said with good humor. She would not put it past him to bring something really strange, although the trickster of the two should be Shippou.
"I really think you better. Depending on his sense of humor we might find ourselves eating some really weird stuff," Kagome informed her mother and friends. "I've seen Miroku and Shippou eat roasted lizards…"
"Ewwww…" Yuka exclaimed turning green and opening the rear window, "disgusting!"
"Ugh… that's gross!" Eri exploded right on top of her and opened the window from her side too. Arumi that sat in the middle, just turned seriously green.
"Don't you dare get sick in here Arumi!" Yuka told the greenish looking girl at the time she moved as far away from her as she could in the car. Eri doing the same, while she made disgusted noises. Arumi just shook her head and took a few deep breaths.
"Actually girls, I have to say that lizard was quite tasty and crunchy," Kagome said mischievously, looking at her friends' horrified faces. "Besides, that was the only food available at the moment. I've also eaten snake, and Sango has a mean recipe for a soup. It tastes like chicken."
They were just arriving at the shrine's steps, but instead of stopping Asami drove on and headed for the shrine's back. They had a small parking area for the family and visitors. As things where in Japan for parking spaces, they could consider themselves lucky to have the shrine, and a small wooded area that surrounded it. The family did not have to worry about space.
"We're here girls. Please try to be quiet on the way in. The boys were sleeping on the recliner when I left, and Inuyasha hasn't slept in two days. Shippou had just exhausted himself asking about anything and everything he laid eyes on. Remember he's weak."
"Mama, we're going to wake Inuyasha up, regardless of how quiet we are, unless of course someone came over and knocked him unconscious. You know he is a light sleeper," Kagome pointed out and Asami just sighed. Her daughter was right. But Inuyasha really needed to sleep, he looked wiped out, something she had guessed, by the little fox's comments, was strange.
"True, maybe you should go in first and tell him about the girls visiting. You might convince him to keep napping in his room or on the Go-Shimboku like he's been doing lately. Although I still don't know why he likes sleeping on that particular tree," Asami commented. Sending Kagome first would help check if the spell was still on, and in case it was not, she could warn the young hanyou to set one up for himself and Shippou.
"He normally sleeps on trees?" Eri asked, it would explain why he was on the tree the first time they saw him. He seemed pretty comfortable too.
"Yeah it's a lot safer than the ground. There are still wild predators that would think little boys are a delicacy," Asami pointed out at the wide-eyed young women. "He does a lot of things that seem strange for us city folk, but if you take a bit of time to think things over, you'll realize that they're mostly common sense where he grew up. Now Kagome, just go in and warn him that we have visitors."
Kagome went ahead of them and straight into the TV room. Inuyasha was awake cradling a sleeping and snoring Shippou all bundled up in a blanket. The hanyou held the kitsune boy gently on his lap, one hand absently messing the kit's hair while he spoke quietly to Souta. The young Miko could not really believe his tone of voice, he was not only speaking quietly but also patiently. He still retained some of his gruffness, but it was almost none existent.
Inuyasha was telling her brother that he could not play with Shippou yet. He promised that as soon as he awoke he would introduce them, and they could talk as much as they wanted. When Souta asked when that would be, the hanyou smirked mischievously, and told him that around dinnertime if he had his way. The older boy could not keep a disappointed pout from his face. Inuyasha ruffled the boy's hair and then turned to look at Kagome with a shy smile on his face. He still cradled Shippou on his arms as walked to her, greeted and asked about school.
"School was ok, but there are some things I have to tell you. They can wait until later though. How's Shippou-chan?"
"The runt's fine," he said raising an eyebrow in curiosity, but she just shook her head. "He tired himself asking questions and wiggling about to try and scratch his arms and leg." When she extended her arms, silently asking for the kit, he reluctantly let her have him. Shippou did not even notice the change of arms as he kept snoring softly mouth hanging open.
"He sounded much better when we talked earlier," she hesitated a bit about telling him that the girls were outside. Why had she not remembered they had not gotten on the best of terms on Tuesday?
"You brought those nosy girls," he stated after he sniffed a bit. He really sounded annoyed. Only that girl, Eri, was not bad in his opinion. She seemed smart and more observant. The others he would not mind never seeing again.
"Yes, they heard about Shippou-chan and well, they wanted to meet him. Do you mind?"
"Feh! They're already here, so what's the use of asking me if I mind?"
"Sorry Inuyasha, I kind of forgot you didn't like them. But… they aren't bad girls. Maybe you should give them a second chance."
"Feh!" Inuyasha said and his ears moved to point at the door, they were there listening. He was about to cast the concealing spell when he realized he and Shippou had one already, it left him puzzled, who could have done it? Silently requesting to have Shippou back, he told the girls. "Don't stand there eavesdropping and whispering, I'm not deaf you know? Besides you're too damn noisy."
After he said that, the four women entered the room. Inuyasha scowled at Yuka and Arumi, but to everyone's surprise he nodded to Eri in greeting, she in turn nodded back. The girls were reminded to keep quiet so they would not wake up Shippou and the hanyou let them see him. Both Arumi and Yuka tried to touch him and get the young man to let them carry him. The little boy was every bit as cute as Kagome said, even with those bruises. Inuyasha point blank refused to let them lay a hand on him acting extremely protective and possessive.
Both girls had to admit his attitude surprised them, and Arumi remembered that her eldest brother had acted a bit like that, around strangers, when his first baby was born. When it came Eri's turn, Inuyasha again surprised them when he asked if she wanted to touch Shippou. The young woman had not asked after she heard him refuse the other girls. He still would not let her carry him, but at least she found out Shippou's reddish hair was very soft.
"Higurashi-san! Tell him to let us carry him!" Yuka whined to the older woman that was almost like another aunt for her. She believed Kagome's mother was responsible for the little orphan and Inuyasha was being a jerk with them.
"I can't do that Yuka-chan," Asami said before Inuyasha uttered any words.
By the look on his face he was about to regard the girl with his choicest repertoire. She was sure Yuka and Kagome could deal with it, and the other girls manage. But she did not want Souta to hear it. Inuyasha was his hero and he might just take to imitating the young man. She decided she better have a word with the hanyou, about setting a good example, not just for Souta, since it would help him with the raising of the kitsune.
"Why not?" Yuka asked petulantly ignoring the weird growling she was hearing. It sounded like an angry dog, but she did not remember the Higurashis having one. "You're the adult here, HE, is just a boy like us."
"Listen wench…" The young hanyou began growling.
"Inuyasha let me explain this to Yuka please," Asami interrupted him and saw that Kagome had moved to his side and was gently, but firmly holding his arm.
"Please?" Kagome asked so softly that he was the only one to hear. He would much rather give the insufferable girl a piece of his mind. He just could not understand why she was so… infuriating. But with both women asking him, he decided to see what Higurashi-sama would say. He let them know with a curt nod.
"Look Yuka, there are a lot of things you don't understand, and you're assuming what you believe is the way things work. I'm Inuyasha's guardian because the law requires it because of his age, not because he needs one. And, believe it or not Inuyasha's Shippou's guardian," she decided to omit for the moment that Kagome was too and that Sessho was already working into making it legal. "So I can't tell him what to do with Shippou, I can offer advice and point him in the right direction, but not order. You know that's not the way I treat Kagome or Souta, and the same rule applies to him. Also, Shippou's a child, not a toy that has to be shared. I really don't know what you have against Inuyasha, you don't know him. I want you to remember Inuyasha's a member of the family now, just like Kagome or Souta. So why not try to get along?"
"I… well… I can try." Yuka could not believe Higurashi-san scolded her. Somehow, her decision to give the guy a chance had completely evaporated the moment she saw that he favored Eri. Not that she had given him much of a chance; she had been a bit aggressive since she got on the car. But what finally topped the glass was seeing that he did not act like a jerk with Eri, why her? It was she, Yuka, Kagome's best and oldest friend, not Eri.
"Feh!" Was all Inuyasha said sounding completely indifferent. If both Higurashi women read that right, it meant something akin to 'whatever just don't get her close to me or Shippou'.
"Why don't you go and take a nap Inuyasha? I hope Souta didn't wake you. I told him not to," She suggested giving a meaningful look to her son, who just gulped; it looked like he was in trouble.
"It's Ok," Inuyasha yawned. "I shouldn't have been sleeping anyway. Souta didn't wake me on purpose. He just wanted to watch the TV while he did that homework of his." He yawned again, this time larger than the first. "He almost woke the twerp, and I bopped him for that, and then had him turn the sound down." Asami nodded a little dubiously, noticing that her foster son was still very tired, and about to fall asleep on his feet.
"You could still doze off a bit on the Go-Shimboku," Kagome suggested, she was a bit worried at seeing him look so tired. It was not like him.
"Naw, it's a bit chilly for the twerp. His fever might get worse, I guess I'll go to my room then," it felt rather odd to call a place his. He never had one place he considered his own. Even his cave was his mother's and not really his.
"Sounds good, besides if you don't want to sleep I'm sure you still have a small mountain of reading assignments to send you back to sleep. And if not that, I can always suggest something else." Kagome and Inuyasha both chuckled, leaving the girls to wonder about that. Since Tuesday, the young hanyou seemed to be permanently bound to a scroll or book as soon as he set foot in the house. The glasses had really been an improvement, but he was still out of practice, did not remember all the symbols right, and he was slow. "I'll also like to have a word with you before you go to sleep Inuyasha."
"Sure, whatever," Inuyasha said as he wandered to his room without so much as a by your leave. He still cradled the little boy against his chest.
The girls watched him leave with mixed looks of bemusement on their faces. Kagome's friends tried to reconcile the handsome and caring guy, who held the little boy so tenderly and protectively, with the complete jerk that bitched at them the other day. He had almost told Yuka off again, but both Arumi and Eri had to admit he had a reason; their friend had been downright bitchy and rude. It was a surprise to find out that he indeed was the boy's guardian.
"You sure he doesn't have a split personality? He sure acts so different around you, but especially around that boy." Yuka commented half jokingly, she really did not want to remain in Higurashi-san's bad side. The young woman also had to admit that at least regarding the little boy, Inuyasha had been completely different. Ok, he had a temper, but she did provoke it.
"Well Yuka-chan, what did you expect? You were putting him down, just like most people have. He's really a good person, I told you that earlier," Kagome said a bit annoyed at her friend. Didn't she understand a thing she said that morning?
"Besides, he is really reserved. He prefers to keep people at arms length until he gets to know them, and sometimes even after that. Give him time, but most importantly, don't act like you just did…"
"That'll put you on his 'black' list, and once there it'll take a miracle to get off," Kagome warned her friend. "He can be extremely stubborn, and won't change his mind."
"Even though he's really sweet and gentle on the inside, the way he's lived hardened the exterior. We're encouraging him to change that, I must congratulate you Eri-chan, you seemed to have gained his acceptance."
"Acceptance? Don't you mean trust Higurashi-san?" Eri asked puzzled, it was such a weird use for the word.
"No, to gain his trust you really have to earn it. And it's not an easy task," After saying this she ushered the girls to the kitchen and to order their lunch, which just made Souta hyperactive by the sole sound of it. She had better order two of the huge kind, her youngest loved it and usually ate a lot, and once Shippou and Inuyasha were up, they might want to try it.
Jii-chan arrived just as the pizza delivery boy, so he joined the girls and Souta for lunch. He explained to Asami that he was called to realize an exorcism and he had left. According to the old man, it was a success. Both Asami and Kagome had snorted good-naturedly, Jii-chan did not have an ounce of power, but if he was happy believing he had they would let him. After they finished lunch and all agreed that the stir-fry was great, Kagome led her friends to her room so that they could talk without keeping Inuyasha awake. Souta came in later on and sat quietly for a minute before asking.
"Kagome, can you convince Inu no nii-chan to let me play with Shippou?" He asked hopefully. He really wanted to play with the kitsune; maybe the kit had some tricks he could show him.
"Souta, did Inuyasha tell you how badly injured Shippou is?" The boy shook his head.
He tried yesterday to listen to their conversation, but he had to admit they managed to keep him fairly busy. He had only been able to hear bits and pieces of it, not enough to understand what was going on. Shippou was hurt and Inuyasha had done something, with his blood, to make him better. There was also something about Inu no nii-chan becoming the little boy's father or something like that. Jii-chan tried to explain but, since he really did not understand much, it only left Souta confused. With a sigh, Kagome sat on her bed while the girls waited for her to sort her little brother out so that they could talk about other things.
"Inuyasha'll probably be very happy to let you and Shippou play together as soon as he's well enough to play again." This comment made the young boy's face light with hope. "Shippou very nearly died yesterday Souta. You saw how worried Inuyasha was when he returned yesterday," again the boy nodded. He had never seen his hero looking so frantic, almost sick with worry. Kagome then listed the little kitsune's injuries and all those present flinched. They were worse than he thought.
"I didn't know nee-chan, no wonder you were all so worried yesterday. But if he lets me hold him I'll be very careful. I promise I won't hurt Shippou."
"I know you will Souta; I also think Inuyasha knows that too. He just wants to make sure Shippou's fine today. If Inuyasha had not gotten him the medical care he did when he did, Shippou would have died of blood loss if nothing else. You are going to have to wait a while before you can really do much with him."
"I guess you're right nee-chan."
"For now, I don't think you two will be able to do much more than talk to each other. You might be able to teach him to use your play station, if he can use his fingers, and you can still help us get him used to living in a modern home, ok?"
"Ok, I guess I can show him some of my books, those I had when I was little, and both my baseball and soccer card collections. But I still want you to get Inu no nii-chan to let me see him. Mom said he's going to get some of my old clothes from the storage shed. She also said that she was going to send you shopping for clothes for him tomorrow after school. If you take Inu no nii-chan and Shippou can I come too?"
"I think Shippou will like that. And don't worry Inuyasha will let you see him, he just wants to make sure Shippou's healing, you'll have to be a bit patient Ototou. About going to the mall, I'll think about it. Now go do your homework or something. I want to talk to my friends."
Momentarily satisfied, Souta agreed to leave. He figured he would tease her for kissing her boyfriend in front of him later. Not that he really minded, since it meant that Inuyasha was sort of his brother in law. He liked that, the hanyou was really a cool guy. If he teased Kagome in front of her friends, she would probably not let him play and talk with the little kitsune until after he was all better and who knew when that would be?
Souta did not want to do any more homework since he had already done most of it. He played a couple of rounds on his Play Station, but he did not feel much like playing. Instead of being bored to death trying to finish what was left of his homework or replaying games he had already won, he went to than hanyou's room hoping to get another peek at Shippou. He opened the door quietly, trying not to wake the two youkai within only to hear Inuyasha gruffly, but quietly say.
"What do you want twerp? I'm trying to sleep here."
"Can I join you for a little while? Kagome nee-chan doesn't want me around while she talks with her friends, and there's nothing for me to do," he asked remembering to be quiet this time.
"Whatever brat, but we are taking a nap," Inuyasha told him, not really caring what the boy did so long as he and Shippou could rest.
Drowsy as he was, Inuyasha did not bother to shoo Souta away when he climbed on the bed next to him. To the hanyou's surprise, Souta crawled under the covers next to him and settled his head down on his shoulder opposite Shippou. It was not an unpleasant sensation, the boy trusted him enough to take a nap with them, even after he had not been particularly nice. Inuyasha figured he was on the bottom of a pile of puppies, something he had often dreamed off as a pup when he was all alone at night. With a slight smile, he smoothed the human pup's hair down and purred them all to sleep.
Souta was very happy; his hero let him snuggle up with him and his son. At least he thought he had sort of understood that much. Jii-chan's explanations were always mixed up. But he had caught a glimpse of Inuyasha making Shippou drink the blood from his wrist, and heard about the blood bond. They sent him to fetch some bandages for the hanyou's wrist then, and as he returned, he only caught him saying that the little kitsune was effectively his son now.
His position there with the hanyou reminded him of how he used to curl up with his papa for a nap before he died. It was already three years since that happened, but still, he missed his father so much. His last thoughts were of the times they visited the seashore and how the hanyou's low throbbing purr reminded him of the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and sand.
Asami had not seen Souta for a while and could not seem to find him anywhere. What with everything else that had happened this week she was starting to get a little concerned, maybe Souta was starting to feel a bit left out. Since Kagome started going down the well he usually had her whole attention, she also had to talk to him about Kagome's and Inuyasha's 'engagement' and explain about the blood mark now that she understood what it meant.
Asami was also curious, Rin suggested she tried to teach Souta the spells she learned, her friend was almost positive the boy had a strong aura. If he was taught at an early age, he might be able to become strong. She was sure Sota would love learning a bit of magic. Entering her daughter's room, she asked the girls.
"Have you seen Souta? I can't seem to find him."
"Kagome kicked him out about an hour ago," Arumi answered her. Kagome and Yuka rolled their eyes at Arumi's answer since Kagome really had only asked Souta to leave and not forced him.
"Have you checked Inuyasha's room? As bad as he is about hero worshipping him, he might be there," Kagome suggested.
"No I haven't," she responded. Asami did not really believe her youngest son was there. "I would've heard Inuyasha cussing a blue streak and kicking him out of there if he had tried to bother them. Do you really think Souta could be in there without getting kicked out?"
Her daughter knew her fiancé better than anyone else did in the house. She really had not thought it likely that Inuyasha would permit Souta to bother Shippou while he was resting. The bop on the head should have made that clear if nothing else. Kagome scratched her head then thought a bit before answering.
"I don't know. It's possible, they do get along fairly well all things considered, but highly unlikely. Inuyasha's a very light sleeper; I'm not sure he trusts Souta enough to sleep with him near, actually I'm not sure what he thinks of Souta. But I know my little brother, and he's persistent if nothing else Mama, so if he found a way to be in there without bugging Inuyasha nuts, I'm sure he would be in there."
"Knowing Souta, I don't think he'll be able to keep from annoying Inuyasha with questions."
"I'm sure we would have heard him being kicked out by now, if he went in the room Mama."
"You and me both, Inuyasha can be very surly when he's tired."
"Only when he's tired? Maybe Souta's just playing around on the shrine grounds, He does that sometimes, or trying to find Buyo. I haven't seen the lazy cat around today."
"I'll check in there if I can't find him anywhere else in the next few minutes."
Twenty minutes later, after thoroughly searching her son's known hide outs without success, and rescuing Buyo from the narrow window he had gotten himself stuck in, Asami returned to her daughter's room to report that she had finally found Souta.
"You were right Kagome, even if you had some doubts about it."
"I was? Then you found Souta playing outside?"
"No, I found your brother asleep on Inuyasha's chest opposite Shippou in Inuyasha's room, just like he did with your Papa. I was surprised that I didn't wake anyone when I peeked inside, but I guess he was really tired. I'd take a picture, but I'm afraid of waking them up. It's a really precious scene."
"Take it anyway, that way I can prove it really happened later, knowing him, Inuyasha's going to deny ever doing that. I can almost hear it, 'no wench I did nothing like that! Who do you think I am? I'm not weak'" Kagome tried to imitate her hanyou's gruff tone making everyone chuckle, including her. Asami barked a short laugh and said.
"No thanks, you can do it. You're the only one who can approach Inuyasha without waking him, besides think about the flash on the camera."
"Hmm… didn't Jii-chan buy that camcorder that records videos in the dark?"
"Yeah he did," Asami said with a big smile, seeing Kagome grin too. "Used it only once so far."
"I think we can use it, do you know where it is?"
"No, but I'll ask him and get it ready. Still you'll have to be the one to use it. I don't want him waking up and letting out some of his choicest words in front of Souta, I already called him to task about it and he agreed not to curse in front of him, but just waking up I don't think he would remember it."
"He agreed not to curse?" Kagome gaped at her mother, how had she managed that feat?
"No, that's something I don't think he'd be able to do, but at least he agreed not to use bad language when he cursed in front of Souta."
"It sounded too good to be true," Kagome said with a sigh.
* ICU = Intensive Care Unit
Ok guys I'm sorry I'm taking so long in updating, but I just have so much to do that I really haven't had the chance to dedicate time to writing 'Present Time' and 'Just Another Crossover'.
Real life is… well you can imagine what it's like with too much to do. I still have to travel back and forth between my hometown and Mexico City where I currently live. Also whenever I'm in Tampico (my hometown) I suffer from lack of a decent Internet connection. There are Internet Cafes of course, but I don't have the chance to go there even if they really aren't expensive.
I also have projects for three websites that I'm working on at the moment. My own, Inuyasha's Corner, is finally on line again, except it still needs some hard work to upload the close to 300 fics I had from a previous archive, as well as a good number of images, and AMVs. I have great plans for the site and I'm working on implementing them so comments and suggestions are welcomed.
If you want the URL check my profile, I have been trying to upload this note God knows how many times since Sunday and it gets truncated. You're welcomed to register and join the message board or post your stories. By the way, my new web host has no qualms about letting me have lemons on the site.
The other website I'm working on is a general Fanfiction site, where stories from other fandoms are welcomed. To start there will be anime (not Inuyasha since I have a specific site for it), books (Harry Potter in particular), and movies (Star Wars). But suggest categories and I'll add them. I just started working on this site today and the domain should be working sometime this week. Again you can find the URL in my profile, but there is nothing there yet, I might also add a phpBB (bulleting board) there for communication between authors and readers, but that's on the horizon.
Last but not least, I'm also working on two Harry Potter fics, 'Unexpected Child', and 'Apprentice' (if you are interested I have them under another account by the username animealam, also in ff.net). So at the moment I write what the muses are kind enough to send, a bit of the crossover, a bit of Present Time (not enough for a chapter yet), and bits and pieces for the Harry Potter stuff.
Well in short, I still don't know when I'll update. I really can't promise an estimate length of time, as I haven't been able to keep my promised schedule. But one thing is for sure, I'll be finishing Present Time and I know I speak for telosphilos too. So I can only thank you for your patience, and hope that when I do get a chapter out it is to your liking.
Also if you want to know of updates, either join my yahoo group (URL in profile) or add me to your author alerts. I have Support services so if I update anything or post something new you'll know. It's not likely yet, even if I do have enough to start three more Inuyasha fics, 'Kyushu', 'Blind', and one yet untitled. Three Harry Potter fics and an Inuyasha/Harry Potter crossover.
Alandrem (a.k.a. animealam)