Chapter 8 -

Truly, to tell lies is not honorable;

but when the truth entails tremendous ruin,

To speak dishonorably is pardonable.

.: Sophocles :.

Late morning sunlight filtered through the open windows, brightening the otherwise neutral kitchen. Inuyasha had disappeared early that morning, leaving his two house-mates to their own devices. Kagome looked up from the stove when she heard the front door open and the scuffling of shoes being removed as someone entered the house. Shippou paused, mid-crayon selection, and perked up as well from his perch atop a stool beside the counter. A muffled thud of large things hitting the floor, followed by grumbling that may or may not have been printable, confirmed it was the missing hanyou. Kagome turned down the stove, and moved away from it towards the kitchen door, abandoning the food she was cooking to Shippou's care for a bit. She pushed through the kitchen door, and padded down the short hall, her house scuffs making little noise on the wood floor. "Inuyasha?"

The figure standing just past the entryway reached up and pulled off the dark wig that was threatening to fall off his head anyway. A contained tail of white hair tumbled down from its hiding place, revealing Inuyasha's white ears, which perked up and swiveled towards Kagome's voice. He looked up from the chaotic collection of bags and cases scattered before him and waved at the mess. "Brought some of your things over," he said, while he reached up with a clawed hand and scrubbed at his eyes, carefully avoiding nicking himself with his own claws. "Stupid contacts."

"You wear contacts? I never imagined a vampire or a youkai would need them..."

"Keh. I don't. At least, not in the way you're thinking." Inuyasha pulled a plastic contact case from a pocket of his trousers and set it on top of a convenient suitcase. "My eyes are fine. But when I have to deal with humans, I wear contacts. A pair of glasses wouldn't be quite enough." He carefully scraped the colored lens off one eye, changing it from brown to gold. The other followed quickly, and Inuyasha pocketed the contact case as he blinking to clear his vision. "What?"

Kagome shook her head, and wiped her hands on the apron tied around her waist. "I just ... colored contacts and a wig are more normal than I was expecting. I guess you're not a shape shifter, huh?"

Inuyasha tugged the tie out of his hair and ran his hand through to marginally untangle it. "All vampires are, and so are a lot of youkai. I have two other forms, but I can't change into anything that would help me blend in public. The real shape-shifter around here would be Shippou, but the runt's not old enough to be good at it. He ends up looking like a stuffed toy most of the 


Kagome privately wondered just how much weirder her life was going to get now. He had said all vampires. "Are you going to show me how to shape shift?"

Inuyasha snorted. "Eventually. It takes decades to learn a new form, Kagome. And we have to see how you handle drinking blood before you attempt reorganizing your molecules."

Kagome stilled and looked a bit pale as Inuyasha gathered up several of the bags out of the pile to haul up the stairs and into the spare bedroom he had slept in the night before.

Inuyasha juggled his burden enough to free up one hand and groped blindly before catching the door with a claw and sliding it partly open. He nudged the door the rest of the way open with his foot and entered the sparsely-decorated guestroom.

No weapons decorated these walls, and a neatly folded futon was stored in an unobtrusive cabinet. A pair of decorative screens, a carved writing desk, and several cubbies built into the walls completed the furnishings. Inuyasha dropped the bags he carried in one corner and went back down for more.

Within a few trips, Inuyasha dropped the last of Kagome's things in her new room, waiting for her to come up and unpack them. Inuyasha gave the room a final once over, before leaving and crossing the hall to enter his own room.

The night before, he had told Kagome that the guest room wasn't protected enough. Now he had time to start fixing that. Ignoring the highly-polished weapons glittering dangerously on the walls of his bedroom, Inuyasha went to a chest sitting against the far wall. He lifted the lid and rummaged around for several moments before coming up with a battered notebook. He flipped through the pages, shook his head, and tossed the book back into the chest while reaching in with his other hand to pull out a different one. After a brief moment of searching the pages, Inuyasha made a small noise of triumph and closed the pages around his finger to mark the page.

With the notebook in hand, he returned to Kagome's room and set a considering eye on the doors and window frames. Protection wards were best cast on the room's entrance. Typically, that meant the symbol he used to bind the ward to the room should be carved into the wood of the doorframe. But, he used the bedroom windows to come and go almost as much as he used the doors. With a shrug, Inuyasha opened the notebook, and carefully used one claw to carve a copy of the arcane symbol drawn on the page into the wood of both the windowsill and the doorway.

He double-checked his work against the notes on the page before closing the notebook and covering the first symbol with his right hand. Inuyasha pushed a bit of the same power he used to attack with Tessaiga into the carved wood then repeated the process with the second symbol, fully activating the new barrier around the room. According to his notes, the barrier spell 

contained in the symbols would activate if it detected hostile intent against the occupant of the room. He was still considered master of the house, but since all the personal items in the room belonged to Kagome, she would be considered the occupant of the room.

Satisfied, Inuyasha made a mental note to see about adding a more permanent barrier later as he returned his notebook to his room. Then he headed back downstairs, following the warm scents of cooking food, and the light chatter of Shippou and Kagome drifting from the kitchen.


Inuyasha entered the kitchen, joining Kagome at the stove as she set several full dishes aside to be carried to the table. "I put your stuff in the guest room," he reported while scooping up the bowls and turning to carry them to the table. "You'll probably be more comfortable in there now."

Kagome blinked at the vanished dishes, and softened into a happily surprised smile as she realized where they had gone. She finished up the few left and picked them up before following Inuyasha. "Thank you. When I cook breakfast at home, Miroku and Souta usually just leave me to my own devices about getting everything to the table."

Inuyasha ducked his head slightly, looking uncomfortable, and vanished into the next room ahead of her. Shippou already sat comfortably on a pillow at the low table, munching on a pocky stick and waiting patiently for Inuyasha and Kagome to arrive with the rest of breakfast.

"He's just used to doing the cooking and carrying in everything anyway," Shippou chimed in, earning a flustered glare from Inuyasha.

"Only because 'Cooking with Shippou' turns into 'Firefighting with the Runt' and you complained for daysthe last time I threw you in the koi pond to put out that ball of fluff you call a tail."

Kagome's giggling interrupted the argument and drew puzzled looks from Inuyasha and Shippou. "Sorry," she laughed, "You just sound so much like Miroku and Souta."

"I am nothing like that pervert!" Inuyasha objected, settling back and folding his arms.

"Who's Souta?" Shippou asked.

Kagome shook her head wryly and sipped her tea before answering. "Of course, you're not, Inuyasha, and Souta's my little brother. He would probably find all of this completely awesome."

Inuyasha snorted. "Your father must have been an interesting man, Kagome, because your 

mother seems normal enough."

Kagome set her cup down and poked idly at her food. "At this point I'd be more surprised if she was human and not a tennyo or something. I can't wait to ask her how she really wound up involved with dad, because somehow I don't think it was as boring as they've always said it was."

"The Geas is on your dad's side," Inuyasha offered, "And your mother is human – I could tell if she wasn't – so maybe their courtship wasn't as interesting as their married life ended up being. Some Geasbound tell their family everything and some don't, it just depends on the traditions in the family. Your family leaves the human family completely out of it, which means your mom found out on her own somehow … or your father told her."

Kagome stared at Inuyasha oddly, setting her tea aside and steepling her hands in front of her. "You know an awful lot about my family, Inuyasha. Do I want to know how?"

"My mother was Geasbound," Inuyasha pointed out, poking at his breakfast idly. "I would be too if she'd stayed human. I'm not, but that never stopped her from telling me about it. I know the Geasbound from her just like I know about the youkai from my father. The two aren't really that different." Inuyasha rose abruptly and gathered his breakfast dishes up. "You two finish eating. I have work to do before we go anywhere tonight."

Kagome stared at the door Inuyasha had disappeared through for a long moment, looking puzzled. "What was that all about? Did I say something I shouldn't have?"

"Eh, he's always moody," Shippou told her. "He's probably just working on something; just like he said."

"Work?" Kagome asked, cocking her head to the side in curiosity. "Inuyasha …" she stopped herself and shook her head in mild disbelief. "Sorry, Shippou, I just never thought a supernatural creature like Inuyasha would need a day job."

Shippou shrugged and turned his attention back to his food. "Not all of us can live off energy and blood."


Inuyasha draped himself sideways over his chair, paging through a thick tome on necromantic rituals that lay open against his knees when the door of his study opened enough to let Shippou pad into the room with vampire bunny in tow. The kit went straight to a low shelf and pulled a book and a box of brightly colored odds and ends off the shelf. Shippou often came in and played quietly, or practiced casting illusions on his toys while Inuyasha worked. Above them, Inuyasha could hear Kagome shuffling things around in her room and talking to herself.

Abruptly, Inuyasha stopped reading, slapped a hand against his throat and looked down in 

resigned annoyance. "What are you doing here?"

"Inuyasha-sama!" a tiny voice piped from inside Inuyasha's palm. "I am glad I found you so easily!"

"Yeah, imagine that. You found me in my house." Inuyasha flicked the flattened parasite off his hand and onto the desk. "Seeing as I don't leave all that often, Myouga, did you need something, or were you just stopping for a quick snack?"

"For far more than a snack, my lord! … though your blood is as excellent as your father's if not as warm …" the officious little parasite pushed himself back to his feet and brushed off his clothes before sketching a short bow. "I was sent with a message for you and your new br... ack!"

Inuyasha's hand slapped down again, flattening Myouga before he could finish. "Don't finish that!" Inuyasha hissed quietly.

Myouga pried himself up from the surface of the desk and regarded the young hanyou with confusion. "My lord, what ..."

"I'm serious, Myouga, don't say anything about anything I might or might not have to do because of those damned laws right now!"

Shippou, who had been following the conversation with idle amusement piped up. "He hasn't told Kagome about that part yet, Myouga-jiji."

"Inuyasha-sama!" Myouga looked scandalized, and drew in a breath to start roundly berating his young lord, when a clawed finger hovering menacingly above his head stopped him.

"Just drop it, Myouga. It's been one thing after another for the last while, and I'll tell her when I'm more sure she can handle the news." Inuyasha dropped his chin into his palm and sighed. "What does the great Lord of the West want?"

Myouga frowned at Inuyasha's bored tone. "You should not speak so disrespectfully of your father, Inuyasha-sama."

"Dad's not here," Inuyasha pointed out, "and he'd get over it if he were. What does he want, Myouga?"

Myouga drew himself up to his full, minuscule height. "The Lord of the West wishes to meet your bri… um … Kagome-sama. He's asked that you either come home and introduce her or expect a visit."

"And explain myself," Inuyasha sighed, rubbing at his forehead as he read between the lines of his father's request. "I'm sure explaining myself is in there somewhere."

"He will need something to tell the Emperor's court," Myouga agreed with a careful nod, "seeing as you did not give anyone warning that you were planning on changing a human girl. We weren't even aware you knew any."

"He knows her well enough she got to sleep in Inuyasha's room last night," Shippou volunteered mostly under his breath.

"Shippou!" Inuyasha groaned, while glaring at the snickering kit until Myouga cleared his throat to catch their attention. Inuyasha blinked and looked down at the flea demon, who was regarding him with two sets of crossed arms, and a scowl. "What!? I slept in the guestroom!"

Shippou muffled his laughter behind his paws and Myouga lightened visibly and uncrossed his arms. Then Shippou's words registered, and Myouga's eyes widened in concern. "My lord, were your sleeping arrangements, or Lady Kagome's entrance into your life, 'unplanned'?"

Inuyasha rubbed gingerly at the bridge of his nose. "I'm an abomination of nature, and the universe at large hates me, old man. What do you think?" Inuyasha snarled, his claws leaving shallow grooves in the surface of his desk. "Look, I know the laws, Myouga. The damn things have haunted me my entire life. I just have to hope that Kagome would have said 'yes' if she hadn't been mostly unconscious from blood loss and turning into some sort of soul-raped ghoul!" Inuyasha brought his growling and his breathing under control before looking at Myouga strangely. "How do you know her name is Kagome anyway?"

Myouga fidgeted for an instant before hopping out of Inuyasha's reach. "Well... apart from my own observations, the girl's godmother spoke with your father this morning. She mentioned the lady's name and suggested asking you for the rest of the situation before Kagome is introduced to the youkai council." Myouga pushed himself back onto his stubby legs and hopped to the very edge of Inuyasha's desk. "I will relay your answer to your father, Inuyasha-sama. He expects you both to arrive appropriately dressed."

Inuyasha glared after his father's retainer and pulled himself back into his chair. "Damn. I hope Miroku remembered to pack Kagome something formal."


Kagome halted on the threshold her room as she felt an odd tingle wash over her. She puzzled at the feeling while moving through the room to see the almost sparse-looking area waiting for her.

Clearly a guest room, it contained little furniture. Thin wood panels patterned in a motif of herons stood in front of the tall windows, blocking the late morning sunlight to a comfortable glow. A wardrobe for clothes, and a latched cabinet with a small table below it shared one wall. 

She found a futon and covers in a storage chest, and a clutter of bags and suitcases Kagome vaguely recognized as coming from the uncharted depths of her home closet.

Inuyasha and her brother had been thorough, she thought with some amusement, not sure whether to worry at the sheer number of things they had gathered for her or not. The teetering pile of luggage had been squirreled into one corner of the room and she idly wondered how long Inuyasha expected her to stay. She would be here long enough to get the hang of being a vampire, she understood, but how long did that take?

Kagome added the question to a mental list she was forming to ask Inuyasha later as she began searching for clean clothes. After checking the first three bags, she refined her search to finding clean clothes that did not look like she was heading for Hokkaido in the dead of winter.

She sat back on her heels, chewing lightly at her lower lip, and wondering why the boys had packed every sweater and pair of trousers she owned, all her socks, what looked like the entire contents of her bathroom, and completely forgot to bring her any underwear, skirts, or shorts. They'd even managed to find the oversized flannel pajamas her aunt had given her for a birthday several years before, but not the boxer shorts (stolen from Miroku) and tank tops she normally slept in.

Kagome fished a pair of jeans and one of her lighter sweaters from the collection and dressed, laying the borrowed yukata she had been wearing across the chair of the room's writing desk. After a quick exploration she found her toothbrush in one bag, and the soaps, salts, towels, and other toiletries she might need to transfer to the bathroom down the hall eventually.

She grabbed up her toothbrush and a half-squeezed tube of toothpaste in her fist, intending to head for the bathroom she had seen at the end of the hall and remove the fuzzy feeling from her teeth. Leaning over her bag, Kagome noticed a three-legged stool tucked beneath the table under the small latched cabinet. Curious, she walked over, set the toothbrush on the surface of the table, and leaned over to pull the cushioned seat out. Pale silk, embroidered with the image of a small bird perching on an arc of bamboo picked out in darker thread, covered the seat.

The carving of the cabinet above the table looked foreign and old. Her fingers pulled carefully at the raised hollow in the center, opening one wing of the cabinet. Light glimmered inside, throwing back a reflection of the door and walls behind her. Small shelves, obviously meant for cosmetics, perfumes, or other small objects, lined the interior of the door. Kagome hesitated over pulling the other door covering the mirror open.

She had no idea if any of the legends she had heard about vampires were true, but she knew vampires weren't supposed to have reflections. She found it slightly unusual that Inuyasha would have a mirror, even if it was covered, in his spare room – the only reflective surfaces his room contained were the weapons on the walls. There was a small mirror in the bathroom, but she had not seen anything through the fog covering it after showering that morning for a quick 

shower. Did she want to look into a mirror now, and only see an empty room reflected there? It would make everything seem too real: that she had really died and become a reanimated shell haunting the world of the living.

Her tongue ran thoughtfully over the sharp length of her elongated canines and she pulled her hand away from the unopened side of the mirror. Maybe she was better off knowing right now. She already felt a bit stretched too thin by everything else, like the mental closet she had shut most of the craziness in was starting to strain at the latch and would spring open and bury her if she tried stuffing anything else into it.

She decided to leave well enough alone this time, and leaned down to scoop her things back up from the table. Unfortunately, she didn't close the mirror, and the other wing swung open as soon as she left it unsupported. Kagome straightened quickly to avoid being hit, and found herself staring into her own reflection.

She blinked and leaned closer to the glass. She had a reflection, assuming the blue-eyed girl in the mirror was her. Kagome looked over her shoulder to be sure someone else wasn't standing in the room behind her, but the room remained empty. Her eyes were blue: a deep shade of grey-blue -- as startling in their own way as Inuyasha's gold eyes -- not the normal dark brown she had seen in the mirror her entire life.

A knock at her bedroom door, followed by Inuyasha's concerned, "Oi, you okay in there?" chipped at the befuddled shock coiling around her mind. Kagome turned towards his voice, reaching behind her to shut the mirror door – securely this time – before the door opened, and Inuyasha stuck his head around it, looking confused at her silence.

Seeing her safe, if looking a bit shell-shocked, Inuyasha shifted his attention to the covered mirror behind her and stepped into the room. "Oh. No reflection, huh? Um … I can probably explain that."

Kagome blinked. "I'm not supposed to have a reflection?"

"What, you haven't checked yet?" Inuyasha asked, walking over so he was standing next to her and pointing at the covered mirror behind her. Kagome answered by turning back to the mirror and pulling the doors open again. Both of their reflections looked back, reflecting expressions of puzzlement from Inuyasha and curious resignation from Kagome.

"Huh, that's odd..."

"What? What's odd?" Kagome demanded, turning her eyes up so they met his in the mirror.

Inuyasha held his hands up defensively. "You have a reflection, that's what's odd. It must be a side-effect because I'm the one that changed you; normal vampires don't."

"But you obviously do," she pointed at his reflection where it stood behind her.

"I've always had a reflection," he told her with a shrug. "I just thought I was the only one."

Kagome leaned forward, letting her pale eyes catch some of the light and reflect sparks of blue and silver fire through their shadows. They were really quite pretty, in a weird twilight-zone sort of way. "Any idea why? Or is it just this mirror?"

Inuyasha snorted. "Because we're different? I don't know, exactly. There's a lot of ideas why vampires don't have reflections. Maybe they don't have souls and we do. I don't know. Doubt the vampires know either. But that's only a mirror. There's nothing magical about a piece of glass over silver."

She smiled at him briefly, and then silence descended as Kagome ducked away from Inuyasha and wandered back to her luggage to hunt down a hair tie. Inuyasha fidgeted uncomfortably for a few moments while she thoughtfully pulled things out of her bags and separated them into piles to be put away.

"Um ... Kagome, do you have a formal kimono? Or did you leave all of that stuff with your mom? I didn't see it at your apartment, but your brother might have..."

Kagome looked up curiously from the shirt she was holding. "I haven't seen it here, so it would still be at my apartment. Why?"

Inuyasha scratched at his neck. "You're going to need it. My family wants to meet you."

"Inuyasha," Kagome's voice darkened, and her eyes narrowed a bit. "You promised to explain everything tonight. You're not using this to back out on that, are you?"

"I know! I will! We'll have enough time just ... let's go get whatever else you need from your place before nightfall and I'll answer any questions you've got."

Kagome nodded her agreement and snagged her purse off the top of a stack. "Let's go, then."

Kat's Notes: Well, this is one of those "the plot coagulates" chapters, and thus there isn't very much for me to say. And I'm tired, so this is kind of a thrown together author's note (that may well vanish into cyberspace when I get my brain working again).

Since this, and The Moriarty Gambit are my main stories at the moment, I'm switching off updates. Gambit 10 is next, then I'll be back with Ties 9. I hope to see you then!