Me: Yes, I know, it's been a long time since I've done anything, but this idea won't go away! Trust me, you'll appreciate this, and I'll TRY to keep it a one-shot, even if it ends up being insanely long. Oh, I found a picture where Shippou LOOKS grown-up. Here: iycorner (dot) alandrem (dot) net/images/shippou/ship_06.jpg (You don't need a www).

Vurso: And cut Sera some slack on the updating thing. She's had a lot going on, including graduation, breaking up with her boyfriend of 17 months, missing the SATs and ACTs, so she has to wait a year to get into college, etc.

Firethroat: None of us own Inuyasha, though Sera has kidnapped adult Shippou and refuses to let him go, as he's not needed in the series.

A-Shippou: *Glaring from where his bishie self is tied up in a chair*

Me: ^_^ Oh, and if you don't like the pairing, don't flame me. Open- mindedness is good, and I didn't make you read this.

Erica (accident with a vial of unlabeled liquid): On with the fic!

*********************

"Are we there YET?" Shippou asked for the hundred and thirty-second time that morning.

"Not yet." Sango sighed as she readjusted her grip on the Kitsune cub in one arm, and the little fire-cat in the other. Hiraikotsu rested heavily on the exterminator's back. Sango's feet drug furrows in the dusty road, since she was too tired to lift them very far. She had been carrying Shippou and Kirara all morning in her arms, and with Hiraikotsu on her back, it was no wonder she was exhausted.

"I can't wait to see Kagome! Maybe she'll have a pup by now for me to play with!" Shippou piped, his cute little furry tail swishing excitedly behind him and coincidentally hitting Sango in the face.

Sango spit out a mouthful of fur and glared at the sheepish kit, who grinned unabashedly back at her.

"It's only been a month since we last visited, Shippou." She tried to reason with the hyperactive child. "Babies don't grow THAT fast. Not even if they have a youkai or hanyou father." Sango pointed out. "And you would have to wait a few more months till you could play with the pup, so that he or she could grow a little and become stronger." Shippou pouted.

"I don't understand why we all separated after we defeated Naraku. I mean, Inuyasha and Kagome are married and want a family, and Miroku is I don't know where, running after girls. Why couldn't we have all stuck together?" Shippou asked the question that he had plagued Sango with once a week ever since they all went their separate ways.

"I told you, kiddo, married couples like a little time to themselves when they're first married, and Miroku is just a womanizing pervert." Sango replied tiredly.

"Oh yeah." Shippou jumped up onto her shoulder and hugged the young woman around the neck. "Least we have each other."

Sango smiled. "Yeah. we have each other."

"You might not have that for long." A gravely, rough voice rasped. The three companions looked up to view a wrinkled old woman.

"Uh. who are you?" Shippou asked, head cocked slightly to the side. The old woman facefaulted.

"I'M A WITCH! SEE THE WHITE HAIR, WRINKLED SKIN, BLACK CLOTHES?! I HAVE A BROOM, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!" Her head did that anime thing where it gets all big and scary with fire in the background.

"Oh." Sango and Shippou's voices were soft in the aftermath of the witch's rage.

"Anyways, I'm here to do some dastardly deed to you that the author hasn't figured out yet and probably won't for a while."

"Why?" Shippou asked innocently.

"Huh?" The witch looked confused.

"Why do you witches always go out and do dastardly deeds to unwary travelers that have never done anything to you? Wouldn't it make more sense to go after your enemies or work on making yourself prettier or richer or smarter or younger or something?"

She blinked. "Good point. I never thought of it that way. But I'm still gonna do something to you anyways." The three facefaulted.

The witch took on a thoughtful look. "Now what to do." Her eyes fell on Sango and a light bulb flashed over her head. "I know! Since the young and beautiful annoy me, I'll make her age and she'll be all wrinkled and ugly!" The witch threw a triumphant fist in the air with a large, toothless grin on her face while Sango, Shippou, and Kirara all sweatdropped.

The witch put out her hand, palm face up, and quickly charged a black ball of energy in it, which sparked and crackled loudly. She then wound up like a major league baseball pitcher, and threw it to where it would have connected with Sango.

It WOULD have, had not Shippou taken it upon himself to save one of his only friends left in the group, and jumped to intercept it. The pup yelped as the black ball connected with him, and wrapped itself around him. The crackling grew in volume and intensity, though Sango was a bit too busy chasing off the witch with Hiraikotsu to really notice.

Sango turned back, almost afraid of what she would see. Would Shippou be aged and wrinkled, or unchanged? How would it affect a youkai child, when it had been meant for a young human woman?

The Shippou-sized ball still hovered at about chest-height, and it was slowly growing. The crackling suddenly stopped, and there was an eerie silence as the ball kept growing, until it was an oblong shape taller than her.

The blackness then soundlessly exploded in a burst of white light, and when the spots had cleared in front of her eyes, Sango saw a large, nude figure lying motionless on the ground. With a wordless cry, she leapt forward and fell to her knees beside it. "SHIPPOU! Oh, Kagome is gonna kill me." She groaned as she turned Shippou onto his back, and gasped.

Shippou had been aged to the point where he looked only a little older than her, and. well. let's just say that time had been good to him. His reddish hair had darkened slightly to auburn, and now reached to his waist. His face was delicately boned, and put Sesshoumaru to shame. Her eyes traveled a bit further down his body, to find a lean, muscled figure. She quickly averted her eyes, and grabbed one of her skirts from her bag to cover his hips, blushing a bright red. His tail, the same color as his hair, lay limply on the ground beside him; and she couldn't resist reaching out to stroke it, finally understanding Kagome's obsession with Inuyasha's ears. Shippou's tail had gone from a poofy ball of fluff as a cub to a long, sleek, soft furred feature that made the softest and most beautiful of tanned furs look like ratty old things. Girls, and guys that swing that way, start your drooling.

"Sango?" A mild masculine voice asked softly, and Sango looked up from her examination of Shippou's tail to find herself lost in pools of the deepest, purest emerald she had ever seen in her life. "WAH! SANGO, THE WITCH SHRUNK YOU! YOU'RE LITTLER THAN ME!" Sango yelped and covered her ears.

"No, Shippou, I didn't shrink, you grew." She gritted out against the pain in her ears. The fox immediately stopped, sat up, and looked over himself.

"Hey, you're right." He grinned, showing off his large white fangs. "Cool, I look nice."

No kidding Sango thought to herself. Out loud, she said "Shippou, until we find a cure, I don't think you can keep wearing my skirts. Kouga's tribe is nearby, maybe he'll let you borrow some clothes." Even as she said this, her mind rebelled at covering up that beautiful body with clothes.

"Yeah, I don't wanna wear girl's clothes either." Shippou agreed as he stood, holding the skirt over his hips with one hand as he steadied himself against a tree with the other. "Whoa, the ground is really far down, and I'm not even standing on someone's head!" He exclaimed proudly. It was true, since as an adult, he reached about 6'2" or 6'3". He towered over Sango, and looked like he would be around the same height as Sesshoumaru. "Uh. can you turn around so I can fix this?" He gestured at the cloth standing between him and being totally naked. Cheeks flaming, Sango did as he asked. She didn't get the urge to peek at all, either, she swears.

Oh no, I'm turning into a female version of Miroku she thought in dismay. Could you blame her, though?

"Okay, you can turn around now." Shippou's gentle voice sounded behind her, and she turned around to see that he had managed to fashion her skirt into a loincloth, after slicing it up a bit with his claws. She sighed slightly at the loss, but it really couldn't be helped.

"Kirara is still tired from that demon fight we were in yesterday, so we should get to Kouga's tribe at about sunset, if we hurry." She said, picking up Hiraikotsu and starting to sling it to her back. The exterminator stumbled when the expected addition of weight on her back didn't come, and looked up to see Shippou holding the weapon where he had caught it in mid-air, grinning ferally.

"Now who says it has to take all day?" He practically purred.

***

"SHIPPOOOOOUUUUUU!" Sango yelped and tightened her grip as the Kitsune executed another large leap, cutting off his air a little. "I have no idea WHY I agreed to this." The exterminator gritted through her teeth as Shippou landed and broke into a swift run.

Shippou's idea had been simple. He wanted to test out his new body, and it would be faster if he carried her and Kirara there, so they pulled an Inuyasha and Kagome, and Sango was currently stuck riding youkai-back through the forest, and she did not like it one bit.

I never gave Kagome enough credit for being able to do this she shuddered as Shippou dodged inches away from slamming into a large tree. She felt a clawed hand on her wrist steady her slightly before Shippou was airborne again. The new adult whooped with joy at the height he attained, before landing in a tree and springing lightly from branch to branch. Kirara was curled up between the human and youkai, her tiny body shivering.

The journey that would have taken half a day took only twenty minutes with Shippou's new speed and endurance. That was nineteen minutes too long for Sango, though. When the fox finally landed in the middle of Kouga's camp, the first place Sango headed was the bushes to show all the forest animals what she had for breakfast. Shippou gave his human friend an abashed look as he approached Kouga, who had sprung to his feet at the appearance of the unfamiliar youkai.

"Hiya wolf-boy. Remember me?" Shippou asked, grinning. Kouga blinked as waves of scent rolled off of the sweaty Kitsune.

"You smell a lot like that little fox runt that used to stay with Kagome." He said bluntly.

"That's cause he is." Sango muttered weakly as she joined them. The poor woman was still feeling a bit queasy, and was thankful that Shippou had quick enough reflexes to catch her before she hit the ground.

Kouga's jaw dropped. "Uh. how the hell did that happen?"

"Vengeful witch." That was all that Kouga needed to hear. His tribe had had pink fur for a month because of one.

"Ah. So what do I owe the pleasure of you visiting my camp?" Kouga glared at the females of his pack, who were all giving Shippou appraising looks.

"We were wondering if Shippou could borrow some clothes." Kouga couldn't agree fast enough. Anything to get the females of his tribe to stop lusting after the fox. The wolf king grabbed Shippou's arm and dragged him towards the storage caves, making the new adult stumble and work to keep up. Sango sighed and sat on the ground, trying to quell her queasy stomach as Kirara stumbled over, doing a very good impression of a drunk fire-cat. The poor kitty crawled into her mistress's lap, mewling pitifully.

"I know. We're never letting Shippou carry us again." Sango whimpered as she rubbed Kirara's soft ears.

"I wasn't THAT bad, was I?" A now familiar masculine voice asked from above. Sango looked up and instantly felt her face heat up.

Now, instead of the loin cloth he had been wearing (her poor skirt!), Shippou wore much the same outfit that Kouga did, without the metal armor parts. He just had the shoulder-pads, the leg and arm-guards, the headband, and the short shorts (A/N: *Snickers* Sorry. I couldn't resist!). A short sword was strapped to his waist (Sango would have to teach him how to use that thing before he took someone's head off), and his tail waves merrily in the air behind him, showing he wasn't THAT insulted at her comment.

"Did you have to have so many ups and downs?" The exterminator groaned as she fell backwards to lay in the dirt, relishing NOT jumping hundreds of feet in the air at a time or going faster than the moving metal contraptions in Kagome's time the girl had described.

Sango blinked as she felt an arm slip lightly under her and lift her in the air, then blushed a deep red as she found herself cradled against Shippou's bare, slightly sweaty chest. (Girls, we can all start being jealous right about here.)

"You okay Sango? Your face is kinda red. Do you have a fever?" Sango looked up just in time to see Shippou press his forehead against hers in concern, and her blush deepened. (A/N: That actually IS a way to check someone's temperature.)

"You are a little warm. You sure you don't need anything?" The Kitsune asked, concern etched all over his handsome bishie face. After being reassured that the exterminator was fine, Shippou shrugged and set off again, this time headed towards where Kagome and Inuyasha lived. Thankfully, he took things slower this time, and Sango couldn't look down because of the way he was carrying her.

She was inwardly pleased that he carried her against his chest the entire journey.

***

Shippou sighed to himself as he leapt from branch to branch, slightly tightening his hold on Sango so that she wouldn't accidentally slip. Not that he would let her hit the ground, but still. He slowed a bit so that he could glance down at the, what was to him, precious bundle in his arms.

This time, he had gone slow enough; and made his leaps and everything smooth enough; that Sango had relaxed, and she was currently sleeping, her head pillowed gently on his shoulder, Kirara curled up on her stomach. Shippou's eyes softened as he took in the sight of the exterminator, trustingly curled against him. With his new age, he had to re-evaluate where they stood, and now seemed a good time to do it.

Before, Sango had been a friend, almost like an older sister. She took care of him when Kagome couldn't, and when he hadn't wanted to stop traveling just yet, she agreed to take him with her. She had been very tolerant of his antics, and always had made sure to keep him safe, even if it meant she got hurt.

Now that he was older. now what? What could she be to him now?

Well, first off, she was still his friend, that hadn't changed, and hopefully never would. She couldn't be an older sister, since his physical age was now older than hers. A younger sister? No, she would never accept that amount of over-protectiveness.

I can fight now. He thought to himself. A fighting partner, once they got used to working together. He hadn't even tried out his Kitsune magic yet, something he planned to rectify soon.

What else. His eyes drifted upwards, to spot a bird's nest on a branch. A female was presumably laying on some eggs, and as he watched, a male flew down to land in front of her, and offered a bug, which she gladly accepted.

Mates. He thought idly, then skidded to a halt, thankfully not waking Sango or Kirara.

Shippou stared down at the human woman in his arms. Could she possibly be a. MY. mate? He thought incredulously.

***

Me: GAH! Getting too long. must breathe. *Takes deep breaths* Well, obviously I've decided to not make it a one shot, but I WILL try to finish it. I lay it upon my friends to yell at me to get off my duff and get the next chapters down. Note: I am a NOTORIOUSLY bad procrastinator and updater. So tell my friends to yell at me a lot, and MAYBE I might be able to get out a chapter a week. If they yell enough.

Vurso: Oh boy. You DO know the readers will be yelling at you for leaving a cliffhanger, right?

Me: So?

Vurso: Nothing, just checking.

Firethroat: *Does Vash's "love and PEACE!" sign from Trigun* You read, now REVIEW!