I haven't forgotten my other story. I just have too many projects going at once. The good news is that I have the outline for the next chapter of 'All of Me' and about the first two paragraphs written. The bad new is that's all I have done. But here is another oneshot. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF YOUKAI
Shippou was bored. Nothing had happened for weeks. No rumors of shards, no exciting battles with other youkai, no nothing. Even Kagome had taken advantage of the quiet time to go home to her era to catch up on homework and study for exams.
"I'm bored," Shippou muttered, flopping onto his back on the soft grass not far from Kaede's village. "There's nothing to do. I wish Kagome was here. It's always more fun when she's around."
Soft, fluffy clouds drifted overhead. They reminded him of a game Kagome taught him.
"That one looks like a rabbit!" He giggled happily even as the wind destroyed any resemblance the cloud had to a cute, cuddly forest creature.
"And that one looks like Sango's Hiraikotsu!" Shippou scanned the sky, beginning to enjoy his impromptu game. "And there's Jaken!"
He narrowed his eyes in thought as a particularly abstract shape taxed his imagination. "I know! That looks like Inuyasha just after he's been sat by Kagome!" He clapped his hands. "This is fun!"
But even cloud watching can become boring after a while when there is no one to share the game with. Idly, he watched a large wolf-shaped cloud change with the pulling of the wind. "It's not a wolf anymore." He squinted. "It kind of looks like Kouga."
Rolling onto his stomach, he sighed. "I almost wish Kouga was here. At least there'd be some excitement if he and Inuyasha started fighting. Especially since Kagome's not here to stop them."
Shippou sat up abruptly, an idea beginning to form in his little head. "It'll be perfect!"
He shot to his feet and began running in the direction of the village where the rest of the group were relaxing while they waited for Kagome to return.
Filling his little lungs with as much air as he could, he began to shout loudly, "Kouga's coming! Kouga's coming!"
His cries had the desired effect. Inuyasha, bored and restless, jerked out of a doze and leaped to his feet. Unfortunately, he forgot that he was ten feet off the ground, sprawled on the branch of a tree.
"What!?" Inuyasha slipped off the branch, plummeting to the ground. It was almost as spectacular a landing as if Kagome had 'sat' him. He spit out a mouthful of dirt and leaped to his feet, one hand reaching for the hilt of Tetsusaiga.
"Where is that mangy wolf?" he demanded. "I've been itching for something to do!"
Shippou stumbled to a halt, managing to keep a straight face. "That way, Inuyasha! Just outside the village!"
"I'll rip that wolf apart!" Inuyasha roared. "This is my territory!"
"What's going on?" Miroku came from the direction of the village, his robe hiked up a little so he wouldn't trip over it as he ran. He panted heavily and his face bore a recent handprint. Sango followed, slightly more slowly, shaking her hand as if it stung.
Shippou bounced from foot to foot. "Inuyasha's gone to fight Kouga!"
"We have to stop him!" Sango whistled for Kirara, climbing onto the transformed firecat when she appeared. "Kagome will be mad when she finds out they've been fighting!"
Shippou scrambled onto Miroku's shoulder as the monk took his place behind Sango. He stuffed one hand into his mouth to muffle his giggles, dying to see the looks on their faces when they were unable to find any trace of the wolf prince.
"Are you okay, Shippou?" Miroku asked, probably concerned by the faint shaking of the kit's body. Shippou, not trusting himself to speak, merely nodded.
"Don't worry, Shippou." Sango urged Kirara higher, trying to spot Inuyasha. "We'll stop them." Shippou almost swallowed his tongue, trying not to laugh out loud.
"There's Inuyasha!" Miroku pointed to the bright red figure who was down on his hands and knees, busily sniffing. "But I don't see Kouga."
"Where is he?" Inuyasha growled, sneezing as dirt got up his nose. "I can't pick up the scent.
Shippou couldn't take it anymore. He slid off Miroku's shoulder almost before Kirara touched the ground.
"What's your problem?" Inuyasha sat up on his haunches to glare at the kit who appeared to be having convulsions.
Sango narrowed her eyes, being just a shade quicker than the boys in figuring out what was going on. "Kouga was never here," she stated flatly. "Isn't that right, Shippou?"
"WHAT!? You mean to say that-- He wasn't even--" Inuyasha grabbed for Shippou, who squeaked and darted for Miroku's shoulder. "Come back here, you little trickster!"
CRASH! Inuyasha sat up, rubbing the bump on his head and glaring at the monk. "What did you do that for?"
"Calm yourself, Inuyasha." The rings on Miroku's staff jingled faintly as he lowered it back to the ground. "Shippou's just a kid. I'm sure he won't do that again. Isn't that right, Shippou?"
Shippou swallowed the last of his giggles and put on his adorable, little kid face. The one that Kagome could never resist. "I'm sorry, Inuyasha." He included the monk and the taijiya with his innocent eyes. "I promise that I will never ever do that again."
Inuyasha merely snorted, not buying the act for an instant. But Miroku smiled and patted Shippou on the head. "Good." They headed back to the village, leaving Shippou happily chasing a butterfly through the long grass. Inuyasha glared at him once or twice before stomping away.
Shippou practiced his pouncing skills until the poor butterfly decided to find a safer meadow. Chasing squirrels was even less fun. They tended to drop nuts on his head and chatter insults when they were annoyed.
Shadows drifted across the grass, created as the clouds passed in front of the sun. Briefly, he considered more cloud watching, but a quick look at the rapidly darkening sky made him decide against it. Too many clouds. From the looks of things, there would be a storm before nightfall.
"There's nothing to do," Shippou complained loudly. A large crow eyed him from its perch on a rotting stump, cawed derisively, and lifted into the storm-darkened sky with a heavy flapping of wings.
"I wonder... "Shippou scrunched up his face in thought. Would Inuyasha fall for the same trick twice? Well, maybe with a little encouragement.
Scurrying around, he collected an assortment of leaves and sticks, which he then used with a touch of kitsune magic to construct a haphazard shape. Not exactly perfect, but it looked real enough from a distance. Now, for the fun.
"Inuyasha!" He scampered for the village like there was a pack of wolves on his tail. "HELP!"
Miroku looked up at the sound of Shippou's wailing. The young woman whose future he had been reading noticed that the handsome monk's attention had wandered. She picked up the basket of clothes she had just finished washing at the river and slipped away.
He frowned. Something had upset Shippou. Maybe he should find out what was wrong. Putting on a charming grin, he turned back to the lovely young village maiden to apologize for the interruption.
"AAAAA!" Miroku recoiled from the wrinkled face before him. Where was the lovely, young, unwrinkled woman he had been talking to?
"Don't be shy, young man." The crone held out her wrinkled, age-spotted hand. "Why don't you tell me my future? I'd love to know how many children you see for me. Especially if they will be yours." She winked seductively.
Miroku jumped up, tripping over his robes in his haste. "I'm terribly sorry, but it seems that one of my companions is in need of my assistance." He dashed for Kaede's hut, colliding with Sango who was coming out in response to Shippou's shouting.
"HENTAI!" Sango's hand cracked against his cheek. Miroku released the inappropriate piece of Sango's anatomy he had grabbed when he ran into her.
"It wasn't my fault!" He cringed, expecting another blow to the head. "My hands just have a mind of their own!"
"Inuyasha! Sango! Miroku!"
Sango settled for glaring at the monk. "I'll deal with you later." Miroku swallowed hard, making a mental note to avoid the taijiya for the next several hours.
Shippou tripped over his own feet and tumbled head over tail, fetching up against the side of Kaede's hut. He blinked at the swirling images above him until they resolved themselves into the monk and the taijiya.
"What's all the shouting for?" A disgruntled dog hanyou peered over the edge of the roof.
Jumping to his feet, Shippou did his best to look believable. "I saw Kouga! And he has his whole pack with him! And they're going to fight Naraku! They found his castle!"
Inuyasha narrowed his eyes, his claws biting deeper into the wood with each sentence. He sprang from the roof, turning in midair so that he was facing the three when he landed.
"Are you sure this time, runt?" He stopped and took a deep breath. "I don't smell any wolves."
"I'm sure, Inuyasha!" Shippou managed to squeeze a few tears out of his eyes. He sniffed loudly. "You have to believe me!"
Sango knelt down to comfort the kit. "Of course we believe you, Shippou," she assured him.
"We'd better check it out." Miroku turned, calling over his shoulder. "Are you coming, Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha grumbled, kicked a few pebbles, muttered a few choice words under his breath, and brushed past Miroku to lead the way. He gripped the Tetsusaiga, quite prepared to do major damage to any wolves who got in his way.
Shippou scampered after them until they had almost reached the fake Kouga. Remembering that his friends didn't have a sense of humor, he found a tall tree and climbed up into its branches to watch in safety.
"There he is! I see him!" Inuyasha pulled Tetsusaiga from its scabbard and swung the transformed fang at the shadowy form of the wolf youkai.
The blade sliced through the illusion with little resistance. Having braced himself for some kind of impact, Inuyasha lost his balance. He fought to stay on his feet, staring in disbelief at the handful of shredded twigs and leaves floating to the ground.
The branches surrounding the kit's hiding place rustled as he gripped them to keep from falling while he howled with laughter. Inuyasha walked right up to the tree and punched the trunk. Shippou yelped as the tree swayed, wrapping his arms and legs as far as they would go around a sturdy branch.
"Get down here, brat!" Inuyasha yelled. "I'm going to rip your tail out by the roots!"
"You should have seen the look on you face!" Shippou protectively curled his tail closer to his body. "I can't believe you fell for the same trick twice!"
"That wasn't funny, Shippou!"
"Yes, it was!" Shippou began to seriously doubt the safety of the tree when it looked like Inuyasha was going to climb up after him. "Can't you take a joke?!"
"You shouldn't tell fibs like that, Shippou!" Sango shouted at him, a scowl creasing her forehead. Beside her, Kirara growled in agreement.
Miroku sighed heavily as the wind picked up, bringing the scent of the coming rain. All of the young village maidens would be indoors by now. And thanks to Shippou's little game, he hadn't gotten to flirt with half of the girls he normally did.
"Let's head back to the village and see what Kaede has prepared for supper." Miroku ignored the kit and began the short walk back to the hut.
"Great! I'm starved!" Shippou started to climb down, but stopped at a loud growl from Inuyasha. He gulped, not wanting to get anywhere near the annoyed hanyou.
Sango nodded and followed the monk's lead. "You can have supper, Shippou, when you apologize for the trick you played. And promise to never do something like that again."
"What?!" Shippou squeaked. No supper? That wasn't fair! "I'm really, really, really, really, sorry, guys! And I will never ever do that again! I promise!"
"Like I believe you!" Inuyasha snorted. Shippou ignored him, directing all of his innocent charm at the humans.
"I have to agree with Inuyasha." Miroku returned Shippou's look. His expression indicated that he wasn't falling for the cute act. "You are to stay out here and think about what you did."
Shippou turned pleading eyes to Sango, but the look on her face told him that she was siding with the monk. Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest; making no secret of the fact that he thought the kit's punishment was long overdue.
"How long?" Shippou grumbled sullenly.
"Until the sun sets or Kirara comes to get you." Miroku indicated the horizon and what could be seen of the sun through the clouds. Judging by its position, there was less than an hour. It might start raining before then, but a little bit of water wasn't going to hurt him.
Shippou stayed in his tree and watched his friends disappear into the distance. He sniffed the air hungrily, almost certain that he could detect the delicious aroma of Kaede's stew.
"Meanies!" he shouted when he was sure that they were far enough away that Inuyasha wouldn't come back to bop him on the head.
Kagome heaved her giant yellow backpack over the lip of the well. She followed it a moment later, taking a deep breath of the clear Sengoku Jidai air. She always forgot what it felt like to breathe pollution free air after spending a few days in her time.
Wind whipped past her ears, teasing her hair into tangles. Looks like she came back just in time for a storm. She glanced around. For once, Inuyasha wasn't hovering by the well. Sighing, she hoisted her overfull pack onto her shoulders and started the hike to Kaede's hut.
The delicious aroma of stew and the low murmur of voices greeted her when she reached her destination. Kaede welcomed her with a smile, ladling a generous portion of stew into a bowl and handing it to the young miko.
"I love my family and friends in the future," Kagome commented, dropping her pack on the floor and accepting the bowl with thanks, "but it's good to be back."
Inuyasha easily lifted the pack to deposit it in the corner. "This thing gets heavier every time you come back. What's in here?"
"Just my homework, a couple changes of clothes, snacks, presents for you guys, and a few other things I thought we might need. Where is Shippou by the way?" She paused with her chopsticks halfway to her mouth, noticing that the hyperactive kitsune wasn't around.
Inuyasha snorted. "Hopefully, feeling very sorry for himself."
"What did you do to him?" Kagome set her bowl on the floor hard. Broth sloshed over the sides.
"Shippou managed to convince us that Kouga had come to the village." Miroku leaned against the walls of the hut after handing his empty bowl to Kaede for cleaning. "Don't feel too sorry for him. He made all of us look like fools while he laughed his head off."
"Shippou's just a kid," Kagome protested. "He was just having some harmless fun."
"That's why we let him off with a warning the first time, Kagome," Sango said.
"The first time? How many times were there?"
"That brat made me look stupid twice!" Inuyasha growled. "And after I let the monk talk me out of shredding him the first time!"
Kagome stood up. "Where is he?"
Miroku told her, adding, "He'll be coming in soon. He only had to wait until the sun went down and it just set."
"But there's a storm coming!" Kagome marched determinedly to the door. "I can't just leave him out there!"
"That brat will never learn from his mistakes if you keep coddling him, Kagome!" Inuyasha yelled.
"He won't learn anything if he drowns!" Kagome yelled back. She started to leave, determined to find the wayward kitsune.
Kagome stopped and looked at Miroku curiously. "What is it?"
"I agree with Inuyasha this time." He rose to his feet, looking thoughtful. "Shippou needs to learn that there are some things you shouldn't joke about."
"But he's just a kid," Kagome protested. "He doesn't know any better."
Sango shooed Kirara out of her lap and stood, joining her friends at the hut's entrance. "That's why he needs to be taught a lesson. And I know just what we should do."
Shippou pouted. It was just a harmless trick. And nobody got hurt. But he was being punished. Inuyasha he could understand, but he never would have thought that Miroku and Sango could come up with something so cruel.
His stomach growled loudly. Groaning, Shippou patted his poor tummy. Maybe he would just stay in this tree all night. They would be worried when he never came in. If he stayed up here and starved to death, then that would show them.
His stomach complained again. Maybe that would be a little extreme. The sun was down. Inuyasha, Miroku, and Sango would be going to sleep soon. Then he could sneak into the hut and get Kaede to give him something to eat.
Thunder rumbled over the hills. Shippou smoothed the fur on his tail nervously. On second thought, maybe he should go in now. Thunder growled again, followed closely by a flash of lightning.
Shippou yelped and dashed down the trunk to the ground. Storms weren't nearly so scary when he was inside with a full stomach and surrounded by his friends.
The grass rippled with the force of the wind. Shippou perked his ears up. Did someone call his name?
There it was again. Shippou clambered onto an old stump and peered hopefully in the direction of the village. Lightning flashed overhead, giving him just enough light for his sensitive youkai eyes to make out the form walking towards him.
"Kagome!" Shippou flung himself at the girl. She caught him more out of instinct than because she saw him coming. He buried his face in her neck, slight tremors shaking his body.
"I knew you'd come for me! You're so much nicer than Inuyasha! He was mean to me!" He was so happy to see Kagome that he was totally unprepared when she pulled him back to look him in the eye.
"Miroku, Sango, and Inuyasha told me about the trick you played on them," she scolded.
Shippou widened his eyes to their fullest. "But I was bored, Kagome. There's nothing to do when you're not here." The frown on Kagome's face told him that she wasn't too happy with him. By concentrating, he squeezed a few tears out. "Are you mad at me?"
As he had hoped, Kagome sighed and brought him close for a cuddle. "No, I'm not mad. But you shouldn't play tricks like that. Understand?"
Shippou nodded his head vigorously. "I understand! And I promise to be good from now on!" Kagome smiled at him, not noticing the fingers he had crossed behind his back. Shippou mentally congratulated himself for remembering that little trick Kagome taught him for weaseling out of promises you don't want to keep.
"All right. Now, how about some supper?"
"Yay!" Shippou cheered. "I'm starving!"
Kagome started for the village, Shippou cradled in her arms, when she suddenly stopped. She turned her head towards the forest like she was looking for something. Shippou started to speak, but she hushed him.
"I sense two Shikon shards coming this way," she said. "And they're coming fast."
"It must be Kouga!" Shippou couldn't believe it. Kouga couldn't really be coming here. And after the trick he had played on Inuyasha and the others too.
"I wonder what he wants." Kagome did not hurry for the protection of Inuyasha and the village. She stood still, facing the forest as if she was waiting.
Shippou pulled at her sleeve to get her attention. "You shouldn't talk to Kouga without Inuyasha here. He'll go ballistic."
"I don't care what Inuyasha thinks!" Kagome flared suddenly. "Kouga is my friend. And I'm really mad at Inuyasha right now. It wasn't fair of him to be so mean to you. He should lighten up. It was just a harmless little joke."
Shippou agreed wholeheartedly, but he still didn't think it was safe for Kagome to talk to Kouga alone. This would call for some fast talking. "No, they were right, Kagome. I was bad. I realize that and I should go apologize. Like, right now. And you should come with me." He leaped out of her arms, landing on the ground and tried to look sorry.
"You can go, Shippou." Kagome crossed her arms over her chest. "But I'm going to stay and talk to Kouga." She tossed her head with a haughty sniff. "I'm sure Inuyasha won't care."
Shippou darted his eyes between Kagome and the forest. He should stay and protect her, but Inuyasha should be told. What should he do? Rain began to fall, only a few drops at first, but coming down increasingly harder. A gust of wind pulled at his hair and he made up his mind.
"Don't go anywhere, Kagome! I'm going to get Inuyasha!" He scampered through the rain-slick grass, praying that he could fetch help in time.
"Inuyasha! Inuyasha!" Shippou barreled through the hut entrance. He didn't even pause to shake off, just jumped onto Inuyasha's head. A clawed hand grabbed him none to gently by the tail and dumped him on the floor.
"What is it this time, Shippou?" Miroku asked.
Shippou bounced from foot to foot. "Kouga's coming and he's going to take Kagome away!"
Inuyasha groaned. "Not that trick again!"
"We are not interested in playing this game anymore," Sango said sternly.
"But I'm telling the truth!" Shippou wailed, real tears filling his eyes.
"That's what you said last time," Miroku reminded him. "And remember what happened?"
"I promise that I'm really telling the truth this time!"
"Feh." Inuyasha snorted and leaned back against the wall. "I don't believe you."
"But Kagome's out there and Kouga's going to take her away!" Shippou fisted his hands in his hair, tugging in frustration.
Inuyasha shot to his feet. "You left Kagome out there alone in this weather! Is she part of your little trick?"
Shippou shook his head, scrubbing his tearstained cheeks with one tiny hand. "If you don't hurry and do something, then we'll never see Kagome again!"
Sango, Miroku, and Inuyasha exchanged identical looks of skepticism. Sango finally shrugged and looked down at her lap where Kirara was curled up in a purring ball. Miroku sighed and climbed to his feet. After a moment, so did Inuyasha.
The three of them fought the storm as they made their third trip out of the village that day. Shippou barely noticed the rain that plastered his hair to his head. He was more concerned with getting Inuyasha and Miroku to hurry. Sango elected to stay in the hut where it was warm and dry. She did promise to send Kirara to fetch them if Kagome should show up.
"Well?" Inuyasha demanded, shaking wet hair out of his eyes. "I don't see Kouga. And where is Kagome?"
Shippou dashed in circles through the grass, but Kagome was gone and the rain drowned out any scents. After making himself dizzy, he collapsed in a heap on the wet grass.
"What's that by your foot, Inuyasha?" Miroku asked. Inuyasha looked down to see the edge of a piece of paper poking out from under a small rock that had been placed on it to keep it from blowing away.
Miroku picked it up. "It looks like a note." He took his time reading it. Shippou watched as his expression changed from curiosity to one of concern. "This note says that Kouga came by and Kagome decided to leave with him."
"WHAT?!" Inuyasha ripped the note out of Miroku's hand and scanned it briefly. A small part of Shippou's mind was surprised that Inuyasha knew how to read. "She says that we are unfair in our treatment of others and she knows that Kouga is a just leader." He looked up at Miroku. "And Kouga has agreed that Shippou can live with them. She'll come by to pick him up in a few days."
"But I don't want to live with Kouga!" Shippou wailed.
"You should have thought of that earlier." Miroku looked sternly at the kit. Shippou flushed.
"This is all your fault," Inuyasha accused. "If you hadn't played that stupid joke on us, then you wouldn't have been punished, Kagome wouldn't have gotten mad at us, and she wouldn't have decided to leave with Kouga."
Shippou wished the ground would open up and swallow him. Inuyasha was right! It was all his fault! Fresh tears poured down his cheeks, mixing with the rain that was running down his face. The downpour was lightening, the drops becoming less with each passing moment.
"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" He gripped his hair with both tiny hands, winding the strands tighter around his fingers. "How could I be so stupid?"
Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest, a look of satisfaction on his face. "So, the runt admits that he was wrong?"
"I was wrong!" Shippou wailed.
"And he's very sorry and will think twice before he ever does anything like that again?" Miroku assumed a pose identical to Inuyasha's, his calm gaze never leaving the repentant kit.
Shippou shook his head violently. "I'm sorry! It was all my fault! And now Kagome is gone forever!"
"I'm glad to hear that you learned your lesson, Shippou."
Looking up, Shippou blinked the tears from his eyes and saw a familiar figure walking towards them.
"Kagome?" Staring at her, he could only gape in shock. With a glad cry, he flung himself at the girl. "Kagome! You came back!"
Patting his back, she tried to loosen his fingers before he left bruises on her skin. "I didn't go anywhere, Shippou." She finally pulled him away from her enough that she was able to see his face. "Now do you see why you shouldn't play jokes like that? When you really need somebody to believe you, they won't if you're always telling lies."
"I understand, Kagome." He wiped his nose with the back of his hand. "I'm just glad you didn't decide to leave with Kouga."
"Good. Now, I want you to apologize to Miroku and Inuyasha. And then we'll go back to the hut and you can apologize to Sango."
"Do I have to?" Shippou whined. At Kagome's stern look, he muttered, "I'm sorry, Miroku. I'm sorry, Inuyasha."
"If you think--"Inuyasha began, only to be stopped by Miroku's staff colliding with the top of his head.
"Let it go, Inuyasha." Miroku ignored the death glare Inuyasha sent his way while rubbing the newest bump on top of his head. "Shippou has apologized and he understands the mistake he made."
"But I still think a punishment is in order," Kagome commented, starting for the village and Kaede's hut. "I think that no candy for a week would be sufficient."
"No candy for a whole week? Not even chocolate?" Shippou's eyes widened with disbelief. Kagome was even stricter than Inuyasha, Miroku, and Sango. They only withheld supper until he apologized. One look at her face convinced him that Kagome was determined to stick to her punishment.
At least he was back with his friends. Shippou snuggled into the warmth of Kagome's arms and silently promised that he would never cry wolf again.
A/N: It's the attack of the after-school specials! I just love fables and fairy tales. Until next time! Keep smiling and keep reading!
Food for thought: Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever!