A/N: A drabble for an LJ comm, theme was Mother.

"They are cruel to him."

She didn't look up, kept washing clothes. Washing was her only means of supporting her son in this village. A hanyou would starve to death just as easily as a human boy.

The youkai woman watched as human children dragged a younger boy down, rubbing his face in the dirt as they beat him. Inwardly she cringed to see her husband's child humiliated. Outwardly, she was chill as frosted glass…obscure and unseen beyond the surface.

"He does not fight back."

"I told him not to." A sigh. "We're lucky they let us live here at all."

"Come with me then. I can protect you both."

Chapped hands clenched the side of the washtub. An easier life. Protection and comfort. Safety.

"Why would you do that?"

"He is my husband's son."

His wife…while she had been no more than a lover, a passing fancy. Her son a bastard and the woman she'd wronged still offered a way out.

"No." Eyes closed, fingers bent. "I don't want your charity."

Outside, the beating continues…and a white-haired boy reaches for a rock

oOo

She came home crying again.

"Hokuto pushed me down and pulled my hair! Mina said I was ugly and…"

Shhh

"I know they're only children, Principal Takahashi, but this is the third time this week… No, I will not let it go! I want you to speak to Kagome's teacher immediately about the bullying."

Her voice is soft, but there's a needle under the pillow. "Do I need to speak to the board personally? If you can't keep order, perhaps they will find someone who can. Ah, I see you understand."

She knows she won't always be there to protect her. And knows Kagome will learn to defend herself. But for now, she's hers to keep safe.