Chapter 2: Trouble

Sesshomaru returned to visit Rin every few months and would usually stay for a few weeks. He would always sleep with her during these visits and Rin was blissfully happy. Jaken was utterly scandalized and would sleep outside the house, if it was warm enough, rather than listen to them enjoying each other.

About two years after Sonnemaru was born, Rin gave birth to twin sons, whom she named Kebakushin and Massenmaru. The boys looked even more like their father than Sonnemaru. They had the same eyes and the same purple stripes on either side of their little faces. Only the little silver ears sticking up from their manes of silvery hair distinguished them from Sesshomaru.

Just over a year and a half later, Rin gave birth to another daughter. Little Koshitenba did not have any of her father's facial markings, but her sweet face was a beautifully feminine version of his. But like her siblings, she had little silver dog ears just like her uncle's.

Rin loved her children dearly, but she always made them sit quietly and not bother Sesshomaru when he visited. If it was warm, she would send them out to play in the garden. She knew that Sesshomaru did not get along with his half-demon brother and she recognized the resemblance between her children and Inuyasha. She did not want that resemblance to turn Sesshomaru against them, so she tried to keep them out of his sight as much as possible during his visits.

The children were curious about their father, naturally, but they obeyed their mother and did not bother him, although she could see the wistfulness in their eyes when they looked at him.

Late one winter, not long after Sonnemaru's eighth birthday, Sesshomaru left Jaken with Rin and went off without explanation. Rin was used to this and thought nothing of it, but Jaken was upset at being left behind.

"Why can't I accompany you, Lord Sesshomaru?" he begged. "What if you need me?"

"I won't need you this time, Jaken," Sesshomaru replied. His beautiful face, as always, was expressionless. "Stay here with Rin."

"But, my lord!" Jaken exclaimed. He sounded whiny to Rin.

Sesshomaru walked away without another word and Jaken plopped down in the half-melted snow dejectedly.

"This is your fault!" Jaken accused Rin angrily. "He never used to leave me behind until you came along."

"So?" Rin said with a shrug. "Lord Sesshomaru does as he pleases and we are fortunate to serve him."

After a few weeks, though, Rin began to wish that Sesshomaru had taken Jaken with him. Jaken spent most of his time sitting around moping, whenever he was not sniping at her for being the cause of his misery. It didn't help that the children, especially the boys, teased him unmercifully, frequently stealing his two-faced staff and hiding it from him.

Today had been especially bad, with the entire household in such an uproar that Rin had banished the children into their small bedroom while she and Jaken sat in front of the fire in the kitchen.

"I shouldn't have to put up with this," Jaken complained bitterly. "I should be with Lord Sesshomaru."

"I wish you were, too," Rin grumbled uncharitably. "Can't you at least act like you're older than my six-year-olds?"

"What!" Jaken exclaimed.

"Hush!" Rin said suddenly. "I hear something." She went to the front door and opened it. Six burly men on horseback were riding across the meadow toward the house. They saw her standing in the doorway and shouted, spurring their horses forward. Rin closed the door quickly. "Jaken, I need you to hide the children!"

"Hide them? Hide them where?"

"Anywhere! I don't care how you do it! There are men coming and I don't like the look of them. Quickly, please!"

They both crowded into the children's bedroom.

Jaken pointed into the far corner. "Children, stand there!" he commanded.

The four looked at their mother and Rin beckoned them into the corner. "Do as Jaken says, children. It's terribly important!" she urged them.

The children huddled into the corner, suddenly frightened by the fear in Rin's eyes. Jaken stood in front of them with his staff and closed his eyes. He spoke a spell, lifting the staff and pointing it toward the corner. The four children vanished and in their place were a stool, a bucket, a dustpan and a broom.

"You mustn't move and you mustn't make a sound," he said. "The men will not be able to see you if you are completely still and quiet."

Rin and Jaken stepped back into the front room just as the door banged open and four men barged into the house. The leader pointed at Rin.

"You!" he shouted. "You are Sesshomaru's woman!" It was a statement, not a question. "Our master invites you for a visit!" he said with a harsh laugh. He stepped forward and grabbed Rin by the arm.

"Let me go!" she cried, struggling to escape his iron grip, but it was useless.

"Get her cloak," he ordered one of the others.

"Release her!" Jaken shouted. He struck a dramatic pose with the staff. "Or I shall destroy you!"

"Yeah, right!" the leader laughed. His foot flicked out and he kicked Jaken in the gut, sending him tumbling across the room. "You tell your master that if he wants his woman back, he'll come to Bosoporu's fortress and get her. Our master will be waiting." He jerked a thumb toward the back rooms. "Search them. See if there's anyone else we should take along."

A man went into each room and looked around. Rin almost sagged with relief when the man who entered the children's room came out empty-handed.

"Right," said the leader. "Let's go."

Rin's cloak was thrown around her shoulders and she was dragged toward the door. She looked back once to see Jaken staring after her, still trying to get his breath back after the blow to his stomach. She mouthed the words Please protect my children as the leader pulled her roughly through the door and out into the last remnants of melting snow.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Inuyasha sat on the edge of the well, staring somewhat mournfully into its dark depths.

"If you miss her that much, why don't you just go see her?" Shippo asked. He was lying on his back in the damp grass, with his arms crossed behind his head and one knee folded over the other.

Inuyasha glared at him. "Who said I was thinking about Kagome?"

"I did," Shippo replied airily. "You haven't seen her for two weeks. You always get antsy toward the end of the second week."

"Shut up!" Inuyasha growled. "Anyway, she's probably busy."

"She'll make time for you. She always does." Shippo rolled onto his side and grinned. "Kagome likes you a lot."

"Keep it up, Shippo!" Inuyasha snarled threateningly. "You want another lump on your head?"

Shippo laughed. "Just go through the well. Spend the night with her. The rest of us will be grateful for the resulting improvement in your temper."

"That's it!" Inuyasha cried and he leaped toward Shippo. Shippo bounded out of the way, but Inuyasha didn't chase him. He suddenly froze and looked toward the south, sniffing uncertainly. "That scent…" he murmured.

"What is it?" Shippo came up beside him, trying to scent the wind as well, but his nose was no match for Inuyasha's dog-demon senses.

"Inuyasha!" a familiar voice cried out and Inuyasha frowned.

"What the hell do you want?" he growled as Jaken, Sesshomaru's servant, stepped into view.

Jaken approached them nervously. "Master Inuyasha, I need your help!"

"My help? What for?"

"You remember Rin, Lord Sesshomaru's female companion?"

"Yeah."

"She has been kidnapped. Men working for a demon named Bosoporu have taken her. This Bosoporu demands that Lord Sesshomaru himself must come for her. I'm sure it is a trap and this Bosoporu means to kill Lord Sesshomaru, but I have to go find him first and tell him what has happened."

Inuyasha frowned. "You don't know where Sesshomaru is?"

"No, he went off alone two weeks ago and did not tell me where he was going."

"So what do you want from me?"

"I need you to hold onto something for me." Jaken turned and beckoned behind him. After a moment, four little silver-haired half-demon children stepped out from behind a tree and crept toward them slowly.

"What the hell…?" Shippo murmured.

"These are Rin's children," Jaken said. "She asked me to protect them, but I must go find Lord Sesshomaru." Jaken looked pleadingly at Inuyasha. "Will you keep them for me until I can return for them?"

Inuyasha stared at them. "Rin's children?" he questioned. "Then why do they smell like Sesshomaru?"

Shippo's eyebrows rose in surprise.

Jaken hung his head. "They are Sesshomaru's children by Rin." He clutched his staff with both hands. "Please, will you help me?"

The four little children looked up at Inuyasha with frightened eyes.

Inuyasha gazed back. "I'll be damned. My aristocratic, superior brother mated with a human woman. That's just about the last thing I ever expected to see."

"Inuyasha…" Shippo began.

"Yeah, yeah!" Inuyasha waved a hand. "I'll right, we'll look after them. But do you think they're in danger?"

"I fear they will be, if this Bosoporu finds out they exist."

"All right. Go and find Sesshomaru. I know a safe place to hide his children." Inuyasha glanced at the well.

"Thank you!" Jaken cried with relief. He turned to the children. "This is your uncle, Inuyasha. He will take care of you until your mother comes back. Do as he tells you until then." Without another word, he hurried away.

The children watched him go before turning big golden eyes toward Inuyasha.

"Shippo, go tell Kaede what's happened," Inuyasha ordered. "I'm taking them through the well to Kagome. I can't imagine them being any safer than in the future."

"Right!" Shippo dashed off.

Inuyasha looked down at his four nieces and nephews. He squatted down so he wasn't towering over them and could look at them at eye level. "Don't be frightened," he said, feeling a little awkward. "It'll be all right. I'm going to take you to a friend of mine who lives in a special place. She will take care of you until your mother comes home." He stood up. "I want you all to hold hands." He took the oldest girl's hand in his as the children all clasped hands. He led them to the well. "We're going to jump into the well. It's safe, so don't be afraid. Just close your eyes before you jump." He helped the children up onto the edge of the well before climbing up himself. "All right. Here we go!" The five of them leaped into the well.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

"Kagome!" Souta whispered from the doorway.

Kagome looked up. Souta beckoned to her urgently and she frowned. She gestured toward the couple kneeling in front of her, receiving a blessing on their recent engagement. Souta shrugged and held his hands up to either side of his head like dog ears. Kagome's eyes widened and she nodded. She completed the blessing as quickly as possible and escorted the couple to the temple steps. Kagome had to contain her impatience as they paused there to thank her repeatedly for her services. But finally they left and she hurried to where Souta was waiting for her in front of the old tree.

"Where is he?"

"In the well house." Souta pointed.

"Thanks." Kagome hurried in the indicated direction, wondering what brought Inuyasha through the well this time. Admittedly, it had been awhile since they'd seen each other, but Kagome was busy. She did miss him, though, so she was not disappointed he was here. She opened the door to the well house and stepped into its dark interior. "Inuyasha?"

"I'm here." He spoke from right beside her.

Kagome embraced him warmly. "I missed you! Did you get tired of waiting for me?"

"Yes, but that's not why I'm here. I need you to do me a huge favor."

"Oh?"

"Can you keep an eye on some children for me?"

"Baby-sit?" She stared at him in surprise.

Inuyasha pointed toward the well and Kagome looked in that direction. Four little silver-haired half-dog-demon children stood there, looking back at her with big golden eyes. Kagome immediately pushed away from Inuyasha and stared at him accusingly. The children looked just like him.

Inuyasha paled when he realized what she was thinking. "They're not mine!" he exclaimed hastily. "They're Sesshomaru's!"

"What?" Kagome fixed him with a dark glare. Surely he could come up with a better story than that.

"I swear! They're Sesshomaru's and Rin's children. You remember Rin?" he asked hopefully.

Kagome did remember Rin. The little girl had been Sesshomaru's companion for years. Like everyone else, she would have grown up by now. "Sesshomaru would never marry a human woman," she declared suspiciously.

"I don't think he did marry her," Inuyasha replied.

"They've had four children together and he hasn't married her?" Kagome was a little shocked. That seemed cruel, even for Sesshomaru.

"Don't look at me!" Inuyasha said. "I wouldn't have believed he'd even sleep with her, but he obviously did." He shrugged. "I haven't seen my brother for nearly ten years. Maybe he's changed. Anyway, there's been trouble. Rin was kidnapped by some enemy of Sesshomaru's and I need a safe place to hide her children. That's why I brought them here."

Kagome looked down at the four children again. They were certainly adorable. "Sesshomaru asked you to hide them?"

"No, Jaken, that servant of Sesshomaru's, did. I guess he was there when Rin was taken. Anyway, Sesshomaru's not around and Jaken's gone to look for him. In the meantime, I thought I'd take the others and go have a look at this Bosoporu's fortress." He put his hands on her shoulders. "You don't mind, do you?"

Kagome shook her head. How could she say no? It didn't matter who their father was, they were still children who needed protection.

"Thanks!" Inuyasha hugged her. "I knew I could count on you, Kagome. You're the best." They walked down the steps to the children.

Kagome knelt down in front of them. "My name is Kagome," she said. "What are your names?"

The oldest girl replied in a quiet little voice. "I am Sonnemaru. These are my brothers, Kebakushin and Massenmaru. This is Koshitenba." She kept a protective arm around her little sister's shoulders.

"What pretty names!" Kagome smiled at them encouragingly. "I am very happy to have you stay with me for a while. You'll be safe here. I know Inuyasha will find your mother and bring her home soon. Are you hungry?"

At their four little nods, she stood. "Come with me, then. We'll get something to eat." She turned to Inuyasha. "Don't be long, ok?"

"I'll be as quick as I can." He kissed her briefly. "We'll spend some time together when this is over, yes?"

Kagome smiled and squeezed his hand. "Yes." She watched him jump back into the well and disappear. "All right, little ones. Let's go eat." She herded them up the stairs.