Summary; Warning; Disclaimer: See First Chapter
Wow! I actually have a chapter for this story. I had a partial inspiration, so here's the next chapter for everyone. And if anyone has any ideas whatsoever, I HIGHLY recommend you tell me, because I need some more inspiration.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys what's going on. And I'll let you all stew about what might be going on. No yay or nay from me!
Please review. Comments, ideas, suggestions, and helpful criticism welcome.
"And he still didn't show up," Inuyasha grumbled, almost a month after his phone argument with his older brother. "Bastard."
"Souta and Kohaku are going over Leslie's to help her clean the house – want to go with them and see how she's doing?" Kagome suggested. Inuyasha considered it briefly before stretching out and folding his arms behind his head.
"Nah – those two punks are fine. Besides, it's Sunday. I don't feel like working before I have to go to work tomorrow."
"If you say so," she shrugged, and returned to her novel.
"Hey, guys," Leslie greeted the teenagers warmly, closing the door behind them. Windows were open, and a cool breeze wafted through the house. "Thanks for coming and helping out."
"Well, Kagome asked if I minded, and Kohaku doesn't have anything better to do," Souta joked, elbowing his friend.
"Cut it out, shrimp," the eighteen year-old retorted. Both boys were taller than Leslie, but Kohaku beat out Souta in height by an inch, even though they were the same age.
"I'm glad Kagome volunteered you, at any rate," Leslie laughed. "I can hardly clean this house up myself, at this rate. So, why don't you start in the bathroom, Kohaku? I already put out cleaning supplies for you."
"Sure," he nodded, and headed off. The boys were on a short break due to exams, leaving them plenty of free time. Souta looked around curiously until Leslie plucked at his sleeve, causing him to blink.
"You can help me put winter stuff up in the attic," she informed him. "I already put a lot of stuff in boxes, but I can't climb up there and stack them," she continued, leading him to the bedroom. "See?" She gestured to the bed, where boxes were piled half-hazardly on top of it.
"Yeesh, you can't clean, can you," Souta remarked, hefting several boxes up easily. "Where's the attic?"
"Over here – let me get the ladder," she offered, and quickly straightened it out.
The three worked for several hours before taking a rest and eating something. As the sky began to darken, they finished putting away the last of the mess, to the boys' great delight.
"Thanks so much for your help – and thank Kagome as well," Leslie added, as they headed out the door. "See you later!"
"Bye, Mrs. Taisho!" Kohaku called, and Souta turned to wave as they climbed into the car. She watched as the convertible drove down the street before closing the door again, with a slight sigh.
"Alone again – I'll have to thank Kagome for the distraction today," she thought, heading toward the kitchen to eat something else, her thoughts turning back to her absent husband. She never allowed the worries to fully surface, but hints of affairs and a loveless marriage haunted her dreams and the majority of her waking moments. "All right, Mozart, I didn't forget about you," she shook her head, and crouched down to pet him briefly before straightening, her hand pressed against the small of her back.
"Damn...pregnancy is killing me," she sighed, sitting down briefly to catch her breath. "I wonder if Sesshomaru is tired of me…after all, he needed me to return to his human form. And now that I'm bearing his child – maybe…That's stupid!" She shook her head and let out a long groan. "If he didn't love me, he'd return to his dog form – that's what Kagome said. And I believe that."
"Mmm…" she groaned, shifting around at hearing the phone ringing. Glancing bleary-eyed at her clock, she saw it was almost two in the morning, and sat up a little bit. "Who could be calling at this hour…?" she wondered sleepily, rising and deciding to answer it. Shuffling down the hall, she yawned loudly as the phone continued to ring. "Whoever it is sure is persistent…Hello?"
"Sesshomaru?" she gasped, and clutched the phone tightly. "Is that really you?"
"Of course. I apologize for calling at this hour, but it's the first opportunity I've had in a bit. I hope I didn't wake you."
"You know you did, but that's okay!" she smiled at the wall, overjoyed to hear his voice again. "Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing's wrong. I just missed you."
"I miss you too…are you coming home soon?" she asked eagerly. Hearing a sigh through the receiver her hopes sank, and she tried not to show her disappointment when he answered.
"I'm afraid not – there's a lot to be done overseas, unfortunately. Perhaps in a month or two. I'm sorry, Leslie."
She gripped the phone tightly, her knuckles going white as she tried not to cry over the phone.
"Leslie? Are you all right?"
"I'm – I'm fine," she replied, after taking a deep breath to steady her voice. "I wish you could come home sooner."
"So do I, of course. But it's not feasible at this point. I'll try to call more often, though. I didn't want to disturb you."
"I don't care when you call!" she protested. "I really miss you, Sesshomaru. Please…call a lot, okay? I miss hearing your voice."
"And I miss hearing yours. I need to go now – I don't want to run the phone bill up too much. Take care of yourself. If you need anything contact Inuyasha or Hiten."
"I know. I will," she nodded, and kissed the phone receiver before hanging up. "He sounded…like he doesn't really care," she managed, tears welling up in her eyes. "Like it was a chore to…call…"
"I'm no good at sentimentality," Sesshomaru thought to himself, placing the receiver gently in the cradle. "I hope she understands." The dog demon lay down on his bed with a sigh, picturing his wife alongside him. He draped an arm across his eyes, frowning slightly. He was more than aggravated at having to spend so much time away from his mate, but some things couldn't be helped – in his opinion – and he wanted to ensure that the now-political empire he and Inuyasha had built would remain intact until his child could inherit it.
"Really? He called last night – that's great!" Kagome said, shooting Inuyasha a look as she talked to her practically-sister-in-law over the phone. "Did he…oh, he did? Oh. Well, maybe he can finish up sooner than he thinks!" she encouraged the other woman, sympathy creeping into her voice.
"What now?" Inuyasha hissed, and she waved him away impatiently.
'Not now!' she mouthed back at him, and quickly turned her attention back to the phone conversation. "Oh, Leslie, it's all right…Why don't you come over for dinner tonight? We can have Miroku and Sango, and Koga," she suggested, and her face dropped in a moment. "Leslie, calm down! Want me and Inuyasha to come over for dinner? We'll bring the food – it's not a problem, relax! If it was I wouldn't have offered, right? Right, okay then. See you in a bit!"
"Well?" Inuyasha demanded, once his fiancé had hung up the phone.
"Sesshomaru called early this morning, and told her he won't be home for another month or two," Kagome sighed in aggravation. "She really started to freak out. I know she's lonely – and with those mood swings, I'm afraid she might do something."
"Like kill herself?" he asked in disbelief, and shook his head. "Nah, not Leslie. Worst I can see is that she leaves town."
"Well, that's pretty bad!" Kagome yelled, and his eyes widened in surprise.
"Calm down! Geez!" he grumbled, and shuffled off to the bedroom. "I'll go get changed, then. What're we bringing?"
"Hmm…I marinated those steaks yesterday," Kagome thought, glancing at the fridge. "That sound good to you?"
"Yeah. Leslie could use the meat, too," he added, disappearing into the room. Kagome shook her head, a slight grin on her face.
"Hey there," Kagome hugged the tired-looking young woman as they entered the house, and looked around, noticing the house was still in great condition and clean, meaning that Leslie hadn't fallen that far into depression yet. "You look nice," she commented, and Leslie grinned.
"Thanks. It's strange shopping for maternity clothes – especially nice ones. I feel like I'll never wear them again!" she laughed, plucking at the fabric.
"It's worth it," Inuyasha shrugged, having been forced to carry the steaks. "We bear gifts of food – where can I put 'em?"
"On the counter," Leslie gestured. "You know your way around my house!"
"Sure do," he agreed amiably, dumping the packages onto the table.
"Inuyasha! Careful!" Kagome ordered, and Leslie shook her head.
"How do I cook them?" she asked, and Inuyasha raised his hand.
"Let the man of the house cook the meat," he volunteered, puffing out his chest.
"Man of the house?" Kagome repeated, trying not to laugh. "You mean adolescent, right?"
"Come on, Leslie – let's leave the man to do the cooking," Kagome said, pulling the woman's arm and leading her to the couch. "I'll catch you up on the all the juicy gossip in the meantime!"
"That was actually really good, Inuyasha," Leslie admitted, finishing off the last of her meal. "I haven't had steak in…I don't know when!"
"That's why I suggested bringing them," he grinned, purposefully baiting Kagome, who glared at him and huffed.
"Ha! You suggested them?"
"Yep," he nodded, and Leslie laughed as he ducked when Kagome playfully tossed a spoon in his direction.
"You guys are too weird," she shook her head. "I don't see how Sesshomaru is…"
"Do we have to get out by a certain time?" Kagome asked suddenly, as the young woman trailed off.
"Of course not!"
"Why don't we stay later and watch a movie – a comedy?" Kagome suggested, and Inuyasha nodded, the disgruntled look leaving his face. "We don't have a bedtime either," she added teasingly, and Leslie grinned.
"Sure. That sounds fun."
"Thanks for letting us stay so late," Kagome said, as she and her fiancé headed toward the door later that night. "That was a good movie!"
"I liked it too," Leslie nodded, and jumped as the blast of cold air hit them when she opened the door. "It's snowing?"
"I guess it is," Inuyasha pointed out, shrugging into his coat. "Come on, Kagome – I hate driving through snow at night. See you at work tomorrow, Leslie. Ya gonna want a ride home after?"
"It depends on the snow," she thought. "I'll call in the morning if I need a ride to work as well. Sound good?"
"Fine with me," he shrugged, and headed toward the car without further ado. Kagome hugged the other woman briefly and patted her stomach playfully with a grin.
"You're huge," she said teasingly, and Leslie laughed.
"Yeah, I know," she agreed. "Thanks for hanging out, Kagome. I'll see you soon, I'm sure. Have a good night!"
"You too!" Kagome called, waving as Leslie shut the door to keep the heat inside the house. As the raven-haired woman climbed into the car beside Inuyasha, she heaved a sigh. "Poor Leslie – Sesshomaru's being an idiot."
"I wish I knew what was in his head, for once," Inuyasha conceded. "But she and the baby are both healthy, trust me – I can sense it."
"I'm bored!" Leslie whined several days later, almost into her fifth month of pregnancy. "And tired…and lonely…" she conceded, running her hands through her hair in irritation. Her back and feet were constantly sore, and the circles underneath her eyes acted as a testament to her inability to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.
She turned when she heard a knock at the door, surprised someone was there so early in the morning – it was barely six, and another large snowfall the night before had caused most businesses to take a day off. Already showered and dressed, she headed toward the door a little suspiciously, peering through the peephole before unlocking it.
"Hello?" she asked, and jumped when she looked into a pair of red eyes.
"Sorry," Hiten apologized, grinning a little. "I just dropped by to see if you needed anything, with this snowfall and everything. I was going to the store later to get myself some stuff, so I figured I'd drop by and see if you wanted me to get anything."
"Oh, thanks, Hiten," she nodded, opening the door enough to let him in. "I appreciate it – I actually do need some stuff," she told him, moving to get her list as he stomped the snow off his boots. "Actually, would you mind if I came with you?" she asked a bit eagerly, returning with a piece of paper in hand. "I haven't been out of the house in ages."
"I guess – it's not a problem," he shrugged, looking around curiously. "Keeping busy?" he guessed, seeing messy stacks of paper on the table, accompanied by several pens.
"Yeah – just something to keep my mind busy," she laughed with a grin and a shrug. "It's been a hobby of mine for years. So, when can we go?"
"Now, if you're ready," Hiten told her, deciding to humor the young woman, and shook his head in amusement as she tried to get on her jacket. "Here – no wonder you can't even get out of the house, if you can't even get your jacket on by yourself," he commented teasingly, moving forward and helping her into it.
"Thanks – good point," she agreed, shouldering her purse and looking at him. "I'm all ready."
"All right – backseat, by the way," he added as he followed her out the door, waiting as she locked it behind them.
"Fine," she sighed, resigned to her backseat fate until the baby was born.
"I really appreciate this, Hiten," Leslie repeated, following him in as he carried her bags in. "You didn't have to carry those."
"Nah, I don't care," he shook his head, rolling his shoulders. "Want some help putting them away?"
"No, I want something to do," she protested, shrugging off her jacket with some fuss. "Do you live alone, Hiten? I've never really seen anyone there."
"I've got my bro, Manten, but he's got a job next state over – we visit every once in a while," Hiten shrugged.
"What about your parents?" she asked curiously, before her eyes widened. "Oh, I'm sorry – I didn't mean to pry."
"Not a problem," he assured her. "My parents died when we were kids – don't apologize, geez! I met Sesshomaru and Inuyasha a while ago," he continued. "Man, Inuyasha almost killed us – it's complicated. But, obviously, we're not dead, so I was more than happy to help 'em out."
"I really appreciate everything," she began, but he waved his hand.
"Hey, we're neighbors," he grinned at her, and moved to help with the groceries when she stopped him.
"I said no! I want something to do!" she informed pointedly, and he quickly backed away from the bags. "Sorry – I'm bored, so even doing groceries is interesting at this point," she apologized. "Kagome and Inuyasha stop by when they can, but they have their own things to get done, after all. Where do you work, anyway?"
"Me? An electrical company," the demon said. "It's interesting enough, I guess. Long hours and all that."
"Want to stay for dinner?" Leslie asked suddenly, straightening as she finished putting the food away in the refrigerator. "I don't mind, honest – it'd be nice to have some company. Well, company that can talk," she amended, as Mozart curled around her ankles and meowed in protest.
"Cute cat," Hiten commented with a laugh. "Sure, I'm not much of a cook."
"Neither am I, to be honest," she replied with an apologetic grin. "But I've been getting better these past few months. What should I make?" she mused, talking to herself as she turned to her cabinets for answers. "Speak to me, oh food!" she commanded, outstretching her arms in supplication.
"You look ridiculous," he snorted, and she laughed as well.
"Hey, don't knock it," she ordered mockingly, and grinned as she retrieved something from the cabinet. "See? It works!" she informed him primly, her grin belying her serious tone. "I'll make us some egg noodles and cottage cheese – it's better than it sounds, honest."
"Nah, sounds fine to me already," he agreed, taking a seat on a bar stool. "Want any help?"
"I enjoyed having someone visit," Leslie said again, following him to the door several hours later. "Stop by more, if you can."
"Sure thing," Hiten agreed, having more than enjoyed the visit himself. "Thanks again for dinner. Give me a call if you need anything whenever, all right? I'm a lot closer than Inuyasha and Kagome, after all."
"Thanks," she nodded, waiting until he had passed into his yard before shutting the door. The visit from the cheerful demon had lifted her spirit considerably, and she turned to the stack of papers on the table with a smile on her face, eager to start anew. Deciding to ignore the dishes for the moment, she lowered herself into the chair and played with the pen for a moment before commencing to writing, her hair falling over her shoulder onto the table beside her arm.
Well? I hope this satisfies everyone, right? Please review!