Disclaimer: Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

A/N: Takes place around manga ch. 519. Spoilers for ch. 518.

Father Figures


In the way of father figures, Shippo didn't have much to work with. After his own father's death, the only male role models he had in his life were Inuyasha—a hopeless idiot—and Miroku—an unabashed lecher.

But it was either one or the other that Shippo had to go to for advice, and since Inuyasha was currently off in Kagome's time, Shippo sought out Miroku at the edge of a stream in Kaede's village.

"Miroku," Shippo said tentatively, "I need your advice."

"Advice on what matter, Shippo?" Miroku said lazily as he lay on his back, staring up at the clouds.

"It's about—girls!" Shippo blurted out.

"Ah!" Miroku sat up immediately. "Then you have made a wise choice in coming to me, my young friend, for there is nothing about women I do not know." Somehow, Shippo doubted that, but he held back whatever sarcastic comment had come to mind. "Let me impart my enormous wisdom to you. Now, tell me, how many women are you trying to woo?"

"Er," Shippo said. "One."

"Just one?" Miroku marveled at such a concept. "Well, you have to start somewhere, I guess, and work your way up. And who is the lucky lady?" he asked, though he had his suspicions.

"It's Rin," and even as Shippo said her name, a blush rose to his cheeks. "We've been spending a lot of time together since Sesshomaru left her and Kohaku and Jaken here to pursue Magatsuhi..."

Miroku smiled. It was as he had thought. It seemed the natural choice; after all, Shippo and Rin were about the same age.

"Shippo, if you want to make Rin yours, then there is only one course of action. Are you prepared to do whatever I tell you do to, no matter what?"

In the back of his mind, Shippo knew that this was a crazy idea, but he was desperate in the throes of innocent, young love. "I am!" he cried.

"Excellent," Miroku said, rubbing his hands together. "Now here's what you do..."

The next day, Shippo and Rin were playing together by the same stream, with Miroku hiding behind a bush to supervise that his plan went well.

First, he watched as Shippo handed Rin a bouquet of flowers, just as he had told him to.

"I picked these for you," Shippo said, staring at his feet in embarrassment.

"Oh, thank you, Shippo!" Rin took the flowers and smiled at him.

Shippo turned bright red and gulped, poking at the grass with his toes idly.

Don't give up now! Miroku urged silently. Go on!

"Er, Rin," Shippo said.

Rin wasn't paying much attention to him. She was sitting with the flowers on her lap, staring up at the clouds and wishing Sesshomaru would return.

"We're friends, right?" Shippo said.

"Of course," Rin agreed, and she wondered to herself if Kohaku was okay now, lying unconscious in Kaede's hut.

"Well, I was wondering… that is, I mean, if you wouldn't mind..." Shippo began mumbling.

Miroku cursed to himself. No! Don't back down now! You're so close! And Miroku was so intent on the two children that he didn't notice what was going on in the background...

Shippo seemed to receive the message mentally, and suddenly he perked up with new courage. "Rin," he said, and then he just blurted out, "whenwegrowupwillyoubearmychildren?"

Rin looked confused. "What?"

"I mean..." Shippo gulped, closed his eyes tight, and said slowly, "When we grow up, will you bear my children?"

"Oh," Rin said, giggling, though kindly. This was very funny to her indeed, but that was why she liked being around Shippo. He made her laugh. "And when would this be?"

Miroku hadn't prepared Shippo for such a contingency. He opened his eyes and twiddled his thumbs. "Um, I dunno... how about in ten years?"

Rin laughed again, picking at the flowers in her hands. "All right," she said with the casualty only a child can produce, as though Shippo had just asked her if she wanted to play a game. In the back of her mind she was wondering how much trouble Jaken was giving Lady Kaede at the moment, so she didn't notice the look of hopeful excitement on Shippo's face

Yes! Miroku thought. She's yours! Now go in for the kill!

Now came the hardest part of Miroku's instruction, but Shippo knew he had to do it, or else he was not a man. With shaking limbs, he grabbed Rin's hand to her surprise and leaned in for a kiss...

And that's when Miroku noticed Sesshomaru's tall, imposing, and completely intimidating figure standing not two meters from the children, looking twice as large as usual, whether from the new addition of his left arm or the mere doubling effect anger had on him.

Shippo froze in terror, lips hanging midair in a pucker as Sesshomaru stung him with a powerful glare, and Rin cried out happily, "Lord Sesshomaru!"

Miroku knew it was time for damage control. He stepped out calmly from behind the bush, but this neither surprised nor softened Sesshomaru's frightening gaze.

There they stood, Sesshomaru behind Rin, Miroku behind Shippo. The monk thought it best to change strategies at this current juncture. "I have some new advice for you, Shippo,"

"What's that?" Shippo squeaked, letting go of Rin's hand.

"One word," Miroku said. "RUN!"

And as Sesshomaru fixed his deadly glare from one to the other, they both took off running and yelling with their arms flailing over their heads.

"I thought you knew everything about dealing with women!" Shippo accused Miroku.

"I do," Miroku cried, running faster, "it's the men who protect them that scare me!"