Bedtime Story

By: mshutts

WARNING: side mentions/implications of incest

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any other characters here-in, except Toushi

A/N: This is a side-story to 'The Prophecy'. The child mentioned in here, Toushi, is an original character who is Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru's son. Just in case you are interested, (since it doesn't really matter enough for me to include it in this story) he looks just like a mini-Sesshoumaru and is a little smaller than Shippo in the series while Shippo is a little larger than he is in the series at this point in time. Did that make sense? Think about 6 years down the road. (Yes, that does make Rin more of a pre-teen/teen than a little girl.)

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To say he was in a bad mood would be an understatement. His damn advisors were once again trying to force him into doing something he didn't want to do. It was unacceptable. Who did they think they were? There was no way he, the Great Lord Sesshoumaru, would allow them to dictate his actions.

Contemplating how wonderful it would be if he could just kill those bastards who dared to call themselves advisors, Sesshoumaru stormed down the hall. Well, not so much stormed as stalked because Sesshoumaru didn't storm, but all the servants were making sure that they did not come even close to getting in his way anyway. Not that there were that many of them out and about at this hour in any event.

Sesshoumaru was on a mission. Whenever his duties as the youkai lord of the west got to be too frustrating for him, or he just felt like slaughtering the lot of his advisors and starting over, there was only one thing to do. Only one person to turn to. Now, all he had to do was figure out where that damnable mate of his was.

He had first checked in their sleeping room. After all, it WAS nighttime. But no, his mate couldn't possibly act even remotely like a normal person. Never mind that Sesshoumaru himself was wandering around aimlessly at this hour. His mate should have been in bed. It was only proper.

He had fully planned on finding his mate asleep on their futon. Then, he had intended to wake said mate and have rough sex with him until he was too tired to move anymore or his anger sated itself, whichever came first. He was sure Inuyasha would understand. After all, recently, it was how the older youkai often settled his need to kill those around him.

But that plan was screwed all to hell before it even started because his damn mate was NOT cooperating. Where the hell was that hanyou, anyway? When Sesshoumaru got his hands on him, he wasn't going to be able to sit down for a week. Inuyasha was supposed to be in bed, damn it!

Not acknowledging that he was all but throwing a temper tantrum because his mate, who was quite capable of taking care of himself, was not where he thought he would be, Sesshoumaru continued on to the only other place he could think of where his little brother might be at this time. Their pups' rooms.

Sesshoumaru supposed that Inuyasha might have been restless and gone down to check on the pups despite the fact that they HAD nursemaids. Then again, his younger brother had never been comfortable with or trusted the nursemaids. Still, that was no reason for him to be down there instead of in bed where Sesshoumaru needed him to be.

Mindful that his pups might be sleeping and if he were to wake them, his mate would insist upon staying with them until they were back asleep, Sesshoumaru forced himself to slow down on approaching their rooms.

Remaining as silent as possible, he thought he heard the soothing sounds of his mate coming from one of the rooms. 'Found you,' he thought. However, even though he had heard the sounds of his baby brother, he had not been prepared for what he found upon silently sliding open the door panel.

Sitting up against one of the walls bathed in moonlight was not only his mate, but all three of his pups. Toushi and Shippo were reclining in his lap, leaning their heads into his mate's chest, while Rin was under his arm, head on his shoulder. They were all listening intently to Inuyasha quietly relate some story or other to them.

Sesshoumaru could not tell what the story was about, indeed all thought and ranting had crawled to a halt upon seeing this sight. With the moonlight shining in their eyes and causing their hair to softly glow, the four of them painted a very ethereal picture. The slight gradations of silver in the moonlight made their figures all appear to blend together. All three of their pups' gazes were intent upon their dad's face and following the nuances of whatever story was being spun for their entertainment.

It was a sight Sesshoumaru had never thought he would see when he was younger. In all the time he had had to come up with expectations for what it would be like when he had his mate and pups, it was moments like this that still continued to shock him. He had never expected to feel this peace that came from his little family. He had never expected this sense of awe they continually filled him with. He had never expected this easy affection. He had never, in his wildest dreams, even HOPED to find this love.

For it was love that he could feel beating deep in his heart as he took in the dim shadows of his family. It was love he felt when he raised his eyes to his mate's face only to see moon-glinted gold eyes looking softly right back at him. It was love he felt when he realized that, although Inuyasha continued to tell the pups the story they were so enthralled with, he was offering out the hand that was not holding Rin to him in invitation to join them.

But it was fear that made him hesitate. It was insecurity, no matter how vehemently denied, that made him remain in place in the doorway. He felt like a trespasser. Out of place around his own family. He did not have that gentleness, that love, that they all seemed to have so effortlessly. He, with his lack of emotions, could not intrude upon this scene. He would be out of place, ruining the serene tableau.

However, even as he was preparing to turn, to regretfully leave this oasis of serenity, he took one last look at the calm, beckoning eyes of his mate. And he felt his heart melt. Perhaps it wouldn't matter if he gave in just this once. After all, it was late at night. Most of the servants were in bed. No one would know.

Unable to fight the temptation, he silently stepped inside the room, sliding the panel closed behind him. All but tiptoeing over to where his mate and pups were, he lowered himself to a seated position on the side of his mate opposite Rin, waiting and contemplating what he should do next. All his training had never thought to cover such an eventuality.

Despite being ill at ease, there was no motion made to fight it when, Inuyasha, not even turning from the pups or pausing the story, raised a hand and placed it on his cheek. He allowed his head to be guided down to rest on his mate's other shoulder and closed his eyes, taking in the scents. All that was important to him was right here, within his reach.

As he felt his mate's hand lower back to where it had been supporting the younger pups, Sesshoumaru placed his one arm around the back of his mate, moving closer to the rest of them. Once again he found himself wishing he still had both of his arms. He wished he could hold his entire family in his arms, but it was not to be. The most he could hope for was this partial hug.

But, even with this loss, he saw the sleepy smiles his pups were giving him and felt tranquility. Under the lulling sounds of his mate's voice and his pups breathing, he found all the concerns and anger that had been festering earlier drift away. He was with his family. He was home. He was at peace.

Closing his eyes, he breathed in their scents, felt their heat, and listened to them. It was the sweetest lullaby he had ever known. Drifting off to sleep, he wondered at how he had thought he had no need for this in disbelief. For all his years and training he had still been such a child. He had still not learned the most important lessons in life.

His mate had made an off-hand comment once that he was not at fault for not knowing of these things. His little brother had instead laid the fault at the feet of his tutors when he had been a young pup. Apparently, his young mate was of the impression that any and all emotion had been beat out of him by said tutors at such a young age that he had not emotionally matured to much beyond a toddler.

According to Inuyasha, he had been taught to ignore such things and that is why he now had no knowledge of them. It was times like now that he wondered if his baby brother might actually have a point. However, he was also well aware that with his mate so stringently on the lookout for it, he had no need to worry for any of his own pups traveling down that particular path. It was a comforting thought.

His final thoughts before slumber were wondering if his family would be willing to teach these most essential lessons to him in turn. He still felt much as a child in the face of these emotions in those surrounding him and there was still so much he needed to learn.

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This is just a picture that came to me of Inuyasha and the pups sitting in the moonlight while he was telling them a story. I had to write it into a story because, as I have said before, I'm not all that great with drawing, but the image was just too beautiful to not share. Please let me know if you like it.

A/N 2: I know, I know. You all want to know what's going on with 'The Prophecy'. In actuality, I have most of the next chapter partially written out, but it's not ready to go up just yet. I know I have been missing in action for quite some time. That's mostly due to my baby boy being born and my family moving to Canada at the end of this year for my husband's new job. I'll see about getting the new chapter up sometime soon, but I make no promises. (It is very difficult to type with a newborn insisting upon lying on your lap and nursing.)