Long may Rumiko Takahashi's pen be sharp! I do not own Inuyasha.

This is something I wrote for the iy_blind September 2008 challenge. The theme was "silk."

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It built low, like the depression in the air before thunder, or the loom of a white wave about to crash. But build it did, rising and quaking and rumbling until it shook the very splinters of the house. It was a moan of pain, of anger, of about two hundred decibels.

"HWOO-OO-oo-OO-oo-OO-oo-OO-oo-OO-oo-OO-oo..."

Shippo rapped one clawed fist hard against the bathroom door, "Hey, some of us need to get in there too, you know!"

His answer was a muffled half-curse that could have been "shut up" or "turnip soup." Shippo felt safe assuming that the dog demon wasn't up for talking about food for once.

"This is your own fault, you know," he said, leaning his whole lanky self against the doorjamb. "Just because they call it 'Silk' doesn't mean you should eat a whole case of the stuff. And now your ass is stuck to that toilet seat just like that time I bought my first tube of superglue."

Something whacked the inside of the door hard enough to crack the fibers.

Shippo snickered out loud. Oho, but he hadn't had a good game of You Can't Get Me since he'd still been small enough to walk on twig branches without cracking them. Being a big tough eighth-level kitsune warrior had its advantages, but a guy could miss his squirrelly days. He ducked lightly away from the bathroom door and scooped up one of the empty plastic cups.

"'Cherry bonanza'?" he read out loud. "Funny, I'd have picked you for a banana man."

Another growl came out at him. Shippo laughed out loud.

"Remember when we all thought that drinking milk was gross?" he said conversationally into the closed door. "Now they mix a couple strawberries and—" his eyes narrowed into the label "—some fructose-intensified flavor syrup and suddenly you have to have five cups a week or your puny human pancreas falls out. I tell you, sometimes I think everything after 1989 was a mistake." He drummed his claws playfully against the door.

A low, unearthly voice crept through the doorframe like toxic waste seeping into the water supply. "I feel like everything I ever ate is trying to escape through my—" The words fell away before the evil sound of a boa constrictor being turned inside out.

"At least it beats the sixties." Shippo answered. "Remember Tang?" He shuddered.

"I swear, Shippo, if you don't shut your yaphole and get me some of that pink stuff..."

"I mean... the cars were nice," Shippo rattled on. "Built 'em out of steel in those days. Of course it was the Cold War, so everything had to be made like a torpedo—" he held his hands out in front of him in his best she'll-slap-me-twice-but-it's-worth-it combo pose "—and I do mean everything. It felt like a great joke of the universe that Miroku died four hundred years before Maidenform. Don't you agree?"

"Pink stuff, Shippo! Now!"

"Oh the meditations that man would have done trying to get Victoria to tell him her secret. It's a shame." Shippo turned his head from one side to the other. "You know..." he said, "I'd have asked you about this sooner, but I'm not the one who had the power to immobilize you with a word. I guess I just had to wait for you to decide that making your rectum explode with probiotic yogurt would be a good idea."

"Shippo, I am going to shove my foot so far up your—"

"What are you waiting for?"

"I don't know what you mean—" The bathroom's occupant made another guttural sound of pain. "—and it probably wouldn't be your goddamn business if I did."

"I mean she's been gone for almost four hundred years," Shippo said soberly. "And you know how much she meant to me; I miss her too, but Isn't it time you put yourself back out there?"

"Shippo," the voice growled out at him. "I've told you before, I just don't want to. 'Sides, it's not like I see you mooning over Ms. Right like the crow in that damned mouse movie that you love so much."

"Eh, music was good but the book was better."

"So why do you tape it every goddamned time it comes on?"

"I'm not the one on trial here," Shippo snapped back, ruffling his tail. "And what makes you think I don't have my share of lady friends? It isn't as if I can bring them back here with you moping about."

"I don't mo—GEEEEAAAAAGHHH!"

The fox demon took a step back.

"Look," Inuyasha growled back, "right after we defeated Naraku, when she was gone for all those years, I dealt with it. I missed her, I loved her, but I had you and the others and I had a job to do. It's the same now. She's gone and she's not coming back through that well no matter what, but I've got friends—"

"Kouga doesn't count. He still hates your lame ass."

"—Shut up. I've got friends and I've got a job to do, Shippo. I'm not waiting for anything. I'm living my life and a new wife's not in it. Maybe once we get through all the time she told me about I'll feel differently, but right now I don't."

"Fair enough," the fox demon answered back, "but it's not like you've got all the time in the world."

"And what do you mean by that?"

"I mean that by virtue of not being a kitsune, not only did you miss out on the redheaded good looks but your human body has, shall we say, matured over the years."

"You saying I'm old, runt?" There came a strong, fierce growl. "Open up this door and you'll see I can still kick your puffed-up tail!"

"With that going on in there? Hell no. What I'm saying is it's nineteen-ninety-fucking-two and they aren't exactly stocking parts for your model any—" Shippo's shoulders dropped. He felt light. Too light. "She's alive by now, isn't she?" he demanded. "She's some little kid somewhere, but she's alive."

The voice behind the door game a noncommittal grunt.

"Inuyasha," Shippo said, "Inuyasha you know you can't go and get her. If she doesn't go down that well— Hell, you were almost as sucky at raising me as you are as a roommate, but I like not being a slab of flab on Manten's fat ass!"

"Not going to go get her. Not the idea."

"Then what is the idea?" Shippo's mind was racing. "Once she goes down that well for the last time, she can be reincarnated, is that it?"

Something sounded rough and bitter on the other side of the door. It might have been a laugh. "Oh, runt... If some reincarnation could do me... Oh no, kid. Not even close."

"Then why? Why hold out this long?"

"I told you, kiddo, I ain't holding out. I ain't waiting for my dead wife to come back. This is what life is and it isn't so b..." Inuyasha's voice choked off.

Shippo pressed one ear against the door. "You all right, man? Look, I'm sorry, I brought it u—"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!"

The fox demon clapped both hands over his ears, driving his nose as hard as he could into one elbow. "It's like a friggin' hurricane!!" he shrieked. "If you think you're skipping out on cleaning duty this week, you've got another think coming and you'd better the hell flush!"

"Just get me the pink stuff, Shippo."

"Pink stuff! Right!" the fox demon turned and fled.

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drf24 columbia . edu