"Little Runt"

Warning: Spanking.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just wrote this story for fun.

"Shippo, where are you!?"

Grr, where the hell is he?!

They had been searching the woods beyond Kaede's hut for nearly two hours now with no sign of the young kitsune anywhere.

"Shippo! Get your butt out here, right now!"

Grrr, when I get my hands on that little brat I'm gonna tan his sorry hide...

Inuyasha froze in mid leap.

Had he just really thought what he thought he just thought?

Why was he so worried about the little runt?

Kagome was the one bawling her eyes out right now, not him...

The sight of the girl's pinched, anxious face when frantic calls for the young fox demon went unanswered had forced him into action, unable to bear seeing that look upon his...uh...her face.

Yeah, that's it. I'm lookin' for the runt for Kagome's sake, nothing else.

However, he still couldn't escape the tiny little image of the young kitsune lying beaten and bloody somewhere.

Grrr. That was almost as bad as seeing Kagome like that!

What was with him?

He continued the search, using his superior half-demon hearing, eye sight, and especially sense of smell in his attempt to locate the kid.

"Shippo, you answer me this minute!"

Again, the dog-eared hanyou froze.

That had almost sounded...paternal...

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," he growled at himself, shaking his long silver mane of hair in disgust.

He didn't think of Shippo pup...uh, son!

"Oh, who you kiddin'," he berated himself, "you might as well face facts. The brat's your kid now whether you want him or not...same as Kagome's your woman."

Course, he'd never call her that to her face.

Not unless he wanted to be 'sat' a couple hundred times, that is.

"Shippo," he called out again, "I mean it now! You hear me. Come out, damn you!"

He glanced toward the west, seeing the sun as it began to set behind the mountains.

Grrr. It would be dark soon.

The hanyou's worry increased and he continued his search.

Suddenly, a small distinct sound reached his sharp ears.

Spinning around, he reached up and snagged something furry in one of the higher branches and yanked it down.

"Shippo!" Inuyasha growled, holding the young kitsune by his tail. "Have you been hiding here this entire time?!"

The young kitsune crossed his arms and pouted.

"Humph, took ya long enough," he grumbled, sourly.

Inuyasha felt his temper rise. "What do you mean?" he asked, ominously.

"You and Kagome spent all day ignoring me," the boy replied, sullenly, "so I thought I'd teach you a lesson."

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes.

"You went missing on purpose!" he exclaimed, his blood boiling. "You worried m...uh...Kagome on purpose!"

Oh, the little runt was so gonna get it now!

"Let me get this straight," Inuyasha growled, "you deliberately went and hid all day and made us look for you just because you wanted some attention!?"

"You and Kagome spent all day with each other," Shippo pouted, "and Miroku and Sango are gone to exterminate that demon nearby so they took Kilala with them and Granny Kaede was too busy to play with me and—hey!"

Inuyasha had heard enough. He leapt down from the tree and sat down, propping one knee up.

"You want attention, Shippo," he growled, "I'll give you some attention!"

He placed the squirming fox-boy across his raised knee, lifting his bushy tail out of the way.

"Hey!" Shippo protested. "What are you doin', Inuyasha!?"

"What you did was childish and stupid, Shippo," the dog-eared half demon growled.

"You all wouldn't pay attention to me!" the little fox demon protested, still trying to squirm his way free.

"That still doesn't give you the right to hide on purpose and worry everybody, especially Kagome," Inuyasha told him, sternly.

"Let go!" Shippo squirmed. "I'll tell on you!"

"Oh no," Inuyasha told him, firmly, "you're not gettin' out of this, runt. You're gonna get a spankin' for scarin' us half to death!"

He raised his free hand back, preparing to bring it down on the kitsune's bottom.

Shippo froze, his eyes wide. Inuyasha was going to do what!?

"Y-You can't!" he wailed. "I-I won't let you!" He struggled even harder to get out of the other's grasp.

Inuyasha snorted. "You ain't got a choice," he told the boy, firmly, "now hold still or you'll get it even worse!"

He brought his hand down, sharply. SMACK!

Shippo yelped at the stinging smack hit his bottom.

"Inuyasha!" he wailed. "Stop! Y-You're not my papa!"

"Humph," Inuyasha grunted, bringing his hand down again. "Maybe I ain't, but I'm the closest thing to one you got!"

He began to bring his hand down repeated, intent on driving this lesson home thoroughly.

Shippo wailed and thrashed, as his poor bottom was assaulted by the much larger hanyou.

Inside, he seethed. Inuyasha had no right to do this to him! It wasn't fair!

You did make him and Kagome worry about you, a tiny voice inside him reminded him.

Oh, it wasn't fair! No one would pay any attention to him today, and that's all he wanted!

Well, he was getting plenty of attention now...or at least, his poor bottom was.

"Inuyasha, stop!" he wailed, tears leaping from his eyes. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

"Yeah, you're sorry now, brat," the hanyou growled at him, continuing to spank him, "but you weren't too sorry earlier when you were playing hide and seek!"

"I said I'm sorry," Shippo wailed. "What more do you want!?"

His bottom was really smarting now and he didn't know how much more he could take.

"Sometimes, Shippo, 'sorry' just isn't good enough," Inuyasha told him, still spanking. "Believe me, I know."

"You made Kagome cry, you know that. She's crying because she scared something really bad happened to you."

The young kitsune sniffed, crying even more now.

The other's words were getting to him almost as much as the spanking was.

He loved Kagome, she was like a mother to him now. He didn't want to make her cry.

He had just wanted a little bit of attention; that was all.

"I promise I won't do this again," he wailed, "just please stop! I'll say I'm sorry to Kagome and everybody, I promise!"

"I know you will," Inuyasha said, bringing his hand down five more times.

After those last five smacks, he lifted the kit off his knee and stood him up between his knees in front of him.

"I know you and me have our moments, Shippo," the dog eared hanyou told him, firmly, "but that don't mean I don't care about you just as much as Kagome does—I was just as worried, maybe even more."

"W-Why?" Shippo, surprised that Inuyasha would admit to being—no, that he even was—worried about him.

"Cuz, Runt," Inuyasha told him, "it's my job to protect our family—and when you went missin' and I thought somethin' had happened to you I thought I'd failed to do my job and I don't like that feelin'. Not one little bit."

Shippo wiped his eyes, which widened in astonishment. "Our family?" he asked, awed.

"Yep," Inuyasha told him, smirking. "Kaede, that old hag, is obviously the grandmother. Miroku, that idiot monk, is I guess kinda like a brother to me—certainly a better one than Sesshomaru—so that makes him kinda like your uncle. Sango and Kagome are like sisters, so I guess she'd be the aunt."

"And Kagome is the mama," Shippo stated, smiling despite his aching bottom, "and you're the papa!"

Inuyasha sighed, accepting his fate.

"Yeah, I guess so," he said, "and you're the little runt."

"Hey!" Shippo replied indignantly. "I can't help I'm little. I'm still a kid, you know."

"I know," Inuyasha told him, standing up, "and that's why it's my job to make sure you don't make too many mistakes. I make enough for the both of us, remember?"

He picked the little kitsune up and cradled him in his arms. "C'mon," he said, "let's get back. You owe Kagome and the others an apology."

Shippo nodded. He really hadn't meant to make everybody worry so much.

"I'm sure Kaede's got the grub ready, too," Inuyasha continued, "but after you eat you're going to bed."

Shippo frowned. "But it's not late yet!" he protested, pouting. "Kagome won't make me go to bed this early!"

"No, but I am," Inuyasha told him, firmly.

"You're mean!" the kitsune frowned. "Why?!"

"Because," Inuyasha told him, holding him up in front of his face by his tail, "little brats that play hide-in-seek and worry everybody get their tails tanned and then get sent to bed early!"

"That's not fair," Shippo crossed his arms and pouted.

Inuyasha shrugged. "Neither is life," he told him, flatly. "Deal with it."

"I'll tell Kagome and she'll 'sit' you," the fox kit threatened, scowling.

"You go right ahead," Inuyasha told him, smirking, "and when she let's me up I'm gonna take you out back to the wood pile and give your little rump another taste of my hand."

Shippo's eyes widened and he reached to grab his still smarting backside.

"No, Inuyasha," he wailed, "I won't ask her to 'sit' you! I promise, please don't spank me again!"

Inuyasha chuckled.

"Don't worry, runt," he told him, once more cradling him in the crook of his arm, "your butt's safe for tonight—but I'd watch my step after this cuz I won't be just bopping you on the head when you do somethin' anymore..."

"You won't?" Shippo asked, amazed.

It seemed he ended up with more knots on his head from Inuyasha's fists than anything else.

"Nope," Inuyasha told him, smirking. "I'll just whack you on the behind, instead."

"I think I'd prefer the whacks to the head," the kitsune mumbled, sourly.

"Sorry, kid," the silver-haired dog demon told him, ruffling his hair, "but that's the way it's gonna be from now on."

"How come?" the little fox demon asked him, curiously.

Why had Inuyasha changed all of a sudden? Maybe he'd been possessed?!

He shook his head at the notion.

Nah, no demon would be crazy or stupid enough to try that with Inuyasha.

"Didn't we just talk about how I'm sorta like your papa now," the hanyou asked, rolling his eyes.

"Wouldn't be a very good one if I just beat you senseless all the time, now would I?"

Shippo grinned at that, and then giggled. "Guess not," he said, and then sighed. "Do I really gotta go to bed early?"

Inuyasha smirked. He'd give the kid credit for trying, but he still wasn't buying it.

"Yep," he told him, firmly.

"Humph," Shippo pouted, pushing his lower lip out.

"Pout all you want to," Inuyasha told him, "but it won't do you any good."

Shippo sighed, resigned to his fate. "All right," he said, "but I still don't like it."

Inuyasha nodded, understanding.

"I didn't like it either," he told him, ruffling his hair, "but that didn't stop my mom from tannin' my hide and sendin' me to bed early, either."

Shippo smirked, mischievously. "Guess that happened a lot, huh?" he asked, teasing.

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes at him. "Watch it, runt," he growled, threateningly. "You want another round with my hand already?"

Shippo shook his head, fiercely. "No, no, I take it back!" he wailed, grabbing his bottom.

Inuyasha smirked. "You're too easy," he told him, laughing.

Shippo scowled. "That wasn't very funny," he grumbled.

"Was to me," the silver haired hanyou told him, still chuckling.

They came in sight of Kaede's hut and Kagome, who had been waiting impatiently for Inuyasha's return, came running to them.

"Shippo!" she cried, tears falling down her face anew. "Are you all right? I've been so worried."

She scooped the little kitsune out of Inuyasha grasp and hugged him to her.

Shippo hugged her back. "I'm sorry I scared you, Kagome," he apologized, "and I promise I won't ever do it again."

"Do what?" she asked him, puzzled.

Shippo bit his lip and looked helplessly at Inuyasha.

"Go on, Shippo," the hanyou told him, firmly, "finish telling Kagome what you did."

"I-I hid on purpose, Kagome," the little kitsune admitted, shame-faced.

"I was mad 'cuz no body had time to play with me today and I wanted some attention..."

"So, you went and hid to make us worry!?" Kagome exclaimed, holding him out away from her.

It was clear she was very upset...and more than a little mad.

"Shippo! How could you!?" she exclaimed, angrily. "I-I have a good mind to spank you!"

"No!" Shippo wailed, grabbing his bottom "Please, Kagome, not again!"

Kagome looked puzzled. "Again?" she asked, confused.

The little fox kit nodded, whimpering.

"Inuyasha already spanked me for worrying everybody," he told her, mournfully, "so please, don't give me another one."

"Y-You did?" the girl asked, glancing the hanyou in amazement.

Inuyasha grunted. "Course I did," he told her. "The little runt deserved it after he scared all of us like that."

"I gotta go to bed right after supper, too," Shippo informed her, sullenly.

Again, Kagome blinked at the silver haired half-demon.

He nodded. "It's what my mom used to do to me when I was bad," he said, shrugging. "It seemed like the thing to do."

"I really am sorry," Shippo said, looking very sincere.

Kagome took pity on him. "Oh, Shippo," she said, hugging him again. "I forgive you."

"Oh, sure," Inuyasha muttered, "you get to be the nice one. Humph!"

"She's the mama," Shippo told him, grinning, "she's supposed to be nice."

"And what about me?" he asked, indignant. "What's the 'old man' supposed to be?"

"Mean and surly," the little kit answered, smirking.

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes. "You want to go to bed without supper?" he asked, ominously.

Shippo's eyes widened and he shook his head fiercely.

"Then, can it," the half demon growled, "and get your little butt inside and help the old hag."

Shippo nodded and quickly squirmed his way out of Kagome's grasp.

He scampered inside to help Kaede with supper.

"Shippo," Kagome stopped him, smiling. He looked back at her, curiously.

"Tomorrow," she promised, "we'll do something together, all right?"

He smiled brightly at that.

"You can do somethin' in the afternoon," Inuyasha told her.

Shippo pouted and Kagome glared at him.

"Why just the afternoon?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.

She looked like she was getting ready to 'sit' him.

"Cuz," he said, smirking, "me and the runt are going hunting in the morning."

"We are?!" Shippo exclaimed, his eyes bright.

Inuyasha nodded. "Sure," he told him, "'bout time you learned, I reckon."

The little fox kit looked as if he were about to fly away from happiness.

"I can't wait to tell Kaede and the others!" he exclaimed, rushing inside to share the news.

Inuyasha felt a hand on his chest and looked down to find Kagome standing there, tears shining in her eyes.

"What?" he asked, puzzled. Why was she starin' at him like that?

"Oh, nothing," she said, smiling. She continued to stare.

"Would you stop that already?" he asked, scowling. "It's startin' to creep me out."

Kagome's smiled brightened.

He always did hide behind his 'tough guy' attitude when he was caught being nice.

"Shippo see's you as his father figure, you know," she told him, gently.

He nodded. "I know," he said, "and you're his mama." He smirked.

"I know," she said, quietly. "It's a big responsibility. Do you think we can handle it."

"You can," Inuyasha told her, confidently. "Not so sure about me, though."

She smiled. "I am," she said, simply.

They continued to stare into each other's eyes, small smiles on their faces.

"Hey!" Shippo called out from the door of the hut. "Stop makin' goofy faces at each other and come eat already!"

Kagome and Inuyasha stared at him and then laughed.

Inuyasha shook his head, as she grabbed his hand and led the way back toward the hut.

Little runt!

The End.