Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just wrote this story for fun.
"Dance of Blades!"
Inuyasha leapt to avoid the Wind Sorceress's blue blades of air.
"You're gonna have to do better than that, witch," he growled at Naraku's incarnation.
"I'm just getting started," Kagura replied, lifting her fan to strike again.
"Inuyasha!" Shippo cried. "Look out!"
He started to dash forward, to help his friend/surrogate father.
"Stay out of the way," Inuyasha growled at him. "You'll only get hurt!"
Grr. This is the last time I let Kagome talk me into something like this…
There had been a lull in the search for the jewel shards, so the had decided to return home for a few days.
Of course, both the kitsune and hanyou had been distressed by this so she suggested they go do something together while she was away.
"Like what?" Inuyasha had snorted, rolling his eyes.
"I don't know," Kagome had said, while she packed her bag, "why not go on an extended hunting trip or something."
Shippo's eyes had practically gleamed at this suggestion.
"Can we, Inuyasha?" he practically begged, hopping up and down on the lying hanou's chest. "Please?!"
Inuyasha had sighed. "Fine, you little wretch," he'd growled.
"We'll go on a hunting trip into the mountains. There's some pretty good game up there this time of year, anyway."
"Like what?" Both Kagome and Shippo asked with the former weary and the latter excited.
"Bear, cougar, lynx," the silver haired half-demon had stated, unimpressed. "Nothing we can't handle."
"Are you sure?" Kagome had asked. "Do you really think Shippo is ready to tackle such large animals yet?"
"Ah, Kagome," Shippo had whined, "I'm not a baby! I can handle 'em just fine."
Inuyasha had snorted, while the smiled down at the little fox.
"I'm sure you can," she'd told him, "I just worry."
"Course you do," the half demon growled. "That's what mothers do, right?"
"Uh, right," Kagome had said, somewhat bewildered by the thought.
She was still getting used to the idea of being a mother figure to the little kitsune.
"So, what does a papa do?" Shippo had asked, curious.
"Pull his little wretch's bacon out of the fire," Inuyasha had told him, smirking, "and then burn it himself with his hand."
"Humph," Shippo had pouted. "I think I prefer what mother's do."
"Well, 'mama' ain't coming with us," he'd told the kit, "so if you don't really want to go…"
"No, no," Shippo had said, aghast, "I do want to go. I really, really do."
Inuyasha ruffled his hair. "You really are too easy," he'd said, chuckling.
"Humph," Shippo had crossed his arms and pouted.
"Well, that's everything," Kagome had announced and hoisted her backpack onto her back.
"Have fun, you two, and bring back lots of meat for Kaede."
"We will," Shippo had promised as she started out of the hut, "right, Papa Inuyahsa?"
Inuyasha had rolled his eyes at that. He was still getting used to being 'papa'.
"Yeah, wretch," he'd said, "we will. Don't stay gone forever, you hear."
Kagome had turned her head and smiled at him.
"I won't," she promised. "Have fun! Bye!" And then she was gone.
Shippo had sighed. "I'm going to miss her," he'd said, gloomily.
Inuyasha had reached out and pulled him closer.
"Don't worry," he promised, "I'll keep you so busy you won't have time to miss her."
Course, I hadn't counted on meeting Kagura up here…
And he hadn't, but no sooner had they reached the hill country the demoness attacked.
"Dance of the Dragon!"
The Wind Sorceress hurled more wind at him.
Leaping up, he drew his sword and cried out, "Wind Scar!"
He then sent a concussive blast back at the wind-witch.
Kagura easily avoided it, and smirked, "Is that the best you can do?"
"Perhaps," a new voice spoke, "I can do better."
Both Inuyasha and Kagura spun to find Sesshomaru, his older half-brother, standing there.
"What are you doing here?" Inuyasha growled.
"Kohaku and I were out hunting when I sensed a battle," Sesshomaru told his brother, his hand on his sword.
"Well, get lost," Inuyasha growled. "I can handle this stupid cow easily."
Kagura's eyes blazed. "You dare to call me that!" she screeched. "Dance of Blades!"
Sesshomaru reacted before his brother, drawing the demon sword he'd had forged, and easily destroyed the incarnation's wind blades.
"I told you to get lost," Inuyasha growled, annoyed.
"Since when have I ever done as you asked, little brother?" Sesshomaru raised an aristocratic eyebrow at him.
Faced with the possibility of fighting both sons of the great dog demon, Kagura decided the time had come to make her exit.
"Another time," she stated, throwing up the feather in her hair that transformed into a flying boat for herself.
"Humph," Inuyasha growled, "cowardly bitch."
He sheathed his sword, shaking his head.
"Yes," Sesshomaru agreed, and then eyed his brother shrewdly. "What brings you so far into the mountains, little brother?"
"Since when did you care where I go or don't go?" Inuyasha growled, annoyed.
He's got alotta nerve…
Sesshomaru frowned. "I don't care one way or the other," he stated, arrogantly.
"Then why the hell did you ask?" Inuyasha snorted, scowling.
"Hey, Uncle Sesshomaru," Shippo greeted his 'uncle' cheerfully, leaping onto the shoulder of his 'papa'. "Is Rin with you?"
Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow at the little kitsune.
"She and Jaken remain down below with Ah-Un," he replied, quietly.
"Oh," Shippo said, disappointed.
He had been hoping he and the young would get a chance to play together again.
Sesshomaru then turned and called out, "Kohaku, you may come out now."
Both Shippo and Inuyasha were a bit surprised when Sango's younger brother stepped from behind some trees and walked to stand beside the full ed dog demon.
"So, Kohaku," Inuyasha said, raising an eyebrow, "you still with him?"
He nodded at his brother.
"Yes," the boy answered. "Why should I not be?"
Oh that's right, Shippo thought, Kohaku still doesn't have his memories back yet.
Though the boy had managed to break free from Naraku's control, he had decided to remain with Sesshomaru after befriending Rin.
It had broken Sango's heart, but there was no way she could stop him and after all he still didn't really remember her, anyway.
Inuyasha had assured her he'd be safe enough with Sesshomaru.
After all, he'd had his chance to kill the boy and hadn't, right?
"So, you two are hunting?" Shippo spoke up, curious.
"Yes," Sesshomaru nodded. "Rin and Kohaku must eat, after all, and the game is better here."
"We're hunting too," the little kitsune said, cheerfully. "Why don't you join us?"
"Shippo," Inuyasha growled, "shut it already!"
"What?" the fox boy asked, wide-eyed. "Why can't they join us?"
"Because," the hanyou growled, and then paused. "Just because…"
"Humph," Shippo snorted, "just because you and Uncle Sesshomaru argue all the time…"
"We 'argue'," Inuyasha reminded him, "because he's a stupid jackass!"
Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. "Indeed," he said. "Better that, I suppose, than a half-blooded mongrel."
"Why you…" Inuyasha growled, ominously.
"If we are to hunt," Kohaku spoke up, before a fight could break out between the brothers, "should we not do so?"
Sesshomaru nodded, but then looked at the setting sun.
"It is too late, however," he stated, his stern. "We will continue early in the morning."
Kohaku nodded. "We shall make camp then?" he asked, reaching for his chained sickle.
The dog demon nodded. "Fetch fire wood," he instructed the boy.
"I'll help," Shippo offered. "We can camp together tonight!"
"Would you shut up, you little wretch," Inuyasha growled. "We are not camping with them!"
"Why not?" the fox boy pouted, crossing his arms.
"Because I said so, Shippo," the hanyou told him, firmly.
"There doesn't seem to be a reason to make two camp sites when one will do," Kohaku stated, simply. "I can fetch enough firewood for all of us."
"The boy has a point," Sesshomaru said, smirking. "Though I am loathe to admit it, I can bare your presence for one night."
Inuyasha glared at him.
"Damn it," he swore, sighing. "Fine, we'll camp with you—but only for tonight!"
"Of course," Sesshomaru nodded, elegantly. "Tomorrow we will go our separate ways."
"Agreed," Inuyasha said, sighing. "Go on, Shippo, help Kohaku fetch fire wood."
The two boys nodded and then dashed off into the woods.
"So," Shippo asked, as he and Sango's brother gathered firewood, "what's it like travelling with Sesshomaru?"
Kohaku threw his chained sickle, cutting branches from trees. He shrugged.
"He doesn't command me to kill people the way Naraku did," he said, quietly.
"But what's he like, really?" the fox boy wanted to know. "I mean, he's always so cold and distant when he's around Inuyasha…"
"He's like that all the time," Kohaku said, cutting more wood, "except…with Rin."
"Oh?" Shippo asked, gathering the wood that was cut. "How so?"
"He's…nicer, somehow," the boy explained, "not quite so…distant…when speaking to her. She even snuggles against him at night and he allows it."
"Yeah, Rin's like that," Shippo agreed, "but does he treat you all right?"
"I suppose so," Kohaku said, putting his chained sickle away and helping gather the wood.
"He doesn't treat me like a slave or servant, like Naraku did, but I had hoped…"
He fell silent, shaking his head and continued to gather up the wood he'd cut.
Shippo looked at him curiously. "You hoped what?"
"It's nothing," Kohaku said, quietly. "We have enough wood. We should get back."
Shippo nodded. "You can tell me," he said, "I promise I won't tell…"
The demon-slayer boy paused, thinking.
"When Lord Sesshomaru asked me to come hunting with him," he explained, "I'd hoped it meant he was starting to trust me, I guess. I-I can't remember my father, you know, and all Naraku treated me as was as was a slave."
"I understand," Shippo told him. "You want him to care about you, the way he does about Rin."
"I know he is only my master, not my father," Kohaku stated, "but I had hoped I could prove myself to him on this trip—make him proud of me. It was a silly notion…"
"No, it wasn't," Shippo frowned, thinking.
An idea popped into his head, then.
"Hey! What if you brought down a bear or mountain lion all by yourself!"
"I could do that," Kohaku stated, "but I doubt Lord Sesshomaru will allow it. He insists on making the kill himself when hunting."
"So," Shippo said, "we'll go tonight—after they're asleep."
Kohaku looked down at him. "We?" he asked, curious.
"Course," the fox boy told him, smiling.
"I'm coming with you. If I help, then I can prove to Inuyasha I'm ready to take on bigger animals than just rabbits!"
"Will not Inuyasha be upset that you do this?" Kohaku asked. "I do not wish you to be in trouble because of me."
"I get in trouble with Inuyasha all the time," Shippo told him, smirking. "Nothing I can't handle."
Kohaku looked doubtful, but then nodded.
"Very well," he said, "let's do it."
"Great!" Shippo said, gathering the last of the wood up into his little arms. "Now, let's get back before those two kill each other."
Kohaku nodded and they made their way back to the two dog-demon brothers.
That night, as Inuyasha and Sesshomaru glared at each other across the fire, the two boys happily munched on the remains of a rabbit the kitsune had ensnared for their supper.
"Does Sesshomaru ever eat?" Shippo whispered to the older boy.
"Only food he has killed and prepared himself?" Kohaku whispered back. "He doesn't even trust Jaken to fix his meals."
"Weird," Shippo said, polishing off the last of the rabbit meat. "Inuyasha eats anything and everything!"
"I heard that, wretch," Inuyasha growled. "Quit talkin' about me like I'm not even here!"
"Indeed," Sesshomaru stated, arching a silver eyebrow. "Kohaku, if you have consumed all you are going to, it is time to rest for the night."
"You too, Shippo," Inuyasha told the kit. "Bed, now!"
Neither brother had moved as they spoke, nor taken their eyes off the other.
The two boys glanced at each other, smiled, and then laid down to 'sleep'.
It took a little while, but even the two brothers couldn't hold off rest entirely.
Sesshomaru finally leaned back against the tree supporting his back and closed his eyes.
Inuyasha, leaning against his sword clasped in both hands, began to nod his head and snore softly.
"We have to be really, really quiet," Shippo whispered extra-softly to Kohaku.
The other boy didn't speak, just nodded.
Being extra quiet, they crawled out of their bedrolls.
Once safely away from the campfire, they stopped a moment to catch their breaths.
"Do you think they heard?" Kohaku asked Shippo, worriedly.
Shippo sniffed the air. "Nope," he said, smiling. "I'd smell them if they were following us."
Kohaku nodded, understanding. "Can you sniff out any large game?"
The young kitsune sniffed the air in several directions. "This way," he said, pointing east.
The two boys set out, moving quietly as they could.
Eventually, they decided to climb a tree and travel by the tree tops.
Because of the jewel shard embedded into his back, Kohaku was stronger and faster than other eleven year olds.
With Shippo on his shoulder, and his chained sickle in his hands, he easily leaped from branch to branch at a run.
"Wait," Shippo said, suddenly. "I smell something." He sniffed the air.
"Is it a bear?" Kohaku asked. "A mountain lion?"
Shippo frowned. "It's…It's…" He couldn't quite make out what it was.
Suddenly the tree shook violently, throwing them to the ground.
Both boys hit it hard, but managed to roll out of the way as it fell.
There, its eye glowing a red, was an ogre.
Ogres were dumb demons, but they were strong and ly.
Shippo's eyes widened in fear. "Uh, that isn't exactly what I was expecting," he said, nervously.
"It does not matter," Kohaku said, fiercely. "If I take this demon down and bring the jewel shard back for Lord Sesshomaru, he will know I can be a help to him."
"You can sense the jewel shards?" Shippo asked, amazed.
He thought the only ones who could do that were Kagome and Kikyo.
"Not really," Kohaku told him, "but whenever I am near another shard, the one in my back begins to pulsate. It is doing so now."
Shippo swallowed. "Do you really think we can take him down?" He glanced at the over-sized ogre hesitantly.
"There's only one way to find out," Kohaku said, smiling.
He charged at the beast, his sickle raised and ready to be thrown.
He released it, it spun in the air, and slashed the leg of the ogre. He yanked, pulling it back to him.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a mark on the demon.
"Its skin is rock hard," Shippo said. "It must be the jewel. Let me try."
Leaping high in the air, the kitsune called out, "Fox Fire!"
Blue flames leapt from his tiny paw like hands and headed straight for the ogre's face.
Unfortunately, all this did was seem to enrage the brute as he swatted at the flames like flies.
It roared, shaking the trees and causing sleeping birds to suddenly take wing.
It charged at the boys, who leaped out of its way.
Kohaku once more tried his chained sickle, while Shippo used his fox magic to enrage it.
Maybe if he got it mad enough, it would make a mistake and they could take it down.
Roaring again, the ogre lashed out with the back of his hand, knocking Shippo head over tail into a tree.
He landed on the ground, unconscious.
He then grabbed Kohaku around the middle and hefted him off his feet.
The boy struggled, trying to get free, but both his arms were pinned so he couldn't use his sickle.
The ogre began to squeeze, crushing him.
He gasped for breath, knowing that any moment he'd be crushed.
"Iron Reaver Soul Stealer!" Inuyasha shouted, using his claws to sever the ogre's arm.
The arm fell, and with it Kohaku.
However, a silver shape leaped up and caught him before he hit the ground.
It was Lord Sesshomaru.
The ogre roared in fury and turned to attack Inuyasha, who drew his sword.
"Eat this, ugly," he cried. "Wind Scar!"
With one swipe of his great sword, the hanyou destroyed the beast—leaving only the jewel shard that had been embedded in its behind.
He picked up and smiled. "Another one to our collection," he said, and then glanced around. "Shippo!"
He raced to where the small kitsune lay unconscious.
He had quite the knock on the head, but otherwise he looked fine.
Inuyasha breathed a sigh of relief. Kagome would skin him alive if he let anything happen to the kid..
Of course, he was going to skin the kid alive for scaring him so.
Sesshomaru released Kohaku from the ogre's arm.
The boy stood before him, eyes down cast, while the dog demon glared down at him.
Suddenly, he backhanded the boy.
"You dare disobey me!" he growled at child.
Kohaku had expected the slap. He stood stock still preparing for the next blow.
"Hey!" Inuyasha yelled, setting Shippo down. "Lay a hand on him again like that and I'll kill you!"
Sesshomaru glared at him. "He is in my charge, brother," he told him, "this does not concern you."
"I don't give a damn whether it does or doesn't," Inuyasha told him, snorting, "but you don't treat a kid like that."
"How I treat my servants is my own affair," Sesshomaru growled, his eyes glowing momentarily.
Lord Sesshomaru rarely showed his true nature, except when he was really angry.
"You don't treat Rin this way," Inuyasha told his brother, "do you?"
"This is different," Sesshomaru growled. "Rin is…"
"A kid," Inuyasha said, "and so is Kohaku."
"He disobeyed me," Sesshomaru said, "and he could have been killed."
"I know," Inuyasha said, "don't you think I'm angry at Shippo, too?"
"Please, Inuyasha," Kohaku pleaded, "do not be angry with Shippo. He only did this for me."
"What was this all about, kid?" Inuyasha asked. "Why would you two sneak out of camp?"
"We were trying to find a bear or mountain lion to hunt," Kohaku said. "He wished to prove to you that he could hunt larger animals and I…"
He paused, not wishing to reveal his reasons.
Sesshomaru raised an aristocratic eyebrow. "You what?" he asked, imperiously.
Kohaku bit his lip, but then looked the dog demon squarely in the eye.
"I wished to prove myself to you, Lord Sesshomaru," he said, swallowing.
"If you had not already proven yourself to me," Sesshomaru told him, "you would not have been allowed on this hunt."
"Truly?" Kohaku asked, amazed. "You trust me, then? As you trust Rin?"
"Why should I not?" Sesshomaru said. "You have proven yourself to be trustworthy enough. Until now, you have followed any order I have given you."
Inuyasha stared at the boy. "It's more than that, though," he said, "right? More than just proving yourself?"
Kohaku glanced down. "I do not know what you mean…"
"Don't lie, kid," Inuyasha growled. "You wanted to make him proud of you, by showing him how tough you are, didn't you?"
"Is this true, Kohaku?" Sesshomaru asked, again raising an eyebrow.
Kohaku bit his lip, caught. "Yes, my lord," he said. "I am sorry."
"Why does my opinion of your worth matter to you?" Sesshomaru asked, curiously.
Inuyasha snorted. "C'mon, even you can't be that stupid," he said, rolling his eyes.
Sesshomaru glared at his brother. "My patience brother grows thin," he growled at him.
"Like I care," Inuyasha snorted, but then sighed.
"Look, Sesshomaru," he said, "Kohaku can't remember his father and Naruku was hardly anybody's idea of a role . The kid wants someone to look up to—kinda the way you looked up to our ole man. Get it?"
Sesshomaru glanced down at the boy. "Do you, 'look up' to me as my brother says?"
Kohaku nodded. "How could I not, my lord," he said, "You are strong, courageous, and fearless. You care for Rin…and Jaken, too."
"You forgot someone, Kohaku," Sesshomaru told him.
The boy blinked. "Who is that, my lord?" he asked, puzzled.
"Yourself," Sesshomaru told him, gently. "I care for you as well."
"I'm not worthy, my lord," Kohaku said, glancing down.
The dog demon reached and lifted his chin. "Would I have come to you aid just now if I did not?"
The boy gulped.
Sesshomaru's eyes, however, turned stern. "But you still must be punished for your disobedience this night," he said, firmly.
Kohaku nodded, straightening up. "I'm ready, my lord," he said, preparing for the blows to come.
"No, Kohaku," Sesshomaru said, "though I am again loathed to admit it, my little brother is correct. One does not beat a child senselessly as he would an opponent."
He went and sat down on the fallen tree trunk. "Come here, Kohaku," he ordered, sternly.
The boy obeyed, wondering what his punishment would be.
He found himself picked up beneath his shoulder blades and lowered face down over Lord Sesshomaru's lap.
He was a bit shocked when he felt cool night air upon his bottom and realized it had been bared.
He glanced back over his shoulder. "L-Lord Sesshomaru?" he asked, swallowing hard.
"You have disobeyed me, Kohaku," Sesshomaru told him, "and I do not tolerate disobedience."
The dog demon raised his hand back and then brought it down across the boy's backside, hard.
Kohaku hissed, biting his lip.
He was a demon slayer, a warrior, he would not cry out because of a few swats to his rear.
Sesshomaru ed him, hard and fast.
Each smack to his exposed behind harder than the last.
Fifteen…twenty…thirty swats landed.
Tears welled in Kohaku's eyes, but he still refused to cry out.
Then, Sesshomaru began targeting the sensitive under-curve where bottom met thigh.
His rear end felt like it was on fire, and he could no longer contain his cries.
"Please, Lord Sesshomaru," he pleaded, "I am sorry. I will never disobey you again!"
"Oh, I know you shall not," Sesshomaru stated, continuing to him.
Kohaku began to weep openly now, wishing only for it to end.
"I'm sorry," he whimpered, "I'm sorry!"
Sesshomaru stopped the punishment for a moment.
"Let his be a reminder, young one," he said, "for the next time you disobey me you shall feel the sting of a strap across your bottom."
Those final three smacks were the hardest of them all and delivered that most sensitive under-curve.
Kohaku could no longer contain his sobs, as he was sat on his own two feet once more.
He had deserved the punishment, he knew, but it still hurt all the same.
Sesshomaru found that he could not bare to see or smell Kohaku's tears any more than he could Rin's.
Placing a hand on the boy's head, he said, "There now, your punishment is over. No need to carry on so, young one."
Kohaku nodded, scrubbing at his face to wipe the last of his tears away.
"It is even later than before," Sesshomaru told him, "and we must still hunt tomorrow. Let us return to camp."
Side by side, the two of them headed back to the camp site.
Inuyasha watched them, shaking his head.
First Rin and now Kohaku…if I didn't know better I'd say Sesshomaru was going soft on me.
A groan alerted him to the fact that Shippo was waking up.
Going over to the kit, he cradled him in his arm.
Shippo blinked at him. "What happened?" he asked. "Is the ogre gone?"
Inuyasha nodded. "Yep, it is," he said, smirking. "You know you're in big trouble, right?"
Shippo sighed. "I'm going to get a ing, aren't I?" he asked, resigned to his fate.
"You better believe it," Inuyasha told him, smiling. "First thing tomorrow."
Shippo frowned. "Why not tonight?" he asked, not that he was in any kind of hurry.
Inuyasha's ings hurt…a lot.
"Because you took quite a knock," Inuyasha told him, "and I'm tired, but come morning your tail's mine, wretch."
Shippo sighed. "I'm sorry," he said, "I guess I'm not ready to hunt bears and mountain lions."
"Sure you are," Inuyasha told him, "as long as I'm there to bring 'em down for ya."
Shippo smiled. "Can we try for one tomorrow, then?" he asked, hopefully.
"Yep," Inuyasha said, "after your in'."
Shippo wrinkled his nose. "Gee, thanks," he moaned. "I won't even want to hunt then."
Inuyasha shrugged. "Tough," he said, "let's get you back to camp and into bed."
He started back toward camp.
"Did Sesshomaru yell at Kohaku?" Shippo asked, anxiously. "Cuz, it was my idea and all."
"It figures," Inuyasha said, rolling his eyes, "and no he didn't yell at him. He whipped his butt."
"He did?" Shippo gasped. "But I didn't think he cared that much?"
"Well, obviously you and Kohaku were wrong," Inuyasha told him. "Sesshomaru showed him how much he did care about him."
Shippo winced. "Ouch."
Inuyasha nodded. "You said it," he agreed, chuckling.
Letting out a big yawn, Shippo snuggled closer against the hanyou.
"Inuyasha?" he asked, as he drifted off to sleep.
"Yeah?" the hanyou asked, glancing down at the tiny kid.
"I love you," Shippo told him, and then he was asleep.
I love you too, you little Wretch.