Hello Minna! Yes I know I should be working on my Teen Titan's fanfic Rage in the Spirit, but this plot bunny attacked me and wouldn't allow me to write anything until I had this typed up -_-. So…Enjoy! =D
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha… But if Rumiko Takashi is feeling generous the Inu pack are always welcome. Send them my way! =)
Most people didn't know this, but Inuyasha was a very tactile person.
He liked to be touched and touch others that he cared about. He loved having his ears rubbed and his hair petted. He liked having the scent of his friends, his makeshift–sometimes-a-little-crazy–family, on his skin. It made him extremely irritable for one of his pack to be gone for any period of time out of his range of hearing, smell, or sight.
Not that he would ever admit any of that.
At the moment he was on a mission.
For once it wasn't Kagome that was gone. It was Shippo who was missing.
Inuyasha flattened his ears down to try to block out the yelling of his companions.
Why did they have to yell like that? They knew how sensitive his hearing was and he already told them that he had the fox-kit's trail.
He stopped himself from snapping at them. He was worried too. Shippo never went off by himself when there was danger.
They had been awakened by a demon demanding the jewel shards around Kagome's neck. Nothing unusual there, but during the ensuing battle Shippo had gone missing.
They had searched the campsite and the surrounding woods, finding nothing, until Inuyasha found a scent trail.
Now they were trailing the fox-kit wondering why he had run off.
Inuyasha hadn't told the rest of the group, but there was also the scent of another fox, this one full grown, that was lingering on the same path Shippo had taken.
Had he found another fox and decided to go home with them?
There was no sign of struggle, but then Shippo was a very trusting child. If someone who looked kind came in the battle and told him to follow them to safety then the fox-kit was likely to follow them despite what Kagome was constantly telling him about strangers.
Shippo had been walking; Inuyasha could smell each separate foot print on the little walking path they were on, so the kit hadn't been afraid of this person. There was no fear scent in the kit's scent trail, though there was nervousness, excitement, and a bit of anger.
Why had he followed this person so far from the safety of the pack?
Why had he left them without a word?
Inuyasha growled under his breath. After all he had done for that little brat he wouldn't just leave…would he?
Then he heard Miroku call his name.
"Inuyasha I've found something!"
Bounding over to the monk, who was a little ways off the path, Inuyasha looked down at the little mushroom in Miroku's hand.
Taking it carefully between his claws, Inuyasha sniffed it to confirm it was Shippo's. It was, but the poor mushroom had been ripped to pieces and all that remained was the stalk and a determined piece of the cap that was hanging on by a thread.
"This is definitely one of Shippo's," Inuyasha said calmly as he dropped it to the forest floor.
Looking around they managed to find two more just like it.
So Shippo had been trying to leave a trail, but something had been destroying the mushrooms.
Inuyasha growled to himself again. Why hadn't someone been paying attention to the kit? Why hadn't he known that the smallest member of his pack had left with a strange fox?
He went back to the trail and followed it for another 30 yards or so and then he scented blood. Shippo's blood.
Now his growling was audible, but he didn't tell the others. The blood was only a miniscule amount, not enough to even been noticed on the path, but enough to be smelled by his sensitive canine nose.
And the stench of Shippo's fear was suddenly present, like a slap to the face, and then Inuyasha found Shippo's snake toy, mangled, and signs of a scuffle.
He finally found a spot of what was clearly Shippo's blood on a sharp rock.
He felt like howling in anger. Not something he had allowed himself for many years. He strangled the sound in his throat. He wouldn't want to let the other fox know he was coming.
He stopped and called to the others.
"Kagome, Sango, Miroku," He said just loud enough for their human hearing to pick it up.
"What is it Inuyasha?" Kagome questioned hopefully, "Did you find something? Did you find Shippo?"
Inuyasha shook his head and simply handed her the broken toy. She covered her mouth and stared at the toy in some state of shock. Then her eyes hardened. Moma-Kagome was in the driver's seat now. Now there would be war.
Sango and Miroku were examining the area of the scuffle.
Then they looked over to Inuyasha and Kagome in askance.
Inuyasha meet their eyes and then turned and quickly followed the blood trail that made his blood boil.
No one messed with his pack.
Everyone was running now to keep up with his pace.
They came to a small stream that the kidnapper had tried to use to mask their scent. The fox had dragged Shippo into the stream, as evidenced by the two Shippo paw-sized drag marks, and had remained in the stream.
Inuyasha again scented the blood of his youngest pack member. Shippo had flung some of his blood onto the bank on the left side heading upstream.
'Good job kit,' Inuyasha complimented the little fox, 'Don't get yourself killed before I get there.'
Every now and again there would be another blood splatter. Inuyasha had tried not to bring any attention to them, but he felt Kagome stiffen behind him when he came upon a darker splatter than before.
"Is that Shippo's blood Inuyasha?" Kagome asked quietly in a too-calm voice.
"Yes," Inuyasha answered honestly.
Inuyasha was very glad that she was after another besides himself when he heard a very distinct growl come from the miko's throat.
"Find Shippo Inuyasha," She said quietly, "Fast."
Inuyasha nodded and set a quicker pace, but realized that the others could not keep up.
With a sigh of frustration Inuyasha went back and crouched before Kagome with a growled "Get on".
Seeing Inuyasha was picking Kagome up, Miroku and Sango mounted the transformed Kirara, and they set off again at a much faster pace.
'Hold on Shippo we're coming.'
Shippo was scared.
Not just everyday oh-my-Kami-Inuyasha's-going-to-hit-me-again-scared or even crap-a-demon-is-after-me-scared. No, this was gut-clenching, bone chilling fear that he had only experienced a few times in his young life.
He was going to be taken away from his family permanently if Inuyasha didn't find him soon.
He had been hiding in the bushes during the fight when a fox-demon had appeared beside him.
"Hey there little one," the adult was very fatherly and put Shippo at ease, "why are you hiding here? There are much safer spots deeper in the forest."
"I am waiting for my friends to kill the demon," Shippo replied with a nervous smile, glancing back at the fight periodically to ensure the integrity of his hiding spot. Sometimes he had to move quickly during a fight to get out of the way of falling bodies, usually Inuyasha's.
The adult had looked at the fight with a bored expression on his face, "Hmmm, well my name's Shinou and I am from a nearby Skulk. Where is your skulk little one?"
"My name is Shippo," The kit said with a little fire in his speech, he didn't like being called little, "And my skulk is here."
Shippo gestured to the fighting.
Shinou grimaced, "Your skulk is made of halfs and humans? You poor kit!"
"Hey! They are good people. They take care of me just fine." Shippo replied with a petulant glare.
"Where are your parents," Shinou frowned, "Do they know you have taken up with humans and halfs?"
"My parents are dead," Shippo replied trying to appear nonchalant though his voice had the slightest quiver.
Shinou's eyes softened, "Oh, the warring times take the lives of many loved ones."
Before Shippo could reply he spotted Inuyasha being thrown (again) towards his hiding place. Grabbing Shinou's hand he quickly vacated the hiding spot and ran into the woods a bit before stopping and glancing back at the fight.
"Come on," Shinou said, "Let me take you somewhere safer. We'll come back when they are done fighting."
With a nervous glance at the fight, Shippo shrugged.
"Okay, but we have to stay in hearing distance or Inuyasha will hit me when they have to come find me."
"Sure," Shinou replied easily, "My mate would never forgive me if I left a defenseless kit alone when there is danger about."
"I am not defenseless!" Shippo exclaimed defensively, "I can protect myself if I need to!"
They bickered for a while longer before Shippo realized that they were too far away from the fight. He could no longer hear Inuyasha's shouts.
"I need to go back now," Shippo said almost sadly. It was nice to be around another fox after so long.
"But if we go just around that bend up there I can show you a great place for fishing," Shinou coaxed, "You could show it to your friends and ya'll could have fresh fish for lunch."
Shippo's eyes lit up, "Okay just let me leave a trail for them to follow in case the fight is over and they are looking for me."
He pulled out a few mushrooms and threw them behind them as they walked.
They chatted for a while longer and when they reached the bend in the road Shippo realized his mistake.
"Don't follow strangers Shippo, especially if they offer you food or candy. In fact, it is best not to talk to adults you don't know unless it is an emergency." Kagome had told Shippo one evening after catching him accepting some bean paste mochi from an elderly man in exchange for helping him carry some of his fire wood to his bakery.
Shinou walked a couple of steps before realizing that Shippo was not with him.
"What's wrong Shippo?" Shinou asked, "Didn't you want to see the fishing spot?"
"Ummm, Maybe I should go back and get my friends," Shippo said nervously, inching back the way they had came, "Then I could introduce you to them and you could show all of us."
"But that would take a while Shippo," Shinou said following Shippo's movement through narrowed eyes, suddenly seeming less friendly and more menacing, "I can't stay gone from my skulk too long and I think that you'd like to meet them after I had shown you the fishing spot."
Shippo's eyes narrowed to match the adult's.
"I think that I should go get my friends before I meet anyone else. Kagome doesn't like it when I talk to strangers, especially if there is more than one, when I am not with the group."
"Do you always do what this Kagome says?"
Shippo decided to play it safe with a nod, noticing that the adult was copying his movement as if he was stalking him. Hunting him.
Then Shippo turned and ran back towards the safety of his family.
He didn't get very far.
"No you don't," Shinou exclaimed as he threw out a leaf that quickly morphed a clone of himself and used the clone to block Shippo's path.
Shippo yelped and tried to go off to the side of the path but found only more clones of the adult fox.
"Why won't you let me go back!?" Shippo questioned frantically, "Are you going to kill me?"
It seemed like all the clones stopped moving for a moment as if shocked by the words that the little kitsune had shouted.
With a gentle smile Shinou knelt down in front of the little kit.
"No Shippo, I don't want to hurt you, but I just can't let you go back to that "skulk" of yours," Shinou said soothingly as if he wasn't just trying to corral the little fox forcefully a minute ago, "You should be raised by your own kind. I have a kit of my own about your age. I think you'll like her and my mate would not mind another little one to coddle, but if you don't want to stay with us there are many in our clan that would take you in. Don't you want to live among foxes again? We can teach you about your strengths and how to protect yourself. Wouldn't you like that?"
Shippo shivered. This fox wanted to take him away from his family, but in return wanted to give him a new one.
"No Thank You," Shippo said with a small bow, "I think I want to go back. They are probably worried about me."
With a sad shake of his head Shinou stood up.
"I am sorry Shippo, but I can't accept that."
Shippo yelped again as he was grabbed from behind, but he managed to kick and bite his way out of the clone's hold.
Shippo attacked with his wooden snake, hoping to distract the elder fox enough that he could use a clone and escape.
It didn't work.
Shinou's clones fell upon the now oversized toy and snapped it in half, so that the two halves dangled from one mangled joint and it shrank back into its actual size.
Shinou had broken his weapon. His father had given him that snake.
Shippo pushed aside the want to cry for his loss, and focused on his opponent.
But those few moments had been enough for Shinou to get too close from Shippo to do anything but let out yet another startled yelp before he was scoped up and collared.
It was more of a halter really.
There were two buckles. One was around his throat like the aforementioned collar, and the other was around his chest.
Shinou sealed them with his kitsune-bi making it impossible for the little kit to escape.
"I am sorry for having to do this Shippo," Shinou said quietly, "I had hoped that you would come willingly."
Shippo glared at the demon.
How dare he try to take him away from his family!?
The fox set Shippo down and held the end of the rope that was attached to the halter and sealed a buckle around his own wrist.
Shippo tested the strength of the bindings by taking a leap towards the woods, almost making the older demon fall from the force of the jump.
"Hey now Shippo," Shinou admonished, "None of that. I am not going to hurt you. I am trying to help you. You'll never learn everything you need to survive if you live with Others."
Shippo was shaking with rage.
"Come on," Shinou said, "If you don't walk willingly I will be forced to carry you."
Shippo took a step and another, seething with anger at the audacity of the adult that kept glancing down at him as if with concern.
"They will come for me," Shippo ground out through his teeth, "And you'll be sorry cause Inuyasha is really strong and he'll teach you a lesson."
"I fear no hanyou," Shinou said his eyes losing their caring light at the threat, "You should not wish violence on anyone, violence has a bad habit of coming back on you three fold."
"You fear no hanyou?" Shippo replied with a smirk, "What about a demon slayer or a monk? And Kagome is a Miko of great power. Do you fear them?"
A shiver of dread seemed to go up the Fox's spine but when he spoke he calmly said "No".
Shippo knew a lie he when he smelled it. With a secretive smile, Shippo kept that to himself. He had learned enough from Inuyasha and Kirara to survive despite what Shinou claimed.
But with his attention on the thoughts in his head he wasn't paying enough to the path.
Shippo felt tears come to his eyes as he stood up after his tumble. His hand was scraped now.
Shippo smiled through his tears when Shinou asked if he was okay, he would be just fine.
Now he could lay a trail without his mushrooms that the demon who was kidnapping him wouldn't notice.
Yes, he would be just fine. Inuyasha would find him.
Shippo was sure that the fox demon could smell the blood coming off of the wound, but knew that it wasn't enough to hinder him in the long run. It wasn't enough to weaken him, but it was enough to track.
Shippo dug his miniscule claws into the scrape on the palm of his hand making the blood flow enough to leave droplets behind him.
Every once in a while a drop would land on the path as they walked.
Perfect for tracking the way Inuyasha would.
Soon he would be safe.
As soon as these comforting thoughts came to him his hopes where once again threatened.
They had come to a stream.
When Shinou stepped in, Shippo dug in his paws trying to remain on land.
"What is wrong Kit?" Shinou asked with a slight smirk, "Afraid your half won't be able to track you with that weak nose of his if you go into water and off the beaten path?"
Crap. He knew that he was hoping for a rescue still.
Shippo glowered at the demon. Why did he have to be taken by a fox? The most cunning of all the demon species?
Of course the adult was underestimating him because he was young, so there was still a chance of escape.
Shinou dragged Shippo into the stream where he landed with a dejected yelp. They walked a few paces before Shippo thought of another way to mark without drawing the attention of his capturer.
Shinou had been constantly scanning the surroundings on the lookout for danger, so he was not watching the kit all the time.
This gave Shippo the opportunity that he needed.
A few tears slipped down his face as he once again dug his claws into his wound, which was becoming a gash.
Flinging out his arm, as if to get his balance on the smooth rocks of the stream, Shippo left a clear sign for Inuyasha to follow on the banks of the stream.
'Hurry up guys.'
Shippo never once thought to doubt that they were going to rescue him.
Family did not abandon itself.
Family wasn't just a group of individuals; it was a single unit of love, losing a piece of that family was like losing a piece of the heart that beat in the center of the familiar body. It would survive, but it hurt and if possible the rest of the body would search for it until it was back in its rightful place; beating strongly next to all the other jigsaw parts that made up the whole.
So Shippo grit his teeth and threw a path of blood for Inuyasha to follow, knowing in his heart that they were coming and soon he would be safely back where he belonged.
He began to feel light headed from the now more substantial blood loose than before coupled with the stress of being kidnapped.
All that was keeping him going now was the adrenaline in his system.
The epinephrine was keeping his heart pounding allowing the blood to flow easily from his wound and allowing him to trek on despite his exhaustion.
'Please hurry Inuyasha.' The little kit thought to him as he trudged alongside his kidnapper, 'I'm not sure how much longer I can hold up.'
Kagome was in a rage.
They had taken her kit from her and soon she would make whoever it was pay dearly for it.
Her hands curled into fists on Inuyasha's shoulders as they ran down the stream. His ear flicked back in response to this action, in acknowledgment of her anger.
He was completely focused on finding Shippo. Despite their bickering, the two really did like each other, and Inuyasha was now worried about their young charge.
He was theirs and no one was going to take him away from them.
She could hear the nearly inaudible flames and flight of Kirara behind her. Miroku and Sango were worried as well.
They were both tense, ready to fight at a moment's notice; all they needed was something to aim their ire at.
They were not going to be disappointed. Kagome felt Inuyasha begin to slow down.
Casting his head this way and that Inuyasha scented the air and then settled on a direction.
It seemed that Shippo had left the stream.
The seemed to fly through the trees as Inuyasha found the trail again.
Oh yes, they were close, and by the look on her hanyou friend's face they were about to show someone, or something, not to mess with their little group again.
If it even survived to think of the possibility.
Kagome closed her eyes, reigning in her miko powers as they began to pulse as if wanting to purify everything around her.
She had learned that f she didn't concentrate at times such as this she could give Inuyasha, or Kirara as the case may be, a nasty burn that took days to heal.
One time she had even accidentally gave her little adopted kit a small burn when she grabbed him during a battle to try and move him to safety.
He had yelped and then this most awful whimper passed his lips and then he had passed out from that tiny amount of her energy.
In that moment she had felt herself to be the monster that humans claimed demons were.
But when Shippo had awakened he had given her the most beautiful, trusting smile and hugged her tightly to him just as he had done before the shock, she had felt her heart constrict and made a promise to herself.
She had sworn to never again to hurt one of her demonic friends with her powers again and had even gone to Kaede for help in sealing away most of her powers so that she would have to release the spell in order to use all of her powers.
She fingered the sealing bracelet, hoping that whatever had her littlest friend was not so strong that she had to release the spell, because if she did she would purify everything BUT her demons in the surrounding area.
She let out another unconscious growl that set Inuyasha's ears to twitching.
She reached out and rubbed one of them and then drew her hand through his hair, holding her body so that the rest of the group behind them didn't see the interaction.
She knew that Inuyasha loved to be touched but would never allow himself to be comforted by just anyone.
No, she knew that only their group was allowed to see him on human-nights, to protect him when he was weakest, and only she was allowed to pet him.
He didn't want everyone to know that he craved the connection of other beings, but he did crave it and when it was offered he would take it, sometimes begrudgingly, and he enjoyed it to the fullest.
Sometimes Kagome would run her hand through his hair in apology so that she did not have to speak words that would undoubtedly lead to a pointless fight and in return he would hold her sometimes when she felt depressed and hopeless over their mission or from being away from her other family for too long.
Now she ran her hand through his hair to try and calm them both down before they confronted what they knew would be a stressful, highly emotional, fight.
She continued to play with his hair as they flew through the trees until he began to slow once more.
They had finally found their quarry.
Unfortunately, they had also found the Skulk of the foxes.
The adult male that had Shippo tied to himself, turned and looked at us with a slight amount of fear in his eyes.
My hand returned itself to Inuyasha's shoulder as we landed a matter of yards away from my frightened kit and his kidnapper, even as foxes poured from the den at their backs.
Three more males and five females emerged from the den and stood behind the male who had our Shippo.
I climbed down off of Inuyasha's back and heard Miroku and Sango's feet hit the ground a short ways behind me.
I stepped up even with Inuyasha and called out, surprising the foxes with the intensity of my voice.
"Give Shippo back to us and we will leave." I stated matter-of-factly, feeling my aura begin to swell around me, whipping my hair about, as I took another step towards them and my kitsune, "If you refuse you will regret it."
The male who had Shippo strapped to him, fiddled with the leash part of the binding he had on the kit and released his arm from its restraint before handing it to one of the vixens behind him. The he stepped forward in an almost confident stride and addressed our group with a barely disguised disdain.
"You must see that you are unfit to raise a kitsune, Miko," the fox seemed to sneer through the pleasant smile he sported, "The best place for a young kit is with others of its kind. We will raise Shippo to be a proper Kitsune. You could not teach him all he needs to know being human, do you understand?"
"I understand that you think that you can keep my away from one of my friends," I reply, fire in my voice, and I know it's in my eyes, "Please reconsider. I am being very kind at the moment, but if you do not return him now I won't forgive you."
The fox seemed to retreat before coming back twice as strong.
"No Miko," He said calmly, acting morally superior to what he perceived to be invaders on his territory, "I will not allow this kit to be corrupted by humans and hanyous any longer. Just leave him to us."
Then I string my bow calmly as Inuyasha attacks, only to feel everyone freeze as I hear another voice come into the field.
"Daddy?" A small voice inquires from the edge of the den entrance, "Can I come out and play now that you are home?"
The male fox who had taken Shippo tensed and said in the no-nonsense voice of a worried father, "Inara go inside. It isn't safe to come out and play right now."
Inara steps out into the light with a pout clearly visible on her young face, "But Daddy you promised that I could play outside when you got home."
"I said no Inara. Go inside." The fox replied sternly while keeping his attention on us.
The kit pouted some more and seemed to be about to debate some more with her father when another vixen emerged from the den.
"Shinou what are you doing?" The vixen inquired as she walked calmly over to the male she named as Shinou, the one who had stolen Shippo from us.
Kagome answered for him.
"He kidnapped Shippo!" Kagome said trying to see if she could talk sense with a mother when she could not with the father, "We have been taking care of him for several months now since his parents were killed. He is ours please give him back."
The vixen looked over at Kagome which set all of us on guard, but she didn't seem aggressive as she turned to talk to Kagome ignoring the stuttering male beside her.
"Shippo? Who is this Shippo?"
"The kit behind you in the restraints is Shippo. He is scared, look at him, and he has been losing blood through the entire time he was kidnapped. That is how we followed Shinou here," Kagome pleaded with the vixen desperate to get Shippo safely away from the foxes that were trying to take him from her and us, "Please he is hurt. He left a blood trail all the way here he must be weak and tired."
The vixen turned and went to the tiny form of huddled fox kit being held by another vixen.
Taking the kit from the other vixen she gently spoke to Shippo for a moment. I strained my ears but couldn't hear what was said.
Trying to keep my eyes from wandering over the lovely forms of the vixens that were seemingly ready to do battle, I wasn't paying much attention to another portion of my anatomy.
My hand twitched and headed south despite my best attempts to stop it seems to find it's resting place; right on the curve of Sango's bottom.
"Hentai!" Sango exclaimed before hitting me over the head with the Hiraikotsu and proceeded to humble me, "This is a highly inappropriate time for you to lose control of that hand of yours Miroku! I can't believe you!"
She seemed to growl as she walked a few paces away from me and towards a glaring Inuyasha and Kagome.
"It's the curse I swear it," I explained nervously, but I had done something much more than stroke Sango's lovely bottom.
I had broken the tension.
The Skulk of foxes was in peals of laughter.
"Did you see that Ninia! That male just made an advance on her and got clobbered!" One vixen said while holding onto what looked like her identical twin.
"I did Linia! These females are fierce!" Ninia replied back to her sister.
I tried to glare at the vixens that were laughing at my expense, but quickly found my lips twitching up into a smile.
That crazy monk had completely defused the situation. Even Kagome and Inuyasha seemed to be debating whether or not to chuckle along with the rest of us.
The only thing stopping them was the fact that the Alpha Vixen still had Shippo.
The Alpha Vixen was smiling while holding the little kitsune that her mate had stolen from us.
Inuyasha took another step forward seeming to decide that now was the time to attack since they had yet to hint at giving back Shippo.
Kagome stepped in front of him calmly with her back to him and said "Sit boy" quietly, making the hanyou drop to the ground with an audible "thump!"
As he fell, Kagome's aura seemed to flare back up making the crash behind her seem very dramatic.
I was hiding a smirk behind my hand.
"Will you give us Shippo back," Kagome asked in a scarily calm voice, "I would prefer not to fight, because the only way I know how t defeat a demon is to purify them."
That seemed to get everyone's attention.
Inuyasha stood back up with a glare in Kagome's direction, but quickly went to stand even with her; adding his strength to Kagome's request.
The Vixen looked them both up and down, probably acknowledging that they were the "alpha pair" of our "pack".
I hefted Hiraikotsu into a looser grip so that I could let it fly at a moment's notice.
But at that moment the little fox demon that had been called Inara stepped out into the open and ran over to her father. Then I noticed that she was a white fox. White foxes were said to be servants of Inari. Perhaps that was the origin of her name.
"Daddy," Inara said as she ran up to her father and wrapped herself around his leg, "Why don't you play with me now? These people don't seem to want to play with you anymore so give them back their Shippo and play with me!"
The alpha vixen smiled.
"Out of the mouths of kits comes wisdom."
The vixen walked over to Kagome and gently handed her Shippo.
She leaned in close and whispered something in Kagome's ear and I saw a flash of unidentifiable emotion cross Inuyasha's face as he had also heard the whispered words.
Kagome gathered Shippo to her bosom and thanked the vixen before motioning to all of us that it was time to leave.
I remounted Kirara debating on leaving the monk to run, but decided that he was forgivable…This time.
As we left the Skulk, I heard the Alpha Vixen reprimand her mate.
"I cannot believe you stole their kit!" She was dragging her mate into the den when I took a glance back, "They are raising that kit to be less spoiled than you are our little Inara! You are in so much trouble…."
As their voices faded in the distance I felt my lips form a smile.
Our makeshift family was once more complete.
Now we could rest.
Kagome was bandaging Shippo's hand carefully, as if one wrong move would make him disappear.
It wasn't very often that someone tried to use Shippo against us, and each time she seemed to come closer to the realization that she thought of him as her own son.
I sat next to her, pretending to watch the fire, my ears swiveling to catch the slightest sound.
It would be a while before any of us could forget today, or even look back on it without dread.
I gripped Tetsusaiga harder and tried to ignore the scent of the antiseptics that Kagome had put on his wound.
He had been clawing his hand to keep the blood flowing. When Kagome had been cleansing the little kit in a nearby stream He had noticed blood coming from both hands. From the left it was coming from the wound, but on the right it had come from under his claws.
It had made Inuyasha want to go back and beat that fox senseless.
He felt a growl rising in his throat.
Kagome hadn't put down the kit since she had got him back.
Those whispered words kept floating through his mind.
"When raising this brave kitsune, don't forget to teach him of Inari."
Inuyasha felt a silent snarl shape on his face.
What the hell was that supposed to mean?
Why should they teach him about Inari?
Who or what the hell was Inari?
He glanced over at Sango and Miroku's faces in the flicking fire light.
They were both still tense without a fight to take the edge off of their ire they would probably be up all night.
None but Shippo would sleep tonight.
"Miroku," I began gruffly trying to sound unconcerned, "Do you know of an Inari?"
Miroku seemed to awaken from his thoughts at my question, and Sango and Kagome tuned into our conversation.
"Inari is the Kami of fertility, rice, food, prosperity, agriculture, and industry. Inari is also the guardian of fishermen and warriors. Followers of Buddha's teachings know Inari as Dakiniten…Why do you ask?"
I shrug and stare into the fire as I answer.
"The Vixen who gave Shippo back to Kagome told her to make sure he knew of Inari."
"Ah," Miroku said as if it made absolute sense which made my eye twitch slightly, "Inari's servants are said to be foxes. They are said to help people at the bequest of the Kami and are known to protect those who Inari wishes to protect."
I nod in response, even as I feel the stares of everyone around the campfire.
Kagome picked up the conversation when they realized I had nothing else to say.
"I thought that kitsunes were tricksters and caused mischief for people?"
"That would be the yako or nogitsune. The ones who cause mischief are not zenko, or Inari's foxes. Obviously, the family of foxes we met today were followers of Inari, especially since their kit was pure white. White foxes are said to be the guardian spirits of Inari's shrines. They are also a good omen to those who see one, and are said to be able to ward off evil."
"Oh I see," Kagome replied quietly so as not to wake the sleeping kit in her arms, "So there are two different types of foxes: the zenko who are good and the yako who are bad. This is actually sounding very familiar."
Miroku nodded sagely.
Sango turned and looked at the slumbering kitsune in Kagome's arms.
"I wonder if his parents were followers on Inari," she mused aloud, "He is always saying that foxes are tricksters and he likes to play pranks. Perhaps he was one of the yako before you picked him up on your travels."
Kagome glanced down at Shippo for a moment before allowing a warm smile to grace her face making her appear very motherly.
"It doesn't matter now," She said softly, "He has already changed so much since we found him. He won't be a bad kitsune."
She smiled at me for a moment over Shippo's head before looking back over to Miroku.
"Do you know a lot about Inari, Miroku?"
"Of course," Miroku responded "humbly", "Inari is in the Buddhist teachings."
"Then would you mind teaching Shippo about him," She gently rocked the kit in her arms, making my heart constrict thinking of how my own mother used to hold me, "I want him to be able to know everything he should know as a kitsune."
Her eyes flashed for a moment.
"Then we'll see who can't raise a kitsune because they are human."
I bowed my head slightly to hide my smile.
Yes, my Kagome would make a great mother.
I froze at that thought.
I felt my shoulders slump.
A/N: And that concludes this one shot. (Dances for joy) I really have no idea how it got to be so long 0.0 Anyway if I got anything wrong about Inari or Kitsunes please tell me so I can correct myself. I want to be as accurate as possible. Thank you for reading!