A/N: Characters of Inuyasha do not belong to me. My apologies. Not my favorite chapter but it's the bridge to the next chapter as things begin to lead to the end. And chapters will also be getting longer, I think, thus making updates even longer. But I can't help it… I don't like short chapters….

Bastard's Gift 20

The sky was littered with stars that sparkled brilliantly against the deep blue/black backdrop. Fireflies danced above the small creek that had a soft soothing sound of water moving by, splashing lightly against any rocks and branches that was in its way.

Cicadas sang their summer songs as a gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the trees, keeping the evening from being hot.

By the stream, Inuyasha lay on the ground, head resting on Kouga's lap, as the wolf demon stared out into the water, a soft smile on his face.

He wasn't sure how long they lay there. It felt like it was forever.

Not that he minded.

There was nothing to worry about.

Although it was a bit strange that few words were ever exchanged. Just looks, touches, kisses… and occasionally some tender love making. Nothing animalistic that Kouga was prone to do.

Then he finally sighed, the first sign of any other emotion other than contentment.

"What's wrong?" Inuyasha asked, his voice feeling hoarse from disuse.

"You'll be leaving me soon."

"What? Why would I do that?"

Kouga's blue eyes looked down at them. "Love… have you really forgotten that I'm not with you anymore?"

Inuyasha slowly sat up and turned to look at him.

"What do you…"

"Katsu. And the babe."

Inuyasha gasped. His children! How could he have forgotten his own children?

"Where are they?"

"Safe. In the world of the Living."

"I'm dead?"

"No."

Inuyasha was confused, although it did explain why he had no urge to eat all this time.

Kouga continued speaking. "But you hover near the other plane. And as much as I would love to have you with me, I won't let you cross. Not yet."

Inuyasha's eyes burned. "But it's…"

"Yes. It's peaceful. And lovely. But what about the ones you are leaving behind? Unlike you, they have no one to care for. Sesshomaru has accepted my heir to be his ward, but without you there… how will he learn to give it proper care? And Katsu? He carries the blood of Naraku, and… Sesshomaru is not me. He is not so forgiving to those that may carry something out of their control."

Inuyasha sighed. "Well, considering I'm here… not dead… I'm surprised he didn't kill me just to bring me back with his sword and save himself the trouble of looking over my children."

Kouga chuckled. "Sweet heart, you did die. And he did try. But to my understanding, it won't ever work on you because it is not the first time you found yourself on this plane of existence."

"What?"

Kouga glanced across the creek and Inuyasha spotted a woman approaching. Long dark hair and a kimono flowed with the breeze. Beside her, a tall demon with white hair escorted her.

"Mother? F-father?" Inuyasha asked, bewildered.

"My precious baby," his mother murmured, hands over her chest.

He made a move to cross the creek but was stopped by Kouga. "I can't let you pass, love. Remember?"

"I don't understand."

The white Inu who Inuyasha knew was his father, spoke. "Unlike us, my young son, you are dead with a physical tie still to this world. This is as far as we can travel considering how much time has passed. Unlike Kouga who is to remain on that side until his spirit is called upon as is tradition of the wolves."

"I'm dead? But…"

"Dead or dying," the demon lord whispered. "In this realm, it is one and the same. Time passes differently here. Sesshomaru is finally ready to learn about fighting to protect loved ones. He has experienced it with the human girl. And he will learn it with you. But he is in despair at this time."

"So what does it matter if I cross over or not? Oh, wait. The sword? You said it won't work again. He never used it on me before!"

"He has not. But I have."

Inuyasha turned to look at his father.

"While you were in my womb," his mother added. "Ready to greet the world… I was betrayed and struck down while in childbirth by one of my guards. Your father used his sword on us, darling."

Inuyasha stared wide eyed.

"So… I've been here before. As in actually here."

"You have had so many near misses in life, young one. But you fought on your own, never casting your eyes on this place. So stubborn. And so full of life." The Inu demon chuckled. "A force that Sesshomaru will have trouble with in the years to come."

"You keep saying years to come. If I'm here, on the verge of dying… or staying dead… and Sesshomaru can't bring me back, what's the point?"

Kouga embraced him from behind. "Humans are crafty creatures. They learn new things. And they don't give up. When the sun rises… you will return to them."

Inuyasha looked at the sky.

"The sun has never risen since I've been here."

"Time moves differently," he was reminded. "And our time grows short."

Inuyasha looked at his mother and father.

They smiled. "Know that we are proud. And don't take it personally but we hope to not see you again for an extremely long time."

The two smile and faded away.

"Mother! Father!"

Kouga let go of him and stepped back.

"Kouga?"

"The sun is rising. Keep fighting, love. Move forward. And when we see each other again, know that I will still love you and that I will put up with your arrogant asshole of a brother and force him to share." The lecherous grin on his face caused Inuyasha to blush.

"Just what are you implying or hoping for there, wolf?!"

Kouga began to fade, grin still on his face.

"No, wait! Just a bit longer!"

The sky around him began to lighten, and the sounds began to fade away.

Turning to the sun, he had to cover his eyes as it peeked over the edge and engulfed him in light so bright that it made everything vanish.

X

Inuyasha's eyes cracked open. Everything was blurry. But he could see a figure moving. He could hear a cooing sound. His sight slowly cleared up and he could make out his brother's back. He was holding something in his arms.

Inuyasha tried to say something, but he couldn't even muster up the energy to moan.

He couldn't even feel his finger twitching.

He was so tired.

And his vision was blurring again.

So he closed his eyes.

And everything went black.

X

Sesshomaru stared at the sword his father gave him. It lay on his desk, and he dare not touch it. The sword had failed him, and he didn't understand why. He had revived Inuyasha's friends and he had revived Rin. He knew it would not revive a second time. So why did it not revive Inuyasha?

If it weren't for Rin…

He thought back to that horrible morning just a mere two days ago.

The sun was rising and the sword was still. Black hair cascaded on the pillows as blood soaked the sheets underneath the pale and still body.

The sound of a baby crying pieced the air, but it was quickly escorted out by one of the servants. Sesshomaru stood still, unable to believe that he was useless in stopping Inuyasha's passing. But Rin, the human girl moved unexpectedly. She jumped onto the bed near Inuyasha's head and tilted his head upward. She placed her lips upon the hanyou and began to breathe. The human doctor also lunged forward and began to push down upon the hanyou's chest.

A gasp emerged from Inuyasha's lips and Rin and the doctor pulled back. Ever so slowly, Sesshomaru watched as the black hair grew white at a sluggish pace. Color began to return to Inuyasha's face, but only by a bit. The wound on his stomach began to close. But there was still so much blood, and the healing process was much too slow. But Inuyasha was breathing and that all that mattered.

He shot his ward a curious look.

"It's experimental," she said. "It doesn't always work. We've been testing to see if breathing for the body will help to revive a freshly passed person."

Humans could be amazing creatures.

"We need to get him cleaned up," the doctor said.

Sesshomaru called servants in and with a flurry of bodies, Inuyasha was lifted out of the blood soaked bed and taken to cleaner quarters, clothes changed, blood rinsed off, hair washed and brushed.

In a daze, Sesshomaru made his way out into the hall where Katsutoshi was sitting on the floor, looking grim. He stood up at Sesshomaru's appearance.

"They tell me he's well," the young demon said. "I know you won't lie to me. How is my father doing?"

Sesshomaru debated whether he should answer the son of Naraku. But seeing those steadfast red eyes, an expression that Inuyasha gave when determined, helped him make his choice.

"Inuyasha has not woken. But he is breathing. We need more time to determine how badly his health has been affected."

Katsu nodded.

"And my sibling?"

Sesshomaru blinked. That's right. The child whose gender he wasn't even aware of. "This one is not sure. Let us go seek your sibling out."

The baby had been fine. Angry, but fine. Sesshomaru looked down at the desk where he was writing out the gender of the child.

He still wanted to contend the decision of the council. What right did the wolves have in learning the gender of the child this early in its life? Allow Inuyasha to nurture the child how he deemed fit and then present the child to the wolves.

With a mental growl, he finished the letter and rolled it up.

"Jaken," he softly called out, not betraying his emotions.

The green toad demon scrambled to his side.

"Have this delivered."

"Yes, my lord," the demon said, taking the scroll and heading out of the room.

Two days and at least Inuyasha was breathing regularly.

"He should wake soon," the doctor had said.

For the infant's sake, he hoped so. It was clear that it wanted more than just to be laid by Inuyasha.

Sesshomaru stepped out of his office and back to the room where Inuyasha lay resting. There was the infant once more, resting by his father's side.

Approaching them, Sesshomaru watched over the two; Inuyasha with his white hair, and the infant with a mixture of black and white. A true mutt, in every sense of the word. Black hair covered most of the scalp, with a shock of white in the front. And although the eyes were closed, Sesshomaru could recall with vivid memory how bright blue eyes that were, already beginning to develop from the cloudy blue all newborns had.

Sesshomaru sat down next to Inuyasha's vacant side, noticing that an indentation on the bed meant that Katsutoshi had recently vacated the room to study or train.

These past two days had been rather enlightening. Upon the birth of his sibling, Katsutoshi retreated to Sesshomaru's study and began to pour over scrolls and books of laws and tribes. And if not studying, he focused on his sword play.

And he also learned that holding a sleeping infant was somewhat comforting.

Sesshomaru reached out and brushed the hair from Inuyasha's face.

"What are you dreaming of, little brother?" he murmured.

The sounds of swords clashing caught his attention. Katsutoshi must be practicing again. Moving to the window he looked down. Tamotsu was being unusually ruthless with the child.

"Why are you so desperate to get this right so quick?" he was asking as Katsutoshi hit the ground.

The black haired brat smacked the ground with his fist.

"Because! If my father does not open his eyes, I need to be strong enough to defend them both."

Admirable. Sesshomaru couldn't help but recall when his father had asked him if he had anything to protect.

"He truly is your son," Sesshomaru said, glancing at Inuyasha. "This one wonders… if given time, will he be able to wield your Tetsusaiga?"

Sesshomaru decided that maybe it was time to be more involved with the sword training. He swept out of the room, determination in his stride. There would be no time to lose. If Katsutoshi was that willing to learn, then so be it.

X

Katsutoshi heaved a large sigh as one of the servants washed the dirt from his hair. When Sesshomaru had turned up to teach him what he knew of his father's style, he couldn't have been more surprised. His father lying unresponsive in his room seemed to have affected his uncle in a strange way. Tamotsu was gentle compared to his uncle. But he also couldn't be dissatisfied with the rough treatment.

To be challenged meant to be working for more power. And his uncle was a challenge. It made him want to see how a battle between his sire and his uncle would be like.

The servant poured water over his head before guiding him out of the tub. A thick sheet was thrown over him and the servant began to dry him.

He knew that his sire was going to summon him tonight. But after the beating he took, Katsu really didn't feel like going. Especially if Naraku was going to keep saying weird things.

X

Everything felt warm.

Taking a deep breath, Inuyasha tried to open his eyes once more.

It was dark, save for a candle somewhere to his right.

But he felt two bodies pressed against his side.

A small one on the right, and a long one on his left.

Confused, Inuyasha turned to the right first, just to confirm that it was indeed his son.

The scent he had long since grown accustomed to flooded his senses.

Katsutoshi was curled up facing him, and Inuyasha could make out all his features. Think black lashes, a face that promised to become angular as he grew older, and hair that had a hint of curls.

Good thing Naraku took a handsome form. A shallow thought, but still, it made it easier for Inuyasha to look at how beautiful his boy would grow up to be. And despite those dominant features, it was the expressions that he made when angry or happy that looked like himself, and to some degree, Sesshomaru.

Turning to his left, Inuyasha was a bit stunned to see Sesshomaru was the one who laid there. His silver hair was tame, and his white long lashes twitched against his cheeks as he dreamed. And in the moonlight, his hair glowed and his lips gleamed.

Inuyasha felt himself blushing. But he also felt weak as if he had lost a lot of blood, and if that were the case, he doubted he had enough to blush.

He let out a sigh and froze as Sesshomaru's eyes snapped open. Gold eyes bore into his before understanding crossed in them.

Sesshomaru sat up. "Inuyasha," he murmured.

"What… what happened?" he asked, his voice coming out soft, yet harsh.

"There were complications during the birthing process."

"The baby?"

"The baby is fine. And so is Katsutoshi."

"Where… uh… what is it?"

"Shh… You still need to recover. Your color is not natural and I can see you struggling to keep your eyes open."

"But the baby…"

"Will be in your arms soon enough."

Inuyasha struggled to keep his eyes open, wanting to be stubborn enough to prove Sesshomaru wrong. But his body was betraying him as his eyelids grew heavy and he could barely hold his head up.

"Wha..t was… it?" he asked once more, voice extremely slurred.

With his head resting against the soft pillow, Inuyasha could no longer stay awake. And feeling the warmth his brother's body projected, he felt comfortable and safe.

X

Naraku grinned as his Samiyoshi reported its findings to him. News of the baby was heading out to Arashi. Regardless of the outcome, he knew the wolf was going to head out to the castle. The only thing that irritated him was that he still wasn't completely sure of what the gender of the baby was.

Katsutoshi had kept the gender a secret, which left Naraku unable to decide what feelings to send out to the dark wolf to spur him into action.

Sooner or later, he would find out.

And then he could begin the destruction of the Inu family. In the meantime, he would continue with the lines of thoughts he had been saying to Katsu, to breed doubt and insecurity.

X

Rin was lying down, staring up into the leaves of the trees as Kohaku's legs supported her head, a hand brushing her hair out of her face. His back was up against the tree, also staring up into the leafy canopy.

"Do you think Inuyasha will be all right?" she asked.

"Inuyasha is stronger than most people think, Rin. He's had trouble getting through some of the problems that have come his way, but he does his best. And from what I hear, he's even healed from the deadliest of injuries. Naraku did his best to destroy him, but with Kouga's help, he came back."

Rin hummed thoughtfully. "And now that Kouga is gone, Lord Sesshomaru is doing his best to keep Inuyasha strong."

"Yes."

"I do wish Katsu and Lord Sesshomaru would get along for Lord Inuyasha's sake."

Kohaku sighed. "Katsu is loyal to Inuyasha and Kouga. But he did train with Lord Sesshomaru so there is hope."

"And he was so excited about being a brother. I'm just worried that he's missing his chance to bond with the baby since he's been waiting by Inuyasha's side."

"It's only been two days. He'll have time."

The two went silent as they continued relaxing, staring into the sky.

X

Inuyasha woke up once more, this time feeling more alert. The sky was darkening and he could only hope that it was the same day.

He heard the door opening and he turned his head to look in that direction.

Entering the room was Sesshomaru, and in his arms was a bundle of moving cloths.

"You are awake."

"Yeah. Is that… my baby?"

Sesshomaru glanced down at the bundle in his hands, looking troubled. He then approached the bed, holding out the precious cargo in his arms. "This is Nami. Nami, your birthing father, Inuyasha."

"N-nami?"

"You were unconscious and therefore unable to name the child."

Inuyasha felt irritated. Why was it that he was unable to name any of his own children so far? And then his thoughts went back to the name. "You named the baby… Nami?"

He gently took the baby from Sesshomaru. "Then it's a…"

Sesshomaru sighed. "Nami is a female."

Inuyasha felt his heart sink as he pulled the infant close. His vision blurred with tears and he blinked them away, trying to get a good look at the daughter he held.

Her eyes were fluttering open, revealing eyes that were a bright blue, just like her Sire's. Unlike Katsu, she bore no mark of an Inu. The only hint of him in her was the shape of her eyes and the shock of white hair on her head. She let out a small sound and a smile as she closed her eyes, apparently content with being next to her bearer.

Inuyasha pulled her close and began to silently weep.

A daughter.

"Sesshomaru…" His voice came out pathetically small.

He felt the bed dip next to him, and a warm hand came around to rest on his opposite shoulder.

"Inuyasha… This one will do what he can to avoid handing her over to the wolves."

"Please…" Inuyasha whispered, leaning into his brother's shoulder. "That's all I can ask of you… I can't lose her. I can't."

Sesshomaru's one armed embrace tightened for a second as his other hand came up to cup Inuyasha's cheek. With his head bowed, Inuyasha couldn't see the determined look in the Demon Lord's face.

Little Nami slept soundly, unaware of the turmoil her bearer and her guardian were going through.

X

Katsu watched his father sleeping as he lay next to him. And even though he didn't see him, he could feel, and smell, his uncle on the other side of his father.

When his father finally woke up three days ago, Katsutoshi was excited. But then that excitement dwindled. His father was still week and bedridden, and according to Chie, it was common for a bearer to be drained after birth. Especially considering that his father had essentially died on the bed.

He couldn't believe the baby caused that much damage.

Did he give his father that much trouble?

He had never asked much about his birth. And the only thing that Kouga had mentioned was that he had an angry cry.

He wondered if it was an Inu thing, to sound angry at birth.

But then again, he had a hard time imagining Sesshomaru as an infant and wailing.

Katsutoshi frowned as Nami began to cry again. If he had been asleep, he knew it would have woken him up. That was another irritating thing about her… she was awfully noisy. Was he this loud when he was this little? If so, he had to marvel at how his bearer was able to maintain his sanity. Even Sesshomaru was having some trouble. He almost expected the Inu to banish them back to their room (really it was hopeful wishing) but instead he kept them in the master chambers, taking turns with Inuyasha in caring for the baby.

The flawless lord was looking an ounce haggard, that even the toad and Rin mentioned it the day before.

It earned them both a worthy glare, although only Jaken scrambled for cover as Rin just shook her head and offered to brush out Sesshomaru's hair.

Kohaku, mortified, suggested they leave him be.

It would have been amusing to see the lord do something to the human girl. But no such luck.

He was still worried about his father. Ever since he woke up and saw the baby, all he did was stare at her, hold her, and shed tears.

This baby was supposed to be happy news. Why was she making her father miserable? Because of the wolves? Surely Sesshomaru could bring up the issue to the council.

Sesshomaru got up from the bed and made his way to the crying demon child. Picking her up, he made his way back to Inuyasha who was struggling to sit up.

Inuyasha's kimono slid open and Katsutoshi could see the healing cut on his father's stomach.

He felt a bit ill recalling the amount of blood that had poured from his father's body when they cut him open to get to the baby.

Inuyasha took the child into his arms.

"Should I get the wet nurse?" Sesshomaru asked.

Nami became quiet and still.

"No. She just wanted to be near me. Katsu, could you just slide over a bit?"

Katsu moved over, feeling a bit annoyed. Why him? Couldn't he have put the child in between him and Sesshomaru?

Katsu looked at his little sister, who reached out and touched his face. She gurgled, smiled, and yawned, before closing her eyes.

Katsu glanced at his father's face, and watched as he gave her a small and sad smile. He was thinking of Kouga again. He knew that look.

The baby was reminding him of Kouga.

Sesshomaru's arm came to rest around Inuyasha's waist. "Is she all right?" he asked, sounding tired. "I can call for one of the servants to come if she needs changing."

"No. She's dry. And I can do it myself."

Sesshomaru grunted. "Why bother? That's what our servants are for. Especially since you can't get up just yet."

Inuyasha frowned and so did Katsu.

Briefly he couldn't help but wonder if his uncle was really going to try to keep Nami at the castle or if he only said that to appease his father. Having servants take care of the baby's daily needs was a sure way to keep his father from growing too attached.

But then again, it would keep him from being really sad should the wolves come for her.

Katsu settled down to sleep, still a bit annoyed at being the one to move from Inuyasha's side.

Nami was kind of annoying to have around right now. Kind of like what Naraku had said the night before.

Katsu closed his eyes, trying to go back to sleep. He thought back to the conversation.

"So how is brotherhood treating you?" Naraku asked as Katsu walked into the clearing.

The young demon frowned and glared at his sire.

"I see."

"Everything is fine," Katsu muttered.

"I'm sure. All the attention is on the little one, and you are slowly being replaced."

Katsu growled. "No!"

Naraku smirked. "I've seen it happen in families with more than one child. Besides, it cuts down on sibling rivalry when the throne is factored in. But then again, if Inuyasha has a child with Sesshomaru… he probably would treat that one equally to your new sister."

Katsu looked at his sire, perplexed.

"I have no legacy to offer you, at the moment," Naraku murmured. "Meanwhile, Nami has Kouga's pack to belong to, and Sesshomaru has a kingdom to offer to a future heir. You have nothing in your future unless I manage to take over all the lands."

Katsu stared at the ground.

He hadn't thought of that.

"But you know… It is common for siblings to fight for the right to rule a throne once they are grown up. In the case of your father, he chose not to, although your uncle did chase him down in his youth out of fear that Inuyasha would challenge him. Being a bearer took that threat away."

Katsu looked at Naraku, unsure of where his sire was going with this line of thought.

"It would be much easier to take care of her now while she's weak and helpless. And imagine the power you could obtain if your absorbed her."

Katsu said nothing, just staring at Naraku.

He could feel his sire trying to pry into his mind to read his thoughts, but he kept his barriers up.

"But of course you wouldn't do that, would you," Naraku finally murmured. "Even though no one would know what happened."

Katsu turned to walk away.

"Do you not wish to train?"

"I'm tired," Katsu responded. "Two nights from now."

That night had also been a close call.

He had used his own room under the pretense that he wanted to sleep alone, and for once his father didn't question it.

With his father preoccupied, and his uncle not caring, it should have been another easy night to get out and then back in.

But that night, his uncle had been restless and had gone for a midnight stroll. And just as Katsu was about to make his way back into the room through the window, the door to his chambers opened.

Sesshomaru stepped inside, looking puzzled, and for a moment, Katsutoshi panicked.

His doll would have a scent of dirt. And it was clear that Sesshomaru's sense of smell was better than almost all of the demons in the castle. His uncle paused at the door, and then frowned, taking a couple steps inside, towards his bed.

Katsu released some miasma, hoping that the stench would overpower the scent of dirt just enough to keep Sesshomaru from investigating.

The Inu wrinkled his nose in disgust and stepped back before turning around to leave, quietly closing the door.

A moment later, Katsutoshi slowly lowered himself from the window of his chambers, red eyes glinting.

It had been too close for comfort. He ended up having to disintegrate the body and spend the night in his bed.

Of course, with the conversation firmly planted in his mind, Katsutoshi found himself having a hard time sleeping even while in the same room as his father.

X

Inuyasha was now able to sit and stand up with little assistance, and Sesshomaru dare not tell him that he had sent the wolves the required news of Nami's birth.

Knowing Arashi, the wolf would probably come to see the child despite the orders that he and Inuyasha would give up the girl once didn't require her bearer's presence.

And when they arrived, he would face them alone, or else he feared Inuyasha would suffer a setback.

As it was, his hanyou brother was suffering quietly. He had seen how he would hold Nami and stare at her, sometimes with a small smile, sometimes with a look of anguish. Knowing his brother, he probably felt guilty at birthing a girl and dooming her future. And he probably felt that he let Kouga down by not providing a real heir to the pack.

All Sesshomaru knew was that his time was growing short in finding a way to void the contract with the wolves. He needed to find something to present to the council that their choice was wrong, preferably before the wolves got the news and arrived.

Not to mention there was also the threat of his mother coming to visit. If she came now while Inuyasha was at his lowest, there was no way of knowing how greatly her presence would end up being detrimental to the hanyou's well being.

He was seriously thinking of sending word that the Lady Inu was to be barred from Western Lands until further notice. But knowing her, she would refuse to listen and force her way in.

Being alone in his study, he allowed himself a moment of undignified actions by running his hands through his hair and tugging at the roots of them in frustration. He then released his abused hair and soothed them down.

Prior to Inuyasha's arrival, running his lands had been relatively boring, thus the constant travelling and seeking out his brother and the sword.

Now it was chaos and stress and Sesshomaru wished Inuyasha was more than capable to challenge him and take over.

Or at least run it with him.

That idea had merit.

When Inuyasha recovered, Sesshomaru would have him trained and well versed in the laws of the Inu lands so that he could assist in smaller issues. It was a task normally assigned to the mate of an inu lord, and even though they were not mated, it was clear that many were expecting the union to take place now that Inuyasha has given birth.

And that idea was growing more and more appealing.

Having almost lost his brother, he wanted to insure that it would never happen again. Bonding would lend Inuyasha strength and complications would be lessened. Not to mention, to be able to touch his brother without the excuse of hiding his scent…

Sesshomaru slowly fanned himself.

He would need to continue showing Inuyasha that he was indeed a changed demon by providing the protection he swore to give to Nami.

And reaching a real truce with Katsutoshi.

Now that would be almost impossible.

He had spent almost an entire afternoon giving him lessons in Inuyasha's style of fighting, but that did not mean he wanted the dark child's company more than necessary.

It was the stench. There were random nights in which the child smelled of Naraku and Sesshomaru found himself fighting the instinct to eradicate it. And if Inuyasha knew of that, it was almost certain that the hanyou would find a way to leave quickly.

He couldn't risk that, knowing that the real threat of Naraku was out there.

Then again… he had seen the contemplative looks Katsu had given Inuyasha and Nami during those long times that his brother was so focused on his new daughter. It was a look of contempt that he himself had felt when he first learned of his half brother's existence.

But unlike him, who waited until Inuyasha could try to fight back, Katsutoshi was the son of Naraku. Who could guarantee that Katsu would now behave like his sire and eliminate all threats as quickly as possible?

Maybe spending more time with Katsutoshi was the best thing to do. It would be reckless to assign Jaken to keep a close eye on the child. He already did a poor job keeping track of him for his studies.

X

"You're heart's not into today's battle," Tamotsu said, as Katsu stumbled backwards.

The demon child glared at the inu captain before turning his glare to Ginta whom he had barely blocked.

"Don't look at me like that!" the wolf whined. "You keep telling me to not hold back. I was only doing what you asked."

Katsu bit back from responding that it wasn't fair to do so while he was distracted. But then he recalled Naraku's lessons and the camp and knew that Ginta really had done no wrong.

It annoyed him.

Everything annoyed him.

Everyone that he didn't care much about seemed to pay so much attention to him as of late, as if they knew that his father wasn't doting on him anymore and that they were pitying him.

He didn't like it at all.

In just a few days, after his father almost died giving birth to that female, everyone seemed more concerned about how the baby was doing instead of how his father was recovering and how his father was behaving. Quiet and withdrawn, he was still taking care of the infant—or trying to.

He'd seen how the wet nurse and servants would come in and insist on handling the daily needs of the baby. And it was clear that his father did not want to give up holding Nami.

Color was finally beginning to seep back into his father's face, and his voice was becoming more sturdy. But even Katsu could see how much trouble he still had standing by himself. His legs trembled. There was no way he'd safely pick up Nami.

His father used to heal quickly. This whole issue was just impeding his father's ability to care for himself.

And he was so focused on the baby that just earlier that day… Inuyasha had looked at Katsu as if he didn't know who he was.

It hurt.

Katsu had just mumbled an excuse when his father finally recognized him and asked him if he needed anything.

Katsu stood up and readied himself.

He needed to focus.

He needed to get strong.

Then he'd rid the lands of useless beings and protect his father, earning his rightful place back at his father's side.

X

Inuyasha laid Nami into her cradle, skillfully created by some of the merchants out in the kingdom.

Amazing how Sesshomaru could find people to work quickly for his needs.

The outer part itself had been constructed with smooth woven branches that was coated in a cherry colored gloss, most likely from berries. The pillows covering the bottom and sides were sewn with the smoothest and softest materials imaginable. They were just a bit softer than the sheets that adorned their beds.

Seeing the fine workmanship, Inuyasha felt his resolve strengthening.

This was wasteful.

He needed to snap out of it and shed this melancholy feeling that was dragging him down and making him miss out on really spending time with Nami and Katsu.

He was feeling considerable stronger, although he was certain that if Sesshomaru had walked in to see him holding Nami and walking, he probably would have removed the baby from his arms and forced him back into the bed. The slight trembling of his legs and arms wouldn't help enforce his proclamation that he was much better.

Arashi was going to come for his child and he would be damned if he wasted precious days just looking at her.

Nami looked up at him, with tired and sleepy eyes.

"I'm sorry," he murmured. "I know I've held you close, but I'm sorry I haven't really been a good father yet. You'll see. I don't need servants to help me take care of you. I raised your brother just fine without help like that."

First thing he needed to do was clean himself well. The servants had been helping but Inuyasha still felt like he was a mess. Sesshomaru had indeed spoiled him by providing such large and warm baths.

But he knew his limits too.

Inuyasha stepped out to look for the servant in charge of preparing the baths.

X

Katsu knew his father wasn't in the room the moment he stepped in. All he could smell was a faint trace of him, Kouga, and Sesshomaru, meaning it was only Nami in the room.

So his father was walking.

He thought hard about everything Naraku had been saying and he hated to admit that most of it was right.

All the attention was on the new baby, and he barely had time to spend with his father.

Watching the depression on learning that the baby was born a female, watching as he slowly came out of it in denial about the thought of giving it up…

But he couldn't see why so much fuss was going on about her.

There was so much information available that no one was looking at.

Nami's eyes opened to look at him.

She let out a small cooing sound as she kicked her feet and waved her hands.

Katsu just stared.

As he looked at her, he couldn't help but think of another thing Naraku had said. Actually, everything he had been saying as of late had been so similar. And he was starting to hear it in his head, even when not in the presence of his sire.

She'll probably be more powerful than you. Imagine if you absorbed something more powerful than you and one that is so defenseless. An easy win, wouldn't you say?

The thought of doing that was kind of boring if someone asked him. Katsu reached out with one hand and the girl grabbed his finger and held on tight, letting out a happy sound. Katsu just stared.

His sire's way would be an easy way to return things to normal. Especially since according to the Council his father would have to give up Nami.

Staying longer would mean more time for his father to grow attached.

Nami continued to making cooing sounds, her bright blue eyes, so much like Kouga's, staring up at him.

So tiny and defenseless.

Katsu's tentacles slowly rose from his back.

X

Sesshomaru frowned as he made his way to the master chambers. He had spent the entire day dealing with small disputes that were pointless to him, but necessary to resolve to keep peace in his lands. He barely saw Inuyasha today, or Nami. He hadn't even seen Katsu.

But there were the reports. Tamotsu made a remark that while trivial, it bothered him. He mentioned how he had never seen a child so focused and dedicated. He mentioned that even the wolves, Ginta and Hakkaku were a bit unnerved by their little master.

And he couldn't help but feel as if something were wrong in the castle.

He had once caught the look in the eyes of the black haired brat, and there was something unsettling about it.

He had come out of the chambers and didn't even notice him. The eyes looked dead for a moment, before they became filled with silent rage.

Never had he looked more like Naraku, nor smelled like him, as he did that particular moment.

Had Sesshomaru been in less control of his emotions, he probably would have done something like gasp.

Instead, he remained silent and thoughtful.

Despite his misgivings, he knew that the child had a growing sense of what was right and wrong. He strived for the approval of Inuyasha.

And he was brilliant. The attention given to all the scrolls and books were proof of that, but sometimes Sesshomaru couldn't help but feel that it was all a trap and he was harboring one of Naraku's cast offs.

But then he would catch Katsutoshi smiling and Sesshomaru would see the part of him that was of Inuyasha.

And he was still confused as to how Kouga was able to stand raising the son of the beast that hurt Inuyasha.

Sesshomaru opened the door to his chambers, ready to call out to Inuyasha.

Sesshomaru stopped short as he saw tentacles, very much like Naraku's, pulling into Katsu's back. Within a split second, he was by the cradle, staring at the vacant fixture. He turned to look at Katsutoshi, who was looking at him with challenging eyes.

Those empty red eyes that he had to admit that he abhorred.

He reached down and yanked up the child by the front of his vest.

"Where is the child?" he snarled.

The brat smirked. "Wouldn't you like to know?" he asked, in a taunting voice.

To Be Continued

A/N: Um… *cough* I've been delayed by lots of things. But still… So sorry! Anyhow, I know people will probably not like how OOC Inuyasha is, but depression and trauma can affect a person badly. But as you can see by his determination, it was only a minor relapse. But what of little Nami? I'll be kind enough to tell you all is not what it appears.