To the Masses: New story, oh my! I just really liked the idea of Inuyasha being a father and the Beads of Subjugation being eviiiiiiil. Not just regular old 'evil' either, you have to draw out the 'I' sound and then cackle at the end like you just took over the world.

I also felt like Kagome-Bashing, if you can't tell by the end of the chapter. Excuse my introduction while you're at it. I figured I would rush head first into the type of story I wanted to write, and didn't make an easy transition from cannon to 'what Al wants.'

Warning: OOC and AU (all fanfics are), Kagome-Bashing, Slash, slavery, abuse, more OOC, and more to come.

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha


Chapter One

For a mother is the only person on earth
Who can divide her love among ten children
And each child still have all her love. –anon.

Inuyasha blamed the heat, as it was the only likely explanation to why he couldn't just leave the girl behind. It wasn't just the heat of an unusually warm summer either, though it was a bit hotter than normal. It spike in the temperature was so high that Inuyasha had gone so far as to dig a deep pit in the ground so he could lounge in the cool earth, and Shippo, Sango, and Miroku had joined him on more than one occasion. So it wasn't the summer weather that had his mind scattered in the winds, but the heat of a child bearing demon that caught hold of him once every twenty two years.

Inuyasha had already survived three of those horrible cycles on his own, usually pent up in a cool cave somewhere with dreams of children he would never have to keep him company. Still those thoughts tormented him, saddened him, and compelled him to pick Souten up by the back of her little armor and carry her for five miles before he set her down to walk on her own.

Taking wards was not uncommon for demons, especially those of the higher status that Inuyasha had been born into. The wars that demons instigated and fought and the lives they took daily left many children without parents or guardians, so it had become a common practice to take in strays. Sesshomaru's little girl, Rin was even a good example of demon adoption, even though she was human. There was just something that started their instincts screaming to take in the child.

It had taken Inuyasha by surprise when they'd happened upon Shippo, and again when he'd seen Kagome cuddling up to Souten. The need to protect a child wasn't the issue, but that he could hear his instincts through the Beads of Subjugation when they suppressed almost everything else. Maybe it was Kagome's urge to take them in that had been passed to him through the beads, Inuyasha surmised but he wasn't complaining.

Souten didn't ask what Inuyasha was doing because she knew, she felt the need to be protected and she felt it when Inuyasha subconsciously offered to fulfill that need. That damned dragon didn't ask either, but flew behind his master while happily chatting about nothing in particular. Souten wasn't much of a talker, Inuyasha learned quickly, but when she did speak it was loud and full of confidence. Her intelligence would eventually clash with Shippo's arrogance, Inuyasha thought absently, but their creativity would probably lead to many pranks and eventually they would work well as a team. His chest swelled with a bit of pride at the potential, but the inclination to immediately act as a demon father would was squashed by vicious logic.

Shippo seemed to take to her rather well. He had to tilt his head back to meet her eyes but talked down to her like an older sibling would, which was his right. He was the first picked, which made him first in line to whatever legacy Inuyasha had unless the half demon bore pups of his own. He was also older, but only by a decade, if Inuyasha's nose was correct –and it always was. His young voice seemed to dominate the conversation after the sixth mile marker, having come out of his shell a bit more.

Neither Sango nor Miroku commented on his sudden acceptance of a new child into their group, but Kirara did offer a comforting mew to Souten and Koryu and short congratulations to Inuyasha and Shippo. The war cat's communications were short and barely heard over the sounds human's normally made while traveling.

Sango knew the tradition of adoption and thought it was adorable, but would keep those thoughts to herself until her and Miroku would coo in private at a later time. Miroku was also educated enough in the way of demons to recognize what Inuyasha was doing for the child, and likewise would trade gossip with the Slayer at a later time –likely as soon as they were out of Inuyasha's range of hearing.

Inuyasha only wished Kagome was as 'in the know,' as the other two humans. Her first assumption was that Inuyasha was taking the girl in because Kagome had taken a liking to her, and only after that did she wonder about any remaining family. "What if Souten's family comes looking for her?" she asked innocently enough.

"The kid's got no one else;" Inuyasha said gruffly, "the letter was signed by 'Souten, the last of the Thunder Demon Tribe." It was only the instinctive bond that was formed immediately after Inuyasha accepted Souten called 'oyakokankei,' that allowed Inuyasha to feel the immediate spike of sadness coming from the little girl. And the emotion only reached through the beads because his heat cycle amplified everything, which caused further frustration. In return Inuyasha fretted about what to do, and before he could open his mouth Kagome had scooped the little girl into her arms and began to coddle her in a very human-like fashion.

Annoyance swept through the 'oyakokankei,' a moment later, followed by a wave of jealously coming from Shippo. Inuyasha rolled his eyes subtly and fought against a sigh; the damage Kagome would do would take a lot to fix. The half demon could only offer Shippo a meaningful look and a quite growl of reassurance, and then offered the same to Souten as she whined for a second time about her forehead being touched.

"Kagome let the girl walk, that's what she's got legs for," Inuyasha snapped, pushing past the children and the rest of his pack to take point. He trusted Miroku enough to lead them back to Edo, but he didn't want to see the angry look on the Priestess' face right before she…

"Sit," Kagome growled out, while still holding onto Souten. Instantly the Beads of Subjugation glowed and pulled Inuyasha's face to the dirt.

Shippo and Souten weren't shocked to see their leader eat dirt, but both did feel a little guilty. The Beads meant Inuyasha belonged to Kagome the way a concubine would belong to a lord, which meant that every time he displeased her he would have to kiss the earth. In their childlike minds their petty whining and childlike behavior caused Inuyasha's annoyance, which led him to become snappish, and that upset his 'Master.' That all added up to a 'sit,' and hurt feelings all around, so Shippo corrected his jealously and Souten immediately stopped complaining about rubbing cheeks with a human. Inuyasha could barely feel their tender emotions, but the beads couldn't take that way from him completely, and it only added to his bad mood.

The other two human's also watched in a bit of morbid fascination, the feelings that played across the children's faces. It had become rare to see any type of remorse from Shippo, because of his fox-like nature he strived to get whatever he wanted at whatever price. For someone as young as the kit, it meant getting the confections from Kagome's time at the cost of Inuyasha's dignity. Occasionally the child would still look sad as Inuyasha pealed himself off the ground, but he was also on the fast track to becoming a master of hiding his emotions. After throwing Souten into the mixture it seemed like everything had become raw again, and the pups realized that their own protection relied heavily on Kagome's whims. After watching the three feed off of each other's sadness Miroku vowed to have another talk with Kagome about removing Inuyasha's collar.

Kirara and Koryu were lesser demons and so had no place to mention the acts of subjugation. That didn't stop them from sharing a meaningful glance and a promise to talk as soon as Kagome left. Now that there was another servant in their wake it would only take a bit more planning on Kirara's part, all they needed was a bit of time.

They were so close to Edo, and once they reached Kaede's village Kagome would return to her time to take those annoying tests. Afterward Inuyasha would only have two days, three at the most before he wouldn't be able to take the separation and would have to retrieve Kagome from across the well.

Eventually they did make it to Inuyasha's Forrest and then into the village. They filled the time between Inuyasha's last 'sit,' and their arrival with small talk and the children chattered almost happily. Then Inuyasha was just counting down the time until Kagome's departure, as much as it would torture him.

Predictably, Kagome was reluctant to leave. Souten was still too new to her, and she hadn't gotten over the novelty of having a new child in their group. Eventually she did leap down the well, and Inuyasha and Shippo watched as Souten rushed forward to look into the pit only to find it empty.

"Well," Miroku finally spoke up a moment later, "Sango and I will busy our selves in the village. You shall find us there when you are ready to depart." He tilted is head in a mocking manner, knowing full well that Inuyasha was their leader but his teasing nature would never allow him to outright bow to his friend. Sango followed after the monk and would wait with him dutifully until Inuyasha decided it was time for them to leave. Kirara and the little red dragon followed slowly after, only after Koryu but his master a hesitant 'see you later.'

Inuyasha rolled his eyes when he heard the first excited squeal from Sango and Miroku instantly met her excitement with his own. Sometimes they severely underestimated his hearing, but they had given him the benefit of being out of sight before they started their gossiping. Though he was embarrassed at their outright excitement about Souten he couldn't bring himself to holler at them, because deep down he was just as happy.

Souten leaned over the wooden structure, Shippo perched by her side and they both stared into the depths until the human chatter could no longer be heard. Then, like a dam crumbling, Souten turned and launched herself into Inuyasha's strong arms and began to weep. "Thank you," she wailed first, rubbing her small nose into Inuyasha's chest while trying to inhale as much of his scent as possibly. "I thought I would be alone forever," she whispered a moment later.

Inuyasha didn't look down at the child, and his gaze looked far away as he lifted a single clawed hand to rub Souten's hair. He understood what it was like to be alone, having grown up as a half breed with no one to care. She probably didn't know how lonely she really was until they had come along, but it was alright. They had become pack, and even if Inuyasha were to die Shippo and the rest would still be there for her.

When she had finished crying in relief, only seconds after she spoke, her tears turned to one's of sadness. Shippo weaseled his way into the other side of Inuyasha's chest only seconds later, his mixed emotions had quickly become too much for him. Their guardian knew what those tears were for.

They felt emotions that he couldn't, the one's the Beads of Subjugation suppressed so that he would stay complacent to Kagome's demands. Already he could feel a fog at the edges of his mind, one that often overcame him if he was too far away from Kagome. Slaves were never meant to stray far from their masters, and five hundred years was a hell 'a far away.

"Hush now, pups," Inuyasha spoke a moment later in a soft tone that still managed to sound tough and in-charge. He was becoming too agitated by their tears, and his own emotions were already chaotic. Taking on a new child wasn't an easy feat, and his mind was already trying to adapt to her presence. Her addition also made clear all of the things Shippo was lacking, and had been for some time.

Still, there was not a lot he could do for either of them. In the time he remained alert after Kagome's departure he could teach Shippo a new thing or two, but he never had the time to make that lesson stick and found that he had to teach the little fox demon one thing several times over before he would adapt to it. His only saving grace was that they both knew how to read and write their own names, at least. Souten probably knew a bit more, but he still needed to teach them things like hunting and tracking. They also needed to learn basic combat and neither of them had chosen their first real weapon.

Little things like crying mushrooms or laughing acorns were child's tricks, little spells that parents could teach their children in a time of danger that was meant to distract an opponent so the child could run. Every time that child used the spell to conjure a screaming leaf or dancing twig it would alert the parent through the oyakokankei. Children were meant to outgrow such weak attacks and Inuyasha was disturbed to find that Shippo and Souten relied on them.

Inuyasha let out a low growl and raised a hand to pull at the beads for the thousandth time, only to release them after a few seconds. He felt compelled to leave them, as if they belonged there. Slightly defeated he lowered his arm again to cradle the pups to his chest. They had settled down and were looking up at him with large eyes.

"Alright, that's enough of the mushy shit. We need to catch dinner before nightfall. You two will need all of the good meat you can get in the next two days," he said as he stood abruptly and dropped both of his pups on the ground. They both landed on their feet, so at least he didn't have to worry about either of them having trouble finding their balance.

"Why?" Souten asked innocently, her index finger was resting on her bottom lip. Her large red eyes were swollen from her tears but healing quickly, and she was gazing up at him with the question dancing behind her eyes.

"Kagome won't let us eat uncooked food," Shippo explained instead of Inuyasha, because all the elder could do was growl a bit before the bite of his anger was squashed. "She thinks that since it's bad for humans it must be for demons too. When Inuyasha tried to give me rabbit she 'sat' him, and so now we have to eat as well as we can while she is in her time."

"Oh," was all Souten could say in reply, looking down at her armor clad tummy while thinking something was better than the nothing she had been trying to survive with. A small rumbling drew the other's eyes towards her stomach as well, but she met Inuyasha's gaze without shame and inquired, "Can we have a buck for supper?"

-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Sango was plenty aware that they had not left Inuyasha's range of hearing before she unleashed her first cheer of excitement. She just wanted her friend to know how happy they were without putting him on the spot and hoped he wouldn't mind too much.

The Slayer's grip tightened on the leather band that held Hiraikotsu to her back as she struggled to contain her own emotions. Happiness over their growing crew, an empathetic sadness that Inuyasha couldn't openly bond with his wards in fear of how Kagome would take it, anger at her own friend for keeping the collar on Inuyasha, and confusion over what Kirara and the little dragon were talking about in hushed growls and yips.

She and Miroku gushed over the cuteness of both Shippo and Souten until they were at least a mile away from the well and both of their dispositions changed. Miroku's grip on his Shakujou tightened and his gaze lowered from Sango's breasts to the ground. The smiles slipped from their faces, replaced with a tight, almost helpless look.

"Maybe we should explain their dynamic to Lady Kagome," Miroku suggested, not for the first time.

Sango shook her head immediately, "She already thinks of herself as Shippo's mother and spoils him rotten. She's likely to treat Souten the same, and there's nothing we can do about that. However, if we explain that Inuyasha is already their father in demon tradition she'll either try to make Inuyasha more 'human,' or assume her relationship with him is deeper than it really is."

Miroku nodded, having heard it all before. On the downside, if Kagome were to subconsciously will Inuyasha to become more human-like through the Beads of Subjugation then his own powers and ability to fight and protect would be compromised further. If she went in the other direction and allowed their friend to take her into his bed then that would be the end of his virginity and ruin any chances with demons actually worthy of his status. It was after all, well known that Inuyasha was the brother of a lord, so he could accept no less than a prince or a lord as a mate, and demon's of that rank were well known for bedding only virgins. It ensured that their bodies would be pure and not pass on any illicit disease. In Miroku's opinion, whether Inuyasha be a half demon or not, he was worthy of that status and deserved to be taken care of.

"Has Lady Kaede thought of a way to remove the beads yet?" Sango inquired, dragging them both from the worst 'what-ifs' they could possibly think of.

"Not since I asked her yesterday," Miroku paused to sigh heavily, "Neither I nor Lady Kaede have been able to talk Kagome into removing the Beads of Subjugation. I have half a mind to write to Inuyasha's bloodthirsty brother myself, and plead for aid."

"Why don't we?" the Slayer inquired, stopping before the first house of the village and turning to look at the monk.

"I fear Inuyasha would not be willing to pay the price of his own pride to accept any help from Lord Sesshomaru, and it would only cause greater conflict between the two," Miroku reasoned.

The statement was met with a disapproving growl, and for the first time the little red dragon addressed them directly. "Maybe it would be worth it," Koryu said in his nasally voice, "Lord Inuyasha would surely see that being free would be worth it in the end, if that meant he could teach and protect my master to his fullest potential." That statement was followed by vigorous nodded from Kirara and a round of yips.

"We'll write to Lord Sesshomaru then," Sango said a moment later, a bit of new hope blossoming in her chest, "and once the beads are removed Inuyasha will be able to fight with all of his strength."

"Do not forget, dear Sango," Miroku added, while stepping past the first house and leading them through the center of the village, "how adorable it will be when Inuyasha will be able to act on his parental instincts."

Sango paused for a second to imagine Inuyasha teaching his wards how to fish or hunt their own food, and let out a girlish giggle. "So cute," she gushed, catching the attention of many villagers.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Even from across the Western Lands Sesshomaru could feel a bond being formed. It was a purely instinctual thing, and did not surprise him that Inuyasha would take another child into his life –especially during his twenty-second year. To his little brother that time meant overwhelming urges to conceive. However, there were not many that would mate a half-breed and fewer even still that Inuyasha would be in the position to meet as he roamed the country side. The only option left would be to take in a pup as his own, and if Sesshomaru were honest with himself (and he usually was) then he would acknowledge that he'd known it was only a matter of time.

He'd taken in a child of his on in an attempt to fill the void that only a son or daughter could. Rin had thus far proven to be the highlight of his very long life; watching her grow and learn, testing her boundaries, driving his servant to new heights of distress that Sesshomaru had never managed to reach. He felt proud when she succeeded and happy hen she laughed, even though his face remained as emotionless as ever. She somehow knew what he felt, and took the love that he guarded fiercely whether he gave it or not.

Sesshomaru glanced across the field of flowers to where she crouched as his thoughts turned back to his brother. He wanted to meet the new child that Inuyasha had deemed worthy of their family, but he could never outright go to his brother with those intentions. Maybe they could pass by casually if Sesshomaru sent his ward into the village beyond Inuyasha's Forest for a new kimono. The orange and yellow garments she wore were becoming tattered with the harsh conditions of travel and he would have to stop somewhere regardless, might as well put a face to the young girl that had become his niece. That way he could kill two birds with one stone.

He quelled his excitement when he recalled the young fox demon and the woman that traveled with them. Sesshomaru wasn't very fond of humans to begin with, but something about the priestess screwed with his impulse to protect what family he had left. That necklace didn't escape his notice either, and he could have killed her outright for even owning such an artifact.

He'd seen beads just like the ones around his brother's neck when he was younger and his father raged war against demons from the south. They had caused much grief for his people, and eventually became banned altogether. He would have killed her too, for daring to insult his kin by enslaving his half-brother, but then Inuyasha would just parish with her. After all a dog should never be allowed to outlive it's master.

Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed only a fraction as he realized the route his mind was taking. Thoughts that included his brother were hardly tolerated unless they included beating him into a pile of meat, so associating 'worry' or 'concern' with the mongrel was out of the question. Still, he should do something about that collar. Allowing someone, anyone of kin –even that stupid half-breed to remain collared was insulting and undignified.

He would have to look into it when he ran into the ingrate again.

"Rin," his tone and volume were the same as they always were, but an extra bit of demonic energy urged the wind to carry his voice to the human child. Immediately she looked up from the bundle of daisies, just to confirm that he'd called to her, before she rushed to his side.

The young human girl clutched a reef of colorful flowers to her chest and looked up at him with brown eyes, asking him if he would wear the crown she'd made for him. Without word he bent at the waist and allowed her to attach the creation to the top of his head before he stood erect again. He looked regal and masculine and far too dignified for a man with flowers in his hair.

"Come Rin," Sesshomaru said, "you have a new cousin I should like to meet." With those last words he turned in a new direction and began to walk.

Rin cheered happily and when Jaken eventually managed to catch up she danced circles around him and Ah-Un. Rin apparently could not wait to see her new cousin either, and wondered if this time she and Shippo and his new child would play with her instead of just watching the inevitable fight between her wonderful Lord Sesshomaru and his unruly brother. Oh and how she hoped that her new cousin would like flowers.

Sesshomaru ignored the senseless noise that followed him everywhere, courtesy of Rin and Jaken (mostly Jaken) in favor of evaluating the new bond. It felt weak, but growing every second. Plus, whether he'd like to acknowledge it or not, Inuyasha would probably turn out to be a great parent once the whole issue with those beads was cleared up. It was likely that they would also be able to defeat Nuraku and his subordinates if Inuyasha could fight with his full strength once again.


To Those Who Just Read:

'A dog should never be allowed to outlive its master,' is from one of the early episodes with Yura of the Hair. I think.

Hope you liked it so far. I plan to do a scene from Kagome's point of view next. I just don't' want to try writing that mess right before I go to bed, I hear it causes nightmares.

I'm kidding, but one thing I don't joke about; I heart me some reviews. I'm not going to hold the next chapter hostage for them, because I hate it when people do that. When I was younger (eleven or twelve) I used to think that a website wouldn't allow the writer to update unless they received so many responses. I know better now. Those people were just greedy. (I'm greedy with reviews too, but I still won't hold it for ransom)

The story does evolve. It's not just a romance. There's a plot in there somewhere…I hope.

Thank you for reading,

Alzipher