Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
Trouble, Thy Name Is Woman
Never let it be said, Inuyasha thought, that he didn't cater to Kagome's whims. The others had no idea to what lengths he went to in order to keep her happy. There was no doubting that he complained, yelled and was generally frustrated when she went home without him but when he did join her in the twentieth century, he was basically her lap dog. If she needed something carried, he did it for her. When shopping, he did what she wanted and then as a reward, he was able to have all the ramen she could buy at that moment. And he couldn't forget the times when he took her to school on his back because otherwise she would have been late. There was also the time that he'd made her that special cold medicine so that she could take one of her stupid tests. Of course there had been an ulterior motive for that, as the human brat Hojo had tried playing nursemaid also. Like he could possibly help Kagome get better in the same amount of time Inuyasha could.
After all, didn't he purposely stick to roads that she could easily walk on? Didn't he go out of his way to find her hot springs so that she could take those all-important baths that she'd gotten Sango addicted to? And if the opportunity came up to sleep in a village, didn't he let the monk scheme to get them a room for the night?
If all that were true, then why was he being punished now for being just as considerate as he always was? That's what had to be going on. There was no way a group of women could possibly have taken an instant liking to him. Most villagers would rather burn him at a stake than welcome him in. Of course, it could be due to the fact that there were no men in this village and that Miroku had instigated contact.
"This is all your fault, Miroku." Inuyasha sat in the sealed hut, wondering when their girls were going to cotton onto the fact that something was wrong. He should have sent Sango with the bouzo to begin with. Maybe then the women would have believed them when they said they weren't available.
"So you've been saying. I don't see how you can possibly blame me for this. It was your insistence that we stop here for the evening. I believe you said that it was safe because there were only women and children here, female children at that. Maybe you should have thought things through considering the fact that the last time we stayed in an all-female village, Sango ended up being possessed."
"I was merely being considerate. Kagome and Sango deserve to be treated like real women, not warriors. I thought they'd appreciate a nice bath and the chance to sleep indoors for once. It's not like I sensed any danger."
"Not the usual kind. I could have told you there was going to be a problem the moment we introduced ourselves." Filled with indignation, Miroku struggled against his bindings. "You could at least untie me."
"I could, but where's that going to get us? They've locked this hut from the outside and put ofuda up. Neither you nor I are going anywhere and if they see that you're still tied, they might disregard me long enough for me to escape. If I can take the guards out without hurting them, then we can both return to the girls without too much trouble. If we're gone much longer, Sango's going to know something's really wrong and then Kagome will start to worry. There's no telling what they'll do if they discover us here among all those women. I have enough trouble trying to convince Kagome that it's over between me and Kikyo."
"That might be because you run off to her every time she comes around."
"How else are we going to learn if she has any clues about Naraku's whereabouts? Kagome won't stand for her to be in the same camp as the rest of us if she can help it. And I do owe it to Kikyo to avenge her death."
"Maybe, but Kagome does deserve a little consideration. You could at least offer to take her with you."
"Not after the last time Kikyo tried to kill her. And don't look at me like that. I know full well what Kikyo tried to do to her when she stole the large shard of the jewel from Kagome. Our miko's silence is more telling than her confession."
"True," Miroku agreed. Kagome could speak volumes just by being quiet. Of course, she did tend to put out a "disturb me and die" aura when she was angry so that made guessing her mood easier. "Seriously though, one of these days you're going to have to sit down with her and tell her it's her you love and not Kikyo."
"Right after you confess to Sango."
"Well, if that's all it takes. How about right after we get out of this mess?"
"Do you have any idea when that'll be?"
No, but afterwards, I'll confess, you'll confess, and then we'll all be one big happy family."
"Sure we will. Do we include Sesshoumaru in that scenario? Family I'll agree to but happy? I never thought you were much of an optimist."
"I don't suppose we can disinherit your half-brother, can we?"
"Sorry, no. He may be a cold-blooded killer but he's still my brother. I can't very well disinherit the only link to my father."
"Ah, well, every family has its problematic members."
Inuyasha frowned at his friend. "And here I thought that was you. I hate to say this, Miroku, but you're starting to sound quite odd. What was in that stuff that they gave you to eat?"
"I do believe the tea was laced with sake. Not bad for an all-female village."
"Great, now you're drunk as well as tied up. Sango's not going to be happy." Shouts on the outside of the hut made both men cringe. "Speak of the demon slayer. Looks like we're in for it now, monk."
The door to the hut opened and there in the doorway stood their beautiful, strong, and angry women. "Hello, my dear," Miroku greeted, hoping his slightly tipsy state wouldn't be apparent in all the confusion.
"You got yourself tied up and Inuyasha stuck in a warded hut so that neither of you could escape. Why am I not surprised that it was because of a woman?"
"That's not it at all, my dear. Inuyasha just thought that you and Kagome would enjoy a hot bath and a bed indoors for the night. He thought it would be safe because this was a village filled with women."
Kagome glared down at her hanyou. "And what possessed you to make that assumption? You know what happens when Miroku gets near women."
"Excuse me, Miko-sama, but are you saying these guys really do belong to you?" The headmistress of the village gestured to the two sitting in the hut.
"Yes, ma'am, they're ours." Sango nodded in agreement, sighing in regret.
"Come on, you two, let's go home." The demon slayer moved forward to untie Miroku while Kagome removed enough sutras so that Inuyasha could exit the building without becoming a crispy dog demon. Whoever had put them on the hut hadn't had much power so they'd compensated by adding as many as possible.
"Dears, we truly are sorry for the misunderstanding. Let us repay you by granting your dog demon's wish. It is the least we can do. It's been so long since we had any abled bodied men around that I'm afraid we weren't willing to listen when they told us they weren't available." The elder of the village escorted them to her home, where several young children and teens played.
"Can I have the doggie now, Grandma?" A little girl, approximately the same age as Sesshoumaru's Rin, tugged on her grandmother's sleeve and pointed to Inuyasha.
"I'm afraid not, dear. He belongs to the nice miko. If you took him away, I'm sure it would be hard to find another inugami as fierce as he to work with. Besides, they seemed to have been together a long time."
"Lifetimes," Kagome said ironically and Sango giggled at the play on words. Miroku and Inuyasha were smart enough to stay silent.
"But I want him!"
Kagome knelt in front of the little girl. "Sweetheart, he's not a pet. Inuyasha is half dog demon. He's his own person, with his own thoughts and feelings. You can't own a dog demon."
Inuyasha felt his heart soften at her words. It was times like these that showed him how much she loved him. Kagome had never truly feared him, not even when he had attacked her in the beginning. She had stood up to him and she'd been standing up for him ever since.
"But I saw a little girl who did. She had a tall dog demon at her side when she came to get supplies. He followed her everywhere."
Kagome straightened, her lips compressing in an effort to keep a straight face. "He wouldn't happen to have a crescent moon on his forehead and pink stripes on his cheeks, would he?" she finally asked when she was certain she wouldn't laugh.
"Uh-huh." The little girl scrunched her eyes in confusion. "I don't understand."
"Keh, must have been Sesshoumaru and his little girl." Smirking, Inuyasha couldn't wait until he saw his brother the next time. "Sorry, kid, but my brother isn't owned either. He's lord of the Western Lands and the girl you saw his is ward. He wouldn't have let her come into this village alone."
"Inuyasha, you aren't to make fun of your brother when you seem him next. He's already mad at you."
"You take the fun out of everything." She sent him a glare but didn't scold him further. He supposed he would hear about it later.
"See, there now. I did tell you that you wouldn't be able to keep him." The headmistress smiled when her granddaughter went away in a pout. Turning to the group again, she bowed in apology. "Forgive Aiko, she caught sight of your ears and fell in love."
"I know the feeling," Kagome said smiling. Inuyasha huffed beside her and the other two chuckled.
"Keh," was the only thing he could think of to say. Inuyasha made to follow the others but Shippou's sudden cry for help stopped him. "So that's where the little runt went."
The kitsune child came barreling into the house, Kirara on his heels in kitten form. He scrambled up Inuyasha's body and hid beneath his hair. "They're after me, Kagome!" Kirara mewed plaintively and positioned herself in Sango's arms.
"I know the feeling, Shippou," Miroku sympathized only to have Sango send him a look promising death if he made another sound.
"Oh, dear, you have another youkai male with you. Isn't he just the cutest thing? And the kitten is adorable."
"Shippou's just a child, Headmistress. He won't be grown for several more centuries. And Kirara's a nekomata. She only looks cute." Several disappointed whines followed Inuyasha's explanation. Kirara, taking offence at his description growled lowly. "I mean, you do look cute in that form Kirara, but you're not a kitten." White furred ears flatted when she chirped at him in an obvious scold. He was getting it from all sides today.
"Inuyasha, quit while you can still climb out of the hole you're digging for yourself," Kagome ordered. "Unless you want to make one that you can't."
"Bossy wench," he muttered but didn't say anything directly to her. She was still mad enough to sit him into a crater if she wished.
The village head watched the byplay and felt a rush of maternal warmth looking at the squabbling foursome. They had obviously formed their own kind of family, each of them being different from ordinary people. That the dog demon brother was not with them was a telling factor. She knew that half demons were looked down upon by both races because they were neither full bloods of one and supposed that was the reason. Silently she prayed for forgiveness from the gods for trying to separate this close knit group. "Mitsu, please show our guests to their rooms. "Hana, begin a bath for them."
The group split in two, not anything out of the ordinary except that the boys didn't go into one room and the girls into another. They'd been paired off, the headmistress believing that they needed to be. Kirara and Shippou were obviously expected to act as chaperones. Both boys took one look at the ridged backs of their girls and mentally sighed.
It was going to be a long night.
Inuyasha slumped against the corner of the room, and looked at Kagome as she struggled with her math homework. "You might as well give it a rest for the night, Kagome."
"This is the last problem. And you can just stay in your corner for the rest of the night, mister."
"Don't I always?" he asked, ignoring the futon spread out for him. Shippou had used it for his own while he waited for Kagome to return from her bath but now was curled up in hers, waiting for her to settle for the night.
"You don't have to. I'm still mad at you."
"What does you being mad at me have to do with me using the futon?" Confused, Inuyasha rose and came to crouch next to her so that he could get a good look at her face.
"Because, the futon is close and…" Kagome looked up from her work and promptly blushed. "Well you see, there's a saying in my time that if a husband is in trouble with his wife then he sleeps on the couch and…" the words trailed off, not making much sense to either of them.
"Idiot. Kagome means that the elder put the futons close because she thinks you're a couple. And since you're in trouble with Kagome…" Shippou yelped when Inuyasha's fist crashed down onto his head.
"Shippou, go to bed and stop calling people idiots. It's mean." The kitsune silently did as he was ordered, not used to Kagome scolding him.
"Is the runt right?"
"Yes." Kagome's blush deepened and she looked away.
"Women, you're all trouble today."
Miroku cringed when he heard Kagome's screech next door. The subsequent crash that herald a "sit" left him no time to wonder what it was about and he got a daggered look from Sango. "I had nothing to do with it, Sango, I swear."
"You swear? I think that he's gotten worse with Kagome since you joined us then he was before."
"Hey, I joined them before you did." With a pout, the not-so-virtuous monk slumped onto his futon. "Truly, Sango, this whole thing was Inuyasha's idea. He just wanted you two to have a decent place to sleep for the night and a bath."
"So you're saying it's his fault." Sango placed her Hiraikotsu in easy each and went to go lie down on her bedding. Kirara positioned herself in between the engaged couple. "Really, Miroku."
"All right, we both bear some responsibility. I should have realized what might happen earlier and warned him before we got too close."
"How did you manage to get caught by a bunch of non-combatants anyway?"
"Well, you see, there was this young girl who asked for help…"
"That figures!" Enraged, Sango strode over to him, her fist raised to strike. On her way she tripped over Kirara, who cried out when one of her tails was stepped on. Sango's descent carried her down until she was lying on top of Miroku.
Shocked into silence, both stared at each other mutely. "Sango?" Miroku finally managed. Heat rose in his face as he felt her curves pressed into his body. There was no hiding his reaction to her closeness now. Several minutes stretched out before she said anything.
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to fall on you." Deciding it would be best not to bring up anything about the reaction her falling on him had brought on, Sango started to rise with as much dignity as possible.
"Quite all right," he wheezed when her elbow dug into his side. Sitting up, he gently grasped her arm to keep her from moving away. "I apologize for making you worry about us, Sango. We will never go into a village full of women again without you by our sides."
"How about we just by-pass all those villages?"
"I do not think that it will be necessary to go out of our way to avoid them. There can't be too many." Pulling her closer, he took a chance and kissed her forehead. "You are the only one for me, Sango; you have no need to fear that someone will take me away."
"Just something. I don't want to lose you, Miroku. I…"
"I love you, too, Sango. The day we met you, was the best trouble I'd ever been in."
"Are you calling me trouble?"
"Only the very best kind," he said; a smile in his voice.
"If we had a couch, you'd be sleeping on it, you know that, don't you?" she asked in a huff, pushing him away. He'd learned from a master how to ruin the moment.
Miroku didn't have time to answer as Kirara, in her fighting form, plopped down in between the betrothed couple, making an effective barrier. "Merow," she rumbled, laying her head down.
"Good night, Kirara. Good night, my dear Sango." Glancing towards the wall that separated their rooms, Miroku grinned. "Tag, you're it, Inuyasha," he said loud enough for the half demon to hear him clearly. There was another vibration in the floor for an answer.
Inuyasha pushed himself up, having heard and understood Miroku's message. Calling Kagome's gender trouble hadn't been his finest moment and by the set of her shoulders, she wasn't about to listen to him try to explain it away. "Kagome…"
"Good night, Inuyasha." The miko had put away her school books and settled in the futon with Shippou wrapped securely in her arms. The kitsune knew full well how much that position irritated both he and Miroku and never failed to comment on it when the girls were gone from their camp.
"Kagome, I didn't mean…"
"Yes, you did. You said "you all," that includes me."
"Wench, the type of trouble you give me has nothing to do with the kind of trouble those women gave us today."
Turning quickly, Kagome upset Shippou enough to have the cub squeaking out loud. Inuyasha made a mental note to tease the runt about it later. "Excuse me?" she asked with deadly calm.
"You know full well what I'm talking about, wench. Right here," he said, tapping his heart as he came to lean over her. "And in here," he said, gesturing at his head. "Most of the time I don't understand you. Your attitude towards me has always been different. You've never been afraid of me, even when I would have hurt you to get the jewel."
"Inuyasha…" Gently setting Shippou aside, she reached for his cheek. "Mama taught me not to look at a person's outside. What matters to me is your heart. You've struggled for so long just to survive and have been scorned just because you were born. A child shouldn't have to suffer and your parents tried their best to ensure you knew they loved you. I don't know whether your brother ever thought things through about why your father gave you Tetsusaiga specifically but I have. He knew you'd need a strong sword to protect you from demons and the blood in your veins. Maybe he feared that it would be the only way you could get strong. Then again, if your brother's rash actions at your age were any indication, maybe he feared you'd be the same. You do tend to rush headlong into things."
"You think my brother was rash at my age?" he asked, wondering not for the first time, how her mind worked.
"Sure, why else would he not understand that you had no say in being born? Only a foolish person would be stupid enough to believe that. People fear what they don't understand and most obviously can't see what I do when I look at you." Kagome smiled, seeing the confusion in his golden eyes. She had veered off of the subject slightly but had made her way back around to it.
"And what's that?" He took her hand in his, holding it between their bodies. How she viewed him had always been a mystery.
"You're not a simple person. You have layers. The exterior is brash, rude, and sometimes cold. And then you have your layers of kindness and sensitivity. There's even a part of you that's still a child, wanting a mother's love and a father's guidance. Most of the time you act like you couldn't put a battle plan together if you played connect the dots but I know you have a keen mind when it comes to the search for Naraku. You've only ever really acted like an idiot in my time and that's just because you don't understand how things work. And most importantly…" Kagome swallowed hard. "Most important is your loyalty and your ability to love. You'd never forsake our friends and the way you've remained loyal to Kikyo even though she's gone, is amazing. I wish I had the ability to love like that. It's never wavered, in all this time." As proven by his constant chasing of her clay replica but she didn't add that.
"You do have that ability. You capacity to love knows no bounds. You befriended me even when I didn't want you to and you took in Shippou even though he's a youkai, loving him as your own. You gathered Miroku and Sango close even while knowing the difficulties and burdens they have. They see you as a little sister now, despite Miroku's first attempts at lechery. You have complete faith in Kirara in battle and in the times of travel. I don't think many of your school friends would fly on her back without protest. You don't even say a word when she has to pick you up in her jaws."
Smiling with trembling lips, Kagome tightened her grip on his hand. "You do understand me most of the time. Her large teeth in her fighting form are just like your claws. They're used to protect the people she cares about. You use these to protect us. When I look at them, that's what I see. And your ears, I think they're just so cute," she added on a lighter note.
"You see? That's what I don't get. What could you possibly find cute about my ears?"
"It's a girl thing, men aren't meant to understand."
"And it just causes trouble."
"Face it, Inuyasha. Men are not supposed to understand everything about women."
"Obviously. It goes the other way too because you don't get everything about men either."
"Hey, I'm only fifteen. It's not like I've had a whole lot of experience."
Narrowing his eyes, he got close again. "Good. If you did understand us, you'd know why I go to Kikyo when she shows up. I have to so that she doesn't come near you. I know that she tried to kill you in the past and just because her clay form is changing her attitude, doesn't mean I can fully trust her. My trust in her died when she believed I had attacked her. There will always be a part of me that loves her, but I have no loyalty to her any longer other than to avenge her death. You are the one I'm loyal to now. I always will be, wench." Taking a chance, he dipped his head and brushed a kiss lightly over her lips. "I'm yours, Kagome. A dog demon doesn't give his love lightly. Somehow you managed to worm your way into my heart. I'm not letting you go. Not to Kouga and not to that human brat Hojo either."
"Inuyasha…" she breathed. "I love you too."
"That much is obvious, wench. Why else would you stick with me all this time?" Leaning back, he made to lie down near her. He could take the opportunity to rest near her and not have to watch from a tree to guard his pack.
"Idiot," she said lightly. "You're still going to sleep on the metaphorical couch." Kagome pointed to the corner on the far side of the room. "Maybe then you'll think twice about getting caught by a bunch of women."
"It wasn't intentional. One of the young ones needed our help, or so she said."
"Yeah, yeah, it's all Miroku's fault. I'll see you in the morning." Turning her back on him, she had to stifle a giggle as he huffed in irritation and moved away. He didn't go as far as the corner but Kagome figured that was all right. Maybe in the future they could enjoy a night where he didn't have to stand watch over them from afar. She always liked it when he stayed in her room at the shrine.
"Night, Kagome," he whispered and smirked to himself. He doubted Miroku could have done better with Sango.
The next morning found them on the road once again, the girls in front while the guys watched them discreetly. Their attitudes towards them had been cool unless either one or the other of them had caught the eye of their loved one. Blushes abounded then, much to the disgust of both Shippou and Kirara. The nekomata had awoken to find Miroku half laying on her in an attempt to get closer to Sango. She had not been amused. Shippou saw his days of sleeping in Kagome's arms numbered and was not looking forward to the time when he'd be relegated to a futon of his own.
"Inuyasha," Miroku began in that contemplative way that often meant trouble. "I seemed to have spent my night on a metaphorical couch."
"I did too, although I didn't have the wakeup call you did."
"Thank you for the reminder," he said sarcastically. "I just have one question."
"Yeah, what is it?" the half demon asked, wanting to put his complete concentration on his miko.
"What is a couch?"
The monk's only answer was the girls' laughter.