Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for this absurd adventure... especially for the destined one. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.

Chapter 57: Thoroughly Stuck

During his youth, Kouga's father had warned against playing pack. Wolves who made light of their instincts usually ended up at their mercy. The urge to band together was so deeply-rooted, it often overtook the unwary. A careless wolf could find himself irrevocably bound to fools... or a contentious mate.

Kouga had reason enough to hate Kagome—for what she'd done, for what she was. But like it or not, he felt the tug of instinct. As stuck as a puddle-green impling. "Holding... beholden... be damned," he grumbled, glaring sulkily at his companions. His to protect. His to provide for. His pack.

Kagome pointed to herself. "Mama. Can you say mama?"

"Imps aren't raised by parents." Kouga poked idly at the little youkai. "Quality is determined by parentage, and this one's gotta be a dud."

The pipsqueak bit his finger.

Kagome smirked. "Oh, he's smart."

Kouga lightly tapped his beak. "Try this again when you have teeth."

"No, no, Wilson," Kagome scolded. "He's our friend! Kouga's ours."

The wolf tried to gauge the meaning behind the woman's words. Belonging was a rare gift, a high compliment, perhaps even a claim. But Kagome's interest lay more in training her imp than in attaching herself to him. Fine by me.

To Kouga's surprise, the baby left off gnawing, even patting his abused finger. An apology. Unbelievable. "I don't do pets," he grumbled.

"Wilson isn't a pet. He's a person!"

"You'd never even seen a youkai up close before me."


"And when you found out you were surrounded by unregistered youkai, you freaked out."


But now you call that bit of green a person, and you're treating him like your own kid?"

"Erm... yes."

"Why?" Kouga challenged.

Wilson tottered back to Kagome, who hugged him close and shrugged. "Must be fate!"

End Note: Posted on January 28, 2013. 300 words.