A/N: I did promise a new Inuyasha story. Although short, here's the first chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
A Little Vacation
The old miko looked up from her work as a small kitsune child raced into her hut in a panic. He sailed into her arms without stopping to catch his breath, effectively knocking her own out of her. "Calm down, child. What ails ye, Shippou?"
"Do something! They've all gone crazy!"
"Who are 'they' and what do you want me to do about it?" she questioned, feeling as if she were going to have to pull every detail out of him.
"Kagome, Inuyasha, Sango, Miroku, and even Kirara!"
"Perhaps you should start from the beginning." Kaede placed him in her lap, smoothing his hair down gently. Something had certainly frightened the cub.
"We were collecting shards like normal while battling demons and then the girls started smelling funny. Nothing unusual, they always do this time of the moon cycle. Even Kirara which isn't normal. Anyway, mostly male demons started to try to kidnap Kagome and Sango. A few even got as far as making off with them before Inuyasha and Miroku rescued them or the girls exterminated them on their own." Shippou paused to catch his breath, allowing Kaede to slip in a thoughtful,
"Hmm…" She had a pretty good idea the cause of everything but didn't voice her opinion. The fox demon child liked to pretend he was older than he really was. There were some things that he didn't need to know just yet.
"If that wasn't bad enough, Kirara started to try to give me baths and the girls started acting all motherly on me."
"I see." It was difficult to keep a straight face. The last thing he needed was to feel that she wasn't taking the situation seriously.
"And to top it off, they stopped to watch a mother rabbit with her babies. They actually cooed, Baa-chan! I can see Kagome doing it, but Sango?" Shippou shook his head, clearly perplexed.
Just when Kaede was about to offer her opinion, she heard several voices call for the russet haired boy. Small shoulders flinched as he turned pleading emerald eyes up at her. "You have to do something, please."
"You ran away, didn't you?"
Without a hint of guilt, he nodded. "Yeah, when we got close enough to the village, I ran for it."
She didn't get to respond before the door mat was pushed aside and an aggravated half demon glared at the child. "He's here, Kagome!" Inuyasha called over his shoulder before coming into the old priestess' hut. "Shippou, you made Kagome worry."
"I didn't mean to," Shippou said just as the others caught up.
"There you are," Kagome sighed in relief. "I worry when you run off like that."
"I was just headed back here. I know my way."
"We know that Shippou but with all the demons around lately, it's best to stick with the group," Miroku answered, a slight reprimand in his voice.
Kaede raised a brow at this and frowned mentally. The monk was usually content to let the kitsune child run where he wanted. That Miroku off all people objected was troubling. Noticing the shadows under the teens' eyes, she began to worry.
About to comment, she was startled when Kirara transformed and picked Shippou up in her jaws. She carried him over to the bucket of warm water sitting beside the miko and dropped him in. "Kirara!" he protested, sputtering when he came up for air. The water turned murky with dirt.
Seeing the paw prints on her kosode, Kaede made a mental note to scrub the cub's clothes later. "This is troublesome," she murmured and turned to interrogate the others only to find that they had slumped into opposite corners, asleep. They'd paired off, Kagome leaning on Inuyasha's shoulder while Sango used Miroku to prop herself into a sitting position.
"See? I told you something's wrong. Sango would never allow Miroku that close if she was feeling well and Inuyasha only lets Kagome sleep on him when she's exhausted."
"Indeed. Perhaps you should give me more details, Shippou, while you bathe," she said, handing him a bar of soap that Kagome had given her.
"Okay," he agreed although he wasn't happy about washing. Kirara was still in her larger form so there was no escaping. He told her everything he could remember and some things he only thought to be true.
By the time he was curled up in Kirara's fur, Kaede knew that something was really wrong. Four healthy teens should not be so exhausted. The only question that remained was what to do about it. At the moment, she was stumped. It wasn't like they could all take a vacation.
Or could they?
Dusk came and she was still pondering how she could get the group of adolescents to take some time off and rest when a familiar yet distinctly unsettling aura appeared in the village. Kaede remained where she was, knowing that for once the elder dog demon brother meant no harm.
"Here I stand and yet he does not even wake; how pathetic." The rich baritone of Sesshoumaru's carried to her on the wind and he pushed back her door mat without asking for permission to enter. Tall and regal, the Lord of the Western Lands gazed at his brother with disdain but did not attempt any violence.
"Did you need something, Lord Sesshoumaru?" she asked, feeling Kirara stir next to her. One ruby eye opened to assess the situation before closing again in slumber.
"You believe I need something?" he asked.
"You would not have come otherwise."
"Hn, Rin has been complaining of aching bones. I want to know why."
"Rin?" the old miko asked, curious. Was that not the name of the child he cared for?
"My ward. Do not make me ask again, old woman."
I see rudeness runs in the family, Kaede sighed mentally before answering. "She is likely growing. Ensure that she drinks milk and eats regularly. The growing pains shall pass, I assure you. Is that all?"
"That is all," he affirmed before turning to gaze down at his brother. One red-gold opened and a warning snarl passed Inuyasha's lips softly. "I have no interest in your female, little brother," the elder said scornfully. Turning back to the priestess, Sesshoumaru became grave. "For the safety of your village as well as their own, I would get them far from here. If I can approach without them noticing, so could Naraku."
"I see. I am devising a way now. Thank you for your assessment, Lord Sesshoumaru. It was as I'd supposed."
"Hn. A malnourished pup is not fair game. You will recover, Inuyasha. Nothing and no one will take your life but me." With that last statement he left, his pelt brushing his brother's arm in a seemingly brotherly fashion.
Thinking the last was just her imagination, Kaede went back to trying to figure out how to get the children away from the dangers of the Feudal Era without letting every enemy they had know about their disappearance. Perhaps for once Inuyasha's older brother could be counted on to ward off any retaliation for the moment. Unless she was going entirely senile, his visit had been more than just to find out how to help Rin.
It was almost as if he was worried.