Disclaimer: Besides the plot line, I don't own anything. Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi and Yomiuri TV Corporation. I'm not getting any profit from this story; this was just made for fun.
Warning: Maybe there is bad language? I'm not so sure what you consider bad language... ^^U
Thanks to: All of you for bearing with me!
"Argh! I have no idea of what to write about!" It could be heard a child's whimper coming from one of the many rooms of the mansion… All right, only Inuyasha, who was kneeling outside, working at the huge garden, managed to hear her.
"I think that Miss Kaede has some troubles with her duties." He spoke quietly, as if he didn't wanted to disturb to his lady master. She was at that moment sitting at the garden's table, with a delicate sun umbrella covering her face. She wore a beautiful long dress, with lace and matching scarf. She was the perfect example of a fine lady from the late thirthies. At that moment, she was drinking a cup of tea.
"My precious Kaede? Nonsense, my daughter is a very smart child. She can perfectly work out her duties, as it must be.
For a couple of seconds, the hanyou stared at his mistress with hate. He was honestly impressed at the show of indifference from the woman towards the obvious frustration of the kiddo. It was already the fifth complaint he heard coming from his owner's room!
"Israel, as soon as you finish cleaning up the water fount, make sure that the apple trees and the roses bushes are perfectly trimmed.
"As you said, mistress." He answered rolling his eyes and working again with that hideous water fount. But then, a small, almost invisible smile appeared on his face when he managed to catch a glimpse of Kouga running up the stairs to help their owner, through the huge window of the dinning room.
How long had they been living with this family? If he recalled right, next Tuesday it would be 2 years since they arrival to that place. At first it had been really hard to adapt to this life. He wasn't resigned to this life, yet, and their last owner had been a real jerk. Of that kind of fat and hideous people who ordered them things like change up his slippers or cover them with the blankets… which were on their side or their feets… yeah, he wasn't in mood to remember that grotesque bastard.
"…-on't forget to make sure that everything remains closed. And confirm that Kaede finish with her duties before 7PM. Also, once we return I want the dinner served." Spoke a man, getting out to the garden, wearing and impeccable black suit and shoes that matched.
"Consider it done, master." Sesshomaru answered with his cold and monotone voice, walking behind him. His gaze kept firmly to the front, as if he were always looking towards the horizon.
"My dear, is time to go to the event."
The fine lady stood up and began to talk with her husband, but Inuyasha didn't pay attention anymore. While working with that fountain – which he had already cleaned 4 times before that day, he kept listening to Kouga's and Kaede's conversation. She was finally calming down.
Almost everyday was the same. Kaede had to work with her duties, mostly literature assignments, and other tasks like sewing, weaving, having tea with her mother and other stupid stuff like that, as Inuyasha liked to call them. It didn't matter if Kaede wasn't in the mood. They were things that she had to do, regardless she wanted or not or if it was something complicated. She just simply had to do it.
And there was no place for discussion.
And the small child was always stressed because of that. She wasn't like any other girls of her age, she was a free spirit, a person with a strong character and never wanted to be the one to become submissive.
The owner's house left inside their carriage and for the next couple of hours Inuyasha finally had a moment of peace. Without any more orders coming from that 'obsessed-with-my-clean-garden' woman he would finish cleaning the garden in no time.
Obsessed was a name that remained short to describe her, but the point was understood.
Sighing, he continued working with all the marble fountains of the place and then he took the scissors to work with the trees – it was way more easier to work with his claws but he had been ordered not to.
Finally, after finishing his tasks of today, Inuyasha entered the house through a small room at the backside of it. He left the utensils and the dirty shoes before entering the mansion. Usually he was shoeless inside of it, and he always wore his old and mistreated haori, which despite being old, was always clean. House's orders, of course.
When he reached the main hall he listened part of the conversation the other three Slaves were having. The same three people he had been seeing the last centuries. No, they weren't his friends. He couldn't allow himself to feel nothing anymore, it didn't matter if it was just a small show of affection, nothing could come from him.
Because everyone left sooner or later.
"Don't be cruel, Sesshomaru."
"He's not being cruel, Miroku. Is the master's order." Was Kouga who answered. They were both walking behind Sesshomaru who was beginning to climb up the stairs while carrying Kaede, who had failed again at her efforts of escape. It was already the seven time today that this happened.
"Kaede's orders are more important than her father's ones. Sesshomaru, don't forget that we were given to her." Spoke the young monk again, walking with his arms folded over his chest.
Inuyasha looked at them as they made their way towards the upper floors. The kid who was being carried over Sesshomaru's shoulder was nearly crying.
He had learned with the pass of years to not care for his owners, he was just there to obey and serve, he was their Slave.
But Kaede, despite the fact that sometimes she abused of her powers without noticing it, was different.
She really didn't look alike to any other girl of that time. She was really smart and advanced for her age.
When Kaede saw Inuyasha, she begged him to help her to avoid her duties, but the hanyou only could shock his head.
That was an order he couldn't obey, because Kaede had her duties and he had been forced – just like everyone else – to make sure that she finished them. Yet, he allowed himself to go to her room a while later and left a small bouquet of roses over her desk. She really loved those, he discovered and he thought that it could make her feel better.
"… and that's the story, completely detailed, just as you asked me." He spoke dryly, staring at the top of the tree were he was sitting over its roots. The young girl who was standing next to him, was terrified.
"… I'm so sorry, Israel… I didn't think that… but…"
"Yeah, whatever." Inuyasha huffed, the roots were already soaked with his blood and that's why he was at one of the trees that were almost at the limit of the land of the mansion.
This night it fulfilled another month since his death.
And Kaede had saw him. When it was already dark, the child of eight years had decided to go out to the garden and give him something for dinner – she hadn't seen Inuyasha in the kitchens at the dinner's time - without her parents noticing.
Despite he had asked her – yeah, there was another order there that didn't allowed him to demand anything from her – to get away, she had just said the magic words and a simple 'Tell me all about it, completely detailed' just made Inuyasha to retell his death even if he didn't wanted to. Every single detail of that horrible night.
Kaede managed to suppress a small sob and looked to Inuyasha. Then, she placed the trail with food – that she had still been carrying – over one of the roots of the tree and then she began to run towards her house.
Inuyasha couldn't help but feel bad for this. He knew she was going to her room to cry. She was really sensitive but she wasn't allowed to show her emotions in front of the others because 'it isn't right for a young lady to do dramas' – in his father words, not his.
… soon, those kind of words would be the last thing that Kaede would be able to recall from her parents.
"If someone wants to say any last words, you can say them now." Spoke a priest, looking towards the multitude reunited at that place.
Young Kaede, of 13 years old already, was standing beside her four 'guardians' as she liked to call them. The five of them were looking, without any emotion over their faces, the two coffins in front of them.
Kaede was now an orphan. Some bandits had assaulted her parents when they were returning home from one of those events they used to attend. They had been murdered and had been stripped from their belongings.
The girl observed how the tomb was now sealed and finally, with a small sigh, she turned around and only said 'let's go'. She returned to her home, with her four Slaves following after her.
Inuyasha had always hated the extravagance her parents lived and the greed of Kaede's father was really well known, but it was thanks to that that he had been enough cautious to make sure on his will and letters that no one, absolutely no one other than Kaede had absolute power over the house. It didn't stipulated a limit of age and made her responsible for all what happened inside their land.
In a way, that forced her to become an adult at the age of 13. It was a completely stupid thing, but it had saved her to go to an orphanage.
Kaede entered the mansion and went to the dinning room, then she walked towards the living room and then she entered the kitchens. They had no servants, since all the house tasks were made by the four Slaves since their arrival. The young girl continued her walking around all the rooms of the mansion, which took a couple of hours. It was a big place and sometimes she just entered a room, stood there for a couple of minutes, staring at nothing, and then she walked away to enter another room and repeat the process.
Finally, after some hours, they sat down to eat dinner. Kaede had told them to dinner with her, at the table, and not in the kitchens as they had always been told to do. This would be done from now on.
"Miss Kaede…" spoke Miroku, after some minutes of silence. She hadn't eaten anything.
"Just Kaede." The girl said without lifting her gaze from her plate. "Forget about all the orders my parents could have ever told you. This is not a comment, nor a suggestion, this is a strict order. From now on, I don't want you to do anything they had ordered you to do.
The occupants stared at each other not knowing exactly what to say.
It seemed that Kaede would break in any minute, but she was forcing herself not to do it. She wasn't allowed to cry in front of other people… she had to show etiquette and act with elegancy… she had to… she had to…
Inuyasha tried to say something then, but he couldn't think of nothing. He had never dealt with something like this… no one had ever needed them so desperately.
It was then that Sesshomaru stood up, shocking the other Slaves, and walked towards Kaede who was now shacking while trying to take the fork on the table.
The taiyoukai stood next to the girl, took her arms and, softly, forced her to stand up. Then he just hugged protectively.
Immediately, Kaede clung into the strong embrace and began to cry, releasing all her suffering with bitter tears.
She only had her four guardians left… but things began to improve a lot for all of them.
"You want us to what?!" Exclaimed Kouga, scared. The girl in front of them had a glint of determination in her eyes.
"Sure! Why not? You have practically turned into my tutors and I only consider it fair that you can enjoy of the entire house thanks to that 'title'. You're not my servants, I know, but I can't ask you to not keep taking care of it. I don't want weird people inside my house, I don't know…"
Weird people… Inuyasha was sure that in the entire world there were no weirdest people than the four of them!
"So, what do you think? I don't know how to give you your Freedom, but at least I can give you a life with dignity in this second chance you have." She kept talking with tenderness, she didn't appear the girl of 15 years old she was. She looked wiser for her age.
"But Kaede…" Miroku rubbed his temples. "How do you expect for us to take that responsibility on our own? We don't know anything about this world, we have hardly ever been out of the mansion.
"There's none responsibilities! We are all going to learn together. We are now a family!"
Inuyasha stared at the girl running around the entire place. Her parent's death had made her grown up faster in some way but since she was allowed to be herself at home she used to act childish. That made a lot of her ideas to sound crazy but they always worked it out.
The young half-demon could notice that Sesshomaru was looking at Kaede with a gaze that seemed to be paternal… as if he were proud of her. That almost gave him a heart attack but since things were changing, it was only natural if Sesshomaru began to change too, right?
Even if he hardly used to talk with them…
… but that bastard hadn't had a right to treat her like that.
Inuyasha could only watch, helpless, how Kaede was crying from the bottom of her heart while hugging Kouga.
Sesshomaru had just rejected Kaede's feelings.
And the only reason why the hanyou wasn't tearing him apart for breaking the heart of the only decent owner they had have in centuries was because she herself had asked him not to do it.
Miroku was sitting near the gate of the garden, looking at Sesshomaru who was standing next to that same gate, staring up at the sky.
He could clearly hear Kaede's sobs from that place.
"May I ask what happened with Kaede, Sesshomaru? Were you so rough on her?"
"I didn't hurt her on purpose and neither did I treat her bad." He spoke, while closing his eyes. He had just rejected her feelings, he hadn't been mean and haven't yelled at her. Kaede wasn't a woman into his eyes. She was just like Rin, in some kind of way she was like his daughter and he couldn't see her any other way.
"He was such a gentleman…" Kaede whispered once her tears subsided. "It's not his fault, I was the one to blame… it was obvious he wouldn't share my feelings but…" the girl felt more tears coming to her eyes and she sighed, wanting to calm down. "He said- he said that he was grateful but- I was only someone as a part of his family, he could never see me as a woman."
It was then when Inuyasha walked towards the window of the room, he was able to see the taiyoukai who kept looking at the sky.
He also seemed to be suffering…
"A teacher?" Sesshomaru asked while sitting at the library of the house. He was looking at Kaede, who at her 20 years old had a determinate look on her face.
"That's right. I may be a bit late but I have decided to continue with my studies. I spoke with some of my father's friends and they'll send a governess to teach me from the next week and then I will be able to get into one of these new schools."
"It's all right by me, though it's weird that at your age you must have a governess, but if that's what you've choose to do, go on."
Kouga, Miroku and Inuyasha, who were gossiping at the other side of the room almost died because of that chat. Since when did Kaede ask permission to Sesshomaru to do something?
"Say Cheese." Spoke the photographer, under a black fabric and lifting a small device. Finally, after a powerful flash the picture was taken and once Kaede gave her address for the delivery, she headed toward her four companions.
"Congratulations, Kaede" Spoke Miroku being the first to reach her and patting softly her head, since it was the only part of her body he was allowed to touch – that's right, Miroku had fell into his perverted actions, though one simple order from Kaede stopped it all.
"The same here, after a lot of years you finally managed to fulfill your dream and know you've enough knowledge to be a teacher yourself." Spoke the young wolf youkai, taking his place next to Miroku.
"Thank you very much, guys. This is a very special moment to me." Kaede hugged Kouga for a moment, who returned the hug with tenderness and then she took one arm from each Inuyasha and Sesshomaru and started walking towards their carriage waiting outside the building.
Inuyasha felt uncomfortable with Kaede's movement. He wasn't accustomed to any physical contact with anyone, not even her and having her in that way made him feel suddenly in danger. He had to remind himself over and over again that this was Kaede and not that witch of Tsubaki.
Once they entered the mansion, Kaede was grateful again for the three presents that were waiting for her at the dining room, from Kouga, Miroku and Sesshomaru.
Kaede noticed that her hanyou friend hadn't give her anything, but she allowed that to pass, since she knew him perfectly and she knew that he was shy to any public show of affection.
She wasn't disappointed when she entered her room, only to find it decorated with a beautiful bouquet of the most beautiful flowers from the entire garden, including her beloved roses. Next to it there was a small handwriting note made by Inuyasha with a simple but sincere: "Congratulations."
The young woman just and simply loved her friends.
"Happy Valentine's Day" Kaede yelled while entering her house, after work, with some small handmade bags filled with homemade (or should I say, 'schoolmade') chocolate. She had decided to make some during her cooking classes and on purpose she had made a lot to bring back to her boys.
They were waiting for her. Miroku and Kouga were practically drooling over the chocolate and although Inuyasha and Sesshomaru really liked it too they managed to control themselves.
Kaede was now 45 years old and things were exactly the same way as always.
Maybe too much 'the same way' for her liking.
She entered her room and sighed softly, staring at the scenario outside her window. The village was changing, she was changing, her entire house had been changing as the years passed… but the boys were always the same.
Inuyasha (Israel, for her) still was the same stubborn and arrogant adolescent, but with a heart of gold. Sesshomaru was finally beginning to speak in front of them! But his appearance was exactly the same. Just like Kouga who lately had begun to fight a bit more with Israel, being Miroku the one trying to calm them… just like always.
And they all looked exactly the same…
It was then when reality suddenly hit her.
She would grow old, but they wouldn't. So, who would take care of them when she weren't there anymore?
She could think of that in a few years more, as for now, she would keep enjoying her small family.
"Do you want me to destroy this wall?"
"Yeah, it blocks the view towards the forest that can be seen from the dinner's room window."
"But Mrs. Kaede…"
"Lady, Kouga. I never got married, remember?"
"Yeah well… but if I destroy this wall then the wild animals could enter and destroy the garden."
It was then that Kaede looked deflated and turned around to see her beautiful garden. She was tired of always feel trapped inside her own home and, since from her dinner room she could watch the forest and the mountain not so far over there if that wall was destroyed, she thought that it was a good idea… but if that implicated to risk the safety of the garden that her beloved Israel had worked so hard to keep beautiful just for her…
"Don't worry, Lady Kaede." Spoke the hanyou, walking nearer her owner, of 65 years old already and 'the wolf'. "If there's any risk of any wild animal entering the garden I'll make sure to stop them and get them away from here."
"Oh, would you do that for me, Israel? I didn't want to order you to do it, but if you think it would not be a problem…"
"Keh!" That was everything the half-demon said.
And that way they destroyed that space on the wall that delimitated her house with the borders of the forest.
"All right, after dinner you can all go to your rooms, my dear boys." Kaede was now 78 years old and was having a small Christmas dinner with a couple of friends of her same age.
It was in very rare occasions when she had visits that she asked them to leave. Because of the common fights between Kouga and Inuyasha that only made the other old people in the place feel uncomfortable.
Inuyasha was now standing against his window. This wasn't the first time that Kaede had sent them back towards their rooms to have some peace and quality time in silence. But it was ironic how much had things changed. Time ago she always needed of them, all the time, but now… … he wasn't missing her, of course not, but…
He had realized their situation. Just like the other guys, he was sure. Kaede would live a few more years… maybe 20, 30 if they were really lucky and she managed to celebrate her 100 birthday. But then what?
"It's been so long since the last time we have been changed from owners, hasn't it?" Asked Miroku, standing at his door frame, making Inuyasha jolt because of the abrupt interruption of his thoughts.
"I was thinking that maybe this last 50 years we haven't been treated like Slaves… not so literally but… we will have to start again and-…"
"Inuyasha, you've softened enough to recognize how valuable is Kaede, don't you?"
"Keh, nonsense, Miroku… I just tolerate her, that's all."
"Don't be ridiculous, it's obvious that you're fond of her, just like the rest of us. It would be a stupid thing to deny that. She has been an excellent balm for all of us."
"Balm… it's been a while since the last time I heard that word."
"There are a lot of things that we don't have since long time ago, Inuyasha, my friend. I think that what we can do now is just to bring her our company until the last moment she allows it. And then we will see what we will do."
Inuyasha never answered and keep staring at the nothingness. He never paid attention to the forest or the view in front of him. Life with Kaede had been good, but he was still a Slave. After Kaede, he would become again a full time Slave and being treated that way. There was no doubt about it. So what was the reason to fight?
"We will just continue like this for all eternity, Miroku… nothing's gonna change."
"Not even your point of view of things? You can always get over yourself, Inuyasha… and most important, get over the troubles of the past. It's never good to live on the memories and thoughts that torment us. Not even when they come back in dreams…"
"… Nothing's gonna change."
Inuyasha narrowed his eyes, severely upset. Lady Kaede wasn't getting the double meaning of Kouga's words and listened to him attentively, believing he was talking about common pets… How wrong she was!
"Lady Kaede ordered us not to run, but nothing will happen if you stop for a moment and wait until you can't hear Kouga's words," Sesshoumaru spoke, cold and discreetly as always, to Inuyasha who looked at him with surprise. If it was true that they didn't hate each other, in the nearly seventy years they have been living with Kaede they had talked about… fifty times at most? Well, with Sesshomaru you never had something to talk about.
The young hanyou slowed his steps, allowing himself to relax once he noticed how the others were turning a corner. He waited for ten seconds and then began to walk again, carrying the three bags that Kaede had entrusted him with: The loaves of bread, milk cans and butter.
Sesshomaru's advice worked since Inuyasha was walking behind the others without hearing the absurd critics that Kouga was saying towards him, with arrogance and without looking back. Kaede was so engrossed listening to the wolf that she didn't notice Inuyasha's absence.
"-and that's why all the dogs are known like 'the best friends of the man.'" Kouga finished his tale while walking inside the garden towards the great mansion. He observed, for the first time since he began talking, at his back and noticed the absence of Inuyasha. Miroku was carrying his and Sesshomaru's bags with the supper and other stuff they had bought and Sesshomaru was carrying old Kaede on his back. The long way had tired her and normally it was either him or Inuyasha who ended up carrying her home.
But nooo, that old lady neeeeeeever wanted to buy a car.
"Where's the mutt?"
"Israel?" Kaede looked around. The young hanyou was nowhere to be seen.
"What could have happened to him? Lady Kaede, do you want me to go and search for him?"
"No, don't Miroku. It's all right. Israel never gets in troubles… I'm sure it won't be long until he comes back. He's probably mad about that discussion with Kouga and he's hanging around somewhere."
Inuyasha returned, indeed, a couple of hours later.
When he entered the mansion, Kaede, who was sitting at the couch of the living room reading a book, looked at him but before she could ever say 'Hi' the young man had already stormed into the library and had enclosed himself inside.
It wasn't until Inuyasha finished his call, informing about someone who was hurt (though he knew he already was dead) at the abandoned square that he finally got out the room. Not even had he finished closing the door that everyone were around him. One was intrigued, other one was being arrogant, another one was curious and the later one was concerned.
"Israel, what-…?" The old lady tried to touch his arm, seeing him so lost and desperate inside. But he just moved his arm aside.
"Hey, mutt. Why did you have to worry Kaede like that?" It was Kouga who spoke, making Inuyasha's face get hid under his bangs of hair. "And what happened with the groceries bags? You idiot! You were the one bringing the bread and milk! Kaede wanted to have some cereal for dinner and toasted bread for breakfast! What the hell did you-?"
Kouga fell silent when Inuyasha lifted his gaze again. He had never seen him with those eyes so angry, with so much hatred… with so much agony.
Inuyasha looked down again and left towards his room…
… and he didn't came out until 3 days later.
Kaede observed her boys, Inuyasha looked rough and rude, even more than usual but she hoped that his next owner could help him to open his heart again.
Miroku looked jovial as always, since she knew him when she was barely 8 years old. That smile and charismatic charming the monk owned would always make her feel good whenever she felt sad about something.
Kouga was her best friend and confident. How could she forget him? Despite his arrogant attitude and possessiveness he was a good friend. She would always remember him with all her heart.
Sesshomaru, stoic as always kept being the same but she could see that in his eyes there was a paternal spark whenever he looked at her. She hadn't noticed while being younger. Her love from the adolescence and now son in her heart looked calm and dominant of the situation.
Now, at her eighty years old, Kaede walked with them towards the market place where she would do an auction. It had been a long time and she had to make sure that they would have a good home when she left this world. She didn't want them to suffer from loneliness or lack of something.
And that same day, Kagome, Sango, Ayame and Kagura had finally made her feel in peace, when they accepted to take care of her young Slaves… her best friends.
Kaede returned home and it all suddenly seemed so lonely without them, but she smiled nevertheless knowing that they would be fine. They had given her a really beautiful live and had taught her a lot of things.
The old lady walked into her room and took her old notebook, and so she began to write.
"Today my dear boys have finally left this old place. I'm very sure that they'll have a wonderful life with their new owners. They're my students and I know they all share a big heart. I'm sure they won't lack of anything.
As for me, I'm calm. I've lived my life, and I will keep enjoying it.
Lately I've noticed this young girl walking near the borders of my house at mornings. She's a student of the same college where I'm a teacher – now that I think about it, she looked a lot like the girl from today's auction, oh well – a couple of days ago she even walked inside my garden and Israel could detect her, though I said to him that it was just a squirrel running around all over the place.
I still can't believe he fell for that one. Maybe it was a good thing that at that precise moment we were making some coffee and the smell was dulling his senses.
Anyway I hope things for them work out and I'll keep living my days at this old place.
I'm not alone. I have my job, my students who I treasure a lot and I'll still be able to see them once in a while, to my beloved boys, at college if they keep company with those lovely girls. Maybe when I finish the works I'll allow me some time to have a cup of tea with my old friends."
Inuyasha smiled while turning around the page of that old notebook. He stood up and looked around. The room that once had belonged to Kaede. Years ago she had left this world, but they had kept her personal belongings.
Since he wasn't living in this house anymore, but Kaede had made them the heirs of all what was once of her, they had adapted the old mansion to be a sanctuary for all those ex-Slaves that didn't have a place to go or hadn't been able to adapt themselves to the city or the small villages on the areas that had been formed for them.
Now, the mansion looked a lot like an apartment complex (and that made Kagome's mother laugh a lot) with a lot of luxury, yes, but with real respect for all that had once been of real value for that old and kind woman. Everyone who lived there knew it.
The half-demon closed the notebook of literature of Kaede and, being really careful, to not damage it, placed it in the bookshelf at the corner of her old room. Besides the notebook was a small frame with a photograph inside.
He smiled again while looking at the picture of them. Standing right next to a young Kaede the day she had finished her studies to become a teacher and, taking the dead rose that was inside the vase near it he placed a new one, fresher and recently cut from her beloved garden. He finally left the room he usually visited to remember his sweet owner.
Finally closing the door behind him, he left his memories behind, but not forgotten. Just locked so they wouldn't get in the future he now formed with Kagome and his family.
"Papa!" He heard that small whimper coming from his 5 years old daughter… her beautiful Kaede. "Where have you been? You were supposed to be looking for us! Not to make us hide in a place for over two hours!"
Ohh… now he remembered why he had got into the room in the first place…
He had just lost in the game of hide and seek.
And this was it. After over a year I finally managed to end this translation project of mine. I hope you all have liked it and I would love to receive your comments and thoughts about it. Thank you all for all the support, the reviews, the alerts and favorites alerts. Thank you for bearing with me. I love you all!