1I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi

Chapter 6

There was an ambush set up when they got back to the house.

"Dammit. I knew I couldn't get even one day away from them," InuYasha said. He stopped in his tracks, shifted the tub from his right shoulder to his left, and started to growl. Catching himself, he stopped, and sighed instead. It didn't stop his ear from twitching, though.

"Who? What's wrong?" Kagome asked, making a mental note that she needed to get a bow and some good arrows as soon as possible.

"Look!" he said, pointing towards the clearing.

Miroku, Sango, Shippou, and the children were there, sitting in front of his house. Miroku had his back to the wall, with his staff propped next to the door. Sango was next to him, feeding baby Naoya. Shippou was entertaining the twins with his toys while trying to keep the twins away from his tail. The kitsune noticed them first. His head jerked up, first smiling, and then the smile warped into an angry frown just before he came bounding toward them.

"There they are!" he yelled. InuYasha deftly caught him by the tail as he made a leap towards Kagome.

"What are you doing, runt?" the hanyou demanded. "You don't need to knock Kagome down."

"I was worried!" the kitsune said, looking at InuYasha with as much ire as InuYasha returned. "You didn't stay with Miroku. You didn't spend the night at Kaede's."

"You think I can't take care of Kagome? Or myself?" InuYasha asked. He dropped the kit on the ground.

Shippou rolled to his feet, rubbing his head, then jumped into Kagome's arms. Crossing his arms in a very InuYasha-esque manner, he asked, "Where were you?"

Kagome ruffed the kit's hair, and smiled at the boy. "We spent the night at InuYasha's house, Shippou-chan, and then we went to Kaede-obaachan's for breakfast. We were perfectly fine all night," she said. "I thought you were going to play with Chiya-sama's daughters today."

"I thought so too, but she sent them to their grandmother's house. It was boring." He looked at the tub InuYasha was carrying. "What's that?"

"Kaede-babaa sent it," InuYasha said.

"That's funny," Shippou said, scratching his head. "Miroku brought some stuff, too. Why is everybody giving you things?"

"It's for good luck," Kagome said, and looked up at the hanyou standing next to her, she smiled. "And because I'm going to be living with InuYasha and came here without anything but what I was wearing."

Shippou's eyes got big. "You're going to live with him? Like Sango lives with Miroku?"

Kagome laughed. "Yes, Shippou-chan. I came back to live with InuYasha."

"Hope you're not making a mistake," the kitsune said, glancing at the hanyou, who glared back. "But I'm glad you're here!"

Seeing InuYasha's hand clench into a fist and deciding he had pushed the hanyou far enough, he jumped out of Kagome's arms and scuttled back to rescue his toys from the twins. The girls, surrounded by the kitsune's playthings, were so busy trying to figure out how to make the top spin like Shippou did that they didn't even look at the newcomers.

But they didn't escape Miroku's notice. "Ah, the missing ones return," the monk said, standing up.

"We were at Kaede-babaa's, if it's any of your business, Bouzu," InuYasha said.

"We must have been walking circles around you today then," Miroku smiled. "I stopped by her place this morning, but you weren't there. And hadn't been there since yesterday afternoon."

Sango put Naoya over her shoulder and patted his back until he gave a loud burp. "Stop that, Miroku, " she said, handing the baby to him. "We brought you some things, Kagome." She got up and picked up a cloth wrapped package.

InuYasha walked into the house while Sango and Kagome began talking, and put the tub down near the edge of the raised wooden floor. That done, he went to the far side of the room, sat down and leaned up against the wall. One of the twins shrieked the way children will do, and Shippou yelled at whomever it was to let go of his tail. For some reason, this made the hanyou grin, until the door mat lifted and Miroku walked in.

InuYasha said nothing, but stuffed his hands into his sleeves. When Miroku came and sat down next to him, he didn't meet the monk's eyes. For a moment, neither of them spoke.

"You've been a hard man to find," Miroku said at last. "Busy, were you?"

The hanyou's right ear twitched, and just a hint of color touched his cheeks even as he scowled. "What's it to you, Bouzu?"

Miroku chuckled. "I will tell you that, contrary to my reputation and what some would think of me, I resisted all anxious female and kitsune nudges to go looking for you when I found out that you weren't at Kaede's last night. But alas, after breakfast and my meeting with Tsuneo's daughter, the female anxiety won out." He reached in the sleeve of his robe and took out a small bundle. "At least you were able to have breakfast in peace. You've got to give me that much."

"Keh," InuYasha said. He stretched out one of his legs, and his ear swivelled as Kagome laughed at something Sango said.

"It's good to hear Kagome's voice again," Miroku said. "Sango missed her almost as much as you did. For all of her many virtues, my lovely wife does not make female friends easily. And the women of the village don't quite know what to make of a woman who is a warrior, much less who married a monk."

InuYasha looked at him then, cocking his head to one side. "I . . . I didn't realize that."

"She wouldn't have mentioned it." Miroku said, nodding. "Women do things differently than we men do."

"Yeah." InuYasha looked towards the front of the house, as if he could see through the wall.

"Come back, Noriko," he heard Kagome say. "You can't climb the tree to get to Shippou."

"You two spent the night here, I assume," Miroku said.

InuYasha nodded.

"I can't promise I'll be able to resist all urges to tease, but even I will admit that some things should be just between a man and his bride," the monk said, weighing the pouch he had in one hand. It jingled a little as he moved it.

The hanyou looked away. The touch of blush on his cheeks deepened a little.

Miroku watched his friend a moment, and raised an eyebrow. "You did take her for your bride, right? I'm sure you're the reason the magic worked and let her come back."

"You ask too many damn questions, Bouzu." InuYasha's ear twitched, and he began to make a fist.

"You know I approve, don't you?" Miroku said. "How could I not? My good and honorable friends have just been gifted with an amazing turn of events. If you come by the temple, I'll even do a formal blessing if you want."

InuYasha met his friend's eyes then, studied Miroku's face and relaxed at what he saw there – honest sincerity. "Though why she wanted to give up everything to be with me . . . " He sighed. "My head's still spinning. Everything's changed so fast."

"Amazing how that can happen," Miroku said, nodding.

Outside, Sango and Kagome laughed again, rising above the giggles of the two small girls.

Miroku stood up. "Well, my friend, this is just a first step in how your life is going to change. I suspect the women are already plotting things, like how to furnish this empty house of yours."

InuYasha looked around the sparsely furnished room. "Never needed anything else," he said as he gracefully got to his feet.

"If you're going to be a husband, you're going to find out you suddenly need all sorts of things you never thought you did," Miroku said sagely. "Why do you think I charge those who can afford it so much for our services?"

"Probably don't want me to answer that," InuYasha replied.

Miroku laughed, and pressed the pouch he had been holding into his friend's hand. "Here. This will help."

"What . . ." InuYasha said, looking at the object. It was heavier than it looked.

"Open it," Miroku said, with the faintest touch of a smirk on his lips.

As InuYasha untied the strings holding it closed, Miroku said, "In the three years we've been working together as youkai exterminators, you never would take your fair share of the profits. I've been putting what you wouldn't take on the side, just in case."

"Miroku," the hanyou said, looking at the coins in the bag. It was a sizable sum.

"You're going to need it, take my word for it." He met his friend's eyes, which had a shining, dazed look. "You think your head is spinning now, just wait."

He moved towards the door. "With luck, once all the dust settles, we'll get another exorcism request. We family men, we have our expenses."