Kiyomisa: Ahh! I am sooo sorry for taking so long to update! *touches forehead to the floor* But I felt that I should get the next part up, since today is the one year anniversary of this fic, as Totally Wicked was so kind to point out ^-^. (Seriously, I had no idea; I'm horrible at remembering dates for things. It's a wonder I passed history!) So hopefully this'll keep you at least a tiny bit satisfied. I don't think this story will last much more than two or three more chapters after this, but I could be wrong.
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Mousse paced the small room restlessly, Kohaku watching him warily. The martial-artist was beginning to feel cramped, almost as if he were getting cabin fever.
He wanted to go out, do things…find that girl who's face kept intruding into his every thought. The door opened suddenly and he glanced over to see Kagura step in with her usual dissatisfied sneer.
"Getting restless are you?" she snipped, looking pointedly at the small wear in the floor where Mousse had been walking.
Mousse narrowed his eyes at her. He didn't like her, but that was most likely because she didn't like him. He could feel it whenever she looked at him.
When he didn't answer she sniffed and looked out the window. "It's just as well, Naraku has a mission for you."
Mousse glanced at Kohaku. "Oh?"
"Yeah…Sesshoumaru, his enemy, is extremely difficult to draw out. If they were to fight face to face, Naraku would win, but the cowardly dog won't come out of his house."
"What's that to do with me?" Mousse demanded, crossing his arms over his chest.
Kagura snarled at him. "You could show a little appreciation. Y'know, we could've just left you out there to face whatever with no clues to your past at all!"
Mousse glared back and Kohaku watched the exchanged with a slightly worried expression.
"Anyway, the dog has a girl, a little brat that he likes for some reason. We want you to bring her here."
Mousse blinked. "You want me to kidnap her?"
Kagura waved her fan dismissively. "We won't hurt her, if that's what you're worried about. It's just to get Sesshoumaru out of hiding."
Mousse looked skeptical. "Why don't you do it yourself?"
Kagura laughed and placed a hand on her hip. "You think I wanna waste my time taking care of some snot-nosed whelp? Besides, if you do this for us, we'll find that woman for you."
His heart fluttered with hope even as his mind flashed a warning. "You will?"
She nodded impatiently. "Yes, of course we will. Oh, and take Kohaku with you…he's dealt with her before."
Mousse glanced at Kohaku, who wouldn't meet his eyes. He frowned, but his longing to find the vision of beauty outweighed any misgivings he had.
"All right…I'll do it."
Kagura nodded, as if she knew he was going to accept. "Good. Let's go then."
She glanced at him over her shoulder. "Can you think of a better time? Oh, we'll take Jousuiko with us too."
And she left without another backward glance. Mousse made a rude gesture after her, then looked at Kohaku, who looked distressingly somber.
"Kohaku? What's the matter?" the young man asked in concern. Kohaku raised troubled eyes to his.
"The last time I was near the girl, Rin, he said he'd kill me if he ever saw me near her again…"
"Don't tell me you're afraid of him?"
Kohaku looked startled at the stern expression on Mousse's face."H-he's a demon lord."
"That makes no difference! The only way to win a battle is to have no fear in your heart." Mousse clenched his fist dramatically. Then he grinned at the boy. "Besides, I'll be there. I think I can take him."
Kohaku blinked in disbelief, then stood up and nodded. Mousse nodded as well and the two headed out.
* * *
Mousse and Kohaku crept through the woods silently, like a shadow and ghost. Jousuiko however…
"Oni-chan! I can't seee!"
"Jou-chan, hush!" Kohaku hissed, shooting a look at her over his shoulder.
The kappa-girl began to tear up as she glared at them and Mousse hastened to reassure her. "Just hold onto my robe and you'll be fine."
Sticking her tongue out at Kohaku, she did so.
As they neared the mansion, Mousse signaled for a halt. "Kohaku, where's this 'Jaken' we're supposed to meet?"
The young ninja looked around. "Over there, I think."
Mousse snorted. "With all her talk, Kagura made me think we were gonna have to break in. Instead we're just picking her up from Jaken…"
Kohaku remained silent and Jousuiko just hummed to herself. They hunkered down by the three clustered trees Kohaku had pointed out and settled down to wait.
To keep Jousuiko amused, Mousse juggled various items, including a throwing dart, a rubber duck and a stuffed bunny.
It wasn't too long, however, before a small door in the wall opened and a small figure carrying something limp and apparently heavy half-jogged out towards them.
As they came closer Mousse could make out Jaken's frog-like features and the form of an unconscious Rin. The amphibian set the girl down, a bit less gently than Mousse liked. He wasn't big on kids, but still!
Jaken narrowed his eyes at Kohaku. "So Naraku sends his little brat for the brat again," he sneered. Kohaku's expression remained as stone, the only change a slight twitch of one eye.
Mousse decided to take over. "You sure you weren't followed?"
Jaken sniffed. "Of course not! No one knows milord's manor like I. The brat shouldn't give you too much trouble, she's under a light sleeping potion. Now get, I must return."
"Warty old toad," Kohaku muttered caustically as the youkai strode away. The venom in his voice cause Mousse and Jousuiko to stare at him for a moment as he reached down to check Rin's well being himself. Satisfied that the old wart hadn't lied to him, he scooped the comatose girl into his arms, then looked sternly at Mousse, clearly asking if the young man was ready to go.
"Right, we've got what we came for, though I don't know why she wanted all three of us for something so easy…" Mousse grumbled and stood up. Jousuiko joined him, clutching to a small portion of his robe.
But as they turned to leave, a soul-shattering howl of unadulterated hatred pierced the night. For a moment all of them were frozen in fear, then Mousse shook himself out of it.
"Sounds like the Dog Boy's awake, we'd better get out of here." For now that he'd heard him, Mousse wasn't sure he actually wanted to test his unknown skills against such a creature.
"Hai," Kohaku said quickly, shifting his grip on Rin so it was firmer. Mousse swung Jousuiko up into his arms and they began their swift departure through the trees.
* * *
Sesshoumaru was woken roughly, by a furious shaking on his arm. He sat up and snarled at the poor tanuki who woke him. "What the hell is it!?"
The tanuki quailed, but firmed it's resolve. "Milord, Rin-san has been kidnapped!"
Golden eyes widened before narrowing to mere slits. "What did you say?"
"Sesshoumaru-Sama?" a sleepy Meinu asked, rubbing at her eyes.
"Rin-san has been ki-kidnapped," the tanuki repeated, wringing it's paws in agitation.
Sesshoumaru leapt up. "Impossible, no one would be able to come inside my wards without my knowing!"
The tanuki swallowed and took a deep breath. "It was Jaken-san," it said quietly.
Meinu blinked in confusion. "N-nani?"
A tremor flashed through Sesshoumaru's body and he threw his head back and howled, "JAAAAAAAKEEEEEEN!!!"
Meinu jumped back in alarm, clutching at the sheets and the tanuki bolted from the room in terror. When he lowered his head again, his eyes were glowing and his irises had turned red and his fangs seemed longer. Without saying another word he snatched up Toukijin and he sped from the room, his body nothing but a blur.
"Sesshoumaru-!" Meian called after him in alarm. Seconds later the whole gang was at her door, demanding to know what the howling was about.
"Ri-Rin's been kidnapped," Meinu replied, still somewhat in shock.
The group exchanged half a dozen glances, then Inu-Yasha swore and tore out of the room, everyone else hot on his heels.
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Kiyomisa: Yeah, it's a cliff hanger, and I'm sorry, but…well…I'll try not to take so long with the next chapter, okay? I actually do know what's going to happen next (*gasps* it's amazing) so it shouldn't take too long…thank you all for being so patient (and not so patient ^-^) with me!