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Stay Clever, Little Fox. by Kate

Our Story Begins

Disclaimer: I of course do not own Inuyasha, I see everyone saying that... so I figured i'd let you know I am not secretly rich and writing fanfics on the side :)

As I mentioned, this is my first story. I really wanted a Shippo Mother/Son story. I love their relationship, it is so comforting that they have each other as famlily when they have lost their own family. I am keeping it T for now, but may up it to M in later chapters. It will probably be less than 10 chapters since they are all semi long. Please leave me feedback :) I also don't have anyone editing it for me, so just keep that in mind. Sorry for any typos.

Italics are internal thoughts.

Bold is someone's beast talking.

~~~~~~~

Kagome looked up at the clouds lazily rolling by in the early spring afternoon. She would always prefer the sight of nature free to the taint of modern civilization. The clean air alone calmed her as she roused from her meditation. She sighed contentedly, thinking about her life here in the feudal era and gazing at her napping kit in the nearby grass.

It had been over a year since the defeat of Naruku, after a long 3 years of hunting him down. She was approaching 20 years of age now. She could honestly say that she was happy. She was overjoyed to be able to stay with her friends, and she was happy with the work she did healing and helping her village and others. She loved her adopted son, and their bond continued to grow. There were of course a couple of things about staying in the feudal era that tore at her heart and soul.

She missed her family. She worried for her grandfather’s health. She wondered how school was for Souta. Mostly though, she longed to speak to her mother again and to feel the warmth and love that she provided. She wondered if the well would ever let her return, she walked past it almost every day at first to see if it twinkled with magic. Now she made it part of her weekly routine to visit it and pray there. She would spend time there thinking of her mother and speaking with her in her mind’s eye. Not that she wanted to leave her life here.

Sango and Miroku had married, and were pregnant with their second child. They saw each other often, and shared a bond of soul sisters. The two had vowed to return to the slayer village and rebuild once their family had more members. Miroku was a wonderful father, and though at first Sango had feared his wandering hand, he allayed any worry she may have had with reassurance of his devotion to only her. Their love was a dream come true, bourn of mutual loss, trust, and love. Kagome was thankful to witness her friends joy.

Kaede had also grown a part of Kagome’s Feudal Era family. She trained Kagome in everything she knew. Kagome was very devoted to accepting her teachings, as Kaede had retired from being the village miko, and it gave her day life to impart her wisdom to her pupil. Kagome dreaded the day Kaede was no longer with her, but she knew the old Miko was content with her life. She deserved her rest whenever it did come. She also spent a great deal of time with Kikyo, which made the old woman feel like a younger sister again. It was endearing, even though it could be hard to share.

Kagome did not feel Jealousy of Kikiyo, the woman had returned, not just to flesh and blood, but also to her softer personality. Kagome could see why Inuyasha would have fallen for her in the first place. Inuyasha and Kikyo were now mates, and Kikiyo was the Village Miko. She handled her tasks with grace and love for the people that she helped. Inuyasha was happy with her, and would help as much as he could around the village. He also went on missions when he was needed to fight for villages nearby. When called for help, their group would assess what was needed, and send either Inuyasha and Kikyo, or Kagome and Shippo.

Kagome and Shippo had grown quite a lot in skill and usefulness. She looked at his sleeping form again. Soon she would wake them for a meal and more training. His bravery really was a sight to behold. She frowned, thinking about the other thing that bothered her arguably more than the loss of her mother and family.

Pity.

Kagome received so many looks of pity that it made her squirm. Her frown deepened and her brow furrowed. The reasons varied. She received looks from her soul sister, pitying her for being stuck without her family. Looks from the villagers, especially women, pitying her for being so old in their eyes and without a man in her life. Looks of pity from the men, who were too intimidated by her power and independence, that something so beautiful go to waste. Even from older ones, pitying her for her lack of good training and knowledge of their time. At least she no longer received looks of pity for being untrained in combat or her miko powers. Those could be felt even by regular humans.

The looks she got from Inuyasha were by far the worst. Pity yes, but also guilt. He felt guilt for choosing Kikyo over her. She had to admit that though the choice stung originally, she had come to terms with things as they were now. Even if he had chosen her, he would always love Kikiyo. So, she could truly wish them happiness. The looks though still gave her heart pain. There was a chance she would live her whole life here without love, or children of her own.

At that thought, she rose and walked over to Shippo. She began to stroke his hair, “Shippo, it is time to wake up” she sing songed to him. He started to stir.

She had Shippo, who loved her so much it almost made her forget he was not of her own blood. The other children of the village also often sought her out. She was teaching them to read and write. Her education stopped after high school level, but she still had some of her books and tried to read and learn whenever she came across books in her travels. Today their lessons were done, and it was time to hunt.

Kagome had struggled to rid herself of every source of pity within her power. She could do nothing about the well, or her unwed state. So, she poured her hear into training. She trained with Kaede and Jeniji on occasions, becoming a startlingly good healer both by her powers and by knowledge of herbs. She trained in archery, and hunting. Sango taught her hand to hand combat and tracking skills, until she became to round with child to continue. Miroku taught her more meaningful meditation. Even Kikyo had been willing to answer Kagome’s inquiries, if not directly instruct her endeavors.

Kagome did lack a skilled trainer in some areas. Her reiki was so strong, she had trouble with control. Kaede taught her much, but Kagome knew there was more to learn. So, she took to Meditating on things she wanted to learn and just trying them out. It was a very hit or miss game. Barriers for example had become something she was extremely good at. Kaede taught her a lot about them of course, but there was more than even the older Miko could do. Kagome thought of what she wanted a barrier to be capable of, and practiced hard until she was either sure it could not be done or she had accomplished it. Naruku’s barriers were the source of her inspiration, they were so strong, but also able to keep in and out specific people or things.

Kagome tried other things, based on attacks she had seen throughout her shard hunting years, or even on TV in her time. She could manipulate her reiki in many ways. She also could hide her power from senses of pretty much anyone, though she was still working on a way to hide her scent.

Kouga was a good test subject for this. He came to check on her pretty regular, as duty allowed. He patrolled often, but didn’t want to stay too long for fear it would rile up his intended. Ayame and he had finally decided to be together, but it was not quite official. Actually, usually within a week of seeing Kouga, Ayame would stop by as well. Kagome suspected it was to scent if she and Kouga had done anything more than hug. Kagome of course never worried, her purity was intact and she loved Kouga, but never more than as a close friend. Ayame and she were now pretty close friends as well.

Shippo’s eyes popped open and he began to stretch and yawn. He loved sleeping outside, and the weather finally allowed for these warm noon naps. Shippo frowned as his stomach let out a howl.

“It is time for our hunt!”  Kagome enthused, tickling his stomach to let him know she heard its protest.

“Mama stop it!” He said between laughs. He got up and ran away a little. Their small game ended quickly as Kagome moved to pick up her bow and quiver. They were walking towards the tree line hand in hand.

“I bet I can catch a big one today mama, I can smell deer and rabbits close by.” He smiled at her.

“That sounds great to me, but you may need to keep your voice down to not scare them away.” She giggled at how he clapped his hand over his mouth.

Shippo was actually becoming quite the hunter, she had to admit he learned every skill that was offered to him quickly and efficiently. Inuyasha had still wanted to teach him much, so he fought better and hunted well, even if his size and strength were still growing. Unfortunately, there was no one that even kind of knew how to teach him kitskune magic and the skills of his people. It was much different than Youki or Miko skills, and she hoped one day to find a Fox demon willing to train him. So far any they had run across were… not a match.

Shippo located, cornered, and took down a small doe almost entirely by himself.

Shippo beamed with pride as they now had the animal back at their hut, cleaning and cooking pieces and salting others to save for later. They would offer some to her friends shortly. It was a great source of joy to see the others react, and to have Shippo be fawned over and told how manly he was. Pride welled up in her as he hopped around and helped with the routine.

As she cooked, she caught waves of distress. Her senses of human emotions were growing, but she could only sense them if they were especially intense in type or strength. Hatred, not just dislike, Horror, not just fear, and even intense devotion in Miroku and Sango’s presence, not just affection.

She took the prepared meat and started walking towards the main part of the village. Their hut was on the edge of the village, and much closer to the forest. Everyone assumed it was her desire to have Shippo away from the human smells or closer to nature. That was part of it, but Kagome also enjoyed a little separation to be just herself. She didn’t have to worry about looks from others, or her “weird” habits or clothing from the future drawing attention. She did mainly wear clothing of the time, but still had her pajamas and jeans that she wore occasionally.

As they approached the group was looking tense. Miroku, Sango, Inuyasha, Kikyo and Kaede as well as several men from the village were there talking with a distressed pair of men.

“They’re from a village in the western lands,” Shippo supplied cluing her in with his enhanced hearing, “and there is a big problem… lots of people dying… not sure from what though.” He looked sad as he strained to hear. “They’re talking about you mama.”

Now they were within her ear shot, and they saw her approach. It got quiet. Kagome bowed.

“Lady Kagome,” Miroku was the one to begin “these men are from a village to the west, and have a sickness upon their village. With their men weakened, some youki are making off with their livestock.” Inuyasha shot him a glare that told her they were debating on not telling her at all.

“You all know that I would be happy to help, what’s wrong?” She caught Sango’s worry and Inuyasha met her eyes.

“Gome, this is usually one I would take. Sounds like the youki are pretty sneaky and stuff…” He looked away.

“Ok, but I don’t mind going.” She really was confused.

“They are also taking our children, any that are not sick.” One of the men began and started to weep. The other finished for him, “His little girl was first to be taken.”

“Inuyasha, we need to help them!” She was beginning to understand the danger the others sensed.

“He can’t go.” Kikiyo was next to speak. “I am with Child.” Inuyasha looked at the ground. Guilt. He should be feeling joy, but he was angry with himself for not being able to go help. His instincts would not let him leave her alone with his child. He was already hyper aware and even more protective than usual.

Kagome’s eyes were wide. They had all thought Kikiyo unable to bear children, a side effect of coming back to life. It was clear that Inuyasha could not leave her side. She wasn’t sure if it was his youki blood or his own nature, but she could see why.

“Kagome, you cannot go alone. Miroku will go with you.” Sango pleaded, she looked close to tears.

“No, Sango he needs to be with you as much as Inuyasha does with Kikyo. I will be fine with Shippo.” Shippo beamed at her confidence in him. He would always protect his Kagome. “And you all know that both of our strength and skills have grown. We will be more than capable of handling this.” She looked at the men who had come for help, her confidence and strength showing through. They could feel her power as much as the youki and mikos present.

Sango began to cry and Miroku held her. There was silence for a while.

“Ye child shall go. Ye power is strong, but do not ye forget that there is sickness as well. Ye will need balance, and make sure to look after yeself and Shippo so as to not fall prey to the illness while taking on the demon.”  Kaede’s words cut through Kagome’s defiant stance, she nodded with understanding.

Sobered up a little, the whole group spoke more of the threat, and Kagome cheered Sango up before leaving to pack. It had been decided that if she was not back or sending word by two weeks time, Miroku would come with Kirara to check on them.

They packed quickly. The trusty yellow bag still in good shape, Kagome fit most everything in it. They were to ride horses that the men had brought with them back to their village. Kagome rode the man named Ichiro, who looked to be in his late twenties, and was the one whose daughter was taken. Her name was Sakura, and she was 4. Shippo rode with Haru, who had no children, and looked to be about 20. They made great time getting back to the village travelling through the night.

It was not even dawn when they arrived. Kagome was immediately to work, checking over the sick and any wounded from fighting off the demon. Happy to see that the sickness was a lingering flu or cold like symptoms from the winter. It was still deadly to get the flu in this era, but she was confident in her ability to treat it. She started instructing those still healthy to care for others. She focused her attentions on the sickest, including a very old woman and a very girl no more than 5. Kagome used her powers to help them, for she feared herbal remedies would not be enough for those two. The young girl’s fever would not break until late afternoon. Shippo had vigilantly been supplying Kagome and the other helpers with anything they needed. With the help from the villagers, and the sickest tended too she was confident the people would recover.

She turned her attention to the Demon threat. She had asked many questions on the road.

“He comes at night, so it is hard for us to see him. We have men on watch and the children tucked away, but he always finds a way in.” Haru was more helpful in explaining this, as it clearly was still hard for Ichiro to talk about it. His emotions were so raw, and Kagome could sense his distress.  Haru filled her in on everything he could think of.

“This is the hut of the second family, and the third one is over there.” Haru continued to show her the pattern of attacks. Before long night was falling. Shippo and Kagome stood watch. She tried to set their vantage point by her miko senses, not by what her eyes could see, so they were towards the middle of the village, her aura quietly seeking out any demonic presence.

Shippo sniffed the air. “No, that cant be right, for a second I thought I smelled something familiar.” He thought to himself as he picked up another scent, and then looked at Kagome who was sensing it as well.

~~~~~~

Sesshomaru had heard of a demon going after villages in his territory. Human villages were not high priorities for him, but he was already intending to patrol so he went towards the area in question. He had grown in power, and he very rarely had hard battles these days. A demon desperate enough hunt humans would likely not prove to be a challenge either. He neared the human village and quickly came to a halt in a tall tree. Nose aloft, he scented the air and a low growl escaped him. It was a familiar scent, one that he washed over him and calmed him. Vanilla and strawberry? Not quite… His senses were alive and alert. Ever the master of control, he masked his aura and scent even further and continued towards his goal.  He moved without hurry. Another, much less pleasant scent as well as the feel of a nearby youki hit him.

~~~~~~

She could sense the Youki and knew exactly where it was coming from. she placed a barrier around the house he was approaching, drew her bow and arrow. Shippo had caught on and was blending in around him, ready to help when the time came. His transformation did not hide his tail, but it did make it seem like she was the only one around. When he made it to his target, the black cat youki was burned by the barrier around the hut. A low hiss was heard, as he turned on her. He made no move to attack her, patient and contemplative. His eyes were seeping red with bright yellow at the center. Whoever this was, his control was slipping.

“Who are you?” Kagome asked with an air of authority, arrow trained on enemy. She always tried the peaceful approach first, as opposed to Inuyasha, who would have attacked at first sight.

“Girl, stay out of my way!” He hissed. Clearly losing more control as he took a step toward her, poised for attack.

“You have been taking the children of this village. I am here to protect them. If you go, and promise not to return, I will spare your life.” The Demon began to chuckle darkly. Kagome knew this demon would not be listening to reason.

“I will just have to eat you first then!” The deranged demon had lunged in her direction, and Shippo popped out of his hiding place making many copies of himself. They had planned it that way to compensate for Kagome’s lack of speed. This was not to confuse the demon or even distract it much, just a little. It did its job, getting the demon to take his eye of Kagome as she let her arrow fly. Kagome’s attack needed to go unblocked, since the demon might be fast enough to avoid it or knock it to the side. As the demon turned back to her, without ever stopping his lunge, he saw the arrow. He attempted to change course, only to be hit midair by her arrow. He did not get completely out of the way. It hit his shoulder, and Shippo cringed at the smell of burning youki flesh.

Somewhere in the not so distant treetops, Sesshomaru cringed at the scent of burning flesh as well, with a smirk on his face. Interesting. His beast rumbled.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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