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Instinct by thetroll

Chapter 1

Kagome heard a scream so loud it left her ears ringing.

She looked to InuYasha but was surprised at the lack of emotion on his face. There was no doubt in her mind that he'd heard the scream, too—it was too loud for him to ignore, especially with his sensitive hearing—but InuYasha didn't seem inclined to seek the source out.

Then again, when did InuYasha ever go rushing into trouble that didn't directly involve Naraku, Kikyo, or his own half-brother?

She shifted her bow and notched an arrow as she rushed off towards the source of the scream.

"K'gome!" InuYasha's bellow followed after her, but she ignored it as he screamed for her to come back. She wasn't going to turn her back on someone who needed help and that was that.

Of course, it wasn't in InuYasha's nature to let her go on her own anymore than it had been in hers to go try and help. Though they were no longer a coupleInuYasha still seemed to think he had rights to her that he didn't. They'd slept together exactly once, not long after she'd returned, and it had been the most miserable experience of her life. In the heat of his passion, he'd called her Kikyo and it had been loud enough that it had killed both her passion and their relationship.

She raced on, ignoring the hanyo's shouts for her to stop, and found herself in the middle of a clearing. Before her lay the bloodied and torn body of a beautiful yokai, though it was hard to make out her coloring as she lay in pools of her own blood. Before her was a large bird yokai currently tearing off a strip of her flesh to eat.

Kagome didn't even stop to think. She let the arrow fly and it found its home in the yokai's breath. The yokai staggered and she managed to shoot and hit it a second time as the bird yokai began to charge her, blood from its meal spilling from its lips as skin caught on its teeth.

InuYasha reached her then and made quick work of the yokai with his sword.

"You're always rushing towards trouble," he complained as he slid his sword back into his sheathe. "C'mon, K'gome. We're leaving. Ain't much we can do; she's already dead."

Kagome looked at the beautiful yokai and her heart went out to the female. "Not before we bury her," she said, giving InuYasha a mutinous expression as she waited for him to protest.

He did, but she glared and finally he seemed to accept she wasn't going to change her mind. He quickly dug a hole and before she could try and help, he lifted the woman to drop her in the hole.

That's when she heard a quiet cry.

"Stop!" she said as he dropped the woman’s body in the hole. He stopped, hands full of dirt to bury her, as she wondered if the yokai was somehow alive. After all, they had advanced healing abilities so it wasn't outside the realm of believability. She rushed over and shoved InuYasha aside as she inspected the woman for signs of life. To her disappointment, there were none. 

She sighed but before she pulled back, she noticed the woman's abdomen moving. Curious, she pulled aside the lapel of what had once been a very fine kimono and gasped.

There, tucked against the woman's breast, was a tiny baby, no more than a few days old. She reached out, ignoring InuYasha's attempts to pull her back. "How do you think he managed to survive?" she asked, cuddling the baby to her chest. He'd managed to escape uninjured, though his mother's blood had soaked into the bottom of his wrap.

"Keh. Hell if I know. But without her, he's as good as dead anyway." InuYasha tried to take the baby from her.

Kagome pulled back as she looked down at the baby. He looked at her, cooing softly, as if he knew she was his only chance at survival. His hair was as black as her own but his eyes were an inhuman violet color and he had the pointed ears that practically screamed that he was full-blooded—though what sort of yokai he was, she didn't know. There were two vertical darker blue stripes on each of his bottom lids, one a little longer than the other, that touched his plump cheeks, and a third that lined his top lid. He didn't look like any yokai she knew, not that that likely would have meant much to her anyway. She didn't know a lot of yokai to start with.

The clothing he'd been wrapped in was high quality silk, which told her far more than his looks did. He'd come from wealth and money, though that hadn't stopped him from losing his mother.

"Where do you think his dad is? Do you think he's alive somewhere?" She looked around but saw no signs of any other, living or dead. She wasn't really listening to InuYasha. "If so, we should take him to his father, right?"

InuYasha again tried to take the child from her but when she refused, he sighed, loudly. "The runt's father's dead, K'gome. No pack yokai would leave his mate to give birth without protection. If she's dead, he is, too."

Kagome looked down at the baby who yawned widely, showing off perfect pink gums. "Then he's coming with me," she said, making the decision quickly. If he had nowhere else to go, she'd look after him. She wasn't sure she was ready for a baby—but then who was?

At the very least, he needed her.

"No." InuYasha took one look at the yawning baby in her arms and snorted.

"What do you mean, no?" Kagome glowered at her friend. "I don't recall asking for your permission, InuYasha."

"Don't matter if you did." InuYasha glared right back. "I said no and that's that. I'm not taking in someone else's brat."

Kagome's ire rose. "You don't have to," she said pointedly, stomping past the hanyo. 

"Like hell." InuYasha chased after her, unwilling to let her have the last word. Not that that was anything new. "It's not your choice to make. I'm the head of the household here and I said no and that's it. Put him down and let's head home before more yokai show up."

Kagome stopped short at that. "Head of the household?" she repeated darkly as he moved to block her from taking another step forward. "I don't remember marrying you, InuYasha, and you certainly aren't my father. You don't have to like it and that's fine, but you are not stopping me. Now move before I purify your ass."

She stormed past him, ignoring him completely as she tucked the baby against her breast. He immediately tried to nurse, to Kagome's shock, and she realized he was likely hungry. "I don't have any food for you," she told him regretfully, shifting him away from her breasts, "but I promise you'll have something to eat soon."

"K'gome!" InuYasha caught up with her again but he didn't try and take the baby from her. "Listen, I meant what I said. You don't know how to raise him and yokai children are different from human children. Without his parents, he's not going to make it. Please, K'gome, put him down. I don't want to see you hurt when he dies."

She whirled to glare at her friend, irritated by his lack of faith. "Maybe I don't know what to do with him but I know several yokai who might be able to help. I am not going to leave him to die, InuYasha."

InuYasha finally gave up, though he was quick to remind her any time the baby screamed all the way home that she could always hand the baby to him to take care of.

Kagome pretended not to hear him.

.

.

Hikaru—Kagome had named the baby just minutes after she'd realized he was alone in the world—wouldn't take milk from any of the nursing human women in the village. From the moment she stepped into the boundaries of the village by the well, he'd become moody and irritable.

After just one miserable, sleepless night in the village, Kagome had left, intent on finding Koga and Ayame to help. At least when she'd left the village, he'd finally stopped wailing nonstop, though his whimpers tore at her more than the screaming had.

Instead of reaching the wolves, however, not long after she'd left the village, InuYasha an annoying shadow at her heel, she found Sesshomaru.

He took one look at the child and tried to walk past as if he hadn't seen her at all, but Kagome stopped him. "Sesshomaru? I—I'd like to ask you a question."

Sesshomaru looked down at her and kept going.

"Please! I really need your help!" she shouted, rushing after him. "Hikaru won't stop crying and—"

"Keh. Give it up, K'gome," InuYasha said, tucking his hands into his sleeves. "That cold bastard wouldn't know the first thing about babies. Ain't like a woman would even want to touch the asshole in the first place."

That stopped Sesshomaru and she had the feeling he was going to help to prove a point, not because he had any desire to listen.

She quickly explained how she'd found Hikaru and his fussiness and refusal to eat.

Sesshomaru listened, a blank expression on his face. When she finished, he said simply, "He imprinted himself on you."

She blinked. That was the last thing she'd expected him to say. "What?" she asked stupidly.

Sesshomaru immediately looked annoyed. "He is inuyokai," he explained slowly, as if she was too stupid to understand. "With his parents dead, he would normally bond to another pairing in his pack. Often, it is another family member but if there is none, he would bond to the alpha pair. He seems to have recognized you as the alpha female."

Kagome looked over at InuYasha, her mind drawing a conclusion she wasn't sure she'd like. "Then he sees InuYasha as the alpha male?" she asked cautiously, unsure who would take the news worse: Kagome herself or InuYasha.

"No." He seemed to sense the next question because he sighed and continued, "You are not his mate. The reason for the child's insecurity is that instinct tells him his alpha is missing. Without a protector, his mother cannot keep him safe. And without safety, he will not thrive. It is best if you abandon him, priestess. The child will not live. His yoki is too weak."

"Like hell," she ground out, tired of both of them telling her to abandon Hikaru. "I just have to convince him he's safe and he'll eat, right? That's not hard to do."

Sesshomaru raised a brow. "You have to convince his instincts," he reminded her though he wasn't sure why he bothered. The priestess had her mind quite made up, though he found it curious that she was so willing to take in one of his own kind to raise as her own. "He can tell by your scent that you are alone."

She looked down at Hikaru as he wiggled in her hold. His tiny fists raised up as if he was trying to tell the daiyokai himself that he was strong enough to live, though the yoki within him was so faint that Sesshomaru could barely sense it. The child was not far from death, no matter how animated he seemed. "I'm not abandoning him," she ground out though her hands were gentle as she snuggled him close. "Tell me what I have to do, Sesshomaru. I'll do anything."

Sesshomaru considered the situation. It was odd enough to capture his interest, something that was difficult to do as of late. He found himself curious—the priestess claimed she'd do anything, but as the child in her arms grew, would she still be as accepting?

His eyes dropped down to meet the child's. Could a child with no pack, no parents, and no future truly have any hope at all of thriving?

"There are situations where the alphas in a pack are not mated," he said, considering the odd pair and knowing it would rile his brother if he agreed to help. "It is possible a pack tie with a strong alpha would give him the reassurance he seeks and access to what he needs to grow strong and healthy."

He sensed his brother's anger and smiled. The hanyo hadn't marked or taken the priestess and Sesshomaru knew he had no interest in raising the child. It was obvious from InuYasha's scent alone that he wanted the priestess but disliked the child and just as obvious that the priestess had no interest at all in the hanyo.

"So how do I do that?" she asked, drawing his thoughts back to the situation at hand. 

"This one will scent mark you as pack," he said, decision made as his half-brother glared. "But this one will need to keep close to ensure the child's yoki grows. It is too fragile to be left alone and will need constant bolstering from this one's yoki if the child is to live."

"Okay," she agreed quickly and he sensed the desperation leaking through her scent. "But for how long?"

He considered the question, weighing how much to reveal to her. Finally, he said, "Until the child is old enough for the yoki to sustain itself." That didn't happen until most inuyokai were adolescents but somehow that didn't bother him. It gave him something to do and, he realized now, he was bored enough to latch onto it. Though he'd never admit it aloud, Kagome and the child had saved him from boredom now that he'd surpassed his father.

"Come," he said, beckoning the girl forward. "This one will take you to his shiro where the child will be safe."

She didn't hesitate as she stepped forward, ignoring how InuYasha screamed at her to stay back, and as he'd known she would, she stepped onto his cloud and let him take her and the child away from the hanyo.

 

 

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