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A Kludge of One Shots by tenchi no mai

Lessons Learned

This was written in response to Smittee's challenge.

Theme: Malefactions

Minimum Words: 1000

Actual Word Count: 2900+

Due Date: May 4th

Disclaimer: The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz Media.   Only the plot to this story and my original character, Shun, are my intellectual property.  I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Italics = Sesshoumaru's thoughts

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Lessons Learned

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, nary a cloud marred the azure vault of heaven,  one of those rare vernal days when the sun warmed the earth with promises of more to come.  The breeze held a very slight chill, reminding Sesshoumaru that it was only April, there was still time for more cool weather before nature turned the leaves a darker green, when a sweltering summer would begin. 

They were sitting on the patio outside their bedroom, the french doors left open to the zephyrs of fresh air ruffling the sheer drapes.  This area of the house was sheltered from the worst of the breezes, protected on two sides by the walls of the shiro, which held the warmth, trapping it for their enjoyment.  When Kagome had suggested they have breakfast outside, he decided to humor her.  Now that the plates had been cleared away, they were relaxing with the Sunday newspapers and second, or third, cups of tea. 

The birds were chirping a benediction, after swooping in to grab the crumbs from Kagomes toast, then retreating just as quickly to the lilac bushes edging the patio.  The lilacs were beginning to bloom, not yet open enough to release their scent, barely enough to see the color trying to peek out.  The only other sound was the rustling of the newspaper pages.  All in all, for the moment, it was a halycon of domestic, mated bliss.  

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes as he peered over the edge of the business section of the New York Times.  Shun was sitting across from him reading the international news, Kagome was to his left, pulling a gel pen from her pocket.  As tempted as he was to roll his eyes, he refrained.  He knew the peace and quiet wouldn't last much longer.

Kagome started working on the crossword puzzle.  One of these days I will dissolve that wretched page into a puddle of green goo with my poison before she even gets her little paws on the newspaper.  Her vocabulary was excellent, but she had not yet been able to finish the Sunday puzzle on her own, which frustrated her to no end.  Any minute now the pleas for help would begin.  He looked over at Shun, raising one eyebrow when he caught his eye.  Shun grinned and shrugged one shoulder. 

They switched the sections of the newspaper, each already having highlighted the important articles that were required reading.  Business was business, you had to keep up with, preferably ahead of,  the competition, both national and international.  There was an interesting article about a small technology company looking for an investor.  Sesshoumaru had been debating for some time about getting into the microprocessor industry.  He was not interested in investing, he would purchase the fledgling business outright if it might prove profitable. 

He could already hear her mumbling to herself.  Sneaking a look from the corner of his eye, he saw that she was less than one third of the way through the puzzle.  This is not good, she usually gets further than that by herself.

Deciding to forestall the disagreements over linguistic abilities and the acumen of the others vocabulary, he quickly started questioning Shun on his opinions about the viability of the microprocessor company.  As their conversation  intensified and delved into the technical, he could sense frustration as well as impatience twining in her aura.  Finally relenting, they both turned to look at her. 

Staring into her guileless cerulean eyes, Shun innocently asked, "Do you have a question about the microprocessor business Kagome?"  He then proceeded to pour himself another cup of tea.

Sesshoumaru gave an internal grin.  Let Shun take her on today, my patience is not at its vertex, especially since she somehow managed to skip out of bed this morning to go make breakfast before either Shun or I could stop her, thwarting our plans to keep her there for another hour or so.

"No, Shun." Kagome giggled.  "You know I'm not that interested in the businesses you two are involved in.  Can you help me with the puzzle?"

"I don't know Kagome."  Shun leaned forward, folding his arms onto the table, then grinned at her flashing his fangs.  "What is in it for me?"

Hn, he is getting better at this.  That's right flash the fangs and see if you can distract her.  Ah...  that was a quick intake of breath and a widening of her eyes.  Maybe this morning isn't a total loss after all.

"What's in it for you?  The satisfaction of helping me solve the puzzle!" Kagome bit out, then returned to chewing on the top of the pen.

"Princess, if you have an oral fixation that needs to be satisfied, I can think of something much more gratifying you could be putting between those sweet pink lips of yours." Shun slid forward in his chair, then reached over, pulling the pen from her mouth, while flashing his fangs again.

Hn, you just dug your own grave.  You still need to learn a little more subtlety.  Now she will dig her heels in and resist, no matter how many more times you flash those fangs she loves so dearly.

"Well, maybe after we finish the puzzle."  Kagome was trying to get her hand back.  Shun had held on and was slowly tracing patterns on the palm of her hand with one claw.  Was that kanji for Sesshoumaru, Kagome and Shun?  Did she just say 'maybe'?  We may not be in as bad of a position as I originally envisioned.  This morning may yet be salvageable.

"What is an eleven letter word for wrongful conduct?"  Kagome managed to get her hand free from Shun and was now twirling the pen between her fingers.

"What do you think it is, Kagome?" queried Shun.  "Do you have anything written down yet?"  

"I wrote down malefaction."

"No, little one, it is not malefaction, but it does begin with m-a-l."  Shun then picked up her left hand, and was rubbing his thumb in circles on her wrist.  "Why don't you do this in pencil, it would make it a lot easier."

"Are you insinuating I make a lot of mistakes?"  Her voice was rising. 

Hn, you were doing pretty good there for a few minutes Shun.  Sesshoumaru poured himself another cup of tea, then leaned back in his chair, stretching out his legs and crossed his ankles.  Watching these two was always entertaining.

"No, Kagome, I didn't mean all the puzzles, just the Sunday one.  It is rated a lot more difficult than the dailies."  Shun grinned at her again, amused at how quickly her temper could manifest itself.

That's right, Shun, back paddle, quickly.  Sesshoumaru continued watching Kagome work the puzzle, bouncing words off Shun, until they came back to the upper right corner with the 'm-a-l' word.

"Now, back to the eleven letter word."  Kagome was tapping the top of the pen on the newspaper.  "Are you sure it's not malefaction?  It fits."

"Kagome, you may think at this point it is a malefaction, however, it is neither a crime, nor an evil deed."  Shun poured himself another cup of tea, glaring at the teapot when it ran dry with his cup only half full.

"How about... malediction?"

"No, little one, it may seem like a malediction, but it is not a curse, only a puzzle."  Shun began eyeing Kagomes bottle of water.  The sunlight was glinting off the beads of moisture slowly running down the outside of the bottle, creating a small pool of liquid on the glass topped table.

"Well then... malevolence!"

"No Princess, I gave you a hint.  It starts with m-a-l, not m-a-l-e.  There is a slight difference in the etymology between the two."

Kagome, you should have learned by now not to argue vocabulary and linguistics with Shun.  He is a consummate cruciverbalist.  I've seen Shun complete crossword puzzles in five different languages.  As a lover of crossword puzzles and languages he should do them in ink.

"How about... malcontent?"

"Kagome, that is only ten letters."

Ah, malcontent, that is Inuyasha.  Marked by a restless, moody or bitter dissatisfaction with the existing state of affairs.  Sesshoumaru expanded his youki, seeking, searching.  Hn, he is still sitting up in his newest favorite tree, brooding.  The doctor said he should be getting his memories back sooner or later.  It's been what... not quite two months now.  Although even I must admit he is much easier to deal with while suffering this malady.  I am sure when his memories return he will once again be the insufferable bastard he has always been.  Oh well, we may as well enjoy it while we can.

"Oh, oh, I know... maleficence!"  Sesshoumaru smirked as he watched Kagome write it down, realizing what was going to  happen.  "It still doesn't work out right!"

"What?!  Let me see the clues again."  Shun pulled his chair around to sit next to Kagome, draping one arm around her waist, working his fingers underneath her t-shirt to lightly scratch her belly with his claws.  "Ah, it is not m-a-l-e-f-i-c-e-n-c-e, I've already told you it is m-a-l, not m-a-l-e."  Kagome wriggled out of his grip, pulling her t-shirt back down.

Hn, it appears that Kagome is now on her way to becoming malcontent, as well as possibly malevolent.  Shun, you had better watch your step.

"If I take out the "e" then it is one letter short."

"Princess, you have spelled, as well as pronounced it incorrectly."

Indeed, you have just sealed your fate Shun, that was a malapropos remark. 

"WHAT!"

"Now calm down, little one, maleficence is evildoing, an evil deed, or the quality or state of being maleficent.  The word you are searching for is malfeasance which is wrongful conduct, especially by a public official."

"OK, it's m-a-l-f....  it's still one letter short."

"That's because it is still spelled incorrectly.  Think more along the lines of feasible."  Shun reached for the water bottle, inadvertantly dripping a line of water up Kagomes arm.

"Hey, that's my water, go get your own bottle."

"I just want a sip or two, I won't drink it all, I promise."  He drank half the bottle, then sat it down.  

Kagome turned and glared at him.   The pen in her hand was beginning to bend from the tightening grip with which she held it.

"Shun, you are not only a malefactor, but malevolent as well!" 

"What do you mean, I am neither an evildoer, nor am I viciously spiteful, even though a youkai's true nature is evil."  Shun then proceeded to pull Kagome over onto his lap, encircling her in a close hug.  "However, now that we are back to the difference between m-a-l and m-a-l-e..."  Nuzzling her neck, he kissed down to her shoulder, grazing his mating mark with his fangs.  "I will admit to being a m-a-l-e youkai, who is exceptionally well endowed and more than willing to give you an up close and personal  demonstration of my darker nature." 

"Shun, stop right now!" Kagome jumped up off his lap, threw the pen down on the table, grabbed a towel from the bench and stalked off toward the outdoor onsen.  The salty scent of impending tears hung heavy in the air.

Shun sat there with a dumbfounded look on his face.

"What type of malfunction just occurred?"  Shun questioned as he picked up the water bottle and finished it off.  "I'd better go find out what is bothering her."

"Indeed, I wouldn't do that just yet."  Sesshoumaru smirked at him.  "Let her have at least 15 or 20 minutes, preferably a little more,  to get it out of her system.  The hot water in the onsen will help relax her.  That one is much hotter than the indoor hot spring.   Our mate can be very temperamental at this time of the month.  She is not that far, we can easily keep tabs on her from here."

Shun instantly stretched out his youki, which was immediately rebuked by her reiki, and he withdrew it back into himself, smarting from the slight burn.

"This time of the month?  You mean like Inuyasha and his human nights?  What does she turn into?  Besides a bitch and a half.  She's been acting crazy for the last day or two.  I found her last night sitting on the floor of the pantry, in front of the freezer, eating ice cream out the container."  Shun went and got several more bottles of water from the refrigerator in the bedroom.  "Why did she get these little tiny bottles?  I'll go shopping with her next time instead of letting her go with Jak."

"The water is the easiest to answer.  Knowing Kagome, they were on sale."  Sesshoumaru reached for a bottle of water.  "I guess we are over due for another lesson in human idiosyncrasies.  It would seem that as your alpha I have been remiss.  I tend to not think of these things until they are thrust into my awareness and are about to happen."  Sesshoumaru then proceeded to explain the human reproductive system to Shun.

Shun narrowed his eyes at Sesshoumaru, calculating the lunar calendar in his head.  "You mean to tell me... the cycle for human women is twelve or thirteen times a year?  Not just once or twice like youkai?" 

"That is correct Shun, plus she is several days late this month."

"Is she....?"  Shun turned wide eyes in the direction of the hot spring.

"No, she is not pupped, by all signs and scents her menses will start tomorrow.  Until then it would be best if we can somehow avoid upsetting her.   She has never been as regular as some women supposedly are, and when she is this late, she often has cramps for the first day or so and is in a great deal of pain.  It is nothing we can't take care of for her."

"How long will she remain upset with me?"  Shun was feeling  remorseful for his earlier actions, which at the time he didn't realize were unwanted.  He would most definitely make an effort to learn to read their mate better.  After getting her over her initial shyness, he was now accustomed to being able to pleasure her at his, or her, or their, will, without giving it a second thought.

"She is probably almost over it by now.  Give her a little bit longer.  It was only a small malentendu.  Misunderstandings are very common with new mates.  I know I made plenty when we were first mated.  It has not been quite two months, go easy on yourself, and her."  Sesshoumaru drained the first bottle and reached for a second one.  "You are right, these bottles are ridiculous."

Sesshoumaru spread a few thin tendrils of his youki in the direction of the hot spring.  "Sometimes it is best to be cautious in making contact, tentative at first, to see the reaction, and gauge the reception, before you charge headlong into the maelstrom.  Remember the lessons learned on the battlefield."  Meeting no barrier, he proceeded to wrap them around Kagomes hand in a caress.  There was no resistance.  "She seems to be feeling the same way you are now.  Are there any iced teas in the refrigerator?  Take two with you and go to her at the onsen.  I'll be along shortly."

Shun retrieved two iced teas, grabbed a towel, and set off for the onsen, tracking Kagomes scent towards the trees.  Following the barely there path between them, he quickly arrived at the hot springs.  He hadn't realized how close the onsen was to the house, yet it was extremely private and very secluded.  It looked extraordinarily natural, yet almost too perfect.

There, reclined back against a rock, almost up to her shoulders in the bubbling water, was his Princess, goddess, mate, his life itself.  Her hair was pulled up on top of her head with a clip, skin flushed from the heat; eyes closed, she looked almost like she was asleep. 

"I'll be out of here in a few minutes."  She opened her eyes and tried to glare at him, but failed miserably.

"No, Kagome, I didn't come here to disturb you."  He held out an iced tea, hoping she would accept it.  "I just wanted to apologize for my malentendu back on the patio.  I'll leave you to your soaking."

"Apology accepted."  Kagome smiled, reaching for the iced tea.  "Why don't you join me.  There's plenty of room.  But, I should apologize also.  I have been acting rather bitchy the last few days."  Blushing, she looked down at the water.  "It's kind of embarrassing, but I have to explain..."

Quickly shedding his sleep pants and t shirt, Shun joined her in the hot spring, sitting next to her.  He then pulled her into his lap with a big hug.  "You don't have to explain anything, Sesshoumaru lectured me already."

"Oh, about what?"  She lifted an eyebrow in a perfect imitation of both her mates, as she wrapped her arms around his chest to return the hug. 

"Your menses.  I didn't realize you would suffer it more than once or twice a year."  As she blushed harder, he leaned down, kissing her on the temple.  "It is a natural thing, nothing to be embarrassed about Princess.  From here forward, I will try harder to remember to ask when something doesn't make sense to me, I don't want to offend you.  I don't want you disappointed with me either, so it should go in both directions.  Please, ask me anything you feel you need to know."

"OK, just please, no more "m" words today, especially not any "m-a-l" or "m-a-l-e" words.  I've heard enough of them to last me a month.  If I do hear another it will qualify as a malefaction."  Kagome giggled, laying her head against his shoulder.  

  

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Authors Note: This is going to be a chapter for a story I am currently writing, I only had to make some very small changes to my story notes to have it fit the theme.  Shun is my original character, and as such is my intellectual property with all rights reserved.  If you would like to know more about Shun, whose name means Excellence, and how he became Kagomes second mate, please keep an eye out for the story titled "Super Bowl" the first chapter of which will be posted within the next few days.

 

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