This is my very first story. Done as a Christmas present for sugar0o for Dannyealle-sama's challenge. Happy Holidays, sugar0o. I hope you enjoy.
I don't own Inuyasha or Howl's Moving Castle. Copyrights go to the rightful owners. I only own the plot of this story.
”Hey, Kagome, what are you doing tomorrow?” Sango asked her friend, while she was folding and putting away the napkins.
“Well… mom is working tomorrow so I have to babysit Souta and Shippo” Kagome said with a smile as she ran the soapy plate she was holding under the flow of warm water to rinse it. “Why do you ask?”
“Dad’s on a business trip and so I have to babysit Kohaku. Hey, why don’t you come over with the boys. I’m sure Kohaku would love to see them both.”
Kagome shot a look of disbelief at her best friend. “There is no way in hell I’m doing that. Don’t you remember what happened last time we babysat them together?”
“Well, yeah. But that was over a year ago. I thought they would be a little more mature than that by now.” Sango said with a blush.
Kagome began laughing. “Sango, they’re boys. They never mature. And that goes double for Shippo since he’s a kitsune. Trickster by nature,” she winked at her friend, who started laughing as well.
“Thank you girls for helping me,” the crystalline voice of their hostess said, as she glided gracefully into the kitchen.
“No problem, Lady Izayoi. It’s our pleasure,” Kagome said with a smile to Inuyasha’s mother, wiping her hands on a towel.
The girls had been invited to have dinner with their friend’s family and had decided to help clean up, seeing as how the three males had mysteriously disappeared when Izayoi mentioned the word ‘dishes’.
“Ohh, before I forget, girls… Touga and I would like to have you over on Christmas Eve, if you don’t have other plans, of course. You could bring your boyfriend as well, Sango. We would like to meet him.”
“Of course we would love to come,” said Kagome, nudging Sango in the ribs playfully. Izayoi really didn’t know what she was getting herself into wanting to meet the letch that was Sango’s boyfriend. But then again she was mated to Inuyasha’s father, who Miroku could actually take lessons in letchery from. “But both our parents are working that night and since jii-chan is still at that spa with his friends, we really can’t leave our brothers and Shippo alone for Christmas Eve.”
“Oh, dear, that’s no problem at all,” Izayoi brushed it off. “You can bring them along. Rin would love to see them. And a cousin is flying over tomorrow from Okinawa to spend the holidays with us and he has two children about Shippo’s age. I’m sure they’d have a lot of fun together.”
“Then count us in. We would love to spend Christmas Eve with you all.”
“Wonderful. I’ll go tell Touga that you are coming,” Izayoi said going out of the kitchen and leaving the girls to finish cleaning up. They were almost done when Sango spoke again.
“Hey, Kagome. I just realized it’s almost Christmas and I haven’t done any gift shopping yet. Did you do yours?”
“No, I haven’t either,” Kagome frowned. “And I’m totally swamped on the 23rd and 24th. I could only go tomorrow, but I’m babysitting. How about you, Sango?”
“Same here. I could only go tomorrow. I really wanted us to go together. But what do we do with the boys? Shopping’s going to take hours and we have to buy presents for them too. I’m absolutely not leaving my brother home alone for the whole day.”
“No, neither am I. I don’t even want to imagine the horror. Let’s think about it. Something’s sure to come to us.”
Both girls were silent for a few minutes, pondering how they could pull off shopping and babysitting at the same time. What relative or friend could they leave Shippo, Kohaku and Souta with for eight hours?
Kagome clicked her fingers as the answer came to her in a flash of sudden inspiration.
“I’ve got it!” she cried excitedly. “We’ll leave them with Inuyasha.”
Sango questioned the sanity of her friend for a few seconds before answering: “Why would you want to do something like that to him? I know he’s annoying and a total jerk at times, but he’s still our best friend.”
“Well, first of all because, as you have accurately pointed out, he can be a huge jerk at times. And because he owes me so big for what he pulled on Thanksgiving. Studying my ass! Yuka saw him with Kikyou at the movies that day. And Ayumi saw him at the mall. So he really wasn’t studying. He just made that excuse so he wouldn’t have to help with dinner.”
“Yeah, but don’t you think this is a little too harsh for that,” Sango protested. “I mean this is our brothers and Shippo we are talking about. You know very well how they’re like together.”
“Of course I know,” Kagome scowled. “But remember the hellish day we had:we had to slave all day in that kitchen alone, do the groceries and make sure those three didn’t break anything. My back ached for two days. He deserves this.”
“You’re right. He does. I just hope he’ll still be friends with us after this,” Sango conceded.
As they plotted their revenge against the unsuspecting hanyou, neither of the girls realized that they had been overheard by one that had a great interest in the matter.
Kagome’s mom dropped the two girls and three boys in front of Inuyasha’s house on her way to work.
“Take care, Kagome. I’ll be late home tonight so don’t wait up for me. Bye, sweetie.”
“Okay, mom. Drive carefully. Bye.” Kagome and Souta said at the same time.
“Goodbye, Mrs Higurashi,” Sango waved.
As soon as the car disappeared from view, Kagome put on her war face.
“Okay, let’s do this,” Kagome said with an evil grin walking up to front door and ringing the bell.
The one who opened the door was Izayoi, who was dressed for going out in a cream cashmere sweater, jeans, leather boots and a trench coat. Her long black hair was pulled in a tight bun at the base of her neck. Along with her were a young man that slightly resembled Touga, except he had black hair with silver streaks, and a very beautiful woman with long coppery hair braided on one side, same as the man’s. They looked around thirty, but you could never really tell how old youkai were.
“Hello, Lady Izayoi. You look very lovely today. We’re here to see Inuyasha. Is he in?” Kagome asked politely.
“Thank you, dear. No, Inuyasha isn’t here, but he’ll be back in fifteen minutes. You can wait for him in his room. We were just going out to do some Christmas shopping. This is our nephew Hajime and his mate,” Izayoi introduced the two demons.
Kagome bowed gracefully, wondering what was it with males in this family and long hair. After the necessary introductions were gone through, Izayoi left and Kagome and Sango made their way through the house towards Inuyasha’s room on the first floor.
“How are you going to convince Inuyasha to babysit them, Kagome? Even he knows about the last time these three were together.”
“Don’t worry,” the young miko smiled. “All I have to do is mention Christmas shopping and pull my best puppy look and he’ll agree to anything.”
They were currently standing on the landing outside the hanyou’s door, while the three boys had wondered off in search of their friend Rin.
“I’m not sure we should be doing this, Kagome,” Sango said meekly. “What if they end up breaking something expensive? Or damage something?”
“Relax, Sango. Shippo knows what he’s doing. The only one that is going to be ‘damaged’ is Inuyasha.” Kagome assured her friend.
“Is that so, little miko?” a smooth, low voice inquired suddenly from behind the girls, making them almost jump out of their skins with fright.
They turned around to find Inuyasha’s older brother, Sesshoumaru, watching them curiously with a book in his hand. He was wearing jeans and a tight black cashmere sweater that only accented his already very high degree of sexiness. His sinfully silky silver hair was loose around his shoulders giving him an ethereal glow and making Kagome’s fingers twitch with the desire to touch it. Already her mind had wondered into very indecent fields. She really didn’t need the distraction at the moment. Focus, Kagome, focus!
“Gah! You scared the life out of me, Sesshoumaru. Can’t you make more noise when you’re sneaking up on people?” she said as the taiyoukai lifted an eyebrow at her. “What are you doing out in the hall anyway?”
“I couldn’t help but overhear your plan to torture my idiot half-brother, and while it is a very good one, I must confess I am appalled,” he said in the same smooth voice, shaking his head in dismay.
Kagome palled and began apologizing when he cut her off with a wicked smile.
“Appalled that you didn’t include me in it. Torturing Inuyasha is one of my favorite pastimes and I would be more than willing to help you carry this through.”
It took a few seconds for Kagome to get over the shock of his answer. She stole a glance at Sango, who was still gaping at Sesshoumaru, probably off somewhere in her own perverted fantasies. She shook her head to clear it and got back to the business at hand:
“How do you intend to help us? You have no children and Rin is so much of a little angel she should have white wings and a halo.”
“It isn’t Rin I am talking about. And you happen to be wrong today, little miko,” he said, stepping back and opening the door to his room so that the girls could take a look inside.
What they saw left them slack-jawed and in complete horror. Kagome was the first to find her voice.
“Oh my God! How did…? What the…? Where did you…?” she managed to sputter out, still unable to take her eyes off the sight before her, like a deer caught in the headlights.
“I am under obligation to a friend. But,” Sesshoumaru said, grabbing her chin and turning her face towards him, “I would be more than happy to leave them to Inuyasha and spend my time with you, Kagome.”
It took a few minutes for Kagome’s dazed brain to catch up to her eyes and ears. What she had seen had left her scared. And did Sesshoumaru just ask her out on a date? She must be going insane. He had actually used her name and not called her ‘little miko’ for a change. And it wasn’t technically a date since Sango was going to be there, right? Right?!
All thoughts went out the window when they heard the front door open and Inuyasha yell “I’m home”.
Kagome swallowed once, twice, took another look inside Sesshoumaru’s room and her mouth turned up in a wicked smile that could easily have rivaled the taiyoukai’s as she glanced back into his golden eyes.
“This is going to be sooo good. Let’s do it.”
“Pleeease, Inuyasha. Pretty please,” Kagome mewled. “We really have to go Christmas shopping and we can’t take them with us. So please can you take care of them. Please?” She put on her best puppy eyes, the ones she knew he couldn’t refuse. Hell, she was pretty sure even Sesshoumaru would respond to that look. Inuyasha’s shoulders dropped in defeat and she knew she’d won.
“Keh, whatever wench. Just make sure you get me something good.” The hanyou said, covering his years to protect them from the young miko’s sudden outburst of excited squealing. Which mean he couldn’t catch her when she tackled him so they wound up on the floor, with Kagome strandling his hips.
“Thanks, Yasha! You’re the best!” Kagome said, kissing his cheek before she got up and ran to the door. “We’ll be back for the kids around seven. Have fun!” With that she left, leaving him alone.
Inuyasha scoffed, before picking himself off the floor and looking at the children. Rin was drawing and humming to herself at the table, while the three boys were whispering among themselves with less than innocent expressions which made Inuyasha sure he was going to regret this later.
Inuyasha was in a good mood. It had already been almost an hour and nothing out of place happened. The gods must be loving him today. But he wasn’t about to let his guard down. Shippo, Kohaku and Souta were notorious for causing trouble when they got together. He remembered very well the incident from the previous year: the three had given the girls sleeping pills, run out of the house, almost caused a traffic accident, scared their families half to death and ended up in the hospital with food poisoning and smoke inhalation after burning down an abandoned building. There had been no criminal charges since the building was supposed to be demolished the next day anyway but Inuyasha remembered that Shippo, the mastermind behind the whole escapade, hadn’t been allowed out of the house for three months. He was suddenly pulled out of his memories by his older brother calling him out in the hall. He got up and went to see what it was about.
“What do you want, prick?” he scoffed at Sesshoumaru.
The older male, who was putting on his jacket, glared at the hanyou.
“I merely wished to inform you that I have some business in town and since your mother is out, I have talked to father and he told me to put you in charge of babysitting our niece and nephew,” Sesshoumaru replied coldly, pointing to the two innocent looking figures standing at the base of the stairs. They were about Shippo’s age, with coppery hair and golden eyes and looked almost identical since they were twins.
“Keh, whatever. I can take care of the runts.”
“Make sure they don’t destroy anything. And make sure they don’t touch my room or you’ll face a very slow and painful death, half-breed.” Sesshoumaru warned as he closed the door behind him.
Inuyasha stared at the door for a few seconds before turning to the children: ”Come on, you two. I’ll introduce you to the others.”
He marched into the living-room followed by the two. His entrance attracted the attention of the boys who stood up and came forward.
“Okay. These,” he said pointing to the twins, “are Namiru and Hisaye. And those three are Shippo, Kohaku and Souta. Now go play and don’t give me any ttrouble.”
Hisaye went and sat down by Rin and they started to color and giggle together, while Namiru joined the boys in their corner and the four of them continued to whisper and talk about God knew what among themselves.
Inuyasha was very pleased to see everything so calm as he picked up a manga and began reading assiduously. He just hoped it would last for the next six hours and a half. He was sure it wouldn’t.
“Uncle Inuyasha, I’m hungry,” Rin said, lifting her head out of the picture she was coloring.
Her words were seconded by all five children so off to the kitchen they went. Off course feeding six kids with very different tastes was a problem Inuyasha hadn’t anticipated and the fierce argument that started over who wanted what lasted for some good twenty minutes. Finally steak and baked potatoes had been decided upon and Inuyasha proceeded to heat up the food in the microwave and feed the hungry children around the table. As they jumped like hungry tigers on the offered food, the hanyou grinned with satisfaction and relief. It wasn’t that simple however, as Namiru proved when everyone was finished.
“What’s for dessert, uncle Yasha?” he asked, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, putting down his spoon. All the children perked up their heads at the word ‘dessert’.
Inuyasha blanched. Nobody had mentioned anything about the kids being allowed to have dessert after lunch, but judging by the looks they were giving him, he didn’t put it past them to sprinkle him with sugar and eat him if they didn’t get what they wanted. So he started rummaging through the fridge searching for something. He was saved by some ice-cream and a box of fruit loops, and the children declared themselves happy.
Of course he regretted giving in to those looks later, when he found out that already hyperactive children mixed with sugar turned into crazy little tornados that swept everything in their path. This realization dawned on him after having chased Namiru and Shippo around the house for half an hour trying to get his manga back and failing miserably. He caught them in the end and after they got their rightful punishment they sat down in a corner sulking and swearing to get back at Inuyasha for this.
As things had calmed down a bit, Inuyasha thought it safe call his girlfriend Kikyou. He was wrong and found he had to lock himself in his room to be able to have a decent conversation without Shippo and Ru laughing and imitating him.
The two trouble makers took this excellent opportunity to look around for something evil enough to do to the unsuspecting hanyou who was having a very pleasant and relaxing conversation with his girlfriend.
As they rummaged through the upstairs bathroom, Namiru stumbled upon a small container filled with round brown pills. A wicked grin spread across his face as he made out the label and he decided to share his finds with Shippo.
“Look at what I found,” he said, holding out two pills for Shippo to examine.
The fox kit got close and sniffed the pills. They were large, brown and had a faint scent of chocolate. He looked inquiringly at his companion.
“Let’s give these to Inuyasha.”
“You know that’s not chocolate, right?”
“Of course. The bottle says ‘laxatives’.”
Shippo’s grin was just as evil. “Let’s do it.”
After finally hanging up the phone Inuyasha returned to the living-room. He was relieved to find that the house was still standing in one piece. He also discovered that Rin and Hisaye had asked for hot chocolate and Kohaku and Souta, the oldest of the group at about eleven, had made some for everyone. Shippo handed the hanyou a steaming mug of the hot, pudding-thick drink with an innocent look.
Complete unaware of the looks the two young demons were throwing his way over their mugs, Inuyasha blissfully sipped his hot chocolate, wondering if maybe he had misjudged the children after all. Nothing serious had happened yet and he was feeling very confident in his abilities to keep things under control. Maybe Kagome had been exaggerating about Shippo.
The girls had resumed their coloring after lunch and were still going at it with a passion, and didn’t seem to want to stop anytime soon. The boys had in the meantime started a game of Monopoly and seemed to have settled down.
Just as he was reading a really interesting passage in the manga, Inuyasha first fells his stomach grumbling. He wondered at it since he had eaten already and wasn’t hungry. After a few minutes the grumbling came again with more force, but he ignored it.
This went on for about ten more minutes until, while Shippo and Namiru were arguing because Ru refused to pay rent, Inuyasha couldn’t hold it anymore and practically ran out of the room to the nearest bathroom, leaving a flock of stunned children in his wake.
Shippo and Namiru stared at each other for about thirty seconds before bursting out with laughter, their argument completely forgotten. Hisaye eyed her twin brother curiously, but shrugged and returned to her drawing.
“I am never babysitting those devils again,” Inuyasha grumbled to himself, pulling up his pants and exiting the bathroom for the fourth time. He returned to the living-room only to find that the banes of his current existence were nowhere in sight.
Deciding it was unwise to leave the two to their own devices. He went looking for them before they could cause any more mischief. Telling the others to behave he started his search upstairs.
Father’s study. All clear. Nothing unusual. No children.
Parents’ bedroom. All clear. Neat and tidy. No children.
Library. Some books on the table. Heating off. Nothing unusual. No children.
His bedroom. Usual mess. Bed unmade. All good. No children.
Bathroom. Overflowing laundry basket. A few bottles of medicine on the sink. No children.
Guest room. Suitcases in the corner. Heating on. Some toys in the middle of the room. No children.
Sesshoumaru’s room. Mother of all messes. All good. No children.
He closed the door to his brother’s room and started down the stairs when his mind caught up with his eyes and he froze mid-step. He turned around and looked at Sesshoumaru’s door as if it was going to jump out of its hinges and bite him. He couldn’t have seen what he just saw, right? He walked back up the stairs slowly and, after debating it for two minutes opened the door to his brother’s room again.
The sight was absolutely horrifying. It was as if a tornado had passed through there and then did a double take and decided to pass again. His brother’s books, CDs, clothes, papers were all thrown around the room and covered in a mist of fluff from Sesshoumaru’s two pillows. Socks were hanging out of the drawers and one was even hanging precariously from the lamp.
Inuyasha wasn’t one to normally take his brother’s death threats very seriously, being already used to them by now, but the state of this room might actually ensure him a slow and painful death. So, with determination and a quick prayer to whatever god was listening he rolled up his sleeves and got to cleaning up the mess before Sesshoumaru got back.
What Inuyasha hadn’t been aware of was the fact that the condition of his brother’s room was a preexisting one. It had been this sight that had scared Kagome and Sango, with the added bonus of the twins locked in a pillow fight, with fluff flying in every direction.
Another trip to the bathroom and a lot of assiduous work later, Inuyasha was lying in the hall panting in front of Sesshoumaru’s spotless and sparkling clean room. Every single thing had been put back in its proper place and all the fluff swept out.
He got up and went back to the living-room where he found the boys had grown tired of the Monopily game and were currently abusing his manga with a black marker. After some more yelling and running ensued, Inuyasha decided that if he was going to survive another hour in these conditions he needed to pull out the big guns.
When everything fails, try something that’s always worked in the past.
“Okay, everyone,” he said, pulling up a DVD. “Who wants to watch ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’?”
There was however one thing the hanyou hadn’t taken into account: it’s really hard to put on a DVD and turn the TV on while you are being pinned to the ground by six excited children.
Inuyasha didn’t know how he had gotten himself into this situation. Well, actually he did know, but was still in disbelief about it.
He had finally managed to settle the kids down enough to watch ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ but during one of the scenes Shippo and Namiru had decided to start a war of their own and so it was Shippo’s ‘fox fire’ against Ru’s ‘dragon fireball strike’. Their attacks weren’t much on their own, seeing as they were both still children, but a misfired combined version of the two had managed to land in Inuyasha’s lap and successfully light his pants on fire. And that hadn’t been all. There was no way the gods were going easy on the hanyou today.
Rin, helpful as she always was, had looked around for something to put out the fire with, and having spotted a glass full of clear liquid discarded on a nearby table, had proceeded to throw its contents on the flaming Inuyasha, believing it to be water. Needless to say it had not been water, but vermouth, which had only kindled the flames and led to the present situation of Inuyasha running around the living-room table half on fire, trying to think of a way to put himself out. He had to think of something fast, because his clothes were beginning to burn through and the flames were starting to lick his skin, which hurt like hell.
Rolling around on the floor was out, firstly because there wasn’t enough room for it, and secondly because his father would skin him for burning the very expensive Persian carpet. And he’d prefer burning alive to his father’s wrath any day. Water! He needed water. He got it: he could jump in the pool! But he quickly dropped that idea because it was December and jumping in the pool would only add broken bones to second degree burns.
That said, the hanyou changed course and ran to the kitchen, turned on the sink faucet and proceeded to scoop water and dunk it on himself.
After a few minutes of hard work, he managed to put out all the flames but was left drenched, smoking and with his favorite jeans and red T-shirt ruined.
Oh, those kids were going to pay for this!
After having changed his burned clothes and yelled some at the two tricksters, Inuyasha had settled down on the couch to watch the rest of the movie and wait for Kagome’s return. Thank God it was almost seven and she was due back in just twenty minutes. The day had completely worn him out and he felt his eyes slipping shut. He decided to just rest his eyes for a bit. His other senses would still be active, so there was no problem. And besides, nothing bad could happen in twenty minutes, right? Those were Inuyasha’s last thoughts before he slipped into a deep slumber.
“I hope Inuyasha’s okay,” Kagome said as she headed towards the front door with Sango and Sesshoumaru. “We did unleash six children on him after all.”
They had had a very successful shopping spree after which they had dropped all the presents at home and Sesshoumaru had taken them to a nice little café where they had met up with Miroku and had talked and laughed together.
“I see your parents and cousins aren’t home yet,” Sango noted the absence of the cars from in front of the mansion like house.
“No. Father took them all out to dinner. They’ll be back later,” Sesshoumaru said, opening the front door and letting the girls pass first.
He frowned as he was closing the door. A smell of burned clothing and glue came from the living-room along with the sound of what appeared to be a snoring hanyou combined with “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Just for a second the thought entered his mind that maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
Shippo’s head peeked out of the living-room.
“Kagome! You’re back,” he said excitedly, coming into the hallway and hugging her. He was followed by the rest of the children. The girls immediately attached themselves to Sessoumaru’s legs.
“Have you boys been good?”the miko inquired with a critical eye.
Shippo and Namiru exchanged knowing glances before the little fox said carefully:
“Well… I’m pretty sure there’s no lasting damage. And we didn’t break anything.”
“That’s good to hear. Where’s Inuyasha?”
“He’s asleep on the couch. He must be really tired,” Shippo shrugged, smiling sweetly. “We had nothing to do with it, I promise. Well at least not in the way you're thinking, anyway," he added quickly, seeing the look Kagome was sending him.
“I know how he feels. Let him sleep. Let’s go home. I’m so tired I could fall asleep right here. Thank you for the coffee, Sesshoumaru. Come on Sango. See you later.” Kagome waved as she and Sango were leaving.
“Indeed,” the taiyoukai replied, closing the door after them. He then proceeded through the house to make sure nothing had been destroyed. Everything seemed to be in order except for the charred remains of Inuyasha’s favorite red T-shirt on the bathroom floor.
When he opened the door to his room he was surprised by the almost blinding cleanliness and order inside. He smiled to himself: ‘It appears death threats actually work sometimes’.
He fixed the three remaining children dinner, washed the mountain of dishes in the sink and then went into the living-room to assess the damage there. Apart from the drawings and colored pencils scattered on the coffee table and his brother snoring on the couch everything was in its proper place. Only when he studied his brother closely did he understand how evil those boys could actually be. He decided to let his brother sleep, since the awakening would be a rather painful one, and, after gathering all the drawings and colored pencils, went to his room to study and keep an eye on the kids who were thankfully tired enough to not cause any more trouble.
Inuyasha woke with a start in the darkness of the living-room. He was instantly hit and frightened by the deafening quiet of the house. He became even more frightened and also pissed when he got up from the couch and realized that his right hand had been tightly glued to the crotch of his pants. Fuming and cursing the loss of another pair of jeans in the same day he went into the kitchen to get a pair of scissors.
As he was rummaging through the drawers, which was pretty hard to do with one hand, his older brother entered the room and started to look for something in the fridge.
“Oi, asshole, where are the kids?” Inuyasha asked.
“The miko and her friend came to pick them up an hour ago. If you could stay awake you would know that,” Sesshoumaru said, surfacing from the fridge with a carton of orange juice. He proceeded to take out three glasses from the cupboard, not caring about Inuyasha’s renewed cursing. It was going to get a lot worse anyway.
“I suggest you wash that filthy mouth of yours before father gets back.”
Sesshoumaru made to leave the room with his load but turned his head from the door to look at his brother.
“And do the same for your face, although I don’t think it will help much. It’s permanent.” He threw over his shoulder before retreating upstairs.
Inuyasha was stunned for a few seconds. ‘What’s permanent?’ he wondered for a few minutes before picking up one of his mother’s metal trays and looking at himself in it. A second later he wished he hadn’t. His face was decorated with a curly moustache, a beard and blackened eyes. All done in black marker. Permanent black marker as his brother had pointed out.
Ohhh, he was going to kill Shippo for this.