Chapter 1: Prelude
It was cold. Colder than Inuyasha remembered winter ever being, and darker, the clouds seemed to form a grey canopy above him, blocking out brilliant winter sun. But then everything seemed to be colder, darker, and crueler than it had ever been before. Time had not been kind to Inuyasha, but nothing ever was. After the defeat of Naraku, things did not go as he had hoped. He never really thought about what he would do once the jewel was completed, but this certainly was not it. He never imagined that he would end up alone in these cold and desolate mountains in the middle of winter.
Immediately after the completion, purification, and destruction of the Shikon no Tama, Kagome went home for a rest. Three days, she said, three days and she would come back to start her new life with Inuyasha. Inuyasha had walked her to the Bone Eater's well, hand in hand, excited for the break in endless fighting and the beginning of perhaps a time of happiness he had not had the fortune to experience since his mother was alive. She turned to him as they reached the well's edge and gazed into his eyes, the warmth and love that shown from them left him breathless, but he had to shut his eyes to them when she reached up and kissed him.
With a simple, "See ya later, Inuyasha", she turned and jumped into the well.
She never came back.
After the three promised days had passed and Kagome did not return, Inuyasha grew impatient, as always. He jumped into the well expecting it to engulf him in the waves of time magic, only to land on the hard packed bottom of the well. No. No, this could not be! He could not get through!
After five days, he accepted the fact of what he knew to be the truth. He was not able to go through to her time, but she was a powerful Miko. Everyone knew that. She could make it back. However…, what was she waiting for? She should have been back by now.
After two weeks, Inuyasha could not deny that something was very wrong. Where was she? Everyone was anxious, fearing the worst. Did Sango and Miroku loose one of their best friends? Will Shippo ever see the girl he thought of as his adoptive mother again? What was Inuyasha to do?
By the end of the month, Inuyasha did not even bother to come out of the well. He waited for her. Maybe today would be the day she would come back. Sometimes Miroku and Sango would come to the well to talk, plead with Inuyasha to come out, or bring him food from Kaede-baba. Sometimes Shippo came and sat with him, sharing in his grief, but he never stayed for long.
Inuyasha eventually came out, but he never strayed far from the well. As months turned into years, Inuyasha became a ghost. Would she ever come back? Had she ever planed to come back? Did she know the well would close? Did she ever really love him? He began to wonder, but he could not leave on the off chance she would return.
As time went on, Miroku, Sango, Shippo, and Kohaku decided to leave for Sango's old village. They would rebuild it. Inuyasha should go with them, start new life. Nevertheless, Inuyasha would not abandon Kagome, just as she would never abandon him. Would she? She had not known the well would close on her…right?
After seven years, Inuyasha could admit she was never coming back. He began to go to the well less and less. When he was not at the well, he haunted the trees of the Inuyasha forest, hunting, surviving, existing. Then, Kaede died. With his last link to the village broken, there was no reason to stay. He left.
Inuyasha could not go to the demon slayer village. The group had moved on. In the years, Sango and Miroku had started a family, having a whole brood of children. However, while Miroku and Sango grew older and became settled, productive, and valued members of their village, Inuyasha stayed the same. The half demon was still a wild and brash child, the appearance and temperament of a fifteen year old, and would be that way far after they grew old and died. Shippo, too, moved on. Having been- what he saw as- abandoned by a distraught Inuyasha , he left with the humans to the slayer village, leaving only to attend the Kitsune school they had once passed through on their journeys.
Inuyasha did not think too much about being alone at first. When the group was together, he had always needed to find time by himself, lounging in trees or scouting their camping area. After nearly 100 years of being alone, after the death of his mother and subsequent expulsion from human and demon society, it was hard to being with people all the time. Therefore, he figured that he could easily handle being alone again. He soon found out that was not the case.
He wandered the countryside as he had before his time with Kikyou, going from day to day surviving. He was quick to remember that life without the backup of humans to vouch for him that no matter what good he had done on his travels, he was still a hanyou. Half-Human or Half-demon neither one nor the other and belong to neither. Half, Half, Half, that was all that mattered and he was once again the filthy half-breed spawn of a human whore and a demon in everyone's eyes. Once again, he was completely and utterly alone.
Alone and now cold, Inuyasha was in the mountains, possibly the worst place to be in the dead of winter. The mountain valleys served to funnel in the whipping winds and building snow. Inuyasha's fur clad feet were buried up to the middle of his shins in the snow, in some places up to his knees, and walking on the ground proved to be more effort than Inuyasha needed to exert, so he took to the trees.
The trees were not much better. While there was less snow and jumping from branch to branch was much faster, up in the trees, the wind blew hard. He covered himself in a large fury hide of a massive bear youkai he had killed, constantly readjusting it to recover his puppy ears as it slipped from his head with each jump. Even so, the winds lashed at Inuyasha's face and left his cheeks, nose, and forehead red, burned, and dry at the end of each day. It was worse when he had to draw Tetsusaiga and fight. Fighting with both hands meant that he could not hold on to the bear hide and his hands and ears would go numb with the cold. It always healed by morning, but it was still painful.
However, today it was colder, noticeably so. All around him the snow swirled and billowed in the wind. The clouds were gathering in the distance with force, and he could smell more snow to come. The skies were gathering its strength and the air was just too dry and too cold. It seemed even Mother Nature had turned her back to the half-breed. There would be a storm coming soon, a big one.
Inuyasha jerked awake. He was relatively snug, cocooned in his massive bear fur hide. With it covering his head he could see nothing and smell nothing. True, it left him vulnerable to the various dangers of the forest, unable to smell something coming or see it when it was in front of him, but it was that or have his nose fall off from the cold, and, damnit, he needed his nose! It was because of this, however, that he had no idea what startled him awake.
A blood curdling scream broke through the howls of the wind.
He threw the hide off his head and jumped to his feet, bracing himself against the trunk of the tree he was sleeping in. He sniffed the air and his ears swiveled back and forth trying to catch another sound. There! A scuffling sound a little bit behind him. He secured his hide around his shoulders, unsheathed Tetsusaiga, and ran towards the sound.
As he grew closer, the winds carried scents to him. He scented blood, wet fur, and fear, three of his least favorite smells. Under the howling of the wind, running foot steps could be heard: two beings, one on two legs and the other on four. The harsh breathing of the two beings and the thunderous steps were coming closer. He saw them; a youkai woman was being chased by a colossal boar demon. He caught a glimpse of the he blood he smelled before. It ran down the leg of the youkai woman, pumping from the open gash on her thigh. The boar's blood coated tusks glistened in the moonlight, proof of just where the wound came from. The boar looked fierce as they ran past Inuyasha. Its dark fur was bristled with aggression and backlit by the moon. Its breath puffed out of its nostrils like the smoke of a dragon, over glowing red eyes and poisonous saliva dripped from its gaping maw.
Inuyasha jumped to the ground to run after it, but the snow was quite deep. He could not go very fast in the snow that covered his ankles in some places and reached his shins in others. Ahead, the youkai woman was faltering. Blood loss and a wounded leg tripped her up and she crashed in the snow. The boar took the opportunity and lowered his tusks to the ground and charged. She screamed. The boar was on top of her, impaling her with its poison coated tusks, stomping on her with its razor sharp hooves. She screamed again and the sound mixed with the raging grunts and squealing roars of the beast.
The woman and the boar had gotten some distance on him, the boar pushing the woman still farther with every hit of his tusks, leaving a wide trail of blood in the snow. Inuyasha could not get close fast enough. He raised his sword.
"KAZE NO KIZU!"
The power of the sword raced to its intended target, but Inuyasha was too far. Its normally obliterating power waned with the distance, and though it hit the beast's back, it lived. A solid piece of it flew away, causing the boar to roar in pain. As blood gushed from the wound the boar ran into the night, screaming and grunting in pain and anger.
The cold night air was still and silent. The woman no longer screamed. Inuyasha rushed to the youkai woman. Panting, he approached the figure, curled and writhing in pain. There was blood everywhere, seeping from a massive puncture- probably from a tusk- in her neck and thigh, poison bubbled from the wounds. There were cuts and bruises from the boar's sharp hooves all over her body. She stretched her neck in her attempt to get air and her eyes bugged with fear and the strain to breathe. Her desperate gasps gurgled in her throat and tears ran down her face, her body shacking with fear, shock, and her own effort to breath. Her arms cradled a bundle of blood splattered furs, her knees were drawn up, her back hunched and she lay on her side in the snow, protecting it from the brutal attack.
A wolf demon, Inuyasha noted as his eyes connected with glassy green eyes of the woman, who was quickly drowning in her own blood. Her body, taunt and trembling, soon grew slack, and her gurgled breath shallowed until it too stopped. Inuyasha swallowed hard as her eyes glazed and her arms went limp. The bundle she had been cradling rolled from her grasp until it landed in a depression in the snow. The bundle opened slightly and a small clawed hand rested limp atop the snow.
What the.., thought Inuyasha. He made his way to the small bundle and lifted it, sniffing out its contents. He unwrapped it. Buried within the furs was a small child. A small trickle of blood ran down its forehead. Was it the woman's blood or the babe's, Inuyasha did not know, but it was warm and breathing in his hands.
The woman, Inuyasha assumed the babe's mother, was dead, beyond saving, but the child in his hands was not. He looked at the woman, frozen in place where she used her body to shield the child from attack. There was no way he could bury her, not with the mounds of snow and frozen earth, but he could make sure her babe was protected.
He turned away from the bloody scene, secured the babe in his arms, and leapt into the trees.
Once he found a big tree with branches sturdy enough to hold him and at the right angle so he wouldn't fall out in his sleep, he sat with his back to the trunk and brought his knees up to support the child in his lap. He brought his bear hide over his head and secured it around them so the cold could not get in. It would not do to expose the babe to the cold while he examined it. In the dark under the hide, Inuyasha's demon eyes allowed him to see his charge.
He unwrapped the child from its soiled furs. It was obviously much younger than Shippo, though was about the same size. Its tawny brown hair was short and messily spiked in various directions from its head, the same color as the little tail that protruded from the cloth that served as a diaper. The small male wolf cub - as Inuyasha discerned-, other than the diaper, had no clothes. He turned his attention to the blood on the cub's forehead. Upon inspection, Inuyasha saw that the blood indeed was the cubs, trailing from a small cut near the hairline. Little squirt got caught by a hoof, Inuyasha surmised as he began to lick away the blood.
As he lapped at the small wound to clean it, the cub whimpered and began to stir. He wriggled in Inuyasha's grasp and opened his eyes. Inuyasha watched as the eyes, which were such a light blue they were almost white, wavered and crossed in the cubs attempt to focus. Musta been a good thump on the head, Inuyasha thought, He was padded by furs, and it still knocked him out cold. The cubs gazed settled on Inuyasha and he whimpered and trembled in fear. He did not know this demon. Was he going to be eaten?
Inuyasha bent to the cubs face and licked his cheek in comfort. "I won't hurt ya, squirt. You're alright"
He leaned back and gazed into the cub's eyes, pale and piercing, as the cub gazed back into his own molten pools. A silent bond stretched between them. A funny feeling grew in his chest. Inuyasha suddenly knew then what he needed to do. Well, he was already going to, but now he knew had to. He must protect this cub. He was his to defend.
This was a wolf cub. Inuyasha happened to know a wolf prince. Lucky for the little squirt here, we happen to be relatively close by the wolf's domain. He probably belongs to the fleabag's tribe. Inuyasha would ensure his-no- this cub would get to the Northern Wolf Tribe* that resided in the mountains just a few days journey north of here.
He gathered the cub and tucked him under his chin, resting his body on his chest. The cub uncurled and nuzzled his nose under Inuyasha's chin. The cub instinctually knew to submit himself to this demon, who would be his protector. This demon was warm and gentle and kind. He was also lonely. He reached up further and lapped at Inuyasha's cheek in his appreciation and innocent affection.
"Keh, damn kid, slobbering all over me…" He muttered. He tucked the cub back under his chin and settled back for the night. Despite the cold and dreary surroundings, Inuyasha felt warmth that spread through him, and he stole a secret smile. He was content.
That warm feeling stayed with him throughout the next day, growing as the sun rose in the sky. Squirt, as Inuyasha had taken to calling the young cub, had awakened him as the sun rose, squirming in his lap, batting at the fur that rest over his head. Huddled in a hollow made from the raised roots of a tree, they shared a breakfast of a rabbit Inuyasha had caught. After, Inuyasha licked away the bloody mess that the cub had created in his enthusiastic eating, from his cheeks, hands, and toes. How he got his breakfast on his toes, I'll never know.
In the warmth of the space made of fur and Inuyasha's lap, Squirt wriggled on his back, bearing his belly and yipping happily. Completely ignorant of his canine demon heritage and ways, including modes of communication, Inuyasha had no conscious idea that this was a show by Squirt of his complete submission and absolute trust in the dog hanyou. Instinctually, though, Inuyasha knew he should be happy about this pose. He leaned down and licked the tip of the cub's nose and then tickled the rounded baby belly, and gave a small smile to the delighted giggles of the child.
With that, they had prepared to start their journey to the Northern Wolf Tribe. Inuyasha unwrapped Squirt from his furs, the young cub shivering instantly in the cold. He hoisted the cub onto his back, where he clung with his small sharp claws. Inuyasha quickly covered the cub in the furs and wrapped it across his back, tying it in front of him, creating a warm sling across his back. He draped his long thick hair over the bundle on his back and then covered them both with the big bear fur as added protection against the wind.
The journey was slow going. The snow seemed to have doubled over night, or at least that was how it felt to Inuyasha. It stayed bitterly cold, almost as if the sun had not risen at all, and the skin of his exposed face and knuckles grew red and raw quickly. Squirt, however, felt none of this, kept warm and occupied at Inuyasha's back.
Inside the sling Inuyasha could feel him move about, entertaining himself as only children seem to be able to do. Occasionally he would pop his head out of the sling and Inuyasha would feel the tugs at his scalp where the cub would play with his hair or bite and pull on the collar of his hitoe. A wave of contentment would wash over him when he felt the cub's soft cheek rest on his back as he napped, or rest his chin on his shoulder as he looked out from beneath the curtain of hair.
The best thing Inuyasha had discovered about his Squirt was that he was a delightful conversationalist. At one point, Inuyasha had announced to no one in particular that the winds had changed; a sure sign of an impending snow storm. He was surprised with a responding bit of baby babble.
"What are you yammerin' about back there?" A shrieking giggle was his responds.
From there Inuyasha decided that if the cub wanted conversation, who was he to deny him that? Inuyasha certainly did not mind it, though he was glad there was no one around the hear him blather on to a baby who would answer him with yips, giggles, shrieks, and wordless babbles. In fact, it was relieving to the hanyou, as it was the first conversation he had been able to participate in for months, and much longer still since he had had one that did not include the words "filthy hanyou", "dirty mongrel", or "monster". He talked for hours to the cub about many things, some important, but many not; ranging from just how far up his brother's ass he would like to shove his foot, to the best kind of tree to sleep in- "a big ol' Sugi tree" was his suggestion.
He was, in truth, so engrossed on the subject of most comfortable trees that he failed to notice the angry glowing red eyes that surveyed him from the bushes.
It was while he was in the midst of announcing that they needed to find a place to ride out the encroaching storm, and soon, that he heard the sounds of something approaching from behind them. The winds, which had been steadily building in speed, were blowing against them, roaring in his ears and muffling the sounds around him. The approaching beast was down wind from him and he never smelled it, and only heard it coming as it started to thunderously charge at him a few feet away.
He barely had enough time to whirl out of the way as the beast grazed his side with something sharp. Inuyasha ignored the small scrape as he finally got a look at his assailant. Its hackles were raised and a roar exploded from its mouth, bubbling poison dripping from its sharp tusks. Though mostly healed, there was a noticeable chunk of flesh missing from its meaty shoulder; a patch of its spiky brown hair was gone. Inuyasha recognized this beast. It was the demon boar from last night and it was angry.
It skidded to a halt in the deep snow, realizing it had missed its target. As it swung around to charge again, Inuyasha drew his Tetsusaiga. He raised it above his head.
"KAZE NO KI-" Inuyasha had to jump out of the way as the boar ran by. It was much faster than he thought.
Again the boar skid to a halt and advanced again. This time Inuyasha knew he was too close for the long range attacks of Kaze no Kizu. As the beast got nearer, he swung the sword across, throwing his weight behind it and slashed at its face.
The boar bellowed with a squealing roar as the sword connected and blood gushed from the wound to its eye. Stopped in its tracks, it shook its head from side to side as if to clear its vision of the blood and gore that covered it, but its right red eye was now useless. Its breath clouded in the cold dry air as it steadied its self and focused its remaining eye on the inu hanyou, that was then trying to back him self up in order to put some distance between him and his attacker without turning his back to it.
Inuyasha tried to focus on the boar, but he could feel the distress of his cub. The cub was pawing at his back in agitation, having sensed Inuyasha's raised heartbeat and the scent of his anxiety. Shit! Every time I jump around, the little squirt is thrown around back there. I should've tied this thing tighter! Inuyasha thought as one of his hands gripped the knot of the sling that rest on the middle of his chest. Before he could think further, however, the beast was upon him.
It had somehow maneuvered to his side, coming in from his left. Inuyasha was a fighter who attacked head on, and was at a disadvantage as he tried to swing at the boar. The boar barreled into him and the sword chopped into its flank. Inuyasha screamed as the boar slammed into him, shattering his left arm into, what Inuyasha thought felt like, a million pieces. He dropped to the ground on his right side, careful not to roll on top of Squirt, as the boar stumbled past in pain.
Damnit! he thought, as he tried to breathe through the pain and watched the boar stagger around and face him again. By this time, the boar was bleeding profusely. It seeped from its face wound and gushed from the new gash in its side. It lurched around in pain, but it refused to give up the attack. It charged.
Inuyasha braced him self in the snow. With his left arm lying useless, his took up the Tetsusaiga in his right and braced the large sword on the ground pointing diagonally from the ground and up at his aggressor. The beast hurled its weight behind its tusks and struck. They ripped though Inuyasha, piercing his chest, puncturing his left lung, and pushing out his back shoulder. The barrage was instantly halted, however, as the beast's charge landed it directly on to Tetsusaiga. The boar dropped were it stood, the sword hitting its mark, thrust through its heart with the power of its own attack.
Gasping in pain and lack of oxygen, Inuyasha pushed the body of his enemy from where it had fallen on his legs. Straining on one arm, still clutching his sword, he slowly and unsteadily rose to his feet. Not bothering to sheath Tetsusaiga, he knew he had to get out of there. The body of the boar would attract predators, predators he had no chance of defending against in his current state. The wind was blowing mercilessly and flakes of snow began to drift to the ground.
He began to stumble through the snow in an attempt to find a secure place to rest, warm up, and heal. Within minutes, he started to tremble in the cold, the snow coming down heavier with each passing moment until he could not see but a few feet in front of him. With his left hand broken and useless and his right hand occupied with dragging his sword behind him in the snow, he could not hold closed his furs that where tied at his neck. With his head and front exposed to the winds, he knew he was not going to last very long, and needed to find a place soon.
Through the stinging cold, stabbing pain of his wounds, and the burning spread of the frothing poison, his greatest distress was for Squirt. The cub scratched at his back in distress. He whimpered and whined at his alpha's pain. He could hear his erratic heart beat, smell the fear, distress, and blood. He could feel Inuyasha's shivers. He could feel the muscles in his back jump in pain with every breath. He certainly felt it when his protector collapsed to the snow with a great thump, as the adrenalin from the fight gave out and he could carry himself no longer.
Squirt rolled out of his sling and over Inuyasha's head with the momentum of the fall. The fur, tied around Inuyasha's shoulders bunched over his head and torso, leaving his legs exposed to the cold. Squirt crawled over Inuyasha's head, with in the furs, to find his face, thankfully resting on a bit of the fur and not buried in the snow.
His breath was shallow and was impaired further by the quaking shivers that racked his body. The cub licked at his face, attempting to rouse the barely conscious hanyou. I'm sorry squirt... I failed again. The thought ghosted through his head and the cub butting his nose into Inuyasha's neck, huddling into his face and whimpering was the last thing Inuyasha comprehended before he fell deep into unconsciousness.
A/N: *Just so you know, I am aware that Koga is the leader of the SOUTHERN wolf tribe, but I envisioned the story to be set in the cold, and you can't have that in the south. So I've taken a bit of creative freedom there.
"Hey, Chief? It's starting to come down pretty hard now. Shouldn't we be heading back?"
Two hunched figures, huddled in thick fur pelts crunched through the snow, leaning into the whipping winds as they journeyed in the rising storm. They traveled side by side, both searching the white landscape for any sign of another life form. The figure who spoke shivered and pulled his furs tighter to his chin.
"Shit! Maybe your right," said the other figure. He sighed and tipped his head back to the sky and his shoulders slumped in defeat. "I don't think we are gonna make it back, though. We need to find shelter." With that the two figures veered back toward the distant grey mountains.
The only sounds that accompanied them on their trek was the whistling winds, the crunch of their fur covered feet in the snow, and their own fogging breaths, huffing with the effort to move through the snow. Suddenly the Chief froze, causing his companion to nearly crash into him from behind. He tore his hood from his head, exposing his long pony-tailed ebony locks. His pointed ears twitched and his sky blue eyes narrowed. There was… a sound. He sniffed the air, but the winds had carried most smells away.
"Chief?" questioned his companion.
"Did you hear that?" asked the chief as he surveyed the landscape. His ears perked. "There it is again! It's almost like… whimpering."
His companion said nothing as the Chief strained to hear the direction the noise was coming from. It came once more, from his right. He whipped his head around, determined to find what was making the noise. What if it's them, he thought frantically.
"Koga, I don't hear anyth-"
"There!" Koga's eyes narrowed further as he spied a splash of brilliant red among the dreary whitewashed landscape. He bounded off towards the red, more hopping from foot to foot as he tried to maneuver through the deep snow. As he neared he saw that the red was a bit of cloth. The cloth was peaking out of where it was buried under a mound of snow. His heart sank. If it's them, then they are surely dead.
He sank to his knees as his companion finally reached his side and started to slowly remove the snow from the mound. He was afraid of what he might find and certainly did not want to see it any faster than he had to.
"Oh!" cried his companion, as a whimper broke through the snow. Koga's eyes lit up. He had forgotten about the noise he heard. Could they be alive? He dug faster, etching out a figure in the snow, which by then was falling so hard that it nearly filled in whatever Koga dug out.
A big brown fur was crumpled over the prone figure. The red cloth formed a pair of hakama which covered a pair of legs. Koga could easily smell blood and lots of it, as well as a sharp burning smell that signified the presence of poison. More whimpering could be heard. He lifted the fur from the figure and gasped.
Underneath the fur was a small red clad body of a boy. White silky hair lay bunched around the youth's head, the ends matted with blood. Blood also covered his right shoulder and pooled underneath his chest, which rose and fell with quick and shallow shaking breaths. Koga could not see his face, due to the shivering babe that lay in front of it, but Koga would recognize this pup and cub anywhere.
"Inuyasha?" breathed Koga's companion incredulously, "And, Kami-sama, is that Kunio-chan?"
"Ginta, grab Kunio. We have to get these two inside and warm them up NOW!" Ginta rushed forward and scooped up the shivering cub, which clung to the hanyo's hitoe and tried desperately to dig his nose further into his neck. Once the cub was wrapped securely in Ginta's furs, where he began whining in earnest, Koga got a good look at the unconscious inu. His skin was pale with the lack of blood and tingled in blue from the cold. He was hypothermic and was so cold, he did not shiver anymore; at that point, shivering would do little other than waste badly needed energy. As Koga picked him up and hoisted him over his shoulder, he noted the near frozen state of his limbs, tight with the cold, and the icy temperature of his skin.
The group of four made their way to the mountain side as fast as they could. Koga wanted to run. Even without the jewel shards that were once embedded in his legs, he was still one of the fasted runners in his clan. He could not go too fast, however, as he did not want to leave Ginta and the cub behind. In this weather, where the falling snow was now almost forming a curtain of white, they would have no way of finding each other again.
It only took a few minutes for the two wolf youkai to find a small opening within the rock face. This was their territory and they knew this mountain like the back of their hands. The small opening they entered was the entrance to a small cave, large enough for the group to huddle in, but not very deep or big enough for them to stand upright.
The two wolves knew what they had to do. In the mountains, one did not live very long without knowing what to do to get warm. Quickly they stripped themselves of their furs. Ginta laid his down on the floor, where he placed the whimpering cub. Their clothes were the next to go, stripping down to nothing but the furs covering their feet. Koga peeled off Inuyasha's clothes, the hitoe and kosode undershirt nearly solid with frozen blood.
Koga pulled Inuyasha's body into his chest and scooted to the middle of the fur on the floor. The whimpering cub was wrapped in Ginta's arms as he too scooted onto the furs. They covered themselves, pulling all of Koga's and Inuyasha's big furs over the group, tucking them underneath their bodies to trap the body heat. The cub thrashed in Ginta's arms as he molded himself against the inu's back, shivering with the contact with his cold skin. Squirt climbed out of his embrace as the two wolves began to rub themselves over Inuyasha's body trying to warm him with the friction of skin on skin. He tried to bury himself back into the crook of Inuyasha's neck as Koga ran his hands up and down Inuyasha's side and chest, quickly rubbing together their entwined legs to warm their legs and feet.
They lay there in silence, Inuyasha sandwiched between the two wolves, Koga pressing him into his chest and Ginta impressing himself into his back. Their arms wrapped tightly around him, trying to cover him with as much warmth as they could. The silence went on, as both wolves were lost in their own thoughts about what they had come across. As Koga watched the cub lick at Inuyasha's face and nip and his chin, he finally took in the scene before him. He had not wanted to think about what it meant that this cub was with Inuyasha, but now he had nothing but his thoughts to entertain him.
Kunio, his youngest cub, was not supposed to be with Inuyasha, but with his mother, Koga's mate. Where she was now, he had no idea. Koga and his Beta were out here in this blizzard for that very reason. She and the cub were supposed to have come back yesterday, but the guards had not seen, heard, nor smelled any sign of them. He swallowed hard as he desperately tried to think of an alternative reason why she was not with his cub to the one that had settled into his mind.
Inuyasha began to shiver violently. He was warming up. Good. His temperature had risen to a stage where the quaking of his muscles would generate enough heat to help warm him further.
Koga moved his focus to the pale face in front of him; his lips still chapped and tinged with blue. He had not seen hide nor hair of the mutt in twenty three years, since the just after his shards were taken by Naraku.
Until just recently, life had gone on much the same as it always had for the Prince of the Northern Wolf tribe. He had gotten a kick out of antagonizing Inuyasha about taking Kagome, back then. Truly he cared for Kagome, but he was well aware that he had been promised to Ayame, the princess of a neighboring wolf clan for decades before then. If anything, he might have been able to mate the Shikon Miko, but if not, he had still had fun riling up the rowdy hanyou. It had not been so funny when he had heard stories of the grieving inu at the well. When news had finally reached the Northern Wolf tribe about the Miko's disappearance, he had been sad, but had quickly moved on.
Five years ago, it was decided that he would take his place by Ayame's side and the two clans would join, making Koga the Chief Alpha of the North. They had almost immediately had four cubs. Koga cherished his heirs and raised them along side his mate. Despite the fact that they had not really known each other when they mated, their relationship was friendly, and it worked well.
Ayame had recently finished milking her cubs. Having four mouths to feed had kept her inside the cave at all times and she had been eager to get back out into the world. Three days ago, Ayame had wanted to get out before the coming storm and used the excuse of gathering bark from the magnolia trees to the south for medicines. She bundled up little Kunio, who still needed his mothers care, (the others were bigger and stronger and therefore spent most of their time with the other clan cubs) and had hightailed it out of the cave. No one had seen either of them since. Until today.
Koga, after his mate had not returned when expected yesterday, had made ready to search for her. As always, his trusted Betas, Hakkaku and Ginta volunteered to assist him in his search. He left Hakkaku to take on his role as the stand-in leader in the caves while he and Ginta braved the worsening weather to search. The only thing they found was Inuyasha… with his cub.
Koga watched his cub turn away from him and try to press himself further into the inu's neck, no longer licking at him, but stroking his cheeks with his hands. It was one more sign of the worst. His cub would not have clung to Inuyasha unless something bad had happened, unless Inuyasha was all he had. Koga shook his head, trying to shake out the morbid thoughts. He would not believe anything until he heard from Inuyasha how he came across his cub.
As the minutes ticked on, Koga could feel Inuyasha's shivers began to dissipate and watched as his skin began to pink. Inuyasha's face was mere inches from his and he could do nothing but study him. Koga would admit it to no one, but he had always thought Inuyasha was beautiful, and even now, with him laying half frozen and wind burnt, was no exception. He had always called him "mutt face" or variations of the "ugly dog" theme. He had done that because those were the things that were the most captivating about Inuyasha, his beauty and his puppy ears, and he hid his attraction to them by calling negative attention to them. Eventually it just became habit, his own pet name for the pup. But, Koga sighed, facts are facts, and the fact is this mutt is gorgeous.
And he is so young, just a pup! Maybe it was that he had never been so close to the half-breed or seen him relaxed in sleep, but he had never noticed before just how young he was. His eyes raked over Inuyasha's rounded pink tinged cheeks, small regal nose, and dark lashes that he knew covered wide golden eyes. Koga knew that Inuyasha was around two hundred years old, though pined to the tree in timeless sleep for fifty years actually left him aged little more than a hundred and fifty.
He knew that, but the pup had always been surrounded by older people. Sango and Miroku were in their early twenties, and Koga had the appearance and maturity of a human of the same age, though he was actually around three hundred and fifteen. Sesshoumaru was the same, but he had a few decades on Koga, and Kaede… Well the old woman had everyone beat. The only exceptions were Kagome and Shippo. Inuyasha looked and was as mature as the equivalent of a fourteen or fifteen year old human boy. When Kagome had arrived, she had been fifteen, though by the end of their time together, she was already passing him by in age and maturity and entering adulthood.
Inuyasha took a shaky breath, unable to get enough air due to his punctured lung and obviously still pained from his oozing wounds, breaking Koga from his thoughts. Feeling the hanyou's soft skin against him, Koga could feel him warming in the wolves' embrace.
"He's getting warm. Let's turn him over so we can get a look at his wounds," Koga announced the Ginta, "Grab Kunio."
Ginta seized the cub from Inuyasha's neck and he began to cry and reach for his inu. Koga turned the hanyou to his stomach carefully, conscious of his vicious chest injury. The angry open wound still bled a little, but it was the frothing yellow poison that bubbled from it that had Koga truly concerned.
"Keep Kunio-chan away until I clean him up," Koga ordered, "He's got poison in here, that's burning away at him." Ginta held the wriggling cub firmer, as he watched his Alpha clean the wounds. Koga leaned in and licked at the open, bleeding wounds, first the front and then he was flipped over and his chest was cleaned.
Inuyasha let out a whimper and a low moan when Koga turned him to his side again and started on the smaller gash in his side. "Squirt… my.. pup…" he whined as he began to weakly thrash in Koga's hold. Squirt finally squeezed free of Ginta's grasp and crawled over to Inuyasha. He settled in the nest of Inuyasha's soft white hair that had pooled around his face, and nuzzled his forehead. The cub licked at his cheeks and mouth and settled against his face and burying Inuyasha's nose against his skin, surrounding the hanyou reassuringly with his scent. Koga did not know why Inuyasha was dreaming of feces* or puppies, but as the cub settled against him and the inu breathed in the scent of the cub, he settled back into a deep healing sleep.
The group settled into a routine of rest and caring for the injured hanyou. As the wound healed from the inside out, poison was pushed out. The poison would have eaten away at the healthy healing flesh if not removed, so Koga had to lick it away every few hours and spit it out, away from their tent of furs. The acidic poison left his tongue raw and burned but it always healed by the time he had to clean Inuyasha again. Ginta would leave the warmth of the furs occasionally to go to the cave opening and chip off some ice chips to suck on, keeping them all hydrated, and check to see if the storm had passed.
After two days, Ginta rushed back to the furs shivering, as always, clutching a few chunks of ice.
"The snow's stopped," he announced.
"Good," Koga sighed, "I think he's healed enough to be able to move him to the caves tomorrow."
Koga took two pieces of ice from Ginta and stuck one in his mouth. He bit his portion in half, holding one out to the cub, who took it to suck and gnaw on, propped up against Inuyasha's uninjured shoulder, after Koga slowly rolled Inuyasha to his back. He ran his fingers through his hair and cupped his rosy cheeks, flush from fever.
"Inuyasha," he said, as he bit a piece of his ice and crushed and melted it in his mouth. Inuyasha's lashes began to flutter and soon his golden eyes blearily tried to focus.
"Hey, Inuyasha," Ginta said soothingly, as he began to rub Inuyasha's arm in comfort. Inuyasha's face twisted and he grunted in pain. "I know it hurts but you have to wake up and drink some water. Open up."
Koga took hold of the inu's jaw and opened his mouth. He settled his mouth against the pup's soft lips and emptied it of the melted ice. Inuyasha drank vigorously from him, reaching for more within Koga's mouth with his tongue. Koga bit off another piece of ice and repeated, tasting the inu every time he searched for more water. When Inuyasha had his fill, he rested back trying to focus on the face above him.
"Ko-Koga?" he whispered, his voice rough and unused. At the sound of his voice, Squirt screeched in excitement and crawled between Inuyasha and Koga and up to his face. He held Inuyasha's face in his small hands while he rubbed their cheeks together and cooed comfortingly. Without the strength to lift his hands and hold the cub, Inuyasha nuzzled the cub and breathed his scent in deeply, eliciting a giggle and a return nuzzle to his chin. Koga watched his cub bonding with Inuyasha and sighed. He would have to deal with that later.
"Just rest, Mutt. We will be leaving for my caves in the morning" Inuyasha closed his eyes and breathed in the cub again before unconsciousness took him again.
I must tell you that this chapter was inspired by the awesome fic Winter's Chill by Dante1444. It's the little plot bunny that spawned the rest of the story, so read it and enjoy.
Chapter 4: The Return
Inuyasha slowly began to drift back into consciousness. The swirling haze that dulled his senses ebbed away. He was warm, toasty even, and oh so comfortable. He sighed. He did not want to wake up, but he knew he had to; his pup needed him. His eyes snapped open. Squirt!
Before he had the chance to sit up and look for him, he caught the scent of the babe. He turned his head toward the scent. Squirt was sprawled on his stomach, draped over Inuyasha's right shoulder, head resting on his chest. He closed his eyes and calmed himself. Safe.
As he lay there, the events before he fell rushed to his mind. He was weak and had failed. He was going to die! And therefore Squirt was going to die… but… Wait. What the fuck? Inuyasha's eyes shot back open. He was met with the sight of a black rock ceiling. Where the fuck are we, he thought as he began to scope out his surroundings. He tried to sit up but was halted by the ripping pain in his chest and shoulder. He was shirtless but covered up and lying on a pile of furs.
The effort to sit up jostled the cub from sleep. He sat up rubbing at his eyes with his chubby fingers. At the sign of Inuyasha's anxiety and panic, he crawled up and sat on his shoulder, encircled the hanyo's neck with his arms, and licked and butted his nose against his cheek. Squirt whined at his distress. Inuyasha brought up his good arm to touch the cub, calming him and himself by rubbing small circles on his back.
Suddenly the fur covered entrance was flung open, startling the injured inu. Koga, alerted by the distressed sounds coming from the room, entered. Koga? What the hell is going on? Inuyasha sat in shock, confusion and growing concern welling in his eyes.
Koga took in the scene before him. Seems Inuyasha is as attached his cub as Kunio is to Inuyasha. He would have to talk to Choshi-sama about this later.
"Oi, Mutt-face! You finally awake?" Koga barked with a grin.
"Koga" he stated carefully, a scowl sliding on his face. He doesn't know what he's doing here or how well his presence was received.
Koga approached the bed and sat by Inuyasha's hip, still grinning at the suspicious puppy. "You don't remember waking in the caves?" At Inuyasha's shake of the head, he continued, "Me and Ginta came across you and warmed you up. You should be thanking me, Mutt."
Inuyasha's scowl deepened. Well that settles that. Damn ookami hasn't changed.
The cub watched his father from underneath his inu's chin where his back was still being rubbed. Koga carefully reached forward and took the cub into his arms, eyeing the hanyo when he stiffened but still let the ookami take him. He followed the cub with his eyes the entire time. After returning to the main caves and while the inu was still asleep, the ookami found out pretty quickly that, though Kunio was happy to cuddle and play with his father, he would not be allowing anyone to take him out of sight of the hanyo. So, while the bundle of cub rested happily in the arms of Koga, he never lost eye contact with Inuyasha.
"So… I'm guessing I was right about this little squirt belonging to your tribe then, huh?" Inuyasha said softly, his hands curling in his lap, as if in effort to restrain himself from grabbing the cub back to his chest.
"Yeah…" Koga paused before letting out a breath, "We actually gotta talk about that." Koga placed the cub back into Inuyasha's lap. He clearly was not going to be getting the mutt's full attention while he was holding him. The cub rolled onto his back and bared his belly, squirming and giggling until Inuyasha started to stroke the soft skin, a small smile unknowingly gracing his lips. Koga cleared his throat to get Inuyasha's attention back on him, and looked him in the eyes.
"Inuyasha," Koga began, his brow furrowing with the weight of what he was about to ask, "How did you come across my son?"
Inuyasha simply stared at him. His son? Squirt is Koga's son? As he looked at the ookami and he realized he was still waiting for an answer.
"I found him when I came across the body of his… mother…" Inuyasha's words became whispers when it dawned on him what that meant. Oh, Kami-sama! That was… that means that that was Koga's mate! Inuyasha let out a distressed whimper when he realized what had happened. He had let Koga's mate die, and now Koga was going to hate him. He would hate him and maybe try to kill him in revenge. "Shit, Koga! I… I tried! I was trying to bring him back here! That damn boar got me too! See?" he reached over and placed his hand where his chest wound was still pink and scarred.
Koga dropped his face into the cradle of his hands. He took a deep breath, noting absently that Inuyasha's scent, which he had grown quite fond of while huddled in the cave, suddenly spiked in fear. Sending a small reassuring smile his way, the ookami stood from the bed.
"Thanks, Inuyasha," he said over his shoulder as be began to walk back out of the room, "I have to go inform the clans."
Inuyasha laid there staring at the swaying hide that covered the entrance. What just happened?
Koga braced himself against the wall outside the entrance and stared at the uneven ceiling above his head. His mate was gone. They weren't exceptionally close, only together a little under five years, a blink of an eye if one were to consider it in the context of their demon life spans. However, there was no denying that they had shared an important part of their lives together, marriage and cubs, and now she was suddenly gone. Wolves mate for life so this was a terrible blow. And the cubs, they only just stopped feeding from her. Kunio seems to have coped by attaching himself to the inu, but the other three would be devastated. He took a deep breath and pushed off from the wall.
Stepping down the small incline, he reached the main floor of the large, cathedral-like mouth of the cave, where all the wolves of his tribe were gathered and waiting. At once, they crowded around him, yelling out questions about what was going on. They had seen their chief return home, days after he was expected to return, carrying, not their female alpha, but a half dead hanyo and their missing prince. He had not stopped to answer questions then, eager to get the hanyo sheltered and warm, and he did not stop for them now. He quickly made his way to a raised rock, climbing atop it so that he could be heard and seen by all.
"As many of you know, three days ago me and Ginta left to go find my mate and your alpha, Ayame. Well, I'm sorry to say that she had been killed." Here Koga had to pause his speech as the crowd of ookami erupted into noise. Murmurs, shocked exclamations, yelled questions, and a few sorrow filled howls echoed around the cave walls. Koga stood, gazing out at the crowd, until it began to quiet.
"Who was that hanyo? Did that beast kill our princess?" one voice shouted over the din, and was backed up by several agreeing shouts.
"That was Inuyasha!" answered another voice. This one obviously belonged to a member of Koga's original pack who remembered the inu from the days of the Shikon no Tama.
Koga waited for quiet, his steely presence demanding everyone's attention.
"That's right. That was Inuyasha, the one who fought with us against the evil Naraku. I do not know why he was in our territories, but we found him lying injured, with my son. I have just spoke with him regarding how he came across my youngest, and he has informed me that he came upon the body of my mate and tried to return my cub to-"
"A likely story," one voice trumpeted from the back of the crowd. One of the elders from Ayame's clan, Koga noted. "I bet that half-breed killed her himself and was simply injured before he could ransom for the cub!"
"Inuyasha would never do something like that! If that's what he said happened, then that's what happened," Hakkaku, who was stationed near to Koga before the rock, defended. Murmurs began to break out throughout the crowd.
"SILENCE!" Koga yelled, "I have known Inuyasha for many years. Tails of his battle against Naraku are told throughout the lands. He is an honorable youkai and those that see fit to question his integrity, also question mine."
There was silence as he scanned the crowd.
"Now," he began again, in a softer tone, "the memorial will be tonight when the moon is highest in the sky." With that, the wolf chief jumped from the rock and made his way through the crowd, once again ignoring the questions from his pack as he passed. He walked back to the chambers that held Inuyasha. He wanted to escape from the high emotion of the clans. He would deal with the grief, theirs and his own, tonight.
The inu was lying where he had been left, covered to his chest in warm furs, his tresses spread out about his head in white waves. His cub, too, was where he had been when Koga last left him, sprawled on his back, asleep in the hanyo's lap.
Inuyasha, with nothing else to do, had let his mind wander after the wolf had left. He hadn't seen Koga in decades. There was no reason to, with Kagome gone. Damn fleabag, always pissing me off and trying to get at Kagome! He honestly hadn't given the ookami much thought during that time and, not having been exactly welcomed in youkai society, he hadn't heard any news of the prince. Apparently a lot had happened in that time for the guy.
His attention was snapped back to the entry way when the hide was whipped back. He tensed as the ookami approached, he was pretty much defenseless at the moment, a situation he had worked quite hard to prevent from happening these last few years. Again, Koga sat beside Inuyasha on the furs.
"So," the wolf started, "hungry?"
Inuyasha stared, before slowly nodding.
"Here, I'll help you sit up," Koga grabbed hold of the inu's shoulders before trying to lift him up. Inuyasha tried to back away from his touch. "Stop being a brat and let me help you up. The muscle around the wound will rip again if you strain 'em."
Inuyasha scowled darkly at him, but stopped his struggles. The wolf sat him up and propped him against his chest, much to Inuyasha's embarrassment, reaching around him and bunching some of the furs at his back. He laid him back on the furs, allowing him to sit up. Silently he left the room and quickly returned with a bowl piled with fresh deer meat and komatsuna.
Inuyasha's mouth watered. He hadn't eaten since sharing that scrawny rabbit for breakfast with Squirt. The smell of the fresh meat wafted up his nose. His body craved the iron rich meat. As soon as Koga held it in front of him he dived in. The meat was succulent and he closed his eyes in bliss as the blood ran down his throat. The greens were a treat as well. The komatsuna leaves were tender and sweet. Oh! I haven't been able to find greens since the winter months started!
Koga sat and watched the inu intently while he ate with him. He had never seen an expression like that on his face, and he was very much enjoying the show. When the white hanyo slowly licked his lips, savoring the tastes, and sighing in pleasure, Koga shivered. He cleared his throat.
"So…uh…" the ookami tried to think of something to talk about, "what you been up to since Naraku?"
Inuyasha, who had been giddily immersed in his meal, immediately tensed and slowed his eating. He hesitated and kept his eyes on his food.
"Mmm… the same as I did before Naraku." He said, trying and failing to keep the bitterness from his voice. He slowly brought his healing arm, still painful from the severe break it had received, to rest on the belly of the cub, automatically seeking comfort from the little sleeping form that had rolled onto the furs beside him.
Koga, sensing he'd hit a sore spot, switched topics quickly.
"What brings you to the Northern wolf territory?"
"Nothin'. Just where my feet lead me, I guess." Stumped on how to proceed from there, Koga placed the now empty bowl on the floor.
"How about a visit to the hot springs for a bath?" Koga grinned. He knew the mutt would like that. Who could resist a soak in the springs? From the shine in the inu's eyes and the smirk that slid on his face, he was right.
"Yeah, all right," Koga stood and wrapped his arms around the hanyo before he could protest and lifted him to his feet. Using his muscles to get up was a bad idea, but he was fine once he was upright and there was less strain. Inuyasha blushed and scowled at the ookami. Before he had a chance to start yelling, Koga wrapped his fire-rat hitoe around his shoulders and moved to the entrance, holding the hide open for him to pass through.
Inuyasha yanked the garment off his shoulders and wrapped the sleeping cub in it, instinctively knowing to surround him with the hanyo's scent if he was going to be gone. He didn't bother asking for his kosode. With the blood and the hole made by the tusk puncture, he figured it was thrown away and left it as a loss. He would always be eternally grateful for the self cleaning, self mending fire-rat robes. He went to follow Koga out of the room but hesitated, glancing back at the slumbering babe.
"He'll be fine. We won't be gone for long," the ookami said. The inu growled in annoyance. I'm being stupid. As if anyone here is going to do something to the alpha's cub. He stomped out of the room after Koga.
The hot springs were located deep in the cave, inside another cavernous room like the one that Inuyasha had woke in. Millennia of water and volcanic activity had left a cave, pocked with caverns, tunnels, and hot springs. It was perfect for the mountain dwelling ookami youkai, who lived within the extensive cave system. Steam billowed from the water, rising to the ceiling where it condensed and rained back down to the pools.
In a dry corner, Inuyasha untied his hakama and let them pool to the floor. Koga, having stripped himself of his furs and armor quickly, was already dropping himself over the side and into the bubbling waters. Inuyasha sat on the edge of the pool, his feet dangling in the water before scooting himself over the edge, carful not to put weight on his healing arm, and pushing off into the pool with a splash.
Inuyasha grabbed a handful of the sandy silt that rested at the bottom and scrubbed lightly at his skin. He turned away form Koga, who was doing the same, and let his mind drift. This is weird, he thought as he started rubbing the sand across his stomach, I haven't had anyone to bathe with since Miroku. It had been years since he had had any extensive amount of company what so ever. It was something to get used to. He was so immersed in this thought that he jumped when he suddenly felt a hand on his back.
"What the hell are you doing?" Inuyasha groused, trying to turn and face Koga, who held his shoulder firm to keep him in place.
"Washing your back, Baka. What? You think you're going to get anything accomplished with only one good arm that you can't even raise passed your chest?" Koga smirked when the inu's shoulders slumped in defeat as he grumbled about "stupid wimpy wolves" and "bothersome assholes".
Koga gently pushed the Inu's long white locks over his shoulder and began to rub sand over his back. Inuyasha soon grew quiet and dropped his head to the pool's edge that was in front of him as the ookami dug his fingers into the tense muscles. His injuries were mostly healed, the wounds closed and the breaks mended, but the strain that was put on the torn muscles and nerves was what was still healing and was still quite tender. The warm water would do wonders for them.
He grabbed his sides and massaged the hanyo's lower back with his thumbs, sliding the exfoliating grit over the dips and curves, up and back to his shoulders. Careful of his shoulder injury, he worked the sand over his shoulders, reaching around to get his neck and upper chest. Inuyasha fought not to let his head roll back, exposing his neck to the alpha male, and lean back into him. It felt wonderful.
Koga eased the inu's hair back over his shoulder. He sat on a rock on the side of the pool and pulled Inuyasha back between his legs. He scooped water over his head, mindful not to get it in his ears. Reaching for the jar of ground up, dried Red Lotus petals, he dumped a small portion into his palm. The powder lathered in the hanyo's hair and filled the room with its soft flowery fragrance. The wolf rubbed the soap into Inuyasha's hair, massaging his scalp with the pads of his finger and stroking it with his claws.
Inuyasha bit his lip to contain the moan that wanted to escape. His ears lay horizontal to his head in contentment. When he washed his hair it certainly never felt like this.
Koga felt the inu relax under his hands. He chanced a peak at his face and his breath caught. Inuyasha's head was tilted back, leaning into Koga's fingers, and his eyes were closed. His plump, pink lips were alternatively open in a silent moan or were caught by his teeth. And the blush! Koga didn't know whether it was from pleasure or the heat of the springs, but he felt himself start to harden at the sight of the blush that adorned his cheeks.
Wait…Harden? Koga shakes himself out of his haze. He needed to distract himself. He shouldn't feel like this. He shouldn't feel so lighthearted. His wife just died. He sighed.
"So… Inuyasha," he paused as the inu between his legs hummed groggily, "We're having a ceremony for Ayame- uh, that's my mate. You can come if you would like." When he got no response, he continued. "I mean, since you were the last to see her and all."
Inuyasha pulled away from his kneading hands and turned to face him. He peered up into the ookami's eyes warily. "You mean… You mean you're not mad at me for not saving her?"
Koga's face was alight with shock. "Huh? Why would I be mad? You said you tried, didn't you?" his face darkened, "And besides, protecting my mate was my job. If anyone should be blamed it should be me."
Inuyasha continued to watch the wolf's face. He nodded. He understood. He felt the same way anytime anyone in his pack had gotten hurt. As the alpha, it was his responsibility. If he had allowed harm, or worse, to come to Kagome-. No. No, he wasn't going to think of that.
"Yeah, alright. I'll go." Koga nodded and stood to get out of the water. Inuyasha rinsed the fragrant soap out of his hair and followed. They dressed and headed for the room so Inuyasha could pick up the cub and put on his hitoe, before heading to the cave's main entrance.
Inuyasha stumbled into the room. The spike in energy he had received after his meal was quickly depleted and his body was using extra for his continued healing, though he had felt much better after the relaxing soak. Placing Squirt on the furs, Inuyasha crawled in next to the wriggling body and pulled him close.
He was in for a rough night, he knew. Everything about today had brought back memories of his old pack. Koga was here, though he was acting all chummy and it was kind of weirding him out but also kind of… nice. If that blast from the past wasn't enough, there was the mourning ceremony.
Inuyasha listened quietly, with a fur bound Squirt cradled in his arm, from the back of the crowd. They had gathered outside, on top of a wide stone step that jutted out of the mountainside. The snow from the storm was piled high, but the sojourners had trekked through it to reach the summit. Koga and a few other important looking wolves stood before them taking turns to talk about the woman he had seen in the forest. He couldn't help but feel sad as he listened to them eulogize about how she was a good mate, mother, and pack leader.
He too had lost a parent when he was a baby. Though his father had died just after he was born and before he had a chance to bond with him, he still felt the loss. He didn't want what happened to him to happen to Squirt. He would never allow Squirt to be alone, wandering the land with no one to care for him. He knew he would make sure that someone would always be there for him, though he didn't consciously think of whom that would be.
He gazed into the cub's icy blue eyes and Squirt wriggled in his furs, trying to reach for his inu.
Inuyasha's attention was suddenly diverted when a chorus of howls wrought the cold night air. Squirt paused in his squirming and joined in with a high pitched, but no less loud, howl of his own. Inuyasha's breath caught in his throat at the sound. Sorrow laced every voice that rose to the full moon high above their heads. Being an inu-hanyo, he could feel the grief in his bones, but his human side prevented him from feeling the need to join with his own howl.
Lying in the furs, Inuyasha let out a small whimper of anguish. He pulled the cub closer to his chest. The howls had awakened a memory. It was a memory he had lost in his grief crazed mind twenty one years ago. Lying at the bottom of the Bone Eater's well he had been broken. She hadn't returned! It had been two years and she hadn't come back to him. Now, the rest of his pack had left him. They moved to another village and left him behind. He had lost everything. Everything and everyone he had grown to call his own, his pack, his family. Sitting at the bottom of the well, his body called to him. He gathered all of the pain in his heart and released it in a heart-rending howl. All of his fear, all of his regret, all of his agony, he sent out into the night sky in the notes of his bay.
In the confines of the rock walled room, he fervently wished he could forget the memory. It only added to Pandora's Box of pain that was already in his head.
Squirt could feel his inu's misery and squirmed in his grasp. He nuzzled the underside of his chin, trying to gain his attention. Inuyasha buried his nose in his pup's downy soft hair, breathing deeply, the russet spikes feathered on his cheeks. In and out, Inuyasha took in his scent and calmed as the child played with the decorative cords of his hitoe. He relaxed into unconsciousness with the soothing scent of his babe surrounding his senses and the feel of his warmth in his arms.
Chapter 5: The Bond
Koga ducked into his room with his hands full. In each arm was a fur wrapped bundle. Another one was draped carefully over his shoulder. He paused just inside the entrance and scanned the room. Right where he figured he'd be, Inuyasha lay curled up on top of the furs of the bed. His cub was sleeping in his usual position, spread eagle on his back, next to him. Careful not to wake them, he made his way to the other side of the large room.
He placed the three bundles in his hands into a small cavity in the wall that was lined with furs and soft cloth blankets. He was careful not to jostle them. It wouldn't do to wake them up. It was rather late.
He had just retrieved his three other cubs from the Omega. He was tired and just a little cranky after having to perform the memorial for his own mate and then deal with the questions, well wishing, and condolences of the clan. It wasn't like he didn't appreciate everyone's sympathy, but all the commiserations had done quite the opposite of their intended effect. It only served to make him feel worse. He was supposed to have protected his mate. It was his paramount duty and he had failed it. Having his cubs near would alleviate his guilt and allay his instinctive drive to defend and protect the rest of his family.
Having deposited his other cubs in their chamber, he turned to retrieve his youngest from the side of his inu guest. Carefully he reached over Inuyasha to pick up Kunio. He noticed Inuyasha heave a sigh, unconsciously taking in the scent of the figure standing over him, and relaxed. He turned and tucked Kunio in with his brothers and sister, settling on top of his siblings to find a comfortable spot in the tangled limbs of the puppy pile they created in their cozy sleeping space.
His cubs warm and safe, he once again turned his attention to the inu sleeping on his furs. This would be the third night he would be sleeping with the hanyo by his side. In the back of his mind, he noted that it was strange. Before only four days ago their entire relationship had been made up of fighting or arguing, if not both at the same time. However, he was glad that he had the mutt here with him. His bed would be woefully empty. As an alpha male, his urge to protect and provide was especially strong, and Inuyasha had served as a good outlet for those urges so far. Heh, if the mutt knew that he'd try to gut me.
Koga quietly pulled off his armor and furs, lost in intertwining thoughts of his lost mate and the dog in his bed. He wrapped himself in a short and very old yukata. He normally slept naked with his mate, but he figured Inuyasha would be less than excited about waking up to see his rival in all his glory next to him in bed. Gathering one of the large furs that served as bedding and cover, he slipped in beside the inu, covered them both with the fur, and drifted to sleep.
He was rooted to the ground. He could not move, but he desperately wanted to.
"Mother!" he shouted. Thick knotted vines reached out and grabbed the woman from his embrace. The vines dragged her away. They twisted and tightened around his mother's waist, pulling at her ankles and restraining her arms.
"My Inuyasha!" she called to her child, "I'm sorry, my precious!" the vines hold became even stronger as they secured her firmly to the tree. Mother was in pain. The vines were squeezing so tight.
Suddenly the boar youkai was thundering toward her. He was angry, grunting in pain and animosity. He lowered his head, placing his tusks at the perfect angle to spear through her chest. The tusks bubbled with deadly poison. As he ran he transformed. Slowly the image morphed into that of a glowing arrow. It shined pink with sacred power. It struck. Speared through the chest, Mother sank into a deep enchanted sleep, imprisoned on the Goshinboku.
He searched for the origin of the arrow that imprisoned his mother. "No. Kikyo, Why?"
The Miko strolled toward him. She was glorious in her beauty. She glowed with holy power. She made no sound as she approached his spot in the grass. Her face was a vision, marred only by the fierce look of loathing in her deep brown eyes that she placed on him.
"Why, Inuyasha? Because you betrayed me! I thought you loved me, but you brought nothing but sorrow with you," she breathed, her voice as calm as her gentle, steady, slow stride toward him. "If you had never tricked me into loving you, I would have lived. I will brig you to hell for this betrayal"
He wanted to shake his head. He wanted to deny the words, to deny the pain. He wanted to step back from the venom in her voice, in her eyes. But he knew he could not. The world turned orange with fire around him.
She walked onward, her hate filled eyes never leaving his. Then, once again, the image began to change. Her Miko robes shortened and turned green. Her face rounded and her deep brown eyes lightened in color. The hate disappeared from them.
"Kagome!" he cried.
Kagome was alight with happiness. She threw her arms open and continued her path toward him, breaking into a run. "Inuyasha!"
They embraced. He was so happy! His world became sky blue in contentment. She was warm. Her skin was soft on his cheek. She smelled wonderfully, comfortably, deliciously of wolf.
"Inuyasha! I have wonderful news!" she said excitedly, as she pulled away. He was always infected with her energy when she was around him. Beaming at him, she continued, "I found the one I love! I will be leaving you to mate with him on the other side of the well!"
He could feel his face fall. His world turned black.
"Kagome! No! NO! We are supposed to be together!" he cried, "Yo-you said! You said you would be back for me. You said I could be happy now!"
"Inuyasha," Kagome growled, her eyes icing over with anger, "you are not happy for me? You are so selfish. Inuyasha… SIT BOY!"
He slammed into the hard earth. "I'M SORRY!" He was rewarded with another sit. He repeated his apology, his plea to be loved, and every time the only response he received was more abuse. Over and over, he was pounded into the ground, until he could only see the black sky above the opening of the deep hole he laid in.
Shippo perched on the wooden ledge, called down to him over the edge of the Bone Eater's well. "Inuyashaaaaa! Aren't you coming out?"
Miroku's melodious voice wafted down the shaft as he appeared at the edge of the well. "You are supposed to protect us, Inuyasha," he gently reminded.
"You are supposed to be strong," Sango had appeared beside Miroku, speaking as if this was an every day conversation about the weather, "You are not worthy to be part of our pack."
"We are leaving," the monk smiled kindly down at him, "You have failed us."
Koga was awakened by movement at his back. That damn mutt was rolling around in his sleep. He turned toward his bed partner and started. Inuyasha's face was twisted in pain. He looked like he was crying, though no tears fell. His mouth was working out silent words. Over and over his mouth formed the words "I'm sorry". Koga laid beside him, entranced at the sight, until those lips let out a sound. He began to whimper repeatedly, shaking his head from side to side and clenching and unclenching his fists.
Koga's demon called out to him to protect his charge. Slowly he inched his way closer to the hanyo. He placed a hand on Inuyasha's arm and rubbed lightly. The sleeping inu ceased the clenching of his fists, but continued to be distressed. Koga moved closer. He loosely circled his arm over inuyasha's waist and the inu stilled completely. The ookami tightened his grasp on the puppy and pulled him closer, stroking his hand up and down his back. The shaking puppy leaned into Koga's warmth. Slowly his whimpers began to die down. He gulped down breaths of air, jamming his face into the wolf's chest. The puppy pressed himself into Koga, and his body began to relax.
Koga lay there, resting on the top of the inu's head, twin velvet puppy ears on either side of his chin. He didn't know what to think. He never saw himself ever falling into this position. The mutt must have really been through a lot in the time since he had last seen him. There was no way he would have ever seen this side of the inu before. If he were honest with himself, Koga was a little concerned about the pup. But all would be well. For now he was under the ookami lord's attendance. Koga drifted back to sleep with the thought that no harm would come to the pup on his watch, even if the pain came from within.
"Hehe! You guys should wake the mutt up," a familiar voice laughed.
Inuyasha lay asleep, or at least he was. The haze of slumber swirled in his mind as he climbed back to consciousness. He could sense movement around him and five presences near by, but they did not give off a killing intent so he was otherwise too sleepy to care.
Suddenly two chubby hands grasped his face and a loud squealing giggle sounded. His eyes cracked open. Two winter blue eyes met his, resting only inches from his face. "Heya Squirt," he murmured. He took a breath and shut his eyes, only to snap them back open. Squirt wasn't the only one he smelled beside him. Taking the cub in his arms and sat up slowly, noting that his torn muscles felt much better, thanks to the time spent in the hot spring.
He blinked at the sight that greeted him. The ookami bastard was sitting on the edge of the furs. In his lap sat a cub whose face was mostly hidden with a light blue blanket that draped over his head and wrapped loosely around him. With his thumb stuck in his mouth, the only features that could be seen were a tuft of brown spiky hair and a single indigo eye that stared fixedly at him. Between where Inuyasha and the wolf sat were two more cubs. One, on the left, was a pretty little girl. Bright sea foam green eyes shone at him from beneath thick auburn hair, tied up in short pig tails on the top of her head. She sat next to her big brother. He eyed the hanyo with his sharp emerald green eyes, dark ebony tresses curled at his face and, though his hair was much to short to really pull it off, a small pony tail was tied at the back of his head, much like his father's signature style.
Inuyasha continued to blink stupidly at them. They were all starring at him. "Err.."
"Ahaha! You look so stupid right now, Mutt Face!" Koga laughed.
Inuyasha growled at him but was cut short as the black haired boy before him suddenly came forward. The boy sniffed at him as he crawled to Inuyasha's knees. Seeing that her big brother had not found anything objectionable in the inu, the little girl crawled forward as well. They sat at Inuyasha's bent knees gazing up at him. "Uhh… 'Sup?"
Getting his chuckling under control, Koga began introductions. "These are the rest of my cubs, Dog Breath," he pointed to the cubs at his lap, "That little princess is my Kozue," the pig-tailed girl turned and yipped at her father in acknowledgement, "that little guy is my oldest, Kingo," the black haired boy puffed out his chest in a very Koga-like gesture, "and this tyke here is Kaishi," he pointed at the cub in his lap who shrank away under the attention, "the one you have is my youngest, Kunio," he finished.
Koga addressed his cubs, "Guys, this is Mu- errr… this is Inuyasha."
Inuyasha glared at him, catching his misstep. He turned his attention back to the cubs, and gave them a nod at the introduction. They simply starred back.
"So, uhh, I usually leave them with their mother," Koga paused to frown, "but now we gotta wait for the Omega to come get them. Then-"
"The Omega?" Inuyasha questioned.
"Oh. The Omega is the lowest ranking family in the clan. It's their duty to watch the clan's children," Inuyasha nodded his understanding, "Anyway, after they get here, I was wondering if you would come with me to visit someone."
As Inuyasha was opening his mouth to respond, a call came from beyond the entrance's hide covering. "Chief?"
"Yeah, come in," Koga responded, as he stood from the furs with Kaishi in his arms. The Omega pushed aside the hide and entered. He was young boy, no older than Inuyasha. He had a kind air about him. Smoky grey hair fell over his shoulders and he eyed Inuyasha curiously with violet eyes. He took Kaishi as Koga handed him over, then turned toward Inuyasha, intent on scooping up Kunio.
"Oh, no. Kunio's coming with us." Koga informed, "Come on guys. Say 'bye' to Inuyasha and go with Ichijo."
"Bye Yassa!" waved Kozue. Kingo simply grunted his good bye and together the cubs scampered out f the room after the Omega. Inuyasha simply quirked an eyebrow at them. He didn't know they could talk and he wasn't quite sure how to take being called "Yasha" or the baby variant. Kagome had tried to employ the nick-name a few times, but she was back to "Inuyasha" after a long and very loud tantrum on Inuyasha's part.
"So, you coming?" Koga inquired, breaking the inu out of his thoughts. He grunted his reply, and stood up from his sleeping place with Squirt in hand.
Koga lead the way out of the room and through the many corridors of the cave system. I would never be able to get anywhere around here, Inuyasha thought in wonder. Inuyasha instead turned his gaze to the cub in his arms.
Kunio huh? Inuyasha frowned down at the babe. "I still like Squirt better," he said aloud, seemingly to no one in particular as he trudged behind Koga down a tunnel. When said cub looked up at him and giggled in responds, a small smirk appeared on his face.
"Here we are," Koga said, stopping at an opening in the rock wall. He turned and yelled out to the occupant of the room, "Choshi-sama! It's me, Koga. May we enter?"
A knotted old hand tugged back the bear skin covering of the door. A small and ancient looking woman peered out at them with a wide and nearly toothless, but none the less welcoming smile. "Hai, come in young ones."
Koga followed her in and held the hide open for Inuyasha. Inside was a small low ceilinged room, filled with books, potions, and other varied and seemingly random items of all kinds. The old woman Choshi-sama, sat on a worn cushion near a bubbling pot that sat over a large fire. Beside her were two more worn cushions, at which she directed her guests to sit.
Inuyasha sat and placed the cub in his lap. His hostess sat to his right. She was a small woman, though squat and rounded. She sat hunched in age, her long grey hair hung, tied loosely at the nape, down her back. Around her shoulders she wore a forest green cotton shawl, under which lay a simple light blue kimono with dark blue obi. She is so much like Kaede-baba, he sighed inwardly at the memory of the woman was like a grandmother to him.
"Now, now, Little One. No need to be so sad." She turned he face toward the shocked inu. It was then that Inuyasha realized she was blind. Her eyes, though a soft grey, were milky and clouded. Inuyasha grumbled under his breath, not sure how she knew his thoughts or how he would respond if he did.
"Choshi-sama, this is Inuyasha. Inuyasha, this is Choshi-sama. She is one of our clan elders as well as a seer and healer," Koga introduced.
"Greetings, Little One," Inuyasha scrunched his nose at the offending title, "My Lord, you have come about this bond I am sensing," she stated knowingly. Koga nodded, not bothered that she was in fact blind and couldn't see it. "It is very strong between them. I can feel its pull."
Koga sighed worriedly. He looked to Inuyasha to see his reaction, but only found him smirking down at the cub who had taken up a game of peek-a-boo from inside Inuyasha's large sleeves. "So this is an actual physical thing? It's not Kunio just being scared?"
"No, indeed, My Lord." Koga watched the pup and the cub play for a moment.
"Well, I understand why Kunio might wish to attach himself to a protector, but what about the Mutt? I've never seen him like this." Inuyasha, who was indeed listening, regardless of appearances, narrowed his eyes at his lap. Choshi-sama quirked her head to the side in thought.
"Little One," she called to Inuyasha, "come nearer to me." She held out her hand as he moved closer on his knees until he was sitting in front of her. She cupped his cheek softly and, despite being blind, locked eyes with him. She reached into his aura, sifting through his memories, thoughts, and feelings. "Oh, Little One," she said with a sad frown, "what suffering you have gone through."
Inuyasha quickly yanked out of her reach and sat back down on his cushion by the cub. He growled in annoyance, folded his arms inside his sleeves, and scowled at the floor. He didn't know why he was so mad at the words of the old woman, but that didn't stop him from being so.
"Who else could it be, but Inuyasha, to bond so deeply with your young cub? His heart is full of love but his life is empty of it. And there was a cub, in need of a protector, having just lost his mother, a situation the Little One can easily relate to." Inuyasha growled louder. It felt as if all of his vulnerabilities were being laid bare to the wolves. And it didn't help that they were talking about him as if he wasn't there. Sensing this, Choshi-sama turned back to Inuyasha, "How do you feel when you are with the young cub, Little One?"
Inuyasha's scowl smoothed as he thought of his time with his cub. "Warm. I feel warm inside. Like it's coming from my chest."
Choshi nodded. "I have not seen this bond in many centuries. What they have is deep. They have connected their souls. It is one lost soul reaching out to another. Kunio must have been felt safe and protected in order to form this bond. Inuyasha's own longing for family only made the union that much stronger."
"So when can we expect this to wear off?" Koga questioned. This was starting to sound a lot more involved than he had thought it was.
"There will be no wearing off, My Lord. When they came together and formed a bond, their souls bound. They entwined their very beings together. While the pull to be together may slacken with time, to be separated would mean to leave them both incomplete. A part of them would, literally, be missing. What I suggest you do, is find a place for the Little One in your family." Inuyasha's head shot up from where he had been glaring at the floor, and Koga's mouth dropped open.
Did she just say what I think she just said? Inuyasha's mind shuttered to a stop. He stared at the old woman before him. Her milky eyes gazed blankly into the fire before them as a small smile slid onto her face. She nodded at the exclamations, "Indeed, Young Ones."
Inuyasha scowled at her in his confusion. He turned his gaze to Koga when he got no further response from the old woman. Koga was flicking his gaze between the woman and the inu. His expression revealed his shock. With his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide, Inuyasha would have laughed at the stupid look on his face if he wasn't so overcome himself.
"Well who the hell said I even want to be part of his family?" Inuyasha barked, fighting the emotion he felt rising in his chest. He didn't know if it was fear or excitement, but he knew he had to control it for now as he had to participate in this conversation that was seemingly determining the very course of the rest of his life. He occupied his hands by carding them through the young cub's hair, as he leaned against his thigh, the action serving to calm him.
"Little One, you have already bound yourself to the Lord's family when you connected your soul with young Kunio-chan's," the elder calmly explained.
"The mutt is supposed to become part of my family? What, like my son or something?" Koga asked incredulously, somewhat disturbed by that idea. Inuyasha scoffed. He didn't care what the old woman said; he would never allow Koga of all people to parade around as his father.
"He will fill whatever role that would be best for the family," Choshi-sama said.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Koga asked, his voice taking on a wary tone.
"My Lord, this bond is deeply magical. Its effects will be far reaching. Though I do not know exactly what those effects will be, it is safe to say that it will try to further attach its self to the family as a whole. The Little One will truly be a part of you and your cubs and you a part of him," the seer paused, appearing to think for a moment. "I suppose one could say that the bond will guide you to what place you will best fit in each other's lives."
Inuyasha was conflicted. His heart pounded at the thought of being part of a family again, of finally not being alone. They were all demons, too. Even when he thought he would have a family with Kagome, Miroku, and Sango, they were human and he knew he would out live them by centuries. With Koga and his cubs, that would never be the situation. But it sounded horribly like they would be stuck with him, whether either of them wanted him there or not. He was apprehensive that it might be the case that he would indeed be unwelcome here as with everywhere else. But what worried him the most was the talk about these "far reaching" effects. "So, what kind of effects are we talking about here?" he grumbled low, licking his lips nervously.
The baba paused again in thought. "Well Little One," she began slowly, "as I've said before, I have not sensed this bond in many centuries. It is rare magic. The few instances I have been witness to had varied side effects. They ranged from physical changes in bonded members, the formations of emotional connections, to other sensitivities between them, such as needing to touch each other or hearing each other's thoughts. I can not say what you will experience."
"H-how can that be?" Inuyasha was definitely starting to get nervous now. Would he bombarded with their thoughts of how much they hated him now? Would he be able to feel their rage? Would he no longer be himself, but change into what the wolf wanted him to be? He wasn't sure what the wolf thought of him, but he can't be that different than everyone else. He remembered that, after that incident with Naraku's attachment Kagura where the wolf nearly killed him in mistaken revenge, Koga had never really showed that he hated him, but what if he was mad because he drove Kagome away? What if the wolf blamed him?
But he couldn't show his weakness. He masked his fear in anger as he clenched his fists in his lap and shouted, "I don't want this!"
"Hush, Little One," Choshi-sama leaned over and placed a calming hand on his shoulder. She slid it up his neck and up to his cheek where she stroked the soft skin with her thumb. He felt himself calm, a cooling sensation swirling in his chest. "It will be alright. This is where you belong. You would not have bound yourself to a soul that did not need you as much, if not more, than you need it. Do not fear my dear Little One. This is your place, your destiny."
Inuyasha gazed into the old woman's sightless eyes. He wanted to believe her, but nothing was ever as easy as that. Not for him at least.
Calmed but saddened by the truth of his thoughts, Inuyasha bowed his head. The old woman allowed his face to fall from her grasp. He gathered his cub to him, cradling him in his arms. The cub squirmed in his arms, entirely bored with the adult's discussion. He reached up to play with the inu's soft hair, which fell over his shoulder and tickled the cub's nose.
Inuyasha sighed, feeling the gentle tugs on his scalp. He watched his pup play. He was worth it, he knew. Even if it turned out that Koga and his clan hated him, he knew now that even if he had wanted to, even if he wasn't bound to him, he would never leave the little squirt.
He understood that what that Choshi-baba was saying was truth. When she had gazed into his eyes, he had sensed her power. It wasn't youki, but something warmer, brighter, lighter. He felt it probe at him and surround him. It caressed his mind and in an instant, he saw his life, experienced each emotion, and was jolted by every sensation. She had obviously been able to see what he had seen.
If she said that he was bound to Koga's family, then he believed he was. If she said that this was where he truly belonged, well, he had a harder time believing that, but he would go along with it… for now.
Koga watched the scene in silent wonder. The emotions flitting across the pup's face were upsetting to him. He looked afraid, though of what, he wasn't sure. He supposed he would feel the same way if he suddenly found himself in such an overwhelming situation. As it was, he was in a bit of shock himself. Inuyasha was now his responsibility? The mutt was now his family? The wolf was surprised that he didn't find that idea as repellent as he would have once thought.
He sighed. This was a bit more than he had anticipated when he retrieved the frozen inu from the valley. It worried him that his young cub had so easily attached himself to a stranger. He was lucky it had been Inuyasha. He knew Inuyasha- at least, he new him somewhat from more than twenty years ago. Maybe they could get along without Kagome to come between them. Things seemed to be going alright so far.
The wolf chief was grateful for Choshi-sama as well. Without her and her vast knowledge, this situation could have gotten out of control. He wouldn't have known about the soul binding and might have ended up hurting his cub by letting Inuyasha leave. He frowned at the thought. He didn't like the idea of the puppy leaving.
Koga's eyes grew wide in realization. He didn't want the mutt to leave him and the cubs. Was the bond already drawing him to the inu? He knew that he had developed a protective attitude toward him, but he had figured it was the result of recently loosing his mate. He was an alpha and needed to protect his pack. When he had failed in that, he thought his instincts just intensified those feelings in order to better protect his charges. Could it, in fact, be the beginnings of the formation of the soul bond between him and the mutt? Was his soul already woven with his? He didn't think it was. He didn't feel that different, just a little possessive of the mutt.
If it was the bond, would he have some of those side effects Choshi-sama had spoken of? What did Choshi-sama mean when she said "physical changes"? Would he start to look like the hanyo? Would his hair turn that glorious shade of snowy white? Grow puppy ears? Koga mentally grimaced. As adorable as they were on the mutt, he would not be happy if floppy puppy ears suddenly sprouted from his head… and he was just going to ignore that he had just thought of Inuyasha as adorable.
Koga stood from where he sat on his cushion by the fire. "Well, Choshi-sama, I must say it has been an interesting visit. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I think we will be taking our leave now."
"Of course, My Lord," the elder bowed her head in his direction. She turned to the inu who was rising to join Koga. "Little One, I do hope you come visit me sometimes."
"Keh! If I could ever find my way through this labyrinth you guys call a cave," he grumbled irritably, but bowed his head to her in thanks none the less.
The two demons made their way back to the main cavern of the cave in silence, both lost in thoughts of what they had heard. Neither demon noticed the quick speculative glances from the other.
As Inuyasha turned to make his way back to the room he had been staying in, Koga set a hand on his shoulder. "So, how about a quick tour? Maybe we can have lunch with Ginta and Hakkaku."
"Oh, alright, I guess," Inuyasha shifted Squirt in his arms nervously. He still didn't know how the wolf felt about him, and that was before he had learned he now had a half breed permanently on his hands.
Koga nodded and led the way. He guided Inuyasha around the cave system, identifying all the important spots and talking with the hanyo. There was the main cavern, where all the wolves gathered together, hang out and to hear his "awe inspiring speeches" and feel his "god-like strength", to which Inuyasha promptly snorted in amusement. He showed him the way to the hot springs again, knowing he wasn't paying attention the last time they went. He was shown a small stream. It ran through the middle of the caves, having run there for millennia, shaping the caves and carving into the rock to form the complex corridors and vaults. It was used by the entire clan as drinking water. Taking the inu's hand, purely to make sure he wasn't lost in the maze, Koga escorted him through the tunnels, showing him various short cuts and hidden passages. He pointed out his favorite secret rooms, wiggling his eye brows suggestively. "The best rooms for a little… fun!" Inuyasha blushed furiously.
The pair finally returned to the main cavern to meet with Ginta and Hakkaku. Koga, always entertained by his own jokes, laughed heartily and guided the inu, whose eyes danced in amusement while he fought a smirk. Inuyasha made his way to the meeting place walking next to the ookami, grumbling under his breath about his stupid jokes and secretly relieved by his behavior. Without knowing it, the wolf chief was alleviating the hanyo's fear that he would be hated and thought of as a burden.
Ginta and Hakkaku, sitting at a small fire by the wall of the main cavern, watched the two approach with interest. They had never seen their chief and the hanyo get along so well before… or at all. They certainly never thought they would ever see the two casually strolling together, so close that their shoulders bumped as they walked. Reaching the pair of beta wolves, Koga greeted them with a "'Sup?" and gently guided the inu to his spot with a hand on the small of his back.
The four demons sat by the fire eating their lunch and chatted. Koga talked animatedly with the two betas about how the border patrols were going and the various affairs of the clan. Inuyasha noted that no one broached the subject of his arrival or what he had been doing before, though he figured it had more to do with avoiding talking about Koga's late mate then not caring about him. He defiantly wasn't going to start that conversation. He wanted to talk about that even less then they did, though for much different reasons. If he truly was going to be a part of this pack now, he wanted to forget the past. It hurt too much.
As the hanyo and the alpha left, Ginta quirked and eyebrow. "What the hell was that all about?"
"Beats me," Hakkaku responded shaking his head in disbelief.
The betas weren't sure what they had witnessed during their time with the chief and the inu. Throughout lunch, Koga had acted weird, and both had been apparently oblivious to it. Koga had sat himself next to the hanyo, placing himself slightly in front of him and had crossed his feet in front of the inu. He had made sure to be touching Inuyasha at all times, bumping against him, patting his knee, or brushing his arm when he played with the cub in the hanyo's lap. All the while Inuyasha didn't seem to mind, if he noticed the ookami's actions at all.
If they didn't know any better, Ginta and Hakkaku would have said that Koga was asserting himself as Inuyasha's alpha and mate. His position was distinctly protective and dominant. The touching spoke of an intimacy that was not shared by distant acquaintances, as they knew the two were.
It was a little worrying. They had no idea why Koga would act that way around the hanyo. He had a mate and it wasn't Inuyasha. Yes, she was now dead but it had only just happened a few days ago. And judging by the reactions they had seen when the clan found out princess Ayame had died, seeing the chief act that way toward a hanyo and seeing that hanyo carry around their princess' cub would not be a welcome sight.
Chapter 6: The Story
Koga and Inuyasha split up once the wolf chief made sure the inu could find his way back to their rooms. Inuyasha supposed he had more important stuff to do, being the chief and all, and that was fine with him. He needed time to think.
Standing in the entranceway of the room he had lived in for the passed few days, Inuyasha decided that he would rather spend the remainder of the day further exploring his new home. The thought made him feel tingly in his chest. Anxiety, excitement, or some combination of the two raced through his veins. This is home! He didn't know exactly what that meant yet. It could be where he finally found his place in the world… or it could be his prison.
There was no reason to expect the wolf tribe to see him any different than the rest of the world did. They were youkai and youkai had never really welcomed him with open arms before now, so he didn't really expect them to now.
There was, however, Koga. Koga had never hated him for his ancestry, even before they had become… acquainted- to say they had ever been anything close to friends would be beyond pushing it- and now… well… it didn't seem like he was opposed to him being there. In fact, it kind of seemed that he was feeling rather friendly with the inu… maybe. Inuyasha wasn't getting his hopes up.
As for the rest of the wolves, his survival usually counted on his ability to look out for people who looked hostile and so he certainly didn't miss the looks that had been thrown their way when he and Koga had been exploring. It usually did well to disappear before anything could be hurled at him but that could not happen here. He had to stay, if not for his own soul then for the completion of Squirts. For now he would try to be as invisible as possible.
As if the cub could here his thoughts, Squirt gave a painful tug to his hair and squealed loudly in amusement when Inuyasha directed a glare down at him, calling all eyes to him while he was making his way down the wall of the main cavern. Inuyasha blushed when he looked up to see all eyes on him, and resorted to scowling back down at the cub. "Traitor," he murmured to him. The cub responded by giving a joyful giggle as he bounced energetically in his arms.
Ducking his head, he quietly and as inconspicuously as possible made his way along the wall. Here he could look around the room and have the protection of the wall at his back. No need to start this off with an ambush, right?
The den, as Koga had called it, was the biggest single room Inuyasha had ever been in. It was the main cavern, just inside the cave mouth, and the place for everyone to gather together. There was small fire pits littered everywhere, most of which had wolves sitting around them. Some of the fires had small hide covered huts next to them. Others had logs or small boulders pulled up next to them for seating, like there had been at Ginta and Hakkaku's fire. More often then not, there were piles of cooking utensils and pottery next to them.
The wolves of sitting at the fires where of both youkai and beast variety, the dogs lying on the ground at the demon's feet or helping out with cooking, carrying various things that would be needed in their mouths. The youkai were all engaged in one thing or another; cooking, mending or making something, caring for infants, or other everyday activities. Inuyasha couldn't help but feel a twinge of envy at the way they all talked and interacted with one another. They looked like happy families.
Curiously, there were not many children gathered there.
Squirt wriggled in his arms wanting to be let down. "Alright, alright," Inuyasha grumbled quietly under his breath, hoping he wouldn't be heard and therefore gaining the wolves attention again.
The cub waddled around on his stubby feet, looking up at Inuyasha and giving him a toothy grin, which he returned with a smirk. The cub reached up and grabbed hold of the leg of Inuyasha's hakama and stepped on his foot, before gesticulating in front of him. "Uh! Uh!" he called, punctuating each gesture.
Inuyasha snorted and started in the direction the cub was pointing. The cub held tightly to the inu's hakama as Inuyasha walked with him standing on his foot, lifting him up with each step. Squirt giggled in delight and hugged Inuyasha's leg tighter, pointing out the direction he wanted his inu to go. Inuyasha was so entertained by the antics of his little pup that he didn't notice the cub was actually directing him somewhere until he was nearing a large room off to the side of the den.
The room was on the opposite side of the den and when Inuyasha came back to himself, he flushed with the realization the little squirt had got him to walk right through the middle of the room in full view of EVERYONE. Inuyasha sighed. So much for keeping low- profile.
The room he approached glowed with the light of another fire. Carefully, Inuyasha peaked inside, hoping he wasn't going to be walking in on some family or something. He shuttered at what could happen then. The last time he had stumbled somewhere he wasn't supposed to be, he had ended up having to find a tree and hole up for a while so that the cracked skull he received from the iron pot smashed over his head could heal.
He was surprised when it turned out he had found where all the children were at. The room was occupied with a dozen or so cubs that were between Squirt's age to late childhood. They sat around, engaged in various games and activities, under the watchful eye of the Omega. Inuyasha recognized the young demon he had met this morning. The smoky haired youth sat in a corner with a cub in his lap, playing with a pair of dolls.
Violet eyes suddenly snapped up and widened when he caught sight of the inu peeking in the doorway. "Inuyasha-san?"
All eyes found their way to the entrance, where a blushing and sputtering hanyo stood, wide eyed at having been caught. He buried his arms in his sleeves and quickly puffed his chest out in false confidence. "Er…" Ok, not a great start, "Yeah…" Sigh. Today is not my day.
"Have you come to drop off Kunio-sama?" the wolf youth asked, lifting the cub from his lap and rising from the floor.
Inuyasha blinked. Kuni- oh yeah, the squirt. "Uh… no. this guy just kind of led me here. I guess he wanted to visit," Inuyasha said, his cheeks burning. He sounded like an idiot. Squirt dislodged himself from his leg and crawled over to the nearest group of cubs playing with a pile of blocks and joined them in their building.
"Oh, um, then does that mean you are staying?" the Omega asked. Seeing that the inu looked quite lost, he continued, "You are more than welcome to join us, sir."
Inuyasha nodded and stepped into the room, sitting down just inside the door. Crossing his legs and leaning against the door, he settled back to wait for his cub. The Omega hesitated, standing in the back where he had been sitting, before he made his way toward Inuyasha. Both eyed each other as the Omega approached. "May I sit with you, sir?" the youth asked, bowing his head.
Inuyasha's eyebrows shot up to his hairline and his mouth opened in surprise. "Er… Yeah," he stuttered. The youth kneeled down beside him, tucking his charcoal colored yukata under his knees. The simple cotton garment was belted at the waist with an amber colored obi. The outfit went well with his lighter grey hair and violet eyes, eyes that surveyed Inuyasha respectfully in curiosity. "Why are you calling me 'sir'" Inuyasha blurted out, never one for tact.
"What do you mean?" the youth questioned in surprise, "Oh! I'm sorry, I should have known. May I sit with you, My Lord?" the Omega bowed again, this time placing his forehead on the back of his hands on the cave floor.
Inuyasha jumped in shock. "Wh-what? No! I'm not a lord, at least I don't think I am," he added, thinking of his lord father and brother, "I'm just a hanyo. Why are you talking to me like that?"
"Forgive me, Inuyasha-san. You are the guest of our Lord Chief Koga and I am just the Omega. Of course I must show reverence toward you." The young demon responded, bowing again.
"Oh… well, stop it. I ain't no high and mighty asshole so you don't have to do that," Inuyasha grumbled, slightly bewildered at the unexpected reception.
The Omega situated himself to sit more comfortably next to the hanyo. The other wolves generally didn't require him and his family to grovel, even though they were all ranked higher, but it never hurts to be careful with strangers- well almost never, it turns out.
"So, what's yer name anyway?" Inuyasha inquired after a moment of tense silence.
"I am Ichijo of the Omegas."
"I'm Inuyasha," he tipped his head in greeting.
"Oh, I know. There has been much talk of your arrival."
Having nothing to say to that, the pair sat in silence again, watching the playing cubs. Squirt would sometimes waddle over to the hanyo and show him whatever toy he was playing with a smile and then rush back to continue his games.
Beside the hanyo, Ichijo chuckled. "Hmm, it seems the little one has taken quite the liking to you."
Inuyasha snorted. Based on what he had been told this morning, that was putting it mildly. "Yeah that's one way you could put."
The little cub returned again, only this time he was dragging another cub with him. The cub looked the same age as Squirt and he waddled behind him, clasping his hand and trying to hide behind him. Large azure eyes peeked at him from behind the exuberant cub. His thumb was stuck in his mouth and a baby blue blanket was cradled in his arm. Underneath was a buttercup yellow, knee length shirt that seemed to brighten the color of the cub's spiked brown hair. One of Squirt's brothers, Inuyasha remembered.
"Ba! Ba!" Squirt exclaimed as he tugged his brother forward. He pushed the shy cub forward and promptly left him standing in front of the hanyo. Inuyasha quirked an eyebrow at the retreating cub before turning his attention to the one frozen in front of him.
"Um… hello?" Inuyasha tried. That squirt is so weird, he thought, fighting the smirk that wanted to make an appearance on his face.
The cub simply stared back at him. So Inuyasha did the same. Ichijo cleared his throat beside the pair. Inuyasha turned his gaze to the Omega. The cub took a tentative step toward the hanyo.
"What would you like little Kaishi-sama?" the Omega inquired. Inuyasha turned back to the shy cub and Kaishi took another step forward. "Do you need help with something, little one?"
The cub took a last step forward, watching the hanyo carefully. He stood at Inuyasha's knees and stared up at him, before placing a hand on one and quickly snatching it away. Inuyasha watched with a raised eyebrow. Forget it. This one is weirder, he thought, before saying to the cub, "Well, you gonna climb up or not?"
An invitation was apparently what the little cub was waiting for, because he clambered up into the inu's lap. He sat there and continued his staring, sucking his thumb, and playing with the ties on Inuyasha's hitoe. Inuyasha rested a hand on his back, propping him up on his knee.
Ichijo tried to restrain a surprised gasp. Kaishi-sama never took to strangers well and he certainly didn't get cuddly, not even with people he knew, like the Omegas. "Perhaps you would like a story?" he asked as he looked around and noticed they had gathered a crowd. The strangeness of Kaishi-sama's affections seemed to catch the attention of the other children as well. "Inuyasha-san, do you know any stories?"
"Er…" Well, he did in fact know a story. It was a story he loved having Myoga tell him when he was still a pup and alone after his mother died. "I guess, I have one."
Ichijo settled back to listen to the story, quite interested in what he would come up with. He usually had to make up new ones on the spot because he had told all his other ones before. Some of the cubs near by scooted forward, dropping their toys to listen in on the story.
"Well, there was this princess," Inuyasha started.
"A Pwincess? Her was pwitty?" a little girl interrupted. Inuyasha recognized her as another of Koga's cubs, the little girl with pig-tails.
"Yup! She was the most beautiful ningen maiden in the land." Inuyasha continued.
"Ooo! What was her name?" an older cub asked, fully enthralled already.
"She was Lady Izayoi," Inuyasha said proudly.
"I like dat name!" another cub bounced in her seat.
"This princess was no ordinary princess. She was a brave and adventurous princess. She liked to go outside of the compound walls to explore, and one day she came upon a youkai," Inuyasha was in the full swing of things now. Squirt crawled over and sat on his lap with Kaishi. The inu unconsciously pet his two charges as he got more into the story. "But this was no ordinary youkai; it was a daiyokai. It was the Lord of the West, Inu no Taisho!"
"Ooooo!" chorused the cubs. The rest of the cubs still playing moved to join the group to listen.
"When the Lord saw the pitiful human woman he said, 'GRRRRR! What are you doing here, ningen? I'm gonna kill you! ROAR!'" Inuyasha stifled a chuckle at the cub's shrieks and gasps. "Lady Izayoi said, 'I ain't afraid of you! Stop being a bully!' Well, this got the Lord interested. What kind of ningen isn't afraid of the most powerful being of the West?"
Inuyasha recounted how the youkai Lord and the human woman became friends and then fell in love and mated.
"Then one day, when the Lord and the princess met up, the princess had a confession; she was carrying a pup! The youkai Lord was overjoyed! 'My mate is whelped! We will be a family.' But you see, he already had a son. He was powerful and mighty and a real jackass," Inuyasha added bitterly, "The terrible Sesshoumaru!"
"He's da bad guy, huh?" a little boy up front interjected.
"One of them, anyway," Inuyasha grumbled. He continued, "When the Lord told his son about his new mate and their pup, Sesshoumaru threw a bitch fit, like he always does. 'I don't like ningen! They are dirty and stupid and not fit to lick my boots! I want nothing to do with her and her hanyo pup!' Meanwhile, Lady Izayoi was telling her folks that she was mated and carrying. They weren't very happy either. They had promised her to the samurai Takemaru no Setsuna. They tried to keep her locked up in the compound."
"What did they do?" an older cub in the back whispered in aww.
"Well, she snuck out, of course," Inuyasha paused until the cubs finished their hooraying and continued, "Inu no Taisho continued to meet with his mate and soon the princess was fat with child. No one suspected a thing, until the dreaded Takemaru came for his bride. He loved her even though she was pregnant with another's baby, but she said 'no'. She was staying with her youkai mate. Well, he didn't take kindly to that and kidnapped her!"
Gasps went up throughout the room.
"Inu no Taisho was away fighting the dragon king Ryukotsusei. They battled for days and days; sometimes Inu no Taisho was winning and sometimes it was Ryukotsusei. Finally the Great Lord sealed away the dragon into a mountain."
"Whoa!" exclaimed a young cub up front. It was the other of Koga's cubs. His little black tail wagged in excitement.
"Yeah, but the thing was, the Lord was hurt and he had to race to save his mate from the evil Takemaru."
"Oh, yes! He rushed to Takemaru's place. Before that though, he had to get help, 'cause he was hurt and all. So he went to Sesshoumaru, and he's says, 'my son, will you help me save my mate and your little brother from the evil ningen?' But Sesshoumaru said 'no way', because he's a damned bastard, so the Lord had to go off to fight alone."
Inuyasha told the gathered cubs about how the cowardly man killed Izayoi after she had birthed "the most handsomest baby that anyone's ever seen…ever!", tried to burn them in the house, and how the Lord charged in to revive his mate with his life giving sword. He told them how the valiant Lord fought the samurai with his other mighty sword and how he "killed that Takemaru good".
"But the great Inu no Taisho was beat. He was already hurt bad and this fight just got to him. Having saved his mate and pup, he wrapped them in his fire-rat robes and sent them out. Then the manor collapsed on him and he died."
"That's so sad!" Little sniffles sounded from the crowd of cubs.
"Well, it's not all bad. His pup did survive remember," Inuyasha reminded.
"Puppy!" the Kaishi exclaimed, speaking to Inuyasha for the first time.
Inuyasha grinned at him. "Yup! He grew up and even though he was a hanyo, he became a fierce warrior who kicked everyone's ass, including his brother's, and was seen throughout the land as practically a god among men!" He said and puffed out his chest in pride. He deflated quite quickly at the sound of the voice behind him.
"Ha! Oh I'd love to hear that story, mutt face!"
Chapter 7: The Nightmare
Koga huffed in irritation as he readjusted his grip on Kozue and Kingo. The little boy was twisting in his arms, trying to get a better look at the hanyo that was walking behind him grumbling to the two cubs he was carrying.
Koga grinned inwardly. His cubs where definitely getting to like the inu. I never knew he had this in him. He never seemed terribly fond of that kitsune he traveled with.
It was a good thing though, because it seemed that Inuyasha would be here for a very long time, if not forever. Koga still had to wrap his head around that one. The pup he had feuded with twenty-some years ago, suddenly appeared back in his life and was now practically family.
And yes, he would be staying… no matter what anyone said.
After they had visited with Choshi-sama, he had left the hanyo at their chamber and headed to assemble the council of elders. The council was made up of ten of the wolf elders. There were originally six elders, including Choshi-sama, but four had joined Koga's clan when he and Ayame mated and joined the two clans.
The council soon met in the council chamber, a small room covered in furs from floor to ceiling in order to cut down on echoes and therefore cutting down the chance of being over heard. It was a place where the group met to discuss important matters of defense, diplomacy, and the inner workings of the clan. Ultimately Koga had the final say in all decisions, but even Alphas knew that other points of view never hurt when ruling a clan.
Once they had all gathered, Koga announced the reason for the assembly. "I have assembled us here to inform the council that Inuyasha-san will be joining my House and will come under my protection."
The reaction was not what he expected. Immediately the some of the members of the council protested. The four elders from the neighboring wolf clan were the most vehement, spouting nonsense about "evil hanyo trickery" and "murdering monsters". Koga made a mental note that the one that seemed the most violently opposed was the Elder Michinaga-sama, a venerable and formidable wise man. They had never seen eye to eye and this time appeared to be no different. One of the elders from his original pack, tried to dissuade his decision, saying that it was an inappropriate time to bring the inu into his House while still in the mourning period for his mate.
This argument he could deal with. It was one he had considered himself, but there was nothing he could do about it due to the bond and he told the council that. The venom from Ayame's four elders only increased, arguing that the hanyo had cast spells on him and tricked him. He remembered that he just looked at them in disbelief. These people are nutters, he thought in mild disbelief. His own elders, however, could find no more objections, with the careful explaining of the situation by Choshi-sama. They also remembered well the help the clan received from the hanyo all those years ago and were not adverse to his presence, even if it was a little unorthodox.
So, he had left the council accepting their opinions, but disturbed by them as well. He had not gone to the elders to ask permission, simply to inform, but the cruel accusations and prejudices of Ayame's elders stirred something not entirely pleasant within him. In fact, as he marched to his rooms after the meeting, he was rather furious. His demon rumbled within him. It was furious that they had challenged him. He was their Alpha, his word was law. Inuyasha was his and they challenged his hold on his Beta…or whatever he is, he reminded himself. Not only that but they insulted the pup too. He couldn't believe there was such ignorance out there about his hanyo.
When he reached their rooms, he realized the inu had never been there. He caught the scent of him and followed it to the Den. He was puzzled when it led him to the cub room, but then he heard the mutt speaking. He was telling a story. He walked in and leaned on the entranceway wall. The young Omega made to get up and acknowledge his presence but he motioned him into silence; he wanted to hear the puppy's story.
The always hyper-aware hanyo never noticed the wolf's presence next to him. Koga watched in amusement as the puppy continued to animatedly tell the story of his parents. He recognized it from old tales that had been passed around, but he had never heard the inu talk about it. The pup's eyes shown in the firelight as he voiced the parts of the story, lowering his voice to a growl when he spoke the part of Inu no Taisho and raised it to a hilarious parody of a maiden when voicing Lady Izayoi. Koga nearly had to leave before he disrupted the story with laughter when Inuyasha's voice became that of a whining child when he spoke the part of Sesshoumaru. I bet the bastard would get a kick out of that, Koga thought, knowing the Western Lord would be far from amused.
When Inuyasha reached the part about how mighty the hanyo pup became when he grew up, he couldn't resist teasing the inu.
"Ha! Oh I'd love to hear that story, mutt face!" he barked.
Inuyasha's shoulders tensed at his voice and he slowly turned to face the wolf, giving him his best glare. He huffed, "Well, it's basically true," he growled out.
To Inuyasha's right, Kingo stood on his pudgy legs, his fists clenched to his sides and his chest puffed out, announcing, "I wanna be hanyo too!"
Inuyasha made a choking sound, but did nothing but stare at the cub before another yelled out, "When I grow up, I'm gonna have a hanyo baby just like the princess!"
Koga snorted, "I wouldn't wish that on anyone! Having a bunch of little Inuyasha's running around? Sounds like a punishment."
Several wide eyes turned to the inu, who flushed in embarrassment and anger towards the wolf.
"You're a Hanyo?" one cub whispered in wonder.
"Er…yeah," Inuyasha replied, preparing for the inevitable backlash.
"Woooooow!" the cubs chorused.
"Heh! Looks like you got some fans here, Muttface!" Koga teased, "Well, if you're done basking in the glow of your own ego, it's late and time to go home. Come on, guys," he called to his cubs. Kingo and Kozue toddled over to the wolf to be picked up. Inuyasha rose from his seat, Kaishi and Kunio in hand. Koga watched in surprise as Kaishi snuggled into the crook of the inu's arm. Kaishi never takes to people that well.
The group walked back through the Den room. He suddenly felt the inu shrink himself behind him and he could sense his wariness and agitation spike. His ears perked as he caught the tail end of a whispered comment, "…cubs with the filthy half-breed!"
Koga paused mid-step and his whole body stiffened. He felt a low growl rumble from his chest as he turned in the direction the voice had come from. Behind him, Inuyasha's ears flattened to his head and he kept his eyes on the floor. Damnit! I couldn't even go a day without being run out. He's definitely not gonna keep me around with everyone so upset about me staying here. The cubs in their arms stilled themselves at the sound of the first growl. They knew he was not angry at them and would not hurt them, but they also knew not to get in the way of their Alpha at a time like this.
In front of the wolf, the group of wolves, who dared speak ill of the pup, looked at him in fearful surprise. Koga advanced, slowly stepping towards the wolves. They immediately lowered themselves and crouched to the ground in submission.
"You WILL NOT speak this way about my inu!" Koga growled harshly, his voice carrying around the room. His eyes flashed red. His demon was itching to be let loose and teach his pack a proper lesson but he calmed himself, placated by the immediate acknowledgement of his dominance.
Inuyasha's wide incredulous eyes snapped to the wolf chief. He's not gonna get mad at me? Wait, did he just say "HIS inu"?
Koga huffed again as they found themselves back in their rooms, "Man, I can't believe that shit! How dare they talk like that!"
"Well, I am a hanyo. You kind of have to expect it if you're gonna have me hanging around you," Inuyasha winced, realizing his stupidity. Good job, idiot. Give him more reasons to think you're more trouble than you're worth.
Koga sighed, settling his cubs on his furs and stripping them of their clothes, readying them for bed. "Yeah, well, I guess I never thought of you as a hanyo or what it meant to be one," he confessed, missing the open look of shock on the inu's face, "a youkai that was a bit different, sure, but not like that. I guess it just surprised me. But nobody treats my family like that!"
Inuyasha felt his jaw drop. For a while he simply stood in the room following the wolf with his eyes as he preparing the cubs for bed. Kaishi squirmed in his arms and he looked down at the two cubs starring back at him. He brought them up and buried his face into their bodies, rubbing himself against them and taking in their scents and reveling in the new found sense of belonging. The cubs giggled and wiggled, latching onto his hair and pulling. Inuyasha didn't mind at all. He was too shocked and oh so happy.
The bond may draw us near each other, but he just said he never felt that way, even before the bond. No one has ever seen me as anything but a hanyo first, except Kagome, and that was only because she had never heard of one before she met me. And then he just casually called me "family" like it was nothing, like it was natural. Am I truly part of this family now? Is this really going to be a home for me?
He was called out of his thoughts by Koga's bark of laughter. The giggling cubs played at his shoulders and the inu's face was smoothed into a small smile. Koga pulled one of the cubs off of the hanyo and began to ready him for bed, Inuyasha following to do the same.
As Inuyasha turned and tucked the swiftly tiring cub in the little niche in the wall that they slept in, he noticed his sword resting against the wall. He paused in surprise. He had completely forgotten to take his sword with him. That had never happened. It was never safe enough to go without it, but here he had never given it a thought the whole day. Even though he had convinced himself this morning that Koga would treat him as a burden, he had instinctively known that he was finally safe, even before he had received news of the bond.
It was Koga who, again, broke him out of his thoughts. The wolf laid himself down on the furs, the same furs Inuyasha understood to be his.
"What the hell are you doing?"he scowled down at the wolf.
"Umm, going to sleep," Koga responded with a raised eyebrow.
"Aren't those my furs?" Inuyasha questioned, his voice low and hesitant. He didn't know if maybe the wolf had decided he didn't want him around all the time after all. Maybe he would make him sleep outside, only able to come back when Koga allowed him to.
"No," Inuyasha's stomach dropped, "they are our furs."
"What?" Inuyasha asked, confused.
"Oh, I guess you have been unconscious every time I slept with you." Koga said mouth forming a smirk.
Inuyasha huffed. He had woke up alone in the bed both days he was in the cave and he fell asleep right after the mourning ceremony. He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, starring the wolf down.
"What are you gonna do? Sleep standing in the corner?" Koga chuckled at the glaring pup.
"Maybe!" Inuyasha said childishly.
"Lay the hell down, dog breath," Koga said before turning his back to the inu and settling in for sleep.
"Keh!" he huffed. The hanyo silently debated with himself before finally slinking over to the furs and dropping unceremoniously in a petulant heap. He yanked the furs over himself and crossed his arms, pouted until sleep took them both.
Koga slowly drifted awake. He could feel waves of distress wash over him. Something was wrong but he couldn't tell what.
Suddenly a keening cry sounded from beside him. Koga flipped over, instantly alert. The pup was dreaming again. His face was scrunched in anguish and he trembled in his sleep. Like last time he was tensed and silently mouthed "I'm sorry" and "please". The sight before him made Koga's heart clench in his chest.
With out hesitating, he drew the pup into his arms. He smoothed his hands up and down his back and pressed his face into his chest. The trembling seemed to ease, but the pup still whined his fear and heartache.
"Shhh, Inuyasha, Shhh," Koga soothed. He bent his head down to stroke the pup's cheeks and forehead with his own, his hands otherwise occupied; one wrapped tightly around the pup's waist and the other trailed up and down his back. He roped his legs with the inu's hoping to cover as much of the puppy as he could, encasing him in strength and warmth.
The inu's hands wove themselves in the fabric of Koga's sleeping yukata, fiercely trying to get closer to the warmth in front of him. He whimpered, the sounds growing louder each time.
Inuyasha woke himself up with sounds of his distress. His breath was short and frantic and tears stung at his eyes. He burrowed into the warmth that seemed to envelope him, breathing deep to calm himself his whimpers not subsiding in his disorientation. The warm space seemed to move, get closer and then move away, tighten around him. He took another breath. It smelled like…Koga.
The pup raised his watery eyes and they met brilliant blue. Koga was right in front of him, nose to nose. Koga pressed his forehead against his own and looked into his eyes. Their breath mingled, their lips almost touched when Koga's deep soothing voice said, "It's alright, pup. It's just a dream."
Inuyasha could feel Koga's voice rumble in his chest on his hands that were pressed between them. He could smell the familiar and comforting scent of the Alpha, one he had subconsciously associated with safety. The regular puff of Koga's breath against his face helped to calm him. Koga tucked the inu's face under his chin and the pup buried it into the wolf's neck.
The dreams where horrible every night, some night's worse then other. He didn't remember what this one was about but he definitely didn't need to know. The panic and terror that he felt when he woke up was enough. But here was Koga. He didn't know what was going on really. Was this real? Could the Wolf actually be holding him close? He didn't really know. He was wavering between consciousness and sleep. He decided he would worry about it tomorrow because, for now, he was safe and warm.
Chapter 8: The Feild
Inuyasha sat cross-legged in the middle of a wide, open field. The flowing fabric of his fire-rat robe pooled around him and fluttered in the light spring breeze. He raised his nose in the air, sniffing out the potent scents of the flora that had only recently sprung from the warming earth. He was surrounded by a sea of rippling grasses and wild flowers that bowed and swayed in the wind, swiping at his hair. The sound of the wind rustling through the grass was soothing and he closed his eyes in utter contentment, basking in the sunlight.
And then the two cubs wrestling in front of him screeched in laughter.
Upon seeing the spectacular weather, Inuyasha decided that he and the cubs needed some time outside. By Inuyasha's view, they had been inside the caves for far too long. He was used to roaming the forests and had only sparingly been invited inside anyone's home- unless it was an abandoned structure- in the past decades since Kaede-baba's death.
Being cooped up in the caves for weeks on end, due to needing to stay with his bonded, had wrecked havoc on his nerves. So, he had taken to pacing around the cave tunnels, exploring and sometimes visiting some of the more friendly wolves (not all of them were, and he was having more and more trouble with the ones that weren't). When not sitting and visiting with Choshi-baba, who he was reluctantly - as was his way- growing fond of, or sitting in the Cub Den telling more tales of his exploits, he and the cubs were seen stomping around the cave.
It usually presented quite a sight. More often then not, two cubs would be strapped to his back with a sling of fabric, where they would peek out, wide curious eyes blinking owlishly over his shoulders from underneath the curtain of his hair, while he carried the other two or let them toddle after him.
But now they were outside enjoying the first good days of spring. The ground was still wet and a little muddy due to the melted snow, but no one seemed to mind. Squirt was being his usual self, flinging himself around in the grass with his big brother.
In the weeks that had passed, Inuyasha had come to learn that his pup was quite the character. He didn't talk yet and he was the only one of the cubs who didn't. It was not unusual to find him twirling about humming tuneless songs to himself or deciding that one of his father's formal yukata obis was a perfect substitute for a shirt, wrapping it around his torso and strutting around like it was an everyday occurrence. He was also known to fall asleep anywhere he landed. One day, Inuyasha had been beside himself, frantically searching the caves for the little cub. He had started to really panic, realizing he had actually lost Koga's cub when the little squirt crawled out one of their ceramic cooking pots, having decided it was as good a sleeping spot as any.
His big brother played with him in the grass. Kingo was crouched in the grass ready to spring at the closed flower bulb that bobbed in the wind in front of him. Squirt, seemed to have the same idea, darting forward at the same time. They crashed into each other, landing in a heap of cub limbs, before breaking out in a play fight, nipping at each other and wrestling around, sometimes getting distracted by stray bits of grass that sway over them.
Inuyasha had taken to calling the oldest of Koga's cubs 'Little Turd' because, well, he was a little turd. The cub spent a ridiculous amount of time following his father around, imitating him. For a while Inuyasha watched the little turd prance around, all cocky attitude and arrogance; his chest puffed out and his hands on his hips in the wide confident stance of his mangy wolf father.
Lately, however, the cub had taken to carrying around a tiny stick 'sword' that he wore strapped to his waist with a small bit of rope made of dried grass. It had been made for him by one of the Omegas after one of Inuyasha's stories. The cub would stomp around, his hand on his sword, putting forth his best imitation of one of Inuyasha's glowers. Any time anyone would address the cub, he would respond with a "Keh!", no matter if it was appropriate response to what anyone was saying or not. Every time he did so, Koga would bark in laughter, finding it just about the funniest thing he'd ever seen. Yep, Inuyasha mentally groused, that kid is a little turd alright.
The Little Turd, however, seemed to hang on his every word. When Inuyasha decided he was bored enough to go visit the cubs in the Cub Den (no he did not specifically think up good stories to tell and hope they would ask him for a story, nor did he enjoy the rapt attention he received- that would just be stupid!), Kingo always sat right in front of him, completely enraptured by the inu's stories of battle and rescue, bouncing on his knees and exclaiming his excitement during the climactic fights.
Usually, Kaishi would take up his now regular spot in Inuyasha's lap during the stories. Even now, as the small family sat in the grassy field, Kai lay in the hanyo's lap, nestled in the cradle of his crossed legs. He sucked his thumb and fiddled with his ever present blanket as he gazed up with his wide azure eyes. He watched complacently as Kozue played with the inu's hair above him.
Inuyasha rolled his eyes in mock irritation as the girl kept up a steady stream of words, only half of which he could actually understand. He had deemed this cub 'princess' because she never quit talking about them, ever since he had told the story of the daiyokai and the princess. He was pretty sure that is what they were having a conversation about now.
The little girl was perched on his shoulders, one foot on each side of his head, playing with his hair- or played "make Yassa pwetty" as the princess had called it. He grunted and murmured responses to her chatter while she fumbled around on top of his head, occasionally climbing down his back and back up again, her tiny claws securing her hold on the hanyo's hitoe. She made sure to be careful around his puppy ears. Even though they were sinfully tempting to play with, she had learned from experience that her Yassa did not like it when she did. She hoped he would, however, like his hair when she was done. Being outside had inspired her today.
Inuyasha shifted where he sat as he caught a familiar scent. Koga was approaching from his left. The wolf had been running the border and checking in with those watching it for interlopers. He made his way back to the caves to find that his family had decided to spend the day outside and followed their scents to the field. As he approached, he paused just inside the tree line to take in the sight before him.
Inuyasha was sat in a nest of red, his fire-rat robes draped around him. His hands rested on Kaishi, one hand cradled under his head and the other absently scratching his protruding belly. His daughter was making a mess of his hair. She had tied flowers in his tresses and the brightly colored blossoms shown beautifully next to the crisp white of his hair. Tendrils that had not been gathered to support the flowers hung about his face swaying in the breeze. His eyes shown vividly golden in the sunlight and his cheeks, reddened by the cool winds, contracted as his pink lips curved in a small smile at the antics of his wrestling cubs. The vision before him was all at once silly, comforting, domestic, and strangely erotic.
He had been finding lately that everything about the hanyo delighted him. Koga loved Inuyasha's eyes. They were wide and bright like a child's, but they shown with world weariness and intelligence. He loved to rile the puppy up, get his cheeks flushed in anger. When Inuyasha would snarl and bare his teeth at him, the only thing the Wolf Chief would see is how damn cute the pup looked with his nose all scrunched up like that. At night his scent would surround him as he held him in his arms. They had taken to just snuggling up together in bed, knowing they'd end up that way anyway, either after a nightmare or simply gravitating to each other in the night.
His scent had been no less appealing the night of the new moon. Koga had entered his chamber to the sight of a mass of furs huddled in a corner, Kunio whining and scratching worriedly at them, and a foreign scent in the air.
Koga let out a warning growl. "Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my chamber?"
Wide, frightened brown eyes peeked warily out of the pile of furs. "K-Koga? I-I-It's me."
"Inuyasha?" Koga's eyes widened in shock and he took another sniff of the air. He darted forward and grabbed his cub up, shielding him from whatever magic afflicted the hanyo.
"Yeah" Inuyasha popped his head out of the fur wrapped around him revealing tousled black hair and missing puppy ears.
"What the hell?" Koga took a step forward. "What happened to you?"
Inuyasha took a deep breath as if preparing to do something he knew was dangerous. "It's my human night."
Inuyasha huffed at Koga's incredulous and questioning stare. "On the new moon, I turn human for the night."
"Oh…Oh!" Koga exclaimed, finally catching on and realizing the implications.
"I can't let anyone know! I gotta cover my scent!"
Koga understood. Quickly he calmed his distressed cub, letting him sniff at Inuyasha,to reassure him, before placing the cub with his siblings in bed. He rushed forward and gathered up the fur he used. It was infused with his scent after using it for so long. He gathered up the hanyo and they lay on their furs together. He covered the pup up in his fur and curled around him wrapping him in his scent, in hopes of masking the smell of human.
Inuyasha rested his cheek against the ookami's chest. The wolf tightened his grip around the inu's waist as if he could trap the smell of human in his arms. He gazed down at the inu who stared out into the dark room with sightless human eyes.
Inuyasha wanted to pull away from the mangy wolf. He wasn't some scared pup. He wasn't god damned woman who needed his protection! Before he came here, Inuyasha hadn't slept in the same bed as someone since his mother, nor had he been so physically close to another person since Kagome rode on his back. They lay in the softest and warmest bed he'd had in decades that wasn't a sun warmed patch of grass. This was too weird. He's sleeping next to Koga! Embraced by Koga! But he couldn't help but feel absolute safety in the ookami's arms.
The human let out a great huff. He could feel the wolf's eyes on him "Stop staring, ya mangy wolf!"
Koga's chuckle shook his chest. "You don't make a bad human."
"Shut up, damnit," Inuyasha grumbled.
The pup had laid in his arms the whole of the rest of the night, neither of them succumbing to sleep, both on the watch for anyone who smelled human. Even without the danger, Koga wouldn't have been able to sleep. The tantalizing smell of Inuyasha wafted into his sensitive nose. Before meeting Inuyasha and his gang all those years ago, Koga and his clan had considered human meat a rare and delicious delicacy. Inuyasha's new scent, on top of the scent that was purely Inuyasha, had incorporated the tangy aroma of human. Both scents made Koga's mouth water. He wanted to taste the body in his arms and fought with his instincts all night not to rip off the hanyo's clothes and lick every inch of his soft white skin.
Since then, the feeling had not dissipated one bit after the hanyo had changed back in the morning, and it was no less right now as he walked toward the inu in the grass.
"Daddy!" greeted Kozue, scrambling down the inu's back.
"What are you doing here, Wolf?" Inuyasha called out gruffly.
"Done patrolling the border," the ookami responded, picking up the little girl as she ran into his legs, "come to see what you guys are doing."
He settled himself beside the inu, facing him and situated his daughter in his lap.
"Daddy, look!" the young cub exclaimed, "I make Yassa pwetty!"
Koga struggled to hold in the laughter at the disgruntled look on the hanyo's face. "Well, a more beautiful vision I have never seen," Koga plucked a flower from the inu's locks and offered it to the blushing pup, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Be mine, Puppy-chan?"
"What the hell?" Inuyasha exclaimed, reaching up and grabbing hold of his hair, "Are there flowers in my hair?" He began to pull at the flowers he could feel. "Hey, you brat! I ain't no woman!"
Koga exploded into laughter. Kozue sprung up from her father's lap, reaching up and attempting to stop the hanyo from destroying all her hard work. "No! No! Yassa, I make pwetty!" she paused and looked up to the inu, her eyes beginning to shine and her lip pouting and trembling, "Yassa no like it?" A solitary tear fell from her large sea foam green eyes.
Oh, hell, thought Inuyasha. "Er… no. I like it." Damn girls and their tears!
"Yassa keep it?"
Inuyasha sighed, "Yeah, I'll keep it in," he grumbled, completely out done by a crying wolf cub.
Koga wiped tears of mirth from his eyes. "I can't wait to show off my dear Puppy-chan around the Den." He ducked just in time to avoid what would have been a painful swipe of the hanyo's claws.
The wolf chief stretched out in the grass, basking in the spring sun, leaning up on his elbow so he could face his family. The ookami and the inu proceeded to chat, talking about the chief's day and the scuffles over territory on the border.
Though Inuyasha had not had as much peace in the last twenty years as he had during the time he cared for the little cubs, he was getting restless. In his frequent visits to Choshi-baba, they discussed the bond often and he knew that the bond was gradually weakening in intensity. Soon he wouldn't need to be in constant and immediate proximity to the cubs. As of now he could leave the cubs with the Omegas all day if he wanted to, but that would leave him bored since he couldn't leave the cave yet without feeling the pull in his chest, so he kept them close. Soon, however, he would be able to go out on border patrols with Koga and maybe even take up a posted position. He never believed in not earning his keep and he was eager to work.
He wondered if he would have to wear the wolf clan's battle uniform. The wolves' outfit of furs and metal or leather armor was worn especially for battle and hunting. Before, he had only ever met the men of Koga's tribe who where staying at the temporary encampment in the cave behind the waterfall, farther south. They were hunting for jewel shards and always wore their battle gear. He had never known that, otherwise, the wolves wore regular clothes.
He had thought that their furs meant that they weren't as high ranking or prestigious as, say his brother, Sesshoumaru, who always wore the finest garments in battle. Now he knew it was because the wolves and his brother were different types of fighters. He and his brother fought upright with swords, much less tactile than the wolf clan. Wolf youkai were very physical; running, crouching, wrestling their opponents to the ground. Koga had explained that simple fur garments were easier to move in.
Inuyasha let his eyes travel down the body of the ookami laid out before him. He wasn't so sure about wearing such an outfit. It was much to short for his tastes. His gaze rested on the wolf chief's lean legs, stretched out in the grass. Though, it's not so bad on him, Inuyasha thought.
Koga's legs were tanned and covered in lean muscle, a product of his love of running. His fur reached the middle of his powerful thigh. Heh, still not as short as Kagome's outfit, the inu thought. He remembered the feel of those creamy thighs in his hands when he held her up as she rode on his back. I wonder if Koga's thighs are as soft as hers.
Suddenly, an image erupted into Inuyasha's mind. He saw his hands running slowly up those muscular legs, feeling the corded muscle of his shapely calf, the coarse hair that dusted his skin. Licking the sensitive skin of the back of the knee, the brushing his claws up the soft inner thigh, making his way up to… HOLY HELL!
Inuyasha visibly jolted in shock at his thoughts. Koga eyed him dubiously, cutting off what he was saying about relations with the tribe of tanuki youkai that lived down the valley.
"You alright, Mutt face?"
"Uh… yeah," Inuyasha stuttered. What the hell was I thinking? "Just a chill I guess."
"Maybe we should be heading back then and sit by the fire," Koga said. Inuyasha watched the bunching and sliding muscle as the wolf got up and dusted off, before he caught himself. Damnit!
Chapter 9: The Fight
Inuyasha sighed, the sound seeming exceedingly loud in the confined space of Choshi-baba's crowded chamber. He laid back, resting his head on his folded arms, propped on his usual seating cushion, and his legs bent and crossed at the knee as he stared up at the ceiling.
The hanyo always spent hours here in this part of the cave. If he was not with the cubs or with Koga then one could find him here talking, helping the elder out with the various jobs she performed for the clan, or simply resting; letting the comforting atmosphere and the old woman's soothing presence wash over him. So far today, he had spent most of his time helping Choshi-baba to gather the few plants and herbs that were starting to grow outside. He had long since finished his regular duties of hauling in wood and refilling her water pot from the stream deeper in the cave.
Inuyasha turned his gaze to the old woman and watched as she made her way around her quarters, familiar enough with her surroundings that it seemed to make no difference that she was blind. In all the times he had visited the old woman, he had never seen her blindness hinder her in any way. In fact, she usually saw more than those with sight did. In truth, Inuyasha did not know why he felt so comfortable here with her. If the hanyou had to guess though it would be that, she rather reminded him of old Kaede at times.
Inuyasha sighed again, this time longer and louder as his mind turned back to his recent train of thought. In all fairness he wanted to talk about his problem with someone, but he did not know how to bring about the subject in the first place.
"What ails you, Little One?" she inquired in her gravelly voice, as he dropped in a pinch of dried barley sprouts into the boiling potion she stood over, and then turned to search out the kuri. She was making a depression remedy for a young mother who recently had a miscarriage, her first pregnancy. Poor dear.
Inuyasha held back another sigh just barely; now that he was given an opportunity to speak, he had no idea if he really wanted to talk about it anymore. He was hesitant to talk to the old woman about such things, but she was the only one he could talk to about the bond, so she would have to do. He sighed again anyway and announced in a gruff voice, "I think I'm broken, Baba."
"Oh?" Choshi moved to the other side of the room where there was a small mortar and pestle. She placed a couple of the newly located nuts in the mortar and proceeded to grind the kuri meat, while waiting for Inuyasha to continue.
"Yeah, well, it's this family thing. I have been having weird thoughts," he began, gazing up at the smoke stained ceiling. "I thought… I thought I was supposed to be like a brother or something to that mangy wolf, but… well, let's just say I ain't never felt this way about my actual brother." Inuyasha shuddered "Nor would I ever want to, come to think of it."
Choshi chuckled and poured the ground kuri into the boiling pot. She stirred the concoction a bit before joining the inu on the cushions. "Well, Little One, as I recall, you once said that you thought of your brother as a- let's see, what did you call him? Oh yes- 'a prissy pig fucker'. I don't think that you would want to have those kinds of 'brotherly feelings' toward Our Lord Koga."
Inuyasha let out a snort. "No, I don't suppose that would be very good either." His smirk faded as the hanyo grew serious again. "But still, I get these weird feelings and stuff. I never felt this way before and I thought maybe it's the bond messing up or something. I mean, it can't me normal to…" Inuyasha's cheeks flamed at the thoughts that have been running through his head these past few days.
"What are these feelings, Little One?" she asked gently as she settled next to the hanyo, trying not to scare him off the topic.
Inuyasha's face lit up still brighter. He sat up, feeling suddenly vulnerable belly-up on the floor and hugged his knees to his chest. "Um… well, it's like I want to be around him all the time, and-and," Inuyasha swallowed hard, "touch him, er, places."
He abruptly got up and stalked away slightly embarrassed now that it was out in the open. It could not be normal; he probably screwed everything up somehow again. Yeah that is it, he somehow broke the bond, and it is the only thing that made since. He just needed the old woman to say it and confirm his thoughts.
Choshi-baba smiled knowingly, though Inuyasha was staring too determinedly at the floor to see it as he paced. "Ah, Little One, I see." She shifted on her cushion and reached for the inu as he paced by her and tugged at him until he sat back down. She stroked his cheek as was her habit before beginning.
Inuyasha closed his eyes and leaned into the soft touch. He allowed the tenderness not because it felt good or comforted him in any way. No, definitely not. He was simply humoring the old lady; she seemed to like doing it and so he let her. Because he was nice like that.
"These feelings you have are not so strange, Little One," she cooed comfortingly. "We can not know what feelings are the results of this bond and what are from your own experience. Do not worry yourself so. These things tend to work themselves out, one way or another."
Inuyasha sighed and uncurled himself, lying back down to his cushion. "Yeah, I guess so," he grumbled, massaging his hand over his stomach and flexing his toes. The old woman always spoke in vague sentences or riddles but his worries were generally calmed nonetheless, for that, he was often grateful.
"Do you need a stomach drought, Little One?" Choshi-baba asked with some concern. She reached out and smoothed her gnarled fingers over the hand that was kneading his belly.
"Eh? Oh. Uh, no. It's just a cramp or something. Been happening a bit lately. I just need to get out and move around; too much time spent lazing about with you wolves." He eyed the wolf elder accusingly. The old woman couldn't see it and pretended she didn't know about it.
"Yes, well, if there is pain; make sure you come to see me, Little One. I can fix you a soothing elixir."
"Yeah, yeah," he huffed. He noticed a sudden, but familiar, uncomfortable sensation in his chest signaling that he has been gone for too long. "Well, I guess I'm gonna go see what the pups are up to."
"Well look what we found."
Inuyasha stiffened at the sound of the familiar voice. As usual, it was dripping in hostility and disgust. Inuyasha turned to meet narrowed olive green eyes.
The eyes belonged to Tametoki, the leader of the small gang of wolves who liked to harass Inuyasha every chance they got. He was weak; Inuyasha knew that immediately the first time he met him. He was scrawny and gangly, obviously not trained in fighting. His stringy black hair hung on either side of his face to his shoulders, making his large nose stick out all the more. It didn't help his weakling image that he never approached Inuyasha with less than two other people. Today he had four.
Tametoki stood in front of his gang sneering at the hanyo, his arms crossed and posture set as if he was trying to intimidate Inuyasha with the power he commanded. Inuyasha merely raised an eyebrow at him.
"What do you want, Jackass?" Inuyasha huffed impatiently, resting a hand on the well worn hilt of his sword and the other on his hip. He was out here looking for the cubs. The Omega elder, Aoi, had informed him that the cubs had been taken outside today. They were in search of large sticks with which to fashion Shakujous after Inuyasha's last story featured a certain battling monk, the old man informed him.
So now he was outside, far from the caves, and alone, having not yet found the spot the cubs had gone to. By the looks of the group gathered in front of him, they had been hoping for just such an opportunity.
Tametoki grinned, revealing stained and crooked teeth. Inuyasha supposed it was supposed to be a terrifying look, but Inuyasha just thought he looked ridiculous.
"I just want to know what it's like," Tametoki growled.
"What what's like?" Inuyasha sighed. This guy is such a drama queen. If you got something to say, say it, jackass, Inuyasha thought.
"What it's like to be the Chief's whore," the leader spat. The other wolves behind him chuckled darkly.
Inuyasha had no idea what a 'whore' was, but it wasn't the first time he had been accused of being one and knew it was meant as an insult even without the taunting way it was delivered. "I wouldn't know," he said gripping his sword just a little bit harder.
"Sure you don't. We can smell him all over you, you disgusting mongrel," Inuyasha's eyes narrowed in the only sign of his increasing anger. "It's sad really. Watching you run around after our Chief. A filthy abomination like you could never be good enough to stand in the same room as Chief Koga, let alone take our princesses place."
Inuyasha began to growl low in his chest, baring his fangs. His fingers let go of the hilt of his sword and flexed by his sides. He knew he couldn't resort using his father's fang. It would surely kill them. Myoga-jiji had taught him enough over the years to know that to raise his sword against his pack mate, would declare his intensions to break from or remove the wolves from the pack, something he had no intention to do.
"You should have been left to die for murdering Princess Ayame," the gang began to leer at him aggressively, popping their knuckles and growling back at him. "In fact, I think it's time you paid for your crimes."
With that the group of five wolves advanced on the lone hanyo.
"SANKON TESSO!" Inuyasha yelled, slashing at the first wolf to get to him. He channeled his youki into his claws and ripped into the wolf. The wolf stumbled, holding his chest, allowing Inuyasha to get a bit of distance between himself and the raging wolves.
One must have snuck up behind him, because he saw stars when something crashed into his head. He heard a loud crack and couldn't tell if it was his skull or the object that hit it that had broken. He swiftly turned around to find the wolf still holding the log he had used. Inuyasha kicked the log out of the wolf's grasp and punched his youki infused claws through his leather armor and deep into his belly. Inuyasha growled in triumph at the gurgled sound of the wolf's howl of pain, even as his golden eyes began to flicker to red.
Another wolf grabbed him by the hair and tried to yank him to the ground. The hanyo resisted and swung his foot along the ground, connecting with the wolf's feet and tripping him to the ground. Inuyasha dove to pounce on the wolf on the ground, only to be restrained by a pair of wolves. They grabbed his shoulders and held him back. Tametoki appeared in front of him grinning, his eyes red and feral. He slammed his fist into the hanyo's face.
Inuyasha heard the bones of his nose crack and felt the blood pour. Now he was pissed.
The state of his nose didn't allow him to smell the arrival of Koga, Ginta, and Hakkaku. The other wolves were distracted by adrenalin and the ferocity of their demon's demand for blood.
Koga, Ginta, and Hakkaku were making their way back from the western border when they caught the scent of blood. They raced to the origin of the blood, the smell becoming clearer as they neared it. It was Inuyasha's blood.
Koga growled low when they came across the scene. Koga was only slightly surprised to hear echoing growls coming from his Betas beside him. Inuyasha was fighting, no not fighting, being ganged up on, by no less than five wolves. His wolves! He had taken Inuyasha in as his own and anyone who challenged that challenged the alpha directly. They were going to pay for such disrespect to his House and his authority.
Koga knew that there were still grumblings about the adoption of the hanyo into the clan. Ginta and Hakkaku had been reporting regularly about what they have heard and seen. He knew that some members of the pack didn't see Inuyasha as worthy, not knowing or willing to hear about the hanyo's accomplishments and extensive help to the tribe.
It was with this knowledge that Koga watched the fight. He knew that if he intervened in the fight, Inuyasha would never be accepted as a strong member of the pack. He had to stay out of it unless it looked like they would kill him.
It was hard though. His demon was screaming at him to grab the pup and put himself between him and his attackers. He had to protect his puppy, make sure he is safe and comfortable, so that he might agree to ma- Oh! That was a nice hit, Mutt!
Koga's demon calmed a little at the sight of Inuyasha, breaking away from the hold of the two wolves. He used the hold as leverage, kicking the wolf who had punched him square in the balls. The wolf fell forward and landed at Inuyasha's feet. He stepped up on the wolf's back and sprung off, flipping over the heads of the wolves restraining his arms to land behind them. They turned in unison to face the hanyo, but he was ready for them. He dipped his fingers in the blood of his broken nose.
"HIJIN KESSO!" His blood hardened and turned to blades, which sliced through the wolves before him. Blood poured from wounds in their arms and across theirs chests as they fell in pain.
Inuyasha turned his now red eyes to the last remaining wolf still standing. He growled loud, his demon beginning to surface. The wolf, realizing it was alone now with a hanyo who had single handedly taken down four wolves at once, was suddenly smart enough to slowly back away. Inuyasha saw this and moved forward, for every step the ookami took, the inu followed. The wolf whined and lowered to the ground, acknowledging defeat.
"Inuyasha!" a voice called out. The bloodied hanyo turned demon red eyes on the Wolf Chief.
He roared fiercely, his demon passed the point of differentiating between friend or foe. Koga's demon corresponded accordingly, reacting instinctively to the challenge. The ookami's eyes bled red and he growled his dominance, as he slowly converged on the wild hanyo.
The inu sprung forth, swiping at the alpha wolf and trying to grapple him to the ground. Koga ducked forward, catching the leaping youkai at the knees and flipping him. The hanyo landed hard on his back, limbs spayed with the shock, and the wind knocked out of his lungs.
The Wolf Chief rolled off the ground and twisted on his knees to pounce onto the sprawled hanyo. He dug his sharp claws into the sensitive skin of the inu's wrist and slammed them firmly on the ground on either side of his head. The hanyo snarled franticly and strained to reach and bite at the wolf. The ookami attacked the neck of the beast he held down, his teeth pressing painfully into the delicate flesh and growled. The hanyo struggled but the ookami only bit harder and growled louder, asserting his place as the true alpha. Finally the hanyo went still and lay limp under the power of the youkai on top of him. High pitched whines began to emerge from the throat that arched back and was bared to the victorious ookami.
Koga's demon began to recede, his eyes fading back to his normal crisp blue. He eased off of the still transformed hanyo and allowed him to try and appease his alpha. The hanyo began to nuzzle his nose and lick at the underside of the ookami's chin and neck, showing his submission. Koga released the hanyo's bleeding wrists and wrapped his arms around the hanyo. The whines of the hanyo began to quiet and Inuyasha settled his face in the crook of the Wolf Chief's neck, as his demon was finally subdued. Golden eyes closed as Inuyasha breathed in the wolf's scent. He realized that he was safe again in Koga's embrace and succumbed to unconsciousness.
Koga waited for Inuyasha to look up at him. He had a lot of questions for the mutt and he needed answers now. When the inu only lay there, limp and unmoving, Koga began to worry.
"Oi, Mutt," he said quietly. No response. He raised his hand up to brace the back of the inu's head only to be brought up short at the feel of warm wetness. Blood. Damn. They must have got him worse than I thought.
"Ginta, Hakkaku, I'm gonna need you to secure these assholes for me. I'll take care of Dog Breath," he announced. The two Betas nodded their understanding and proceeded to gather the wolves that laid about in various amounts of pain and injury.
Koga scooped up the unconscious hanyo and ran for the caves.
Chapter 10: The Elder
A smile cracked the craggy and wrinkled face of the elder wolf, Michinaga, as he gazed down at the infant in his arms, his fire-orange eyes, framed in sparse grey hair. Another strong cub born to a fine wolf couple, he thought warmly. He had known the parents since they were cubs themselves, and felt pride swelling in his silk clad chest. As one of the clan elders, he considered it his duty to raise the tribe up into strong and powerful youkai, a duty that he had been highly successful in so far.
Yes, his clan has flourished under his guidance, but it is not as easy as he made it look. He fought every step of the way, using his cunning intellect to mold his well-meaning, but ultimately helpless, clansmen.
He rose through the ranks of the old wolf tribe to become the most revered of all the elders. The old leader, Yorozoku, was rather old and weak himself, but Michinaga had made up for the Alpha's deficiencies through sheer strength of will alone. The other three elders always looked to him for the answers and the Alpha never made a decision without his input. In the old tribe, he held real power, as it should be.
He secured his position as the most powerful advisor with the death of the Alpha. Yorozokuwas defeated in battle against the Great Oni, an ogre the size of a mountain. With his death, his granddaughter, Princess Ayame, succeeded the Northern Valley Wolf tribe.
Ayame, oh, Ayame, how he missed the child! She was so sweet, so innocent to the way of the world. Upon receiving the news of her death, it felt as if his very heart had stopped dead in his chest, the news having carried away all his happiness to the other side with her. She had been like his own grandchild, his own flesh and blood. He and his dearly departed wife were not able to produce an heir that lived past early childhood, other than the one that was sickly and weak, the child's bones bent and his breathing labored. This failure had been what the elder considered his one deficiency. Michinaga had to get rid of the child once he saw the poor dear would never be like the other strong cubs the clan needed. Dropped over the side of a cliff, he was… such a pity.
The dear princess, however, had been a strapping and beautiful child. After the unfortunate demise of her parents in a seemingly careless and random accident, her grandfather had permitted the young child to live with Michinaga and his wife. The elder had raised the future Alpha himself, in the mold of the perfect leader, one that would know his importance and heed his every word. He had loved her as his own and wanted only the best for her.
Things were going to plan, too. She grew up to become a competent and malleable Alpha and a fierce warrior. He had assumed his rightful place beside her as her most respected advisor. The one hitch in his plans was the alliance forged by her grandfather, one that formed when she was but a cub. The prince from the neighboring wolf tribe had saved her life, and the old Alpha promised her hand in marriage in return, the foolish idiot.
When she became of age, she pursued the alliance, and to Michinaga's chagrin, the fool rebuked her. He wanted a woman who could sense Shikon jewel shards, he had said. The brat was barely good enough for her as it was, and he had had the gall to deny the marriage! Whatever the case may have been, the Northern Wolf tribe was a clan of superior fighters, and the Northern Valley tribe would do well to join them. Besides strong cubs, the elder knew the combining of the tribes would mean great power if he could situate himself as the Alpha's right hand man, so he pushed his dear Ayame to continue to pursue the prince. Besides who was he to rebuke Ayame, a princess and Alpha, for a mere human girl. There was nothing that priestess could do to shine a light to his dear Ayame.
Finally, the child's persistence paid off. They came together and mated. Michinaga never liked Prince Koga from the start. He was rough, inelegant, and undignified. There was nothing special about him; he was not especially strong or cutthroat. To the elder, who thought a good leader should have control of all aspects of clan life, Koga's firm but light-handed leadership rankled on his sensibilities. He much preferred the prince of the Eastern Wolf tribe for his Ayame, who ruled his lands and people with an iron fist, but this matter was out of his control. At least the union to Koga would strengthen their tribe; strong cubs would get them the status they needed. After all, maybe with time he could change Koga's ways. It was not to be however.
What was the most enraging was that fact that the blasted brat veritably ignored his council of elders. He was rebuffed at every attempt to gain the new chief's ear. Oh, the Wolf Chief conferred with his council, but he did not work as Michinaga had planned. He did not listen to his council's every word and did not feel it necessary to refer to the council to make decisions. There was little chance for the elder to rise to the rightful place of power and influence he deserved.
Michinaga's friendly gaze turned to stone when his attention was diverted from the young cub to the commotion at the mouth of the cave. The Wolf Chief was hurriedly carrying that wretched hanyou through the caves, looking positively worried. He smirked when he saw that the beast looked much worse for wear. Blood stained his nest of white hair and was drying where it had poured from his nose. It seems that the beast finally got what he deserved.
He could not help the cold feeling, however, at the question of why he had been brought back to the caves. Surely, if the hanyou was properly beaten and shunned then the brute would have been left where he fell in defeat. The cold feeling only warmed into the fire of wrath when he saw the bound and beaten group of wolves he had sent after the disgusting animal being ushered in none too gently by the chief's Betas.
He had known that the creature was manipulative, but he was still just a hanyou. Could he possibly have the power to overcome the Wolf Chief? He must be using that despicable magic that he had always heard of hanyou possessing. Hanyou were reportedly weak beings that relied on their magic to trick unsuspecting youkai into giving them their riches. It was obvious to Michinaga that that is what was going on here.
This excuse of "the bond" that the Chief had given the Council of Elders was clearly a front for the control the hanyou had over the chief's mind. The fiend had cast his magic on the chief after he had killed Michinaga's precious Ayame. He inserted himself into the Alpha's House in order to take the poor dear's place and take control of the clan. It was almost an ingenious plan… except Michinaga was too smart for that monstrosity. He knew better.
Clearly, the Wolf Chief's mind was far too under the influence of the hanyou's spells. He would have to go further to extract this evil from his clan. He knew that with the chief so deep under the magic, he would have to be covert and handle things from behind the scenes, or else he would be seen as challenging the Alpha and that would just not do. His plan to beat the problem out had clearly failed. He saw that the varmint had roped the Alpha and his Betas to fight off those brats that were barely out of cub hood, he had sent out after him. The elder could see that he was thinking too small. He needed to get serious about this hanyou problem. It was for the good of the clan, for the good of all decent youkai, and for the good of dear Ayame's cubs. He could not have them corrupted and weakened by a wretched half human whelp that played at being a youkai.
Koga rushed inside the mouth of the cave. Inuyasha's body lay limp in his embrace, his head lolled over his arm, smearing blood on his skin from the open wound on the back of his head. It stained his snowy white hair and covered the lower half of his face. The blood flow from his nose had ceased and the bone and cartilage had already begun to heal, the blood darkening and hardening on his lips and chin. Through his unconsciousness, his pup held tight to the hilt of his sword, which rested across his chest. Koga was sure it was a defensive mechanism that had been beaten into him countless times when he was younger.
The ookami ignored the concerned gasps and dark glowers of the wolves he passed. They could wait for their explanations. For now, he needed to care for his pup and his injuries. All this and more passed through Koga's mind as he ran into the bowels of the caves to the hot springs.
Once there, he kicked over a few lengths of fabric, left as drying cloths for bathers, and bunched them in a dry corner of the cavernous hot springs. Gently, he set the unconscious hanyou on the floor, using the drying cloths to cushion his head and shoulders. Slowly, so as not to jar him unnecessarily, Koga untied Inuyasha's obi and untucked his hitoe and new kosode from his hakama. He smoothed them down his shoulders, caressing the soft skin over the toned muscular arms, and pulled his hands from the sleeves. The inu whimpered softly in distress when the action accidently tilted his shoulders, causing his head to roll to the side over the still open wound.
"Ah, sorry, Pup," Koga cooed softly, making sure to take his other arm out more carefully. He gently pulled the garments from under him. He folded the fire-rat robe beside the hanyou; it would clean its self. The white cotton kosode, he bunched up and carried over to the water. Steam rose up from the water as he dipped the fabric. He crawled back over to the inu and began to clean his face of the dried blood. He rang out some of the water from the cloth and let it drip down his chin and neck, breaking apart the crusted blood before wiping it away. He tenderly bathed Inuyasha's face, neck, shoulders, and chest, licking the sensitive skin in comfort when Inuyasha would give off a pained whimper.
After rinsing out the bloodied cloth, he returned to the hanyou and propped him up, settling his face in the crook of the ookami's neck while he delicately probed the wound on the back of his head. The bleeding had stopped and the skin was knitting together already, but Koga's concern was the cracked bone underneath it. That would take a bit longer to mend.
He tentatively pressed his finger to the area. Inuyasha moaned low into his neck and clenched his fist around the hilt of his sword. No, it was not shattered or depressed, just cracked. That was good; the healing would be much more quick and simple. It would not need to wrapped, just cushioned while he slept it off.
Koga wetted the inu's hair and scrubbed the blood from the silky tresses. After that, he laid the inu back on the cloths. He stripped himself of his armor and grabbed up Inuyasha's kosode to scrub them clean of blood. Once that was completed, he gathered the bits of clothing and the hanyou in his arms and made his way to his rooms.
The cubs were still with the Omega out in the forest. That must have been where Inuyasha was going to when this all happened. Koga sighed as he placed his sleeping puppy on their furs, adjusting his body so that he was lying on his side and not aggravating the wound on the back of his head. Inuyasha just did not deserve half the crap he went through. He saw that now.
There once was a time when he would have found it funny to see the hanyou get his ass handed to him in a fight. Not now, however, now, the pup was his responsibility, his family. Koga remembered the fierceness of the hanyou in action. He had successfully taken on five wolves alone and came out the victor. He did not even pull his sword on them even though he had every right to drive those wolves from the pack for their insolence. He was a kind caretaker, a creative thinker, a brave defender, a good hunter, an honorable clansman, and a mighty warrior. Inuyasha made a wonderful ma…- er- family member. The Wolf Chief was proud to have him by his side.
Koga pushed a strand of hair behind the inu's ear and let his knuckles graze his rounded cheek briefly. His pup was also one of the most beautiful creatures he had ever seen, and he was growing more so every day. Koga growled deep in his chest in pleasure when he remembered the brute force he saw that the inu wielded with his body. His intensity and fortitude was intoxicating to the Alpha, and his demon bathed him in lust and desire to dominate and take him for his own.
Koga shook his head, attempting to rid his mind of the hazy glaze of his demon's hunger. He needed to retrieve his cubs from the Omega and put them to sleep, and then he would be able to come back to his pup and lay with him. He knew his inu was young and he would have to take things carefully.
Inuyasha opened his eyes and blearily looked around. The caves, he was back in the caves. He was back in his room.
What happened? The last thing he remembered, was burying his claws in the stomach of one of measly wolves who cracked him over the head with a log. Damn, that must have been one hell of a hit if I can't even remember what happened after, he thought. He stiffened at the next thought, however. Wait a minute! Did I pass out? Did I lose?
Inuyasha began to panic his breathing picking up and becoming short pants. No! I can't be forced out! Not again!
A weight tightened around his waist, and growl vibrated against his back. "Oi, Pup. What's the matter with you?" Koga mumbled sleepily.
Inuyasha froze, and then he spun around to face the ookami, almost pushing him off the furs in the process. He stared at the wolf, which he had disturbed from his sleep by his panicked distress.
"What happened" Inuyasha growled in confusion.
His wide golden eyes searched the ookami's for an answer, but the wolf only looked back with eyes half lidded in sleep and a puzzled expression. As if he was trying to figure out why the pup he had been holding so comfortably in his arms suddenly thought it was a good idea to push him out of their furs.
"Shush, Pup. Cubs are sleepin'," Koga, whispered as he became a little bit more awake, "I think that hit to the head knocked the demon out of ya. When Ginta, Hakkaku and I got there, you were already in your demon form."
Inuyasha's face scrunched in his effort to control his panic. Oh Gods, I killed them all! I gotta get out of here!
He sat up and flung the furs back. He scrambled out of bed, searching for Tetsusaiga. He was afraid and so close to crying out his grief, Koga sat up and furrowed his brow in puzzlement. "What's got into you all of a sudden pup? Come back to…" Inuyasha cut him off.
"Well I guess I'll be going, now. I'll come around every once and a while so the little squirt can feel better through the bond," Inuyasha announced, hooking his sword in his obi and looking anywhere other than the Wolf Chief. "Thanks anyway, for being so decent about this and everything."
"What?" Koga exclaimed jumping up to stand in front of the inu completely awake now and his cubs the last thing on his mind. "Where do you think you're going, fleabag?"
"I'm clearly not wanted here and I know from experience not to wear out my welcome," Inuyasha cringed as the ookami menacingly stepped forward. He backed up giving ground before his Alpha. His ears fell back submissively as his back hit the wall and he turned his face away. He knew the wolves would be mad and Koga would be no exception. He would stand here and take whatever Koga dished out. After all, he deserved it. "And in my demon form I know I must have killed them all and shamed your House. I'll just get out of he-."
Inuyasha could not finish his sentence as Koga grasped a handful of hair and yanked his head back, forcing Inuyasha to present his face to the Alpha. The wolf's lips descended to the inu's in a crushing and possessive kiss. Inuyasha gasped at the unexpected action.
Koga took advantage of the innocent gasp, and slipped his tongue between the soft pink swells of Inuyasha's lips. His mouth watered as he drank him in, letting his tongue explore to its heart's content. He traced the hanyou's sharp fangs and slid their tongues together. Inuyasha tasted so good, so sweet, it was as if his mouth was made for him.
Then Koga broke the kiss, remembering why he had stopped the inu with a kiss in the first place. "You're not going anywhere. You're mine," Koga breathed possessively, his arms coming up on either side of the inu to keep him from moving. His eyes glowed, daring the inu to say or do otherwise.
"Yours?" Inuyasha asked, his eyes clouded in pleasure. Suddenly, they cleared before realization bled into them.
"H-hey! What the hell was that?" he panicked reaching up to shove Koga away from him, his face turning a dark shade of red.
Wanting none of that, Koga leaned forwards his hands moving to stop Inuyasha's, pinning the smaller inu fully to the wall as he crushed his lips to Inuyasha's once more stopping any more protests.
Inuyasha mewed softly in confused pleasure at the assault on his mouth. Oh Gods!
"Mine." Koga growled again. He backed away to give the inu a chance to breathe, his eyes glowing in promise. He would make it so. His inu would not try to leave him again.
Chapter 11: The Punishment
Koga pressed his body against Inuyasha holding him to the pitted stonewall behind him. The ookami was taller than the inu hanyou by a head and his nose brushed Inuyasha's hair as he moved over him. Koga breathed in, scenting the young pup in his embrace, taking in his dizzying earthy essence, and allowed a soothing growl to rumble in his chest. The growl vibrated into the pliant body beneath him, permeating the wall of shock that was wrapped around Inuyasha's mind.
Inuyasha clung to the shoulders of the Wolf Chief, his clawed fingers digging slightly in to the soft, worn fabric of the wolf's grey sleeping yukata. His breathing was ragged and panting. With, first, the fear for his home and safety, then the shock of Koga's kiss, Inuyasha had to gather his thoughts.
It seemed that he was not going to be run out of the caves with a mob of angry wolves at his back, after all. The relief from this realization caused a knot he did not realize was there to unclench in his chest. In fact, it appeared that the mangy wolf wanted him to stay- badly! He let out a bit of his tension in a sigh, unconsciously sagging in the ookami's arms and resting his head on the strong muscled shoulder in front of him.
He was wanted. It had been so long- decades- since anyone had genuinely wanted him around.
-but… Inuyasha replayed the last few minutes in his mind.
Mine. The wolf had said that Inuyasha was his. What did he mean by that?
Suddenly the words clicked in his mind. Koga had never said what he did to the wolves after he turned full demon. That must be it. I've killed them or maimed them, and I have to pay for it. He's going to make me his slave, or- or something…
Before he could stop himself, he let out a distressed whine. Was it better to be a wanted slave or free and alone?
Koga's arms tightened around his torso, his fingers bunched in the back of his hitoe. "Pup?" When he got no response, he tried again. "Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha's lifted his head from his shoulder and wide, desperate eyes sought out blue. "Wh-wh-wha," he stopped and swallowed hard, pushing his fear down in order to survive as he had done innumerable times before in his life. "What are you going to do to me? I will take it. I know I deserve it, for what I did. I just… I just wanna know what's going to happen now."
Koga watched his puppy break eye contact, his head bowing in shame and submission. The velvety white puppy ears on the top of his head, only a moment ago flickering in time to his agitated thoughts, now slicked back and nearly buried themselves in his downy white hair.
He reached up and placed his clawed fingers under the inu's chin, making him look up and meet his gaze. Koga's expression softened at the sight. Inuyasha's eyes were so wide, they seemed to take over his whole face, but they reflected only innocent fear and wariness.
"What do ya mean 'do to you', Pup?"
Inuyasha searched his face cautiously. "Y-you said I was yours. Does that mean you are going to enslave me for killing them?"
Koga's eyes widened in surprise, his brows shooting up to his hairline and his mouth dropping open. "What? Enslave! Killed who?"
Inuyasha's ears perked up and swiveled in confusion. "Those wolves that attacked me, you said I went full demon! If I did that, I would have killed them. Then you said I was yours!"
Realization dawned on Koga's face and he relaxed back on Inuyasha, once again pressing them into the wall. "Oh! Sorry, Mutt, I should'a told ya I got to you first and stopped you from killin' em!"
"What?" Inuyasha's face reddened in anger and embarrassment. He had just let himself be dominated by the Alpha thinking he deserved it and looked weak in front of him. He put all the strength he could muster into pushing the ookami away from him. "You asshole!"
"Calm down, Mutt face, I said I'm sorry!" Koga urged the steaming inu. He watched from the spot on the furs he had been pushed to as the hanyou began to pace back and forth in perturbation.
Suddenly, the hanyou stopped and spun to face the ookami chief. He buried his hands in his sleeves and tried his best to loom menacingly over the seated wolf. "Wait a minute! What the hell was all that-," Inuyasha paused and blushed furiously, pointing at the spot at the wall they had just been leaning on, "all that stuff over there about?"
Koga chuckled and, quickly before Inuyasha could object, grabbed the front of Inuyasha's obi and pulled the inu onto the furs and into his arms. "That was me letting you know that you ain't going to be leaving here. That you are my family, a partner of sorts. That no one will be allowed to get away with bothering you. That. You. Are. Mine."
Inuyasha's breath was taken from him again as Koga dipped his head and claimed his lips again. Inuyasha tightened his grip on the ookami's arms, as if he was afraid the wolf would pull away. Koga laid them back into the furs, placing Inuyasha above him, resting on his chest. He cradled the back of Inuyasha's head, careful of the still sensitive injury there as he moved his mouth against the trembling lips of his puppy.
Inuyasha gave a sigh, as pleasure washed his objections at being manhandled away. Koga broke he kiss and pressed Inuyasha's head down to rest on his chest. "Sleep, Pup. It's still early yet," Koga's voice suddenly descended to a low growl. "Then we will show them what it means to challenge my word and my family."
Inuyasha lay there atop the Wolf Chief, his cheek resting against the hard muscle of his chest. The rhythmic motion of his deep easy breathing and the beating of his heart, lulled Inuyasha into calm and comfort, but he could not get back to sleep even if he wanted to. His thoughts were entwined in a jumble of confusion.
What just happened? Inuyasha wondered, as he floated in a lake of calm waters, if Koga was making fun of him. He was not sure. He thought one usually kissed girls. Then, that wasn't really true. He had, once when he was younger and in search of water, stumbled across the sight of two Kuma youkai men kissing in a riverbed. The subsequent beating for having the misfortune to catch them at it and search for a decent hiding place, promptly pushed any further thoughts of what he had seen out of his mind. But he had seen it. Maybe it wasn't that unusual. Maybe it was a demon thing. He had certainly never seen any humans do such a thing. Perhaps, Koga wasn't making fun of him after all. Perhaps he liked him like that.
If that was so, Inuyasha was not so sure he disliked that idea. He had never been kissed like that. His mother kissed him every night before bed on the forehead. Kikyou had been a fourteen-year-old virgin priestess. The furthest they had gone physically in the relationship was holding hands once or twice and sometimes embracing each other. They had both been shy innocents, unsure of what to do, neither having ever been taught what love and sex was all about. Kagome had been his first romantic kiss. He remembered the thrill that had run down his spine when she pressed her lips to his.
Koga, however, had invaded his mouth with his tongue. It had caressed his own muscle, probing, licking, and sucking. He had never had someone else's tongue in his mouth, but he flushed and curled further against Koga's side as the thought came to mind that the idea felt better than it sounded. A lot better.
Though he would never, EVER, tell Koga, he hoped the wolf planed to do it again. He felt safe and warm in his arms; had since the very first night they had slept in the same bed. This, now, was something he could get used to.
It was on that thought that the inu drifted off into a deep, restful sleep.
Inuyasha followed closely behind as Koga led the way deep into the cave system. He buried his hands into his wide sleeves, absently rubbing his cramping stomach through the fabric. He walked with a hard look in his eyes, his brows furrowed, and shoulders thrown back.
To all the world the inu hanyou appeared as if he was every bit as arrogant, confident and carefree as his enemies believed him to be, but if one were to know what to look for, they would see that it was far from true. Those eyes, furrowed and hard, swung from side to side, surveying passages before him for signs of attack. Without conscious thought, he never drifted further than two steps behind the Alpha, mindful to stay within his range of protection. Even his posture of folding his arms in his sleeves, a subconscious habit from his youth, was no careless gesture. Folding his sleeves in front of him caused both lengths of the fire-rat fabric to cross over his torso, creating a strengthened layer of armor over his most vulnerable body parts. Though he knew in his mind he could and would protect himself, his inner demon was apprehensive and now that he finally had one- whether Inuyasha consciously knew it or not- only wanted his alpha to protect him.
Upon waking this morning, the Alpha had informed the hanyou that they were going to be making a little visit to Inuyasha's attackers. The five wolves that had attacked him had been kept tied up and guarded in a small antechamber deep in the mountain. They followed a twisted and narrow passage way into the dark caverns until they reached an entrance way guarded by two armored wolves.
"Chief," they greeted in unison, inclining their head in salute.
"How are they?" Koga inquired.
"Fine. They have been quite the whole night," one answered.
Koga nodded in acknowledgement and entered the chamber. Inuyasha hesitated at the doorway, glancing around the sparsely light room before accompanying the Wolf Chief inside.
The five wolves sat, hunched in various states of consciousness and injury, on the stone floor. Tametoki sat on his knees in the middle of the group- heh, always gotta be protected by his gang. Was a wimp!- his hands tied behind him. He cautiously glanced up at his Alpha, knowing he was angry, but he snapped out of his subservient posture and glared at the sight of the hanyou behind him. His olive green eyes glinted hatefully from beneath the curtain of his stringy black hair.
The mongrel dared to stand in the same room as decent people like him and not have the decency to cower or eve look worried! The hanyou gazed back at the wolf with cold and impassive eyes- well, he learned something from his jackass of a brother- as if he were better than the prisoner. Tametoki choked back the growl that was working its way up his throat and quickly lowered his forehead back to the floor when the Alpha stepped in front of the hanyou.
"What have you to say for your self?" the Wolf Chief demanded. Koga stood tall and powerful, his chest puffed out and his hands on his hips, staring the group's leader down.
"What? We only did what should have been done long ago," Tametoki sprang back up, forgetting just whom he was talking to in a moment of anger. "That beast should have been run out the moment he stepped in our territory!"
Koga ignored the spiteful comment. He spun on his heal and faced the inu hanyou. "Think of how you think they should be punished," he announced, and then strode out the entranceway.
"EHHH?" Inuyasha cried in shock. Behind them, the wolves sputtered outrage.
"Bring them to the Den," Koga instructed the guards before leading a shell shocked Inuyasha back out.
"Punishment?" Inuyasha asked uncertainly, catching up to the long angry strides of the Wolf Chief. "I ain't gonna punish 'em! I already beat their asses. I ain't worth much more trouble then that!"
Inuyasha drew up short as Koga suddenly halted in front of him and spun around. "Listen here, Fleabag," he ordered, ignoring the irritated glitter of Inuyasha's eyes at the nickname. "You are worth ten of those pieces of garbage in there," Inuyasha's eyes widened in disbelief, "and it's not just what they did to you but that they dare challenge my word. I am the Alpha here, not them. They will learn that soon enough!" With that, he spun back around and continued the trek to the cave mouth, leaving a bewildered hanyou blinking after him.
In the Den, Koga gathered all his wolves to the raised rock and prepared to speak to them. Inuyasha watched from the ground as the five wolves were brought out and set at the Alpha's feet. The crowd, who had gathered behind him, broke out into whispered mutterings and inquiries as to what was going on. Once all were gathered, Koga stood and demanded silence.
"Yesterday, these five wolves ambushed my kin, Inuyasha," he announced to the crowd. Inuyasha was so captivated with Koga's words- Me? Kin?- that he didn't hear the crowd's gasps of umbrage or other's agreeable comments.
Koga noted those who appeared to appreciate the wolves' brutal efforts and turned to the five bowing before him. "If you show repentance and acknowledge your faults, we can call the beating you received, courtesy of your 'victim' as punishment enough," he offered, emphasizing their humiliation before the gathering.
"There is nothing to repent! I merely tried to dispose of the filthy beast as it should have been done in the first place…er, my Alpha," Tametoki argued before acquiescing his submission under the glower Koga sent him.
Koga stepped forward and let out a ferocious growl. Tametoki and the others, who had been looking on with rising indignation, returned to their submissive postures. "You mean the ally that I brought to the caves? The one who saved my cub's life at the risk of his own? The one that I adopted into my House? The one who I proclaimed was under my protection. That 'filthy beast'?"
The gathered wolves were silent as death as they watched the confrontation. Inuyasha gazed up at the Alpha wide eyed as he defended him before the entire clan.
Tametoki, having realized he had gotten himself way over his head, glanced at his comrades who bowed beside him, but they, only slightly smarter than him, seemed to know that it was best to keep their mouths shut.
"Er…Yes, My Lord. A hanyou has no place he-," Tametoki started cautiously, only to be cut off mid-sentence. Koga looked down to the floor before him where the inu stood in the crowd.
"Inuyasha, they have wronged you and our House," Koga emphasized to all present that he and the hanyou were equally wronged, "how should they be punished.
Inuyasha looked at his attackers. Weak and cowardly as they were, they were just like everyone else. Those who wished to harm him, to throw him out, to chase him away, had marked his whole life. His own human family drove him away from his mother's palatial home upon her death. Then for nearly a century he was an outcast among everyone around him, from human to youkai, even his own demon brother chased him across the countryside in efforts to kill him.
His gaze moved over the strong Alpha, who patiently waited for his decision; his piercing blue eyes boring into his warm golden ones. Koga had never treated him like that. He had never treated him as less. They might not have liked each other or really got along in the past, but he had never thought of the hanyou as lower than he or not worthy. Inuyasha made his decision.
With hardened eyes, he addressed the Alpha. "They have no idea what it's like to be alone and unwanted," he ground out, his voice fierce and strong, "They should know what it feels like to be driven out, to be abandoned and persecuted."
Koga's eyes softened and he looked at his pup with pride. He was strong but he was also fair. "Very well," he turned back to the wolf gang, "You will leave these caves and leave this territory. You will not return until the next full moon."
Various members of the crowd exclaimed in outrage. Their son's were being sent away. And for a hanyou? Others were proclaiming their satisfaction with the decision. How dare those young ruffians attack the hanyou who has been an ally and friend for decades, coming to their assistance more than once through the years?
At the back of the crowd, burning orange eyes glowed from a shadowed recess. They watched the gang of wolves be escorted out of the caves by the Alpha's loyal guards. On their way out that young brat, Tametoki catches those eyes, beseeching them to come to his aid. With a subtle shake of his grayed head, the elder Michinaga warns him not to give the plot away. They were loyal to him, and he would rescue them from their punishment in time, but for now, he had to figure out what to do next about that wretched hanyou.
Finally he saw that dratted young Alpha behave as a true leader should; with an iron fist. He was harsh and powerful, his word was law, but the sight was soured by the knowledge that his actions were simply the results of the hanyou's manipulations. Michinaga watched in disgust as the hanyou sat in the background pulling strings like a puppet master, going so far as to demand that he punish the young wolves himself!
If it weren't for the fact that it was that animal who was doing it, the elder might have admired the cunning and elegance of his handling of the Wolf Chief. He was quickly rising to dangerous levels of power, moving pieces as if on a chessboard. Something must be done to stop this monster from taking over the clan and damning them all to be slaves to the hanyou's evil magic.
Chapter 12: The Riverside
Inuyasha sighed and lay back, breathing in the warm, earthy, air. He wiggled his shoulders, trying to adjust the flattened bed of sun-warmed grass beneath him just right, his hands pillowing his head off the ground. It was nearly summer and the temperature was rapidly rising in the mountain range. The best place to lounge was the riverside in the valley, where a cool breeze from the north was lazily blowing between the mountains.
The weeks after the incident with the wolves that attacked him, were some of the best of Inuyasha's life. Though there was still some grumblings among certain wolves, it was mere background noise to his new happy life though. He had never been so content to be in one place and with demons who liked him. The naysayers were easy to ignore next to the warmth that surrounded him with his new family by his side.
Koga and he had become closer. Inuyasha thought he might be the closest friend he had ever had. They spent a lot more time together, running through the forests together, the earth alive and green in the late spring months. Koga, in an effort to test the limits of the bond, took to showing Inuyasha around the territory, running through the open fields or strolling along pointing out various places that were significant to the Northern Wolf Tribe. Often Koga would find an excuse to take a break where he would cozy up to Inuyasha, despite his gruff and insincere objections, and pull him in for a kiss. They would spend hours necking in the late afternoon sun, getting lost in the smell of each other, the feel of soft skin and silky hair against callused hands, and the taste of their mingling flavors, and it would often lead to more of the same in the comfort of their furs at night.
The only hick-up to their blissful nights, cuddled in each other's arms, was the night if the full moon. This last one, his human night had been rather painful. The transformation into a full human had caused excruciating cramping in his stomach. For a few frightful seconds, it had felt to Inuyasha as if his lower belly were twisting and knotting within him. But as quickly as it had started, it had ended. The same had happened again with the change back.
His abdomen throbbed with remembered pain for a little while, but he was fine by breakfast. He refused to go visit and ask the advice of the healer Choshi-baba, despite Koga thinking he could order Inuyasha around and make him do so. He swatted away the concerned pestering of the Alpha and boldly ignored him. He was well used to dealing with his aches and pains on his own, though a spark of elation burned in his chest with the realization that someone once again cared and worried for him. It had been a long time.
Sometimes, though, Inuyasha couldn't help the slither of suspicion that worked its way up his spine. Why is the wolf being so nice? Fatherhood had clearly changed him since their last times together. It was hard to reconcile this Koga with the one he knew twenty years ago. He no longer brought out the feelings of dread, irritation and jealousy that he once did- well, maybe the irritation was still there.
The jealousy and dread, though, was easy to explain away. Back when he knew Koga, Inuyasha was younger and slightly less mature, but he also had to fight everyday for his place among the humans. Inuyasha had to gain and keep their respect and acceptance, going so far as to nearly die in protecting them numerous times in order to prove his worth within the group. But as soon as he had stopped, as soon as it was not needed so much anymore, he was abandoned.
The thought that Kagome may have left him willingly has plagued his thoughts for years. Combined with his sudden return to the world as a dirty hanyou, he quickly returned to expecting to being hated for who he was. Before, it was all he had known. With the exception of his mother, there had been no one who had treated him as anything less than an outcast.
Being surrounded by a family that seemed to embrace his presence among them, showed him that living with Kagome, Sango, and Miroku had not been the big happy family he thought he had acquired and lost. He now saw how confused he was. They mixed it so easily; love, friendship, and cruelty. He was a child who was expected to serve and protect them. If he failed to obey or showed himself to be too different, they enforced their friendly domination over him through the activation of the Kotodama Beads.
But the beads of ownership were gone now. Inuyasha had discovered, to his eternal jubilation, that they were deactivated when he had fully bonded with Koga's little family. He now belonged to a new family, one that had no wish to use the beads to subjugate him to their will. Choshi-baba had mistily told him that the magic of Kaede-baba's efforts to collar him was canceled out by the magic of the bond. He still loved his old friends and still missed Kagome terribly, so he kept them in a safe place back in the caves. He had a new family now, however, and the beads would never it return around his neck.
Koga's cubs embraced Inuyasha in their lives wholeheartedly. They spent as much, if not more, time in the care of their "Yassa" as they did the Omegas. They found that the hanyou was the perfect companion. He told amazing and adventurous stories of dragons, sword fights, and time traveling priestesses. He escorted them into the valley below where he began to teach them about the world around them. Inuyasha knew that this was usually a job their mother would do, or barring that, the Omegas, but he figured no one here had quite the intimate knowledge of surviving in the wilderness as he, so he could help them out a bit.
The hanyou was at peace among natures beauty. It had been his sanctuary for much of his life, and no matter how well he lived in the caves; they were still just grey, dull, rock. He would always long to spend time in the midst of the plush, green forest.
Inuyasha surveyed the landscape around him. This was Inuyasha's favorite time of year. The grey bareness of winter had melted away and the brown drought of summer was still months away. Right now, the forest was awash in lush, vibrant green. Every inch of the ground was covered in a carpet of mosses, seedlings, herbs, and shrubbery. The rest was a veritable wall of trees and bush.
He closed his eyes against the sun, peaking through the canopy of trees above. The forest was alive with gentle music; the wind rustled through the treetops while cicadas chirped happily in the underbrush. The rolling river splashed on the earthen bank and tinkled merrily over moss-covered boulders, creating miniature waterfalls.
He dosed lightly, propelled by the lullaby of the forest. He never saw the palm sized silver trout that flew out of nowhere and landed smack on his face.
"Wh-what the hell?" he sputtered, shooting up from his cradle of grass.
"Yassa! I got a fiss!" Little Kozue clapped her dripping hands merrily, her pigtails bouncing in her excitement.
Today Inuyasha had taken the cubs to the river valley to learn how to fish. The four cubs splashed in the shallow water, their clothes deposited hastily on the bank. They had listed intently to Inuyasha and watched with wide eyes as he effortlessly grabbed a fish right out of the water with his sharp claws and even sharper reflexes. Now, about ten minutes later, the little Princess of the group celebrated catching her first fish, while Kingo scowled at the passing currents, his little pink tongue stuck out in fierce concentration. Squirt, having given up from the start, was busy scaring the rest of the fish away, splashing wildly with shrieking giggles. The more reserved Kaishi, laughingly looked on, content to just sit and soak in the cool water, making small waves with his hands.
Inuyasha scowled at the little fisher-cub from the "safety" of the riverbank. He opened his mouth to snarl his displeasure at her, but before he could get a word out he was interrupted by a barking laugh that had become more familiar and, though he would never admit to it, more beloved to him every day.
"Haha! Mutt! That's what you get for sleeping on the job!" Koga stood over the inu, garbed in his fur kilt and armor, grinning like a… well, like a wolf, his deep blue eyes shining in amusement.
Inuyasha blushed furiously and growled low in his throat. "What are you doing here, ya damn wolf? Come here to bother me some more?"
Koga plopped himself down beside Inuyasha and wrapped his arms around his shoulders, grinning teasingly at him. "I just finished patrolling the southern border and I came to see what my widdle Yassa was doing!"
Inuyasha glared. Hard. "Not you too! Why is everyone calling me that?" he turned to the auburn haired cub squatting in the water. Having retrieved the slippery fish she had caught from the shore, she sat in the cool river water alternatively munching on it happily and barking out to her brother superiorly about just how it's done.
"You!" Inuyasha roared. "It's your entire fault! My name is Inuyasha. I-NU-YA-SHA!"
Kozue stood up and giggled, clapping her hands in glee. Yassa was being silly again! "Yassa!" she squealed, the mouthful of fish she had dribbling down her front.
Koga guffawed, burying his face in Inuyasha's red clad shoulder.
"Oh, you think that's funny do you?" Inuyasha huffed, folding his arms into the sleeves of his hitoe, and half-heartedly trying to shrug the Wolf Chief off. "What do you think you're doing anyway, with your dirty paws all over me? You're getting your fleas on me!"
"Aww, Pup, I just wanted a taste," he whispered silkily, moving the inu's hair over his other shoulder.
"Wha-aah!" Inuyasha moaned softly as Koga's tongue swiped at the sensitive skin of his nape. His warm chapped lips smoothed along his neck and he nipped and licked his way down the hanyou's jaw line.
"It's gonna get dark soon, Pup. We should get the cubs home and in bed, don't you think?"
Koga's low voice was muffled against the hanyou's skin, causing Inuyasha to shiver. The damn wolf was so grabby, but any kind of positive touch was so, well, nonexistent in his life that each stroke, each caress, each feathery graze was like fire on his skin. It was addicting.
"Mmm, yeah," Inuyasha breathed, leaning back into Koga's embrace.
Without warning Koga stood up, and stepped back. Inuyasha, who had draped his head back against Koga's shoulder, suddenly found himself without the wolf's support and collapsed back to the ground. Koga roared in laughter.
"You Bastard!" Inuyasha bellowed, flipping up and landing on his feet, ready for battle. "I'm going to beat your ass, ookami!"
Koga laughed wildly, easily side stepping the inu's sharp-clawed swipes as he chased him around the woods. "Come on cubs, it look's like it's time to go. Ol' Yassa is cranky and needs a nap!"
Koga opened his eyes, awoken by ragged breathing. Inuyasha panted as if he were being chased in his dreams, his breath sounding painful as it scraped through his throat. His face twisted in distress and he silently mouthed words to his nightmarish foe.
Koga sighed. It had been a couple of nights since his last nightmare. He wished he could do something for his pup to help him out, but the passage of time had not been kind and it had left behind a deep wound. Inuyasha had never talked about his dreams but Koga put together the pieces from the things that the hanyou would say while asleep.
It had been a blow to his pride and self-confidence when those he trusted and loved left him. The time he spent roaming the countryside with them had been a mere fraction of his lifetime, but it was one of the most influential times of his life so far. The last great loss in the long line of bereavements that made up his life had deeply affected him. All the fight was gone and he had resembled more a beaten puppy than a mighty hero. He was still snappy and short tempered, but it seemed that when assaulted with accusations of being unworthy, somewhere deep down, he believed it.
The Wolf Chief knew that there was nothing to do but try to build him back up, and he had no reluctance to do so. Every day he spent with the inu, he saw another part of him that enthralled him, another piece of Inuyasha that made him want to posses him entirely.
He rolled over and gathered the distressed inu to his chest, laying them side by side. Inuyasha clung to his yukata in his sleep. Koga pressed their foreheads together, speaking to his pup softly.
"Inuyasha, wake up, pup." He smoothed his hands over Inuyasha's biceps and back.
Inuyasha let out a great sigh as he immerged from sleep and whimpered.
"It's alright, puppy," Koga kissed his forehead, before moving to his cheek. "It's alright."
Inuyasha's lips met his as Koga trailed comforting kisses down the inu's face. He breathed in the wolf's scent deeply and tugged at the fabric of his sleeping robe to reassure himself that he was here with Koga. Here in the Alpha's arms he was safe, protected, and cared for.
The kiss grew deeper as both became desperate to feel the other; to comfort, to assure. Koga's soothing hands rubbed up and down Inuyasha's back and as his tongue breeched the hanyou's soft lips, his hands stroked lower, smoothing down his back and over his narrow hips.
Koga felt himself harden as his mouth trailed down Inuyasha's neck. He curled his fingers into the collar of his fire-rat robe and slowly pulled down, baring a smooth creamy shoulder. Koga had to have a taste. He dipped his head and sucked softly at the pale skin, reveling in the soft mewls coming from the pup.
He turned Inuyasha onto his back. His hair was a halo of white around his head, and his cheeks dusted with a delicious blush. Those big golden eyes were looking up at him in confusion, pleasure, and a hint of fear. They undid him.
He sank down for another taste of the inu's delicious flesh, one hand buried in his silky locks and the other working the tie of his obi. Once undone, he opened the hitoe and gazed at the well-muscled chest and taut belly before him.
Under his yukata, Koga's cock twitched in delight at the yelp of sudden pleasure when he latched on to a small pink nipple. He lashed at it with his tongue and it pebbled in his mouth while his hand tweaked the other.
If anyone had said a few months ago that Koga would be enjoying Inuyasha, his scent, his soft pale skin, the taste of him, he would have said they were crazy, but he just could not get enough of him. The bond had awoken desires in him that he had not known existed. But they had existed. They had been there all along he recognized it now. He had always sought out the hanyou, always needed to see that fire in his eyes and feel the sting of his passionate anger.
With Inuyasha distracted by the tugs of pleasure shooting from his nipples to deep in his belly, Koga deftly untied his hakama.
Inuyasha didn't know Koga had opened his hakama until he felt the wolf's claws lightly comb through the soft white hair circling his member.
"K-Koga!" Inuyasha startled. What was the ookami doing?
"It's alright, Pup. Let me show you. Let me make you feel good," Koga cooed, passionately.
Any response from Inuyasha was quickly turned into a surprised gasp as the ookami lightly squeezed the inu's shaft.
Inuyasha felt hot and fevered. It feels too good, too right. He panted as if he had been running for miles. What's happening? He thought, his mind running a mile a minute. He was half-hard, he noted. He had swollen before but usually waited for it to go away. It had never felt like this and he moaned with abandon when Koga fisted it and began to stroke.
Inuyasha writhed with pleasure and moaned with each panting breath as he experienced sensations he never dreamed of, it was overwhelming and disorienting this foreign pleasure coursing through his body.
Inuyasha sobbed, unsure whether it was from fear or pleasure, as Koga stroked his pulsing shaft. The fear and pleasure showed on his face and Koga rumbled a soothing growl in his chest. Koga didn't know what compelled him to stroke the puppy, but he knew he could not stop. He watched the inu's face, their eyes never able to look away from each other. He was just so… beautiful!
Koga released Inuyasha and straddled his legs. The puppy watched glassy eyed as the wolf stripped himself of his short sleeping yukata. Koga's cock jutted up proudly, flushed red and dripping with pre-cum. He slowly bent over the hanyou, his hands clawing the furs on either side of the inu's head. Their eye's locked, before Koga growled his dominance. Inuyasha whined automatically and his ears slick back to his head, he would give anything in that moment to his Alpha.
Koga rewarded his pup with a lick on his neck, which arched under his ministrations. He laid himself over the inu, their throbbing members sliding together.
"Ngn!" Inuyasha moaned at the fiery friction.
Koga aligned them and wrapped his hands over both of the leaking cocks. He stroked them, squeezed them, and Inuyasha's hips began to buck in time with the ookami's fisting.
"Koga! I'm gonna… what… something's gonna..," Inuyasha thrashed as he was overwhelmed in sensation.
Koga reached his other hand between them so he could further pleasure Inuyasha. He bucked wildly as he felt Inuyasha's cock pulse underneath his.
"OHHH!" Inuyasha came with a shout, splattering creamy cum onto his stomach. Koga thrust his hips one last time and came, releasing himself over Inuyasha, the seductive voice of his puppy sending him over the edge.
He collapsed on top of Inuyasha, smearing their cum between them on their stomachs. He hugged the stunned hanyou to him, stealing his red swollen lips in a searing kiss. After wiping himself and his pup off, he snuggled the pup to him and passed out.
Inuyasha trembled in his embrace; his muscles still alight with the electricity that coursed through his body after such intense pleasure. It was something his body had been wholly new to, he had never felt like that before. For a minute, he had thought he was going to die. He had never known it could happen.
There had never been anyone to teach him these things. His mother died long before he was old enough to comprehend such things. He had still been sleeping in her bed and holding her hand in crowds. The first person who got romantically involved with him was Kikyo, who was a virgin priestess. With Kagome, they had spent so much of their time worrying about who loved whom that they had not gotten much farther than kisses.
He had felt desire before. Kagome's short skirts were so titillating. They were a hint of a world he never knew about. He had never seen a woman that was not his mother in anything shorter than a floor length yukata. He had dreamed about her legs and he would swell. Sometimes he had seen that Miroku would swell while he was sleeping too, so he never really worried about it. A dip in the cool waters of the nearby river would alleviate the swelling and dampen the ache.
Nothing he had ever experienced had ever prepared him for what Koga had made him feel. As darkness overwhelmed him and consciousness fled, Inuyasha pressed his trembling cheek to Koga's chest and felt like he was soaring.
Chapter 13: The Problem
Inuyasha sighed as he emerged from sleep the next morning, the familiar and enticing scent of the Alpha filling his nostrils. The wolf's soft black hair was spread out on the inu's chest and with each breath, it tickled over Inuyasha's sensitive nipple. The wolf's tanned skin felt perfect against his own. Koga's morning hardness burned against his hip.
He stretched lightly and enjoyed the sensations on his body, feeling languid and boneless, only to freeze. What the hell? His skin? His hardness? My nipples? He looked down at his body and everything from the night before flooded into his sleep dazed mind. Koga pillowed his head on Inuyasha's bare shoulder, his fire rat hitoe still open and holding his arms to his sides. Lying partially on the hanyou, Koga was stretched out, completely naked, his arm wrapped around Inuyasha protectively, even in sleep. His cock was hard and throbbing against Inuyasha's bare hip. The Inu's hakama were untied and loose around his hips, revealing his own awakening cock.
Gods! What do I do now? he thought with not just a little trepidation. He hoped Koga would not wake up for a while, because he had no idea how he should act towards him now. Should he be mad? No one had ever touched him like that, and he knew it was a private place, but it had felt so good! He had never experienced such a sensation. It could not be bad if it felt that good, right?
His musings were interrupted as Koga began to stir from sleep. Squeezing his arm full of inu, he awoke and lifted his head, bracing his chin on his strong shoulder to look at the wide eyed Inuyasha.
"Morning, Pup," he quipped, his voice raspy with sleep. He leaned up and gently captured the inu's lips.
Inuyasha relaxed into the kiss. Koga was not acting different, so maybe he did not have to be mad.
Breaking the kiss, Koga lifted himself up on his elbows to look down on his puppy. A sleepy smile spread across his lips, as he licked the taste of the hanyou from them.
"Mmm, Pup, you taste so good," he smirked.
Completely out of his depth, Inuyasha turned to his old standby in times of confusion; hostility. "If you're hungry, you mangy fleabag, then get your ass up and get something to eat! And I ain't your damn pillow, so get the fuck off me!"
Koga chuckled, sending rumbling vibrations through his chest. "I don't know, Pup, it looks like both of us are enjoying me using you as a pillow far too much."
He squeezed Inuyasha's now hard cock lightly, forcing a moan from the hanyou. Koga dipped his head and licked at Inuyasha's exposed neck, subconsciously imitating the act between mates of licking mating marks, and kissed his way up his jaw. Reaching his already swollen pink lips, parted and panting, he slipped his tongue in to taste the honey sweet mouth.
He ran his hands up and down the writhing inu's sides, luxuriating in the soft feel of his untouched skin. His hips bucked against the hanyou, his leaking cock pressing into the hollow of his hip.
Breaking the kiss for breath, the ookami licked his way back down the inu's neck. He sucked lightly on his collarbone, Inuyasha carding his clawed fingers through the wolf's wavy black hair.
Inuyasha sucked in a startled breath when the Wolf Chief kissed his nipples, still sensitive from the night before. He moaned deeply as the wolf moved down, tonguing his way down the inu's taught belly and dipping his tongue into his navel.
Koga stopped his ministrations and locked eyes with the panting hanyou. He drank in the delectable sight of his puppy, breath panting from between his pink kiss-swollen lips, his cheeks dusted with a blush of pleasure, hair tousled from sleep and writhing against the furs beneath them.
Inuyasha watched with pleasure glazed eyes as the wolf lowered his head above his twitching member. His eyes widened in shock as he ran his tongue up its length. "OOHHH!" he moaned.
"You like that, Pup?" Koga asked, his voice gruff with arousal.
"Y-You can't! That's… uhn!... that's dirty!" Inuyasha panted, undecided if he was horrifically embarrassed or about to slip into a pleasure induced coma, as the ookami continued to lick at his cock.
All argument fled from his mind as Koga lowered his head and engulfed his member into his hot, wet mouth and sucked.
"Oh, Koga! Mmm!" Inuyasha was lost in a sea of sensation. Koga continued to suck and lick at the inu's dripping member, while his hands strayed. He held the inu's bucking hips to the furs, swiping his thumbs over the sensitive skin on the inside of his thighs.
Feeling Inuyasha's cock throb in his throat, he lowered himself and laid his head on the inside of one thigh, freeing his hands from their hold on his hips. The ookami stroked furiously at his own cock as he lightly sucked on Inuyasha's balls, his fingers dipping into to the sensitive slit on his cock head.
"Huh! KOGA!" Inuyasha screamed as he came hard into Koga's hand, the sound drowning out the growl signifying Koga's own completion.
Koga climbed his way back up Inuyasha's body, licking away the cum on his hand, to rest his head back in the crook of his neck.
"So, what are you gonna do today?" The Wolf Chief smirked at the still flushed and confused look on his panting pup's face. He hoped he could wake up every day to that adorable look of innocence, embarrassment, and bewilderment in his wide golden eyes.
Kaishi looked up at Inuyasha with big azure eyes, a long stick in one hand and his light blue blanket held by the other, his thumb popped in his mouth. Squirt squatted on the floor next to him, using his long stick to draw pictures in the dirt at his feet. Kozue stood, her back straight and strong, her stick held tightly in both her hands, in the proper battle stance Inuyasha had taught them. Kingo's emerald green eyes were trained on Inuyasha, paying more attention to how to imitate how he was standing then to what he was actually saying.
Inuyasha stood before them, one hand on his hip, the other braced on his sword, which he had drawn and stuck into the ground, while he explained the basics of sword fighting to his little charges. The youngest Omega Ichijo, who had become over the last few weeks the closest thing Inuyasha had to a friend in the caves, had allowed all the cubs to gather in the Den where they were treated to an impromptu lesson on using the swords they have spent so much time hearing stories about.
"Well, I never been, you know, taught or nothin'," Inuyasha informed the group of gathered cubs, "but I find that it works best to just swing it really hard. I never found any use for any of that fancy stuff my brother's always doing."
The cubs devolved into a mass of stick wielding, screeching, accidents waiting to happen. Inuyasha looked on proud of his attentive students, wholly oblivious to Ichijo' frazzled panic as he rushed around, hoping to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
"Heya, Mutt," Koga snuck up behind Inuyasha, circling his waist with his arms and resting his chin on his shoulder. "I see you've got your hands full."
"Naw, Just teaching them how to sword fight," Inuyasha said, leaning back into the wolf's warmth.
Koga chuckled, "I see."
Inuyasha's attention was caught by movement out of the corner of his eye. To the side of the group of cubs, a group of adults had made their way over, sitting and working on their own daily duties and surreptitiously sneaking glances at the cubs in the hanyou's care.
As he leaned back into the comfort of the Alpha's arms, Inuyasha's ears swiveled on his head in the direction of muffled laughter. Looking at the crowd of adults, Inuyasha could see a couple of them leering at him with nasty sneers on their faces, half-heartedly trying to stifle their laughter, others making kissy faces at him.
Inuyasha's faces lit up in anger and embarrassment. They were laughing at him. Quickly he shrugged off the ookami's loving embrace.
"Stop manhandling me, dammit!" he growled in embarrassment, wrapping his own arms around his waist, mourning the loss of Koga's warmth.
"Alright, alright," Koga said, giving the inu a parting squeeze as he was called across the room by some other wolves.
Inuyasha folded his arms into his sleeves self-consciously, knowing the wolves were looking at him and talking about him. A group of middle aged women, clearly there only to start a fight, pretend to walk by him. As they passed, one woman in a plain brown cotton kimono with stringy black hair, paused, her thin frame and hooked nose identifying her as the gang leader Tametoki's mother. She sniffed the air in an exaggerated and dramatic fashion.
"Why, it smells like someone has been marked as the Alpha's bitch," she commented loud enough for all to hear. "So that's how hanyou filth wraps the Alpha around his finger; by spreading his legs."
Several wolves howled with laughter as Inuyasha's face beamed red. He clenches his fists at his sides, trembling in anger. "Fuck you, wolf-bitch!" he exclaimed.
"Don't think we don't know what you're doing here, you dirty half-breed," another wolf yelled, stepping out from the crowd. "We won't let you replace our princess with your filth!"
"How dare you!" screamed another wolf. "Inuyasha has done more for this clan that any other person outside of these caves! He has a right to be here as much as anyone else!"
"I'm not going to let my family be brainwashed by his evil magic!"
The group of wolves burst into a chorus of yelling and insulting, as Inuyasha looked on in shock. Across the room, he could see Koga trying to make his way over, having heard the commotion. The hanyou backed away from where the wolves were dissolving into a rioting horde, Ichijo gathering the cubs, escorting them back to the Cub Den and away from the potentially violent upheaval.
He stomped out of the cave quickly, trying to avoid being caught up in the fight. He was so embarrassed and angry. He had heard these insults before. When he was a child on his mother's hip, he would often hear the people throw such accusations at his mother. They called his mother the "Bitch of the Dog Demon". Now they were leveling the same charge against him. He was terribly confused. Not knowing anything about sex, he did not connect the pleasure he and Koga had given to each other last night to the names that he was being called. He only knew that bitches were female canines and canine demons, and neither he nor his mother was one.
He huffed as he threw himself against the outer rock wall of the cave mouth and rubbed his hands over his face in an attempt to calm himself. His shoulders slumped with the weight of the clan's hatred.
He jumped when he lowered his hands only to be face to face with one of the clan Elders. He had seen the old man around, but had never spoken to him before now. He had seen the looks the older youkai had often sent his way and thought the Elder to dislike him, like much of the others did. The old man now stood in front of him, smiling kindly down at him, his fire orange eyes looking on him with pity and his sparse grey hair blew around his head in the light spring breeze.
"What, jiji*?" Inuyasha guardedly asked.
It took all of Michinaga's restraint to keep from scowling at the rudeness of the hanyou scum. Instead, his smile widened as he tried to show a sympathetic look on his face.
"Now, young one, I am simply here to see if you are ok. They said some awful things back there," he said kindly.
"Keh, it wasn't any worse than I heard before," Inuyasha said sourly.
"Yes, your presence seems to cause trouble where ever you go, does it not?" Michinaga inquired lightly.
Inuyasha crossed his arms and sighed. "Yeah, that's why I like the quiet of the forest."
Inside Michinaga grinned evilly; the hanyou was playing right into his hands. "Indeed I imagine the disruption you cause among normal people gets out of hand quickly," he paused, as if trying to find the kindest words possible to say something unpleasant. "Like how your being here has agitated my clan."
Inuyasha froze and looked up at the Elder with squinting eyes, the fierce look attempting to hide the fear and shame. "Well… it's not like I want to be here," he claimed, falling back on his hostile defense mechanism. "I mean, I just have to stick around because of that bond thing."
"Oh, of course. I have noticed, however that you have been wandering farther and farther from the caves and the cub during the day."
"Well, yeah," Inuyasha said, the fight draining out of him as he realized he was backing himself into a corner. "Choshi-baba said it would mellow out eventually."
"Hmmm," Michinaga pretended to consider this information. "You know, hanyou, that as an Elder, I must advise for what is best for my clan."
Inuyasha nodded with wide vulnerable eyes.
"I worry that your continued presence here is having a detrimental effect on the cohesion of the clan. As you can see, you have caused much discord among our members," Michinaga laid a gentle hand on Inuyasha's shoulder and guided him back to look inside the cave. "Why our poor Alpha has had to deal with so much more dissention and challenging of his position. You being here has become quite the problem for him. I doubt even you could see this as a proper way to pay him back for supposedly saving your life."
Inuyasha looked on as Koga was in the middle of the group of hostile wolves. Inuyasha did not hear the clear tone of disgust and resentment that crept into the Elder's voice, as his thoughts swirled. He was causing so much trouble for Koga. He did not deserve it after all that the wolf had done for him.
He realized in one crystalized moment that what the Elder was telling him was true. There was no reason why he had to stay anymore. He knew that Squirt was safe and at home here. He had been going farther and farther in his tests in the limits of the bond. He could leave and serve his new family far better that way, than if he was there. He could do it. Living in the forest just outside of the wolves' territory, he would feel empty and incomplete for a while but eventually the bond would stretch and he could always slip back in to the boundaries unnoticed once in a while if the feeling became too unbearable.
He knew that, even if it did not work out so simply, he would have to manage, because he could not stay here and ruin everything for Koga.
He turned to the Elder, who watched the emotions warring across the hanyou's face, inwardly grinning in delight as he saw the exact moment he knew he had won. Inuyasha's determined face looked up to the Elder. He tilted his head in a silent thank you, before turning and running down the mountainside.
Watching that blasted hanyou disappear into the woods, Michinaga allowed a malicious smirk to adorn his face. Out of the shadows, three well-muscled and armed wolves emerged from where they had been hidden around the corner. Michinaga greeted them with a careless wave toward the forest below.
"Go. Find him. Kill him."
Chapter 14: The Escape
Inuyasha ran mindlessly through the forest. He bolted through the underbrush, stumbling over fallen logs and tripping over thick foliage. The mountainside was steep, almost vertical at times, causing the hanyou to need to catch himself on the trees, or face an unstoppable and painful tumble down the rocky mountainside. Passing branches snagged on his robes and whipped in his face, leaving his face littered with welts and small cuts that were replaced almost as fast as they were healed as he crashed through the woods with reckless speed.
He, however, took no note of the landscape around him. His thoughts were raging, a thunderstorm of guilt, grief, and determination. He had left. He had relinquished his place among his newly acquired family. He was alone. Again. By his own choice.
It was for the best, he kept telling himself. It had to be done. His whole life, he had brought those he loved nothing but grief. He was too young to understand when he was with his mother. He watched her suffer the distain of her family and their kin, watched her be branded a whore and a traitor to mankind, simply because he existed.
Kikyo would never have been killed by Naraku if it were not for him. He knew that he had weakened her enmity and thus weakened her defenses against him. It was a weakness, that the monster had used to his advantage.
Even his brother had suffered. He had lost his father because of the birth of his half-blood brother. Inuyasha may scoff at the idea to Sesshoumaru's face, but he could not deny it in his guilt ridden heart.
He could not do that to Koga and the cubs. He could not be the selfish pup he had been in the past. He would not sacrifice their happiness for his comfort. He knew now that he loved them dearly. They had become the most important people in his world now. Koga's kindness and the cub's unconditional love and admiration were addicting. They wrapped around him and enveloped him in a sense of contentment he had never known in his entire existence. He truly thought he could have lived off of those feelings alone.
He would do anything for the people who had wholeheartedly and unquestionably embraced him as their own. If his presence was putting Koga's place as the Alpha at jeopardy, he would leave the caves without complaint. If his place by their side was detrimental to the cub's comfort and happiness, then Inuyasha would not and did not think twice about it. He would disappear and stay out of their lives for their betterment.
He came across a small craggy mountain stream and finally collapsed beside it. He had been running for hours and still had not made it down to the valley. His legs felt rubbery, the half run, half controlled fall he had been doing down the steep rocks having worn him out more than he would have liked. He crawled over to the sparkling brook and scooped handful after handful of frigid water into his mouth and splashed it on his face and neck.
Scooting back and resting against the trunk of a thick and sturdy tree, Inuyasha breathed a sigh full of anguish. Where would he go now? He knew he could not go too far, the bond was still in place, so he could not leave the province. He would, however, need to leave the Northern Wolf tribe's territory. If any of Koga's wolves found him, there could be trouble, for both him and Koga.
Perhaps he would find a semi- permanent place to settle for a while, maybe a cave, or a hollowed out tree. Perhaps he could build a small hut. He had certainly learned how, having helped the villagers build theirs back in Kaede-baba's village. He did not want his leaving to cause pain for the little squirt, so he did not want to move around too much. That might be nice. It would almost be like he had a home.
Having caught his breath, he staggered upright. He rolled his neck, hearing the cracking of bones and popping of joints. He started out at a slower pace this time, having settled some of his thoughts; the storm of feelings, memories, and regrets having died down a bit. He had a plan and he would follow it. If it ever got to be too hard, or too lonely, or too painful, he would just have to remind himself; this was to protect his family.
Koga growled in frustration. Where the hell had his mutt gone? He had been looking all over the caves. He knew the pup was off somewhere pouting, probably whacking some poor defenseless tree to smithereens with that giant sword of his. He remembered that Inuyasha usually left the group for a while when he and Kagome used to get into it, so he figured he would have found him in some isolated room or at the tree line.
After peaking in yet another one of the unused alcoves in the back of the cave, he huffed and turned back to make his way to the Den. He would have to ask one of his wolves if they had seen him slink off somewhere.
His face twisted into a deep scowl. He could not believe his wolves had been so nasty to the hanyou. He was brought into the caves by his own hand and they dared tell the inu that he was not welcome here! They would learn their place or risk his wrath and then possibly expulsion from the tribe. If they would rather wander as lone wolves then reside next to a hanyou, then so be it.
He wondered when Inuyasha had become so important to him. He would fight every wolf in his tribe if it meant he could keep the puppy by his side. He had mated the Ayame because they had been contracted since childhood. She had not been a bad mate. At time she had been fun and interesting, but he delighted in having someone he truly liked with him. Inuyasha was stimulating in mind and body, making him laugh, think, and admire his quick wit and utterly delicious body.
By that token, he really did not understand what the wolves' objection was to the pup. He was helpful, interesting, smart, a good hunter. He would make a perfect border sentry or warrior. He was amazing with the tribe's cubs. He could be a wonderful teacher for the cubs; teaching them survival skills and how to fight in ways that the older wolves did not know, thereby giving them an advantage against those who fought with different styles, thus strengthening the tribe as a whole. He would be an invaluable addition to the clan. So why would they throw that away because he was a half breed?
They had argued with him for hours, saying that he was being controlled by Inuyasha's "hanyou magic". Koga had nearly burst into laughter in the middle of the argument at the comment. Hanyou magic? Koga had never seen the mutt perform any kind of magic in the decades he had known him. Koga smiled with remembered passion. Unless you count that delicious blush, he thought libidinously. Now that is magic if I've ever seen any. He could get me to do anything if I could see that beautiful face flushed in pleasure!
His good mood returned with that train of thought as he reached the main cavern. Looking around, he spotted a group of wolves gathered together over one of the fire pits. They had been the ones who had defended Inuyasha and were still furiously discussing the situation. He approached them with a grateful nod, acknowledging their support.
"Have any of you guys seen Inuyasha about?" he asked. They had not and he turned to ask others.
At the mouth of the cave, one of the Elders caught his eye. He was smirking out into the evening, and leaning against the entrance way. His distinctive crooked-toothed leer was identifiable even from across the Den and Koga recognized him as one of the Elders, Michinaga. Koga shuddered as the tingle of cold dread shot down his spine. He had long ago learned that a smug Elder Michinaga only meant bad news for him. The old man seemed to live to make his life harder. His idea of a favorable rule was of the tyrannical variety and that just did not go along with what Koga was comfortable going.
He sauntered over to the Elder. He did not want to appear suspicious of the man. That usually put people on their guard, making them more careful of what they say and therefore less likely to reveal important information.
The man's red hakama rustled in the growing wind. His black and red lined gi was held closed with a fire bright orange obi that matched his eyes, eyes that turned to his approaching Alpha.
"Ah! Good evening, Chief Koga," Michinaga greeted in silky tones.
"Good evening, Elder," Koga responded. "Have you been aware of the bit of disruption within the caves today?"
"Hmm, yes, I was witnessed the distressing argument over that hanyou. Causing quite a bit of strife, is he not?" the Elder answered, steadily looking at Koga with narrowed eyes.
Koga made a noncommittal noise. He was not about to answer that and start a fight with the man.
"I wonder. You seem to have been here for a while; have you seen Inuyasha either leaving or entering the cave, lately?" Koga looked out at the mountains, as if it was just a casual question, but kept the cunning Elder in his peripheral vision.
"I apologize, Chief Koga, I have not. Perhaps he is taking advantage of our springs or exploring the tunnels," he suggested.
"Very well," Koga relented, "I suppose I will keep asking around."
"You do that, My Lord." The Elder smiled politely to him as he left.
Koga turned and left, looking back at the figure standing at the entrance way, his hands folded behind his back, looking out at the setting sun. There was something about that man. Koga could not let go of the feeling that he was lying about something. He could not decide if he was just imagining treachery in the man or if he really did detect an undertone of smug satisfaction in his voice; if he really did see a glint of humor in his fiery eyes.
Inuyasha finally reached the valley as the sun neared it's the western horizon and the sun chased away the blue and the sky began to turn orange. He was tired and aching from running too fast and having to use muscles in his legs that he did not usually need to use, as he kept himself upright on the steep descent. He had had no time to rest. He was sure many times during his escape that he had heard people following, but as they had yet to make an appearance, he thought it might have been possible it was simply his paranoid imaginings.
Now that he had reached the valley, he figured it was safe to start to set up camp. Of course the only thing he needed for "camp" was a suitable tree and dinner. With that in mind, he set off in a more sedate pace in search of a good kill.
He crouched low in the underbrush and walked silently on padded feet. Years of hunting for survival had honed his ability to be silent as a shadow when he needed to be. His ears twitched to and fro, listening to the subtle sounds of the forest. Snapping twigs and rustling leaves could be signs of the presence of prey or simply a strong wind. He listened to the calls of birds. If there was any big prey in the area, the bird's calls to one another would tell him what. If there was a predator in the area, the bird's calls would become high pitched and agitated. If there was something less dangerous, their calls would be less so, simple trills of notification from one bird to another.
The birds did not fail him this time. The birds overhead let out a song signifying a beast of prey was in the area. He lowered himself closer to the ground, camouflaging himself in the brush. His stark white hair and bright red fire-rat robe were anything but helpful in the endeavor, but there was nothing he could do about his hair and the robe was his only garment and one of his most precious possessions, so he had learned long ago to figure out how to compensate for them.
The beast trotted unawares into the clearing in front of Inuyasha. It was a good sized Mountain Dragon, much bigger than he needed for himself, but much smaller than they got when fully grown. He was not turning down a full belly, even if he did end up wasting most of it.
He deftly pounced on it, tackling it to the ground and breaking its neck for a quick and painless kill. Kneeling beside it, he sliced through the tough skin of its underbelly and began to feed. It was still warm and fresh, much better than the stuff he had eaten back in the caves, which was sometimes dried or would be cold by the time the hunters returned. He tried not to think about the fact that he would gladly live the rest of his live eating sand if it meant he could live happily with his family.
Inuyasha froze, however, with a handful of meat half way to his mouth, as he heard the faint sounds of other people. His ears swiveled on his head, listening to the low murmur of voices. Dropping his meat, he climbed the nearest tree and crawled branch to branch to get closer to the source of the voices without being detected.
A small distance from his kill, he stopped, crouching on an overhanging branch as he came upon a small group of youkai. He sniffed them out and studied the five individuals below. His eyes widened in recognition. Sitting on the ground was the group of young wolves who were cast out of the caves a month ago for attacking him.
They huddled together over a small fire. Some were resting on nearby trees; others huddled in on themselves, as if cold. Their clothing was tattered and muddy. Their faces were gaunt, much thinner than when they had left the caves.
Pathetic, Inuyasha thought with mild distain. He could not work himself to be overly contemptuous of them. He knew well how hard it was to fend for yourself without the knowledge to do so well, from being run out of his home when he had been a small child. These wolves had little excuse, though. They were well past the age where they should know these things, but had been spoiled by the help of their families and clansmen.
Inuyasha was about to slink off to finish his meal and get out of the area before they discovered him, when he was halted by the voice of one of the wolves.
"Urgh! I will be so happy to be home!" a heavily built wolf exclaimed, slumping back onto a tree. "I'm so tired of being hungry. We haven't been able to catch anything to eat in more than a week!"
The wolves murmured agreement in tired tones.
"Well, the forest in starting to look familiar. I bet we could make it home by nightfall tomorrow," offered a relatively young one. He was quite skinny. The wolves had obviously had not been distributing what little food they had been able to get equally. Inuyasha had a feeling he knew just who bullied the most food out of their supplies. His suspicions were confirmed when the stringy haired ringleader, Tametoki, produced a small gourd filled with water. He gulped down a swallow.
"May I have a sip, Toki?" the smallest wolf asked timidly.
Tametoki sneered at him, the scowl creasing his face and extenuating his over large nose. "There ain't enough here. You'll just have to wait 'til we cross another stream, Tsunekuni."
The little wolf relented and looked at the ground. Inuyasha growled quietly. The pompous asshole! He whipped away for the clearing and back to his food.
Tsunekuni rested his chin on his knees and drew pictures in the dirt with a small twig, trying to ignore the growling ache in his empty stomach. He had been trying to fill it with water whenever they came upon a body of water. It had helped alleviate the empty feeling for a while, but he was starting to feel the effects of expending so much energy without food.
Suddenly a loud thump broke him from his ruminations. He looked up in shock like the rest of his comrades at the large dragon carcass that had landed in the middle of their encampment. The wolves descended on the fresh meat with hunger fueled greed.
Tsunekuni, knowing he would not be allowed access to the meat until the other had had their fill, looked up into the tree tops. The sun was now hidden behind the horizon and the sky was a dark purple. The tree tops were barley visible. A light rustling of leaves drew his attention and Tsunekuni watched with wide violet eyes as a figure in distinctive red robes with white hair disappeared into the dense foliage and encroaching darkness.
The next morning Inuyasha woke late in the morning, having found a wonderful spot to sleep that was thick with leaves that blocked the morning sun from his eyes rather effectively. He swatted away a few ants that had crawled over him, tickling his exposed neck, and stretched lazily in the late morning sun, already bright and warm with the oncoming of summer. Scratching absently as he surveyed his surroundings with bleary eyes, he was taken completely by surprise when clawed hands gripped at his robe and yanked him to the ground, hard.
Inuyasha's breath whooshed out of him as it was forced from his lungs with the force of his fall and he was momentarily stunned by the impact. Seemingly out of nowhere, three large wolves pounced on him. They were well muscled, wore the typical fighting furs and armor of the wolf clans, and worked together as if they had trained together. Strapped around each of their hips, a small and well cared for tanto hung from leather holsters. These wolves were obviously not like the last group that had dared to attach the hanyou; these were warriors, trained and dangerous.
One grabbed him by the lapels of his hitoe and bodily threw him into a tree. His head slammed into the sold trunk. His face scrapped against the ruff bark as he slid to the ground, leaving his face bruised and bloody.
Taking advantage of his disorientation, he was grabbed up by two of the warriors. They held his arms, one seizing a handful of hair and pulling his face up to face the third warrior in front of him. As he dazedly met the wolf's hate filled eyes, he was hit by a powerful punch across the jaw, the crack of the bone resounding loudly in the quiet morning.
Before he could recover, the wolf snapped his head the other way with a punch to the other cheek, followed by a painful kick to the ribs. The wolves holding him up dropped him. He lay on the ground, panting in painful gasps, trying to orient himself.
"Get up, beast!" one warrior demanded in a low and threatening growl. He clenched his fists and stood ready to fight.
Inuyasha spit out a mouthful of blood, determined not to cry out his agony as he raised himself from the ground. He hated when people attached out of nowhere. I must have gotten too comfortable, he thought bitterly, I let down my guard and this is what happens. Got too relaxed in those caves.
He stood as tall as he could, ignoring the stab of pain from his obviously badly bruised ribs. He swayed on his feet, the pain from the broken bones of his face and the spitting headache from the impact combining to disorient him, as he reached for his sword. He shook his head, trying to clear his mind and his doubling vision, and quickly took his battle stance.
The three wolves unsheathed their long daggers and crouched low. They smirked. The hanyou was at a disadvantage in the close-range fight. In the closed off space in the middle of the woods, his long range and high powered attacks were fairly useless, whereas the wolves' twelve inch swords and tactile fighting styles were made specifically for this environment.
"Hanyou, you have been declared an enemy of the Northern Wolf Tribe. As such, you will now be exterminated, by order of Chief Koga of the Northern Territories and the Northern Wolf Tribe Council of Elders," the wolves grinned maliciously. "Stand down and accept your death honorably."
Inuyasha jerked back as if he had been slapped. Koga? Koga wants me dead? Inuyasha's thoughts whirled furiously in his head. I knew I was causing trouble but… it thought we were family?
Inuyasha's stance faltered in his shock, giving the wolves their chance to attack. Inuyasha blocked the oncoming swings. The Tetsusaiga's powers might have been useless to him at the moment, but the sword was big and strong with the strength of Inuyasha's powerful body behind it.
The three wolves were faster than the hanyou, however, the smaller swords more easily maneuverable and their training in wrestling and guerrilla tactics proving invaluable. They hacked away at the inu, keeping him in a defensive position and preventing him from being able to take a swing at them. The constant onslaught of three against one finally left the hanyou open. One of the small swords struck him, slicing through his left flank and across the tender flesh of his belly. Inuyasha curled reflexively in pain, trying to protect his wounded side from further harm. He lowered his sword, leaving his upper body vulnerable. Crouched to the side, his neck and shoulder was left exposed to the swipe of their blades.
One of the warriors leapt up, intent on swinging a killing blow, from above, across his neck. He brought the dagger down with enough force to decapitate the young hanyou, only to be stopped inches from his flesh by a crossing katana.
The wolf, taken aback, raised startled eyes to the sword's wielder. The demon was heavily armored in a mainland style cuirass with an attached spiked pauldron , yet outfitted in a delicate and richly designed kimono. His regal bearing was accentuated by a snow white fur that hung elegantly over one shoulder and brilliant silver tresses framed a face unequalled in beauty, with magenta markings on his cheeks and eyelids. If the warriors had been confused as to who stood before them, looking back at them with a seemingly impassive and bored expression, the midnight blue symbol of a waning crescent moon left his identity clear to all who wished to know.
This was a daiyoukai of the House of the Moon. This was the first born son of the Great Inu no Taisho. This was the Lord of the Western lands. This was the Sesshoumaru-sama.
The wolves stared at the newcomer with surprised awe, unsure if they should attack or not. Inuyasha looked up from his bent stance and his eyes widened.
"Are you so pathetic that you cannot fight off a few barbarous, lowbred wolves, little brother?" Sesshoumaru drawled in an unaffected monotone, never taking his eyes from the wolf warriors. The wolves growled in offence.
Inuyasha scuttled from underneath the crossing swords and moved to the side of his half-brother. He had not seen Sesshoumaru in a few years, and was enjoying it quite honestly, but he would certainly not turn down the help. It was embarrassing. If he had not been blindsided, he could have taken these wimpy wolves on, easy. He was sure of it. To have his stinking brother be witness to his thorough ass beating was just more of his awful luck. He would, however, take that over having his head detached from his neck any day. He was rather fond of it where it was.
"Pathetic hanyou. It seems it truly was luck after all that has kept you alive to be a thorn in my side all these years," Sesshoumaru stated. He narrowed his eyes at the three wolves. "And you. You dare attempt to take my kill? No one has the right to correct my father's mistake but this Sesshoumaru."
Inuyasha inwardly snarled. Damn asshole still spoutin' that shit? Still, he would take Sesshoumaru over these guys right now. At least this was providing a moment for him to catch a breath and figure out what to do next.
"This abomination is destined for death by order of the Northern Wolf Chief," growled out the leader of the wolves. "Step aside, good Lord, this is Northern Wolf business."
"You presume too much, wolf filth. The death of this hanyou is this Sesshoumaru's obligation alone," Sesshoumaru asserted.
"We were here first!" the wolf roared and swiped at the Lord of the Western lands.
The daiyoukai easily blocked the assault and deftly parried his Tokijin through the forest air, effortlessly cutting through the wolf's leather armor and across his chest. He keeled over, holding his chest as blood poured from the deep wound. The other two came forward, each wielding their short tanto.
This time the wolves were at a disadvantage. Their short swords were not long enough to reach the inu youkai, and Sesshoumaru's katana was both longer and lighter than Inuyasha's and therefore easier to maneuver in the wooded area they fought in. That, combined with his flowing mastery of the art of the sword meant that Sesshoumaru's victory was assured and quickly met.
The last wolf fell to the ground in a bloody heap as the Lord of the Western Lands turned to his brother with a stony mask, lifting one elegant brow. He flicked the blood from his sword and sheathed it before gracefully approaching his hanyou half-brother.
"Little brother, I should kill you like the dog you are for the dishonor you bring to our father's House; to fall to a couple of primitive and lesser youkai as that."
Inuyasha scowled up at the demon Lord from where he sat against a tree, holding his punctured side. "Yeah well, they caught me sleepin! I'd've got 'em eventually!" he groused, his voice garbled due to his injured jaw. "What do you care, huh? They'd a done you a favor!"
"Remember, Inuyasha, you are mine to kill," Sesshoumaru leaned forward as if to press the point before leaning back and appearing to survey the hanyou with disinterest. "Heal hanyou. It would be wholly unsatisfying to kill you while you are unable to fight full strength."
With that, Sesshoumaru turned on his heel and walked away. Inuyasha watched him go with a curious mixture of relief and resignation. His older brother had always calmly walked in and out of his life, always bringing out deep fear and heart-wrenching longing for any familiar bonds.
Inuyasha leaned his head back against the ruff bark of the tree. His face was swollen and crusted in dried blood, the scrapes on the side of his face almost completely healed but the bones still broken. He clutched his side, trying to stem the flow of blood and taking careful breaths so as not to unduly cause himself anymore pain. To Inuyasha, however, all of that fell to the background. He had felt physical pain far beyond this many times before. He swallowed hard. The true pain came from the betrayal from his family, the betrayal from Koga.
Chapter 15: The Sickness
Inuyasha gingerly raised himself from the ground using the tree he was leaning on as a brace. God, stomach wounds suck, thought Inuyasha, as he pressed his hand into the deepest part of the cut across his belly. Blood began to seep through his fingers again as his movements reopened his slowly healing wounds.
Once on his feet, hunched over and unable to straighten and strain his torn muscles, he continued his journey. He stumbled through the underbrush, grounded by his inability to jump into the trees. He followed his nose, sniffing out a close water source. He hoped to find a suitable place to rest nearby.
It was not just because his wounds were weakening him and he needed time to heal, though that was certainly a big part of it. Inuyasha noticed as he had trekked through the forest yesterday a tugging, an emptiness that opened up inside of him. It was now a nagging, almost painful ache that sprang up in his chest. He fisted his hand over his chest. He knew what this was, though he had never experienced it before. He had finally gone beyond the limit of the bond.
Staggering into a clearing, he came upon a great tree. The tree’s roots gaped at the base, creating a large enough opening for Inuyasha to climb in, stand, and lay out comfortably. It was perfect, as it provided shelter and camouflage.
Inuyasha knew he had to stop there for now. The twin pains were getting excruciating and were wearing him out. He crawled into his tree root shelter, huffing with the effort, and leaned heavily against the walls.
Pressing his head back to rest against the gritty uneven bark of the tree, the bond thrummed within him. He wondered if he had made a mistake. He desperately hoped that his little cubs were not suffering as he was, hoped that they were happier now that he was not there to cause trouble.
This was just one more thing he would have to bury away and try to forget.
But, the sensations were a little more than he had thought they would be. Choshi-baba had never told him how he would yearn for his cubs; how he would feel that he needed to feel them in his arms. He dug his clawed fingers in the dirt beneath him, keeping himself from wrapping his arms around his torso in an unfulfilled wish that they held his pups.
He could not go back, however. He whimpered at the thought; Koga was out for blood. He was out for his blood. He had not thought it had gotten that bad in the caves. He thought he had left before he had caused too much trouble. He had really messed up this time. Time after time he had had it pounded into him not to over stay his welcome.
But he had thought that he and Koga had been friends. He had felt more for Koga than he had ever felt about anyone. He could understand that he might have been upset at how much trouble he had caused in his clan, but he groaned in pain and disbelief that the Wolf Chief actually wanted him dead because of it.
As he slipped from consciousness, he desperately tried to sweep the morose thoughts from his mind. He would think of what to do tomorrow.
Koga was frantic. He had looked everywhere last night, leaving no stone unturned. He sent out the most reliable of his wolves to help him sniff out the location of his puppy. As the moon had risen high into the sky and the sun dipped behind the trees, they had had to return to the caves tired and disheartened. Inuyasha had been nowhere in the vicinity and all they had found was a scent trail that went west, down the mountain side.
He returned to their rooms, alone and dejected, to put his cubs to bed. The cubs, sensitive to the powerful youki of their father, felt his agitation keenly. That combined with the very noticeable absence of their Yassa, left them whiny and irritable. Koga had paced the cool, uneven stone floor all night, trying to comfort his pups. As the night sky began to tinge grey, one by one the cubs, who had gotten about as much sleep as the Wolf Chief, started to howl in despair for Inuyasha.
He waited impatiently for the sun to begin its daily trek across the sky before Koga summoned one of the Omegas to care for his cubs and left the caves in search of his pup.
Running faster than even he had thought he was capable of, the ookami reached the valley before mid-day. He was getting closer. He could smell the ever increasing strength of the scent trail. Inuyasha’s scent was the same musky earthy scent that was laced with a wisp of the sharp perfume of flowers, but underneath it all, Koga was starting to pick up a hint of something else. It concerned him, but not overly so; it was not blood- that would have had him flying through the forest, and it was not sickness either. Still he filed the strange scent into the back of his mind to investigate once he retrieved his inu and took him home where he belonged.
Those thoughts were just a brief distraction from the more distressing ones that ran through his head. Why was Inuyasha gone anyway? Was he captured? Did one of his protesting wolves steal him away when the Wolf Chief had been busy dealing with the argument that had broken out? The only reason he was not panicking, as he raced through the trees, was that he smelled no blood on the hanyou, so perhaps it had not been that. It did not necessarily make him feel any better, as that only meant that it could be something even worse. Could Inuyasha have run away on his own?
Koga’s heart ached in his chest at the thought. Was his puppy unhappy? Did he regret agreeing the join his caves? His family? Koga had thought that they had been getting along very well. The inu was becoming one of his most important people. Was the sentiment not returned?
Koga’s thoughts crashed to a halt as quickly as his feet did when the pungent odor of blood finally wafted up his sensitive nose. The metallic tang of fresh blood blended heavily with the trail the ookami had been following and his heart plummeted to his stomach. Inuyasha had been hurt…badly.
Slowly he crept around the small clearing he found himself in, sniffing the air and sifting through the various aromas. The most prominent scent was that of Inuyasha. He had obviously been in the clearing longer than anywhere else along his journey. Koga stopped cold when he recognized the next most pungent smell: wolves.
Koga growled to himself. There would be some serious discipline when he got back to the caves. He was obviously not doing his duty as an Alpha if his wolves were so out of his control as to attack a member of his House. They must have followed the inu. Koga had not scented them with Inuyasha the whole time he had been on the run.
He inhaled deeply, interpreting the scents around him. Three distinct signatures of wolf scents, sweat, a small whiff of the acrid twang of fear… and something else… it was light, but… another dog demon? Koga let out a bit of his youki. It acted much as his nose did in detecting the youki of other demons. The other demon’s youki returned to him. It was a strong one.
His search drew up short, however, when a sudden blast of that same youki enveloped him. The Wolf Chief spun on his heels in search of the mystery demon only to come literally face to face with the Lord of the Western Lands.
The inu youkai simply stared at the startled ookami, his cold impenetrable gaze hard and unyielding. Koga swallowed hard and backed up a step. As much as his demon howled at the show of weakness, his wolf instincts recognized a more powerful alpha and acted accordingly.
“Lord Sesshoumaru, what a coincidence. I was just looking for your bro-URGH!” Koga’s words were cut short as the daiyoukai struck out and wrapped his fingers tightly around the Wolf Chief’s throat and raised him from the ground.
“Has this Sesshoumaru not made himself clear, ookami filth? That hanyou is no one’s problem to correct but mine,” the Western Lord threw the Northern Wolf Chief to the ground with a solid thud, “You would do well to retrieve the bodies of your incompetent miscreants, return to your territory, and forget about Inuyasha.”
Koga sputtered and rubbed at his sore throat, swallowing convulsively as he stared at the great dog with wide eyes.
“Sesshoumaru-sama,” Koga began as he struggled from the ground. He made sure to keep his head slightly bowed in deference to the great lord and put his considerable diplomatic experience to work, “forgive me, but I think you are under a mistaken impression. I am not here to bring harm to Inuyasha.”
The Western Lord merely raised a silvery eyebrow. “The three assassins sent in your name, tells this Sesshoumaru differently.”
Koga’s eyes flashed, his youkai bleeding his eyes red as he growled deep in his chest. “It may have been in my name, but was carried out without my consent or knowledge. There is much to be dealt with in the Northern Mountains upon my return.” Koga’s voice deepened, becoming gruff and menacing as his demon took hold.
“Why should this Sesshoumaru accept the word of a leader so weak he is undermined by his own people? What would lead this Sesshoumaru to believe you are honorable enough to keep his word to not make injury to what is mine?”
Koga bristled. He ignored the jab at his leadership, instead focusing on the latter part of what the Lord had said. “Cut the crap, Sesshoumaru!” his patients finally snapping, “You dare claim him as yours when you have spent his entire life running him away! Well, now you don’t have to worry about him anymore. He has been taken into my House! He is now my family! He does not belong to you! HE IS MINE!” Koga cried as his teeth elongated and claws shone sharply. He faced the Lord of the Western Lands positioning himself in a battle stance, preparing to fight for his inu.
Lord Sesshoumaru stood silently, his eyes piercing the Wolf Chief, seemingly without emotion from behind his cold mask. He observed stoically as the wolf crouched in the typical wolf fighting stance, as the wolf youkai took on a possessive, defensive look at the mention of his claiming. His powerful nose detected a new scent coming from him, one he was familiar with. It was the piquant redolence of a dominant canine, one who was or about to be mated. Whether the ookami knew it or not, he wanted Inuyasha as his mate.
Mated into the Northern Wolf Nobility? Perhaps my Lord Father’s mistake has made himself not so worthless after all, thought the Western Lord. A part deep inside of him, that even he refused to acknowledge, warmed at the thought that his little brother finally finding his place in the world.
The Lord Sesshoumaru released a blast of his youki. Once again the youki enveloped the lesser wolf demon. Koga’s Demon retreated, the red slipping from his eyes and his more rational side emerged. Still, the ookami did not back down from his position. He would have Inuyasha.
The Wolf Chief quickly deflated in confusion, however, when the Lord of the Western Lands, simply turned and began to walk into the trees.
“Hey! Where you going?” Koga yelled out.
Sesshoumaru stopped inside the tree line. Without bothering to turn around, the great Lord answered, “This Sesshoumaru has more important things to do than become involved in the hanyou’s affairs.” With that he slipped away.
“Hmph,” harrumphed Koga, scratching at his forehead. He was thoroughly confounded, but glad to be rid of the troublesome lord and able to continue his search for his inu.
Inuyasha came to consciousness late the next afternoon, the sun already casting orange rays through the dense foliage. He rolled his eyes around in their sockets. They felt dry and itchy, his mouth like cotton. Sweat beaded at his forehead and trickled down his back. The world appeared a blur of sensations, as he drifted along the edge of delirium.
Damn, the hanyou thought despondently and well acquainted with the feeling, I have a fever. Inuyasha’s wounds had become infected as he had lain in the cool shadows of the great tree roots.
The hanyou laid there, nestled against the moist wood and the cool earthen floor, trying to muddle his way through his thoughts. He needed to wash out his wounds. It had worked the last time he had been injured and alone with fever. He longed for the cool embrace of the nearby stream that he could smell a small distance away. It would be fed by the ice melt from the mountains he had come from and the waters would be frigid and fresh. Not only would it sooth the angry heat of his wound but would also feel wonderful against his fevered skin and wake his hazy mind from the fog that had settled over it.
But the hanyou did not move, for in that moment, he sensed a presence that was intimately familiar to him-- Koga. Koga was approaching from the north. He would pass right by the opening of the tree. Inuyasha would be seen even if he had had the energy to hide his youki, which he did not.
Inuyasha despaired. Koga had to be so upset. His assassins had failed to kill him and now he had had to come and kill him himself. Inuyasha shuttered as a chill ran through his fevered body. He knew he would not be able to defend himself. He was in no condition to swing his sword around. Inuyasha liked to think that he could if he really needed to, he had after all lived through worse, or he could slip away and into the woods before the ookami arrived.
Inuyasha stayed slumped in his burrow, however. The man that had been his former enemy, now considered to be his best friend and most beloved person, wanted him dead. His whole life, up until he had met Koga again and his beautiful cubs, had been spent only on basic survival. There had been no room for happiness only existence. Now that he had had a taste of what living could be, what it was like to love and be loved back, to be comforted when he was scared and protected when he was weakened, he was not sure if he could go back to that life. He had thought he could do it, but if Koga wanted to kill him, he was not so sure he wanted to stop him.
Inuyasha stifled his tears as he felt the Wolf Chief approach. He would not cry. The bark of the tree roots dug into the flesh of his back as he subconsciously pressed deeper into the hole, in an attempt to get away from the perceived danger. He had not truly let himself cry since his mother had died and he had been immediately run out of the manor. He would not cry now.
Soft foot falls could be heard padding on the packed earth, leaves and twigs crunched and snapped as the youkai got closer. Inuyasha watched with bated breath as the long shadow cast by the waning sun appeared in front of the opening. Wrapped feet stepped into sight, followed by bear skin leg covers.
Inuyasha looked back at him with grim, determined eyes; half cast in shadows and sprawled against the back wall of the opening. Koga stepped closer hesitantly, as if approaching a wide animal. He gasped as he neared, finally able to see what his nose had detected earlier; the scent of sweat, blood, and illness.
He rushed to the inu’s side, ignoring the way his puppy flinched upon his approach.
“Aw, you got yourself into a bit of trouble again, didn’t you, Mutt Face?”
Inuyasha looked at the wolf in confusion, but did not bother to fight him away. Without any more words, the ookami gathered the hanyou in his arms and lifted him out of the hideaway.
Inuyasha grunted in pain at being shifted and wrapped his arms around Koga’s shoulders as the wolf began towards the area they could smell water. Running as fast as he could without jostling Inuyasha too much, they quickly found themselves by the side of a small stream.
Koga gently set the hanyou down. The stream was very small, only about a hand deep and as wide as a body lying down, but the clear water rushed over rocks and algae as swift as a raging river.
Koga plucked a handful of springy moss that clung on the side of a nearby tree. Bringing it over to the prone figure, propped against a large bolder, he dropped it beside the hanyou. Reaching for the ends of Inuyasha’s obi, he was halted by a gruff voice.
“Why are you doing this?”
Koga looked up into the hanyou’s deep golden eyes and sat back on his heels.
“Why wouldn’t I take care of my puppy?”
Inuyasha reacted as if he had been slapped, snapping his head back in surprise, before his eyes hardened.
“I know, Koga. They told me,” Inuyasha drew himself up as straight as he was able, bracing to die with dignity, “I know you ordered my death, and I won’t fight you. I deserve it.”
Koga’s mouth fell open and he gawked at Inuyasha with shock and horror. He scrambled on his knees closer to the inu, and grabbed him about his shoulders.
“No way, Dog Breath! Of course I didn’t order any such thing! Why on earth would I do that? And how could you think you deserve it?”
Inuyasha’s eyes widened in shock. Hope swelled up in his chest as he gazed into the beloved face of his wolf.
“But I… they said that they were there on your orders. They said I had been declared an enemy. I… I know I have been causing a lot of problems in the cave-”
His words were cut short as he was enveloped into hug. Koga wrapped his arms around the hanyou tightly, breathing in the scent of him, calming his thudding heart and rising rage. Who had done this to his pup? Who dared-
“Ow!” Inuyasha squawked, struggling in his embrace. Koga’s enthusiasm was doing little to help the pain in his side and stomach.
“Oh, sorry, pup,” Koga grinned in embarrassment and backed up a bit. “Inuyasha… you have not been causing problems-”
Koga huffed, “Inuyasha, it doesn’t matter! You are part of us! No one has the right to run you out!”
Inuyasha only stared at the tinkling water as it rushed by.
Koga sighed, and reached for Inuyasha’s obi again. Untying it, he extracted his hitoe and kosode, peeling it back gingerly from the angry red wounds. Koga hissed in sympathy at the sight.
He dipped the bundle of moss into the frigid waters, soaking it up and lifting it to squeeze over the infected gash.
Inuyasha was silent throughout the cleaning, studying the wolf as he worked. His thoughts whirled around in his head. What was he to do now? Would he be going back? After a lifetime of distain and neglect, he found it hard to believe that he would not be causing trouble by going back, but he wanted so bad to belong and be together with his new found family.
Once his injury was tended, Koga grabbed more moss and submerged it into the water. He crawled around the inu and transferred his head to his lap. He lovingly swept back the sweat slicked tendrils from the inu’s forehead and cupped his chin in his hand. He lifted the moss and squeezed the fresh mountain water into the hanyou’s waiting mouth.
Inuyasha drank greedily and savored the clean taste. Once he had drunk his fill, Koga washed his face and neck with the soothingly cool water. Inuyasha sighed in relief, feeling much better already and able to feel his youki begin to heal the damage.
“You know, the cubs are going crazy at home,” Koga spoke suddenly.
Inuyasha averted his gaze. He had hoped that it would not be so bad for the cubs. He felt guilty and longed to hold them in his arms.
“I was going pretty crazy too,” Koga ran his clawed fingers through Inuyasha’s long silver threads and scratched lightly at his scalp. “Why did you leave us?”
Inuyasha finally met the bright azure gaze of the wolf looking down at him. He blushed at the remembrance of what the wolves had said to him, of what they accused him of.
“You were doing fine without me, and then I come along and your whole clan… I’m causing so much trouble for you. I know. I know when it is time to hightail it out of a hostile situation. I know when I’m not wanted,” Inuyasha’s voice, which had started out sounding lost and small, ended with conviction and determination.
Koga searched his face.
“They have no right. They will know the consequences of messing with what is mine. YOU ARE MINE!”
“Yeah well, take it from me, we can’t always get what we want,” Inuyasha scoffed.
“I don’t want you!” Koga yelled in anger. Inuyasha froze and averted his eyes. Though he raised his chin in defiance, his ears drooped and slicked back against his head. They twitched when Koga continued. “I… Inuyasha, I need you!”
Inuyasha’s eyes snapped back to passionate blue. Hope blossomed in them and mirrored the emotion that swelled in gold.
“Listen, if…if you..,” he huffed in frustration at his inability to form the words, “if you ever want me out just tell me. I… I know I cause a lot of trouble being there. I know that your tribe doesn’t want some half-breed hanging around. I’ll go, whenever you want me to.”
Koga stared at him, heart bursting at the news that his pup will come back with him, but not believing that he could possibly think he would ever send the hanyou away. In an instant it clicked. Koga experienced a paradigm shift. Inuyasha was his. He should do something about that.
When Inuyasha could no longer meet his gaze without fear that those tears that were prickling the back of his eyes would fall, he scowled at the trees in the distance.
Koga took him in his arms.
“This, right here, here with me, with our cubs, here in my arms, this is where you belong. Stay with me, stay with us. We need you. We want you. I want you. I-I-I love you, pup.”
Inuyasha stared in shock. It could not be true. Nobody wanted a dirty half-demon. The gods had made it quite clear to the hanyou that he had been meant to be alone, taking everyone he had ever cared about from him. But there was Koga, a youkai who had never treated him like that, like the monster the rest of the world believed him to be, a youkai who had become the most important person to him.
“Puppy, will you stay with me always?” Koga questioned, his brows scrunched with the intensity of what he was saying.
“Well, yeah. I have to because of the bond.” Inuyasha whispered, not daring to let his guard down and believe the Wolf Chief meant anything more than that.
“No Inuyasha. Will you stay with ME? Be my mate, my life, my Beta?” Koga stroked a calloused finger along the soft, flushed skin of the inu’s cheek.
Inuyasha gazed at him with wide disbelieving eyes. Slowly the emotion contained within the golden depths transformed into wonder, then love, before a scowl marked his face and he shifted under Koga’s loving touches.
“Eh, I suppose so wolf. Wouldn’t want the cubs to be in danger because your too busy chasing after me after all.”
Chapter 16: The Mating
The throbbing pain in Inuyasha’s chest continued to plague him throughout the night, even as the wounds on his stomach and side were soothed by Koga’s gentle cleansing and began to heal rapidly. He was startled awake every few hours by panic inducing nightmares of his pups crying out for him, of being overwhelmed by a crushing sense of loneliness, and scenes of him being desperately lost in a maze of forest, calling out for his family to find him. Each time he awoke, Koga’s arms tightened around him, as if he could sense Inuyasha’s need for comfort through the fog of his slumber. Each time, Inuyasha laid his cheek back down upon Koga’s chest and let the steady staccato of the wolf’s heartbeat lull him back to sleep.
They huddled together in the small burrow made in the roots of the great tree, Koga sitting against the vine covered wall and watching over his soon to be mate, who slept fitfully, cradled between his legs. Neither was able to come to much sleep, both anxious for the morning to come so that they could start their journey back to the cubs and the rest of the pack, only staying the night to let Inuyasha’s wounds heal.
When first light appeared in the murky gray of morning and Inuyasha had jerked awake once again from a nightmare, they decided it was time to rise. Though tired, Inuyasha was impatient to return home, having never thought he would have been able to again.
With what should have been an embarrassing amount of grumbling and impatient whining, he allowed Koga to check the progress of his injuries. They were pink with fresh scar tissue; the flesh finally able to seal after having been thoroughly cleaned out the evening before. It itched and aggravated Inuyasha’s patience further.
Koga, meanwhile, was uncommonly calm. Inside of him, his demon purred in contentment as he cared for his puppy, no matter how much he fussed. Both is demon and his mind were relieved of its subconscious fear that he would lose Inuyasha, now that he had realized what he felt for him, and was soothed in the knowledge that they would soon be mated.
He watched his feisty puppy with affection and glee. Inuyasha tentatively stretched the newly repaired muscles. Before cocking a hip, folding his arms in his wide sleeves, and shooting the ookami a fierce glare.
“I’m ready to get back. You think you can keep up, Wolf?” he barked.
Koga chuckled and sauntered over to the scowling inu and wrapping his arms around his waist.
“Run as fast as you like, pup, cause I’ll be there right behind you every step of the way, watching the show,” he whispered silkily in a furry, twitching ear, while he slid his hands down to palm the hanyou’s firm backside.
“Keh!” Inuyasha exclaimed, for lack of a better response, and reddened fiercely. He allowed Koga to nuzzle his cheek before he jumped out of the wolf’s arms and leapt into the nearest tree. “You better hurry up then. I ain’t waiting for you,” he called over his shoulder as he hurdled from branch to branch.
Koga indeed found himself trying to keep up, despite being known for his speed. Inuyasha tore through the canopy of trees that blanketed the valley as Koga raced through the underbrush below. The hanyou seemed to have been possessed, stopping for nothing in his mission to return to the caves as fast as he could. They traversed the landscape, running non-stop at the fasted pace the inu was able to maintain, making what had been a two day journey in half the time. It was by the early light of the full moon that they found themselves approaching the mouth of the cave.
Inuyasha had felt the void in his chest begin to fill earlier that morning as the sun rose high in the sky, but still felt a jolt of contentment rush through him at the sight of the caves he had begun to consider home. Not even pausing at the threshold, Inuyasha ran full speed into the den. He ignored the surprised, angry, or curious looks of the wolves that were gathered around the multiple fires spaced throughout the cavernous room, and headed straight for the chamber he shared with his family.
Sweeping aside the hide that served as the door, he finally skidded to a stop. The youngest Omega, Ichijo, was there, holding two of the cubs to his chest. Before the hanyou had burst in, he had been attempting to soothe the teary and agitated Kaishi and Kingo, rocking them and patting them on the back and humming quietly to them. On the bed, Kunio had buried his head in the furs that Inuyasha shared with Koga, his bottom sticking up from beneath them, while Kozue knuckled her tear swollen eyes and leaned wearily against Ichijo’s legs.
Upon Inuyasha’s arrival, tears and crying only increased, as the cubs let out sobs of relief and reached out for their inu. Inuyasha flung himself to the furs, unmindful of the relieved Omega. He gathered the howling cubs into his arms and buried his face amongst them, breathing them in and attempting to hide his suspiciously wet eyes.
The cubs clamored around him, squeezing together, trying to get closer to him. They covered him with affectionate licks, nuzzling under his chin, and rubbed against him, covering themselves with his scent. They cried joyfully at being reunited with their inu and howled in elation. It had hurt so badly to be without him. Inuyasha also found himself scenting the cubs with his scent, touching them as if to make sure they were really there, and growling softly to them. The sound washed over them; the comforting growls letting them know that Inuyasha was there to protect and cherish them.
Ichijo left them silently. He was also relieved to see the hanyou return. The cubs had been inconsolable without him there. They had not even acted so strongly to the absence of their own mother. He was also happy on a more personal level. As many times as Inuyasha had spent the day with the cubs of the tribe, telling stories or just hanging out, Ichijo had come to see the half-breed as a friend, and had been quite upset at the thought that he might not be found.
The cinder haired boy made his way to the Den, where the rest of his family resided. Being the lowest ranking family meant that they were pushed to live in the least favored part of the Den, right by the opening. As he made his way to the front of the cavern, tired after a long day dealing with the emotional cubs, he failed to note the furious whispers of an outraged looking group that had congregated around one of the Elder’s fires.
Koga, after checking in with Ginta and Hakakku, finally returned to his chamber. He stopped just inside the hide, his eyes softening at what he saw. His cubs were curled up in a tangle of limbs, burrowed into Inuyasha’s chest and stomach. He held them to him tightly, his eyes closed in contentment, and a low growl rumbling in his chest. If Koga hadn’t known better he would have said the inu was purring.
The Alpha lowered himself quietly onto the furs on the other side of the cubs and draped himself over them, sandwiching them between he and Inuyasha. Inuyasha opened his golden eyes. Koga had to stifle a gasp. Inuyasha’s eyes glowed with such happiness and love. He could not resist and leaned in for a kiss. Inuyasha responded with a contented sigh.
“Why don’t we put these guys to bed, eh pup?” Koga whispered.
Inuyasha blushed, knowing what Koga was thinking, and nodded. He gathered two of his pups up and moved them over to the small alcove that served as a veritable nest for the small cubs, Koga grabbing up the other two and following.
Once they were snug and comfortable in their little nook, Inuyasha watched them snuggle together with a small smile. His smile grew as he felt Koga’s strong arms snake their way around his waist.
Koga nuzzled and sighed into his neck. He pressed a kiss onto the soft skin, causing the inu to shiver and lean back. Koga took the opportunity presented and began to lick and nibble the delicate flesh.
Inuyasha sighed in pleasure and turned in his arms. He met the wolf’s hungry mouth with his own and moaned quietly as Koga dipped his tongue inside his mouth. Hands slid up Inuyasha’s robe clad back, pressing him closer to Koga’s muscled chest and deepening their kiss. Inuyasha was lost as Koga drank him in, stroking deeply with his tongue and probing all the most provocative places of his mouth.
When Koga broke the kiss, leaving the inu panting and flushed with arousal, Inuyasha found himself being lowered to the furs. Koga kissed and licked across his jaw and down his neck, as he untied his obi and opened his hitoe. The ookami sucked on his collar bone as he slid the robe down the hanyou’s well-muscled arms, his touch leaving a burning trail in its wake.
Inuyasha felt himself being pressed back on the furs. Koga loomed over him, his ebony hair loose and hanging over his shoulders. His gaze was locked, gold to blue, entranced by the look of utter adoration on the wolf’s face. No one had ever looked at him like that and he found himself intoxicated with the heady feeling of being…worthy. It was a new and very welcome feeling.
Koga looked down at his pup as he worked the ties of his chest armor and felt himself harden. He would never get over how beautiful Inuyasha was. His bright white hair fell around his head and shoulders like white flames, wild and glorious. His cheeks flushed further, causing a hungry groan to erupt from Koga’s throat, when the wolf unwrapped his fur revealing his already aching erection. His lips were swollen and red, having been thoroughly kissed. He dove back down, and sucked in his inu’s deliciously plump bottom lip into his mouth.
Inuyasha lifted his hips as Koga coaxed his hakama passed them, his member springing up from the fabric. He loved Koga’s kisses, the passion and desire that he put into it. His kisses were rough, dominating, and demanding, just like Koga himself. For an alpha like Inuyasha, being dominated was not something he embraced innately, but with every sign of claiming Inuyasha felt more secure and desired. Koga told him with his body; he loved and wanted Inuyasha.
Koga ran his hands over Inuyasha’s body, admiring the view as he licked and sucked his way down his well-muscled chest. Kami, he loved those hips, so slender but slightly curved with a beautiful rounded ass. His waist was perfectly trim and his stomach toned but soft. His mouth-watering pink nipples were hard pebbles under his fingers and, giving them a lick, tasted as good as they looked. He could drown himself in the soft curve of his neck and breathe in that scent of his inu. His face, his pouting lip, youth rounded cheeks and those wide soul searing eyes, took his breath away.
Koga’s hands drifted down until they rested on the inu’s knees and spread his legs. Inuyasha blushed furiously and snapped them shut, trying in vain to cover himself with his hands.
“What-what are you doing?!” Inuyasha whispered in embarrassment.
“I’m gonna make you feel good puppy. Do you trust me?” Koga’s voice was rough with lust.
Inuyasha blushed more, but removed his hands from where he covered himself, choosing instead to twist them into the furs on either side of his head.
“Yeah,” he said in a small shy voice.
Koga spread him wide again and his breath caught at the delicious view in front of him. He was equally beautiful there as he was everywhere else. His ample cock and balls were nestled, red and throbbing, in a nest of white. His skin was smooth and pale, which only accentuated the tantalizing pink bud of his twitching entrance.
Without preamble, Koga took hold of the beautiful member and swallowed it to the hilt.
“S-S-SHIT!” Inuyasha exclaimed as much in surprise as pleasure. His hips bucked into the warmth, but were steadied by Koga’s firm hold. The hanyou watched his cock ease in and out of the warm, wet cavern of the wolf’s mouth. Koga hummed, relishing the delicious taste of his puppy, enjoying himself immensely as he sucked and licked. He raked his teeth up the hard flesh, eliciting small whimpers and mews that went straight to the Alpha’s cock. Inuyasha keened as the ookami sucked him hard, pulling up slowly before plunging back down.
Koga’s hands roamed while his mouth was otherwise occupied. He massaged gentle caresses up the insides of Inuyasha’s thighs. He rolled the inu’s tender sacs in his hand, gently squeezing and cupping them, driving Inuyasha nearly delirious with pleasure. He arched from the furs, his balls tightening and electricity shooting through his nerves.
“Ungh!” Inuyasha cried as he spurted and filled Koga’s hot mouth with ropes of pearly cum.
Swallowing the bitter liquid down, Koga milked the puppy until he had nothing left, kissing the sensitive head as the softened prick fell from his mouth.
Inuyasha slumped back to the furs, feeling as if his Koga has sucked his very bones out of him. His post orgasmic languor was interrupted, however, when Koga pushed his legs up against his chest. Inuyasha had only the briefest of moments to feel embarrassed and completely exposed before all thought was driven from his mind.
Koga’s mouth attached itself to his still hypersensitive balls, sucking on the delicate skin and tonguing the small globes. He kissed and sucked his way lower, leaving Inuyasha writhing once again and giving little moans, until Koga was licking the crinkled skin of his hole.
“K-Koga! Gah! Nghnnnn!” Inuyasha squawked in surprise before dissolving into incoherency.
Koga’s tongue swiped a slow, hot path from Inuyasha’s tailbone to his sac, before returning to circle his tongue around the pink pucker.
“Mmmm,” Inuyasha moaned, his brain focused solely on the mind numbing sensation of Koga nipping and sucking at his hole. He had never imagined that such a thing could possibly feel as good as it did. If he had been capable of feeling anything other than ecstasy at that point, he would have been overwhelmed with embarrassment and fought the wolf off, but as it was, he wiggled his hips, lifting them so the ookami had better access.
“Ohhhhhh,” he whined, as that magnificent tongue speared him and breached the guardian muscles. Koga worked in and out of his clenching entrance, painting his inner walls with his tongue.
Once properly lubricated, he rested his cheek on Inuyasha’s strong, hairless inner thigh. Before Inuyasha could mourn the loss of his tongue, he circled a finger around the pink bud before sliding it in.
Inuyasha’s member, recovered from the last explosion, quickly began to twitch and fill. Koga kissed the reddened skin of his cock and nuzzled his nose in the soft downy hair that surrounded it, breathing in the musky perfume of his arousal, as he loosened his pup with slow strokes.
When he felt Koga add a second finger, Inuyasha stiffened at the burning sensation.
“Relax, Puppy,” Koga soothed in a low, husky voice. He placed a comforting kiss to the head of Inuyasha’s slightly wilted shaft, swiping a lick from base to tip as he began to scissor his fingers.
“Oh, fuck!” Inuyasha yelped, when Koga twisted his fingers just right. As he brushed his fingers over the small pleasure center inside of him, Inuyasha bucked his hips in order to get more of that exquisite feeling. His member, purple and aching, took notice as Koga continued to work his hole, fitting in a third finger.
Inuyasha whimpered in negation when Koga extracted his slippery fingers. The Wolf Chief sat up and took Inuyasha’s legs in hand at the back of his knees, pressing them up to his chest. He leaned down and captured the inu’s lips in a fiery kiss, distracting him from the feel of the thick, blunt head of his cock pressing into his stretched hole.
Inuyasha hissed as Koga’s member entered him. He panted, tensing against the intrusion.
“Shh, pup,” Koga kissed his way down Inuyasha’s jaw, laying kisses in between words, “I… got you… Yash… Relax… my… beautiful… delicious…mate.”
Inuyasha sagged under the wolf’s administrations, bearing his neck to his nips and sucks.
Koga inched his way inside, pausing after every thrust to allow the inu to adjust. Finally he was seated fully inside of him, his balls resting against the hanyou’s cheeks. Koga steeled himself, fighting for control as Inuyasha clenched around him. He rested his forehead on Inuyasha’s, lips ghosting over each other and breathing in each other’s breath.
Inuyasha wiggled under the wolf’s weight. He felt so full, so stretched. Koga pulled back, sliding out slowly and thrust back in again. Inuyasha locked his legs behind Koga's back and began to respond with enthusiasm, meeting each snap of the wolf’s hips.
Koga changed the angle of his thrusts slightly and began to hit that bundle of nerves inside of Inuyasha.
“Oh! Oh! Ughn!” Inuyasha chanted as the Wolf Chief pumped his hips, striking that spot over and over. Inuyasha saw stars burst before his eyes and felt lightning curl his toes. He gasped for air as pleasure washed over him. The sensations were overwhelming.
His instincts screamed at him, filling each action with meaning. Koga was draped over him, his weight pressing down on him a physical reminder of his dominance and possession. He was assertive but gentle and loving. Inuyasha being the independent and forceful being he was, being dominated was counter to how his inner demon told him it should be, yet every time Koga dominated him he was reinforcing his claim. Inuyasha was wanted. Inuyasha was treasured. Inuyasha was loved.
Koga shifted. He leaned back and sat on the furs, wrapping his arms around the inu and bringing him up with him. Inuyasha moaned as he was settled astride on Koga’s lap, the new position causing Koga to slide deeper within him. He rolled his head back, exposing his neck to the alpha, his hair falling in a curtain from his face and shoulders.
Again Koga kissed him deeply, moving his tongue inside the inu’s mouth. He jabbed in and out, the motion an imitation of his cock as he began to thrust up into the wanton hanyou. He wrapped his hand around Inuyasha’s neglected prick, spreading the leaking pre-cum over it, and fisting it in time with his thrusts.
“Oh, fuck! Uhn, fuckfuckfuckfuck! KOGA!” Inuyasha roared as he was caught in a wave of ecstasy. He spurted and coated the ookami’s hand with his essence. Koga stilled at the same time, moaning into his neck, his own release flooding the inu’s clenching channel. Riding out his earth shaking orgasm, Inuyasha’s walls milking his seed from him, the Alpha wolf clamped down on the hanyou’s neck, biting the inu at the juncture of neck and shoulder.
Inuyasha arched, slack jawed and breathless, as rapture rippled through him. His neck pulsed with his mate’s youki. It radiated from his mark and surged through him, rushing from his core to the tips of his fingers and toes and back. Inuyasha’s stomach tightened and coils of warmth and light burned low in his belly.
Koga braced himself as Inuyasha collapsed, blacked out from the intensity of the mating. He carefully lowered the hanyou back down to furs and smoothed back his sweat-slicked hair from his brow and the fresh mark. Letting himself slide out of Inuyasha, he wrapped him tightly in his arms and settling himself partially on top of him, twining his leg between his pup’s and cushioning his head on his long hair.
A low contented rumble vibrated in the Alpha’s chest, as he licked at his mate’s healing mating mark. Inuyasha was his, now and forever.
Chapter 17: The Challenge
Koga woke the next morning warm and content. Flexing his arms, the events of the previous day immediately came back to him as he realized the solid, warm body he spooned against was his Inuyasha.
Yes,his Inuyasha. The pup was finally his mate. Before the very moment he had asked Inuyasha to be his, he never fully realized how much the hanyou had come to mean to him. Before he had gone missing, the ookami did not see how completely the inu had integrated into his life and how incomplete he was without his mutt.
So, last night, they had mated. Koga had made him his, and in return he had offered himself up to Inuyasha.
It was with regret that he unwrapped himself from around the inu, untangled their limbs, and rolled off of the furs. He smiled lovingly down at his puppy when he whimpered in his sleep with the loss of the warmth of his alpha and snuggled deeper within the furs.
Slowly dressing in his fur and armor, he was glad that his inu was home. He looked just right here; wrapped in the furs of his bed, naked and pink, available for his new alpha to return and love him thoroughly. At the moment however, Koga was happy he was here for an altogether different reason. With him here, he would not have to worry about his cubs. He would need to have all of them safe and separate from the tribe, for he needed his attention to be focused entirely on what he was about to do.
He looked back one last time as he moved the hide blocking the entrance to their chambers to the side.
He was going to set his tribe straight once and for all. He was not only doing this for Inuyasha but for himself.
He had let his wolves go undisciplined for far too long. He had always had a light hand in the running of the tribe. His father had run things the same way. It seemed, however, that since Koga had always been like that, that his tribesmen thought he knew no other way. Until now, he had never had a reason to assert his authority over them, and they had apparently understood it as a lack of dominion.
True, he had never put his foot down over anything, believing that for the most part people were capable of ruling themselves perfectly well. His people did not need him to dictate everything they did, and so, he led when he had to but otherwise left them to handle things. That did not mean he was incapable.
It was time to show all of them just that.
Though it was still early, the men and women of his tribe were up and preparing for the day. He looked down on his people from his place standing at the top of the rock shelf that led to his chambers, high above them. Slowly he loosed his youki. Tendrils of the youki wafted out into the Den, curling around his people, stained with his displeasure and pushed by the force of his dominance.
One by one the men and women below were touched by the chilling feel of his discontentment and rose to look up at him. Within minutes, the people of his tribe stood as one, gazing at him. They felt his anger and dissatisfaction with them. They stilled their hands of activity. Mothers grabbed their rambunctious cubs, all wolf beasts and wolf youkai giving their Alpha their whole attention.
Once all attention was on him, he growled low in anger. The sound rose in volume until even the wolves furthest from the Alpha felt the depth of his fury.
“I have claimed the Inu hanyou Inuyasha as my mate and Beta Consort,” he announced with a strong growl.
He paused to let the exclamations of the wolves settle before continuing. He noted the various reactions and who they belonged to. Most of his old tribe, that had known the hanyou in the times of Naraku, looked unsurprised and fairly accepting of the addition to their clans. Others looked confused. Koga understood that; he had skipped right over all of the traditional avenues that an Alpha usually took when acquiring a mate. He had done all of that with his previous mate, Ayame, and felt no need to go through the hoops that the Council of Elders would come up with again. It was the last group; the group that blatantly threw him looks of revulsion, betrayal, and mutiny that he concentrated on.
“Who dared order my mate to be hunted down and killed?” he said in a deadly voice. Most of his wolves stilled in shock. Someone had done such a wicked thing? Who would be so bold? One group, however, continued to look at him with barely restrained rebellion.
The Alpha jumped down from the rock shelf, landing with loud crash on the rock floor, signaling he had his youki active, making him stronger, heavier, and more powerful. Slowly he walked toward the defiant group of wolves. They maintained eye contact with him the entire way, challenging him in the primal way of canines.
Approaching the group, he let a surge of his youki hit them. Some of them stumbled under the blast of power and lowered their eyes to the ground, hunching over and lowering themselves closer to the ground in submission. They backed away, leaving the few remaining obstinate wolves in the forefront.
Koga continued to stare them down, taking no notice of the ones who backed away. He ignored the troublesome Elder among them who backed away in contrite submission but never turned his malevolent eyes away from the Wolf Chief.
“Who here was stupid enough and gutless enough to sneak attack a member of my House?” Koga snarled at them. No one stepped forward to confess to the deed. “Are we a tribe of cowards now? Do we wolves attack the innocent when we have issues with those in power?”
Koga stared each of the hate filled wolves in the eye. There were about ten of them who stared back, abhorrence and insolence swirling in their depths. Koga only nodded, knowing what he had to do.
“You attack my family then you have declared yourself my enemy. I hereby issue Challenge!” Koga shouted, so all could hear him.
The wolves’ quite witness exploded into shocked murmuring and empathetic howls that called for the blood of the tribes enemies. The Alpha had issued a challenge to those that would oppose him. They had never seen Chief Koga like this. They had never seen him truly dominant. True, he had always been a leader, leading hunting and attack parties with ease, and dictating jobs when he was called to, but they had never seen him come down on his people.
With this challenge, he would be exerting the ultimate power of his authority. Those who answered the challenge would be openly opposing and fighting the Alpha. If they lost, the Wolf Chief would have the right to cast them out of the tribe entirely. On the other hand, if Koga lost, he would be dethroned as the Alpha, he and his family becoming the new Omega family, the lowest position of the tribe.
It was the general consensus, however, that to challenge the current Alpha would be the height of foolishness. Koga’s reputation as the top in speed, stamina, and endurance was well known. Those who had been by the Wolf Chief’s side since the days of the dastardly Naraku knew he had a special power, Goraishi. Given by their ancestors, it had remained unused in their time of peace and had fallen out of knowledge to those who had not been there to witness the power themselves. Woe to those who make themselves a danger to the clans, for they would not survive the fight.
By the time the gathered wolves had quieted down, four wolves stood defiant and threatening before the Alpha. The watching wolves formed a circle around them.
Koga lifted his chin in challenge, accepting the claims of his opponents. Without losing eye contact the Wolf Chief and the first challenger stripped themselves of their clothing and protections. This would be a fight of raw strength. There would be no assistance from outside factors, such as swords or armors; just a clash of strength against strength, power against power, will against will.
With both fighters naked and ready, they lunged at each other for the first attack.
Inuyasha awoke with a start. He had been deep asleep, dreaming wonderful dreams of his mate that had left him hard and aching. He could not believe such a thing could even be expressed by his mind; his mate. He had a mate! Someone who loved him so much they had made it permanent! He rolled in the furs and stretched languidly, pleasure thrumming through every nerve in his body.
His bubble of nuptial bliss was burst at the sudden sounds coming from the wall across the room.
“Yaaasssaaa!” a young voice sang.
Another voice let out a whimpering howl.
“Yaaaaaassaaaaaa!” the first voice repeated good-naturedly.
Inuyasha huffed, a sound that conveyed both his annoyance at having been woken up and amusement at the antics of his silly pups.
“Just a minute, you brats!” Inuyasha barked. He steadily ignored the muffled giggles emerging from behind the hide covering the opening to the cub alcove, and found his hakama and hitoe.
Once properly covered he trudged over to the niche in the wall that held the formerly sleeping cubs. Flinging the hide aside, he was immediately pounced upon by three energetic cubs.
“Oomph! Hell!” Inuyasha exclaimed as they climbed over him.
Squirt quickly scrambled up his shoulder and perched himself on the inu’s head, taking a tight grip on the silky white hair. Kingo climbed dexterously around him, his claws digging into the fire-rat fabric to situate his self on the hanyou’s back, and reminding the inu more of a saru youkai than any ookami he had ever come across. The young cub snuffled as he swatted his Yassa’s thick hair out of his face. Kozue simply glomped onto his neck, burying her face in the soft skin she found there. Inuyasha smirked at the remaining cub. Kaishi sat patiently with raised arms, waiting for the inu to pick him up.
Inuyasha reached for the quiet cub. They all stilled, however, at the sudden sound of a roar that reverberated through the cave chambers. Inuyasha quickly grabbed the cub up and swung him into his arms.
“You guys be quiet, you hear me? And hold on tight too, in case I gotta move fast,” Inuyasha warned the cubs as he padded out of their rooms to investigate.
Exiting their chambers, Inuyasha stood on the rock shelf that had only just moments ago been the spot where Koga had stood looking down at his tribe. His eyes widened in shock and confusion at what he saw. The wolves were attacking Koga! It seemed like all of the wolves of the tribe were gathered to watch the attack, goading them on and trapping them inside a circle of bodies. His mate stood in the middle with another, naked except for the blood that had been shed for both wolves. What was going on?
“Koga!” he whimpered in anguish.
Inuyasha knew one thing; he was not going to let them hurt his new mate. He made to descend the rock face, only to halt when he felt a presence behind him. He turned quickly to see who it was, and settled a hand on the scruffy tawny colored hair of Squirt who squeaked at the sudden movement.
“Come Little One, do you think you are going into battle with the cubs at your shoulders?” the craggy voice of Elder Choshi-sama asked.
“Choshi-baba! They’re trying to kill Koga! Take the cubs for me!” Inuyasha exclaimed to the blind youkai.
“Take another look, Little One. Does it look like he is in any danger?” she asked, settling a knobby hand on his shoulder.
Inuyasha turned back and looked down at the scene below again. Now that he actually looked, he could see that Koga was handling himself just fine. Where he had been convinced he saw a number of wolves attacking, he now saw that only a couple looked hostile towards the Alpha wolf and only one of them were attacking at a time. To the side he could see two wolves that had obviously already fought the Alpha and were recovering from their resultant injuries. As he watched, Koga slammed his clawed hand through the chest cavity of the wolf he was fighting and flung the body aside, pausing only to snarl at the next opponent.
Inuyasha raised worried and confused eyes to the old woman.
“What the fuck is going on, old lady?”
“Our Alpha issued Challenge to those who would oppose him. He is asserting his authority over his wolves,” she explained in a quiet and patient voice, “Come Little One. Walk this old woman back to her chambers and we will sit for tea, hmm? There is no need for the young cubs to see such things. ”
Inuyasha knew that even if Koga had needed his help, he would not be able to do anything while he had the cubs with him. With a last reluctant glance back at his mate, he ushered the Elder back to her rooms.
Michinaga watched the wolves of his tribe disperse from the area with barely restrained rage. That weak dog had actually mated with the abominable hanyou!
He looked down at the body of one of the challengers. It had been a spectacular fight, leaving one wolf dead and three others banished from the territories. That was, if they survived their injuries. The Elder had not foreseen that. The Alpha had always been weak willed and ineffectual, he figured that he would be weak in strength as well.
It must be more of the hanyou’s magic. Michinaga sneered inwardly, searching the crowd. Just as he thought, the hanyou had not even bothered to show up. Why would he? He had complete control of the tribe now, through the concurring of the Alpha.
Still, if that was the case, he was surprised he had survived this day. Surely the hanyou had ordered his death for sending him away from the territory? Unless he was so stupid, he did not fully register the extent of how he had been so masterfully manipulated by the Elder. That was probably it. He may have been sly enough to magic the dimwitted Alpha without resistance, but he was nothing against the shear cunning and intelligence that Michinaga embodied.
It did not matter, however. Michinaga conceded defeat. The hanyou had won the tribe by working himself fully into the life of the Alpha and had obviously embedded his magic so completely into the Wolf Chief’s mind that there would be no fixing him.
The Elder would have to come up with a plan to save his people from a future of the hanyou’s atrocities.
Chapter 18: The Diagnosis
Inuyasha diligently escorted the old woman to her chambers. He offered his arm for her to hold after putting Kazue and Kaishi down to toddle to the room in front of them. Leading her over to her worn cushion by the fire, he assisted her to her seat before joining her on a cushion next to her.
While he had been doing so, the insightful Elder had taken the opportunity to view him quietly with her sightless eyes. Though physically blind, she rarely missed a thing and instantly saw a change in the young Inu’s aura. Comfortable before the fire, she smiled; a worry that had pressed on the back of her mind released.
“Little One, it appears that your life has been rather eventful since you last come to sit with me. I have heard many stories, some good and some not, but it feels as if the load of troubles on your soul has lightened,” she said cheerily in her age cracked voice.
“Yeah, uh, Koga said he wanted to mate with me, so I said why not,” Inuyasha said, hoping that however the old woman saw the things that she did, she would not be able to see the light blush that streaked across his face that belied the casual and bored tone of his voice.
“And how has it been, being mated?” the Elder asked, a knowing smile on her face.
Inuyasha’s blush turned fiery, as he thought of just what he had been doing for the short time he had been mated. Last night had been the most incredible night of his life and a shiver traveled down his spine at the thought of doing it again.
“It hasn’t even been a day. We’ll see how it goes…” he finally answered the old woman, who only smiled wider.
Koga strode through the crowd of his gathered wolves intent on only one thing: finding and bedding his mate. The gathered wolves parted for him as he walked by, all of them careful to keep their head low and their bodies bent to the ground in subservience. No one wanted to catch the eye of the Alpha who still thrummed with fighting energy, naked and covered in the blood of his opponents, his eyes still red and demonic.
As he passed, the wolves held out their hands, caressing him as he went by. Some took the chance to lick at him in submission, while others simply bowed and scurried quickly away.
“Chief! Sire, please let me wash you!” a lone voice called out from behind him. It was one of the women, holding a wet cloth and a few other strips to wrap any extensive injuries.
Koga ignored her and continued on his way without pause. He knew he was covered in blood sprayed from his enemies. His rational side was disgusted as he felt the thick liquid roll down his face. A greater part, however, the part that had bled his eyes red and sharpened his claws and reflexes, the part that was still so pumped up on adrenalin that he did not feel any of his injuries at all, rejoiced in the gore, in his thorough and undeniable victory.
High on the thrill of the fight and demonic energy or not, Koga remembered one thing; it was all for Inuyasha. He hoped now that he had set things straight, his mate could finally be at rest here in his home. His puppy deserved that, at least, and so much more.
He was still shocked into a daze at how the mutt had become so precious to him. It had not even been a year since the ookami had discovered his nearly frozen body in the distant valley. Since then the Inu had completely turned his life around. This time last year Koga had been leading a slow and uneventful life. At the time he would have been content to live that way for the rest of his days, but he knew now that he had never been truly happy. He had just been; mated to a woman who was nice enough but not truly his match, and Chief of a tribe that hadn’t really needed him for anything.
Now he knew better. Inuyasha had brought with him passion, danger, nostalgia, confidence. He made Koga remember who he had once been- a young prince with joys in life and fight in his veins. He felt fully engaged with Inuyasha, instead of simply existing beside him. While he had loved his family dearly, seeing Inuyasha’s lack, his sorrow, and his devotion to Koga’s cubs had reaffirmed the ookami’s own fervent appreciation of his family.
It all had led to this moment. Here he was, blood dripping between his clawed fingers, his step strong and sure, and a growl in his throat. He was strong and dominant. He was the Alpha. He had not realized just how wrong he had felt not taking on his proper mantel of Alpha.
He had been concerned with other things, as a carefree prince cub. He had done his duty to his tribe and then gone off to do as he pleased (mainly find and rile Inuyasha into a good tantrum). Now he could see that it had become a pattern that he had fallen into and had never been able to climb out of. Leaving his tribe to mostly care for themselves had worked for decades, but it was not the way that things were supposed to be done.
Koga was an Alpha; both in terms of his social position and biologically. He was born to be an Alpha. It ran through his veins and was built into his body in the form of his highly aggressive youkai. To leave his duties as an Alpha to his wolves was something that had gone against his very nature. But now… now he was the Alpha. He had enforced his dominance over his clan and he felt better for it.
He felt good and right and if he had been focused on anything other than finding and having his mate at the moment, he would have seen the instinctual relief in the faces of most of the members of his clan. Just as he was meant to be the Alpha, they were meant to follow him. The stress of leading themselves was gone now and most everyone was benefitting.
Koga climbed the rock face and landed on the rock shelf that led to the private chambers. His youkai was still dominant and so could easily smell his mate’s scent even through the hundreds of wolf smells that usually overpowered any individual scent. His mate had been here quite recently, along with his cubs. Their trail led down the left hand corridor with Elder Choshi-sama.
Koga slowly felt his youkai retreat and his eyes faded from red to his normal deep azure blue. Even his youkai recognized that he would not be able to taste his puppy again right now, surrounded as he was by his cubs and an Elder.
By the time he arrived at Choshi-sama’s chamber, Koga was back to normal and starting to feel his considerable wounds from the fight.
“Koga!” Inuyasha hollered in surprised alarm as he entered the room covered in blood and injuries. The inu scrambled from his cushion by the fire to wrap and arm around his shoulders and guide him to the ground.
The old woman who had been sitting silently beside them, with her head tilted to the side as if listening to the cubs babbling to each other where they sat and played just behind her, slowly gathered herself and rose from the ground. While Inuyasha checked over Koga, silently fretting over the wounds he found littered all over his mate’s body, the clan Elder and healer drew a small pot of water from the half-pace wide branch of the cave’s stream that ran through the back of her chambers and placed it in the fire to heat.
Koga sighed and leaned back against his mates chest, letting him check him over. He reached up and rubbed the back of his knuckles over Inuyasha’s soft cheek when the hanyou let out a distressed noise after discovering a particularly nasty gouge in his left flank.
Inuyasha accepted the warmed water from the old woman with a nod and dipped in a bit of cloth. He carefully washed away the blood spattered on his face and leaking from his injuries. Swiping the cloth over Koga’s face, the ookami turned in his arms and stared up at him.
Inuyasha’s eyes swam with emotions. He worried over his injured mate. Another part of him was amazed by the Alpha wolf. What little he had seen of the fight had impressed him and he admired the wolf’s strength. It lit a fire in his belly and his face flushed with lust as he looked at the powerful dominant demon that was his mate.
Their lips met each other with a tender kiss. Inuyasha still could not believe it. This was his mate; his own for eternity.
Koga reached back and held the back of Inuyasha’s head, deepening the kiss. He stretched to further delve into his puppy’s depths but pulled back quickly with a hiss, the motion aggravating his injuries.
“What the hell happened anyway? And where the hell are your clothes?!” Inuyasha finally asked gruffly, his brows furrowed in concern while he wiped at the fresh blood that sprang from the wound.
Koga flashed his teeth as he was reminded of the fight.
“I issued Challenge. It was time to put my foot down. I’m supposed to be the leader of this clan and it seemed that everyone had forgotten that, including me. They won’t forget again,” he gave a feral smile.
“I see that it has been quite a productive day for you, My Lord. It seems that congratulations are in order for many things,” Choshi-sama said with a smile as she looked unseeingly in their general direction and ground leaves with the large stone mortar and pestle in her arms. She approached the pair and sunk to her knees in front of them. Setting the pestle down, she swiped some of the leafy mash into her hand and began to apply it the worse of Koga’s wounds.
“Yeah! It’s been great! I finally got this ass-face to see reason and come home!” Koga announced cheerfully. Inuyasha growled in embarrassment.
“I see,” the Elder chuckled. She wrapped strips of cloth around the worst of the wounds and chanted a few ancient healing spells, her trembling hands held out just above the injuries, expelling tingling magic and moving from spot to spot. It would not make the lacerations disappear but it would help quicken the healing. She was dealing with the newly mated, after all. She was sure they would thank her for shortening the wait needed to engage in… strenuous activities.
Once she had finished the pair made to get up.
“Please be seated, My Lord. I still must make the potions for the Little One,” she said before rising again and shuffling once again to the back of her rooms where her ingredients were stored.
“Potions? What do you mean?” Inuyasha demanded.
“Wh-what?! What’s wrong with my mate?” Koga asked apprehensively. Koga and Inuyasha gave the old woman twin looks of wide eyed concern.
“For the baby,” Choshi called back over her shoulder, her attention focused on fingering the numerous small pots of various herbs and animal parts that were used in her most frequently made concoctions.
“Baby? What’s wrong with my cubs?” Koga questioned, looking back and forth between the Elder and Inuyasha who only looked back with alarmed bemusement while aforementioned cubs amused themselves obliviously.
Choshi, finally in possession of the required roots and oils sat before the fire again and began chopping, grating, mashing, and mixing the ingredients.
“Nothing is wrong. The young one is healthy and I mean to keep it that way. The pup (or pups) and Inuyasha should get all the nutrients they can get while they grow to make the birth as easy as possible for all of them,” she informed them with an air of nonchalance.
There was silence from the mated pair for a full minute while they digested the seemingly random and nonsensical words of the Elder healer. Finally Koga’s brain seemed to start working. Slowly.
“Inuyasha’s pregnant,” Koga whispered, unsure himself if it was a statement or a question.
“Yes, My Lord. Unfortunately it is still too early to be able to tell just how many there are, but there is no mistaking the small glow of new life within our Little One,” Choshi-sama smiled.
“h-hu-huh?” Inuyasha shuddered inarticulately.
“Inuyasha!” Koga turned to him with a bright smile. He took the young hanyou into his arms and hugged him in joy. “Oh, Inuyasha!”
“What? No! I don’t… I don’t understand!” Inuyasha fought off the embrace in agitation.
“What are you playing at?” the inu yelled, “I can’t be pregnant! I’m a man!”
Koga looked at him, understanding dawning on his face.
“Oh. I guess you’ve never had this kind of discussion with a youkai before, eh pup?” Koga said in an understanding tone. He realized that his mate had only ever been even remotely welcome among humans and thus would have absorbed only their knowledge. Indeed, he feared that this would be very startling to the young pup.
“What discussion?” Inuyasha barked, fighting to keep his growing hysteria masked behind his more familiar aggression. He eyes shot back and forth between the old woman and Koga. Choshi-baba seemed sadden by his lack of knowledge but offered no interference into the discussion, for now.
“Well, youkai guys can get pregnant sometimes. I never thought about the fact that you might not have known. Besides it doesn’t happen just anytime,” Koga informed the now hyperventilating hanyou. Inuyasha squawked in distress, far beyond the use of even the most basic of words at that point.
The elder woman quickly made her way over to the terrified hanyou.
“Calm, Little One, it will be alright,” she soothed, smoothing her knobby hand over his forehead and flushed cheeks. “You must calm yourself, child. It will do you now good to get so upset.”
“What… what...,” Inuyasha again attempted words, only to realize he had no idea what to even ask. This was never a scenario that had ever crossed his mind and it was clearly overwhelming him.
“Shush, dear child, I will tell you,” she continued speaking as she went back to preparing the required potions and Koga tried again to embrace his mate. Inuyasha slumped into his arms and allowed the wolf to run his fingers soothingly through his hair.
“Male pregnancies are not uncommon among the youkai. It is, however, not a natural thing, that is to say, males are not born with the ability to carry. It is usually provoked by something extraneous, such as the potential extinction of one’s race or prolonged separation from others of their kind.
“For you, it would seem that the formation of the bond between you and Koga and the cubs was what prompted your body to begin to form the necessary organs in order to carry a child. Tell me, Little One, have you been having problems with your stomach lately? Any persistent aches and pains?”
“Er..,” Inuyasha blushed, “Yeah a bit,” he admitted.
“That’s what that familiar scent is that I have been smelling on top of his regular scent, isn’t it? He smells a bit lit a woman,” Koga interjected, only to receive a vicious scowl from the very disgruntled and embarrassed inu in his arms.
“Yes, My Lord, that is right. Inuyasha’s body was preparing him for pregnancy. His hormones were broadcasting his fertility,” the Elder agreed.
“I still can’t believe this. This is insane!” Inuyasha huffed, finally finding his words. Despite his words of protest, he laid his hands on his stomach almost reverently.
A pup? He had never thought it would ever happen to him, especially like this. Simply finding a mate had seemed like an impossibility after Kagome had left, let alone having pups. He had never heard of another hanyou having children. Admittedly, he rarely heard much of anything about other hanyous, except that they were monstrous abominations, of course. Still, he had never heard of a quarter youkai being born and had not even considered that he would breed with a youkai, so he figured it was just not possible for him.
A pup! He was having a child! Or possibly puppies, according to Choshi-baba. Inuyasha was beginning to like the idea. A little piece of him mixed with a little piece of Koga. Yeah, he like the sound of that.
A small smile formed on his face. Koga relaxed at the sight. His mate was happy. He had been worried that Inuyasha would not accept their child, but he should have known. His pup was nothing if not full of love, even if it was buried under a mountain of belligerence. He pressed a kiss to his temple as the inu asked a question.
“So, what happens next, Choshi-baba?”
The older woman smiled at the feel of the hanyou’s retreating waves of anxiety and confusion.
“Well, dear child, as I understand things, human pregnancies take quite a long time, almost a year. That is not the case with most youkai, and certainly not the case with canine youkai. Animal canine pregnancies last only fifty to seventy days. Canine youkai pregnancies take a bit longer, around three cycles of the moon, as they are far more advanced and need more time to develop in the womb.
“Still, it is a relatively short time for gestation. As I said before, humans actually spend almost a year in gestation and they are not nearly as advanced physically as youkai. That, combined with youkai’s longer lifespans meant that infancy and childhood takes a much longer time in order to do all of the growing and learning young youkai need in those impressionable stages,” She continued on a tangent.
She sat back from her work with a triumphant smile.
“There!” she proclaimed, bottling the milky elixir she had been working on. “Here, make sure to take this every morning, child, and I will need to examine you once a week when you come to see me for our little visits.”
Inuyasha took the offered bottle and smiled shyly up at his mate. Koga pressed another kiss to his forehead and let his stand. The inu helped the Wolf Chief up from the floor, as he was definitely feeling his wounds now. Leaning heavily on the hanyou, they thanked the beloved Elder for her assistance and left, each with a cub in hand and the other two bouncing energetically behind them.
Once out in the corridor, the Alpha stopped and pressed his mate to the wall with a searing kiss. He gazed hungrily down at his beautifully blushing inu, a promise swirling in his eyes. Once he was fully healed he would show his mate and the carrier of his pups just how much he loved him and have him begging for more.
Chapter 19: The Calm
Tsunekuni watched with wide violet eyes as his friends prepared for the long journey. He was a bit apprehensive about the move, but he was never one to rock the boat and so said nothing of his feelings. He had packed the few things that were his own in his pouch and it was sitting beside him as he watched his friends pack theirs.
Tsunekuni sighed. He did not want to go on this journey. He and his friends had only just returned a month ago from being banished from the tribe for a month as a result of a particularly stupid decision by Tametoki to pick a fight with the Chief’s guest and future mate. Tsunekuni still could not believe he had been so pea-brained as to get mixed up in that.
Still, Tsunekuni didn’t really have a choice. The real Northern Wolf Tribe had to leave and find a new place to settle. It was unacceptable to be under the rule of such a creature, at least that was what he had always been told.
The Elder Michinaga had been hosting gatherings, getting those who opposed the Wolf Chief and his decision to mate with a hanyou abomination, and discussing what was to be done. The wolves had at first argued with the Elder’s idea to separate from the Chief’s tribe and form the “true” Northern Wolf Tribe up on one of the islands off the northern coast. They did not want to leave their home. Almost all of them, like Tsunekuni, had originally moved to the caves from northern valleys around six years before. It had become their home.
Eventually, however, the Elder won them over. Chief Koga was sullying their entire tribe with his dalliance with the hanyou. It was time to cut ties and start from scratch.
So now Tsunekuni sat while the other’s in their group prepared to leave.
Michinaga-san had left a few nights ago with a few members of their group. The rebel wolves were leaving by stealth. A few would leave at a time under the cover of darkness so that they would not attract too much attention from the Alpha.
Tsunekuni had wondered why they would need to sneak out. If wolves no longer wanted to be part of a pack, then there was no reason why the Chief would want them to stay. He had been a little bewildered on why they had not just declared their intentions to break from the group and leave, that was, until the violet eyed wolf was told of their mission.
Yes, their mission. The slight wolf frowned at the craggy rock floor at the thought of what he and his friends had been assigned to do before they could join the rest at their new home. It was an important undertaking, so important that Tsunekuni was a bit more than puzzled on why it had been assigned to them.
The gang had been less than successful in their last task, and he wondered why it would be left up to a group of young wolves like them. Tametoki had accepted the job on behalf of the rest of them, grinning like a fox and certain that their dear Elder was giving them a chance to prove their worth and find their place within their new tribe.
Nevertheless, their task made him uneasy; it did not seem right to him, yet the Elder had explained it so that it seemed a necessary maneuver to ensure the future of their new tribe. That was the only reason he was relatively complacent to go along with it.
Finally, Genji, who had thought it was a marvelous idea to wait until the last conceivable moment to pack his things, was ready. Tsunekuni was given one of his bags to carry as they walked to the mouth of the cave where the rest of the gang had gathered to wait.
The smaller wolf sagged under the weight. Genji was a large and powerful young wolf, but it seemed that he felt the need to hand the heavier of packages to Tsunekuni to carry along with his own. The violet eyed wolf did not expect much more from his friends. He was the youngest in the gang, and as such, needed to prove himself to the rest of them. Tsunekuni never complained, though, as he had been a part of that gang since they were all still in the Cub Den he had to wonder when they would decide he had proved himself enough.
For now, he accepted his burden and followed the group of five into the mountain forest.
The days leading up to the mission were spent planning and plotting. It was a delicate mission, one that could go very wrong very fast. There was no way they wanted to go up against the Alpha or his new mate. They had made that mistake and had no wish to make it again, thank very much! This time, they had figured that stealth was what was needed.
The first thing they did was make sure no one could connect them to the deed. They left in the hours just after midnight, when there was no one else awake. Quickly and quietly, they tromped through the forest and down to the mountain valley. It took them a few hours to navigate the steep, wooded paths, but as light began to spread across the sky, they eventually made it to a small opening in the rock face. One by one the group deposited their packs into the small cave. They would store them there until the job was completed.
Now, unburdened, they made their way back up the mountain side. By mid-morning they were waiting patiently by the mouth of the cave, hidden in the dense wooded area nearby. Tsunekuni would have been impressed with his fellow conspirator’s uncharacteristic patients if he had not been fighting a rising sense of dread that was sloshing around violently in his stomach.
As the sun peaked over the forest and into the cave opening, a pack of tiny clawed feet stamped the dirt covered ground. Squeaky, young voices chattered inanely and laughed in good cheer. A young grey haired wolf herded a troop of wolf cubs out into the fresh morning air. The Omega and his charges, the clan’s cubs were marching out for a pleasant day of activity.
Target in sight.
The harried Omega laughed pleasantly at some of the cub’s antics as he led them to a small stream. It was slow and shallow enough for the group of young ones to be left to swim and enjoy themselves for the day without getting into much trouble. He was only one wolf, after all, the less chance of trouble the better.
The little cubs scampered quickly to the water’s edge once it was in sight. Some waddled as best they could, having only just learned to walk by their own power, others ran and shrieked in excitement. They stripped on the bank, the older ones helping the Omega assisting the little ones out of their clothes, despite the excited wriggling. Even the mellower Kaishi, who Ichijo was currently trying to wrestle a shirt off of, was bouncing in anticipation. The day was already very humid, proof that the day would be a hot one.
Ichijo glanced up from Kaishi at a speck of movement he spotted from the corner of his eye. He went back to giggling along with the cub before doing a double take. Five wolves were running to them. Ichijo’s first thought was that something had happened at the caves and they were coming to inform him or collect the cubs to safety. That thought was quickly rejected as he had time to take in the decidedly unfriendly glint in their eyes.
Ichijo only had time to shoot up into a standing position, before one of the wolves was upon him. Dimly, the Omega wolf could hear the cubs screaming in terror. Splashing could be heard and protests and yowls of anger. Ichijo fought doggedly with the large wolf who had wrapped his hands around his neck the moment he had gotten close enough. Ichijo scrabbled at the hands cutting off his airway with his claws, kicking at the heavier body with everything in him.
He could feel himself weakening. His efforts slowed as grey began to encroach on the edge of his vision. The last thing he saw was the victorious fire in his murderer’s eyes and bared teeth. The last thing he heard was the distressed barks of his little cubs.
Tsunekuni held tight to the yipping cub that thrashed in his arms. The emerald eyed cub’s curly black hair flew about his head wildly as he twisted and turned in his captor’s arms, he bit and scratched any foreign flesh that came near him. Tsunekuni felt none of this as he watched in shock as his comrade tackled and strangled the Omega.
That was not part of the plan! What is going on? He pulled his eyes from the unbelievable sight of his friend killing the Omega to see his other friends procuring their own cub. Tametoki had the youngest prince, Kunio, held up in the air by one of his ankles, the young cub swiping ineffectually at the older wolf with his sharp little claws and growling fiercely. Yorimichi held Prince Kaishi under his arm like a bundle of wood, the cub whining loudly. Nakamasa was fighting to hold onto the young princess Kozue, much as Tsunekuni would be fighting Kingo if he had not been completely paralyzed in shock.
Genji finally jumped off of the still body of the Omega, swiping his hands together as if to wipe the grime from them after a job well done. He smiled triumphantly at his comrades.
“Ready to go?” Genji asked.
“Wh-what the hell was that?!” Tsunekuni shouted, a touch of hysteria bleeding into his voice.
His four companions looked at him blankly.
“You got something to say, runt?” Tametoki asked with distain and a raise of his eyebrow.
“That wasn’t part of the plan! What the hell! You just killed him! Kami! What are we gonna do?!”
Tsunekuni was lost in his panic. He never noticed the warning, pleading look from Nakamasa. He never saw the glance exchanged between Tametoki and Genji. He missed completely when Genji bent over to pick up good palm sized rock from the ground. He was still standing, arms wrapped around the struggling cub and ranting hysterically when Genji ripped the cub from his grasp at the same time he brought the rock down in a crushing blow to Tsunekuni’s head.
Both ookami and inu sighed as one in pleasure as the head of Koga’s cock entered Inuyasha. Inuyasha’s claws scraped against the large tree he leaned against. Koga pulled the red hitoe down his pup’s shoulder to lap at the mating mark found there. He so loved to see that pale expanse of flesh, to see those wide eyes peek over the strong shoulder to gaze at Koga, teasing him with the lust found sparkling within. Koga moaned and pressed his face into the inu’s shoulder blades, gritting his teeth at the feel of his hot, tight mate surrounding him.
“Mmm, move stupid wolf,” Inuyasha moaned.
Koga grinned into the flesh of Inuyasha’s back as he slid out of his puppy and pushed himself back in hard. His grin only grew at the debauched moan in response. He took up a steady pace after that, luxuriating in his mate’s tight channel.
Inuyasha’s head snapped back and he sighed at the sky in pleasure. Koga’s claws dug into his slightly more filled out hips, bringing that sting of pain to pleasure the ookami knew his mate loved. He pressed his forehead to Inuyasha’s shoulder so that he would have a better view. He watched himself, entranced, go in and out of his mate’s body, watched as they joined until he could not tell where he ended and Inuyasha began. He watched as his mate’s round cheeks bounced every time they met with Koga’s thrusting hips.
One hand moved from the inu’s hip to cup the ever growing mound that was his stomach. It was extended far enough to just fit in the Alpha’s hand.
Inuyasha had a bit more flesh on him now days, though no less muscled. In the month since he had discovered he carried child, Inuyasha had seemed to make it his mission to eat everything within sight. It was normal for pregnant youkai, Choshi-sama had instructed. Birthing parents needed a lot of fuel to grow such advanced children in so short a time, male birthing parents especially as they usually started out with less natural body fat anyway.
Still, Koga would by no means call Inuyasha fat. The only word he had for what he saw when he looked at his mate was… luscious. Koga could not get enough of his puppy. True, they were newly mated, but he had never felt so drawn to his previous mate and had certainly never felt a hunger for anything or anyone like he felt for his Inuyasha.
It was a good thing, too. Soon after discovering the pregnancy, Inuyasha’s hormones went into overdrive. He craved sex like he craved food, craved his mate with the same hunger that the wolf felt for him.
Koga’s luscious puppy was a ready and wanton creature.
“Uuuhgn, Koga!” Inuyasha moaned and came on the rock he leaned against. Koga huffed a laugh as he continued to thrust. His lusty puppy had come without a single touch. With a last push, Koga followed his mate over the edge.
After a quick rest, languidly kissing on the ground, they dressed and continued on their way. They had rushed off into the bushes for a quickie when one of Inuyasha’s “urges” had struck while on border patrol.
Inuyasha had steadfastly refused to be confined to the caves, no matter what the overprotective Alpha had said. He had insisted that he take on his duties as a member of the clan immediately, especially now that they knew the bond was able to stretch that far. He was still concerned with being welcomed into Koga’s clan. Inuyasha wanted to do anything within his power to show that he would be a productive and valued member of their society.
Koga was quick to point out that baring the new heirs would help to legitimized Inuyasha in the clan’s eyes. During his frequent visits to the old healer, they had learned that Inuyasha would be bearing two pups, their youki already strong, despite having a hanyou parent. Their pups would be the new heirs, ranked higher than the older cubs because Inuyasha would be the current Beta
Still, Inuyasha wanted to contribute to the clans. There continued to be muted grumblings from Koga’s wolves. Koga would have thought that the matter had been settled. No one else had taken him up on the challenge, but the mood of his people did not feel at peace. Those who opposed him kept their head down and he did not know who to keep an eye on.
In the end, Koga had relented only after demanding that he accompany Inuyasha on all of said duties. Inuyasha had huffed and grumbled, but mostly in embarrassment at how pleased he had felt at hearing his mate would always be near.
And so it was that the couple was walking along the territorial boundaries, Koga sneaking his hands across to playfully squeeze Inuyasha’s hips or ass and Inuyasha slapping him away with a token growl, when a young wolf stumbled blindly and covered in blood through the underbrush, to collapse in front of them.
The prone figure gasped for air wetly and slurred as if inebriated, “H-help… The c-c-cubs… Ommm … killed.”
Chapter 20: The Storm
The prone figure gasped for air wetly and slurred as if inebriated, "H-help… The c-c-cubs… Ommm … killed."
Immediately Inuyasha jumped to assist the fallen wolf. Glassy violet eyes looked up at him from a familiar face. It was one of the exiled cubs that he had left food for in the forest the night he ran from the caves.
“C-c-cubs..,” the younger youkai rasped.
“Oh man, we gotta get him to Choshi-baba fast!” Inuyasha hollered in alarm. He paused in gathering the cub up in preparation of moving him to the caves when he received no response. “Koga?” he turned to see what was distracting his mate. “Koga!”
Inuyasha settled the injured ookami back to the ground, before standing and grabbing his mate by the shoulders. Koga’s eyes were bleeding red and his claws glinted in the afternoon sun. He snarled and attempted to shake Inuyasha’s hands from him.
“Koga, calm down!” Inuyasha yelled, shaking the feral ookami.
“Someone killed my cubs!” Koga roared.
“Koga, stop! We don’t know that! We need to get this guy back to the cave so that the old woman can heal him up and we can figure out what happened! We have no idea who did this or where they are! Calm down!” Inuyasha argued, attempting to restrain the enraged youkai.
Koga merely tried to twist out of his embrace, trying to get out and exact vengeance on someone.
Inuyasha heaved a massive sigh and released the raging ookami. There was only one thing to do now. He cocked back and slugged the wolf as hard as he could. The ookami went down hard crumbled in a heap at the inu’s feet and moaned in pain. Clear blue eyes looked up at him from the heap, a hand rubbing gingerly at the now bruised jaw.
Inuyasha crossed his arms and raised a brow. “You done panicking now, wolf?”
Koga sighed and nodded that he was indeed done.
“You ready to help me get this guy back so we can figure out what happened and where our cubs are?”
Koga nodded again, his face softening at hearing “our cubs”. He realized then that no matter that he was the Alpha and these were his cubs, he had a partner who he could lean on and who wanted to find out what happened to the babes as badly as he did.
Inuyasha reached down and hauled the wolf to his feet. “Come on. We gotta hurry.”
Between the two, they braced the injured cub into an upright position with his arms around their shoulders and them holding on to his waist. As Koga and Inuyasha had been patrolling the border when the cub had caught up with them, they were as far from the cave as they could be without leaving the territory. By the time they reached the mouth of the cave, the cub was unconscious and was being carried on the Alpha’s back.
The wolves, upon seeing the unusual sight gathered to get a look at them, worried about one of their cubs being hurt.
“Ginta! Hakkaku! There’s been an attack! Go find the cubs! NOW!” Koga barked upon seeing his lieutenants.
Ginta and Hakkaku, seeing the fury and absolute authority in the Alpha’s face, didn’t hesitate and immediately took charge, gathering up their men and barking out orders to search.
Koga heaved a tired sigh, one hand rubbing at his bloodshot eyes. He hated days like today where everything that could go wrong, did. His shoulders slumped in dejection.
They had been hit in their most vulnerable area today; their cubs. Ginta and Hakkaku had come back after a three hour search of the territory with the body of the oldest son of the Omega family and a pack of traumatized, but otherwise uninjured, cubs. All had been recovered except the Princes and the Princess. Koga had been devastated.
He was so thankful that he had Inuyasha with him. The inu reminded him over and over, each time he felt himself start to crumble that there was nothing to point to the cubs being dead, just gone, and that meant that they could be found and brought back.
Koga snorted to himself. He was pathetic. He was supposed to be the mighty Alpha. He had to keep a cool head and rock hard resolve in order to lead his tribe, in order to make the important decisions. Yet there was his mate, pregnant and dealing with a bond that connected him to the cubs as completely as if he were their natural father, and he was the one with the cool head.
Inuyasha watched Koga from the entryway of their chambers. The wolf was under a lot of stress right now and the inu wished he could help alleviate some of it. He had followed the Alpha from Choshi-baba’s chambers, where the cub, who they had found out was named Tsunekuni, had just succumbed to his extensive head injury. Inuyasha had seen the fury and sorrow dance on the ookami’s face with the cub’s death. On the one hand, they had lost another cub, this one struck down in violence. On the other hand, it was becoming increasingly evident that Tsunekuni had likely been involved with the attack on the tribe’s cubs. No one knew what he was doing there in the first place. Now they would not have a chance to question him.
In the time since the attack it had been revealed that there were nearly a hundred wolves and most of their possessions were missing. The majority of them were members of the former Northern Valley tribe who came over with Ayame and her Chief Elder Michinaga.
Inuyasha had a growing feeling of dread within him. He thought he might have an idea of why this was happening. He did not want to acknowledge that this was yet another way he was causing problems for Koga and his tribe. If it was true, if Koga’s tribe had actually broken apart because of him, it would just be another boulder of guilt he would carry on his back.
That guilt, however, was a good distraction from the ever building pressure in his chest. Inuyasha had come to find Koga and told him the latest bit of news; the cubs were now beyond the limits of their bond. It was both good and bad news. The pressure would be hurting the cubs just as it hurt Inuyasha. They were getting farther and farther away from home. But then, of course, it also meant that they were alive, something Inuyasha only just realized he had known subconsciously from the beginning. He would have known the instant one of them had died through the bond. It was why he had been able to maintain calm through all of this, while not being able to explain why he was not as panicked as he normally would have been.
Koga sighed again. He was supposed to be gathering his weapons and some rations in preparation of heading out to begin searching for the lost cubs. His scouts had already come back with a trail. As he stood in his chambers, Ginta and Hakkaku were rounding up the warriors and other volunteers who would accompany them. Based on the number of missing wolves, they had guessed that there were at least fifty wolves of the rouge group that were capable of fighting.
They had better be prepared, Koga thought viciously, the kidnapping of any cub would be unforgivable, but the kidnapping of my cubs means a slow and bloody end for which ever idiot thought it would be a good idea.
Slowly he turned around to face his mate. Inuyasha didn’t hesitate to rush to him and embrace him, and Koga sagged in his arms.
“You sure about this, pup?” he questioned softly. Koga did not want his young mate to go in to battle with him. Inuyasha was pupped and he was desperately worried about him. He had told the inu as much and had nearly been walloped again for his troubles.
“Yes, Wolf,” Inuyasha huffed, “I’m going whether you like it or not so you better get used to it!”
Koga simply kissed him lightly on his forehead and ducked his head to his hair to breath in his scent.
“Then let us go and get our cubs back.”
Michinaga sat in his new chambers, at the window that looked over his new kingdom. They had settled in an old abandoned human temple, an early import from the mainland and a ready-made home for him and his small tribe to grow and flourish, to become an even greater tribe than the Northern Wolf tribe. Soon the demon world would look to the Island wolf tribe as the most powerful of the wolf clans, and perhaps in the future, they could even take over the rule of the Western Lands from those despicable dogs.
But that was in the future.
For now, Michinaga looked out at the crumbling settlement and planned his greatness.
For months, he had been secretly sending out scouts from the caves for a prime spot to settle all of the upstanding wolves who refused to bow to a half-breed and wanted to follow him in being part of a proper tribe again. Michinaga had been delighted when the searches had finally bore fruit and they reported of a northern island with fairly intact ruins of a temple complex. Half of their work would be done for them, with no need to build a home. It just needed a little fixing up, which they were going to need to rush.
They needed to be prepared for battle. The Elder knew that the Northern Wolf Chief and his hanyou whore were not going to let them go without a fight. Especially since they now had the princes and princess to ensure their legitimacy.
At the thought of them, Michinaga turned to smile toothily at the four cubs that whimpered in their small wooden enclosure in the corner of the room.
“Shhh, little ones. You are safe now. I will take care of you,” he crooned, “You are finally in your rightful place, here as the future leaders of this glorious new tribe. You will take over from your mother and, with my guidance, we will be Great!”
He walked over to the shaking cubs and reached through the wooden bars to run his fingers through Kozue’s soft auburn hair. So like her mother’s, the Elder thought.
“But you must be strong, little ones; you must be strong or be cut away. Weakness will not be tolerated and you will be cast off if you cannot handle greatness. You will be- YOW!” Michinaga, so caught up in his half-crazed rantings, yelped in surprise when pig-tailed cub had finally grown tired of being petted and bitten the elder.
“Why you little-,” Michinaga growled.
“Sir!” a guard appeared in the doorway, “Sir, there’s some confusion between the other Elders and they asked me to come request your presence.”
Michinaga straightened and smoothed his robes. He glared down his nose at the still shaking and whimpering cubs, before sweeping out of the rooms.
The cubs huddled tighter together as the pain of the stretched bond racked through them. They knew that they were far from their ‘Yassa and their Papa. It hurt to be so far from them, to be without their strong arms to run to and soothing scents. Squirt’s insides squirmed with an echo of anguish and he let out a high pitched and pain filled howl. His brothers and sister soon followed suit, releasing howls that called out to their protectors and conveyed all of their fear and ache, hoping their family would answer soon.
DAMN YOU WOLVES! Inuyasha thought in exasperation, have to fucking run everywhere!
Inuyasha huffed with breathlessness as he ran beside Koga. He wanted to yell it out loud and let these damn wolves know exactly what he thought of them, and would have if he had had the breath to do so. They were leading the force of nearly a hundred wolves who had volunteered to fight up to the northern coast where the trail indicated the rouge group had gone. Weighed down with his sword and pregnant, Inuyasha cursed these run-happy wolves with every obscenity he could remember ever hearing in his 200 plus years of life.
On the other hand, he could feel through the bond that they were nearing the cubs. They had not yet crossed the limit and therefore alleviated the pounding pressure in his chest, but the knowledge that they were getting closer helped to sooth his nerves- that, and all the swearing.
Just then, the wolves began to slow as their surroundings began to change. They had been running full speed under the cover and camouflage of the thick trees of the forest. Now the trees and underbrush began to thin as they approached the coast.
Inuyasha bent over and braced his hands on his knees as he fought to catch his breath while the wolves scouted the coastline.
“That must be it,” Hakkaku announced, pointing into the distant horizon. The island was clearly visible only just off the coast. “Should be able to cross easily when the tide goes down, eh Chief?”
Koga’s eyes were narrowed and determined as he stared at the land. From his position, he could make out the half crumbled stone and steeply curved eaves of the ancient Chinese temple buildings outlined in the waning sunlight. He gave a curt nod at his lieutenant’s words and settled to wait on a washed up log. He beckoned Inuyasha to sit next to him and the hanyou plopped down beside him.
“You damn (huff) wolves (huff) and your (huff) fucking running!” Inuyasha ranted breathlessly.
Hakkaku smothered an amused smile, while Ginta lost his battle with his mirth and chuckled. Soon the other wolves joined him until they were all shaking with laughter. It hadn’t been that funny but it neatly broke the rising tension in the group of warriors as they sat to wait for the tide to go out.
A few hours later, they were rested, fed, and watered. The wolves picked themselves up and prepared to take to the shallows under the cover of darkness. They slowly waded into the water that, at its deepest, only came to their shins. There were so many of them that they had to move slowly in order to minimize splashing and therefore alerting their enemies of their approach.
Luck, or rather the rogue wolves’ lack of planning, was on their side. The old temple was poorly positioned as a defensive post and unfortified. The buildings were spread apart and there were clearly not enough wolves to spare to stand sentry. Reaching the inner gardens was easy.
Koga’s sharp eyes noted the positions of all of the few guards that were patrolling the grounds and motioned for some of his men to station themselves in strategic spots for when battle began. Others would infiltrate the homes of the Elders. He and Inuyasha wanted to get in, grab the cubs, kill the fucker that thought he could kidnap them and get away with it, and get out, but they were prepared, and had whipped themselves up into a blood-thirsty frenzy, for a vicious battle.
Inuyasha was veritably frothing at the mouth to get this started now that he had finally crossed the limit of the bond. He knew the cubs would be feeling much better- as did he- but that in no way lessened his rage. He could feel his demon blood boiling within his veins, calling out for the pain of his enemies. It was a feeling that had been tempered and suppressed while he lived among humans- a survival instinct when living among those who would have turned him away, through violence or banishment, and therefore decreasing his resources for food, comfort, and companionship- but was released now that he fought beside warrior demons who, too, reveled in spilling blood in vengeance.
Koga crouched in front of him, pressing himself tight against the outer wall of the main building with one hand lightly pressing Inuyasha against the wall in the same manner. They inched themselves to the door way before Koga stole a glance into the darkened entrance way. Once it was determined that no one seemed to be watching the place, Koga and Inuyasha stealthily made their way inside.
Really it was Koga who worked stealthily. Inuyasha, balance upset due to the new weight around his stomach, was quite a bit less so.
Not that it mattered much. It really was pathetic how bad the security was on this place. In Inuyasha’s opinion, it was just another way these wolves had become sissified, living fat and happy in their caves without much reason to work at survival. He planned to suggest to Koga, when they got back, to beef up the training on the tribe’s cubs!
They were bent in a crouch as they scurried through the inner temple and Inuyasha’s admiration of the wolf’s completely silent steps was momentarily distracted on the ascent up the narrow stairs by the view of Koga’s firm backside and the hope that his fur might slip just a little bit higher...
Koga paused on the landing as he thought he heard the rustle of movement. He looked back to confer with his mate only to be met with a slightly glassy stare directed intently at his derriere. He smirked roguishly and gave a little wiggle causing Inuyasha to exhale in a silent moan. Koga chuckled breathily before braking Inuyasha out of his little trance and getting back to business.
Inuyasha nodded his understanding of Koga’s signaled plan and waited for the ookami to get into position. He stood up from his crouch and silently reached the shut door from where the sounds were coming from. Without warning Inuyasha slammed into the room, hoping to take the person inside by surprise. Before the wolf could move, Inuyasha had the tip of his sword under the wolf’s chin.
Michinaga’s movements were suddenly halted as the sound of the door crashing in and the icy feel of sharp metal pricked at the underside of his chin. His eyes, crossed from trying to see the end of the sword, fixed on the intruder and, even in his precarious position, he could not hold back the disgusted sneer from crossing his face.
“Hanyou!” he snarled.
“Old man,” Inuyasha drawled, trying to cover his confusion. As far as the inu had known, the Elder was trying to help Koga. He still considered the Elder’s urging him to leave was justified, and thought the Elder only wished to better the tribe, but as the ookami kept talking, he realized that was far from the case.
“Respect your betters, hanyou!” Michinaga backed from the sword’s tip, regaining his composure.
From a corner of the room, whimpers could be heard emanating from a small wooden cage. Inuyasha’s eyes flashed in anger at the site of his cubs imprisoned and frightened. Their sobbing voices called out to their ‘Yassa, immediately recognizing his gruff voice.
“So you’re the idiot who had the balls to take our cubs, huh?” Inuyasha growled.
“They are NOT your cubs, you creatin!” the Elder barked. His voice turned oily as he informed Inuyasha, “With the coming of your little abominations, there was no reason my dear Ayame’s progeny should have to remain behind and continue to be tainted by your filth, to be relegated to living under the rule of the little monsters growing inside of you!”
“That was a mistake,” announced Koga, who had silently maneuvered into the room while Inuyasha distracted the rambling old wolf.
Michinaga had not even had time to pause in his speech to assimilate the fact that there was another in the room with them. Before he could draw breath to continue informing the hanyou of his great plans for the cubs and his new tribe, blood gurgled up from his throat. His hands went to his neck and he scratched frantically at the clawed hand that dug deeply into his throat.
Koga squeezed the life out of the crazed wolf, his eyes bleeding red in bloodlust and anger. The old wolf’s warm blood pumped over his clenched hand slower and slower until it stopped. Koga carelessly dropped the wolf’s carcass to the floor with a thud.
Well that was anticlimactic, thought Koga.
Michinaga may have been done well manipulating those in power, but the man was sorely lacking in understanding all of the aspects of truly leading a large group of people. The older wolf had no grasp on security, and defeating him had been absurdly easy.
“The hell, Koga! I wanted a piece of him too!” Inuyasha growled, only just barely resisting the temptation to stop his foot in a pout.
“Well if you shut up and help me with the cubs, we might be able to help take out the others,” Koga grinned wolfishly.
“Bastard!” Inuyasha huffed and kneeled down to unlock the pen that held their cubs.
“’Yassa!” Kozue cried and buried her face into her inu’s chest, while Squirt nearly strangled Inuyasha as he wrapped his arms around the inu’s neck and pressed their cheeks together
“Papa!” Kingo sobbed, latching onto Koga’s armor. He was immediately followed by a crying Kaishi, who nearly bounced back off of the older ookami with the force of his embrace.
Much sobbing and teary babbling occurred, while the two older demons shushed and soothed them.
Inuyasha couldn’t deny that he was itching to race into battle and tell the rogue wolves exactly how he felt about their decision to steal his family away, via the sharp side of his blade. But as he knelt beside his mate, who pulled him closer, and held his cubs in his arms, breathing them in and soaking up the feeling of warm contentment that only came when holding his family close, he had to admit that this wasn’t half bad either.