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I am Alpha

I am Alpha

1st book of Alpha Pack Mates

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: Inuyasha and all of it's characters are property of the brilliant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them. Only the story belongs to me.

Summary: It matters not if you are youkai or ningen, if you're male or female, young or old, weak or strong, no it matters not in the end. All that matters is who is Alpha and who isn't. Brothers fighting for dominance, mikos fighting for control, who will end on top, who will have to submit? What's an Inu pack to do when there are far too many Alphas?

Pairings: Inuyasha/Kikyou, Sango/Miroku, slight Sesshoumaru/Kagome.

Follows: The Anime and movies.

"spoken" 'thought' (translations)

AN: Okies a couple of things to go over. One of my reviewers mentioned Kagome's dad and Naraku teaming up and just want to say this is NOT going to happen. As I mentioned in my notes for the prologue her father is only mentioned he is in fact NOT in the fic. It will explain in this chapter why he is not in case anyone was wondering.

Another cliché that might seem to be happening in this one deals with Inuyasha and Kikyou becoming mates, however, (I really got to stop saying however I use it too much lol) from what I've seen in Sesshoumaru/Kagome stories, seeing as I don't read Inuyasha/Kikyou stories, it always has Inuyasha figuring out after that he really wanted to be with Kagome or Kikyou betraying him, this will NOT be happening.

For those who read The Path We Walk, and if you haven't you should check it out :P, know I try really hard to keep Sesshoumaru IC and have to mention that in this story, for some chapters, he is slightly OOC, and I do mean slightly. I will explain the reasoning so do not worry. And it won't be much, mainly just showing more emotion around certain people.

Edited 2/14/08

Chapter 1:

"Are you ready?" Inuyasha wondered as we came upon Kaede's hut and he stopped outside. I knew he was referring to the questions that were no doubt going to be asked by our friends late into the night and I had to pause to ask myself the same thing.

Deciding I would never truly be ready I nodded my head yes, figuring it was better to just get it over with. He paused a moment longer glancing over at me, trying to give some unspoken support and walked into the hut. Following in after him, I glanced around the room until my eyes fell on Souta. He was still sleeping peacefully where I had left him.

Next my eyes found Shippo, he was curled up asleep with Kirara near the small fire in the middle of the room. On the opposite side were Sango, Kaede and Miroku sipping on tea and having a quiet conversation. Their heads turned to us as we walked in and Sango gave me a sad smile.

Inuyasha set the bag he was carrying against the wall and as he started going through it I figured he was looking for some ramen to make himself, and when he pulled out the package I found I was correct. Well for about a moment I was, at least until he turned and handed me the ramen. You know how they say you shouldn't feed stray dogs cause they will follow you home, I wonder if that works for inu hanyou as well. (dog half demon)

Shaking my head, I set my bag down next to his and took the ramen, heading over to the fire to begin making it. I could tell by the fact that their eyes hadn't left me since I walked in and they were practically holding their breaths, that the three were waiting for me to start. Taking a deep breath I dived right in...

"Okaa-san and jii-chan were shot, most likely execution style if what I've seen in the movies are correct. From the looks of it, Jii-chan was most likely sleeping when it happened and okaa-san was drinking tea. I get the impression a silencer was used since neither seemed to have gotten up from their seats." I was thankful for all of the mob movies I had seen since at least I could partly understand what had happened.

"I left a note so people would know that I had Souta and that he was safe and to tell his school he wouldn't be back. I packed up anything we might need including winter and traditional clothing and his toys. We are pretty much here permanently other than when I need to cross back over for a supply run." I kept my eyes on the ramen while speaking as I did not want to see the looks in their eyes, I knew if I did I would start crying and wasn't sure if I would ever stop.

I gave them a few seconds of silence, knowing they would figure out that it is time for questions and sure enough Miroku picked up on it and so the game of 20 questions began. "Shot? Silencer?"

"Shot means a gun was used," I thought for a moment and realized I had never explained what a gun was, "it's like a crossbow that uses stuff like the Chinese black powder and instead of arrows it shoots small cylinders of metal." Truthfully I wasn't even sure if they knew about the black powder yet but since no one questioned it I decided it didn't matter. "And a silencer is a cylinder you add to the end of the gun so when you shoot it, it's as quiet as shooting an arrow rather than the big bang there normally is."

"Do you really think it was your father?" Sango asked after a moment and I wondered if it was good or bad that she had been the one to ask this question. She knew what it was like to have members of your family killed by one of your own and I didn't wish for her to relive it. But on the other hand since she knew, she understood what it was like for me.

"I won't know for sure until I talk to Souta but from the looks of things he was correct." I paused for a moment to dish up the ramen and handed the bowl to Inuyasha and risking a glance around, I see that everyone is confused. "When my mother was pregnant with Souta, I was about 6 or 7 years old, our father was arrested in connection with a string of homicides where the victim was shot execution style, or to the forehead. The police believed he was connected to the Tokyo Mob and I found out years later due to a school report that he was in fact one of the leaders."(1)

"School report?" Inuyasha mumbled over his bowl, or at least I think that was what he said as it was hard to hear when he had his mouth full of noodles.

"One year my class had to do a report on our fathers and while researching him I found out that he was convicted of the murders and he was in fact one of the mob's leaders. This was also when I learned how the victims were killed as I was too young to be told before hand. Well needless to say my teacher allowed me to do a report on jii-chan instead."

"Wasn't jii-chan your father's father?" Inuyasha wondered a bit confused.

"Yes but from what I've gathered, between what I remember and the few times I've heard okaa-san and jii-chan talking about him, when they found out he was in the mob both of them turned their backs on him. My mother had two kids she couldn't put into danger because of his lifestyle and jii-chan was a very proud and honorable man. He was a bit odd in his later years, but he didn't believe in violence among humans and I remember whenever anything came on the news about the mob he would practically spit at them. I guess I understand that a little bit better now."

I thought back on all of the times jii-chan was around when the mob or anyone like them were brought up either on tv or in conversations and it made more sense now that I think about it. "Where does this leave ye in your search for shards?" Kaede brought us out of our thoughts and all eyes turned to her as if no one else had thought about that question.

"I will have to stay here a bit longer than planned to get him settled in, but after I will be going with the others. Things will be much safer once Naraku is gone and far too many people have things riding on his end to stop my responsibility." Inuyasha waiting to be able to mate Kikyou, Miroku waiting to be able to marry Sango, Sango waiting to be able to either save her brother or help him to find peace, Kikyou's death being avenged, Kouga's people being avenged...yes there was far too much riding on this.

"If you wouldn't mind Kaede, I would like for you to watch over him until after the battle and since all of the shards are gather we are just waiting for Naraku to stop hiding so we can have our final battle." A quick nod from her gave me my answer and I turned my attention to Inuyasha. "I know you are not going to want to stick around a village for too long so after the new moon if you want to go back out searching for him or demons causing trouble go ahead."

It was easy to tell that he was wanting to just say 'feh' at that moment but he restrained himself and instead gave me a slight nod. "Would you like me to stay with you Kagome-chan?"

"While I am sure I will need your help later, for now I think it would be best if I did this alone Sango-chan. Although no doubt Shippo will wish to stay with me, but I don't want to try and get him used to too many people at once. And someone has to go to keep Miroku in line." I joked to help lighten up the room a bit.

Sango thought about it for a moment before sending a glare to Miroku, who had decided he would prove my words true by groping Sango's behind, earning him a well placed bowl to his head. Inuyasha rolled his eyes at them before turning back to me. "You should get some sleep Kagome." I smiled and gave him a quick nod before getting up and heading toward my sleeping bag.

As I crawled in next to Souta and wrapped my arms around him, I wondered how long this 'nice' Inuyasha would last.

The sun was just beginning to rise as I felt someone lightly shaking my shoulder and opened my sleep crusted eyes to find Inuyasha leaning over me. I blinked at him in question and he nodded toward the fire. 'Ah breakfast.' I realized and gave him a small nod as I reached up to wipe the sleep from my eyes. Looking down at the warm body laying next to me, I saw that Souta was still asleep. After kissing him lightly on the forehead, I crawled out of the sleeping bag and stretched.

Looking around I saw that the others were still sleeping and wondered why Inuyasha had woken me up instead of one of them for breakfast and got my answer after walking out of the hut with a pot for water. "How are you doing Kagome?" So he had wanted a chance to speak with me.

"For now I'm okay, Souta will need me too much for me to be able to break down now. And as long as I can keep busy I should be able to keep my mind off of everything long enough to start healing." I replied as I looked over at him with a smile before continuing on to the river.

"What I said on the other side of the well still stands." Inuyasha reminded me as I leaned down to put the pot into the water and fill it up. Whatever I would have responded to him, which even I wasn't sure what it would have been, was cut off as a scream pierced the morning air from the direction of the hut.

"Souta!" I cried as I dropped the pot on the bank and broke into a run toward the hut with Inuyasha hot on my heels. I reached the hut quickly and threw the bamboo covering out of my way and found Souta huddled in a corner crying, the others on the other side of the hut. "Souta!" I called out as I started making my way toward him.

"Onee-chan!" Souta screamed as he jumped from his spot on the floor and threw himself into my arms, knocking be back on my butt. He continued to cry and as I held him close to my body I could feel the shakes running through him.

"What happened?" I whispered to the others as I looked over his head at them while running my fingers through his hair.

"He woke up and started screaming. He ran into the corner and started crying for you." Sango replied, speaking as quietly as I had. I nodded to her and the others as I picked up Souta and moved us back to my sleeping bag. "I'll make breakfast." Sango informed us and I could hear Inuyasha telling her where I had left the pot but was to busy with Souta to pay too much attention to it.

"Shh Souta I'm here." I whispered into his hair as I began rocking him back and forth in my arms. I could feel his shaking stop and his crying turned into more whimpering than wailing but he didn't stop completely. "What's wrong Souta?"

"You weren't here onee-chan! I woke up and you weren't here just like...just like..." he was unable to finish as his sobbing grew in force again, causing him to shake against me.

"Shh Souta I'm not going anywhere. I was just at the river getting water for breakfast. Shh it's okay, onee-chan is here little one." I whispered into his hair as I kissed him lightly on the top of his head. I continued rocking him as one of my hands reached behind and began rubbing circles on his back in hopes of calming him down.

I could hear the others starting to go about their day, Miroku meditating, Kaede checking her supplies of herbs, Sango returning with the pot of water and starting breakfast, Inuyasha going through my bag, no doubt about to ask Sango to make him ramen instead of whatever she was making for the rest of us, and Shippo was...

Well apparently Shippo was standing right next to us quietly sniffing Souta. Seems Souta noticed the kitsune (fox) as well as he turned in my lap to look down at the little youkai (demon). "What are you doing?" Souta questioned softly, confusion evident in his features.

"Learning your scent." Shippo replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, but apparently he noticed Souta was still confused since he continued. "It's kind of like a greeting in this case. Kind of like, what did Kagome call it? Oh yeah shaking hands. This way if I ever smell you again I will know it's you and it's good for finding you again. I don't know how else to explain it."

"Souta once a youkai knows your scent, it's forever stored in their memory. It's a way for youkai to figure out who is friend or foe without having to see them. Such as if you were coming up behind them they would know not to attack if you were a friend." Inuyasha explained in a rare moment of wisdom causing everyone in the hut to go quiet. "What? I'm not stupid you know." Inuyasha huffed.

Whatever anyone was going to say was stopped when Souta turned back to Shippo and sniffed him as well. I glanced up at Inuyasha and found him fighting to hold back laughter. "You smell like chocolate." Souta decided after a moment causing the group to laugh.

"Shippo did you get into candy again before breakfast?" I questioned with raised eyebrows as I looked down at him. He shook his head and pulled a candy bar that was in one of his unseen pockets and showed me was unopened. I smiled and leaned down, kissing him on the forehead as he put the candy back away.

"Well I guess it's time to introduce everyone." I decided after a moment as Sango began passing out breakfast before starting to make Inuyasha's ramen. "Inuyasha you already know. The little kityoukai (young fox demon) is Shippo. The nekoyoukai (cat demon) is Kirara. The houshi (monk) is Miroku. The taijiya (slayer) is Sango. And the miko (priestess) in the back is Lady Kaede. And this of course is my younger brother Souta."

Everyone gave their greetings and went back to eating. Inuyasha, as always, was finished before the rest of us and without anyone saying anything I knew he was being paged. Inuyasha had set his bowl down and began sniffing the air and looking toward the door. Shippo sniffed as well and turned toward me with sympathy filled eyes. "Go Inuyasha." He glanced over at me with a smile and was out the door.

"Kagome-chan?" Sango questioned and I glanced up to find everyone staring at me strangely. I flashed them a smile as I took mine and Souta's bowls and handed them back to Sango.

"After we defeat Naraku Inuyasha and Kikyou are going to become mates." I explained and could tell from their intake of breaths that they were not expecting me to say that, especially so calmly. Waving off their 'are you okay' looks I continued, "She's not taking him to hell, I couldn't be more happy."

The group took a few minutes to go over this and it was Sango who broke the silence. "Kagome-chan would you like to go to the springs?" I knew she wanted to talk about things and make sure I was really okay and thought about turning it down but figured that would make her worry even more. Then I realized one small problem with it...

"I don't want to leave Souta and he's a bit too old to go in with us." I replied deciding I had found a way out of it without having to cause any more problems, but seems Souta didn't see it that way.

"I'll be okay as long as Shippo stays." Souta insisted and I wasn't sure I should be happy that he was already making friends with my little kit or annoyed that he took away my escape route. But the more I thought I about it I realized Sango may see a bit of her brother in mine and need someone to talk to herself and while I can push off talking to people about my own problems, the same can not be said when it is theirs.

So with a quick nod I set Souta completely on the floor, as he had eaten his breakfast while still half in my lap, and got up to gather my bathing supplies. "If you get scared Souta just yell for Inuyasha, he will hear you and be here in a moment." I assure him as I look back over at him. His response is an 'I am not a baby' look which I ignore and turn to Shippo. "You know what to do if Miroku tries to leave." At his nod I turn and follow Sango out.

"So what has Kagome told you about us?" Shippo wondered after a moment as he pulled out his candy bar and broke off a piece handing it to Souta before taking a piece for himself.

"I think onee-chan pretty much told me everything about you guys and your adventures. Although something tells me she left out the more dangerous parts because of..." Souta stopped mid sentence and Shippo could smell the tears already beginning to gather in his eyes.

Shippo glanced over at Miroku in a silent plea for his help and sighed in relief when the houshi caught on. "What did Lady Kagome tell you about me?" Miroku asked gaining Souta's attention and bringing his mind away from his pain.

"She said you were a hentai." Souta replied without thinking, causing everyone save for Miroku to bust up laughing. Miroku on the other hand, feigned an innocent look, which no one, including Souta, bought.

"So what happened with my reincarnation?" Kikyou inquired bitterly as she shrugged off Inuyasha's embrace. He stood stunned for a moment, unsure how they went from saying they loved each other to talking about Kagome.

"Do not call her that and her mother and grandfather were killed. She's started to look after her younger brother now." Inuyasha informed her, deciding it was best to leave most of the details out as he wasn't sure what she would do with them. He trusted her to become his mate rather than taking him to hell with her, but he still didn't trust her when it came to Kagome.

"It's what she is isn't it?" Kikyou spat back at him knowing it would annoy him and hoping she could get him into a spot where he had to chose between them, knowing he would chose her.

"That doesn't matter. It maybe what she is but it's not who she is." Inuyasha insisted as he turned his back on her, ready to walk away until she decided to be in a better mood.

"You spend too much time with her as it is and now even when we are together she always seems to be on your mind!" Kikyou practically screamed at him, her fury evident in her voice.

"Damn it Kikyou!" Inuyasha yelled turning back around to face her. "Get over this petty jealousy you have for Kagome. She knows we are going to be mates and even congratulated me on it. She is my friend and I am not about to turn my back on her just because you can't trust me! So stop this 'I'm a clay bitch' routine and start acting like the Kikyou I fell in love with over 50 years ago!"

With that he was rushing off through the woods back toward the village. He knew he shouldn't have yelled at her like that, but with her constantly bad mouthing Kagome, the deaths of two of his friends and tonight being the new moon, it was just more than he could take.

Kikyou watched him go deciding that maybe causing him to chose between the two wouldn't work. Not that he would chose Kagome over her, no she wasn't worried about that. More that he just wouldn't chose all together. Shaking her head, she allowed her soul stealers to lift her into the air and head off deeper into the forest.

"This feels so good." I moaned as I leaned back against the rocks surrounding the hot springs as Sango sighed happily next to me. "So what did you want to talk about?" Again I decided to dive right in to conversation, I seem to be doing that a lot lately and wonder if I'm starting a trend.

"Let's see, are you really okay with Inuyasha and Kikyou becoming mates?" Sango questioned and some how I wasn't surprised this was her first question as this was probably the biggest thing with the group as a whole at the moment.

"Yeah I am. I've had plenty of time to warm up to the idea and while I still love Inuyasha very much, I can already feel it starting to turn into family love rather than romantic. As much as I dreamed of it, I know Inuyasha and I would never work. I would never truly know if he saw me or Kikyou staring back at him. I know where you are coming from though, to tell you the truth I thought it would hurt a lot more than this but all I feel is happy that he is finally getting something he waited over 50 years for.

“I believe he deserves better as she is not what she used to be and even then she wanted him to change for her, but I don't think Inuyasha would ever want to do better. But this way we all win, Inuyasha gets the love of his life back in it, Kikyou gets to be the normal woman she wanted to be 50 years ago, well mostly anyways, and I get to keep my best friend. Something tells me with Kikyou it's either this or dragging him to hell and I would much rather gain a sister than lose a brother."

"You really see him as a brother?" Sango inquired after a moment of silence. It took me a moment to realize I had indeed called him my brother.

"Yeah I guess I do. Maybe that's why this is so easy cause I see it as my brother finding happiness rather than losing to a rival in love." I smiled at this and wondered how Inuyasha would take to me thinking of him as a brother. Seeing as he spent most of his life without any true family around him he might take it as a good thing, however, he might also see me as another Sesshoumaru. Though I doubt even Inuyasha would be able to confuse me with the taiyoukai (demon lord).

"Speaking of brothers, what are you going to do about Souta?" Sango wondered after a moment, bringing my attention back to the present.

"For now he will just be staying with Kaede since it will be too dangerous out there for him with Naraku still around. I don't plan on giving him anything else he can use against us. Once he's defeated I was thinking about settling down in the village, having a hut of my own built, and training to be the next miko for when Kaede's ready to retire."

Neither of us bothered to correct me seeing as Kaede wouldn't retire but would have to pass away in order for me to become the next miko, and I said a silent prayer that she still had awhile to go left still seeing as I still had a lot I needed to learn and we all still needed her.

I went to ask Sango about her own brother but the look in her eyes told me she was already thinking of him and I didn't think she wanted me to bring it up at the moment. Deciding she would mention him if she wished to talk about him, I leaned back farther into the springs and allowed the steam to clear my mind.

We arrived back at the hut about the same time as Inuyasha and by the look on his face I could tell his meeting didn't go well again. I filed the thought away to ask him about later as I stepped into the hut and was rushed by Souta. "Onee-chan what did you do about Buyo?"

'Ah crap!' I thought, mentally smacking myself since I had forgotten all about the cat. Ignoring his question and pleading face I turned toward Inuyasha. "If I go back I might run into problems with the police. Would you mind grabbing him, his carrier and supplies and bringing him to Ayumi? I know she won't turn him away."

"How do I find her?" Inuyasha wondered and it took me a moment to realize with it being so close to his human time he wouldn't be able to sniff her out.

"She'll be at the high school. She told me she was taking some cram classes there this summer before going to college. Something about extra college credits." I was thankful I had at least listened to that much before I tuned out my friends last time I had seen them.

As he started to leave I stopped him by calling out his name. "Please hurry back, I don't want you out after dark." I needn't say anymore, both of us knew how vulnerable he was on his human night. A quick nod and he was out the door.

Looking around the room I notice most were fidgeting, Souta because he was worried about Buyo and the others because of Inuyasha. Deciding just sitting around to stew in our worries wouldn't do us any good I figured it would be best to set some worries aside. "Miroku would you mind waiting by the well until Inuyasha gets back?"

"Of course Lady Kagome, good idea." Miroku replied, not even bothering to think about it as he grabbed his staff and was out the door. Looking over at Souta, I decided to get him up and moving to keep his mind off of our cat.

"Souta will you take a walk with me?" He thought about it for a moment before nodding and heading out the door. I glanced around giving the others a bright smile to let them know everything was okay and followed him out.

"Hey onee-chan? What's going to happen to us now?" Souta wondered after a moment as we started walking down a dirt path leading to the river nearby.

"We are going to be staying on this side of the well for good. It's no longer safe for us on the other side, which is something I never thought I would say." I realize the last part of that was more to me than to him but seeing as he didn't mention it I decided to continue, "Until we defeat Naraku it won't be safe for you to travel with us as he will try to use you against us and I will not put you in that kind of danger.

“You will be staying with Kaede until after the final battle and then I am planning on living in the village. They will need a new miko at some point and so I will be training to take over for Kaede. I brought over everything you should need but if I missed anything or when we need more supplies I will be going back to get them so just let me know what you need." I explained as we reached the edge of the river and I sat down taking off my sandals and socks to put my feet in the cool water.

Turning toward Souta I noticed he had done the same and once he was comfortable I decided it was time to bring up a more difficult topic. "Souta how did you know it was father at the shrine? You've never met him and to my knowledge haven't even seen a photo of him."

"When I got home from playing soccer in the park, I heard Buyo meowing in the well house, seems he had gotten himself stuck again. I went in to get him but he had gotten into the bottom of the well and it took me a while to climb down the stairs after him." Souta began and I realized it had probably taken him so long because he was scared. I remembered the last time Buyo had gone in there and all that had happened because of that, but pushed it back since I didn't have time to think about it now.

"Well by the time I finally got him and climbed back up, at least 30 minutes had passed, I was worried that okaa-san would be mad at me for being in there and opened the well house door quietly, hoping I could get out of there before she spotted me. When I heard talking outside I stopped thinking it was okaa-san and jii-chan trying to find me but when I looked over I saw to strange men standing outside of the house.

“The one wearing a business suit turned to the other and said 'find my daughter Kagome and my son Souta' and I almost ran up to him before I saw the gun under his jacket. After they left I went inside to ask okaa-san what was going on and I saw...I saw..." I threw my arms around him and pulled him into my lap as I began rocking him back and forth again.

"I called the police...'sob'...and hid in the well house...'sob'...since I knew you would be there at some point." Souta whispered, his voice cracking under the emotion.

"Souta I wasn't supposed to be back for about a month. And why didn't you want the cops to know where you were?" I knew I would have to end this conversation soon but wanted to get all of the answers now so I wouldn't have to force him to live through all of this again later.

"I was praying you would come back and asking the well to bring you back. It worked last time when I needed to get Inuyasha." Souta explained as he regained some control over his sobbing. It took me a moment to realize he was referring to the time the Noh mask showed up at the temple. "And I was afraid you would come back with no one to tell you what had happened and might even think that I was...and wouldn't come back for me and I would be all alone."

I 'shh'ed him as his sobbing renewed and pulled him tight against me, running my fingers through his hair. "It's okay little one I won't ask anything more." I swore as I kissed his forehead and turned my gaze off across the river as I continued to rock him in my arms.

Inuyasha could tell he didn't have long, maybe a few hours, before he turned into a human. Already he was losing his sense of smell, taking over five minutes to find Buyo, who had been hiding under the couch. Holding the cat under one arm, he walked toward the hall closest, where Kagome had told him the carrying case would be, and began searching for it.

He found it quickly and placed Buyo in it before latching the door closed and setting it down by the front door. Grabbing a backpack he had seen in the closest, he walked into the kitchen to gather his food, litter, and treats.

Walking back into the front room, he gathered up a few of the toys he found laying around on the floor and tossed them into the bag with the rest. He threw the bag over his shoulders, grabbed the cat and headed out the door. Taking to the trees, he quickly made his way toward the school.

When he reached it, about 15 minutes later, he set the case down near the building and jumped into a nearby tree. Thankfully there was only one classroom with lights on, making it easier to find her since his senses had started to dull. Glancing in the window he spotted her tapping her pencil on the desk and began waving his hand to try and get her attention.

Ayumi sighed in boredom, she had already finished her test for cram school but still had about 20 minutes left before the class let out. Glancing around the room, she tried to find something to get her mind off of the time but found herself looking at the clock again.

Sighing once again, she turned her attention toward the window hoping that the nature outside would give her something to concentrate on and almost fell out of her chair. Outside in the tree was a figure in red with long, white hair waves his arms. She only knew of one person who looked like that and if it was him, maybe he would know how Kagome was doing.

She gave him a quick nod, hoping he would understand and turned her attention back to the teacher. "Sensei (teacher) I have finished my test may I use the restroom?" The teacher nodded and held out a pass for her. Walking up to the front of the room, she grabbed the pass with a smile and headed out of the classroom.

Once she reached the hallway she took off in a run towards the stairs, knowing there would be no one around to get caught by running in the halls. Throwing open the door, she stood face to face with a boy she had already met once before at Kagome's.

"Is she safe? Where is she? Is her brother okay? Has she heard what happened? Why do you have a cat carrier?"

"Yes. Can't tell you. Yes. Yes. Kagome wants you to watch the cat since she can't take it where she is." Inuyasha replied, hoping he answered all of the questions.

"Oh okay, class gets out in about 15 minutes, if you can wait for me I can take Buyo for you. My mom won't mind me bringing him home since she's used to it. Been bringing homes strays every since I decided I wanted to be a vet." Ayumi explained, more to herself than to him before turning and heading back inside.

'What's a vet?' Inuyasha wondered as he walked over and sat down under the tree to wait for her class to get out. He didn't have long to wait as about 15 minutes later students came out of the doors and within a few minutes he had spotted Ayumi.

Taking the carrier and bag from him she warned, "Keep Kagome away from any form of news if you can. The story has been on the front page since it happen and her and her brother's faces are all over the tv."

"Don't worry I will." Inuyasha assured her as he turned to go.

"Give Kagome our love!" Ayumi called after him before turning and heading toward her home while he went the other way back toward the shrine and well.

It was late that night and I couldn't sleep. I had finally gotten the boys to sleep less than an hour ago and the others were asleep as well. Other than Inuyasha that is. Glancing over at him I found him staring at me, his violet eyes widened when he saw me looking at him. I wanted to roll my eyes when he glanced away quickly.

Crawling out of the sleeping bag, glad I had gotten an extra large one when my old one ripped or it would never have been big enough for three, I walked quietly over to Inuyasha. He looked up at me in question as I stopped before him and in response I pointed to the door before walking outside.

Once outside, I began walking toward the god tree knowing he would follow me. It only took a few minutes to get there and I stopped in front of the tree turning back to him. He was still looking at me strangely but I just pointed up into the air. Picking me up bridal style, he jumped into the tree and settled on a high branch.

I remained in his lap with his arms around me and leaned against his chest. "I'm ready for that shoulder now." I whispered and could already feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Inuyasha grip around my waist tightened and he leaned his chin on the top of my head.

"It's all yours." he whispered back and as though the words were the cue, the tears began falling, leaving burning wet trails down my cheeks. He began making a low rubbling in his chest and I guessed it was meant to sooth since that was what it was doing to me. "Just let it all out Kagome."

Even through my tears I had to give a slight smile, he only used my name when he was being serious. If I was in trouble, hurt, or crying. Any other time it was wench or some less flattering names. "It's not fair." I mumbled quietly as I turned my head to bury it in his haori.

"No it's not. It never is." Inuyasha agreed as he ran his clawed fingers through my hair. I dawned on me how much he knew of what I was going through and wondered if he ever cried for his mother. I doubted it since it would make him look weak and his life has always depended on him being strong.

"You know the great thing about being up here? No one will ever know that tears were shed." I whispered knowing if I just flat out told he could cry he would just 'feh' and go on hurting with no release. I hoped that this way he might at least trust me enough and allow himself to mourn.

After a few minutes I figured he was ignoring me but when I was just about to speak again I felt wetness in my hair. I didn't dare turn to look at him knowing he would probably stop as he would not want even me to see him cry. I wondered if he cried for my mother or his but decided it was probably both.

"Why don't you want to go after your father?" Inuyasha questioned after a few minutes of silence.

"I would not be able to kill him. As evil as he is he is still my father. And I can only deal with one evil ruining my life at a time. I have always been able to stay strong for the group because I was on the outside looking in. Naraku has never effected me directly but my father would and does and I need to remain strong for the others especially now that Souta is here.

“Besides if I went after him his mob friends would probably go after my friends to get to me. And as strong as you are Inuyasha I don't want you going after him either. There would be guns involved and something tells me they are at least part of the reason there are no demons in my time. I will let the police handle it on that side while I live my life on this side."

He didn't say anything more just held me tighter against him and I could feel his breath on the top of my head. I knew he wouldn't sleep, he never does on his human night, and so I would be safe to fall asleep in his arms. As my eyes were drifting close I decided something else needed to be said while he was less likely to just 'feh' me. "You know I love you right Inuyasha? You are the greatest best friend a girl could ask for. I'm proud to have you as part of my family."

Just as I was drifting off I heard his whispered words, knowing if it wasn't the new moon he probably never would have answered as he did. "I love you too shisuta." (sister)

Inuyasha woke me just after dawn hoping to get back into the hut before the others woke but seems it was not to be as the moment we entered Sango and Miroku were running around getting their stuff together. "Rumor came in...Naraku-like miasma seen in village to the north...about a week old...ready to go in five minutes." I wasn't sure who said what as they were talking at the same time but we got the gist of it.

"Inuyasha can I stay here? Souta's not used to the village enough yet to leave him." I turned to him with my best 'puppy dog' eyes. He 'feh'ed but nodded his head and I smiled in reply. I wanted to hug him but figured he would get mad with the others around. "I'll get a bag ready for you guys."

I ran over to one of the backpacks and dumped it upside down sending the contents to the floor and began repacking it with ramen, cooking supplies and the first aid kit. Inuyasha raised his eyebrows at the kit and I knew he was about to say something like 'you think I'm so weak that I'm gonna get hurt wench?' and decided to cut him off. "In case Miroku or Sango get hurt."

He seemed to accept my reasoning and just responded with another 'feh', we really needed to work on his vocabulary. "Shippo stay here and protect Kagome." Inuyasha commanded as I handed him the bag. Shippo nodded vigorously, happy to have such an important job.

"Be careful you guys." I called after them as they started out of the and headed off into the horizon. Turning back to the others I decided to get their minds, and mine, off of them and with a smile asked, "Who's up for breakfast?"

It had only been a few hours since breakfast and already I could tell that Souta and Shippo were growing bored with not much to do around the small hut. The crayons, cars, game boy and other toys brought here for Souta had already been gone through and they were currently sitting against a wall in the hut sighing in boredom.

Racking my brain for anything for them to do, I remembered Kaede mentioning teaching Souta about herbs so he could help out while staying with her and decided it would at least help to pass some of the time. Standing up, I walked over and emptied out my yellow backpack and began packing things I might need.

"Get ready to head out you two." I called over my shoulder as I added ramen, what healing supplies I didn't send with Inuyasha, an extra quiver, my sleeping bag, a set of miko garbs, some clothes for Souta, the crayons and coloring books, a pot, a few bathing supplies including a couple of towels and a couple of packs of matches.

"Where are we going?" Souta wondered as he began putting on his shoes and lacing them up.

"Kaede would like you to have some knowledge of herbs so you can help out around here so I am going to teach you the basics. Kaede will have to show you what each are for and how to use them as I am still learning myself, but I can tell you what each are called and where to find them." I explained as I closed up my bag and threw it over my shoulders to be followed by my bow and quiver.

"Why are you bringing all of that stuff if we are just looking for herbs?" Souta wondered as I handed him an empty herb bag of Kaede's.

"You never know what could happen when you walk out that door." I began as Shippo jumped up onto my shoulder and I started out the door with Souta following. "I learned not long after coming here that you must always be prepared. Take extra food in case you get caught somewhere or you stumble upon someone who is hungry. Always have medical supplies for any injuries you come upon.

“Bring extra weapons, in my case arrows, in case I run out. Sleeping bag in case we get caught out and have to spend the night. Extra clothes in case something happens, it only takes one time of getting demon blood all over you without an extra set of clothes before you learn not to do it again. Matches of course to start a fire and the toys are for if you get bored while were stuck somewhere." I explained as we started the trek out of the village toward the forest surrounding it.

"But isn't all of that pointless if we aren't going to far?" Souta questioned, and I could easily hear the confusion in his voice. He didn't understand the first thing about this era and that was okay, I didn't expect him to know as much as I did seeing as I had been spending most of the last four years here and he had only just arrived.

"As the saying goes 'better safe than sorry'. You will learn quickly that it applies especially in this era." I replied glancing over my shoulder at him as we crossed into the forest and I reached my hand up to grip my bow, should it be needed at a moment's notice.

As we walked through the forest I could see Shippo keeping alert from his perch on my shoulder, every so often glancing or sniffing around sensing for any danger that might be heading our way. I was doing the same, well without the sniffing, but instead sending my power around us looking for any hint of a youkai nearby.

Souta seems oblivious as I pointed out herbs telling him their names or poisonous plants that he should stay away from. He seemed to be soaking everything up and once when I glance back, I noticed he was taking notes in a small note pad. I smiled at his forethought and wondered when he had grabbed it since I didn't see him.

I knew we were getting quite far away from the village and planned to turn around soon, but there was an herb I knew Kaede used for heat stroke that only grew in one area nearby and with the summer starting I knew she was going to be needing it.

Within five minutes we had reached the small field where the herb grew and I was pointing it out to Souta as he took notes and began picking some to add to the others in his bag as I felt Shippo tense. "What is it Shippo?"

"Youkai." he replied sniffing the air as his eyes glanced around the clearing.

"Where and how many?" I inquired as I pulled Souta behind me and took the bow off of my shoulder.

"They don't seem to have noticed us yet and there's about four of them. There's another problem though." Shippo informed me as he sniffed the air once again. I glanced over at him, as well as I could with him being on my shoulder and all, and raised my eyebrows in a look that said to continue. "There's a storm coming."

"Can we make it back to the village?" I questioned, not wanting to get caught in a storm with the two boys and four youkai nearby.

"No but there's a cave about five minutes from here. We use it sometimes when you are gone and Inuyasha feels restless in the village." Shippo explained as he pointed to our left. With a nod I re-shouldered the bow, grabbed Souta's hand and began walking in the direction he indicated. With any luck we would reach the cave before the storm hit and the rain would erase our scent so the youkai could no follow.

"Jaken." Sesshoumaru commanded after he had sensed two things he did not feel like dealing with at the moment. An incoming storm and a nearby youkai. No make that one thing he didn't want to deal with. Taking care of the youkai would get him an outlet for his frustrations. A week ago he had heard a rumor of Naraku being in the north but it had not panned out and since then not even the slightest whisper of the vile hanyou.

"Yes my lord?" Jaken replied as he bowed to the taiyoukai, low enough his nose was brushing against the dirt flooring of the forest.

"Take Rin to shelter nearby and await my return there." With this said, Sesshoumaru took off in the direction of the youkai he felt already flexing his claws.

"Where did Lord Sesshoumaru go?" Rin wondered from her seat in Ah-Un's saddle as she glanced over at the toad youkai.

"I do not know, now be quiet." Jaken mumbled as he grabbed the reins and started leading them toward the cave Sesshoumaru had spoken of, wondering yet again why, with all of the things he could be doing for his lord, he was reduced to babysitting.

"Looks like we just made it." I mentioned with a small laugh as we entered the cave but a moment before the rain began pouring down outside. Sending my power into the cave I noticed no youki (demon energy/power) and decided the cave would be safe. Handing Shippo to Souta I turned back toward the entrance and erected a small barrier around the mouth of the cave. It wasn't very strong and wouldn't hold back some of the more powerful youkai, but it would be enough for the lesser demons.

Heading into the cave I noticed it opened up into one large room with moss covered walls and dirt flooring. The celling in the middle rose to about eight feet but slanted to about six feet near the walls. Though the air was damp the cave seemed to be relatively dry and I noted with a smile a nearby pile of wood, no doubt left over from the last time the group used the cave.

"Why don't you two play while I start lunch." I suggested as I grabbed a handful of the logs and walked to the center of the room where I began adding them to the small fire pit that the others had built. I sat my bag down before setting the wood up in a tepee shape and turned to find Shippo digging out the crayons and coloring books from my bag. I waited until he had finished to dig out the matches and get the fire started.

Glancing over, I noticed they were sitting against one of the walls, crayons and books already spread at their feet and grabbing a pot, headed toward the mouth of the cave to collect some rain water for the ramen. Thankfully I could pass through the barrier without having to bring it down and saved some time by just sending my arm out into the rain with the pot and waited as the rain filled it.

Heading back to the now blazing fire, I set the pan on top and began pulling out packs of ramen. From the looks of the storm it wasn't going to be letting up anytime soon and I decided to get everything ready for the night. Grabbing my sleeping bag out of my pack, I unrolled it and set it up near the fire without being close enough for it to catch.

The rain had soaked them through and Rin was glad to reach the shelter of the cave and quickly dismounted Ah-Un to get out of the storm. Jaken and Ah-Un followed close behind only to be thrown back when they reached the mouth of the cave. "Rin get back here! It isn't safe!" Jaken yelled after her, worry evident in his voice.

Had anyone asked he would have said he was worried about what Lord Sesshoumaru would do to him when he found out that he had brought Rin to a cave with a miko inside but in fact that was only part of the reason. He also knew from experience that most miko and houshi didn't take too kindly to a ningen onnanoko (human girl) traveling with youkai. At the very least they would try to take her away and at the very worst...he shuttered at that thought.

No as annoying as Rin could be, which she could be very at some times, she was still his friend and he didn't have too many of those. "Get back on this side Rin we will find somewhere else to stay." Jaken informed her as she looked at him strangely from the other side of the barrier, obviously she didn't realize it was there.

"What's wrong Master Jaken?" Rin wondered confused as she started to walk back out into the rain. A sound coming from behind her caught Jaken's attention and he turned sharply to see the figure coming up behind the girl.

"Rin is that you?" a soft voice called out causing Rin to turn around. As she stepped into the light Jaken breathed a sigh of relief, it was the miko that traveled with his Lord's half brother and he knew she was no more likely to hurt Rin than she was that kit that followed their group.

I squinted my eyes to see who was outside the cave behind Rin and spotted the toad and dragon demons that traveled with Sesshoumaru. "Jaken?" I questioned wondering why he was standing outside in the rain and telling Rin they needed to leave with the storm raging out there. It took me a minute to realize my barrier was still in place. "Oh sorry about the barrier."

Walking over to the mouth of the cave, I pulled my power back inside and the barrier vanished. "Well get inside, no sense in you catching a cold." I insisted as I turned to glance at Rin and noticed she was soaked and shivering. "Come on Rin let's get you warmed up." I grabbed her hand and led her into the cave ignoring Jaken's ramblings behind us.

When I reached my bag, I grabbed one of my haori and a towel knowing if I didn't get her into some warm clothes she would probably catch a cold. "Change into this." I instructed as I handed her the haori and held up the towel to block the other's view of her. I could hear Shippo and Souta turn around but Jaken's eyes remained on my back. I knew he didn't trust me but I knew he couldn't see the girl undressing, not that he was even trying to look, and so didn't worry about it.

Once she was dressed in my haori I headed back to the fire to add the ramen to the water, making sure to add extra since there were more people eating now and laid out her kimono to dry near the fire. Glancing back at Rin, I patted the spot on the floor next to me and waited until she had sat down before removing her ponytail and drying her hair. "Where's Sesshoumaru?"

"I don't know, Lord Sesshoumaru left saying he would meet us here." Rin answered and I became worried. Normally when I had to deal with the stoic lord I had Inuyasha and the others with me and didn't have my brother here to worry about. But than again he normally doesn't start anything when Rin was around so as long as I didn't set him off we should be okay. I decide it would be best not to erect another barrier as he might see it as me keeping Rin from him but we needed a way to keep safe.

Glancing over at Jaken I noticed the dragon laying down next to him and came up with an idea. "Jaken can you have your dragon friend guard the entrance to the cave?"

"Why should he ningen?" Jaken spat at me as I began to brush her hair after it was dry. I glared over at him wishing I had something I could throw but decided to take a different approach, one he would not be able to say no to.

"Well I can't put up my barrier with Sesshoumaru coming here as that would probably make him mad but Rin needs to be protected. Now do you want to be the one to explain to Sesshoumaru why you didn't want to protect Rin?" I forced myself not to smile when I saw how well that tactic had worked as he began leading the dragon to the front of the cave.

I could hear Shippo and Souta snickering and wanted to smack myself for forgetting. "Where are my manners? Rin this is my little brother Souta, Souta this is Rin and the annoying toad is Jaken. They are Lord Sesshoumaru's companions." I introduced pointing to the little girl in front of me and then to the toad demon who was making his way back toward the fire.

"Nice to meet you." Souta replied with a smile as he held up some of the crayons. "Want to join us?" Rin nodded and dashed from my side to go sit with the boys. I turned my attention back to the food and began pulling out bowls and chopsticks since lunch was just about ready.

Once it was dished up, I called the kids over to eat and after handing them each a bowl, I turned toward Jaken with another one ready. "I am not eating that, for all I know it could be poisoned." Jaken complained looking at the offered bowl with disgust.

"Jaken you watched me cook it and I am sure your superior nose would smell any poison I added. Besides if you do not eat you will be weak. If you are weak you will not be able to protect Rin. And what happens if you don't protect Rin?" I wondered and chuckled softly when he snatched the bowl from my hand. The toad was far to easy to predict.

I picked up my own bowl and began eating as I listened to the kids' chatter about what they had each done that day. I was happy to see Souta was making a friend so easily and hoped I could talk Sesshoumaru into bringing Rin around more often so they could have a play date, though if my brother ever heard me use that term he would probably be mad. He was a bit too old for the term.

1. This is a made up name so if it shares any likeliness with anything in real life it is unintentional.

Please R&R, good and bad reviews are welcome, however, I will ignore flames.