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Guess Who's Visiting?

Chapter 7

Chapter 7:  Guess Who’s Visiting

 

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     Sesshoumaru looked around the living room, taking in the well-worn furniture stained with the grubby prints of little hands.

 

     "I am surprised, Inuyasha," he said in a calm voice. "I was given to believe that you lived in a pigsty. The place is rather cleaner than I expected."

 

     Shiro piped up from beside his father. "Daddy wants everything to stay clean ever since 'Gome-." His sentence was cut off when Inuyasha placed his hand over the boy's mouth. Sesshoumaru raised one eyebrow, but made no comment.

 

     "Uncle Fluffy doesn't need to know that," he said. "Why don't you take Rin upstairs and show her your toys?" Shiro looked a little put out that he was being politely told to leave the room.

 

     Kagome tried to help. She gave Shiro an encouraging smile. "The grown-ups need to talk, Shiro. You'll have lots more fun playing with Rin." Shiro pouted, but grabbed Rin's free hand, already chattering about all the cool toys he owned. The little girl resisted, holding on tighter to Sesshoumaru.

 

     "Go with Shiro, Rin." Sesshoumaru gently disengaged her and gave her a nudge. "It's all right." The girl reluctantly allowed Shiro to drag her from the room. Kagome started to follow, but was stopped by Inuyasha's hand on her arm.

 

     "Stay," he requested, surprising her. She was touched that he wanted her there. Ready to show her support of whatever he might say, she took a position beside him and slightly behind.

 

     Sesshoumaru ignored the exchange between the two of them. He had crossed the room and was examining the case where Tetsusaiga resided.

 

     "What do you know of Tetsusaiga, little brother?" he asked abruptly. Inuyasha didn't know what to make of the question and he creased his brow in thought.

 

     "Not much," he admitted. "Father left the sword to me after he died. Supposedly, it was forged 500 years ago, during the feudal era. He talked about another one that complemented Tetsusaiga. But I never learned what happened to it." Inuyasha shrugged and tried to look uninterested.

 

     "The other sword is called Tenseiga." Sesshoumaru finished looking at the sword and turned to face his brother. "I have it."

 

     "If you have Tenseiga, then why are you interested in Tetsusaiga?"

 

     "Father left Tenseiga to me," Sesshoumaru continued as if Inuyasha hadn't spoken. "They were forged by a method that is lost to modern science. They were referred to as the 'Ruling Swords.' Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga were the only ones made in this fashion. The legend is that only the rightful ruler of the western lands could use them. Whether or not this is true, they are very rare and very valuable."

 

     Inuyasha looked bored. "What does this have to do with anything?"

 

     For the first time, Sesshoumaru allowed a flicker of emotion to cross his face.  It was gone before it could be identified. "I want Tetsusaiga."

 

     "WHAT?!" Inuyasha's shout shook the foundations. "Why should I give Tetsusaiga to you?" He took a step forward, clenching his fists. Kagome laid a calming hand on his arm. The muscles under her fingers relaxed slightly, even though he didn't acknowledge her.

 

     Sesshoumaru sighed, unfazed by his brother's temper. "The swords are collector's items. There are certain people out there who would do anything to possess them. Tenseiga is under the tightest security I could create. Tetsusaiga is virtually unprotected."

 

     Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest. "So?"

 

     "Try to keep up, little brother. Anyone who wants the sword could break in. You or Shiro might get hurt. I am the only one who could protect it."

 

     Inuyasha flinched slightly at the mention of Shiro getting hurt. "I can take care of myself and my son. You are not getting Tetsusaiga!"

 

     Kagome saw a single muscle clench in Sesshoumaru's jaw. He turned his golden eyes on her. "Talk to him, girl. Maybe you can make him see reason."

 

     Rin appeared in the room, worried by all the shouting. Shiro followed. His Daddy was always yelling at somebody. Lately, Daddy yelled at 'Gome. But he was always glad to see her when she came by.

 

     "Come, Rin. Let us go." Sesshoumaru took her by the hand and left the house. Shiro waved and shouted goodbye to his new friend, as well as to Uncle Fluffy.

 

     Kagome looked at Inuyasha. He hadn't moved and his back was tense. "Inuyasha?" she ventured tentatively.

 

     Inuyasha straightened slowly. He walked over to Shiro and picked him up. Sitting down on the couch, he arranged his son comfortably on his lap. Shiro snuggled contentedly with his head on his father's chest. Inuyasha finally looked up, seeming to remember that Kagome was there. His violet eyes were dark with seething emotions.

 

     "Go home, Kagome," he said in a quiet voice. Kagome started to speak, but closed her mouth without saying anything. She nodded, turning to leave. At the door, she paused.

 

     "See you later, Inuyasha?" There was a pleading note in the question. He inclined his head slightly without looking at her. Kagome walked home, leaving Inuyasha to think about what his brother said.

 

^**^

 

     Kagome read the problem on the page for the tenth time. Muffled booms and a shout came from the room down the hall.

 

     She marched to the door and yanked it open. "Turn down that racket, Souta!" she shouted. The noise went from ear-splitting to merely deafening. Kagome growled and shut the door. She plopped down on her chair and reread the problem she had been trying to solve for the last hour. After making a half-hearted attempt to actually solve the problem, she stopped to stretch the kinks out of her back.  Turning to stare out the window, she watched a lone brown leaf twist in the breeze.

 

     "I need a break," she declared, slamming her math book closed. Buyo opened his eyes and meowed. When Kagome didn't respond, he yawned and went back to his nap.

 

     Kagome's mom was hanging up the phone as Kagome came into the kitchen, intent on finding something to eat. She pulled out a Pepsi and a bag of Fritos. As she sat at the table, her mom gave her a look. It was the look that says 'I have great news and you had better think it's great too, because there's nothing you can do about it.' Kagome knew that look, so she put on her interested face.

 

     "I have great news, darling." Kagome waited patiently for her mother to tell her what the great news was. "Do you remember your cousin Taro?"

 

     Kagome nodded. "You made us go to the wedding when he remarried three months ago."

 

     "Well, he and Naomi are going on a cruise," her mom said. "And he wants us to take care of his little boy."

 

     Kagome frowned, trying to remember Cousin Taro's son. A vague picture of a little boy bungee jumping into the cake at the wedding surfaced in her memory. Shippou was way too hyper, but totally adorable. She had actually gotten along really well with him.

 

     "They'll be gone for four weeks," her mom continued. "If I remember right, Shippou's only a year older than Shiro. I thought you could take him over there to play when you go see Inuyasha."

 

     Kagome blushed. It seemed to be an automatic reaction every time someone mentioned his name. "Mom!" she protested. "I don't go over there just to see Inuyasha."

 

     Her mom wasn't listening. "Halloween is only three weeks away," she mused. "You could take the boys trick-or-treating."

 

     Kagome recognized a lost cause when she heard one. "When are they coming?"

 

     Her mom smiled brightly. "Silly me. They'll be here in an hour."

 

     Kagome sighed and slumped forward to rest her forehead on the table. Her mom seemed to enjoy complicating her life. How was she ever going to get any studying done with a five-year-old underfoot?

 

^**^

 

     The whole family sat in the living room waiting for Cousin Taro to arrive. Souta looked bored. Mom had convinced him to put away his video games for a while. Actually, she had told him that he was going to come down and talk to his cousin or there were going to be no video games for a month. Souta got the point.

 

     Kagome idly counted the leaves on the potted plant next to the couch. She couldn't remember anything about Shippou except that he was five and adorable.

 

     Mom was the first one to hear the car. She ushered everyone outside to stand in the cold. Kagome shivered, wishing she'd worn pants instead of a skirt. Cousin Taro got out and went around to the other side to help his wife out of the car. He looked just as she remembered him, a red-headed giant of a man with a wide smile permanently plastered on his face. His breath billowed in visible clouds of steam as he called exuberant greetings.

 

     "Kagome," he boomed, taking her hands. "You get lovelier every day.” He turned to Souta before she could respond.

 

     "You must have grown a foot, Souta." He laughed. "Soon you'll be as tall as me."

 

     Enthusiastically, he enfolded mom and grandpa in crushing bear hugs. Naomi was then ushered forward, her small form dwarfed by her large husband. She was petite, dark-haired, and quiet -- almost the exact opposite of the man she had married. "You remember Naomi?" There was another round of hugs and greetings.

 

     Kagome looked over when she heard a car door open. Little Shippou slipped off the seat and approached his parents. He was adorable, just like Kagome remembered. His long red hair was tied back in a ponytail, and his sweet face and tiny body made Kagome just want to hug him.

 

     Cousin Taro took Shippou by the hand and brought him forward. "Shippou is a little nervous. We convinced him that he would have a lot more fun here than on a boring cruise with us."

 

     Kagome knelt down so she could look the child in the eye. "Hi, Shippou, I'm your cousin Kagome. I baby-sit a little boy who's just about your age. I'm sure Shiro would love to play with you." She held out her hand and smiled.

 

     Abruptly, Shippou made his decision. He jumped into Kagome's arms, nearly knocking her over. All the adults smiled sappy smiles at how the two had taken to each other. Souta just made gagging noises in the background.

 

     Cousin Taro and Naomi finally left, leaving Shippou happily asking questions about everything he saw. Just before bedtime, the phone rang. It was Inuyasha, wanting to know if Kagome could come over for a couple hours after school. He thought that bringing a friend for Shiro sounded wonderful.

 

     Kagome hadn't gotten any homework done, but she went to bed happy. Tomorrow promised to be memorable. She turned out to be more right than she would have guessed.

 

^**^

 

Food for thought:

 

Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004