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Trick or Treat

Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Trick or Treat




     "Your sons are so adorable!" The middle-aged housewife beamed at Inuyasha and Kagome before dropping several candy bars in the kids' bags. Kagome returned the woman's smile while Inuyasha grunted and looked the other way. Everyone assumed that they were married and that Shiro and Shippou belonged to them both. After the third house, Kagome gave up correcting people. It wasn't hurting anybody, and Inuyasha didn't seem to be objecting to the notion too strenuously. This gave her hope that maybe he was starting to see her as more than just the babysitter.


     Souta and Kohaku raced from house to house in an effort to get as much sugar as possible. Only Kagome and Sango's rule about not being more than six houses away kept them from starting on the next street. Miroku offered to perform blessings on passing trick-or-treaters, especially if they were female. Sango ignored him as long as he didn't touch any of them. A shapely young vampire wandered by with an assorted group of ghouls and goblins, and Miroku decided to see how far the lovely demon exterminator’s tolerance would stretch.


     Walking up to the vampire, he clasped her hands in his and smiled his most winning smile. "What lovely fangs you have. If I asked nicely, would you bite me?" He had two seconds to relish the surprise on the girl's face before a large boomerang descended on his head.


     He crashed to the pavement with a cry of pain. Sango stood over his prone body, weapon poised to whack him again if necessary. Inuyasha rolled his eyes, Miroku never learned. Kagome gasped and tried to shield the eyes of Shiro and Shippou from the violence, no matter how much it was deserved.


     "Look what you made me do, you pervert!" Sango shouted. "I broke my boomerang on your stupid head!"


     Miroku crawled to his knees, holding his head in his hands. "I think you broke my skull with your boomerang."


     The object of Miroku's untimely affections backed away slowly, keeping one wary eye on Sango and another on the moaning pervert.


     "Such an unseemly display." Inuyasha looked up sharply to see Sesshoumaru standing a few feet away. The little girl… what was her name… Rin… held his hand. She wore a blue dress that sparkled and clutched a star-topped wand in her free hand. Butterfly wings on her back flapped slightly with the breeze.


     "Uncle Fluffy!" Shiro pounced on his uncle and started jabbering at high speed about all the candy he had gotten. Kagome noticed that Sesshoumaru was wearing his policeman's uniform. This excited Shippou, who started demanding to know if he was a real cop and did he carry a gun. Sesshoumaru ignored the children and focused on his half-brother instead.


     "I didn't think you would have the guts to wear Tetsusaiga openly after what I told you, little brother." His expression was one of mild curiosity, not concern.


     "Feh!" Inuyasha crossed his arms, scowling at his older brother. "I'm not some paranoid wuss like you. I'll do what I want."


     "You're just a stubborn, rock-headed fool like always." Sesshoumaru turned his attention to Shippou who was trying to tug his riot stick out of its holder. "Picked up another child I see. Where'd you find this one? A fox farm?"


     Kagome snatched Shippou into her arms. "This is my cousin Shippou. He's staying with me for a few weeks. Say 'hi' to the nice policeman, Shippou."


     "Hi!" Shippou chirped, wiggling to get down. She set him on the ground, but kept a firm hold on one of his little hands. Shiro was busy trying to make friends with Rin. The solemn little girl stared at him with her big brown eyes. One side of her mouth twitched into an almost smile. Shiro grinned and ran back to Inuyasha.


     "Did you have something important to say?" Inuyasha demanded, taking Shiro's hand in his own. "Or did you just stop by to harass me?"


     "When you decide to stop acting like a child, little brother," Sesshoumaru said, "you will see that I am right. I am the only one who can adequately protect Tetsusaiga." He swept past them. "Nice dress," he commented coolly as he walked by Miroku. The young man swayed unsteadily on his feet, shaking his head to clear it of the lingering affects of concussion. Rin looked over her shoulder and half-raised her arm in what might have been a wave.


     Inuyasha picked Shiro up and started walking. Kagome grabbed Shippou and stretched her legs to match his pace.


     Miroku and Sango hurried after them. "That was your brother?" Miroku asked. "I can see the resemblance. Nice guy." Inuyasha snarled at him. He didn't slow down until he reached Kohaku and Souta, several houses away and unaware of the confrontation they had missed.


     Inuyasha started to cool down by the time the first stars pricked the night sky. But he still almost took the head off of the werewolf who asked about his cool sword. The poor guy nearly wet himself with fright. He ran away with his tail between his legs, muttering about raging lunatics who couldn't handle a simple comment.


     "Calm down, Inuyasha," Kagome commanded. She grabbed his hand and pulled him in the opposite direction. "You're scaring Shiro." Inuyasha grumbled, but allowed himself to be soothed.


     Sango noticed that they held hands for several minutes even after Inuyasha stopped growling curses under his breath. She nudged Miroku, who nodded and grinned to show that he too had noticed. Shippou wiggled his way between them and took his cousin's hand with a glare for Inuyasha. Inuyasha glared back, but didn't try to reclaim Kagome's hand.


     Kohaku ran up to Sango. His bandanna was crooked and he had lost his gold earring. "Look over there, Sango." He pointed to a house overflowing with Halloween decorations. "It's a haunted house. Souta and I want to go. Can we?"


     Souta was already asking Kagome the same question, who was rather reluctant about the whole idea because of Shiro and Shippou. She didn't want them to have nightmares for the next year.


     Miroku studied the building, hearing the screams and laughter coming from inside. "It does look like fun, Sango."


     Sango thought about her brother’s request while she watched Inuyasha tell Shippou and Shiro that he would have to inspect their candy before they could eat any of it.  Kagome rolled her eyes and reassured the both of them that she wouldn’t let Inuyasha eat it all.  Sango started to smile as a brilliant plan came to her.  This would be the perfect way to get Kagome and Inuyasha to spend some much needed quality time together. "Hey, Kagome," she called. "Why don't Miroku and I take the boys to the haunted house? We can bring Souta home afterwards."


     "Well… " Kagome wavered. Souta gave her his best puppy dog look. "Okay." The boys whooped and raced away. "Make sure you mind Sango!" But they were already out of hearing range.


     "Don't worry about a thing." Sango looped her arm around Kagome's shoulders and gave her a friendly squeeze. "They'll be fine." She gave Kagome a little push. "Go on. Inuyasha and Shiro are waiting for you."


     Kagome looked over to where Inuyasha was loitering halfway down the street. Shippou bounced impatiently and tugged on her hand. There was no real reason to stay there, so she allowed herself to be pulled away with an acknowledging wave to Sango and Miroku.


     "Where are they going?" Inuyasha asked. He narrowed his eyes as he watched the couple walk off to join the boys in line for the haunted house.


     "Souta and Kohaku wanted to go through the haunted house." Kagome took Shiro's hand as she walked by. She didn't stop or slow down, so Inuyasha followed after with one last glance at the four. "Sango and Miroku agreed to take them. I think it's too scary for the little ones." She paused. "Your brother's right, you really are paranoid."


     "I am NOT paranoid," Inuyasha protested. Kagome just rolled her eyes and kept walking.


     Shiro started to yawn as the moon inched its way up into the sky. Shippou copied him, rubbing his eyes. By the time they reached the end of the street, Inuyasha was carrying his son. When Shippou began to whine that his feet hurt, Kagome picked him up. He snuggled his head onto her shoulder and a little while later she felt him go limp, signaling that he had fallen asleep. One quick look over at Inuyasha showed that Shiro was just as boneless. Kagome didn't protest when Inuyasha suggested that they head back.


     She was quiet as they walked the darkened streets. Most of the trick-or-treaters had moved onto other neighborhoods or found a Halloween party to go to. The wind was beginning to pick up, making her shiver. The kids were fine in their plush, faux fur costumes and it didn't look like the cold bothered Inuyasha. She wished for a costume made out of heavier material, or at least a jacket.


     Inuyasha watched Kagome shiver. Stupid bitch, she knew the nights were getting colder. Why didn't she bring a jacket? He shifted the sleeping warmth of Shiro in his arms. His costume was made of a heavy fabric that shielded well against the cold. Shiro sighed and nestled closer, his small hand grasping the fabric lightly. Shit, he couldn't put Shiro down to offer her his coat. That would wake the child. She shivered again. He couldn't let her freeze either and they still had a ways to go.


     Inuyasha managed to rearrange Shiro without disturbing him. He reached out to tentatively drape his arm around Kagome's shoulders and felt her jump slightly.


     "Inuyasha," she whispered, probably to avoid waking the kids. "What are you doing?"


     "What does it look like?" He cursed himself for how abrupt and defensive that sounded.  With a great effort, he attempted to explain without coming across as too soft. "You're cold. Don't try to deny it," he cautioned when she opened her mouth. "We've still got a long walk. And you won’t be of any use to me as Shiro’s babysitter if you freeze."


     He couldn't be sure under the glare of the streetlights, but he thought she blushed. "I didn't know you cared." The light shimmered in her eyes when she turned to look at him and there was still a trace of pink on her cheeks. "Thank you."


     "Stupid girl," he said just as softly. "Of course I care." Inuyasha drew her a little closer and, for one night, allowed himself to be content.



Food for thought:


If at first you don't succeed…


Parachuting probably isn't for you.

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004