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Daddy May I?

Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Daddy May I?

 

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     Inuyasha glanced at Kagome out of the corner of his eye for the tenth time. She looked really cute wearing his jacket. God, where were these thoughts coming from? The feelings she evoked in him. She made him feel calm, and nervous, and happy, and annoyed, and a host of other things. It was thoughts like these that made him want to bang his head against a wall. There was no way he could be thinking these things about Kagome Higurashi. She was Shiro's babysitter for Christ's sake!

 

     Kagome sighed, a contented sound. Intercepting his gaze, she smiled. Inuyasha felt his breath catch at the trust in her eyes. His footsteps slowed. If you looked closely, you could see snails overtaking them. Moonlight gilded her features with a ghostly beauty. Unconsciously, Inuyasha tightened his hand around hers.

 

     "Well, well, if it isn't Inuyasha." Inuyasha looked up sharply at the sound of the familiar voice. "Who's your little playmate?"

 

     Naraku strolled out of the shadows into the circle of light cast by a streetlight, Kikyo clinging to his arm. Inuyasha mentally slapped himself. With most of his attention on Kagome, he hadn't heard them approach. Kikyo's eyes glittered coldly as she studied Kagome. Naraku ignored the girl, keeping both eyes on Inuyasha.

 

     "Do you know them, Inuyasha?" Kagome asked, innocent curiosity in her voice. Inuyasha pushed her behind him, farther away from Kikyo. As much as he would like to ignore her question, he had known, deep inside, that someday she and Kikyo would meet. At least here, it was on neutral ground.

 

     "This is my ex-wife Kikyo." He paused. "And Naraku," he spat out as if tasting something vile. Kagome released his hand and stepped around him before he could stop her.

 

     "Hi," she chirped. "I'm Kagome." She held out her hand, which. Kikyo ignored. But Naraku seized it in a firm grip.

 

     "Nice to meet you, girl." He looked into her eyes. She tried to back away to regain her personal space, but he refused to relinquish her hand. Giving a weak smile, she made an abortive attempt to retrieve it. Inuyasha pulled her free, shoving her behind him again.

 

     "That girl looks a little young for you, Inuyasha," Kikyo commented. "Are you into dating babies?"

 

     Naraku peered at Kagome's face in the weak light of the streetlight. Suddenly he chuckled. "Look closer, Kikyo dear. That girl could pass as your twin."

 

     "Trying to replace me, Inu darling?" Kikyo pouted. Her smile turned sly a moment later. "Does she know about the child?"

 

     "For your information, I am Shiro's babysitter," Kagome stated. Inuyasha glared at her, wishing she would take the hint and shut up.

 

     Kikyo threw back her head and laughed. "You're dating the babysitter?"

 

     "And we're not on a date," Kagome continued, oblivious to the pair’s amusement and Inuyasha’s growing annoyance. "We just went to the movies together. And he gave me his jacket because I forgot mine and I was cold." Inuyasha rolled his eyes. He should have known that she wouldn't know when to stop.

 

     "I suppose he was holding your hand because it was too heavy for you?" Naraku said, his voice loaded with sarcasm. Kagome flushed. In the uncertain light, Inuyasha couldn't tell if it was with anger or embarrassment.

 

     "Why should you care?" Inuyasha cut in before Kagome could dig herself even deeper into a hole. "You're dating a bitter woman who can't even remember her son's name. Why don't you go get a real job, instead of collecting other people's cast-offs?"

 

     Naraku turned a lovely shade of purple. "You'd better watch your back, mongrel." Naraku's voice shook with barely suppressed rage. "I will have that sword of yours. Even if I have to go through your friends and loved ones to get it."

 

     Inuyasha didn't relax until the clicking footsteps had faded into the distance. Kagome laid a hand on his arm and started to speak. He grabbed her by the arm, ignoring her pained wince, and pulled her down the sidewalk after him.

 

     "Let's go, Kagome," he ground out between clenched teeth. Kagome shut her mouth, perhaps startled by the tightness in his face, and meekly lengthened her stride to keep up with him.

 

     Inuyasha loosened his hold on her arm before reaching her house. The last little bit they walked in silence. Stony on Inuyasha's part, confused on Kagome's. He pulled her to a stop just outside the glow of the porch light, struggling to regain control before facing Makiko. She was like the mother he barely remembered. He didn't want to frighten her or her daughter with his temper. Several deep breaths eased the tautness in his shoulders and calmed the roiling of his gut. Kagome cast concerned looks his way as she dug in her purse for her key.

 

     She didn't speak, merely opened the door. Makiko was there to greet them. Gentle motherly teasing amidst a warm welcome faded as she got a look at their faces. Bless her heart, she didn't insist on an explanation.

 

     "Shiro's asleep on the couch," Makiko whispered. "He insisted on waiting up for you. He's a little angel. You're both welcome to drop by anytime."

 

     Inuyasha responded with a curt nod and brushed past her to collect Shiro. He heard Makiko whisper a question to Kagome. She answered-- her voice too low for him to make out the words. Shiro snuggled closer into his arms and mumbled something that ended in ''Gome.'

 

     Makiko had vanished by the time he returned. Kagome stood uncertainly by the door, his jacket held in her hands. He accepted it with a grunt of thanks. She followed him outside, shutting the door behind them. Inuyasha hesitated. There was so much that needed to be resolved-- that flash of hurt when she had been compared to Kikyo for one. That thought brought his simmering anger to a full boil.

 

     "Inuyasha… I'm sorry," Kagome whispered, averting her face. His brain slammed to a halt. What did she have to be sorry about? "I should have a lock on my tongue. I didn't mean to embarrass you in front of your ex."

 

     Inuyasha shifted Shiro into one arm. Grabbing her chin with his other hand, he forced her to look at him. "Kagome, you have nothing to be sorry about." Before he could lose his nerve he closed the distance between them. He swallowed her surprised gasp, his hand coming around to cradle the back of her head and prevent her from pulling away. The kiss was all too short. Without giving her a chance to respond or to reject him, he released her. His hand slid to her cheek in a gentle caress. Her eyes were wide open and staring at him. He refused to try and read the emotion he saw in them.

 

     "Goodnight, Kagome." Already regretting what he felt was an unwelcome advance, he turned and walked away. He resisted the temptation to look and see if she was still watching. It was late and he needed to get Shiro into his bed.

 

^**^

 

     "Daddy?"

 

     "What is it, Shiro?" Inuyasha didn't look up from the tower he was meticulously constructing with brightly-colored building blocks.

 

     "How come I don't gots a mommy?"

 

     "Don't have a mommy," Inuyasha automatically corrected. Then the sense of Shiro's question penetrated his pre-occupied mind. He dropped a block. It hit the tower and the whole thing came tumbling down.

 

     "Tower go boom!" Shiro yelled, clapping his hands.

 

     Inuyasha ignored the fallen blocks to stare at his son. "You have a mommy, Shiro."

 

     "She's a mean mommy." Shiro made a face. "She don' like me an' I don' like her. I want a new mommy."

 

     "What brought this on?" Inuyasha asked. He hadn't realized that Shiro had picked up on Kikyo's attitude towards him so well.

 

     "Shippou." Shiro started to rebuild the tower.

 

     "What did Shippou say?" Getting information out of Shiro today was like pulling teeth.

 

     Shiro eyed his tower critically. He moved a block, shook his head, and moved it back. He looked up at his father brightly. "Shippou said that when his first mommy died, he and his daddy were real sad. But then his daddy brought home a new mommy. Now Shippou and his daddy aren't sad no more."

 

     "Shippou talks too much," Inuyasha muttered under his breath. He ignored Shiro's expectant look. At least he wasn't asking where babies came from. Inuyasha didn't think he was ready to handle that one.

 

     "Daddy?" Shiro prompted. The blocks were forgotten in favor of getting an answer.

 

     "Did you have somebody in mind?" Inuyasha asked, curious as to how much thought Shiro had put into this.

 

     "I want 'Gome to be my new mommy," Shiro stated without hesitation. Inuyasha choked.

 

     "I don't… um… don't think that's… um… such a good idea." Inuyasha could feel his face heating up.

 

     "Why not?" Shiro said with the air of a child who felt that he had found the perfect solution.

 

     "Kagome has school… and… other things… and… it wouldn't work out," Inuyasha finished, fervently praying that Shiro would accept his lame excuses. The thought of Kagome as Shiro's new mommy made his heart beat faster. It also scared the shit out of him.

 

     Shiro didn't look convinced. "Okay." He stacked blocks for a few minutes. "Daddy?"

 

     "Yes," Inuyasha mumbled distractedly.

 

     "Then can I have a baby sister?"

 

     Inuyasha resisted the urge to giggle insanely. Or to beat himself into insensibility against the coffee table. Only a little kid could ask such awkward questions. This was probably revenge for wrongs done in past lives.

 

     "Maybe when you're older," Inuyasha said as if Shiro had asked for a pet hamster. Shiro didn't look satisfied.

 

     Inuyasha left to find some aspirin. 'Only fourteen more years of this,' Inuyasha chanted silently. 'God, I hope I make it that far without going insane.'

 

^**^

 

Food for thought:

 

STRESS: A condition brought on by over-riding

 

the body’s desire to choke the living daylights

 

out of some jerk who desperately deserves it.

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004