The trees rustled calmly. The water nearby lapped over the rocks earnestly. A small sigh escaped the mouth of a nearby fox cub. He hadn't gone very far from the others that night. He just looked out into the moonlight of the night sky. "Kagome? Please come back? Please? I need you."
But the calmness of the night was not permitting an answer.
The young cub sighed as he looked at his reflection in the water. Shippou…Shippou… An old familiar voice rang he should have recognized. Voices trying to reach him? They sounded close, but he felt distant from them. He turned his eyes back to the moon. What's happening? He looked back at where the group was sleeping. What am I supposed to do? Can I make it go away myself? The voices were comforting. They seemed to try to help. Images faded in and out of his brain. Then….nothing.
Shippou scratched his head. The voices were weird, but that wasn't his main concern right now. I can't. Kagome. No, what can I do? Shippou sniffled as he rubbed his eyes. Here he was with Inuyasha, Miroku and Sango. Most of the time, Kagome too. So how did he . . .
"What's going on, runt?"
Shippou's eyes grew wide as he jumped around quickly to see Inuyasha. He must have been spying on him.
"Shippou," he growled. "You didn't even hear me?" Inuyasha scoffed. "Dammit brat, weren't you taught better than that?"
Shippou didn't let the belittling get to him, by belittling him back. "What do you want, Dog-Boy?"
"Why the hell are ya up in the middle of the night? Not many demons in this part to worry about right now."
Shippou folded his arms. Should I tell him? Maybe he'll understand. Understand? Ha! It's Inuyasha. He'd just make fun of me and make me feel worse. "None of your business, Dog Breath!"
Inuyasha grabbed the poor fox by his bushy tail and hung him upside down. "Don't need to hear it anyway. Probably just pouting. Waiting for Kagome to come back and give you chocolate." Inuyasha barely glanced at the victim in his hand. "Now get to sleep. I don't wanna have to stay up just to keep an eye on you, brat."
Shippou stuck his tongue out. "I can do what I want! You're not-!" Then, he paused.
Inuyasha shook Shippou's tail. "What? The boss of you? You ungrateful brat. 'Cause of me you're still alive." He threw the fox into a nearby hole carved in a tree. "Fine, stay up, I don't care!" he said as he marched back off to camp. "How Kagome even tolerates you, I'll never know."
Shippou shook his head to knock the dust off as he climbed out of the hole and onto the ground. Yelling, throwing, and shaking me. I'll never tell him. I'll never tell anyone. I'm a big kid! I've gone this long without any help. I can handle this on my own.
The Next Morning
"Are you sure, Inuyasha?" Miroku asked as Inuyasha and Kagome packed up.
"Kagome says she thinks it might be connected. I'm not leaving her unprotected," Inuyasha yelled. Then, realizing he sounded like a wimp, decided to add, "If the wench gets hurt, it'll take twice as long to find the shards."
Kagome harrumphed as she looked at the small ball of fur in her arms. "Come on, Shippou. You have to let go so Inuyasha and I can leave. We'll be back soon, okay?"
Shippou didn't loosen his grip. "Then take me too."
"Oh, that's it." Inuyasha yanked Shippou off of Kagome. 'Look ya stupid furball, you aren't welcome!" Inuyasha handed Shippou over to Sango. "Watch this thing while we're gone."
"Of course, we can do that." Miroku smiled as he winked at Sango. Sango just groaned.
Shippou scratched his ear gently as he looked out the door of Kaedea's village. Kagome. Inuyasha. They're both gone.
"Shippou? Are you okay?" Sango asked.
"Fine," he lied as he rubbed against the door.
"He probably misses Kagome," Miroku deduced.
Sango continued to watch Shippou. "I know that, but if something else is going on- MIROKU!" Sango gave him a resounding smack across the cheek. You'd think his cheek would be permanently dented by now with how many times that had happened. "I was in a middle of a thought."
Miroku sadly turned his head away. "I did not interrupt."
"Your hand did!"
Shippou shook his head as he looked at the sunset ahead. Miroku had been driving Sango insane. A lot more than usual. Not with his constant touches on her, but-
"Your hands just cannot stay to themselves? They have to touch every girl in the village."
I could run off right now and they'd never notice. Shippou turned himself around and started to rub himself along the ground.
Kaede, who had come back from assisting a local villager, looked down at the little demon in dismay. She also looked at the red hand print that was freshly made on Miroku's face, and the slayer hiding in the corner. "I see. You two need to see some trouble in your midst."
Sango and Miroku both brought their attention to the elder woman.
"Demons? Near the village?" Miroku asked seriously.
"Just one demon," she said as she pointed to Shippou, who was rolling on his back. "I believe he may need a bath."
Sango glared at Miroku as she went passed him. "Fine, I will do it." Sango bent down to grab Shippou.
"Don't! Don't touch," Shippou yelled as he scrambled out of the way. If she touches me, I'll itch even more.
Sango quickly grabbed him as he wriggled. "What's wrong with you? Did you catch some of Inuyasha's fleas?"
This wasn't a time for joking. Shippou continued to wriggle. She was making him even worse. Kagome. Inuyasha. Even if they were there, what could they do? What was he going to do?
After Sango gave the young fox a refreshing bath…
"Come now Sango, can't we-"
"I've told you a hundred times I am not talking to you, Miroku."
Shippou glanced back and forth between them. He rested his head on his front paws as he continued to look out the door. He should have felt safe and happy. He had food and he had shelter, but he always felt unhappy and cranky when Kagome left him. He'd always show dog-breath just how he felt about it.
Shippou looked up at the new moon. Inuyasha's human tonight. I wonder if maybe that's why she brought him? Why can only humans live in her world? He looked back at Sango and Miroku. They were as far apart as they could get. But tonight? What am I gonna do?
Shippou got up and went outside to find a big tree. "Maybe this'll do the trick." He rubbed and rubbed and rubbed. Is it natural? He tried to remember the voices from earlier last night. I know it had to be them, but I don't remember. He tried to think about his earliest memory but still kept up coming with the group. How did he come to be with them? I don't remember much at all. He looked at the tree he was rubbing on. He knew it wouldn't work.
I don't have much longer. Maybe my body and mind knows it too. Shippou felt a tear slip down his cheek. That's gotta be why I am losing my memories.
He looked over at Sango. Miroku. He imagined the happy smile on Kagome's face and the big dumb grin on Inuyasha's face. His lip trembled as he felt pain on the back of his forehead. They can't do anything.
…he recalled Kagome's laughter…
…Inuyasha's booming shouting…
Shippou knew in his heart it was too late. He couldn't do anything. Not without breaking a sacred code. Not without a mom or a dad. He looked out into the wilderness, away from Miroku and Sango. Away from the village. I don't want them to watch. He tried to hold back his tears as he took his pillow and bunched a blanket over it. Then he slowly started to walk toward the forest.
Survival of the fittest. If he was extremely lucky, maybe a demon would quickly kill him first.
Sometime during the night.
Sango opened her eyes to look at Kagome's blanket which held Shippou tonight. Her friend had made her promise to make sure Shippou was okay in the night. She saw a big clump in the blanket. He was probably fine.
Far away from that very spot, Shippou lied. He had found a place where he could curl up. Shippou tried not to whine as he laid still. Every time he moaned he felt searing pain. He was completely itchy all over his back still, but he just couldn't move anymore. The pain was outweighing the itch. Inuyasha! Kagome!
The next morning.
Sango and Miroku searched everywhere for the little fox demon.
"I don't get it. Why would he take off?" Sango asked.
"I don't know," Miroku said, "but we must find him. The forest is filled with demons."
"I know that," Sango grumbled. "I am a demon slayer."
Miroku ignored her comment and looked out into the forest. Kirara had been injured in their last battle three days ago. She was nowhere close to being healed. Miroku stared at the ground. "We shall need Inuyasha then. Mmm. Perhaps he and Kagome won't be horribly upset that we had lost track of the young fox demon?"
A vision of Inuyasha with demonic eyes and deadly claws with Kagome, hair flowing dangerously in the air and electricity coming from her fingers, all in front of a background of hell fire came unbidding to the priests mind …or perhaps we shall see the true extent of their wraths. How sad, for my life to end in such a way. He looked out into the forest. I pray that you are safe, little one.
The unlikely pair remained civil. They called out for Shippou, even lying of promises of chocolates but to no avail. It was almost sundown and they had not found the young demon.
Sango leaned herself against a tree and looked at Miroku. They had slayed over ten demons in the forest. Each time they did, they had become more worried. The deeper the young fox went, the less likely he'd be okay.
"This is all my fault," Sango said sadly.
"Not true Sango," Miroku whispered. "We were both at fault. We were so wrapped up in ourselves, I had even forgot to check on Shippou last night."
Sango looked shamefully at the ground. "I didn't. I thought the large clump was him." She bit her lip. "Turns out it was just a pillow." She sank down to the ground. "I will never be able to look at Kagome and Inuyasha with honor again."
"No," Miroku said sharply as he gently took her arm. "There is stil time. We shall go and wait by the well until they come back."
"But when will they?"
"I pray very soon."
Shippou continued to lie very still. Kagome. Kagome.
Would he really never see her calming smile again? Her cheerful voice? Her warm and comforting hands? He whined painfully. Inuyasha. As much as Shippou wanted to deny it, needed to deny it, he wanted Inuyasha there almost as much. Kagome made him happy, but Inuyasha always made him feel safe. Protected, and secure from all the evil that wanted to gobble him up in one bite. He hadn't felt so frightened since . . . he may not be able to remember anything from before he met Kagome and Inuyasha, but he did remember the feelings. The hopeless, victim feelings. Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. I need them.
He whined out Inuyasha's name unwillingly. He knew he shouldn't. Demons who couldn't smell as well would certainly find him. In the end though, maybe going that way would be less painful.
The next morning…
Inuyasha had a huge grin on his face as he exited the well. They had located and found another shard. "Kagome, hurry up."
"I'm coming, hold your horses," Kagome shouted.
Inuyasha just growled. "I'm a demon, I don't need horses." Then without turning around he added. "Miroku, Sango. How long you two gonna stand there?"
Sango glanced quickly at Miroku, Miroku nodded at her and they came out from behind a nearby tree.
Kagome smiled as she climbed out of the well. "Hey Sango, Miroku. Where's Shippou, I brought him a surprise."
"Keh. You know you spoil him," Inuyasha barked. "Brats gonna grow up thinking everything should naturally fall in his lap."
Miroku and Sango remained quiet for a moment.
Miroku cleared his throat, but Sango spoke for him. "There is something we must tell you."
Miroku looked at Sango standing next to him. He had not known what to expect. Scratching, clawing, skewering, one of many things he didn't rule out. Certainly there would have to be shouting, yelling, crying, or blaming.
Then after Kagome finished all that, what would Inuyasha do?
Strangely though, there was no backlash. After they had explained what they knew, Inuyasha and Kagome had wasted no time at all. Kagome instinctively jumped onto Inuyasha's back as they took off.
Neither spoke a word as Inuyasha quickly hunted for the cub's scent.
Then, he stopped. Kagome got off as Inuyasha dropped down on all fours. His ears flattened back as he growled instinctively.
Kagome gulped. "I-is he?"
"Alive," Inuyasha quickly growled back. The scent is so spiked with fear and pain. Damn it, Shippou! He tried to follow the scent to its source, but only found ground that hadn't been dug up. He saw a nearby dead tree next to him and felt down inside of it. "Shippou? Answer me!"
"Shippou," Kagome called out. "I'm here too. Please answer!"
The response was so weak, Kagome could not hear it. Inuyasha had to twitch his ears just right to pick it up, but he heard something that was Shippou. He quickly grabbed the dead tree and tossed it away. He stuck his head into the hole under where the tree used to be. He could make out a small burrow hole in the side of it. "Shippou?"
"Sh-Shippou? Shippou?" Kagome whispered urgently from behind Inuyasha. "Are you okay?"
Inuyasha stuck his hand down into the burrowed hole. Come on, come on, where are you?
"I-Inuyasha? Can you feel him, is he in there?" Kagome asked urgently.
Inuyasha scooted up closer to the hole. Come on, come on….there! He heard a small whine as he barely touched a tuft of fur. Inuyasha scooted up just as close as he could to the hole and took a deep breath. "Kagome. Take the blanket out of your bag and unfold it now."
Kagome quickly did as Inuyasha said.
"Now hold it steady," Inuyasha demanded with a serious voice. "I'm going to yank him out in one pull, and I'll put him in the blanket. Understand?"
"Inuyasha." You could hear the fear in her voice. "I-is he okay?"
Inuyasha's serious expression didn't change. "There is a little blood, but just concentrate."
Kagome fixed the blanket in her hands, getting a grip on her emotions. She couldn't get overwhelmed, she needed to be strong right now. "Okay, I'm ready."
Inuyasha stuck his hand slowly in the hole until he heard the low whine and felt fur again. "Sorry but I gotta, Shippou!"
A scream pierced the sky as Inuyasha yanked the young demon out and quickly wrapped him in the blanket.
Kagome felt tears threatening to fall as she had heard the painful yowl of the small fox demon she loved so much continue to echo endlessly into the sky.
Cold. Dark. Pain…but…something…
Shippou felt a hand grab hold of him making all the pain hit him at once. WHO'S TOUCHING ME! WHO'S TOUCHING ME!
Then, as quickly as it came, it was over, but the memory made him whine so much.
"Shippou? It'll be okay. It'll be okay."
Momma? Wherever the young demon was, it was warm, and comfy.
"Don't move him an inch. He's really hurt."
A caring voice. Strong, resilient, brave. Daddy?
"What's wrong with him? I don't see any blood."
"Give 'em here. Slowly. I'm taking him to Kaede's. You can see it from here, so run there too. Okay?"
Kagome quickly ran back to Kaede's with all her might. What was wrong with Shippou? Why was he whining so much? Don't worry Shippou, I'm coming! Moments later, she burst through the door where Inuyasha was holding Shippou in his lap. With his demon speed he easily beat Kagome there. "Inuyasha? What's wrong with him?"
Inuyasha's breathing had been level. "Kagome, sit down next to me."
Kagome quickly sat down next to him, her gaze focused on Shippou.
Inuyasha did not move as he tried to talk to the young demon. "Shippou. If you can hear me, answer." Shippou whined. "Shippou." Inuyasha's expression didn't change. "Why didn't you tell us?"
Kagome looked confused by Inuyasha's statement, but she didn't interrupt.
"N…noot." Shippou tried to whine out his answer. "Fffffaaamily."
A deep growl, unlike anything Kagome ever heard came dangerously from Inuyasha. "I knew it, you stupid fox!" Inuyasha looked over at Kagome, who clearly had questions forming in her mind. "Now's not the time." He looked down at the top of Shippou's head. "Demons honor, you'd die for it."
In a way, Inuyasha was proud. The fox had a lot of courage going through it, but damn! He'd rather the dumb brat tell him. Pride was big in Inuyasha's book but Shippou was just a cub. He shouldn't have that kind of pride, But fox demons were always a proud race.
Shippou made another small whine.
Inuyasha glanced over at Kagome. "Don't interrupt," he said firmly to her. Kagome nodded. "Shippou," Inuyasha growled, "make a choice. Should I let you die or should I save you?"
Shippou whined. Pain'll stop, pain'll stop…but… How could Inuyasha do it? Inuyasha had more pride than anyone else around. Would he really do it? Break everything, all tradition, just for him? "You will?"
Inuyasha remained quiet. Everything he was about to do would be against every demon code ever done. Only the parents should do it. Period. If a demon ended up this way and he didn't have parents, that was it. No one would ever do it for them. Nature's way of getting rid of the extras. After all, no parents, no teachings. No teachings, no codes. No codes, total anarchy in the demon world.
Inuyasha had been lucky. His mother had taken care of his problem. Very quickly too, the moment she discovered it. Most parents took care of it quickly for their young.
If he had gotten it after his mother died, he would have been a goner.
Kagome watched Inuyasha's face.
"…yeah," Inuyasha finally responded. "I would but only if you let me."
Shippou gave a deeper, more intense whine as he started to kick his foot. The pain was increasing dramatically. "…Yes!"
Inuyasha wasted no time as he looked over at Kagome. "Bring your bag closer. Then tell Miroku and Sango not to let anyone in. Not even Kaede. Understand?" Kagome nodded and reached for the bag. "You get back here though."
Kagome didn't need to answer that as she quickly took off outside.
When she came back, she saw Shippou yowling and kicking his feet. His back was now up to Inuyasha, while Inuyasha…
Kagome just held her breath. "I…Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha didn't reply as he kept gnawing on the back of Shippou's head.
Kagome continued to watch Inuyasha gnaw on Shippou. What…?
"Sit…down…wench…" Inuyasha growled as he continued to gnaw on Shippou. "Hold 'em…still…" Kagome sat down next to Inuyasha and held Shippou's legs still. Shippou wailed again as he started to bob his head. "Don't!" Inuyasha snarled as he took his mouth off Shippou. "Want me to stab you? Calm down."
"HuuuuuUUuurts," Shippou wailed.
"I know," Inuyasha growled as he tried to hold Shippou's head steady. "Be over soon. Just stay still."
Kagome may not have known what was going on, but she layed her hand on Shippou's forehead. "It's okay. I'm. It'll be okay."
Shippou contined to whine but tried not to bob his head.
Where is it? Inuyasha thought to himself. Then he felt it. "There!" Inuyasha held Shippou's shoulders securely as he got a better grip on it.
Kagome's eyes went wide as Inuyasha took a bite of fur from the back of Shippou's head. She quickly looked at Shippou expecting him to yowl, but he didn't. Instead, his body (which had been so tense ever since they found him) finally started to relax.
Kagome looked back at Inuyasha who was chewing on the fur. Undelightedly. He looked like a dog gnawing on an old bone, but the look on his face said the fur certainly wasn't ramen noodles.
"Things…" Inuyasha growled as he continued to gnaw on the fur, "I do…for you…brat…"
Shippou slowly opened his eyes for the first time. Most of the pain was gone. "Kagome?"
"Right here, Shippou." Kagome smiled as she held his little paw. "You feeling better?"
Inuyasha made a look of disgust as he swallowed Shippou's fur and choked a little.
Kagome continued to look at Inuyasha strangely. "Will you tell me what's going on now?"
"Just a second," Inuyasha muttered. "Shippou, where do you itch?"
"All over," Shippou whined.
"More specific runt," Inuyasha commanded as he started to scratch Shippou's back. "Top? Bottom? Middle?"
"All over!" Shippou shouted as he frantically tried to scratch his back.
"Hold him," Inuyasha told Kagome angrily. All over? Great, I just knew it. Whole nests!
"Inuyasha," Kagome pushed.
Inuyasha glanced back at Kagome. "Shippou's fine right now." He glanced down at the back of Shippou's head. "Long story short, Kagome, Shippou's got…" He hated that word. Killed young defenseless demons all the time. It should have a more aggressive name but damn parents, since it only affected their young had always given it the wimpiest name possible. "Shippou's got Willytarts."
"What?" Kagome looked at Inuyasha strangely. "Willytarts?"
"Yeah, I know. Stupid name," Inuyasha Keh'd. "It's what parent demons call them. They aren't dangerous to any demon over the age of 15 or so, and they hate the taste of humans, but they love the taste of younger demons. Deadly."
"Deadly?" Kagome's eyes went wide. "So the fur you ate? It had Willytarts?"
Inuyasha made a disgusted look but nodded. "Disgusting creatures. They slowly bore through the back of the head through the skull 'til they reach the brain."
"Brain!" Kagome said, apparently shocked. "You mean they've been attacking-!"
"Calm down, he's fine," Inuyasha muttered. "Only one was boring through the skull and I got that little bastard."
"Only one?" Kagome asked worriedly. "How many are there?"
Shippou's eyes went wide. "Inuyasha?" he asked very wearily.
"Kagome, get in your bag and grab some chocolate."
Kagome quickly followed Inuyasha's command. She grabbed a candy bar and gave it to Shippou.
Shippou stared at the candy bar. "Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha sighed. He really didn't want to say. "There are whole nests, Shippou."
Shippou stared at the candy bar. Chances were slim that Inuyasha could get everything. They were so tiny and so many. Only one would have to bore in deep enough that Inuyasha couldn't get at it. "Inuyasha."
"I'll get them," Inuyasha said with determination in his voice.
Kagome looked at Inuyasha. Of course, there was still a lot she didn't understand.
"Willytarts nests are about 25 to 50 each. They are all really small and hide in cocoons they create using Shippou's hair."
"They aren't that easy to get rid of then?" Kagome questioned. "How long 'til Shippou's safe then?"
"If I constantly gnaw right, by sundown. Maybe sunrise-you eating the chocolate Shippou?" Inuyasha was trying to stay positive.
"Yeah." Shippou said softly. "Inuyasha? Do you really think you can?"
Kagome looked at Inuyasha. "It's just taking cocoons out, right? What's wrong with that?"
Inuyasha glanced at Kagome thoughtfully. "They have extreme poison. If they expect an attack, they'll poison Shippou."
Kagome's mouth dropped. "Poison! How will you get them out then?"
"One by one. If I can manage to bite the entire cocoon off, then kill it before it squeals, it should be okay."
"Squeals?" Kagome bit her lip. "Squealing would be bad?"
"You enjoying that chocolate, Shippou?" Inuyasha completely ignored Kagome's question. Which at the same time answered it.
Shippou stared at the chocolate. It was starting to melt. "Inuyasha."
Inuyasha didn't need to hear the rest. He knew what Shippou wanted. "I will get them."
"Inuyasha?" Shippou repeated.
Kagome looked at Inuyasha.
Inuyasha stopped. It wasn't an easy question, but there was little he could do about it. Kagome could look at Inuyasha all she wanted, he could not say it out loud. Not there, not at that moment.
"I'll make it quick," Inuyasha finally answered. "Now eat that chocolate, okay?"
Shippou started to munch on the chocolate again. No matter what, at least he could taste the sweet sensation in his mouth.
Kagome smiled at Shippou. "So, Shippou? Did you have fun with your Auntie Sango and Uncle Miroky while we were gone?" Inuyasha raised an eyebrow at her. "What?" Kagome commented as she rubbed Shippou's hand. "Shippou's sick, and where I come from, we baby-talk to make kids feel better."
Inuyasha continued to gnaw. He couldn't slow down just to talk. Every second counted. "Shippou's sick, huh? Is that what they call brats who are getting the back of their head drilled?"
"Inuyasha, I'm trying to take his mind off that!" She turned back to Shippou. "Like the milk chocolate? I got it on special. I also have chocolate with walnuts and chocolate with peanuts, or how about some fudge chocolate?"
Shippou stared at Kagome. He knew she was trying to cheer him up. Eating chocolate though wasn't gonna solve his problem.
"Shippou…" Inuyasha said through his gnawing. "Try some of that peanut chocolate. It's pretty good."
Kagome quickly grabbed some peanut chocolate and handed it to the little fox demon. Kagome looked over at Inuyasha. "So, should we let the others come in yet? They are probably worried."
"Not until this is done," Inuyasha said through the gnawing.
"Well, should I go tell them?" Kagome asked.
"No, you are not leaving. Just stay right there." Inuyasha frowned as he bit off a cocoon. "Kami, these things are yucky."
"Well, why exactly are you eating them?" Kagome asked. "I mean, they are probably ewwy."
"For my own good," Shippou said. "They have a taste for my blood now. They'd hunt me down, generation by generation, 'til they find me again."
"Oh," Kagome said sadly. "To them, you'd be like ramen to Inuyasha?"
"Strange way to put it but yeah," Shippou agreed.
"Stupid. Willytarts." Inuyasha gnawed. "Why…the hell…they gotta exist. Just…a ….plague…on-UCK!" he remarked as he chewed on another willytart nest. "These things suck!"
Kagome smiled encouragingly at Shippou. "You want some more chocolate?"
Shippou didn't know what to say. Usually, he just ate two. Considering how great Inuyasha was being, trying to save his life…
"Take some more; Inuyasha said through his gnawing, "or I'll shove one down your throat." Kagome glared at Inuyasha. "What?" Inuyasha continued to gnaw.
Shippou just smiled. "Thanks."
Kagome looked at Inuyasha. She wished he would explain more to her so much! Why didn't Shippou tell them? How did they find him? He left lots of blanks. The biggest one being what he meant when he said he'd make it quick. Make what quick?
He wouldn't tell her anything though. Probably not until everything was alright again. She'd ask and he wouldn't answer. Until finally he gave a small answer to one of her questions.
"It's about demon honor," Inuyasha said. "Father is supposed to gnaw, mother is suppose to comfort. Only them. Period. Okay?"
Kagome watched Shippou nod his head. "Not…if the mom and dad don't it's…dishonorable."
"This isn't dishonoring your family," Inuyasha said as he gnawed. "Shippou, they're gone. Only family left is us."
Both Kagome and Shippou's eyes grew wide.
"You mean that you think of Shippou and I as family?" Kagome smiled.
"Uuhh…oh…uh…" Inuyasha continued to gnaw. "Tell anyone and you'll regret it."
Kagome just chuckled as she leaned on his shoulder and held Shippou's now-all-chocolatey hand. "Your secrets safe with me."
Inuyasha tried to hide his blush as he gnawed on the other side of Shippou's head. "Don't do that mushy stuff, wench."
Shippou grinned. He wouldn't die a dishonorable death. Maybe, if he was lucky, he'd be able to live an honorable life too. "So, I am not ruining the pride of the demons? I do have a…?"
Inuyasha's ears perked up very quick. "Huh? No! No, no, no, no, no!"
Shippou continued to smile. He finally felt free. Like he'd really be okay. After all, he wasn't the defenseless young that Willytarts wanted. "I have a mom and a dad."
"Don't say that," Inuyasha growled as he tried to concentrate on gnawing. "You misunderstood! That's not what I meant." He glanced over at Kagome. "Tell him wench! Tell 'em he's just here until we find the shards! Then he's gone, tell him!"
Kagome was still blushing from the comment. "Well, I. Don't look at me, you said it."
"You did too!"
Shippou just smiled. Inuyasha must have been doing a great job, his pain was almost down to nothing. The itching had even stopped. "At first. I felt really bad that I forgot my parents but I think I get it now." He smiled at Kagome widely. "I guess that's because you're them now."
Inuyasha whined as he gnawed.
"I guess I couldn't have both memories of both parents." Shippou said, finally feeling like he understood what was going on.
Inuyasha glared at Kagome.
"I didn't do anything," Kagome said back to him.
"Well, I don't wanna play the daddy," Inuyasha protested as he continued to gnaw. "Make Miroku be the daddy. He wants a brat."
"He can't though. You said he was my uncle, and that Sango was my aunt," Shippou reminded him.
"Aw." Inuyasha looked over at Kagome. "Say something, you said the aunt and uncle crap."
Kagome looked at the big grin and sweet cheeks on the innocent Shippou. "Uhhh…"
"No way. It'd never work." Inuyasha went back to gnawing. "You're not even in relation to dog demons, you're a fox."
"Uuuhhh…Inuyasha?" Kagome interrupted. "That's not really true."
Inuyasha scoffed as he swallowed another nest. "Would you both shut up. I'm trying to concentrate."
Miroku and Sango smiled greatly at Shippou. Everything had been done.
"I'm so glad he's okay," Kagome said, looking at Inuyasha.
Inuyasha and Shippou tried not to let on how bad off they really were. The chances Inuyasha could even save the little demon were so slim.
Kagome leaned over by Inuyasha. "Now, will you please tell me? What did you mean when you told Shippou it would be quick?"
Miroku and Sango were tickling and playing with the now alright little fox.
"How do you think it would feel if something bore its way into your brain?" Inuyasha said softly. "If they made it too far and I couldn't save him, I promised I'd kill him quick to end the pain." Kagome gasped, but Inuyasha quickly covered her mouth. "It's over. It's done, he's fine. No more Willytarts are gonna get him." Inuyasha quickly said, "Just shutup about everything. We don't want to drag anything back up that happened in there. Anything."
Shippou ran over to Inuyasha and Kagome and smiled. There had been a lot of pain and sorrow in everything that happened, but he grinned up at Inuyasha and Kagome as much as he could. Now that he understood, he would never forget one thing.
"So mommy and daddy," Shippou laughed with delight. "When can I get some brothers and sisters to play with?"