Flesh of his Flesh
Chapter Three: Settling In

A high-pitched giggle woke Inuyasha. He yawned and stretched, reluctantly opening his eyes.

"Morning!" Rin crowed.

Inuyasha sat up and looked around. His eyes stopped at the end of the bed. Sesshomaru was standing at the foot of the bed changing Kuniku's diaper. Inuyasha blinked at him. "Am I dreaming?"

Sesshomaru didn't look up as he worked. He lightly dusted some powder over Kuniku's bottom and gave the fluffy tail a tickle. He wrapped the infant in a new diaper, positioning his tail in a little hole in the cloth. He pinned it securely and picked up the baby. "Well, Rin did greet you, so one would assume that you did, in fact, wake."

Inuyasha stared at Sesshomaru as though he had suddenly sprouted wings.

Sesshomaru looked back impassively. "Is there a problem?"

"I can't believer you just changed a diaper," Inuyasha said.

"Diaper!" Rin sang, jumping on the bed.

"Somebody needed to with you dead to the world. Rin managed to put one of her famous knots in your hair and you didn't even notice."

"Famous knots?" Inuyasha blinked.

"Knot!" Rin announced as she picked up some of the hair on his shoulder. It was indeed a large knot that somewhat resembled a braid infused with wilted flower stems and tangled silk ribbons.

"What the hell?" He tried to untangle it and winced.

"She likes long hair. She just isn't good at playing with it. That's a fair attempt, it should only take about an hour to fix."

"An hour?!"

"It is a knot Inuyasha." Sesshomaru sat down on the bed. He put Kuniku between two pillows. Rin sat down next to the baby and cooed. She put her fingers out and watched his little hands wave at them. Sesshomaru offered the children a rare smile and then turned to Inuyasha. "If you come over here, I can get it out for you."

"I can do it," Inuyasha insisted as he continued to pull at the lump of hair. If anything, it only grew bigger with his attempts at freeing it. He growled and threw his hands up. "This is impossible!"

"Not impossible, it just takes patience Inuyasha. Come here and I'll get it out before you make it a two hour affair."

Inuyasha grumbled as he crawled forward and sat in front of Sesshomaru.

A smirk tinted Sesshomaru's lips, but he didn't comment. He moved forward and took the large knot into his hands and slowly began picking it apart. Inuyasha watched Sesshomaru's nimble fingers, as the knot was untangled seemingly strand by strand. Mangled flower petals and stems were put in a small pile on the bed covers with little bits of ribbons that were removed from the hair. Inuyasha looked at Sesshomaru's face. His expression was one of concentration as he focused on the knot.

Inuyasha took the moment to study his brother's features. They were more delicate than his, even somewhat effeminate, but it was a deceptive frailty that his features held. The markings on his face seemed to give some clue of the dangerous person that he was. Just like snakes with bright markings that indicated their toxicity, Sesshomaru sported bright warning signals, for he was indeed poisonous when provoked. The hair was the same as his, a long silky mass the color of clouds on a spring day, white with highlights of blue. Sesshomaru's ears were different though. They looked somewhat human, but that were sharply pointed at the end. Inuyasha wondered why he, the half-demon, had dog ears while Sesshomaru had almost human ears. How much easier his life might have been if his ears had only been more human. He sighed.

"What are you thinking Inuyasha?" Sesshomaru asked, golden eyes flickering up to his brother's face.

"Why couldn't my ears have been more human, like yours?" Inuyasha's own ears drooped at his thoughts.

"We both have father's ears. Yours simply display your origins in a stronger manner. You should not be ashamed of your heritage." Sesshomaru stroked the sensitive white ears, sending a shiver down Inuyasha's spine. "Without them, you would not be who you are right now. Without that heritage, you would not have Kuniku."

Inuyasha looked back at his son, who was clutching Rin's finger tightly. "He is precious to me. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I can't help thinking about if it were different." Inuyasha shrugged.

Sesshomaru smoothed out Inuyasha's hair, brushing his hand over pale skin. "It does not do to live in the past when the future is spread out before you."

Inuyasha turned back to look at Sesshomaru, thinking he was behaving oddly. His heart sped up as he watched Sesshomaru slowly leaning in. Gold eyes widened as soft lips pressed to his. Sesshomaru's hand wove into his hair, holding his head as he kissed him firmly. Slowly, he moved back and looked down into Inuyasha's eyes. The half-demon licked his lips shakily and stared back. The staring contest might have gone on indefinitely with Inuyasha feeling as though he was drowning in honey, if Rin hadn't leapt between the pair.

"Bell! Food!" She said as she latched onto Sesshomaru.

He looked down at her and nodded. "Yes, the dinner bell. It is time to eat." He picked her up and got up from the bed. "Will you join us?" He offered his hand to Inuyasha. Inuyasha watched the hand as if it might bite him, but slowly took it. Sesshomaru handed Inuyasha his sling and Inuyasha picked up Kuniku and secured him before they left the room together. Inuyasha felt his cheeks heat as Sesshomaru capture his hand again and led him to the dining room.

Inuyasha's friends were already seated at the table as they entered. The whispered conversation trailed off and he could see them trying to look innocent and failing miserably. Inuyasha looked at them suspiciously. "What are you up to?"

"Nothing," they chimed in near perfect unison. It only made him more suspicious.

Inuyasha sat down at the table as Sesshomaru released his hand to let Rin slide down onto her seat. He looked at his friends and sighed, they were definitely up to something.

"Inuyasha. Sango is going to take me home tomorrow. We'll be away for a day or so, but I'll come back as soon as I can," Kagome spoke up.

"I thought you said you were free for a while."

"Well, ah, I just remembered, there is this big exam that I forgot all about. Things were so hectic it just skipped my mind!" the girl waved her arms around frantically, nearly smacking Miroku in the face as she did so.

Inuyasha shrugged. "If you have to...it doesn't seem like I'll be going anywhere." He glanced at his brother, who shook his head slightly, indicating that there was no way that he was going to let Inuyasha slip out of the house.

"Don't worry, we won't be abandoning you. We will be leaving Miroku and Shippo," Sango added.

"Oh boy. I can hardly wait." Inuyasha rolled his eyes at the contented look on the monk's face. He was such a moocher; of course he'd stay. Shippo was annoying too, as children usually were, but Inuyasha wondered if he couldn't provide some good company for Rin. He was positive the girl didn't get much interaction within the castle walls.

"Hardly wait." Rin giggled as she grabbed for a pork bun on the table.

"Indeed, I am eager to try out these hot springs Rin has spoken of," Miroku spoke up.

"She spoke of?" Sesshomaru looked up.

"Yes, perhaps in not the most prolific terms, but she said there was hot water. With bubbles."

Sesshomaru nodded. "Yes, she is quite fond of the bubbles. She refuses to take a bath without them."

"Bubble bath! Fun." Rin smiled as she ate a rice ball.

"I suppose that I shall show them to you once the girls are seen off." Sesshomaru shrugged. He knew that if he didn't the mischievous monk would probably go searching fro them himself and only end up in more trouble.

Inuyasha sat quietly eating and wondering if this was really his brother or some impostor. He had more or less just offered to show Miroku around his home. Inuyasha was getting to the point that he wanted to start poking Sesshomaru just to check that he wasn't dreaming. If it was a dream, it was surely one of the strangest ones he'd ever had. Sesshomaru changing a diaper? It was like some strange alternate dimension, not that he was complaining. He had a good roof over his head, good food to eat and help changing Kuniku's diapers. It was the most security he'd had in a very long time. Even his adventuring with his friends hadn't provided him with the peace of mind that he currently found in Sesshomaru's castle.

After the meal, they watched the girls leave on Kilala's back. Once they were a small fiery dot on the dark horizon, Sesshomaru led his guests back into the house. He pointed out a few rooms of interest as they moved through the hallways. Rin ran up ahead and called for them to hurry.

"She's very enthusiastic about baths," Miroku commented.

"She like the bubbles," Sesshomaru replied.

They walked out of the house and into a large garden. Sesshomaru led them down the path and they could see steam rising up ahead. Rin was sitting beside a small fountain and sticking her hands in, getting her sleeves wet.

Inuyasha looked at the large spring and whistled. "Man, that's a huge spring."

"If you're going to do something, do it all the way." Sesshomaru smirked.

There was a small hut next to the spring that Sesshomaru entered. He emerged with a jar and a armful of towels. Rin cheered and ran up to him. He smiled and handed her the jar. She took it and skipped back to the fountain.

"Here are towels and a robe monk. I can see that you are dying to test the waters." Sesshomaru handed the stack of towels to Miroku.

Miroku bowed as he took the towels. "You are a most gracious host."

"Flattery will get you nothing here. I merely have taken you in because of Inuyasha."

Miroku nodded. "All the same, we appreciate it. Come on Shippo, let's give this water a try."

Shippo whined. "But I usually bathe with Kagome."

"Kagome is not here, you'll just have to come in with me."

Shippo grumbled. "All right, but you better not look you pervert."

"Shippo! You're a boy and a child too boot." Miroku protested.

Shippo shrugged. "So? It takes all kinds."

"Honestly, you've been hanging around with Kagome too much." Miroku snorted as he set the towels down.

Shippo scrambled off his shoulder and shrugged. "I like Kagome. She's nice to me."

"I'm nice to you too."

"Exactly. There's gotta be a reason for that." Shippo insisted, his tail poofing out.

"What about my honor code?" Miroku began stripping out of his clothes.

"Honor code? You mean the one that makes you grope every pretty girl that you see?"

"I can't help it if I appreciate the form of the female body. You'll learn when you're older." Miroku said as he slipped into the water. "Ah, that feels good."

"You act like I'm a little kid!" Shippo yelled. "I'm not you know, I'm way older than you! Hey! Wait for me. I can't swim that far." Shippo leapt into the water and did a little fox paddle with his half soaked tail bobbing behind him.

"Are they always like that?" Sesshomaru asked Inuyasha.

Inuyasha nodded. "Miroku's right. The runt has been hanging out with Kagome too much."

Rin interrupted by tugging on Sesshomaru's robes. "Bubble bath. Clean time."

Sesshomaru nodded. "Yes, it is time to get clean."

"Bubble seeds?" She held up the jar.

"Yes, you can plant the seeds." He nodded again.

"Bubble seeds? What the heck is that?" Inuyasha asked, watching his brother.

"Watch and see Inuyasha."

Rin put the jar on the ledge of the shallow fountain. She carefully removed the lid and reached her hand inside. She pulled out a sandy substance and threw it into the fountain. A few moments later the fountain began to froth over.

"Oh. I get it. It's some kind of soap powder. She thinks they're seeds."

"Yes. She didn't really like bathing until I introduced her to the bubbles. Now. I have a hard time getting her out."

Rin ran into the little hut and emerged toting a small basket. She set it beside the fountain and began pulling things out and lining them up along the edge. Soon she had a whole fleet of carved wooden boats sitting on the edge. Then she quickly shimmied out of her clothes and jumped into the fountain. Inuyasha stepped back as water splashed towards him. Rin pulled in the boats and soon seemed to have a full scale sea battle waging in the fountain. He smiled as she played and soon he settled down beside the fountain to watch her.

"Does Kuniku need a bath? These waters are not as hot as the rest of the spring. It would be a perfect opportunity to bath him."

Inuyasha looked up. "I guess so. I haven't bathed him yet. The girls did that when he was born." He sniffed his son. "I guess he is getting a little ripe. Aren't you Kuniku? All that hard baby business, eating, sleeping and dirtying your diaper."

"You can't let him in alone though. You'll have to go with him."

"I know. I'm not stupid. I'll just take a bath with him."

"In your clothes?"

"No, not in my clothes. I'll take them off, if you can hold Kuniku. You think you can manage that?" Inuyasha demanded, offering his son to his brother.

"I think that I can manage," Sesshomaru drawled as he took the infant.

Inuyasha turned away and shed his clothes. When he turned back, Sesshomaru had removed Kuniku's outfit as well. He handed the squiggling baby to Inuyasha. Inuyasha held him gently as he put his foot in the fountain to test the water. Satisfied with the temperature, he slowly sat down in the water and secured Kuniku in his lap. Rin pushed a boat over and plopped down beside Inuyasha as he scooped a few handfuls of water over Kuniku.

"Kuniku clean, Kuniku clean." She sang as she cupped some water and dropped it on Kuniku's foot.

"Rin, come here, we'll clean your hair." Sesshomaru called, distracting the girl. She moved over to him as he pulled out a jar of liquid soap and began to help her with her hair. All the while, he watched Inuyasha and Kuniku as the half-demon gently cleaned his child. He noticed the faint scar across his stomach and inquired about it. "Inuyasha, what is that scar?"

"That's where Kuniku came out of. Miroku sewed it up, but the scar is fading slowly." Inuyasha shrugged as he ran a finger over the scar.

"I'm sure that we have something to aid the healing process."

"I dunno if it's supposed to fade. I mean, this is where Kuniku came out, that's something...special. Maybe it's supposed to stay." Inuyasha shrugged.

"Perhaps. We'll see. Rin, time to rinse."

Rin nodded and moved under the spray of the fountain rubbing her hair and keeping her eyes clenched shut. She rubbed until the last of the bubbles washed off then popped out of the spray. Sesshomaru took her hand and pulled her forward where he used a towel to wipe her face. Her eyes popped open and she grinned.

"Rin clean now."

"Yes, you're clean."

"Yasha clean now." She pointed to Inuyasha, who blinked.

"Hey! Are you saying I smell?" Inuyasha stared at her.

"Yasha stinky!" Rin laughed as she held her nose.

"Why you little!" Inuyasha started forward, but Sesshomaru put an arm on his shoulder.

"Now Inuyasha. Surely it can't hurt you to clean off."

Inuyasha sat back down and grumbled. He turned his attention to Kuniku who decided that he wanted to feed and was suckling happily on Inuyasha's breast and making a dark bruise. "Wrong spot little fellow." Inuyasha adjusted his son. He blinked as water ran down his back. "What the?"

"Lean back Inuyasha. We're washing your hair."

"Washing hair."

Inuyasha tilted his hair back and felt Sesshomaru's strong hands move through it, tipping a bowl of water into the mass of white hair. Soon after two sets of hands, one large, one small, began to massage soap into his hair. He closed his eyes and just enjoyed the rare attention without protest. When fingers began to massage his ears, he had to bite back a groan. It felt so good. The last person who'd really touched him like this, had been his mother. Neither Kikyo nor Kagome had ever given him the same attention.

"Keep your head back. We're going to rinse now." Inuyasha nodded quietly, tilting his head back and keeping his eyes closed. He felt the water rinsing out his hair, and the hands running through it as they got the soap out. He sighed softly. "There. We're done." Sesshomaru said, giving his hair one last run through.

"We done. No more stinky." Rin said as she walked around and patted Inuyasha's arm.

"Thanks." He muttered, slightly embarrassed that the small girl told him he smelled.

"You're still a bit dirty. I will hold Kuniku while you finish up," Sesshomaru offered.

"Um...Thanks." Inuyasha looked down at the drowsing infant. He slowly detached him from his chest, getting a small whine as Kuniku scrunched his tiny face in annoyance. He quieted as he was handed over to Sesshomaru who wrapped him in a clean towel and cradled him carefully. Once Inuyasha was certain that Kuniku was okay, he began to scrub himself. Rin offered a small lump of soap that might have once been shaped like a flower of some sort. He thanked her and continued his bath, quickly as he was now highly aware of Sesshomaru's eyes on him.

Sesshomaru watched Inuyasha bathe, taking in the pale color of his skin lit in the light of the garden lanterns that held back the gloom of dusk. He was well muscled, but looked a little underfed, perhaps due to his pregnancy. His chest, completely unveiled, was fascinating to look at without the obstruction of clothing or babies. As soon as Inuyasha felt the eyes staring at him, he turned, unknowingly providing Sesshomaru with an equally fascinating view. His muscled back led to narrow hips that then flared out for his perfectly pale round cheeks. They brought back heated memories of the night of the full moon, but they were hazy at best thanks to conditions of their encounter.

Inuyasha stood up. "I'm done." He announced, not turning around as he wrung the water from his hair.

"There are robes in the hut. Could you bring Rin's when you come out?"

"Yeah. Sure." Inuyasha stepped out of the fountain and moved toward the hut. He walked out wrapped in a white robe and carrying a smaller one in his hand.

"Time to get out Rin." Sesshomaru told the small girl.

"Awww." She frowned.

"Come. It's getting dark. Time for bed."

She pouted even more, but he seemed immune to her dark eyes and childish pout. Inuyasha wondered how his brother stood up against it, and wondered if Kuniku would do the same thing when he got older. A splash distracted him, drawing his attention back to the main spring. Miroku was emerging from the water with a sleeping Shippo in his arms. He picked up a robe from the pile of linens next to the pool and managed to pull it on without putting Shippo down. He let it swing open as he wrapped the sleeping fox spirit in a towel. He looked up and smiled as he saw Inuyasha watching him.

"Shippo got sleepy in the warm water. We're going to head back now." He walked forward.

"See," Sesshomaru said to Rin. "Shippo and Kuniku are both sleeping, it's time for you to sleep too."

"Not sleepy!" Rin protested even as she yawned.

Inuyasha smiled. "Sure you're not short stuff. How 'bout we just go inside and find something fun to do?" Inuyasha held out the robe. Rin's eyes lit up at the mention of fun and she was easily coaxed into the robe. Inuyasha scooped the girl up and they all headed back for the house.