Flesh of His Flesh
Naraku was retreating, but the battle was far from over.
"Sango! Miroku! Follow him!" Sesshomaru ordered. "I will join you shortly. Do NOT let him harm my son."
"Yes!" The duo replied as they hopped onto Kilala and set off to chase the demon.
"Jaken! Bring the Tenseiga immediately!" Sesshomaru yelled at the small demon as he limped to Inuyasha's side.
"Yes Master!" The toad demon sped off.
"Inuyasha," Sesshomaru murmured as he knelt into the pool of blood that surrounded his brother. "I will not let you die," he promised as he pulled the limp form into his arms.
Jaken quickly reappeared dragging the Tenseiga along behind him. "Here Master! Here is the sword!"
"Good, now go find Rin and bring her to me." Sesshomaru said as he turned his attention to Inuyasha. "Brother," he whispered, running a hand over Inuyasha's cooling cheek. "You will not leave me." He picked up the sword and used it to cut the chains of death surrounding his brother, killing the ones who had come to take his brother from him. The wound in Inuyasha's chest pulsed. A light shone through and Sesshomaru watched as the gaping hole closed. Inuyasha stiffened and twitched as his body began to live again, his heart starting and a painful gasp drew air into his lungs. He coughed up blood and Sesshomaru tipped his head to the side so it would come out and he wouldn't choke on it.
He gathered Inuyasha in his arms standing carefully, his own leg just beginning to heal. He limped towards his bedroom, which hadn't been destroyed in the battle, and laid his brother out on the bed. Inuyasha's body had healed, but he was still out cold. He looked up as Jaken pattered into the room with Rin in tow. Kagome and Shippo followed.
"I want you to stay here and watch over Inuyasha. I shall be going after Naraku." Sesshomaru said as he stood up.
"No, I want to go with you," Kagome said, stepping forward.
"I want someone to stay behind with Inuyasha."
"But I can help you. I can see jewel shards."
"So can Master." Jaken squawked indignantly.
Kagome blinked. "You can?"
"Yes, I'm a demon. I can see them as well as sense them. That is why you are forever chasing after demons with shards of the jewel."
"Oh." Kagome frowned.
"I am wasting time, all of you stay here. We shall return with Kuniku and the jewel shards."
Kagome nodded, still not happy with it, but not about to argue with Sesshomaru, who was looking quite murderous, his eyes beginning to tinge with red. She was stubborn, but not so stupid as to provoke a demon lord who was worried about his mate and child. Sesshomaru turned and left. Rin jumped on the bed beside Inuyasha poking him gently with her finger.
"Yasha sleep?" She asked Kagome.
"Yes, Inuyasha is sleeping. He got hurt but he's all better now." Kagome moved to the bed.
"Rin slept too. Sesshomaru-sama wake Rin up." Rin smiled. "Yasha wake soon and live here like Rin!"
Kagome was sure that's the most she'd ever heard the young girl speak at one time. She nodded. "Yes, he will wake up soon and stay with you."
"Good good." Rin smiled sitting back on the bed and waiting.
She didn't have long to wait as Inuyasha bolted upright with a pained gasp and a frightened cry. "Kuniku!" His brown eyes searched the room wildly, landing on Rin whom he immediately snatched up. "Rin, you're alive." He hugged her tightly.
"Alive!" Rin glomped Inuyasha back, uncaring of the blood that soiled her clothing.
Kagome leaned in to touch Inuyasha's shoulder. "Inuyasha, are you all right?"
"Where's Kuniku?" Inuyasha looked over Rin's head at Kagome.
"Sesshomaru and the others have gone after him."
"Take me to them."
"I don't think that's such a good idea! You just almost died! You did die! And now you need to recover," Kagome argued.
"No! Take me to them!" Inuyasha set Rin aside and struggled off the bed.
"Inuyasha! You're too weak! You almost died! You're a human now and you'll only get in the way." Kagome fluttered around nervously, trying to push him back on the bed.
Inuyasha grit his teeth and glared. "Kagome, take me to them or I will go by myself."
"Inuyasha! You're so stubborn!" She yelled in frustration.
"Naraku has my child!" Inuyasha yelled back, fury in his brown eyes. "I am going and you can't stop me!" He staggered to his feet, holding his chest as he panted heavily.
Kagome stood, fists balled tightly as she counted to ten and back. "Fine. But you're not going without me."
A grim smirk twisted Inuyasha's features. "I knew you wouldn't let me down."
"Stupid jerk," she muttered as she pulled his arm over his shoulder, supporting him. "Shippo, you stay here with Rin and Jaken."
The fox demon nodded and leapt onto the bed, avoiding the large blood spots on the sheets. Jaken stepped forward hesitantly. "There are horses, plain stock, in the stables. Take them. He won't make it. Master would wish it."
Kagome nodded as she half lead, half dragged Inuyasha, out to the stables. Jaken and the others followed them to the front of the castle, watching as Kagome rode off on a horse, supporting Inuyasha from behind. Jaken wandered back into the house muttering about repairs leaving Rin and Shippo sitting in the night air. Rin stood up and started walking towards the gates.
"Where are you going?" Shippo asked, bounding after her.
Shippo paused, weighing the possibilities and consequences in his head. Finally, he looked up. "I'm coming too!"
Once Sesshomaru had left the grounds, he'd shifted into his larger demon form. His slender human form was vulnerable in ways that his larger form wasn't. He leapt over trees as he spotted his prey ahead. His sharp ears picked up the sounds of Miroku and Sango as they harried the demon. He put on speed, as he neared his prey. Naraku would pay for stealing his child and harming his mate. He growled as he gave a mighty leap and soared into the battle with a feral snarl. The two humans fell back as the giant demon dog leapt into battle. Large teeth fixed on some of Naraku's tentacles. He tore the appendages off, tossing them aside and looked up at the demon before him. Greenish black ichor leaked from the wounds before new tentacles sprouted and started wriggling towards him. He snarled at the baboon-skinned demon, his red eyes raking over him. Where was Kuniku?
"Where is my son?" He demanded in a gravely bark.
Naraku's laugh filled the clearing. "Did you think that I'd make it easy for you? He is gone. Your son is mine."
"Bastard!" Sesshomaru snarled as he hurled himself at the laughing figure with every intention of tearing out his throat.
Had anyone had time to look, they would have noticed Kohaku slipping through the trees with a small form cradled in his arms. As he had retreated after his master, Naraku had handed him the child and told him to run with him. Just as Kohaku had moved away with the baby in his arms, Miroku and Sango had arrived. He'd watched the battle only for a moment, his eyes locked upon his sister. Then he had shaken off the sudden thrall and turned to follow out his master's orders.
He left the sounds of battle behind as he moved silently through the woods. The child in his arms seemed to have calmed down as his master passed him over. It was good that the child made no noise, for they were circling back towards Sesshomaru's castle. Now that it was nearly empty, the second part of his mission could be carried out. He would steal Inuyasha's tetsusaiga. Since he was human, he could touch it. His master had said that the sword might prove troublesome someday and it was best to be rid of it early.
Once he had the sword, he was to return to his master's castle. He would summon a flying demon and escape into the sky. He still needed stealth to complete his mission and so proceeded by foot. He could distantly hear the signs of battle as he left them behind. At one point, he had frozen as he heard the sound of hoof beats thundering down the path. He was not on the path, but he was not far from it as he headed back towards the castle. If the child decided to cry, he might have a fight on his hands. Luckily, the child seemed content to sleep and the horse and rider passed on without incident.
He thought that he might reach the castle again without incident. Of course, once the thought entered his head, everything changed. The child in his arms began to shift restlessly. A hitch in the baby's breathing signaled the start of a long cry. Kohaku winced as the forest seemed to echo with the sound of the baby crying. He made soft noises and tried to comfort the child to no avail as it only continued to wail.
"Kuniku!" Kohaku looked up as a childish voice called out. A small figure rushed out from behind a tree and bounded for him. Rin bounced on her feet in front of Kohaku squealing, "Kuniku! Kuniku!"
"Rin!" Hot on the girl's heels, Shippo, the little fox demon rushed out. He stopped short as he saw Kohaku holding Kuniku. "You." Shippo frowned.
"You," Kohaku replied, looking down at the small demon.
"What did you do to Kuniku?" Shippo growled, moving forward slowly.
"I did nothing."
"Then why is he crying?" The fox demanded.
"Wants Yasha." Rin nodded, moving closer to the boy and the baby.
"Stay back," Kohaku ordered as he stepped back.
"Rin, be careful," Shippo warned the girl.
"No!" Rin shook her head fiercely. "Kuniku needs sister."
"What did you say?" Kohaku looked at her.
"Kuniku needs sister. Rin is sister and here now. Give Kuniku to Rin, Kuniku needs Rin." Rin said matter-of-factly, holding her arms out to collect Kuniku.
Kohaku hesitated. "I...I can't give him to you. My master..."
"Is a killer. He's a liar. You shouldn't follow him." Shippo bristled. "You owe him nothing. He took your life to begin with."
Kohaku paused. His master...his master gave him orders. Orders that hurt him. But he had to follow. Kohaku shook his head. "Don't talk, you lie."
"I'm not lying. Naraku killed you. He killed you to use against your sister."
Again, Kohaku startled at the word. "My...my sister?"
"Yeah. Sango, your sister."
"Yes, Sango. Your sister that you hurt. You hurt her every time you follow Naraku's orders. Don't you think its time you stopped hurting her? Shouldn't you leave Naraku behind? Is he really so strong that you would forget your family?" Shippo chided.
"I-I don't mean to!" Kohaku argued.
"But you do!"
"But my master..."
"He uses you. But his hold is broken now. Usually, you're a zombie. Now you can talk about Sango. Now you should run." Shippo pointed out.
"I..." Kohaku looked confused.
Rin put out her hand, resting it on his where he held Kuniku. "Come with Rin. Give Kuniku and come home."
"Kohaku, don't let him win." Shippo said, approaching carefully. "Don't let him use you. Don't let him ruin your family. If you come with us, you can be happy again. You can be with your sister, with Sango and Naraku can never hurt you again."
Kohaku's eyes shifted restlessly between the fox demon and the child before him. Rin smiled sweetly while Shippo looked focused and hopeful. Kuniku shifted in his arms, mewling out, a tiny fist waving out of the blankets. Rin tugged on Kohaku's arm, pulling him into a kneeling position. She moved in looking down at Kuniku and smiling. Her hand gently ran over his small arm and down to pet his stomach.
"No worry Kuniku, Rin is here now baby. Your sister is here." She leaned in and kissed his cheek delicately.
Kohaku made an almost inaudible noise. Shippo's ears pricked and he looked at the other boy. Tears had collected in the corners of Kohaku's dark eyes as he watched the scene unfold. Slowly, he looked up at Shippo, the tears breaking free and sliding down his cheeks. "I will come with you," he whispered.
Rin looked up at him, her small hands reaching out to touch the glimmering wetness on the boy's cheek. "You come home now," she instructed as she took his free hand and held it firmly. He nodded silently and allowed the small girl to lead him home.