Disclaimers:  I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters.

Notes:  My very first Inuyasha fic.  This is a Het fic, with pairings as follows . . . Sesshomaru/Kagome, Inuyasha/Kikyo, and
Miroku/Sango.  This is most definitely an Alternate Universe fic, and I take great liberties in changing their lives to suit my
purposes.  And for the most part, I stick with English terms and spellings for their names . . . I do hope you can get over it.

More notes:  Sango introduces Talia and Shippo to Kohaku.  Kagome visits Sesshomaru in the morning.  And Miroku awakens
to a new day.



Bound



Part Seven


Sango smiled warmly as she watched Talia enter the room with Shippo in her arms.  “Did you sleep well?”  She asked,
gesturing for Talia to take a seat at the table where breakfast was waiting to be eaten.

Talia nodded and blushed a little.  “Yes.  Thank you, Sango.  It has been so long since I’ve slept the night through.  And being
able to cradle Shippo . . .”  She nuzzled her cub, who promptly let out a tiny little sound of happiness at the affectionate touch.

Sango felt a warmth fill her.  It was good to know that she had helped these two people in some small way.  She motioned to
the table again. “Please, sit and make yourselves comfortable.  My brother, Kohaku will be down in a moment.  I’m certain that
he will be delighted to meet you.”

True to Sango’s prediction, Kohaku entered the dining hall a mere moment after they had all sat, his shoulders slumped.  “Good
morning, Sa~~ngo,” he said, his sister’s name coming out stretched as Kohaku had yawned while speaking.

Sango frowned a little.  Kohaku had passed out cold as soon as he had returned from Kagome’s home the previous night.  And
to see him still looking exhausted only meant one thing.  “Kohaku, you’re running yourself ragged again.  You know that Sota’s
tutor will slow to accommodate you.  There is no real rush in your studies.”

Kohaku shook his head vehemently.  “There IS a rush, Sango!  You know as well as I do, that if Sota and I don’t know what
we need to know, someone could swoop in and take our lands!”

Sango smiled affectionately at her younger brother.  He and Sota had the women’s best interests at heart.  “Brother, dear . . .
what makes you think someone won’t do that anyway if you are too ill to object?”  She shook her head.  “I want you to stay in
bed today.  Perhaps this will be a good time for you and Shippo to get acquainted.”

Kohaku blinked and suddenly noticed the two fox demons.  “Oh!  I’m so sorry.  I’ve been rude.”

Instead of responding, Talia slid from her seat to kneel before Kohaku.  Beside her, Shippo copied his mother’s actions.  “Your
sister was kind enough to purchase my son and I from the slaver yesterday, Master.  She stated that we could be excellent
companions.  That is . . . if you do not object to my son as your companion, Master.”

Kohaku smiled weakly at Shippo.  “I’d like that.  There are times when I can’t spend time with Sota . . . and those times get
lonely and boring.”  He sighed, rubbing at his eyes with his fingers.  “It’ll be nice to have someone to talk to, even if that
someone is younger than me.  I’ve often envied Sota because he has a little sister.  Now I think I have something like a little
brother.”

Sango smiled at that thought.  She had hoped that her brother would accept them, and it pleased her that he had no problems.  
Of course, she’d had no real doubts.  Kohaku had a good and honest heart.  He was a kind boy, gentle and loving, and quite
protective of those he loved.  Sango couldn’t help but feel proud of her little brother.  Then, any happiness she felt vanished
when Kohaku’s eyes rolled back into his head.  

“Kohaku!”  She cried, watching in horror as Kohaku fell.

Sango ran forward, though she knew there was no way that she could reach her brother in time to prevent him from hitting the
floor.  She simply was not fast enough.  However, she forgot to take Talia into account.  The Kitsune easily moved across the
room in a flash, dropping to her knees and catching Kohaku.  She cradled him tenderly, easing him slowly to the floor, his head
pillowed on her lap.

“He works so hard for one so young.”  Talia’s voice was warm and full of motherly affection.  “Sango, would it be
presumptuous of me to ask where his room is?  I could carry him there easily if you so wish it.”

Sango nodded.  “Yes, please.  It would be best if you and Shippo knew where his rooms are.  Follow me.”  Sango stood up and
waited until Talia had lifted Kohaku.  Not wanting to leave the pup behind, Sango picked Shippo up and held him close as he
gazed worriedly in Kohaku’s direction.  With a nod, she led the way.

It wasn’t long before they were approaching Kohaku’s room.  The servant in charge of keeping the room clean looked shocked
at seeing Kohaku being carried by a Kitsune, but he opened the door nonetheless.  Sango smiled at him.  “Thank you.”  Once
inside, she motioned to the room with her free hand.  “This is Kohaku’s room.  Three doors down the hall to the right is his
study area.  Across the hallway is what used to be his playroom.  I’m sad to say that he hadn’t used that room in some time.”

Talia’s eyes were sad as she gently placed Kohaku on his bed.  “He is little more than a child himself.  What should I do to make
him more comfortable?”

Sango was glad that Talia was already taking an interest in Kohaku’s health for reasons other than that of a slave seeing to her
master’s well-being.  “For now, just take his shoes off.  Once he’s slept a bit, he can change into his nightshirt.  He’s reached
the age where he’s shy about having someone of the opposite gender seeing him unclothed.”

Talia nodded.  “I understand.  Should some light foods be brought here for when he awakens?”  She frowned as she placed a
slender hand on Kohaku’s forehead.  “Perhaps a cool compress should be brought up as well.  The poor boy has a fever and
should not have been out of bed at all.”

Sango gently set Shippo down before rushing to her brother’s side.  A quick touch verified what Talia had already stated.  
Kohaku was burning up and his cheeks were slightly flushed.  Sango cursed herself for not having seen it sooner.  “Yes, a cool
compress would be a good thing to have right now.  Dear little idiot that he is, Kohaku worries about me so much that he tends
to neglect himself.  He goes without sleep and meals so that he can study and nothing I do will make him listen.”

“He loves you dearly.”  Talia noted, shyly looking down at the bedding when Sango looked her way.  “Perhaps when he
awakens . . . if you do not mind of course . . . I could speak with him.  Hearing advice from a sister you wish to protect is not
the same as listening to the advice of someone who does not blind your judgement.”

“True,”  Sango sighed, stroking her fingers along Kohaku’s forehead.  “Please, try to make him understand.  I worry so much
for him.  He should still be enjoying his childhood, not rushing to be an adult.”

Talia nodded.  “Yes, Sango.  I will go and gather what you asked for now.”  With that, she gave a small bow and left the room,
brushing her fingers through Shippo’s hair and leaving the boy with Sango.


*****


Kagome was humming as she walked through the halls, moving with a light heart to the room where Sesshomaru was resting.  
Today she was going to take the two demons and the adorable little girl out shopping for belongings of their own.  Kikyo had
given her a purse of coins, enough to pay for a dozen demons' wardrobes if need be.  But Kagome wouldn’t spend it all.  It
wouldn’t be right and she knew that Kikyo was just waiting for her to do such a thing so she could chide Kagome for being
foolish.  Sister Kikyo was sneaky in her ways of teaching Kagome lessons.

Knocking lightly, she turned the knob and peeked into the room, blinking when she found that Sesshomaru was not in bed.  Rin
still lay there, nestled amongst the blankets fast asleep, her little arms curled around the doll that Kaede had lent her.

“Is there something you wish of me?”  Sesshomaru’s familiar deep voice spoke, making Kagome’s skin tingle.

She turned, smiling when she found him standing by the window.  “How are you feeling?”  She asked, concerned for the tall
demon.  It had been only yesterday that he had passed out from the pain of a punishment Kagome had unknowingly bestowed
on him.  She knew that she’d have to be more careful now.  She didn’t ever want to cause him pain again.

“I am well,” he said, bowing slightly.

Kagome approached him, gently taking one of his wrists in her hand.  She tenderly stroked the bandaging, looking at it with
worry.  She could feel the metal band beneath the cloth.  The thought of those restraints made her frown.  “Are they healing?”

“Yes.  They still pain me.  It is difficult to move them.  But if you have a task for me, I will do it.”  He said.

Kagome continued to look down at his hand, her eyes lingering on his creamy skin.  She found herself touching one of the
stripes on his hand, trailing it with her fingertips.  “I have nothing for you to do today,” she said quietly, sliding her fingertip
down to brush one of his nails.

He took his hand away then.  The abrupt move made Kagome blink in concern.  “Forgive me.  I did not wish to unintentionally
harm you,” he said with his eyes cast away.  He still would not look her in the eye if he could avoid it.  Now, he was gazing out
of the window again, his focus on something far in the distance - somewhere in the forest that she could barely see herself.  
Perhaps he was looking to wherever he had taken his walk last night.

Kagome reached up, laying her hand on his arm.  “Do you feel up to coming shopping?  I did say I would take the three of you
today.”

Sesshomaru nodded.  “If you wish me to, I will go.”

Kagome sighed.  That was probably as close to a ‘yes’ as she was going to get.  “When you’re ready, I’ll be waiting.  Let Rin
sleep a little longer.  She could probably do with the rest.  We’ll have breakfast and then we’ll go out.  Okay?”

“Yes, Mistress Kagome.”  He nodded, briefly glancing in Rin’s direction.

Sighing, Kagome turned and walked back to the door.  As eager as she was to go shopping, she’d just have to wait until they
were ready.  There was no sense in forcing Rin to wake up, or to make Sesshomaru do what she wanted.

Well, at least there was time to play with Kaede now.  She’d been neglecting her little sister for a few days now.  Everything
had been so hectic with Grandmother’s visit and the shop.  And then Sesshomaru, Rin and Jaken had come into her life.

A smile returned to her face as she left the room.  She couldn’t wait to see Kaede’s smile again.  And perhaps she could coax
Sota out of his room for a change.  Honestly, the boy spent far too much time studying.


*****


Miroku awoke to the new day feeling afraid and jittery.  Of course, that was little difference to how he felt every morning.  But
today there was something different, something looming in the future.  He could not see things as his mother could, but he
knew when a bad day was approaching.  Today was going to be a bad day.

“Miroku.  It is time,”  Mother said as she entered the room, seeming to float on air as she moved.  “We must venture out today.  
Things must go as I have seen them.  At least, up to a point.  Then we will have opportunity to change things, to end the
darkness that blinds the eyes of the men and women of the village.  Today we will show all those in the square that a monster
lurks in their society.”

Nodding his head shakily, Miroku pushed his blankets aside.  He did not know all of what his mother saw.  All he knew was that
he trusted her.  If she said he had to go into the village today, then he would do so.

Mother smiled sadly, laying her hand against his cheek.  “I fear there is a shadow in my sight,”  She said, her claws laying
against his skin.  “I will lose you and I cannot see anything of that.  But it will not happen today.    Today I will protect you.  
You have my word.”

Miroku nodded, not truly understanding but trusting her nonetheless.  He rose from bed, dressing without care of his mother
seeing his scars.  She had seen them many times before.  She could see the ones that no one else could see, her sight tormenting
her with the truth of what that monster had done to him.

“Come,”  Mother bade, her fingers gliding across one of his wings.  “We shall descend on the village from above.  You must
exercise your wings.  It has been far too long since they have touched the sky.”

He smiled, almost feeling eager for the opportunity to fly.  Mother was right.  It had been far too long.



To Be Continued . . .