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:  Kagome takes Sesshomaru, Jaken and Rin shopping.  Miroku visits the marketplace with his mother.


Part Eight

Kagome took a deep breath as she walked along the path.  Sesshomaru and Jaken were behind her with Sesshomaru carrying
Rin.  The little girl was happily chattering about going to the market for shopping.  She was currently wearing some of Kaede’s
clothing, but she was eager to get some of her own.  Her excitement alone left Kagome happy that she was doing this.

“It’s such a lovely day, don’t you think?”  Kagome turned a little and smiled at how the sun glinted off of Sesshomaru’s long,
silver hair.  The effect almost made it look like he was glowing.

The tall demon’s golden eyes regarded her for a moment, before he inclined his head slightly.  “It is . . . pleasant, mistress.  The
fresh air is good for Rin.”

Kagome smiled and kept her eyes on the path ahead.  Sesshomaru didn’t speak too much when left to his own devices, and
Kagome respected his choice in the matter.  He was infinitely patient as Rin asked him questions and Kagome had to marvel that
the little girl could do that with such ease.  Most would probably be intimidated by Sesshomaru’s stature, but not the child.

When they arrived in the marketplace, Kagome blinked.  Sango was there as well.  She had not expected to see her friend
today.  “Sango!” she called, waving her arm in the air.  “Over here!”  She found it easy to smile as her friend approached with a
lovely kitsune following close behind her.  “I see you did make a purchase.  Hello.”

The kitsune smiled and made a little bow.  “Good day, my Lady.”  She adjusted the weight of the cub in her arms.

Sango nodded and then scowled a little.  “That . . . well, I can’t say what I really think of him in the presence of children, but
he was going to separate her from her son.”

Rin, who had been put down at some point, giggled at the sight of the little boy.  “Oh, he’s so cute!” she practically squealed.

The young kitsune growled, obviously displeased with the assessment.

Before Kagome could say anything, the small kitchen demon, Jaken, had put himself firmly between Rin and the cub.  Glancing
to Sesshomaru told Kagome that the tall demon was just as surprised as she was at the action.

The mother smiled down at Jaken.  “Please forgive him.  He's young and little boys do not like to be referred to as being cute.”

Jaken looked up at Kagome.  “Is this true, Mistress?”

Kagome laughed.  “It's true.  I remember one night when my brother and Kohaku fell asleep studying.  Sota was furious with
me for a week after I told him how cute he had looked.”

Sango chuckled.  “Only a week?  Kohaku wouldn’t even speak with me for a month after that incident.”

Jaken snorted a little and went back to stand next to Sesshomaru, accepting the explanation.

Kagome smiled, pleased that the little demon was so protective of the child.  It was good that the girl had people who would
protect her.  She turned her attention back to Sango.  “Is Kohaku with you?  Sota tagged along with us.  He’s over there,
looking at some puzzle boxes.”  She motioned behind her to indicate where her younger brother was looking at various trinkets.

Sango shook her head.  “He’s strained himself again, and is in bed today.”  She sighed.  “I just wish the two boys wouldn't push
themselves so hard.  They’re both too young to worry themselves this much.”

Kagome nodded.  “Yes.  At least Sota takes it a little easier the days that he doesn’t have scheduled studies.  I still don’t like the
pace that they push themselves to meet though.”

Sango sighed.  “It’s a sad truth that they have that responsibility.”  She smiled as Sota ran over.  “Good day to you, Sota.”

Sota smiled warmly in return.  “Hello, Sango.  Hello . . . uhhh . . .?”  He looked to Sango in askance.

Sango chuckled.  “This is Talia and her son, Shippo.”

Sota nodded.  “It is very nice to meet you.  Where’s Kohaku?”

Kagome chose that moment to interrupt.  She pressed her hand to his shoulder, waiting until he looked up at her.  “He pushed
himself too hard again, Sota.  He's in bed today.  Come along and we’ll get some clothes for Rin, Jaken and Sesshomaru . . . as
well as for Talia and Shippo.  Then all of us can have lunch together, okay?”

Sota let out a deep sigh, but nodded his head.  “Okay, Kagome,” he said with a faint pout.

Kagome knew there was nothing she could do to make Sota feel better, so she turned her attention to the task at hand.  She
headed over to a reputable clothier and began looking through the racks of garments.  She didn’t notice as the others filed away,
also looking through the racks, though Sesshomaru stayed close to Kagome’s side.

She pulled a garment out and studied it.  It was a simple red garment, but she felt the finer cloth would suit Sesshomaru.  She
also figured that the tall demon would balk at any garment made from such a cloth.  Still, she held the garment up, shaking it out
before she held it out to the tall demon.  There was no harm in trying to get him to wear something finer than the coarse
garments usually given to slaves.

The demon’s golden eyes flicked to the cloth and then back to her as if assessing the situation.  A moment passed, but he made
no move to accept the garment.

Kagome sighed.  “Look, you can’t wear what you have on forever.”  She swallowed and fought a blush at the mental image of
him going around naked.  ‘Oh, it’s a good thing Kikyo can’t read my mind.’  She continued to hold the outfit out to Sesshomaru
until he took it with a slight shrug.

She continued looking through the racks until Sesshomaru’s arms were loaded with clothing of different colors and styles.  
Satisfied that the tall demon would accept the garments, and that he had enough to last him a while, Kagome turned her attention
to little Rin who was looking at various dresses excitedly.  

Kagome smiled as she held a blue dress up against Rin and nodded.  “This one will do nicely.”

Rin was practically bouncing.  “Can I try it on now?”  she asked excitedly.

Kagome nodded, finding it easy to smile when regarding the child.  “Of course you may.”  She turned to look at Sesshomaru.  
“You too.  And try not to reject anything because you think it’s too . . . expensive or lavish for a slave to be wearing.”

“Yes, Mistress,” Sesshomaru bowed, then turned and headed for the dressing rooms.

Kagome found a few more dresses for Rin, then moved on to finding clothes for Jaken.


Miroku looked around nervously and stayed as close to his mother as he could.  He didn’t know why he’d had to come along,
but his mother had said that something important would be happening today.

“Calm down, my son.  All will be well.”

His mother’s tone was affectionate, and there was no true reproach in her voice, but Miroku still flinched a little.  He didn't want
to make his mother angry.  He had no way of knowing what she would do if that happened.  She had never hurt him, but the
fear still existed in his mind, a remnant of the tortures forced upon him.

It didn’t help matters that they were in the middle of the busy marketplace.  Being surrounded by so many people frightened
Miroku.  He wished that he was still safe at home, locked away in the security of his own bedroom.  But he had no power to
grant such a wish and Mother had said they needed to be here today.  Something would happen, something important that could
not be avoided.

He winced or jerked away every time someone bumped into him.  People stopped and stared at him, eying the wings that lay
wrapped around his shoulders, frowning at the heavy collar weighing him down.  He didn’t like the way they looked at him, or
how some of the people would purposely reach out to touch him.  He tried to avoid people as much as possible, doing his best
to keep Mother in sight.

Once or twice he lost sight of her in the dense crowd, but it was never for too long.  He wished that he could hold onto her
sleeve to prevent them from being separated, but knew that he couldn’t do such a thing.  It would be unseemly for a slave such
as him to hold onto his owner in such a manner.  He wrapped his arms around himself instead, digging his claws into his
forearms in a futile attempt to calm his fears.

Terror gripped him barely a moment later though, as a few people shoved their way into his line of sight, blocking Mother from
him.  Maybe that’s why his mother had brought him to this awful place, so that she could lose him and be rid of him once and
for all.  But even as he thought it, he knew it wasn’t true.  Mother loved him dearly.  Everything she did was for his protection,
to ensure that the future she had foreseen would not come to pass.  She wanted to stop the horrible monster who had hurt
Miroku from ever coming to such great power.

He opened his mouth to call out to her, but closed his lips again, knowing it was useless.  He had not spoken in years.  His last
words had been screams for mercy, cries of anguish which had been ignored by a cruel and uncaring owner.  It was better not
to speak, especially when his calls of suffering had only delighted that monster.

Fearing that he would lose his mother, Miroku began to unfurl his wings.  If he could not get to her by foot, he would do so
from the air.  However, just as his wings lifted from his shoulders, a cold hand gripped his arm and yanked him into a shadowed
alleyway.  He was thrown back against the wall, a sharp snap tearing through his mind in much the same way as the echoing
rush of pain of his now broken wing.

He whimpered, shuddering as he was pressed back again, held there firmly against the wall by someone much stronger than
himself.  Shivering in fear and pain, he lifted his gaze, his heart practically stopping as he found himself face to face with the
demon who had tortured him for years on end, the man that his own father had sold him to.

“Why, Miroku . . . what a pleasant surprise this is.  You’re looking far better than when I last saw you,” Naraku drawled, a
wickedly devious smile curling his lips.  “What say we get to know each other once again?”

To Be Continued . . .