Take Your Time by Sereia

Chapter 1

"You'll be fine."

Sesshoumaru's jaw clenched as he watched his mate slip the grocery list into her purse.

"I fail to see why I cannot make this trip for you."

"And I fail to see why you're so worried about spending a few hours with your own daughter."

Claws raked through silver hair, Sesshoumaru leaning against the kitchen doorway. "I am not worried. I am simply aware of how much she clings to you."

They had been mated for close to five centuries, had raised more than a dozen children, both blood and found, but Sesshoumaru felt himself floundering every time he tried to connect with their newest addition.

Umeko had been a difficult pregnancy—he'd made Kagome swear it was her last when even the most modern technology had almost failed to save them both. The premature infant had spent the first month of her life in the NICU, hooked up to a variety of tubes—all trying to keep her alive.

Sesshoumaru had never felt so helpless.

And yet, with the strength only akin to her mother, little Umeko had persevered, leaving all the doctors flabbergasted when she'd left the hospital with a clean bill of health.

Kagome kissed his cheek, giving his arm a reassuring squeeze when his gaze slid towards their daughter's bedroom. "We need more of her formula, and our regular place is out. It shouldn't take more than a couple hours. She'll probably sleep the whole time."

"And if she does not?"

"You've handled babies before."

"She does not like me."

Kagome stifled her laughter. "She's barely six months old. Give it time." Giving him another kiss, she did a quick inventory, then slipped out the door, Sesshoumaru shifting anxiously in the foyer.

He hadn't been kidding when he said Umeko didn't like him; the pup would wail any time Kagome brought her close. None of his other children were as vocal in their displeasure of being separated from their mother as her, Sesshoumaru equating it to the time spent together in the hospital.

Eying the floor, he padded softly to his office, avoiding any tile that might alert Umeko to his presence. Hopefully she would sleep until Kagome returned and be none the wiser.

His silent pleas lasted a full 57 minutes before the telltale cries sounded from their bedroom. Sesshoumaru immediately called his mate.

"I had to go to a second store," she said, voice muffled as she shifted her phone. "The last place only had one container."

Gritting his teeth, Sesshoumaru got to his feet, hovering outside the door as the volume of Umeko's cries increased.

"She requires her mother."

"Yeah, well, Mama's busy, so Papa's going to have to suffice this time."

Bracing himself for the impending storm, he stepped into the room, Umeko's tiny hands and feet flailing above the edge of her bassinet.

The sight of him did nothing to calm her disquiet.


"Turn the camera on."

Sesshoumaru did as he was told, holding his phone in front of him. He could hear Kagome on the other end, chatting and playing the games that would generally quiet Umeko down, but the pup was having none of it.

A strange sense of calm washed over him as he watched Umeko and Sesshoumaru suddenly set the phone down, ignoring his mate's look of confusion. Leaning closer, he slid his hands under her, mindful of both his claws and her head.

Her frantic movements quelled, green eyes never leaving his as he lifted her out of the bassinet. They stared at each other for a moment, then Umeko hiccupped and reached for his face.

He thought he heard Kagome gasp.

The angle was awkward, his movements stiff, but her small hands patted his cheeks, blowing a raspberry before grabbing at his hair.

It was the crescent moon on his brow, however, that captivated her the most, and she used her grip on his hair to pull him closer. Sesshoumaru pressed their foreheads together, breathing a sigh of relief.

"I'll be heading home soon." Kagome's voice wafted up from the bassinet, quiet and contemplative.

Propping Umeko on one shoulder, Sesshoumaru retrieved his phone. "Take your time."


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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