InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Broken* ❯ Locked Out ( Chapter 8 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Eight
Locked Out

A full day later, Inuyasha finally made it back to the village. He'd gone a lot slower coming than going, since Kagome seemed to be getting worse as time passed and he didn't want to risk hurting her more. He'd given up trying to carry her on his back, instead pulling the rucksack over both shoulders and cradling her securely in his arms. She lay in them like a limp doll, barely conscious, and no amount of jostling on his part would rouse her.

"You big jerk! What'd you do to Kagome?" Shippou howled as soon as Inuyasha set foot inside the hut. He didn't bother answering; his warning growl was enough to make the agitated little fox freeze in his tracks before he could start chewing on the hanyou’s ears or something.

"Old lady, get up and help Kagome," he barked, carefully laying the half-conscious girl on her futon.

Kaede eyed him sharply before stiffly rising to comply with his demands, muttering to herself about being bossed around in her own home. "Shippou, heat some water in the kettle and bring it to me," she ordered. "Inuyasha, seat thyself over there and tell me what has happened."

Inuyasha sat cross-legged on the floor, as close to Kagome as he could get without being in the way, and explained in short, clipped tones everything that had happened up to that point.

"It's all your fault, making her go out and fight when the weather's so awful!" Shippou accused. "And she was already all upset 'cause you're being such a big jerk, too! No wonder she got sick!"

"Shippou, that's enough." This weak protest came from Kagome, who'd finally roused herself enough to witness the argument. Shippou squeaked and hurled himself into her arms; she hugged him weakly and stroked his hair. "Inuyasha was very helpful to me," she said quietly. "He made a poultice for my leg, and he was kind enough to carry me all the way back to the village. Don't be so angry, okay?"


She cut his protests with a hand over his mouth. "No arguing, all right? Remember what I told you?"

He sighed and hung his head, curling up on her stomach with his tail around his body, resting his ear over her heart. "I'm glad you're okay, Kagome. I was scared something bad might happen. You know … besides what did happen." He shot another accusing glare at Inuyasha, who merely bared his teeth in response.

"Both of you wait outside until we have finished here," Kaede commanded. Thus having dismissed the two males, she turned to her patient. Inuyasha hovered for a minute or two, clearly not willing to leave, but a stern glance from the elderly miko finally sent him skulking outside.


Kagome's illness wouldn't leave.

Days passed, and still it clung stubbornly to her weak body, settling itself firmly into a fluctuating fever, a hacking cough, and rasping breath with occasional bouts of nausea and vomiting to top it all off. Needless to say, she was miserable. None of Kaede's herbs seemed to work, and Kagome, when she was coherent enough to think, realized that her head cold had most likely developed into a case of bronchitis or possibly even the beginning stages of pneumonia or influenza, diseases for which she highly doubted there was any cure in that era. It was the curse of being stuck in such an uncivilized time; she desperately needed a real doctor and real antibiotics from her own time, but she couldn't gather the courage to ask Inuyasha to let her go home. They'd been on fairly good terms lately—although that was probably due more to him disappearing for hours or even days at a time—and she was horribly afraid of doing or saying something to set him off again.

It hurt, though, to think that while she was suffering so terribly, Inuyasha could hardly bother to keep her company. Had his former kindness just been a fluke, and now that the responsibility of caring for her was out of his hands, he no longer wanted to bother with her? She tried to tell herself that it was a good thing he stayed away; she didn't want to risk making him sick, after all, and that was probably why he was hardly around. But he was a hanyou. She doubted any human illness would make him sick, no matter how serious it might be to anyone else.

She tried desperately to get Kaede to leave her be, though. It was doubtful the elderly woman was immune to whatever she had, and she was probably highly contagious, to boot. The last thing she wanted was to be responsible for starting a plague that could wipe out the entire village! She said as much to Kaede, who merely replied that she was taking every precaution, and to stop fretting over everyone else and focus her energy on getting well. Kagome had no choice but to give up after that. Kaede was nearly as stubborn as Inuyasha when she set her mind to it.

In the meantime, Inuyasha spent his days taking out his overwhelming frustration on the hapless plant life in the forest, not to mention any stray youkai unfortunate enough to cross his path. Luckily, there seemed to be an increasing number of them, drawn by the scent of the gathered shards. He tore into the intruders as if possessed, finishing them off with a brutal fury that would have frightened anyone who witnessed the slaughter. The village had probably never been safer in those days, but he really didn't give a rat's ass about that.

He was well aware that something was terribly wrong with Kagome, and the best way to fix her was to take her down the well and to her own time. He'd even determined several times to march into that hut and drag her out of it whether the old lady and the fox liked it or not!

But then the memory of that night—of Kagome's despairing words to Kaede about never coming back again—would worm its way into his head, and his resolve would waver under the force of his doubt. What if she'd really meant it? If he sent her back, even to save her life, what if she never returned? Even if it would save her life … he just couldn't take the chance. She would get better with the herbs Kaede provided. She had to.

Still, when he snuck into the hut to watch her tossing fitfully in her sleep, he couldn't help but feel like all sorts of a selfish bastard. She was plagued by nightmares, most of them involving him in some way, and it was all he could do not to curl up somewhere and whimper in shame. Instead, he would creep close and gently run his hand through her sweat-dampened hair, quietly pleading with her to calm down, to rest, to get better. To his surprise, she seemed soothed by his touch and his voice, would calm slowly until she relaxed into a deeper sleep. It appeased the ache in his heart to know that he had such an influence on her, that maybe she wasn't as terrified of him as she seemed in her nightmares.


A week passed, and then another, and still she didn't improve.

Inuyasha was beyond frustrated. All Kaede seemed able to do, whether through charms or herbs, was keep Kagome's illness from growing any worse, and even that seemed to be failing now. He had to do something, before it was too late and she couldn't be cured at all.

There was only one reasonable solution he could come up with, however. It would probably mean a bit of groveling, but he finally swallowed his indomitable pride and, under the cover of night, snuck to the well with the full intention of going to Kagome's mother himself and begging for medicine. He winced; definite groveling would be involved. After all, it had been weeks since Kagome had last gone home. Her mom was probably frantic with worry by that point. But there was no need for her to find out it was his fault she'd been gone so long, right?

Inuyasha took a deep breath and peered into the well's dark mouth. He was more nervous than he'd ever admit to anyone, especially himself. He'd never gone to Kagome's time without her before, and he wondered how he ought to face her mother and explain exactly why he was alone. "Easy," he muttered, straightening his back proudly. "I'll just say she's too sick to be moved so I came to get medicine from her time to help her get better! Her mom'll understand that."

Nodding resolutely, he leapt nimbly into the shadowed depths, fully expecting to be engulfed with the magical light that would carry him to the other end of time.

He was not expecting to hit the bottom of the well and still be on his side of it.

The sudden, hard impact jarred him, making him stumble to his knees. He knelt there, stunned, for a full minute, trying to understand what had just happened. He peered up and sure enough, rather than the musty roof of the well house, the star-dotted sky and overhanging branches met his eyes. He leapt out of the well and gazed in utter confusion into it, wondering if it was just a fluke. Shrugging, he tried again, waiting for the familiar tingle of magic.

Again, he hit the bottom and still he was on the wrong side.

Now he was beginning to panic. Muttering a string of curses, he hopped out of the well and once more leapt, only to be met with the exact same results. Over and over he tried this, his heart racing faster and faster with each failed attempt, until at last he fell to his knees on the cracked dirt and stared at the sky despairingly as he reached one, inevitable conclusion.

The well had, for some inexplicable reason, locked him out.