InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Broken* ❯ Disappearing Act ( Chapter 11 )

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

Chapter Eleven
Disappearing Act

Kagome found herself practically smothered before she even set foot inside her house. Souta was the first to see her emerging from the well house and his instant reaction was to race away yelling at the top of his lungs. She stared at the trail of dust he left, momentarily offended; what was she, a ghost? Then her mother was out the door in seconds, followed closely by her grandfather—She had never seen either of them run quite that fast before—and as she found herself being swept into their welcoming arms, the only thing she could do was burst into tears of relief. Up until that point, her mind had been whirling with confusion at Inuyasha's startling confession. She'd even been contemplating going back (just for a few moments, mind you) to ask him directly if he'd really meant it, but then Souta had spotted her and, well, all thoughts of leaving again fled her mind when she threw herself into her mother's arms.

She had quite a bit of explaining to do, naturally. She'd been gone for over a month without a single word as to her whereabouts or whether she was okay; her family had been just about ready to give her up as lost. On top of that, she'd returned looking a little worse for wear, what with her still-pasty complexion and the gaunt appearance of someone who had been ill for a very long time. She apologized profusely, and apologized again to Souta for having missed his birthday party after she'd pinky-sworn she wouldn't, and also for not having thought to bring his present with her. She'd left her entire pack behind, in fact, but then again, she hadn't really expected to be going home today.

She explained the best she could about her illness and how everyone thought it was too dangerous to move her the entire way to the well without the risk of her getting worse. This wasn't true, of course. With Inuyasha's speed, he could have bundled her up and dropped her off in a few short minutes, but she didn't want to mention the real reason for her disappearance, at least not in front of her brother and grandfather. Souta had a serious case of hero-worship for the hanyou, and she didn't have the heart to break his adoring faith. As for her grandfather, well, he'd no doubt go off the deep end and try to have the well permanently sealed or something in case that "nasty demon" decided to come snatch her away again. Not that Inuyasha could, if what he'd told her about being banned from her time was true. But that wouldn't matter to Grandpa. He may not have had much in the way of real spiritual power, but there were other ways to seal a well. Like destroying it entirely.

When she had finally answered all the questions she could stomach, her always-observant mother shooed her brother and grandfather off so Kagome could have a proper bath and sleep, leading her exhausted daughter to her bedroom. "So, perhaps now you can tell me now the other reason you haven't been back for so long," she urged gently.

Kagome nearly fell over, peeking cautiously through the neckline of the shirt she was in the process of pulling over her head. "Ummm … what makes you think there's another reason?" she asked with her most innocent expression.

Her mother pursed her lips with that too-observant expression. "Dearest, there must be more to the story than what you've told us. Even being so badly sick, couldn't Inuyasha have come back to get proper medicine to help you? Why rely on the medicine of his time when he knows that our medical knowledge is so much more advanced?"

Kagome squirmed. That was the other thing she hadn't mentioned. To do so would have led to explanations she really didn't want to get into. "Well … you know how Inuyasha is," she muttered uneasily. "He's so incredibly stubborn, the dummy…" Her mother did not look convinced. She sighed, deciding it was probably best to just 'fess up. "Well, um, you see, he did try. But … uh … hecouldn'tget throughthwell," she mumbled quickly.

"Why is that? Did something happen?"

"Well … kinda…" Her mother was obviously waiting for her to elaborate. Kagome sighed. "There was a bit of a scuffle and the rosary sort of snapped and broke the spell I had on Inuyasha. I guess maybe that was what had linked us so he could follow me through the well, but with it broken…" She shrugged.

"Oh, dear. I do see how that could present a problem," the older woman murmured, one hand coming up to rest against her cheek. Her brow furrowed with increasing concern. "Kagome, please answer me truthfully. When the spell broke, did anything else … happen?" Seeing her daughter's confused expression, she elaborated carefully, "Did Inuyasha … hurt you in any way? Or maybe … perhaps he touched you in a manner that was … inappropriate?"

Kagome's eyes widened as the insinuation hit home, and a fierce blush crawled into her cheeks. "No!" she yelped. She winced at the loudness of her voice. "No," she repeated more calmly, shaking her head fervently to emphasize her point. "Believe me, Mama, Inuyasha didn't do anything like that to me! He wouldn't! H-he does have honor!" She felt offended on Inuyasha's behalf that her mother would even suggest he would hurt her like that.

Her mother looked unaccountably relieved. "I don't mean to accuse," she soothed. "It's just that Inuyasha is so … strong-willed…"

Kagome snorted, lips quirking into a smile. "It's okay, you can go ahead and say it. He's wild. I know that. I didn't think you'd noticed though. I made him be on his best behavior whenever he was here."

"I'm not that unobservant, Kagome," she replied wryly. "Truthfully, I've always wondered if it was those beads he wore that … held him back, knowing that you could subdue him if he got out of hand. But it was always your faith in him that kept me from asking you to remain here instead of going back to that place."

Kagome was still blushing; her mother had no idea just how close to the truth she was. She squirmed a bit, feeling guilty about holding out on her. "I-it's okay, Mama," she said softly. "Honestly, you're right. When the spell broke, Inuyasha did go a little wild. He … wouldn't let me come home again. That's the other reason I was gone so long. He threatened to destroy the well if I went near it, and I couldn't chance that happening. It was like … revenge for all the sits I ever gave him. I can sort of understand why he acted the way he did, but he went so power-mad with it! During this past month … Inuyasha was scary! It felt like a stranger had taken over. He seemed to hate me and all we did was fight. I couldn't … see him anymore." She swallowed hard and blinked back tears at the grim memories. "I think it was at least partly my fault, though. There was just so much misunderstanding and all I did was get mad instead of trying to reason things out and in the end I let myself become afraid of him. And then I got sick, and after that Inuyasha was himself again."

Well … almost. Her blush deepened, remembering for the umpteenth time the tender kiss he'd pressed to her lips and his whispered confession. "H-he apologized for everything he'd done, and then he sent me through the well. But before that, he told me he couldn't follow me here anymore. He said sending me back—not knowing if I'd ever return—was the only way he could prove that he trusted me, and he hoped I'd trust him enough to want to return on my own."

Her mother's gaze softened as Kagome spoke. Like all understanding mothers, she could clearly see what her daughter was not saying, and a smile touched her lips. "It seems the both of you have matured a great deal over this ordeal," she commented thoughtfully. "It brings to mind the saying, 'Every cloud has its silver lining'. It seems that you and Inuyasha both have found the silver lining in your clouds."

Kagome's smile bloomed slowly. "Yeah. I … I guess so."

"Will you go back again?"

"Not just yet. It's been so long since I've been home. I want to stay for awhile." Her brow furrowed a little. "I left all my stuff there, and I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to Shippou and Kaede. Poor little Shippou, he's probably frantic by now. Not only that, my mission still isn't complete. I can't leave until I fix what I broke." She picked up the vial of shards, watching as they glistened in the light streaming through the window. Sighing, she tucked the vial securely into the top drawer of her desk. "But, I have things I need to finish here, too. Most especially, my schoolwork." She winced. "I shudder to think of all that work I'm going to have to make up. And the tests I've missed!" Another thought occurred and she scowled. "I also shudder to think what kind of stupid diseases Grandpa made up for me while I was gone. He better wouldn't have given me anything really gross! Nobody will want to come near me!"

Her mother laughed. "I'm sure you'll be fine," she teased. "But, Kagome, I do hope you realize that even though grades are important, they don't need to rule your life. Sometimes, things come along that are much more important."

Kagome gaped. "But, Mama, my grades are my future! What about my future career? If I don't do well in school I won't have a chance of becoming someone important in life!"

"Are you absolutely sure that your future is where you expect it to be?"

Kagome blinked at her. "Huh?"

The woman giggled a very girlish laugh and reached out to tap a finger playfully against Kagome's nose, something she hadn't done since Kagome was a little girl. "Sometimes, life has a way of changing the goals we set for ourselves, to give us an even better goal to move toward. And, Kagome … there is absolutely nothing better in life than to love someone, and to have them love you in return. By the way, Dear, your bath is ready." And with that proclamation, she gave her daughter a demure smile and calmly left the room.


She wasn't going to come back.

Inuyasha stared down into the well as he had every evening for the past three weeks, in the vain hopes of seeing the blue light and smelling Kagome's sweet scent wafting up from the dark depths as she climbed toward him. But, as it had been every other evening, nothing but shadows and the smell of mold greeted him, and he slumped down against the side and sighed heavily. Three weeks. Three weeks of missing her during the day, dreaming of her at night, wanting more than anything to go back and fix the mistake he'd made of allowing her out of his sight. Wanting to take her into his arms and never let her go again.

Shippou was inconsolable. The poor little kit had been in a state of depression ever since Kagome's disappearance, losing his appetite and doing nothing but whine about how much he missed her. But if Shippou felt that bad, then Inuyasha felt infinitely worse.

He struggled valiantly with himself; the deep feelings he'd discovered he harbored for the beautiful girl from the future mingled together with intense anger and feelings of betrayal in a dangerous, volatile mass of emotion. He'd confessed in so many words that he loved her, and she'd turned right around and trampled his heart underfoot and abandoned him. Stupid, heartless bitch! He should have known better than to get involved! Twice betrayed … and by the same person, no less! Hadn't he learned better the first time around? He glanced angrily at the worn pack resting by his side. She hadn't even returned for her bag. Or her books, for that matter. Those oh-so-precious "textbooks" that she was always complaining she needed to study from, so she could return to her world and take her stupid, useless tests. Not so important now, were they? Keh! Apparently, she was so eager to be rid of him that she was willing to leave everything behind!

"I shouldn't have let her take the jewel," he snarled, clenching his fists until the tips of his claws drew blood. "I should've known … she couldn't be trusted! She just took off and ran! Didn't it mean anything?" He leaped to his feet and began to pace, before abruptly stopping to glare down into the well. "Didn't anything I tell you mean anything?" he yelled, baring his fangs at the emptiness below. It was too reminiscent  of the emptiness he felt in his heart, and he hated it. He hated feeling helpless, and knowing that Kagome was in her time, living her life without him, made him feel more helpless than he could remember ever being before.

"I don't need her," he growled, trying valiantly to convince himself, to shake the depression which continued to eat away at his heart. "I don't need her!" He glared into the well again. "Do you hear me, wench? I don't need you! Go on! Stay in your time, for all I care! I don't need to see you anymore! You were nothin' but trouble, anyhow! So just … just stay there! And … and take this with you!" And he picked up the backpack and hurled it into the well with all his strength, listening for the satisfying thud of it hitting the packed earth below.

There was nothing. Not a sound. He frowned in confusion, ears perking forward, before shrugging and slumping back against the well again in his usual position, with arms and legs crossed and head bent, a stubborn scowl on his face. He stayed that way for all of five minutes before he released a long sigh, then reluctantly climbed to his feet and hopped lightly onto the edge of the well. His intense anger was already vanishing as swiftly as it had come.

Oh, who was he fooling, anyway? His shoulders slumped, and he swallowed around a strange-yet-familiar, aching tightness in his throat. He was glad Kagome had left her bag; it was all he had left of her, now. Her scent still lingered on it; if he left it in the bottom of that well, it would rot and her scent would fade to nothing, and then he'd have absolutely nothing to remember her by. Even though a part of him thought it would be better that way, the rest of him—the part that loved her so very fiercely—just couldn't stand the thought of forgetting even a small part of her. So, after another moment of hesitation, he leapt into the well to retrieve the pack.

He was so caught up in sad thoughts and self-pity that he barely took notice of the light momentarily surrounding him, before it quickly faded again. And had anyone passed the well in that moment, and perhaps chanced to glance into it in passing, they would have found nothing but empty shadows.