InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Letting Go ( Chapter 3 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Sango heaved an audible sigh of relief as the group crested the hill that overlooked the picturesque village below. The flooded fields of the rice paddies with the paths of land between were quiet and serene in the peaceful sunlight, the landscape laid out like the picture on a post card. Kagome hopped off Kirara's back and headed toward the forest, toward the path that led to the Bone Eater's Well.
“InuYasha,” Sango said, trying to maintain a neutral tone despite her anything-but-neutral thoughts. In her opinion, Kagome might have been wrong to have kissed Kouga but the miko was doing what she thought was best, both to keep InuYasha and Kouga from fighting as well as to gain the last of the jewel shards. InuYasha, however, was being childish and idiotic, dragging his irritation around for far longer than was necessary. “Kagome's leaving.”
“Like I care,” he scoffed though his eyes followed the retreating girl.
“When will you be leaving?” Miroku asked, shooting Sango a quick glance as he tried to move the topic toward a less-volatile route.
InuYasha strode away in the direction Kagome had taken. “Tomorrow morning,” he tossed over his shoulder.
“Is he following Kagome?” Sango asked with a frown.
Shippou hopped off Kirara and stretched. “I doubt it. Knowing InuYasha, he's probably heading for Goshinboku. If you ask me, those two should just tell each other how they feel.”
Miroku sighed. “It isn't as easy as that, Shippou.” He shifted his gaze to lock with Sango's. “It's all a question of timing.”
“Timing?” Shippou asked, his expression puzzled.
“Of course. Sometimes, no matter how badly one might want to express what one feels, one must take into consideration the circumstances. Sometimes one has to look their greatest fears in the eye before they can truly know joy. Even if the feelings are there, as with InuYasha and Kagome, there's also the fear of being rejected. In InuYasha's case, I think he'd rather let things continue as they are than to open himself up to the possibility that Kagome might not feel the same way.”
“But it's obvious to everyone, how Kagome feels about him! How can he not know?” Shippou pressed.
Miroku shook his head. “What may be obvious to everyone else is not always obvious to the people involved.” He cast Sango another significant glance.
Sango flushed. The kitsune blinked in confusion and shrugged before turning tail and scampering off toward the village.
Miroku offered Sango a hand to help her off of the fire-cat. For once, Sango accepted the offer. He didn't let go as the two ambled down the hill toward the village. Miroku squeezed her hand gently. Sango ducked her head to mask her pinking cheeks and smiled.
Kirara transformed back into her little form and mewed softly as she followed behind.
Sango glanced back at the feline youkai. She could swear that Kirara was smiling.
InuYasha tried not to glance over toward the Bone Eater's Well. `Baka! What do you care if Kagome goes back home? You wanted her to go, remember? Stupid Kagome anyway. What was she thinking? She'll never get rid of that damned wolf now! How could she kiss him?' He winced as tree bark came loose under his claws and stabbed into his palm. He hadn't even realized he had been digging his claws into the wood . . . .
He sighed as she emerged from the cover of the trees. Even over the distance, he could smell her, the scent of her carried to him on the invisible waves of the early fall breeze. She wandered slowly toward the well, glancing back over her shoulder as though she was watching, waiting . . . . He shook his head. As though he could hear her voice in his head, he knew why she lingered. She was hoping he would stop her, wasn't she? How many times had he done that over the past two and a half years? Nearly every time, he had to admit. If nothing else, he always demanded to know when she would be back.
He shifted on the branch, readied himself to hop down. `At least tell her goodbye. I don't have a clue how long it'll take to find it. I could be gone a few weeks or a few months.' With a disgusted sigh, InuYasha crouched lower to jump.
Kagome's voice drifted to him, no more than a whisper that he heard just the same. “Goodbye, InuYasha.” Then she hopped into the well.
He sank back down with a frustrated growl. `Oh, well. Maybe it's better this way. At least Kagome won't be trying to talk me into taking her with me. She's the last person I want to drag along. Damn! I don't even care! Why the hell should I? Even if I find it, it won't change a thing. What's past is past. It should be left alone.'
`Then again, I could always go to her time, to tell her goodbye . . . .' His ears drooped as his gaze fell. `It's too soon . . . she's probably still mad at me. Can't really blame her. I acted like an ass . . . .'
He hadn't expected her to come looking for him. In the moonlight that rained down thorough the tree branches, her skin had glowed, creamy, incandescent, and all he had wanted to do was to touch her, to see if she was real or if she would fade away like a dream. Delicate, beautiful, Kagome had seemed so far beyond his grasp. If she had any idea how he felt about her, she didn't ever show it. The thought that she was far too good for the likes of him chafed at his already raw nerves, and InuYasha had reacted before he could think about the impact of his words. “You sure you weren't busy dreaming of Kouga?”
Her gaze dropped away, her eyes that always shone with her inner light when she smiled had been too ashamed to meet his stare. “We needed the shards . . . .”
The shame in her expression somehow made him feel even more like a tyrant. He wanted to reach out, to take her hand, to push the bangs out of her face. Instead he had said, “And you needed the excuse.”
Why had she looked like he had struck her? A fleeting glimpse of hurt flashed through her eyes only to be replaced by the much more familiar sense of her frustration. He could deal with her frustration. It was the pain he had trouble with . . . . “Baka! I don't know why I even bothered feeling bad for saying `it' so many times!”
He knew how to react to that emotion better, so he did. “Well, what's stopping you? Say it a few more times, why don't you?” he bellowed.
“Don't tempt me!”
“Osuwari! Osuwari, osuwari, osuwari, osuwari!”
He flinched as the memory subsided. `Yep, I deserved that,' he thought with an inward sigh. `But maybe . . . maybe Kagome didn't.'
“Will Kagome be back soon?”
InuYasha stared down at the kitsune youkai. Shippou shuffled his feet in the dirt and kept his gaze lowered. He always got depressed when Kagome left. She was like a mother to the youth.
Shoving aside the lingering irritation that he had been just a little too late to say goodbye to Kagome, InuYasha dropped from the tree and sat on the ground. “She's supposed to stay in her time until I get back.”
Shippou scrunched up his shoulders and plopped down with a heavy sigh. “But why? Why do you both have to go away at the same time? Why can't I come with you?”
InuYasha looked away, staring at the trees above, the wash of green that blocked out the sky. “This is something I have to do alone, Shippou.”
The kitsune wasn't ready to give up without an argument. “But we could keep you company! Sango and Kagome love to cook at night, and Miroku helps keep watch over the camp . . . I can gather firewood . . . . Can't we come?”
InuYasha felt a twinge of guilt as he shot the kitsune a quick look. “You all just slow me down,” he replied, deliberately injecting his normal condescending tone into his voice. “Look how long it took to find all the Shikon no kakera!” He regretted saying it about the moment it left his lips. Almost instantly he smelled the salt of the kit's tears, and he winced inwardly. `Keh! It's better this way. Let them all hate me. I'll tell them I'm sorry when I get back.'
Shippou choked back a sob and started to run. He stopped suddenly and turned back, his expression mulish, and he stubbornly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “Why do you always have to be such a baka?” Shippou screeched. “No wonder Kagome always goes home! You drive her away all the time, and you don't even care!”
InuYasha watched in silence as the kitsune disappeared into the forest once more. He couldn't summon the anger to chase him down for yelling at him.
InuYasha leaped back into the tree and closed his eyes. Shippou was right. He did have a knack for making Kagome run home through the well. Thing was, it wasn't because InuYasha didn't care. `Maybe,' he thought with a heavy sigh. `Maybe I do care. Maybe I care too much.'
Kagome yawned as she opened her eyes and stretched. The breaking light of morning was glowing against her window. Throwing her covers aside and swinging her legs off the bed, she wandered over to stare outside.
InuYasha was leaving today. She sighed.
The others had asked him how long he would be gone. He hadn't been able to say. `Why does he seem so sad?' she wondered again. `When Sango and Miroku asked him about what it was he had to find . . . why did he look so reluctant?'
Bits of the conversation she had overheard came back to her as she stared out the window, at Goshinboku glowing in the pallid rays of dawn.
`You were meant to have it! You must find it! It might change everything, if you knew!'
Kagome opened her window, wrapped her arms around herself against the chill breeze that blew in with the morning's light. `We're friends, right? No matter what else there is or isn't between us, InuYasha is my friend—my bestfriend. Maybe Iwasn't such a great friend. He acts so weird whenever Kouga's around. I knew he would, and he's right. I never should have kissed Kouga, even on the cheek. Surely Kouga would have given the shards to me if I had refused. Oh, how could I have been so stupid?'
She sighed and flinched. `Then I said `it'---again. I should at least apologize to him for that, right? Before he leaves, I should try to get him to talk to me.'
As if that night hadn't been bad enough, the next morning had been one Kagome would have rather forgotten, too.
Breaking camp was a quiet affair. Tension between InuYasha and Kagome was so thick that no one could summon the courage to break it. As they all go ready to head out, Kagome wasn't sure what she ought to do. Normally she let InuYasha carry her on his back,leaving Sango and Miroku to travel on Kirara with Shippou alternating between Kirara and InuYasha.She had been ready to make amends with the hanyou but when she took a step toward him, he had intentionally turned away, eyes closed, mouth set, and arms crossed stubbornly over his chest.
So she had ridden Kirara with Sango, leaving Miroku on foot, which would have been fine except about an hour into their traveling, InuYasha had stopped suddenly to glare at her as he yelled, “What the hell are you doing on Kirara, bitch?”
“You acted like you were still mad so I--”
“Do I look mad?”
“Yeah, actually . . . .”
“Keh! Get over here, damn it! You're slowing us down!”
“How do you figure?”
“Because with you on Kirara, that leaves Miroku on foot, and that slows us down!”
Kagome pursed her lips together in a tight line and struggled to keep her tone civil as she said, “I don't think I will.”
“Stop being a stubborn--”
“Don't say it!” she warned.
They hadn't spoken a single word to each other since.
She sighed as the memory dissipated. Glancing at her clock as she hurried over to her closet, Kagome rushed even more. `It's nearly seven,' she thought with a grimace as she tugged off her pajamas and dragged on a pink skirt and white blouse. She grabbed her backpack as she ran out the door, brushing her hair as she flew down the stairs.
“Mama, I've got to go,” she said, sticking her head into the kitchen.
Mrs. Higurashi looked up from her coffee cup and smiled in greeting. “Go where, dear?”
Kagome waved her hand toward the door. “I've got to see InuYasha. He's leaving this morning. I don't know when he'll be back, and, well, we sort of argued . . . I need to apologize before he goes, that's all.”
“All right,” Mrs. Higurashi remarked. “Take a sweater, Kagome. It's a little chilly out this morning.”
Kagome nodded and dashed out of the kitchen, grabbing her sweater as she darted for the doors. `Don't let me be too late to talk to him!' she thought as she sped toward the well-house. `InuYasha . . . wait for me!'
“Shippou!” she greeted with an air of distraction. She caught the tiny kit and hugged him while she glanced around hoping for a sign that InuYasha was still nearby.
“Baka InuYasha said you weren't coming back for a long time! I'm glad you did, anyway.”
Kagome watched as the kitsune dropped out of her arms onto the ground. “Did you bring me anything?”
Thanking her luck that she had packed a few things the night before, Kagome dug into the huge backpack to pull out a box of pocky for the child. He squealed in delight and started to scamper away. “Shippou? Have you seen InuYasha this morning?” she asked, trying in vain for a casual tone.
Shippou snorted. “Yeah. He left about five minutes ago. He still wouldn't say where he's going but he took off that way.”
Kagome followed the direction Shippou had indicated. InuYasha had gone west? Why?
“See you in the village, Kagome!” Shippou called over his shoulder as he scampered away.
Kagome didn't answer. `Five minutes . . . Maybe I'm not too late. He can't have gotten far . . . .'
Without a second thought, Kagome slung the bag over her shoulder and ran toward the west.
Shikon no kakera: Sacred Jewel Shards
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Chronicles): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.