InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Mission Impossible ( Chapter 4 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
A few things quickly became apparent to Kagome within the first few hours of trailing InuYasha. When he was alone, the hanyou could travel exceptionally quickly. This she knew. She also realized that he often did make frequent stops along the way to accommodate the `pathetic humans' he traveled with because in the five hours since she'd set out to catch up with him, he hadn't stopped once. This she hadn't known. Finally was the real reason she was still doggedly trying to keep up with him. She was hopelessly lost. This she hadn't realized until it was too late.
`Oh, what am I doing?' she moaned when she lost sight of InuYasha's crimson clothing for the fiftieth time. `I never should have tried to catch him! As if!'
She was ready to cry. Her entire body was well past aching, and for that she was grateful. No, her body had since moved on to `numb'. Wiping the sweat from her brow, Kagome scowled in determination as she picked up her pace again—until she glanced at her watch. `Noon?' she thought with a muffled whimper. Knowing InuYasha, he'd keep traveling until nearly nightfall.
Pride was the only thing that kept her struggling forward. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Kagome knew---just knew---that if she called out to him that he would hear her, that he would stop for her no matter how irritated he may be with her. Still, she kept pursuing him.
A voice in her head kept whispering to her. She tried to ignore it and concentrated instead on making one foot move in front of the other one when her entire being was absolutely exhausted. `I might as well admit it---the real reason I haven't begged for mercy yet,' her conscience spoke up. `It's because we're still close enough to the village, he would take me right back, and there's no sense in denying it. I want to go with him. That's the real reason I've followed him. That's the real reason I haven't yelled for him, not once.'
She caught sight of InuYasha's fire rat haori soaring above the top of the trees and sighed. `Stop, for the love of kami!' The trouble was, if he did stop so that she could rest, she was certain her body would shut down and would be rendered useless for at least a week . . . No, better to keep moving . . . .
It was going to be a long day.
Kagome bit her tongue to keep from moaning as every muscle in her body screamed in agony. She wasn't sure how far they'd traveled today but she was certain that it would have taken the group of them at least two days to cover this much ground.
He'd kept up the steady pace until nearly nightfall. By the time he had started a campfire and had caught his dinner, Kagome was ready to drop. Finding shelter in a shallow cave, she was near enough to see InuYasha's fire and hopefully, far enough for him to be unable to discern her scent.
She was so sore, in fact, that she had taken a bath in record time with the added incentive of sitting down afterward. In her haste to finish, she'd ended up snapping the chain that held the Shikon no Tama around her neck. Her muscles were jerking and seizing, and when she tried to adjust the chain on her neck, it had snapped. There was no help for it. She'd stuck it into her backpack. It would be safe enough there.
After rolling out her sleeping bag, she had nearly cried in relief as her body breathed a collective sigh in the form of a million little aches and pains that rolled together around her exhausted brain to form one gigantic haze.
`Hold it together, girl! We've got another whole day of this tomorrow.'
She whimpered at the reminder. `I can'tdo this again tomorrow!' she thought as tears rose to sting her eyes.
And it didn't help when she remembered, too, that it was her own stupid idea to follow InuYasha.
`I'm so hungry,' she thought as her eyelids started to grow heavy. She had some energy bars—Miroku loved them—in her backpack. She'd also left her backpack at the foot of her bedroll, and there was no way short of an act of kami that she was budging from her spot till morning. She did, however, check to make sure that her bow and arrows were within reach before letting her eyes close.
InuYasha stared at the fire with a pensive frown. He hated to admit it. He was lonely. He even missed Miroku. It had been far too long since he'd had to sit alone, staring at a campfire that he really didn't need. He hadn't bothered with one before unless he had to cook. His gaze shifted to the leftover food. He wasn't sure what he was thinking at the time. He'd caught two rabbits, which was a mistake. He'd forgotten that the others weren't with him. By the time he'd remembered, it was too late.
Maybe it was the sense of loneliness that kept making him think that he smelled Kagome near. More than once during the day, he thought he had caught her scent. Once he had considered stopping and going back to see if she was there. But there wasn't really any way she could have been. She was safe in her time, and he'd made sure he left well before she came back and tried to talk him into dragging her along.
A smell brought him out of his slouch. InuYasha slowly stood, cautiously scanning the surroundings. `Youkai,' he thought as he cracked his knuckles. `Playtime!'
He bounded off to track the fiend.
Drawing abreast of the stream, InuYasha stopped and eyed the serpent youkai that winded into his path. In his human form, the youkai was still unmistakably reptilian. He might be able to hide his viper-teeth but he couldn't hide the forked tongue that darted out, flicking in InuYasha's direction, and his voice was weak, wispy, more of a hiss than an actual voice. “It's-s-s mine! Go away . . . . It is-s-s-s mine!”
Crossing his arms over his chest, InuYasha pinned the youkai with a bored stare. “What's yours?”
The youkai's grin showed the long, venomous viper-fangs. “Puppy can't s-s-s-smell the jewel? The Shikon no Tama is-s-s-s-s mine!”
InuYasha's eyes flared as his hand dropped to Tetsusaiga's hilt. `If he can sense the Shikon no Tama, then that means . . . . Kagome . . . ?' Irritation welled up in his chest, threatening to block out all other emotion as he mentally cursed the girl who apparently didn't possess enough sense to stay where she was safe. He forced the anger aside and, in a flash of movement, InuYasha drew his sword that tightened both hands on it as he stalked closer to the serpent youkai. “What makes you think I'll let you take the jewel?” he growled.
“What makes-s-s-s you think I'd as-s-s-sk your permis-s-s-s-sion?”
“The jewel has too much power for a nasty bastard like you,” InuYasha remarked. “I've already wasted way too much time gathering the damn shards to let something like you so much as look at it!”
The serpent threw his head back and laughed. “Why would I be frightened of a half-breed like you?”
“You don't have to be frightened. You just have to die!” Darting forward, InuYasha swung Tetsusaiga.
Slithering to the side and avoiding the blade, the serpent's forked tongue shot out as he opened his mouth and spit a stream of stagnant green acid
InuYasha pushed himself off the ground to avoid the blast. The venom hit a tree and sizzled. InuYasha glanced over his shoulder long enough to see that the maple tree was dissolving in a steaming puddle of black ooze. Gritting his teeth as he raised Tetsusaiga over his head, InuYasha slammed the blade into the earth with a bellowed, “Kaze no Kizu!” Waves of flame erupted from the impact point and shot out. The serpent youkai hadn't been prepared for the attack. With a sharp hiss, the youkai was engulfed in the conflagration of the Wind Scar.
InuYasha waited until the youkai's body disintegrated before he dropped Tetsusaiga into the sheath and sighed.
“Kagome!” he bellowed, unable to locate her scent above the lingering smell of the burned serpent. “Damn her!” he muttered. `It'd be easier to protect someone if they stayed where they were told to stay.' He glowered at the darkened forest for any trace of the stupid girl. “Kagome!”
Where was she? He couldn't scent her anywhere . . . . Suddenly, his head snapped up. Off to the right was a small cave. `If she's in the cave,' he thought as he started forward, `then I wouldn't smell her, would I?'
The smell of her came to him as he neared the entrance, and InuYasha sighed in relief. He hunkered down on the floor beside her and stared at her in the semi-blackness. `She's exhausted,' he realized with a wince. `Stupid girl! What was she thinking? A human can't keep up with me! What if I had been traveling faster? What then?' His anger suddenly dissipated as images of what could have happened to her filtered through his mind. `Baka! I should have known she'd follow me! More beauty than brains in that fucking head of hers . . . . She trusts everyone and everything too easily.'
So why couldn't he be more angry with her? He ought to wake her up and tell her what he thought of her deliberately following him. The face of the serpent youkai came back with a vengeance. InuYasha closed his eyes. If he hadn't gone to see what the youkai was after . . . if he hadn't bothered to hunt him down, the serpent would have gotten to the jewel; would have gotten to Kagome . . . .
InuYasha had to swallow the late-rising panic that welled up inside him. He'd noticed before and it struck him again, how innocent, how trusting Kagome looked while she slept. As though nothing in the world could hurt her, she remained calm, content, and somehow, the peace in her reached out to him, and he sighed.
`I can'ttake her back. As stubborn as she is, she'll just follow me again. She's got to know she put herself into danger . . . but how? How can I show her how stupid it was to follow me without taking the chance that she'll be harmed? And with the Shikon no Tama, she's going to attract youkai from every direction. The serpent was only the start . . . .'
He sat up suddenly and stared down at her. Careful not to wake her, he reached out slowly, felt her neck for the chain. It was gone. “Where's the jewel?” he hissed to himself. She wouldn't have lost it . . . . The serpent said that he could sense it.
“Bag,” Kagome muttered without stirring in her sleep. InuYasha blinked quickly and looked around. Her backpack sat harmlessly by her feet.
It only took him a few seconds to find the jewel and pull it out of the bag. Out of curiosity, he delved into her bag again and shook his head in disgust. She didn't have hardly any food in there. What was she planning on doing? Learning how to hunt out of necessity?
He dropped the bag back where it was and snorted. `This is Kagome! She can't hunt! She cried the first time I brought back a rabbit that I hadn't cleaned, remember?'
He couldn't help but smile as he remembered. It was a few days after Shippou had joined them, and they were running low on her modern `convenience' foods. InuYasha had gone hunting, and it hadn't taken long for him to catch a really big rabbit. He hadn't thought twice about bringing it back to the camp, but when he dropped the catch at Kagome's feet, she'd screeched and had stared at him with such shock, such sadness that he had felt terrible about it. It was the first time he ever told her he was sorry, and it was the last time he'd ever brought food into the camp that wasn't ready to be cooked. For reasons he didn't really understand, she didn't mind so much, as long as the offering was skinned and gutted before she clapped eyes on it.
Settling back against the entrance of the small cave, InuYasha sighed again and stared out at the night. From where he sat, he could vaguely see his campfire. He glanced back at Kagome. There was no way he was leaving her. The fire could damn well burn itself out.
Slowly, though, another idea took shape in his mind, and maybe he could make sure Kagome was taken care of while he taught her a lesson at the same time . . . .
With a slight grin, InuYasha stared at the Shikon no Tama. It seemed to absorb the colors of the night. There was once a time when he truly had wanted the power it could have given him. He'd come to realize, though, that power always came with a price, and to use the Jewel of Four Souls in such a way was too high a price for him. He didn't want it anymore, but he couldn't allow Kagome to roam around with it, either. She was strong enough in her own way. He knew that better than anyone, but Kagome wasn't a fighter, and InuYasha only prayed that she never would have to be.
InuYasha stuffed the jewel into his haori. If the youkai were going to come after anyone in search of the Shikon no Tama, it was going to be him . . . .
A sudden sound shocked Kagome wide awake. She sat up quickly and couldn't stave back the pained whimper as every muscle in her body protested the movement. Gritting her teeth together in an effort to keep from screaming in pain, Kagome forced herself to stand up before she moved to the front of the cave to peek outside. She frowned. Though she couldn't see InuYasha, she was positive that he was the one making the ruckus. A tree shook precariously, and Kagome winced as it crashed to the ground in the distance. `What is he doing?' she wondered.
Her stomach growled, and she made a face. Too tired last night to do more than curl up and go to sleep, her body was reminding her that if she expected to move it anywhere today that she'd better eat something quickly.
She was half-way through the energy-bar that was her breakfast when the smell of roasting meat hit her hard. She made a face. `InuYasha never eats in the morning! What is he doing?' The delicious aroma hit her again, and Kagome felt like crying. `I hate him,' she whined, conveniently forgetting that she had been the one who decided to follow him. With a sigh, she ate the rest of the energy bar.
She had just finished repacking her bedroll and gathering the rest of her things when she saw the cloud of smoke rise into the air. InuYasha had extinguished his campfire, and that meant that he was about ready to head out for the day. She waited a few more minutes then headed off toward his camp, careful to keep quiet in case he wasn't as far ahead as she figured he would be.
She frowned as she entered the small clearing. Near the still-smoking remnants of the fire sat a nearly whole cooked rabbit. It was still steaming, and Kagome hurriedly grabbed some before continuing on. The meat was tender enough that it slipped right off the bones, she nearly cried as the smell unleashed a powerful rumble in her stomach. InuYasha had always insisted that whatever food was leftover from meals should be left behind for anyone or anything that might be hungry. She'd never been so glad that he adhered to this creed as she was at that moment.
Vaguely aware that she was eating faster than she ought to, Kagome ate every bit and even licked her fingers, sighing almost happily despite the savage pain in her still-tight muscles. She hadn't realized InuYasha could cook, though it really did make sense. He'd been alone far too long in his youth. If he hadn't known how to cook or hadn't taught himself, he probably would have starved . . . .
Stopping long enough to wash her hands in the stream, Kagome blinked in surprise at the tree that traversed the water. `So that's what he was doing this morning,' she thought as she climbed onto the fallen tree. She grimaced as she carefully made her way across. After dropping to the ground, Kagome broke into a run despite the pain in her still-protesting muscles. Knowing InuYasha, he was half-way to China by now . . . .
With a heavy sigh, Kagome gritted her teeth and steeled her resolve. She'd keep up with him, even if it killed her, and at this rate, it just might . . . .
Is anyone else having high school flashbacks of that one PE teacher that made you want to DIE? LoL! And everyone wonders why I made InuYasha a PE teacher in Purity? Well, here's your answer …
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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.