InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Cat and Mouse ( Chapter 5 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Cat and Mouse~
Kagome crawled into her sleeping bag with a heavy sigh. At least InuYasha had traveled a bit slower today. As a result, her muscles weren't quite so stiff, and she didn't feel as though she was tottering on the brink of death. She wished she had some idea where they were going, where he was leading her. Myouga's cryptic words were enough to worry her, and Kagome sighed into the darkness.
She had considered calling out to InuYasha today. They were certainly further from the village now. He might not take her back. Unfortunately, it occurred to her that he would undoubtedly be furious with her when he discovered that she'd followed him.
He had actually stopped a few times today, resting here and there for a half hour or so at a time. It had been enough for her. If she had to run all day again, she would be sobbing by now. After spending the better part of the last two and a half years hunting down the Shikon no Kakera, Kagome was in reasonably good physical condition. Of course, having spent the majority of that time either being carried by InuYasha, riding on Kirara or on her bicycle, she hadn't gotten this much exercise. Now it seemed as though maybe she was catching up with all of it, all in the course of two days.
Camping against the base of a steep cliff, Kagome wished again that she could start a fire. She could see the merry glow of InuYasha's campfire in the distance, and she sighed sadly. `I miss him,' she admitted to herself even as she felt sleep curling around her, `and I should check the jewel.' Her eyes drifted closed, and she smiled wanly.
She could feel it. The jewel was near. It was safe.
InuYasha sat at the top of the cliff listening to the sound of Kagome's breathing. So attuned to her that he could tell the very instant she'd fallen asleep, he stared up at the moon. `Why did she follow me?'
In truth, it didn't bother him so much, the abbreviated speed of his travel. In order to keep Kagome from completely exhausting herself, he had slowed his pace considerably, and if he were honest with himself, the only reason he had been hurrying so much on the first day was because he just wanted to get this over with so he could go back to the village, to the forest that he called home, so that Kagome could purify the jewel, and so that he could think about the things he'd tried to avoid for the last few years.
There should have been more of a feeling of accomplishment when they'd finally defeated Naraku. Somehow InuYasha couldn't think of it as a victory. Everyone had lost something that day.
Sango had lost Kohaku. Her young brother might have died the day they killed Naraku, but the child that had been Kohaku had died so long ago that InuYasha didn't think he would have been able to live with what he'd done. It wouldn't have mattered that Naraku had possessed him and had made him do it. The guilt was something that was hard to live with. Hadn't InuYasha felt the same way about Kikyou?
Miroku had lost the kazaana. That was a good thing. Still, he'd lived with the curse for so long, InuYasha didn't doubt that the missing wind tunnel did weigh on the monk. Miroku had built a life out of using his curse as a blessing. In that sense, he would miss it.
Shippou's loss had come long before. The kitsune child had lost his father because of the Shikon no Kakera. The Thunder Brothers, in their plight to have the shards, had murdered the kit's father long ago. InuYasha had done what he could by slaying the brothers. Still, he knew better than anyone that nothing could ever replace the loss of one's parents.
Strangely, Kagome had probably lost the most and yet was the most unaffected by it all. She'd given up her normal life in her world around the things that she knew to hunt the shards. In the beginning, InuYasha had told her that it was her fault, that she had shattered the jewel when she shot the carrion crow's foot tied to her arrow. He knew even then that it wasn't. She hadn't ever meant to do such a thing. At that time, though, he couldn't ask her to stay, to help him. He hadn't been able to admit, even to himself, that he might need anyone, let alone the reincarnation of the woman he had loved.
Then she'd nearly lost her soul to Kikyou when Urasue had brought the miko back to life. In the end, it was Kagome who had been able to recall most of her soul. InuYasha hadn't saved her then. He'd been the reason that Kikyou had been resurrected. `If I hadn't called out her name . . .' he sighed. He had always wondered what it was about Kagome, why she was able to forgive everything so quickly. In the end, the only reason he'd ever been able to come up with was because she was Kagome.
Kikyou's parting words came back to him.
As she lay in his arms, and he knew she was dying again, she'd smiled at him, and it was a smile that he had known. Somehow, in those last moments, the Kikyou he'd known had found her way back. Her hand reached out to touch his face, and her voice was soft as she said, “InuYasha . . . You died for me once . . . now live . . . for her. Take care of her.”
“I've done what I needed to do. I've avenged our deaths, and that is enough.”
“Goodbye, Kikyou,” he replied and nodded as the souls that Kikyou carried—both the part of the soul that belonged in Kagome as well as the ones that had been gathered together, left her. With the last of the souls gone, the body that had sustained Kikyou since she had been resurrected so long ago dissolved and returned to dust.
InuYasha turned her words over again in his mind, `Take care of her.'
The song came to him softly. The words had been written deep in his heart so long ago. He heard it on the wind, in the wash of waves against the shore, whispering in the rustle of the trees. He hadn't voiced it for a very long time. It was the song he associated with loneliness, with sadness, even though he knew deep down that it wasn't always so. He remembered his mother singing the song to him. She'd called it his lullaby, and after she died, InuYasha sang it often. It kept her close to him, held him when he was alone. He'd outgrown the childish wish that if he sang it loud enough, often enough, that his mother would come back for him. He hadn't outgrown the comfort the song offered him.
He sighed again as he stared at the moon. Kagome was asleep below in the darkness. She might as well have been in her time, five hundred years away from him.
She was wandering in the darkness, looking for something or someone that should have been there waiting for her.
`Who am I looking for?'
There was no answer. Kagome wandered on. There was nothing. Caught in the blackness of a void, alone and cold, she was lost. `Someone? Anyone? Can you hear me?'
No answers in the blackness that mocked her. Teasing her with silence that hurt, one word finally came to her. `Listen.'
Kagome turned around, narrowing her eyes to discern the speaker in the darkness. `Listen? Listen to what?'She broke into a run yet couldn't move forward. Caught in the mire of the immobile dream, she struggled to move on yet could not find anything.
She gasped as a spotlight flashed on in the distance. Sango stood in her youkai exterminator's clothing. Kagome tried to run to her, desperate not to be left alone. Sango sadly shook her head. Kagome reached out to touch her as Sango faded away.
Another spotlight highlighted Miroku. Again Kagome ran. He smiled apologetically and paled before Kagome could touch him.
Shippou hopped up and down, bathed in the harsh white light. With a smothered sob, Kagome sprinted toward the kitsune. Like the others, he disappeared just before she could reach him.
Kagome dropped to her knees in the engulfing gloom as a sob rose to choke her. She was alone, truly alone. She'd chosento be alone. `There's something missing,'she whispered, gazing around, searching for the one she knew but couldn't bring to mind. As though he would disappear as soon as she put a name into words, Kagome asked herself, `What's missing? Who's missing?'
The soft voice broke through the darkness, holding her with invisible arms that sheltered her, comforted her. The blackness slowly retreated. The light seemed to radiate out of her, reaching for the one that soothed her. She knew the voice, but . . . `InuYasha?'Was he the one who was missing? Yes . . .
Yet he didn't fade away. The vision of him grew stronger. She could feel the real strength in his arms, could feel the reverberation of his song against her cheek. `The only reality in my life?'she mused. `InuYasha . . . .'
Wrapping his arms around her, holding her close as the gentle resonance of his voice sang to her. His voice chased away the remnants of the dark, and she sat with him in the boughs of Goshinboku. He cradled her against him, sang the ancient song she somehow knew. Melancholy but beautiful, it broke her heart and mended it at the same time. She smiled up at him. He pulled her closer against his chest. InuYasha's song surrounded her, steadied her, and she knew she was safe at last.
Kagome yawned and stretched as the sun poked her eyelids. She felt surprisingly well-rested considering her body still ached. `At least InuYasha didn't hack down any trees this morning,' she thought with a rueful grin as she struggled to sit up.
She put away her blankets and saw the smoke cloud rise that meant InuYasha had extinguished his campfire. With a sigh, she hefted her bag and slung the straps over her shoulders. Grabbing her bow and quiver of arrows, Kagome started out again. She was thankful to see that InuYasha had again left food behind.
`I should tell him today,' she thought as she polished off the meat.
She frowned, suddenly remembering the odd dream she'd had. Normally she didn't recall many of her dreams. This one, though . . . . It had seemed like a nightmare, with all of her friends leaving her behind, but in the end . . . . Her frown faded as she remembered the end of the dream.
`InuYasha sang to me? Now I know I'm really losing it,' she thought with a wry grin. Still . . . the song was one that spoke to her heart, and though it seemed somehow familiar, she knew she'd never heard it before.
She was jarred out of her reverie when the earth shook under her. Kagome lost her footing and slipped. `What the---?' Struggling to her feet, Kagome ran, bent over, skittering from side to side as the ground continued to quake.
With a gasp, she dropped to her knees and peeked out from behind a boulder. InuYasha stood, feet apart and Tetsusaiga drawn as he faced a hulking bull youkai. The bull was stomping his massive hooves, and that was what caused the tremors. The bull lurched forward, lowering his head as he tried to gore InuYasha. InuYasha was much smaller but also much more agile than the youkai. He leaped onto the bull's back and raised Tetsusaiga to strike.
The bull reared back, sending InuYasha sprawling to the ground. Kagome squelched a shriek as the bull wheeled around, lifting his enormous hoof in an effort to squash InuYasha. The hanyou rolled out of the way as the hoof descended. Kagome flinched as InuYasha stood and tightened his grip on Tetsusaiga.
The bull advanced. InuYasha hopped back again, lighting on a high tree branch. The bull swung his head at InuYasha, and though he tried to leap out of the way, one of the horns caught him, and InuYasha grunted as he flew through the air.
Kagome gasped and bit her lip as InuYasha landed hard. He was slow to get up, and the bull youkai was lumbering toward him. He broke into a gallop, lowering his head, and still InuYasha didn't rise. Kagome didn't think. She shot to her feet, drawing out an arrow and nocking it back in her bow. “I don't think so!” she muttered to herself as she took aim.
InuYasha managed to push himself into a crouch. Holding Tetsusaiga before him with the blade resting on the ground, Kagome lowered her bow. `He's waiting,' she thought.
The bull youkai was dangerously close to him now. Suddenly, InuYasha stood, swinging Tetsusaiga in a wide arc, cleaving through the air so sharply that it whistled. In one smooth movement, he brought the sword down, slamming it into the earth as he yelled, “Kongousouha!”
Kagome turned her head to the side, squeezing her eyes closed as white light flashed from Tetsusaiga, and diamond shards shot out of it sword. She flinched as the bull screamed in agony, and she stumbled as the colossal beast fell to the ground.
She leaned back against the boulder as relief washed through her. She didn't feel like she could stand, and she wasn't sure why. She'd seen InuYasha take on youkai before. For some reason, though, this fight had frightened her more than most of the others.
She could hear his labored breathing where he still stood. Finally she heard him sheathe Tetsusaiga, and he sighed. His voice came to her where she sat, and she cringed at the anger in his tone. “You can come out now, Kagome. I know you're there.”
Before it is asked:
Question #1: Is Kagome INSANE? How can she not realize that she doesn't have the Shikon no Tama?
It is my belief that Kagome `senses' the jewel and that yes, she can see it. Trouble is that she hasn't actually `seen' InuYasha to know that he has the jewel, and she does sense that it is nearby so she doesn't worry. Add to that the preoccupation of being completely exhausted, and I think that's a reasonable explanation as to why she hasn't noticed that InuYasha has the jewel.
Question #2: Is InuYasha really singing to Kagome?
Yes. Yes, he is.
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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.