InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Reunion ( Chapter 6 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Kagome squeezed her eyes closed tight and slowly stood. She bit her lower lip and waited for him to speak, knowing that whatever it was he had on his mind wasn't going to be even remotely pleasant at all.
“Are you completely stupid?” he bellowed. She cringed inwardly though remained calm on the surface. “What am I saying? Of course you are! You've been trailing me for days, didn't bring any food for yourself, almost got the jewel taken, and if you'd have missed that bull youkai, he'd have gone after you instead of me! Stupid girl! Why can't you ever stay where you're safe?”
“I would have hit that bull youkai! He was huge, in case you didn't notice! I couldn't have possibly missed him!”
Rounding on her with an incredulous glare, InuYasha sputtered a few moments before he managed coherent speech. “Damn it, Kagome! You could have been killed! You should have stayed in your time with your books and your exams and the fucking jewel!”
Losing hold on her rising temper, Kagome made a face as she planted her hands on her hips and glowered back at the irate hanyou. “I'm not helpless, you know! I helped take down Naraku! Of course, you were too busy at the time to notice, weren't you? What is it you were doing then? Oh yeah . . . fawning all over Kikyou!”
The look on his face was enough to diffuse her anger. His ears drooped, and his hostility vanished. If she were trying to hurt him, she guessed she succeeded. With a grimace, she watched in silence as he turned away and stomped in the opposite direction. “Come on,” he called over his shoulder. “We're wasting time.”
Kagome watched him walk away with as her conscience pricked her. `That was harsh. Maybe he was a little too mean, but he was only concerned, then I . . . I just had to bring up Kikyou, didn't I? Oh, what in the world is wrong with me?' She ran to catch up with him and stole a sidelong glance at his face. She sighed. Did it matter that he'd screamed at her when he was just concerned for her safety? She missed him, even if he had yelled at her. She'd known he would shout. She'd gotten off easy in comparison to the bellowing she figured he'd deal her.
Shaking her head slowly, she drew a deep breath. “InuYasha? I am where I'm safest, you know. I'm with you.”
He glanced at her but looked away before she caught his stare. After a moment of silence, he grabbed her hand and tossed her onto his back before breaking into a sprint through the forest.
InuYasha ripped the rabbit in half and shoved the larger portion under Kagome's nose. She jumped in surprise, eyes widening as she stared at the huge hunk of cooked meat. “Eat it,” he stated. “I know you're hungry.”
She took the meat without comment since the tone of voice he'd used was the one she didn't dare argue unless she wanted to bring the wrath of creation down on her own head and since it had taken nearly all day to get InuYasha out of his first bout of crabbiness, she didn't really want to be the cause of another one. `Hungry, maybe . . . but this could feed three of me.' She frowned as he dropped the other half onto a pile of clean leaves beside the fire. “You're not hungry?” she asked.
“Keh. After you eat that, then you need to eat the other half, too.”
Kagome nearly choked on the tiny bite she'd just taken. “I can't eat a whole rabbit,” she remarked, “and that rabbit was huge!”
He sat down and folded his arms together, chin rising stubbornly, and he stated, “You haven't had a decent meal in days, wench, and I mean to see that you do now.”
Kagome tried another tactic since reason wasn't working. “If you make me eat this whole thing, I'll throw up. If I throw something up, then I'll never eat it again.”
He let the subject drop though he still looked quite disgruntled since he knew that she was telling the truth. He'd gotten her to try snake one day and whether it was the snake meat or the slight fever she'd also had, she vomited it up and would turn a sallow greenish shade if you as much as mentioned `snake meat' to her now. “Hurry up, then,” he grumbled, latching onto the next best complaint he could think of. “I can tell you're tired. I'm not waiting around for you to sleep half the day away tomorrow.”
Kagome rolled her eyes and dropped the barely touched meat next to the remaining half of the rabbit. Rummaging around in her backpack for her towelettes, she frowned as she rifled through the contents just before her eyes widened in the early stages of panic. Dragging things out of the bag, Kagome grimaced when she figured out that the one thing that she knew ought to be in there was missing. `Oh . . . oh no!' she thought wildly. `The Shikon no Tama . . . . Where is it?' Closing her eyes, Kagome tried to sense the jewel. She could feel its presence, could tell it was near, that it was safe. But where? It was close . . . and coming closer? `What?'
“Problem?” InuYasha asked dryly. He had stalked over to stand in front of her, tapping his foot impatiently, and she hadn't realized he had moved at all.
`Oh, he's going to yell at me . . . or worse! How could I losethe Sacred Jewel?' She slowly turned to face InuYasha and grimaced at his stance: arms crossed under the folds of his haori, the glint of suspicion already lighting the depths of his golden gaze, she knew---just knew---that he was going to blow a fuse when admitted the truth . . . . “The Shikon no Tama . . . I can sense that it's close by but . . . I can't find it,” she admitted quietly, bracing for the screaming that was inevitable.
To her everlasting amazement, InuYasha snorted. “Damn straight it's close,” he growled, digging into his haori. She blinked in surprise as he dangled the pink orb before her face for a second then dropped it into her lap.
Kagome couldn't look at him. She had to be the most miserable protector that the jewel had ever had. How could someone have stolen it right from under her nose? She grabbed the jewel and stood. “Here . . . you keep it. I . . . I'm sorry. I didn't realize . . . .” she trailed off miserably. He didn't take the jewel. `Why isn't he screaming yet? At least about how worthless humans are?' With a sigh, she took his hand and laid the jewel in his palm. “I was so tired, I didn't know . . . if you hadn't been there---if you hadn't been able to stop the youkai---I'm sorry,” she apologized, staring at her feet and telling herself that she'd better not cry. “Some jewel protector I am. I didn't even know it had been stolen!”
“Keh. Don't beat yourself up about it. It's fine. Just put it somewhere safe, okay?”
Once more the Shikon no Tama was dropped into her hands. Kagome shook her head slowly, blinking back the tears she had tried to hold off. “Why are you being so nice?”
His cheeks reddened slightly and he looked away, jamming his hands up his sleeves. “I can be nice.”
“Sure, but not when I nearly lose the jewel . . . unless . . . .” Slow understanding crept over Kagome, and her head swiveled to pin the hanyou with a glower. “You stole it! You took the jewel from me!”
“Maybe,” he grumbled. If it hadn't been for the deepening flush staining his cheeks, Kagome might have thought she was mistaken. InuYasha's eyes flashed as he glared back, and he snorted again.
“Baka! I was worried sick that you'd be angry that the jewel had been stolen, and I find out that you're the thief? Osuwari!”
“What was it? `Take it from Kagome because she's weak and stupid and can't protect the jewel?' You're such a jerk! Osuwari!”
Fighting against the submission spell that still held him, InuYasha struggled to push himself up off the ground to glare at Kagome. “It's not my fault you were so exhausted that you didn't know I was there! It's not my fault you had to follow me when I told you not to! It's not my fault that fucking serpent youkai nearly got to you and the jewel, and if you think that he would have taken the jewel and been about his merry way, then you really are stupid!”
Kagome snapped her mouth closed on the retort she had formed and paused to stare at InuYasha for a moment instead. He was staring murderously at the fire, cheeks still cherry-red, face smudged with dirt from the commands she'd thrown at him, “What serpent?”
“Keh. That first night a serpent youkai came after the jewel. I got rid of him, but . . . .” he trailed off with a sigh, his ears flattening just a little. “When I caught him, he was almost at your cave. So I took the jewel so they'd come after me instead of you.”
`He was protecting me after all . . . and I . . . .' Kagome dug into her bag and retrieved a towelette then knelt down in front of the hanyou, putting the jewel in his hand as she concentrated on removing the trace reminders of what she'd done in anger.
“What are you doing?” he growled but didn't pull away as she lifted his chin with one hand and gently wiped the dirt off his face with the other.
“I'm sorry,” she said, carefully avoiding his gaze.
“Yeah.” His flush darkened as he blinked at her. “Me, too.”
A strange undercurrent passed between them. Kagome stared at him, and he stared back. The irritation had left his expression, and he looked like he wanted something that she deliberately ignored. Suddenly, she shot to her feet and scooted over to her sleeping bag. Her heart was thundering in her ears, and in the protection of the blankets, she pressed her hand over her chest and swallowed hard.
`He wanted to . . . kiss me?'
InuYasha sank down beside her and dropped the jewel onto her bedroll. “You protect it, okay?”
Slowly, she nodded, pushing her hand out of the blankets to take hold of the jewel. “And you'll protect me, right?”
“Keh. Go to sleep, wench.”
She smiled as she closed her eyes.
“So where are we going?”
“Can you stop talking for five minutes?”
“If you tell me where we're going.”
“Come on, InuYasha! You've got to tell me sooner or later. You might as well spill it. Where are we going, and what is it you're looking for?”
He sighed. “Ask me again, and I'll drop you.”
“You would not.” Still, he felt her hands tighten on his shoulders. He grinned.
Kagome was quiet for all of thirty seconds. “Let's play a game.”
“I don't play games.”
“It's an easy game,” she coaxed.
“Kagome . . .” he warned, letting his grip loosen on her for just a second. She didn't fall for it.
“It's called `word association'. I say a word, and you say the first word that comes to your mind, okay?”
He rolled his eyes. “Fine.”
“Shikon no Tama.”
She giggled. “I knew you'd say that. Okay . . . sky?”
“Deserves to be slapped.”
“Never shuts up.”
She laughed even louder. “Travel?”
“InuYasha!” she complained.
He laughed. He couldn't help it. “Tetsusaiga.”
She snorted. “How can you possibly associate yourself with your sword?”
“Easy, wench. Men always associate themselves with their swords.”
Kagome cleared her throat suddenly as she squirmed and dropped to the ground. “I think that's enough of that game.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked casually. She nodded. When he spared her a glance, it amused him to see that she was blushing. “So why are you blushing?”
“I'm not blushing!” she argued as her cheeks pinked up more. She lifted a hand to her face as though she was checking herself for signs of fever.
They walked on in silence awhile. He could tell there was something still on Kagome's mind. He had a feeling he knew what it was though he didn't ask.
Kagome sighed at last, breaking the silence as she turned to him and said, “Seriously, InuYasha. Where are we going?”
“If I answer, then you're not allowed to ask anything else for the rest of the day.”
“That's hardly fair,” she pouted.
“Them's my terms.”
“ . . . Fine.”
He reached over and took the backpack from her. “Sesshoumaru's castle.”
“No more questions, remember?”
The look on Kagome's face told him plainly that if she did swear, she would have done it then. Instead she heaved a loud sigh and fell in step beside him once more. He chuckled at her disgruntled expression. Eyebrows drawn together, nose slightly wrinkled, and lips pursed, he couldn't help himself. She looked like a pouting pup.
She shoved him. “You don't play fair.”
“Keh! You're lucky you got that much of an answer.”
She dug around in the backpack and shoved an energy bar under his nose. He made a face and turned his head to the side. “Gah! Get that away from me.”
“It's good for you,” she remarked as she dropped it back into the bag and zipped it closed.
The rustle of the wrapper told him that she was eating one of those disgusting things, and he snorted. “Lots of things are good for me. Doesn't mean I'll eat it.”
Kagome grinned. “Yes, well, I'm hungry, and since I can't ask anymore questions for the day, then I can't ask you to stop so I can eat.”
“We can stop if you're ready,” he offered. “There's a pond up ahead.”
She squealed suddenly. He flattened his ears against his head at the sound. “A bath! A real bath!”
InuYasha shook his head. He really should have known . . . .
== == == == == == == == == ==
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.