InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Sesshoumaru's Stronghold ( Chapter 8 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“It isn't here.”
Deliberately scraping his claws over the polished cherry wood table, InuYasha glared at his brother as he tried to keep control of his rapidly rising temper. “I know it isn't here, you bastard. Do you have any idea who took it?”
Sesshoumaru lifted his gaze to pin him with a warning. “InuYasha, if I knew who took it, he would be dead by now. No one enters This Sesshoumaru's domain and steals anything, even if it is your legacy.”
“Have I told you lately how much I hate you? Because if I haven't, consider yourself told.”
“The feeling is mutual, baka,” Sesshoumaru remarked coldly.
InuYasha turned to leave. Sesshoumaru's voice stopped him. “Why is it you seek the book now?”
“What does it matter to you?”
“Be not a fool, InuYasha. It doesn't matter. I am merely curious.”
“Yeah? Well, you and your curiosity can go straight to hell.”
He headed out of the castle, purposefully keeping his gaze straight ahead. He hated this place. He'd always hated this place. The sooner he found Kagome and put some distance between himself and this place, the better off he'd be.
“What do you do for fun here, Rin?”
“Sometimes I play with Jaken-sama in the gardens. I go swimming when it gets too hot, and . . . .”
Kagome nodded as she pretended to listen to the child. She glanced back at the huge doors of the castle and stifled a sigh. InuYasha had flat-out refused to let her go with him to speak to Sesshoumaru. Instead, Jaken had led her out here to take tea with Rin. `Maybe the discussion is going well,' she mused with a wry grin. `At least the castle is still standing, so I doubt InuYasha has had to resort to threatening his brother . . . .'
She had tried all yesterday and last evening to get InuYasha to tell her what sort of book he was looking for. InuYasha gave the word `stubborn' a whole new meaning.
“Some sort of magic scroll?”
“It's a book, Kagome.”
“What sort of book?”
“Drop it, will you?”
“Drop it or I'll take you back to the village and have that useless monk and the old woman use their Ofuda to seal you in a hut till I get back.”
“You would not!”
He stopped and glowered down at her, arms folded over his chest, eyes deadly serious. One eyebrow arched, and he said, “Care to try me?”
She had backed down. She had a feeling that if she had pushed any more, he might have done it out of spite.
With a sigh, Kagome dropped all pretenses of paying attention to the child and stared at the house with a frown. `Come on, InuYasha . . . what's going on in there?'
“Are you and InuYasha-sama mated?”
Kagome choked on her tea and wiped her chin on her napkin as she cast Rin a quick glance. Drawn rudely out of her reverie, she coughed as she felt her face explode in embarrassed flames. “Wh-wh-what?”
“Sesshoumaru-sama says that InuYasha-sama is going to take you as his mate.”
“We haven't discussed that,” Kagome explained, feeling a little queasy. “Sesshoumaru told you this?”
Rin nodded in exuberance. “And he says you'll have lots of pups and hopefully they won't be bakas like InuYasha-sama.” The girl's eyes grew round in alarm, and her cheeks reddened as she rushed on to say, “Not that I think InuYasha-sama is a baka . . . I mean---”
Kagome forced a smile, sure that her cheeks were just as red as Rin's.
She made a face and turned slowly. InuYasha was staring at the ground, red-faced, arms crossed over his chest. It was obvious that he had overheard part of that conversation. Kagome only wished she knew how much.
She got up, dropping her napkin on the table as she smoothed her skirt and smiled at Rin. “Bye, Rin. Be safe.”
“Bye, Kagome!” Rin said, hopping out of her seat to throw her arms around the miko. “I will be! Sesshoumaru-sama watches out for me!”
Kagome laughed and ruffled the girl's hair then stepped over to InuYasha as she dragged her backpack straps onto her shoulders. He pulled her onto his back and set out at a sprint.
She didn't say anything for awhile. She could feel the tension slowly ebbing out of him as they traveled. As though the castle, itself, was enough to set him on edge, Kagome wondered again why he seemed so reluctant to be there. He'd faced Sesshoumaru down countless times in the past. In the end, they'd even fought side by side against Naraku. It made her wonder if it really was the place, more than Sesshoumaru, that bothered him.
It was also apparent to her that InuYasha hadn't found out any more about where the book might be than he had known to start with. She didn't press him for more details. If he wanted to talk, he would, right?
There was a rhythm to his movements as he ran, a certain cadence that lulled her. She laid her cheek against his shoulder and closed her eyes. She might not always be able to read him, but she knew his heart, knew that he was a good person despite the gruff exterior and the callous words. She also knew that she never felt as safe as she did when she was with him, and for her, that was enough.
Kagome awoke to a delicious scent. She rolled over on her sleeping bag and opened her eyes to see InuYasha kneeling down by the fire. He was stirring something in the pot, and he glanced over at her as he dropped the lid back in place. “Good nap?”
She sat up, shifting her legs to the side as she rubbed her eyes with balled-up fists. “I don't remember falling asleep,” she admitted.
He put his hands down on the ground and leaned forward slightly. “You fell asleep when I was carrying you.”
She blinked in surprise and stared at him. His ears kept twitching, as though he was expecting something to come busting into their camp. He stared into the dancing flames with an inscrutable frown furrowing his brow. `He spread my sleeping bag so I wouldn't have to lie on the ground,' she thought with a smile, `and he made dinner . . . but he looks so preoccupied, so upset . . . .'
“Thanks,” she said, drawing his gaze back to her face. He ducked his head a little lower, and his ears flattened. “InuYasha?”
He sighed and shook his head. “I didn't say anything like that to Sesshoumaru,” he grumbled. “I have no fucking idea why he said anything to Rin about it.”
“I didn't think you had,” she assured him. Had he been worried that she was upset with him over that? He didn't look reassured. She bit her lower lip. Apparently, he was. She forced an overly-bright smile. “It's fine, InuYasha. I didn't think anything about it.”
She knew that was the wrong thing to say as soon as it was out of her mouth. He shot her an inscrutable look and slowly stood. “InuYasha . . . .”
He walked away without a word.
`Good going, Kagome. Why don't you go osuwari him a few hundred times while you're at it? If you wanted to make him feel bad, you just succeeded.'
With a sigh, Kagome choked down dinner. It was good. She wasn't hungry, and it could have been dirt on her taste buds. The longer he was gone, the worse she felt. By the time she finished eating, tears were stinging her eyes.
She stared in the direction he'd departed in and sighed.
Finally she retrieved her school book and covered up under her blankets to study by firelight. `Might as well do something useful. Surely InuYasha will come back soon.'
With another heavy sigh, she opened the calculus book.
InuYasha glared at the moonlight reflecting off the water's surface. `What were you really hoping she'd say, baka? That she wanted to be your mate? How ignorant are you, really? Kagome doesn't want to be with you. Why would she? You have nothing to offer her, and what sort of life would it be? Battling youkai all your lives? Fine, for you. You're used to it. But Kagome . . . . You're a hanyou, remember? No one would want to be with a hanyou. No one choosesa half-breed.'
He sighed. “Kagome deserves better than me.”
His gaze fell to the water beside him, and he blinked at his reflection. `Fucking dog ears,' he thought with a grimace.
Kagome's words echoed through his head. `He sure is cute . . . if you like puppy-ears . . . .' How many times had she tried to mess with his ears? He slammed his fist into the water and destroyed the hateful vision.
Slowly, InuYasha rose and walked back toward the camp. `She's my friend, if nothing else. I've got that, and it's enough.'
She left the pan near the edge of the fire to keep the food warm. He stopped beside her and knelt down. Sleeping with her cheek on her folded arms, she sighed softly as her lips twitched into a small grin. He couldn't help but smile back as he carefully slid the schoolbook out from under her hand and put it away in her backpack.
He pulled Tetsusaiga out of his waistband and sank down beside her again. He touched her hair, slowly, gently. He jerked his hand away, scowling at his claws. Next to Kagome's blatantly delicate features, the claws had seemed so violent, so horrifying . . . .
“Uh?” he muttered, suddenly slapping his neck. Myouga gasped as he fell down InuYasha's haori and landed on his leg. “Myouga? What do you want?”
Myouga sat up shakily and waved his arms in greeting. “InuYasha-sama! It's so nice to taste you again!”
“Cut the crap, Myouga.”
“Have you been to see your brother? Did he have any answers for you?”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh! You should know he didn't. He didn't know a damn thing about the thief.”
Myouga nodded. “I see. So where will you look now?”
“Didn't you hear me? I don't know where to look. I tried. I'm done. Finished.”
Myouga hopped up and down, waving his arms around frantically. “You can't give up! You must have that book! It was meant to happen!”
“It don't even matter,” InuYasha went on. “It's just a stupid book. It won't change anything. I told you that. Leave it alone.”
Myouga sighed and glanced over, head cocked to the side, as though he had finally realized that Kagome was there beside InuYasha.
“Don't wake her up,” InuYasha warned. Myouga made an irritated noise that InuYasha ignored.
“What about Katosan?”
The hanyou frowned. “Who?”
“Katosan. He might know something. Besides that, you're close. It wouldn't hurt to ask him.”
“Why would he help me?”
Myouga shook his head. “Katosan has been loyal to your family for years, InuYasha-sama. If anyone would help, he'd be the one.”
InuYasha drew a deep breath and stared at Myouga for a long second. “All right, Myouga. Tell me how to find him.”
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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.