InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Katosan ( Chapter 11 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 11~~
~Katosan~

Kagome lay in the grass and sighed happily as InuYasha sat against a rock with his arms wrapped around Tetsusaiga.  "You ready to go yet?" he asked, unable to keep the boredom out of his tone.

"In a minute," she agreed, closing her eyes as the early afternoon sun drenched her in warmth.

"Keh.  You humans are pathetic and lazy . . . pathetically lazy."

"Clever doggie," she drawled.

"Wench."

She rolled over and propped her chin on her hands to stare at InuYasha with an amused smile.  "You're always in a hurry.  Take your time.  Appreciate the little things."

His head was turned to the side.  He opened his eye to shoot her a sidelong glance.  "I do appreciate the little things," he argued.

"Name one."

He stared at her a moment.  Kagome felt her heart speed up at the way his molten gold eyes caught the light and locked with hers.  She was having trouble breathing as his stare intensified.  Did he know what he did to her?  She prayed he didn't.  He was dangerous enough without arming him with that sort of knowledge.  "I appreciate the things I'll never understand," he said softly.

Heat filtered into her skin, crept up her cheeks despite her attempt to keep it from happening.  She smiled as he looked away again.  "What'll you do after we find this book and purify the jewel?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

Her smile faded, and she looked away.  "Well, you won't have anything left to fight for.  What'll you do?"

"Keh.  There's always something to fight for."

Kagome pushed herself up on her knees and scooted forward to intercept InuYasha's ears.  He ducked away.  "Five minutes?"

"Keh."

"Four?"

"Keh."

"Three? "

"Keh."

"Three and I promise not to say 'it' the rest of the day?"

He considered that and finally leaned toward her again.  "All right, but you promised."

Wondering if she hadn't just made a colossal mistake, Kagome took hold of InuYasha's ears and spent the next few minutes inducing the rumbling noise from him.

With a sigh, Kagome let her hands fall away from InuYasha's ears as she sank back.  He slowly opened his eyes and blinked.  "Has it been three minutes?"

She nodded and tried to hide her smile as he frowned.  He'd obviously enjoyed it but was too stubborn to tell her anything of the sort.  "Don't make me regret that promise," she warned as she stood up.

"Keh!  Would I do that?"

Her gaze narrowed as he slowly got to his feet.  "Yes, I think you would."

His chuckle was far from reassuring.  Starting back toward the path, InuYasha suddenly stopped.  "Wait."  Kagome stopped and took the backpack that InuYasha shoved at her as he drew Tetsusaiga.  "You might as well come out.  I can smell your stench from here."

A tree on the outskirts of the clearing suddenly shook seconds before a youkai lit on the ground before them.  InuYasha pushed Kagome further behind him and eyed the hawk youkai with a suspicious narrowing of his gaze.  In his human form, the only outstanding features on the stranger were the pronounced beak-like nose and piercing golden eyes.  His hair stood up all over, reminding Kagome of a baby bird's down-covered head.  He deliberately stepped toward InuYasha but stopped far enough way to escape if InuYasha attacked.

"Another vile puppy?  I thought we'd chased your kind from these hills long ago—except for the one who is too foolish to know better than to stay where he isn't wanted.  I am Waku, son of Hisato, leader of the hawk youkai.  What do you seek here?"  The youkai's golden eyes widened as he shifted his gaze to settle on Kagome.  "You . . . you have the Shikon no Tama?"

"Yeah, we do.  Too bad you'll never see it," InuYasha remarked in an oddly calm tone.  "Get out of our way or I'll have to pluck you."

Waku laughed.  "Entertaining bit of fuzz, aren't you, whelp?"

"Who the hell are you?" InuYasha snarled.

"Calm down before you wet yourself, puppy.  I've got tail feathers that are older than you."

"Hide and watch while I clip your wings!" InuYasha bellowed as he lunged at the hawk.  Tetsusaiga whistled through the air.  The hawk jumped back and hovered out of InuYasha's reach.

"Fetch me the jewel, puppy, before I have to take you home and feed you to my young . . . and they're starving."

InuYasha rolled to the side as the hawk dove in to strike.  The youkai's talons—Kagome hadn't noticed those before—hooked onto InuYasha's sleeve, and she gasped as the hawk yanked.  The sleeve in Waku's grasp tore away.  The violent rip echoed through the air, straight to Kagome's brain.  Before she could scream, InuYasha had rolled back to his feet and laughed defiantly at the youkai.  "Not even a scratch.  Can't you do better than that?"

The hawk youkai plunged to strike again.  InuYasha brought down Tetsusaiga, "Kaze no Kizu!"  The flames shot out of Tetsusaiga.  Waku tried to alter his course but couldn't avoid the attack completely.  He fell to the ground clutching his right arm.  His eyes brightened dangerously as he glared at InuYasha.

"I've toyed with you long enough, puppy," he said quietly as he rose to his feet.  Without warning, he flew forward and shoved Tetsusaiga out of InuYasha's grip.  The sword flew through the air and landed, tip embedded in the ground next to Kagome.  She jerked it out as it transformed back to its rusty state, and she darted forward.

"No!" InuYasha warned.  Waku stood between them, and the hawk youkai knew it.

InuYasha wiped his face on his shoulder.  Kagome gulped when she saw the scarlet of his blood staining the stark white material.  'He must've gotten hit when Waku knocked away Tetsusaiga . . .'

Waku shot a quick glance back at Kagome.  She saw the start of a nasty grin as the youkai turned his head back.  "Does she mean so much to you, whelp?  Do you care so much for this human girl?"  He stepped to the side, unwilling to leave his back exposed to Kagome.  "Or is it the tainted part of you that wants her?  You reek of human blood, hanyou."  Waku lunged forward.  InuYasha met him half way.  Waku unleashed a burst of youkai energy in a flash of purple light.  It hit InuYasha in the chest and threw him back.

"InuYasha!" she shrieked as she ran to his side where he landed.  The gash on his temple was deep, and it took a moment for him to open his eyes.  He blinked a few times to clear his vision before shoving her back and struggling to his feet.

"Get back," he commanded as he snatched Tetsusaiga out of her hands.  "Now!"

She didn't have to be told twice.  InuYasha brandished Tetsusaiga as it transformed back into his father's true fang, and he held it in ready.

"Waku!  Enough!"

Kagome gasped as the newcomer stepped out of the forest.  Clad all in white, he looked remarkably like another youkai she knew except his hair was tawny golden brown, not silvery white.  He moved with the same bearing and grace as Sesshoumaru, and Kagome shot a questioning glance at InuYasha.

InuYasha gave nothing away in his expression.  Still ready to attack or defend, he intercepted Kagome's look and uttered a warning growl for her to stay put.

The stranger grabbed Waku's shoulder and pushed him back.  "Shall I inform Hisato of your trespass?"

Waku glowered at the youkai, but finally shook his head once.  "No."

"Do you realize who you have attacked?"  The youkai's gaze shifted to the side as he assessed InuYasha.  "You are InuYasha, are you not?"

InuYasha nodded.  "Who are you?"

Ignoring the question, the youkai turned his attention back to the errant hawk-youkai once more.  "Do it again, and you will deal with me," the youkai growled, letting go of Waku's shoulder and pushing him away.  Waku stalked off into the woods after a last glower, directed not only at InuYasha but also at the unfamiliar youkai, as well.  Kagome ran to InuYasha's side as the youkai approached them.  To her surprise, he dropped to one knee when he reached them and bowed his head humbly.  "I apologize, InuYasha-sama.  I am Katosan.  It is an honor to serve you."

InuYasha seemed distinctly uncomfortable.  More used to being cast out, the sort of welcome that Katosan was offering was unsettling the hanyou.  "Um, yeah," he mumbled.  "We just came to ask you about—"

Katosan rose and nodded.  "Yes, I know.  Your subordinate was here.  He explained the situation to me."  He nodded to Kagome.  "You must be the miko, Kagome-sama.  If you will follow me, I have made arrangements for the both of you in my home.  It isn't much, but you're welcome to stay as long as you'd like."

"Let me check your cut," Kagome said, digging into the backpack for the first aid kit.

"Later," InuYasha replied as he dropped Tetsusaiga back into its sheath.  "Come on."

Kagome closed the bag and stood, staring after Katosan with a slight frown.  InuYasha started away.  He glanced back over his shoulder and called back to her, "Hurry up, Kagome.  We ain't got all day."

She caught up with him but didn't take her eyes off of the youkai leading them away.  "He doesn't seem to mind that you're a hanyou," she remarked neutrally.

InuYasha nodded slightly, also staring at Katosan's back.  "He doesn't, does he?"


::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::


"Damn!"

"Sorry!"

"Be careful with that!  Ow!"

"Sorry!" Kagome said again with a wince.  The alcohol swab she was trying to use to clean the cut on his temple was jerked out of her hand and tossed across the room.  "InuYasha!"

The stubborn hanyou snorted.  "Keh!  I'm fine."  He shot off the floor and stalked around the comfortable room.  Kagome could feel his discomfort.  It was the same feeling she'd gotten from him at Sesshoumaru's castle on the cliff.  

"Why do you hate being here?  And Sesshoumaru's, too?"

He stopped and threw open the rice-paper covered windows and leaned on the frame.  "I just . . . hate them—these damn places."

"Why?"

"Keh.  It don't matter."

Kagome didn't believe that.  Taking her time as she carefully repacked the first aid kit, she stuck her tongue out as she frowned in concentration.  "And you're sure?  I'd listen, you know . . . if you wanted to talk about . . . anything."

She could feel his gaze on her but when she peeked up through the thick fringe of her eyelashes, he was staring out the window.

He gazed at the sky, a certain melancholy stealing over his features.  "My mother and I lived in a place like this.  When she died . . ." Trailing off, he shook his head as though he were brushing aside something he didn't want to think about.   "She used to tell me that I'd always be welcome in her home, by her people.  When she died, I learned that there are some places on earth that are worse than hell."

Kagome sighed and stood.  She went to him slowly, wrapped her arms around his chest, hugging him as though her action could help him.  He didn't pull away.  "We don't have to stay here," she offered.  The words seemed hollow to her ears, and she wished he would say something.

"I can't leave until I get some answers," he said with a sigh.  He turned enough to put an arm around her, holding her close.

'So much pain,' she thought as she tightened her arms around him.  'I don't want him to hurt anymore.'

The door slid open.  The intruder cleared his throat.  Kagome let her arms drop away and stepped back, careful to keep her eyes on her feet as heat stole up her cheeks.  

"Dinner has been served, if you will follow me," a servant informed them.  Kagome could tell that he was youkai, but his aura seemed harmless and kind.

InuYasha led the way out of the room.  Kagome lagged behind as her brow furrowed in concentration.  'I'll help you, InuYasha.  I just want you to be happy.'


::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::


Kagome didn't do much more than pick at her food.  Maybe it was the stress of the day.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep from the night before.  For some reason, she felt jittery, edgy, and as the meal progressed, InuYasha spoke at length with their host about Naraku, the search for the Shikon no Kakera, and about Sesshoumaru.  To her surprise, he didn't call his brother his favorite pet name even once, and even more surprising, Katosan seemed reverent, so unlike most youkai they'd come in contact with who openly scoffed at InuYasha mixed heritage.

"I served your father for centuries," Katosan remarked with an easy smile.  "His untimely death greatly disturbed me."

"Yeah," InuYasha agreed, settling back with his arms folded together.  Kagome frowned.  Something felt strange, didn't it?  That InuYasha rarely, if ever, spoke in great detail about his father was a given.  That he was doing so now and without the defensiveness that normally accompanied such introspection seemed more than a little unsettling.  "I never really knew him."

Katosan nodded slowly.  "Your mother . . . I remember Izayoi-sama . . . Remarkable woman, absolutely stunning."

Kagome waited for InuYasha to snap at the man—his normal response to anything of this nature.  "She was," he allowed quietly.  Kagome blinked in surprise.  InuYasha drew a deep breath.  "Myouga told you that I'm looking for the book, didn't he?  Sesshoumaru said it was stolen."

Katosan mimicked InuYasha's stance as his expression took on a marked scowl.  "I wish I knew where it was myself.  The last time I saw it, it was in your brother's safekeeping.  Someone must have wanted it badly, to risk the wrath of the current Inu no Taisho.  Had I known, I would have kept a better eye on it."

InuYasha looked confused for a moment.  "Why would you care about it?"

Katosan smiled sadly. Kagome caught the strange glint in Katosan's expression, an unsettling anger.  It was gone as quickly as it had come.  Still, she hadn't missed it.  The flash of rage struck her as unusual.  "Your father was tai-youkai.  He was Inu no Taisho.  He was Lord of the Western Lands, but he was also one of my dearest friends."  He stared at InuYasha for a moment.  "And you, InuYasha-sama . . . You look exactly like him."

InuYasha shook his head.  "But why would someone want to take it?  It isn't valuable.  Why would it interest anyone enough to steal it?"

Katosan's gaze shifted from InuYasha to Kagome.  He stared at her though his words were directed at InuYasha.  "Your father was feared as well as respected.  With that fear comes hatred.  Surely you know this.  Have you never encountered those who mock you and hate you because they fear what you are?  When your father showed weakness for a mortal woman, there were those who sought to overthrow him."  

"Because of my mother?"

Kagome flinched at the raw bitterness in InuYasha's tone.  

Katosan seemed almost pleased with InuYasha's reaction as he went on, "In the youkai world, weakness means death, and in the end, your father chose death.  Your brother is much like your father.  Perhaps someone thought to see what had caused this weakness in your father in hopes that your brother would harbor the same."

"What's in this book?" Kagome asked.  She lifted her chin stubbornly when both sets of golden eyes locked on her.

Katosan glanced at InuYasha, waiting to see if InuYasha would answer.  With a sigh, InuYasha closed his eyes for a moment before nodding slowly.  "It's my mother's journal," he said quietly.  "Mother's story."


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A/N
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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.

~Sue~
Chapter 10
Chapter 12
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