InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Scars ( Chapter 14 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
`I woke up with InuYasha staring at me. Maybe I'll rephrase that. He was examining me like I was an alien, or like I'd grown a couple of limbs out of my skull. If that wasn't weird enough, he was way too close to me, too, and that was disturbing in a weird sort of way . . . . Strange how his eyes always seem to change, even when I'm looking at him. There's a million colors mixed into the gold. I'm not sure which I like better: his fuzzy little ears or his eyes. I think it may be his ears . . . .'
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted as he remembered the night she was talking about in her diary. He'd had a dream about Kikyou's betrayal. Still dwelling on that dream, he'd ended up looking at Kagome. It wasn't the first time he'd wondered how two very different women could have shared the same soul. He just hadn't planned on being caught staring at her, that was all.
`I'm not too proud of my reaction though. I slapped him, hard. I didn't mean to, exactly. Well, maybe I did. It's just really freaky to wake up with a dog-eared half-youkai staring you—literally—in the face.'
“Is it really,” InuYasha remarked with a snort. `Freaky, huh?'
“Is what really?”
“Nothing,” he grumbled. `She thought it was freaky that I was staring at her? And . . . and she did slap me hard! Wench!'
`I guess I just hadn't realized what Kikyou and InuYasha's relationship really had been. I knew they had once cared about each other. I guess I just stupidly thought they were just friends. It never occurred to me that she had loved him, or that he had loved her. He looked so sad, so confused when he came back from chasing after Kikyou. Shippou and Kaede were worried about me because of the soul incident with Kikyou, but I tried to tell them that I was fine. InuYasha was the one who needed them then. He really needed a friend.'
InuYasha shook his head slowly, and he wondered once more if he hadn't made a colossal mistake in wanting to read Kagome's diary. He didn't really have a right to know these things, did he? Kagome had written it all, believing that no one else would ever see the things she remembered. He tilted his head back to look at her. The contentment in her expression shocked him. “Kagome?”
“If you don't want me to read your journal, I won't.” He stifled a sigh as her fingers stopped moving. `I like that a little too much,' he thought wryly.
She uttered a suspicious sound and resumed stroking his ears again. “Is this some weird ploy to get me to stop messing with your ears?”
“I don't mind if you read it,” she replied with a shrug. “I trust you.”
He scowled and flopped over onto his back to stare into her eyes. “Why?”
The gentle smile that surfaced made her eyes glow. She pressed her lips together and shrugged. “Because you've never given me a reason not to. You've always protected me without asking for anything in return, and . . .” she exhaled slowly and lifted her chin to stare at the wall though her smile remained. “I feel safe with you.”
`She feels safe? With me?' He smiled slightly, just a slight upturn at the corners of his lips. “You're sure?”
“Yep,” she answered, wiggling her hand under his shoulder and trying to pull him back onto his side. “Now move it. I need more ear time.”
He rolled his eyes but complied. “Keh!”
`I'm not sure which freaked me out worse: finding out what InuYasha's feelings were for Kikyou, or earlier when he tried to kiss me. At least, I think he did. There was a strange look in his eyes when he stared at me, and my stomach did this weird thing, like when you ride a roller coaster and you feel like the bottom is falling out of your tummy. But he wasn't really trying to kiss me,I don't think. I think he was trying to kiss Kikyou because he thinks she's me, or I'm her, or, well, something . . . .'
InuYasha closed the book and pushed it aside.
“Finish that entry?” Kagome asked.
“Yeah,” he said, clearing his suddenly scratchy voice. “Yeah, I read enough.”
`I never even thought about what it was doing to Kagome,' he thought with a sigh full of self-disgust. `Or about what I was doing to her . . . . Baka!'
“Did it hurt? When Kikyou took part of your soul?”
Her sigh was soft, and her fingers stilled for a moment before resuming their task. “No . . . not really. It just felt a little weird, like every second of my life was pulled away, and then I went numb.”
He flinched. She didn't see it. “How did you call your soul back?”
She shrugged as though she thought the answer was a simple thing. “I heard you yelling. I thought you needed me.”
`I did . . . I still do . . . .' His ears would have drooped if Kagome hadn't still been rubbing them. “Aren't you sick of my ears yet?”
“What's with your fascination with them? It's kind of sick, you know.”
“Nothing sick about it,” she argued. “They're warm, and they're fuzzy, and they're cute.”
She gasped, fingers stopping abruptly. He could feel her push aside his hair and gently run her fingertips along the base of his ears. She uttered a strangled sort of almost-moan, and she said, “InuYasha? What . . . You have scars on your ears?”
Quickly he sat up, pulling away from Kagome's touch, and he couldn't meet her concerned gaze. “Do I?” he hedged.
“What happened?” she asked quietly, her voice full of sadness, confusion. “How did you get them?”
“It was nothing,” he replied quickly, angrily, hating the compassion she showed him, despising the weakness that the scars showed. Mostly, though, he loathed the painful memories that they represented. “It was a long time ago.”
“InuYasha . . . ?”
She reached out to touch him. He jerked away as the tide of recollections overcame him. He stalked to the window, threw it open, and leaped out into the night.
Kagome ran to the window and watched him as he wandered across the courtyard and hopped into the branches of the God Tree.
She hadn't noticed the scars before. `InuYasha doesn't scar,' she thought as a soft keening noise spilled out of her. `I've seen him endure injury after injury, and he neverscars . . . .' She shook her head, her hands covering her mouth. `How could I not have seen those before?'
She sighed. It wasn't surprising since they were flush against the base of his ears almost even with his skull. Buried under his thick hair, they were little more than thin, hairless lines. But they were too straight, too deliberate, and Kagome winced even as her mind tried to deny the suspicion that welled up inside her chest.
It looked like someone had tried to cut off InuYasha's ears.
Sobbing, wailing, he couldn't help the noises that escaped despite his resolve not to let them see him cry. He tried to run, tried to hide. There were too many of them, and he was too small, too confused . . . too frightened. They caught him, held him down . . . “Mama!”
“Your Mama is dead because of you, half-breed.”
InuYasha squeezed his eyes closed, willed away the bitter image of the memories that still had the skill to draw blood. They wouldn't let go.
“I want Mama,” he whimpered in the darkened room. Alone and scared and yet somehow knowing that Mother wasn't coming to save him. They said she was dead . . . . What did that mean?
The sliver of moon was high in the sky. He felt the chill winds hit him, blowing his hair, whipping his haori. He didn't feel the cold. Staring at the weak moon in the sky reminded him of the long, bitter nights after he'd escaped them. All he could recall was that he had to run away by the light of the moon, on a very cold night.
His bare feet burned as he wandered across the frost, the tears on his face had frozen in solid silvery streaks. He'd sought refuge in a small alcove, huddled against the rocks to keep warm. He hadn't known then that the rocks made him colder.
`Wake up, InuYasha. Do you wish to freeze?”
He heard the voice but couldn't answer. As if it were a dream, he opened his eyes but couldn't see past the haze that engulfed his vision.
“Get up and move. If you lay down in this cold, you will not rise again.”
He'd forced himself to do as the voice had instructed. He ran all night. In the morning, he clawed his way up a tree and had fallen asleep in the branches high above.
InuYasha scowled as the memory faded away. He hadn't thought of that night in years. He hadn't known who had spoken to him at the time. When he was finally able to see clearly, the man was gone but InuYasha had followed his scent, hoping to find him. He'd smelled so familiar that, even as a child, InuYasha had instinctively known that the being was family.
`Sesshoumaru,' InuYasha thought as his scowl deepened. `Why did you save me back then?'
“InuYasha? Do you want to come back inside?” He didn't make any gesture to show that he'd heard Kagome. She stood below, staring up at him. “I'll leave my window open for you, okay? If you get cold . . . .”
He heard her sigh, heard her turn to go back inside. Suddenly he hopped down, swept her into his arms and jumped back into Goshinboku. He set her down on the branch and scooted back, staring at the bark between them. She remained silent, waiting for him to speak. He drew a deep breath, unable to decide where he could possibly start.
“They tried to cut them off,” he finally said, his voice no more than a whisper in the night. She made a sound somewhere between a sob and a growl. Still he didn't look at her. “After my mother died, they said that I could stay but only if I looked like them.”
Drawing a steadying breath, he blinked slowly before speaking again. “I was little then, I was scared. I remember wondering why they'd do that . . . I remember that it hurt . . . I tried to run away. They caught me, and they held me down, and my mother's father tried to cut them off.”
“InuYasha . . . .”
He shook his head stubbornly, needing to tell her, as though he had to make her understand. The pain was a bitter thing. He dug his claws into the branch and swallowed a few times to get rid of the rising lump in his throat, the one that threatened to choke him if he didn't keep talking. “I kept calling for her---for Mother. I didn't understand for the longest time, why she didn't come. It wasn't until later that I figured out what it meant, to die.”
Kagome shook her head. “You don't have to tell me this. I know it hurts you.”
“I think that was worse than any other injury I've had since. I didn't think my ears were ever going to heal. They just kept bleeding . . . .” He drew a deep breath. “Anyway, that's where the scars came from.”
“And that's why you don't like anyone to touch your ears.”
She shook her head slowly, as though she didn't understand why anyone would have done such a thing. “Why didn't you tell me? All this time I've tried to get you to let me touch your ears, and . . . I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you.”
“You don't,” he muttered.
“I'm so selfish . . . InuYasha . . . .”
He didn't look up but he could smell the salt of her tears. “Kagome? Don't . . . .”
She sniffled and heaved a shaky sigh. “Why would they do that? I don't understand how anyone could do that, and---” She cut herself off viciously as a sob escaped. Clumsily, InuYasha reached out, wiped her cheeks.
“Don't cry, not for me.”
And then his arms were full of Kagome. She threw herself against him, burying her face in his haori as she sobbed harder. Hesitantly, he wrapped his arms around her. `Why is it that her tears are enough? Why do they . . . heal me?'
He held her until her crying stopped, until she wound down to hiccups and stuttered breaths. Finally she pulled back and turned away only to hold out a small wrapped package. With a watery smile---all the more endearing for the cautious hope in her face as she offered him the gift---she shrugged and laughed self-consciously.
“What's this?” he asked, almost afraid to take the package.
She pushed it closer to him and sighed. “It's not much. You'll probably think it's stupid.”
He took it and slowly tore off the paper. He blinked in surprise as he stared at the book in his hands. “A book?”
“It's a journal. You don't have to write it in, if you don't want to. I just thought maybe . . . if you wanted to . . . you could put your painful memories in that. Then you'd never have to think about them again.”
He frowned as he stared at the volume in his hands. `Maybe someday,' he thought. `Just not . . . yet.'
She shook her head and forced a smile. “Told you it was stupid. Here, I'll go make you some ramen or something . . . .”
He caught the hand she held out for the book. “Thank you . . . no one's ever really given me anything before.”
Kagome stared at him for a long moment. With a small smile, she leaned over and brushed her lips over his cheek.
InuYasha's eyes widened in shock as he felt heat rush to the surface of his skin. Thanking whatever entities were listening, he could only be grateful that it was dark. He cleared his throat and gathered her close. “Let's get you back inside before you freeze.”
She giggled softly. “Pathetic human?”
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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.