InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Reality ( Chapter 17 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Kagome rolled her eyes as InuYasha leaped out of the well with the huge box of ramen. She hid her amusement, though, since he was still in a temperamental frame of mind after the Great Tetsusaiga Caper.
Feeling vengeful that Kagome hadn't listened and therefore hadn't changed into a more demure dress before leaving with InuYasha on their date, Grandpa had covered Tetsusaiga with a lot of Ofuda and the secret known as `sacred duct tape.' InuYasha had spent the better part of the evening cursing Grandpa and picking off the tape with the aide of Kagome's pocket knife. He was still mumbling, cursing, and basically really irritated when she went to bed around midnight.
Kagome glanced up just in time to see the tiny brown blur come flying at her. “Shippou! I missed you!” she assured the squirmy kitsune with a giggle. “Where are Sango and Miroku?”
“Oh, they're coming,” Shippou replied, waving his hand at the forest path. “They've been acting strange lately.”
“Strange, how?” InuYasha asked, leaning to the side to see out from behind the box of ramen.
Shippou dove for Kagome's backpack. “Staring at each other all the time and never really saying anything . . . it's really weird.”
Kagome grinned and gently shooed the kit away from her bag with a flutter of the hand. “InuYasha, do you think that Sango and Miroku might have finally told each other how they feel?”
“What? You mean that Sango `feels' Miroku's hand on her ass way too often?” InuYasha asked.
The loud crack of flesh meeting flesh echoed through the clearing. Moments later, Sango stomped toward them from the forest with a disgruntled look on her pretty face. Miroku trailed after her with the tell-tale Handprint-of-Love on his cheek.
Kagome hugged the youkai exterminator with a happy smile. “Kagome! It's been so long! How are you? Did you finish your exams?”
“Getting yourself slapped again, Miroku?” InuYasha remarked as he shifted the box of ramen and reached over to pluck the backpack away from Kagome. She reached to retrieve it. He turned so she couldn't get it. The hanyou chuckled as the miko rolled her eyes.
“Now, InuYasha, I can't help myself! It is so perfect!” the monk responded, holding his hands out in a cradling gesture directed toward the part of Sango's anatomy that he'd already fondled to earn the youkai exterminator's formidable ire. “I mean, look at it!”
InuYasha rolled his eyes and shook his head in disbelief. “Fucking pervert.”
“So what did you do in Kagome's time while she was busy taking her exams?” Miroku asked as they set off back toward the village.
“Keh. There's nothing to do there,” InuYasha grumbled.
“Hey, InuYasha . . . why is your face all red?” Shippou asked, leaning forward on the hanyou's shoulder to stare at his countenance.
“It's not,” InuYasha growled. “You'd better run before I set this stuff down, runt.”
“Ahh!” Shippou screamed, leaping off InuYasha's shoulder and hightailing it toward the forest path.
InuYasha cracked a smile as he watched the disappearing kitsune. Then he caught Miroku's raised-eyebrow-ed expression and quickly schooled his features.
Miroku grinned, as though something made sense to him. “Interesting . . . I can't recall ever seeing that particular shade of red before . . . Sango, what would you call it?”
“I'd call it `Monk-In-Pain' if you don't back off,” InuYasha snarled.
“Has anyone delivered a message for InuYasha while we were gone?” Kagome interrupted, attempting to distract the monk and the youkai exterminator, who were still staring at InuYasha's face with avid interest. The longer they stared, the redder InuYasha's face grew, and the redder he grew, the louder his growl escalated. “Hell-o?”
Sango covered a smile with her hand and turned her questioning stare on Kagome. Kagome knew that look and deliberately tried to avoid it even though she knew that Sango would demand answers when they were alone. “A message?” Sango finally echoed. “Actually, there was. A messenger from one named Katosan said he had information for InuYasha about a book?”
InuYasha turned to demand, “What sort of message? When?”
“Three days ago,” Miroku supplied. “What sort of book?”
“It doesn't matter,” InuYasha grumbled. “I'll leave as soon as I drop this stuff off with the old woman.”
“I'm coming with you,” Kagome spoke up, refraining from commenting on InuYasha's vile habit of calling Kaede, the old village miko, such a disrespectful term.
“Why don't we all go?” Miroku suggested. “A bit of travel wouldn't be remiss. All this rest isn't good for the fighting skills.”
“You'll just slow us down,” InuYasha replied with a snort.
Kagome glanced over at InuYasha. He was looking straight ahead. She didn't miss the sidelong look he shot her, though, just before his ears flicked. Her gaze narrowed suspiciously. `That's blackmail!' she fumed. His meaning was clear. If Sango and Miroku came along, he wouldn't let her touch his ears.
She sighed. `Then again . . . he is getting awfully close to reading some things that he might not like in my diary,' she reasoned, thinking of the book in her backpack. If he reacted that badly to her disaster of a date with Houjou, how would he react to her entries about their run-ins with Kikyou? Maybe, if their friends were with them, he wouldn't take them so hard . . . . Kagome hadn't been cruel but she had been honest.
“I think they should come along,” Kagome piped up, praying that InuYasha didn't know what she was thinking.
His head swung around to shoot her an incredulous look. “Kagome—”
“Yes, InuYasha?” she asked, careful to keep her tone light, casual.
“What about Shippou? Isn't it getting a little cold to be dragging him along?”
Sango's eyebrows shot up. “Since when do you care if Shippou's out in the cold?”
“Keh!” InuYasha flushed again. “I don't. Kagome does.”
“Shippou has fur, and he always sleeps in my bedroll with me.”
Miroku stopped suddenly, bringing the rest of them to a halt, as well. “All right, what's going on? You two are behaving strangely—very strangely. Care to tell the rest of us what's happened to bring about this change?”
“Nothing,” twin voices replied.
Miroku stared from one to the other as a smile slowly broke over his features. He raised his hand perpendicular to his face and bowed slightly. “Ah, I see. A matching set of `Monk-In-Pain'-red faces. Very interesting.”
Sango coughed to cover her amusement.
InuYasha turned on his heel and stomped off with a very loud, “Keh!”
InuYasha sat in the tree with his scowl in place. `Why'd she do that?' he asked himself again. `I thought she liked being with me . . . I thought . . . .'
He hopped to the ground and dropped a couple of logs onto the fire before he surveyed his sleeping friends. Sango slept with Kirara in her huge fire-cat form wrapped around the slayer. Miroku slept against Kirara's back. Kagome was curled up with Shippou in her bedroll. For some reason, it bothered InuYasha to see her sheltering the kitsune without anyone sheltering her. `Keh!' he snorted inwardly, `you're getting soft, baka! She's strong . . . for a pathetic human. She'll be just fine.' He stared at her a moment longer before stomping over to sit behind her sleeping form, using himself as a windbreak for her.
It was almost dawn. The forest was hushed, still. The night creatures were making their ways home. The daylight creatures were still sleeping. The quiet that met at such times seemed unnatural, eerie. InuYasha's ears flicked, twitched. He'd been attacked during this time too often. All the foul beasts of the earth liked this time of night.
Lulled as he stared into the fire, InuYasha shook himself and sighed. `There's room on her bedroll . . . and you know Kagome wouldn't care.'
His eyes widened as his gaze fell to the blankets behind Kagome's huddled body. `Keh! She'd osuwari me all the way to hell, and---' He could feel the flush riding up his cheeks and snorted. `I'm guardingher . . . what the---? Uh-uh! If that perverted monk woke up and saw me lying down with her, he'd reallyget the wrong idea, and I'd never hear the end of it . . . . No fucking thanks.' Still he couldn't drag his gaze away. A soft whine escaped, and the heat in his cheeks intensified despite the fact that no one else knew what he was thinking.
Kagome whimpered. InuYasha leaned forward, frowning at the sadness he could smell radiating from her. The underlying fear wrenched at him, and he winced. Still deep in her sleep, she breathed out a tiny sob, and that was enough.
InuYasha carefully lifted Shippou, depositing the kitsune between Sango and Kirara. The kit whined and yawned but didn't wake. InuYasha didn't even spare him a second glance as he knelt down in front of Kagome, slowly reaching out to smooth her bangs off her face. She jerked her head to the side, as though his touch hurt her. “N-no . . . !”
Her fear was increasing, overriding the sadness, and InuYasha lifted her---blankets and all---and bounded over to a tree on the outskirts of the clearing. He leaped into that tree with Kagome cradled safely against his chest and settled back against the tree trunk. “Kagome?” he said, trying to wake her.
She sobbed again, and he flinched. Her upset was starting to affect him, and he whined as he shook her.
`It's one of those nightmares,' he realized. `Like the one she had before . . . .' He hated her nightmares. She didn't have them often, but he always felt so helpless when she did. He wanted to wake her up, wanted to soothe her. Holding her as close as he could, he tried to calm her. The action made it worse. “Kagome . . . oi, wench!” he called as he tried shaking her again. `Think, baka! How did you make it go away the last time?'
`The lullaby . . . .'
InuYasha wrapped his arms tighter around her, closing his eyes and taking a moment to recall the words that his mother used to sing to him . . . .
“The night wind whispers and makes you smile,
Don't fret, little one, I'll be here all the while,
Sleep, gently sleep, in my heart you belong,
Sleep, gently sleep, I'll protect you with this song . . . .”
Gradually, she stopped shaking. Her expression relaxed. She sighed in her sleep as the nightmare receded. She snuggled closer against his chest, against his heart.
“Child of my heart, child of heaven,
Sent to me and my soul was forgiven,
You give me peace and joy and love,
Sent to me from the stars high above . . .”
“ . . . InuYasha?” He looked down at Kagome. She blinked sleepily and leaned back against his arm. She still looked like she wasn't completely awake. “You came for me after all.”
“Were you gone?” he asked gently.
“Mmm. Everyone was gone in the dark . . . but you came. You always come. You always save me.”
`I didn't save you, Kagome . . . You saved me, didn't you?' InuYasha smiled as her eyes closed again. “Go back to sleep, wench.”
Her hands emerged from the copious folds of the blankets to rest against his haori. She settled against him with a happy sigh. “You were singing,” she murmured. He could tell from the tone of her voice that she had to fight to say that much. “Nice . . . .”
That was the wrong thing to do, he discovered. She sat back and rubbed her eyes with balled-up fists. “That was a compliment,” she remarked as the traces of sleep fell away from her voice. She stared at him for a moment then shook her head. “You sang to me before, didn't you? I thought it was a dream . . . it was the same song.”
“You were having one of those nightmares,” he remarked stiffly, unable to meet her steady gaze.
“Where'd you learn that song? I've never heard it before.”
It should have been obvious from his demeanor that he didn't want to talk about the song at all. It should have been obvious from the scowl on his face that he wanted to drop the entire conversation. She wouldn't let go of it. “It was your mother, wasn't it? She sang that song to you.”
“Can't remember,” he grumbled.
He knew that she could tell he was lying. She didn't call him on it, though. She lay back down, using him as a pillow as she yawned. “Will you sing it again?”
“Only when you have nightmares.”
“Can I rub your ears?”
“Your journal is over there.”
“Just for a minute?”
“Are you comfortable?”
“No. My ears hurt from your babbling.”
“I don't babble.”
“What do you call it?”
“I'm concerned, that's all.”
He grinned into the night. “I'll let you know.”
“If I get uncomfortable.”
“Go to sleep, wench. It's almost morning.”
She was silent for maybe thirty seconds. “Have you been awake all night?”
“Keh. What do you think?”
“I think,” she said with a sigh as she toyed with the kotodama rosary, “I think I could sit here with you, like this, forever.”
`Me, too.' He pulled her blanket up to her chin. “Noisy wench.”
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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.