InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Revenge ( Chapter 20 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Kagome heaved a sigh as she tried to study the calculus book in her lap. `Come on, Kagome. Concentrate! Stop thinking about dog-boy and get your mind on your math!'
“Ohh,” Kagome groaned. InuYasha. Something was wrong with him. He'd pulled away from her so quickly that she had spent the majority of last night staring at the sky. She hadn't been able to sleep at all. It had only gotten worse when they started for Katosan's castle.
He carried her on his back, same as always. It felt like there was a distance between them; a distance she hadn't felt with him in years, since the beginning of their quest to find the Shikon no Kakera. By the time they had reached Katosan's castle, Kagome had been blinking back tears and hadn't been able to leave her room for dinner, either. She claimed that she needed to study. What she wanted was to be alone, to try to figure out what had happened to make InuYasha retreat.
Why had he said that? Run from what?
She sighed again and rubbed her temple as she again tried to study. “InuYasha no baka,” she muttered as she glared at the book.
`Admit it, Kagome. You miss BakaYasha. You know you do.'
“Okay, I might,” she mumbled, her gaze lifting to the door. `Maybe he'll come check on me before he goes to bed,' she thought then rolled her eyes. `Yeah . . . as if.' She lifted the book and forced her eyes back onto the page she was studying.
Kagome screamed and threw her arms over her head as the door crashed open. The calculus book flew through the air as InuYasha leapt into the room, Tetsusaiga drawn, ready to strike. Reacting to the object sailing at him, he swung his sword, cleaving the textbook neatly down the center. Kagome's arms dropped as she stared in disbelief. Pages of the book floated down harmlessly, littering the floor and covering the futon where she sat.
`Did he . . . ? He just . . . InuYasha!'
She stood up slowly, preparing to give the hanyou an osuwari he'd remember for the rest of his life but his expression stopped her. Eyes darting around to survey every inch of the room, he looked as though he expected a hoard of youkai to fly out at him. Feet spread, knees slightly bent, hands wrapped around Tetsusaiga's hilt, InuYasha was breathing heavily with a fierce glower on his face.
`Wow,' she thought as she stared at the hanyou, irritation forgotten as a million butterflies were set loose in her stomach. Sure, she'd seen him a million times. Something about the way he stood there, unafraid, willing to fight whatever he had to in order to protect her stopped Kagome's breath from actually reaching her lungs. `I mean . . . wow . . .'
“Where is it?” he asked, his voice low, cautious.
“Where is what, InuYasha?” she asked cautiously, her hand pressed against her stomach a she tried to calm the brigade of butterflies. “All you destroyed was my defenseless calculus book . . . .”
He blinked, as though he just realized what he'd done. His scowl returned as the hint of a flush crept up his cheeks. “Keh! I thought I heard something in here.” He stared at the mess of papers littering the floor and his ears flattened. “You're going to say `it', aren't you?”
His question didn't register as she continued to stare at him. “Hmm?”
He glanced up at her then stared. “Stop that, wench!” he growled as his flush darkened and his gaze skittered away.
He swallowed hard but didn't look at her again. “Stop looking at me like that.”
She could feel herself flush as his complaint registered in her addled brain. `Get a hold of yourself, Kagome! What are you doing?'
She forced her eyes away and sank down to gather up the remnants of the book. He knelt to help her and reached for a page just as she did. His hand closed over hers. “Sorry,” he muttered as he quickly jerked his hand back. He got up and headed for the door. “You're safe. I'll go.”
“Wait!” she called, shooting to her feet and darting after him. She stepped on one of the loose pages and slipped.
He caught her and set her back on her feet again but didn't let go of her right away. The corners of his lips twitched in amusement, and his eyes sparkled. Suddenly he was the InuYasha she knew again, as though the strained silence from earlier hadn't happened at all. “Clumsy wench.”
“If you hadn't decided to use my calculus book for sword practice, I wouldn't have slipped,” she reminded him.
InuYasha looked like he wanted to argue her point. “I guess I could help you pick it up.”
“I should get unlimited ear-minutes for that. Mama's going to be a little mad when I tell her what happened,” Kagome grouched though she was smiling. “She's the one who'll have to replace the book, after all.”
He helped her gather up the pages. She stuffed them into her backpack. When she turned around again, InuYasha was holding his hand out, curling his fingers impatiently.
She gaped at him. “You destroy my calculus book, and you think you're going to get your claws on my diary tonight? Think again, Dog-boy!”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “You can't back out of our deal!” he growled incredulously.
“Give me one good reason I should let you read my diary tonight,” she countered.
He blinked at her. Twice.
“Higher . . . to the right . . . too far right . . . no . . . yes . . . there!” InuYasha whined as Kagome rolled her eyes and scratched his back. He couldn't help it. There were times when he just wanted his back scratched, and there were places that he just couldn't reach, no matter how hard he tried. This was one of those times, and she had found one of those places.
“Scratching your back wasn't ever part of the deal,” Kagome remarked. She sounded more amused than irritated. He arched his back up against her hand.
`She won't be nearly as amused by you if she finds out that you made up that stupid reason to burst into her room.' He made a face. `Or if she finds out that you're not sorry in the least that you obliterated that book of hers, either.' He growled at the thought of his nemesis then hid a small grin at what had become of it. `Who cares? I won.'
“All right,” he finally allowed. “I can't read when you're doing that.”
She sighed to let him know what she thought of his `orders' but her fingers moved to intercept his ears, and he leaned toward her as he opened her diary.
`I don't know why I followed Kikyou into the mountain. I guess I did it because I knew that InuYasha, wherever he was, wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice himself for Kikyou, if he had to, and because after seeing her try to drag him to hell with her, I was scared she'd try it again. I still think about that. What if I hadn't been there? As much as it hurt to see them together like that, in her barrier, if I hadn't been there, she might have succeeded in dragging him to hell . . . .'
InuYasha winced. If reading her thoughts on paper was painful for him, how much worse had it been for her at the time?
`When I reached the center of the mountain, InuYasha was trying to protect Kikyou. It wasn't as though I didn't realize that he would do that. Wasn't that one of the reasons I'd followed Kikyou? No, it was hearing him proclaim that he wanted to protect her, above everything, that had hurt. If he died protecting her, where would that leave me? That sounds so selfish. Kikyou said that I was a fool for following her because I risked InuYasha losing me. I wonder, though, would it matter to him? If I did die, would Kikyou get the rest of her soul back? The part that is still in me? Then they could be together, as they should have been.'
She really had no idea, did she? There hadn't been another, not since the moment he met her. He shifted his gaze to look at her. Idly toying with his ears, she looked as though there wasn't anything she'd rather be doing. He tried to tell her before, how much she meant to him. He'd tried many, many times. Then, as now, he couldn't get the words to come out. He sighed and dropped his gaze back to the book again.
`Truth is that I started searching for the shards with InuYasha because I broke the jewel. Somehow, though, it all changed. I really did become the jewel detector because I wanted to be near InuYasha. It sounds stupid to say this but I just keep hoping that he'll figure out that he likes to laugh better than he likes to feel guilty when he hasn't done anything to feel guilty about . . . .'
`Nothing to feel guilty about?' He frowned. Kagome had known what he hadn't been able to figure out for so long. He'd known that he hadn't actually killed Kikyou. That really hadn't helped much, though. If it hadn't been for him, Naraku wouldn't have been able to use his face to trick Kikyou. He didn't realize how much thought Kagome had given it before. She just wanted him to laugh? He sighed. It seemed like such a foreign idea to him.
Yet she did that, didn't she? She made him laugh, made him feel as though everything might be all right in the world. She made him hope.
`Keh! You are going soft, baka!' He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, savoring the feel of her touch. `Damn, she really is getting a little too good at this . . . .'
“Are you falling asleep?”
“Keh.” He forced his eyes open. “I don't sleep.”
“Uh-huh . . . .”
He rolled onto his side, propping his head on his hand and staring at Kagome. She looked like she was thinking of something that had nothing at all to do with him. He frowned and wondered briefly if there was another calculus book lurking in that gargantuan bag of hers. “I know that look, wench. It means you're thinking about something that normally involves you being nosey and sticking that nose where it doesn't belong. Spill it.”
“I'm not nosey,” she argued. “I'm concerned, that's all.”
“You say concerned, I say nosey. The end result is always the same. I have to come in and rescue you because you're a pathetic human girl.”
She shot him a withering look for his unkind description but shook her head and went on. “Did you notice Sango, Miroku, and Shippou today?”
InuYasha snorted. “Nope. Why? That pervert start grabbing Shippou's ass?”
“Of course not! Be serious, please.”
He heaved a heavy sigh. “All right, fine. What did I miss?”
Satisfied that he was going to listen and not poke fun at her, Kagome grinned and gently flicked the tip of his ear. Her grin widened when his ear twitched involuntarily. He flattened them against his head before she could tweak again. “It wasn't really anything, I guess. It was just a little peculiar. Miroku was carrying Shippou everywhere. Like, Shippou would tell Miroku where he wanted to go, and Miroku would take him there.” She shrugged. “It just seemed . . . weird.”
“Maybe Shippou's blackmailing Miroku,” InuYasha said, only half-teasing. At dinner last evening, Kagome made sure InuYasha had a nice hot cup of ramen. It irked him to no end, to see Shippou sitting there with a cup, as well. Then the little twerp had made a huge spectacle of eating his ramen, and that had nearly ended their deal since InuYasha had been hard-pressed not to thump the brat—hard.
Kagome rolled her eyes. “There's nothing to blackmail Miroku with! He's a monk.”
“A monk who enjoys asses a little too much.”
“Well, sure, but Sango knows that already. What I'm saying is, there'd be no reason for that. Anyway, maybe I was just reading too much into it.”
A heavy thump against the wall that separated Kagome's room from Sango's startled her. Kagome squeaked and whipped her head around before glancing at InuYasha. InuYasha sat up. “What the hell was that?” he grumbled as he shot to his feet.
The hanyou ran out of the room as he drew Tetsusaiga before he threw his shoulder against Sango's door. The door was left in a tattered mess, and he stepped back, blinking in surprise, at the scene that greeted him.
Miroku was lying flat on the floor with Sango straddling his chest in her slayer's clothing and her sword poised against the monk's neck. Shippou sat near the window calmly spinning his small wooden top. InuYasha crossed his arms over his chest and surveyed the couple as Sango quickly rose to her feet.
“Do you have to break everything you touch?” Kagome muttered as she ran straight into InuYasha's back. Steadying herself with a fistful of his haori as she peeped around his arm with a gasp, Kagome forgot her prior irritation about InuYasha's unceremonious door-desecration.
Miroku stood up. “Is something wrong?” he asked, fighting off his embarrassment admirably.
“I don't even know where to start,” InuYasha remarked with a raised eyebrow as he glanced from one to the other and dropped Tetsusaiga back into its scabbard.
“What was that thump we heard?” Kagome questioned, stepping around InuYasha.
“Thump?” Sango echoed as her face reddened.
“Nice shade of `Monk-in-Pain'-red,” InuYasha muttered to Kagome.
Kagome nodded. “I'll say.”
“Oh, the thump!” Miroku cut in with a forced chuckle. “I sensed a youkai . . . I was posting an Ofuda.”
InuYasha nodded slowly. “'Course you did, monk. Katosan is youkai, baka. Don't be trying to exorcise him from his own home. Now why was Sango sitting on you?”
It was Miroku's turn to flush. “Uh . . . .”
“I was trying to stop him from posting the Ofuda!”
“Uh---huh.” InuYasha spared them all a last look before turning and stomping out of the room with a shake of his head. “You humans are hella strange,” he commented as he sank back down to retrieve Kagome's diary.
Kagome closed her door and ambled over to him. “See what I mean? I told you, there's something going on.”
“I don't want to talk about them,” he complained.
Kagome relented. Kneeling beside him, she bent down enough to peer into his face. “Did you get to speak to Katosan yet?”
InuYasha stretched and shook his head. “Nope. He's gone. His men said that there was some sort of trouble that he had to take care of.
“Did they say when he should be back?”
She frowned, staring at her hands resting in her lap.
“Out with it,” he demanded.
Peeking up at him, Kagome's frown deepened. “I feel like something's wrong,” she finally admitted. “But I don't know why.”
He yawned and stretched before lying down again and deliberately nudging her with his head. “Less talk.”
She rolled her eyes but complied.
He let her rub his ears, filling the otherwise quiet room with his low resonance. His head fell into her lap, his cheek resting on the soft fabric of the strange pants she wore to sleep in. Flannel, she called them. The material smelled like her.
The journal entry he'd read plagued him. Her words made him sad. `I really did become the jewel detector because I wanted to be near InuYasha.' Why would she have wanted that? He'd be the first to admit that he hadn't been very nice to her, not back then. He grimaced. Even now, he wasn't what he would consider nice.
`She ought to have left me long ago, stupid girl. And she thinks I'm the stubborn one. Keh! She ought to be running for her life in fear of me.' He closed his eyes and breathed in her scent and the heady feel of contentment that came with it. `But I'm glad she hasn't. I want her here, with me.'
“For what it's worth . . . you were never just a jewel detector, not to me.”
“What was I?”
He smiled vaguely, lulled by her soothing touch. “You were . . . my friend.” Her hand stilled for a moment before resuming her attention on his ears. `My first friend . . . my only friend. My best friend. She's more than a friend to me. Anywhere with Kagome is . . . my home.'
“You're my friend, too,” she replied softly, gently rubbing the silvery trace scars on his ears. “InuYasha . . . can I ask you something?”
“Do I have a choice?” he teased.
She giggled then turned more serious. “Why did your ears scar? I mean, I've seen you take much worse damage. You've never scarred, not even when Sesshoumaru put his hand through your stomach. So why your ears?”
He shrugged. “I dunno. I never realized they did scar, until you said something. I can't really see them so well.”
She made a face. “I didn't expect you could since they're on top of your head. I still can't believe that. It makes me so mad!”
She shrugged. “Because it hurt you,” she answered simply, as though it should have been apparent to him. “And I love your ears . . . .”
“Keh,” he snorted. He didn't miss her blush. He could feel the change in her body temperature as her embarrassment spiked. He wrapped his arms around her and snuggled closer to her. “I didn't tell you that you could stop, wench,” he grumbled.
She relaxed. “You're such a pain,” she remarked with a soft giggle.
“Hmm. You talk too much.”
She was quiet . . . for all of thirty seconds. “It's okay, InuYasha. You're safe. You can sleep.”
“Mmm,” he managed just before he gave himself over to the welcoming embrace of rest . . . and of Kagome.
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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.