InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Confrontation ( Chapter 26 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Why are we going so fast?”
InuYasha glanced over his shoulder and smirked at Kagome. “There's a hot spring cave ahead. I figured it'd be warmer to camp there than anywhere else.”
“A hot spring?”
“No baths,” he told her.
“But if it's a hot spring . . . .”
“Keh! You'd get sick, and I'd have to haul you back to the village, wasting my time because you're a weak human.”
Kagome made a sound suspiciously like his infamous, `Keh.'
“You can't use my noise against me,” he remarked.
“I won't get sick, I promise.”
“Damn straight, wench, because you're not getting a bath.”
She sighed. “InuYasha—”
“This is wonderful! Ahh, a real bath!”
InuYasha rolled his eyes and wondered once more exactly how she'd managed to talk him into the bath that he said she couldn't have. At least the cave was decently warm. “Hurry it up, Kagome,” he grumbled, all too aware of her splashing.
“Nothing like a hot bath!” she exclaimed happily.
InuYasha stifled the urge to sigh as his ears flattened just a little. The last thing he wanted to do was sit here and listen to her bathe. He had to be insane to allow her to do such a thing when it was so cold outside. `Baka! It makes her happy, and the cave is warm enough because of the hot spring. That's why you gave in.'
He got up and dropped a couple more pieces of wood on the fire and hunkered down near the flames, away from Kagome, away from the scent of the summer flowers that threatened to overwhelm his senses.
“Okay, I'm going to get out now! No peeking!”
The water sloshed as Kagome waded out of the spring. As she neared, her scent grew stronger. InuYasha closed his eyes for a moment, forcing back the painful ache that built in his chest.
“I thought I smelled dog-shit.”
Cursing himself for not smelling Kouga's approach, InuYasha stood slowly, bearing his fangs as he growled at the wolf. “Following us, Kouga? Can't find your own shelter?”
Kouga opened his mouth to reply in kind. His rejoinder never came. Kagome uttered a small shriek drawing the notice of the two. `Oh, shit! How could I forget that?' InuYasha asked himself as he turned back around as quickly as he could. Completely naked, wet skin glistening in the warm firelight, she held a towel up but hadn't gotten a chance to wrap it around herself. Under other circumstances, he even would have had to admit she really was something to see. With the damn mangy wolf standing there, though . . . . Hot flames exploded under his skin but were quickly shoved aside when he noticed that Kouga was still staring, jaw dropped, eyes bugged out. “Oi! Kouga!” he bellowed as he drew Tetsusaiga. “What the fuck are you lookin' at?”
It seemed to InuYasha that it took entirely too long for Kouga to drag his eyes off Kagome again, and when he finally did, he rounded his incredulous expression onto him. The wonder shifted into indignant suspicion, and he braced himself for InuYasha's attack. “What the hell are you doing in here? You haven't touched my woman, have you, dog-shit?”
“I'm not your woman!” Kagome hollered.
“Shut the hell up, wench!” InuYasha bellowed as Kouga's head swung back.
“Incidentals, Kagome. You will be, once I get rid of mutt-face, here.”
“Think you can, do you, wimpy wolf?” InuYasha snarled as he brought Tetsusaiga up in ready.
Kouga turned his glare back on InuYasha. “I know I can, dog-breath!”
Grinding his jaws together, InuYasha fought for control of his rapidly escalating fury. As far as he was concerned, the wolf had it coming. When had he ever bothered to listen to Kagome? Never. Well, he was going to rearrange his anatomy for that, and for the little bastard proclaiming his love to her, too . . . . “You've been warned, Kouga,” he said quietly, his voice shaking with rage, “She's told you, I've told you, but you fucking won't listen. She doesn't want you! She never has!”
“What the hell do you know about what Kagome wants? She'd be much better off with me than she is with you! Now stand aside, puppy, and let me claim my woman.”
“I know she don't want a hella nasty, flea-infested bastard like you!” InuYasha lifted Tetsusaiga in a blur of color and motion. He started to bring it down with a fury when two small hands reached out to stop him.
“Get back!” he demanded.
Kagome didn't let go. “You can't kill him! Please!”
“As if he could,” Kouga snorted.
InuYasha let the sword drop slightly, eyes narrowing as he got a good look at what Kagome was—or wasn't—wearing. A string of colorful expletives echoed through the cave as InuYasha grabbed her arm and dragged her behind his back. “Why didn't you get dressed?” he hissed, irritation with her skimpy towel-wrapped body warring with his desire to maim Kouga for life.
“I didn't have time! You were trying to kill Kouga, remember?”
“Yeah, thanks for reminding me,” he snarled, turning his attention back on the wolf youkai.
Kouga stood, arms crossed, watching their exchange in a bored manner. He yawned, lifting his hand to cover his mouth. “Give up, dog-face. I'm the one who should be angry. Once I claim Kagome as mine, you'll never see her like that again. Better get a go-o-o-o-od look while you can.”
InuYasha growled. “Damn you, Kouga, what the hell does she have to do to get it through your fucking head that she doesn't want you, she's never wanted you, and the only reason she kissed you, you pathetic wolf, was because you blackmailed her into it! Now go away before I do kill you!”
“At least she has kissed me, dog-shit. Jealous much?”
“Like I need to be jealous of a weak wolf like you! She's kissed me, too, and she did it without me having to blackmail her into it! She told you from the start that she was seeing me, and you didn't listen! Now move it before I shove Tetsusaiga up your ass despite what Kagome wants!”
InuYasha felt Kagome's forehead drop against his back, and he knew without looking that she was blushing. `Too damn bad,' he thought as he tightened his grip on Tetsusaiga. `If the fucking wolf would only listen, it wouldn't have to come to this.'
“I'll leave—after I speak to Kagome.”
InuYasha's eyes narrowed. “Speak then.”
“Over my dead body.”
“That could be arranged.”
“Let me talk to him,” she said quietly.
“If I do, he said he'd leave, and—”
She sighed. “Osuwari,” she mumbled. He hit the ground, and she stepped around him. “Please, don't make me say that again, okay?”
He managed a growl even if he couldn't get himself peeled off the cave floor. `Damn it! When I get myself up, I swear, I'm going to beat her . . . or him . . . yeah, him. That'd be good enough, fucking wolf . . . .'
“Damn it, wench! Get back here! You're not talking to that fucking wolf, and you're not talking to him in that!” he bellowed as he managed to push himself up a little. “Kouga—get your fucking hands off of her!”
He wasn't sure what was bothering him the most: the idea that Kagome wasn't listening, the fact that she was still only wearing that little bit of cloth, or the sight of Kouga holding her hands. None of those things sat well with him, and he growled louder. Rage brought him off the floor, and he lunged forward.
Raising Tetsusaiga over his head, the only coherent thought in InuYasha's mind was that the fucking wolf youkai was about to lose his hands since he couldn't keep them to himself. Cleaving a neat arc, Kagome opened her mouth to say `it', but the word never came. Instead, a bright blue barrier erupted around her, and though it didn't cover Kouga, it did cover Kouga's arms. The instant Tetsusaiga touched the barrier, InuYasha yelled as he was blown back across the cave. He hit the wall with a force that shook the ground and fell as blackness descended on him.
Kagome didn't waste any time wondering about the hazy barrier. Jerking her hands away from Kouga, she skittered across the cave to kneel beside InuYasha's unconscious body.
“InuYasha?” She pushed his bangs off his face, slapped his cheeks gently as she tried to rouse him.
“What happened to dog-shit?” Kouga asked as he hunkered on InuYasha's other side.
“I don't know,” Kagome answered, her voice tinged with concern. `Where did that barrier come from? I didn't do that . . . did I?' She shook her head slowly. `I wouldn't have . . . InuYasha wouldn't have hurt me . . . .'
Kouga snorted. “Just when things were starting to get entertaining,” he complained.
Kagome shot him a dark look for that, and Kouga relented. “I think you should go before InuYasha wakes up.”
Kouga caught her hand, forcing her to look at him. Those bright blue eyes were intense, questioning. “Why do you want to stay with him? He ignores you, he's rude to you, he doesn't give a damn if he upsets you. So why him?”
She pulled her hand away and stared at InuYasha's face. Relaxed in forced slumber, he looked so different from the InuYasha she knew. Kinder, gentler, more vulnerable . . . . She lifted her gaze to the wolf youkai again. “. . . I love him.”
Kouga didn't like her answer. He snorted loudly and shoved himself to his feet to stalk across the floor. “He doesn't deserve your love, Kagome! He never has! Don't you get it?”
She shook her head and sighed. “It isn't something you can earn, Kouga. I can't help it. It's just how I feel, and I'm sorry if that hurts you, but . . . I'm sorry.”
Kouga didn't answer for a long time. He sank down on a rock and waited while Kagome pulled InuYasha's head onto her lap. His breathing was even, as though he slept. He'd hit the wall hard enough to cause small rocks to tumble down, and she frowned as she tried to figure out what had caused the barrier. She certainly hadn't done anything. A barrier that strong? Strong enough to repel Tetsusaiga? InuYasha had strengthened the sword long ago, had earned the ability to break barriers with a technique that turned the fang a glowing red. The barrier that had surrounded her had been stronger than even those barriers. She could feel its power. But where had it come from?
“I came to tell you that I've decided to take Ayame as my mate,” Kouga said softly.
Kagome turned her head to stare at Kouga. “You did? When did you decide this?”
He sighed then chuckled. “Honestly? I remembered her when she first came to me. But it's so much more fun to harass mutt-face, you know?”
Kagome rolled her eyes but smiled. “You two are weird,” she remarked. “You've done all that on purpose?”
Kouga grinned. “Yeah, though I gotta admit, I was sort of hoping you'd change your mind. Can't say I envy you. He's about as thick-headed as they come.”
Kagome sighed. “I know.”
“Anyway, I was on my way north to bring Ayame back. I've got a long way to go . . . .” He got up and headed toward the cave entrance. He stopped and turned back. “Do me a favor? Don't tell dog-shit what I said. It's kind of fun, baiting him like that.”
Again, Kagome shook her head. “All right,” she agreed. “Good luck, Kouga.”
“Thanks . . . oh, and Kagome?”
She idly smoothed InuYasha's bangs off his face as she stared into his sleeping countenance. “Hmm?”
“You might want to get dressed. You'll freeze if you don't, and InuYasha is a dog . . . .”
She flushed. Kouga's laughter lingered long after he sped out of the cave.
InuYasha woke slowly, as though he didn't dare come around all at once. An odd lethargy infiltrated his bones, and he sat up with a low groan. Kagome stirred. She leaned back against the rock wall with her head tilted against her shoulder. InuYasha made a face. `That couldn't have been comfortable . . . wait . . . where the hell did Kouga go?'
“How are you?” Kagome asked, waking up quickly when she saw that InuYasha was sitting up. “What happened?”
InuYasha shook his head slowly. The last thing he remembered was Kagome, surrounded by a bright blue aura, and then he remembered being blasted back . . . he glared at Kagome. “You happened to me, wench! What was with that barrier?”
“I didn't do that!” she argued gently. “I didn't have anything to do with that!”
“Keh!” He flinched as his head erupted in a dull ache again. “Then who did?”
She shrugged. “I don't know.”
“Where'd that fucking wolf go?” he asked, dropping the question of the barrier since neither of them had any idea what had caused it.
Kagome got up and dropped two logs on the smoldering fire before ripping open a cup of ramen and adding water to it. “He left.”
“I thought he was here to claim you.”
She smiled at the sulky tone in his voice. “I told him I wasn't his woman.”
“Like that's ever stopped him before.”
She shrugged. “So he finally listened.”
The look InuYasha cast her wasn't convinced. “If he comes around again, I swear I'll kill him, and I don't care how many times you say `it'. He's got it coming.”
She sank down, sitting on her heels with her arms wrapped over her knees, and held out the cup of ramen. “Here.”
He took it but set it aside to catch her hand. “Did you . . . you didn't . . . if you wanted to go with Kouga . . . .”
“Oh . . . no . . .” she trailed off, fretting at her lower lip. “Did you want me to go with him? You wouldn't have to worry about having a `pathetic human' slowing you down . . . .”
Suddenly he grinned. “Keh! Where would I get ramen if you did?” Her gaze fell away though not before he intercepted the hurt that registered in her eyes, and he sighed. `Baka! Why can't you just say what you're thinking instead of stupid stuff that makes her think you don't care?'
She pulled her hand away and stood up with a soft sigh. “I'm going to bed now. Goodnight, InuYasha.”
He scowled at Tetsusaiga. Lying beside him in the dirt, the scratched, rusted blade seemed to pulse. He rested his hand on the hilt and sighed. `Someday,' he thought with a wince as the scent of salty tears wafted to him, `someday, 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.