InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Battle of Wills ( Chapter 31 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Battle of Wills~
“Cussing isn't going to change `no' to `yes'.”
She lifted the spoon to his lips. He pressed his lips together and turned his head to the side. “Now come on, eat.”
“Bring me food, and I'll eat it.”
“You've got a huge hole in your stomach. Until that heals, I want you to eat the broth.”
Rolling her eyes, Kagome set the cup of broth aside and reached for the bandages on his stomach. “Let me check.”
He pushed her hands away. “No.”
“Stop pouting, and let me look.”
“Keh! No, thank you, and I don't pout.”
Kagome was inclined to disagree. Just because he woke up this morning feeling a little bit better, he thought he was healed. When he announced that they were leaving to go hunt down Waku, Kagome had resorted to threatening him with `the word' if he didn't lay back down and behave. She made a face. `Okay, so the threat worked. What happens when he figures it that it was only a threat? I wouldn't have done that to him, not while he's this badly hurt.'
“All right, Mr. I-Don't-Pout,” she remarked as she stood up and set his mother's diary in his lap. “I'm going to go make sure your clothes are clean. Take a nap if you don't want to eat.”
“Oi, wench! Didn't you hear me? I'll eat when you bring me real food!”
Kagome wiggled her fingers over her shoulder as she left the room. InuYasha growled.
“Take a nap,' she says,” he mimicked in a high pitched voice as he slowly sat up. “I don't need a nap,” he grumbled as he spotted Kagome's backpack on the floor. “What I need is food . . . real food . . . Ramen . . .”
`Wait . . . she always has ramen in that monstrosity over there . . .' Setting the diary on the nightstand, he stared at the still-steaming cup of broth. `Keh! There's nothing in there! It's just water that smells like there should be something in there . . . sneaky wench . . .' A sudden thought occurred to him, and he swung his legs off the bed.
He winced as he carefully crossed the floor to retrieve Kagome's backpack. After a quick peek into the hallway to make sure he wasn't about to get caught, InuYasha dug through the bag to find the cup of ramen—his salvation.
Without a second thought, he tore the plastic wrap off the cup and dumped the deceptive water over the noodles and sank back on the bed to wait the three minutes for the ramen to be done with a self-satisfied grin. `I'll show her . . . heh! InuYasha—one . . . sneaky wench—zero.'
`All right . . . next time, don't use sneaky wench's broth for the ramen,' he thought with a scowl as he started to eat his acquired food. He coughed a little which brought on a groan as a dull ache reverberated through his stomach. After it subsided, he returned to his food as Kagome breezed back into her room.
He didn't try to hide the ramen even though the idea did cross his mind. She stared at him in open-mouthed shock before her expression darkened and she stomped over to the bed and reached for the cup. He pulled is away and growled at her. “Hunt your own food, sneaky wench! This one is mine!”
“InuYasha! You can't have that yet! Give it!”
He growled again. “Uh-uh.”
“If you growl at me, I'll find a rolled-up newspaper, see if I don't,” she remarked though her eyes were sparkling as if she were trying not to smile. “And what do you mean, `sneaky wench'? I didn't sneak anything.”
The look he shot her said otherwise as he continued to eat his ramen. “There was nothing in that! Just water,” he complained. “This measly scratch ain't going to kill me, but depriving me of food might.” His gaze narrowed on her as the cup lowered. “Or is that your plan? You're even sneakier than I thought!”
She managed to snatch the cup away from his slack hand and made a face as she stared at the overly-thick broth in the bottom. “You're going to get sick, I know it,” she remarked as she set the cup on her desk. “I can't believe you did that.”
“I don't get sick,” he countered with a marked snort. He let her change his bandages without complaint and instead let himself stare at her as she carefully cleaned his stomach and reapplied the ointment that she insisted would keep him from scarring before she put on a fresh bandage. `Keh!' he thought with a hint of smugness on his features, `I don't scar, anyway.' Remembering his ears, he snorted. `At least, I haven't for a very long time.'
Kagome carefully kept her gaze averted while she finished taping the bandages into place. “Are you going to read it?”
He made a face as his eyes sought out his mother's diary. “Read what?”
“Your mother's diary. You know what I meant.”
He didn't disagree with her. “I'm still reading yours.”
She sighed. “Your mother wrote it for you,” she said gently. “She wrote the things she wanted to tell you but never got a chance to say. I think . . . I wish you would.”
Ears drooping slightly as painful visions of his mother flashed through his head, InuYasha didn't answer. `She died so long ago, and all I remember . . . I remember hearing her cry, and I remember . . . she always looked so sad . . .'
“She really loved you, did you know? Will you just think about it?”
He swallowed hard and finally nodded. “I'll think about it,” he remarked. “I'll also think about how much my ears need scratched.”
She rolled her eyes but climbed over his legs to sit beside him. She reached for his ears before he ducked away. The look he sent her told her that she ought to have known what he wanted. “What?”
She blinked then smiled. “It's right there, beside you.”
He glanced over before shifting his gaze back to hers. “Yours, sneaky wench, yours.”
Kagome laughed but retrieved the diary from her bag for him.
He scooted down to rest his head in her lap as he cracked open the book. Kagome's fingers rubbed his ears, and he sighed, almost forgetting the book in his hands as the soothing motion of her fingers lulled him. “Did they put something on your ears to make them addictive?” she asked as she idly ran a finger up and down the back of his ear.
“No? Hmm . . . good. Bad enough, as it is.”
She giggled. “Aren't you going to read?”
“I was going to. Don't rush me.”
`InuYasha was still injured from his run-in with Juroumaru and Kageroumaru, Naraku's latest incarnations. Of course, he was a little irritated with me because I thanked Kouga for helping us. I guess I can see InuYasha's point. He doesn't like it when I say `the word' to him, especially in front of Kouga. Still, if InuYasha would just behave himself, I wouldn't have to do that, right?'
He moved the diary aside to glare up at Kagome. “I think you like to say that word to me,” he complained, waving the diary under her nose. “I think you just used that mangy wolf as an excuse to say it. Sneaky wench.”
She tugged gently on his ear. “Take that back!”
“Take what back?”
With a soft giggle, she gave another little tug. “That I like saying `it' to you, because I don't.”
“Keh. For not liking `it' you say `it' enough.”
“What am I supposed to do? You're bigger and stronger than me, and you don't often listen to me, either,” she grumbled. “Besides, I don't care how much you complain. You can't tell me that my saying `it' hurts when you're too stubborn to admit that you're hurting now.”
His scowl darkened and he turned his attention back to the diary since he really couldn't argue that with her since it was true.
`I overslept. I was going to come home, grab some supplies, and go right back. I know that the others are anxious to get moving to find more Shikon no Kakera, but I laid down after my bath, and I must have been a little more tired than I had thought because it was dark when I woke up. I remember thinking, as I shoved things into my bag and darted out of the house, that InuYasha had probably had enough time to himself to calm down. When I came out of the well, though, he wasn't there. All these dancing blue lights shined overhead, over the forest, and I followed them. I'm still not sure why. I almost wish I hadn't.
`I found Kikyou and InuYasha nearby. I'm not sure what I've been thinking. He hugged her, told her that he wanted to protect her. After all that, Kikyou pulled a knife on him. As she left him, he screamed after her, and I couldn't move. I didn't want to watch. I didn't want to see any of it. Yet I couldn't look away; I couldn't run. I tried to step away before he could see me, before he caught me. I stepped on a branch, and of course he heard that. I think that's when I realized that his head was so full of Kikyou, he hadn't known I was even there.
`He stared at me for so long, and I know what he wanted to say . . . it was written in his eyes, and he didn't have to say the words for me to know. It had always been Kikyou. It was still Kikyou. I was just . . . I don't know what. Instead of waiting to hear him say it, I ran. He didn't call out for me, like he had for Kikyou. Maybe that's what hurts the most.'
InuYasha closed his eyes for a moment, indecision gnawing at him. Something compelled him to keep reading, but this was the most personal of her diary entries he'd read so far. He wanted to know but dreaded it, too. He remembered all of it well enough. He opened his eyes and peeked at the page. Had she condemned him or hated him? But no, she had come back, hadn't she? She was the one that had asked him if she could stay . . .
`Read it, baka, and if you don't like it, it's no more than you deserve.' He wished that weren't true but he knew that it was.
`I thought about it, after I went back home. I thought about the three of us, or rather, about InuYasha and Kikyou, about their bond, and about their lives. I don't really fit in there, do I? I don't belong with InuYasha. He's made it clear many, many times that I'm only here to find the jewel shards. Still . . .
`Here's what I know: people say things happen by chance, that you meet someone by chance. I talked to Mama, I stared at Goshinboku—the place where we'd first met, and the things she said . . . I don't believe in chance. I think I was meant to go through the well. I think I was meant to meet InuYasha. Maybe I could say that I wished Kikyou really was gone. I wish I could say that InuYasha means nothing to me. I wish I could say that I don't care about Sango, Miroku or Shippou and Kaede . . . I wish I could say that I regretted being born with the Shikon no Tama in my body. Then it'd be easy, to say I never wanted to go back through the well again.
`But as much as I would like these things to be true, they're not, and I know in my heart that I love them all. And InuYasha. I guess that was the biggest part of my realizations. I love him. I can't regret anything, because being with him, being near him, being close to him makes me happy, and even if he never loves me the way I love him, I think that is enough. I only wish that it didn't hurt quite so much, but maybe that's how I know that I do love him, after all.'
InuYasha's mind slowed to a crawl. His chest constricted, he couldn't breathe. Guilt mixed with wonder, and the combination of the two made him feel light-headed. Confusion tore at him. Feeling like the biggest baka ever while he stared at the tear-stained page, he couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with what Kagome had written . . . Did she still feel that way? After everything he'd put her through, could she still love him?
Willing away the image of the pages of her diary, marked in her handwriting, ink smudged with her tears, somehow nothing he could say would erase the quiet sadness of her words, the pain that nagged at his heart. He had thought that his decision had been right, at the time. He had believed that he owed Kikyou because he hadn't died. Even if that were true, in all the mess, Kagome had somehow been forgotten. He never meant to make her feel that way. He never wanted to her to feel second best, but that was exactly what had happened, time and again.
He closed the diary and set it on the nightstand, beside his mother's book before pushing himself up with a slight grimace. Kagome's hands fell away and she waited patiently for him to say whatever was on his mind.
“Would it . . . mean anything to you if I said I never meant to make you cry?” he asked, his voice little more than a whisper, as he glared at her desk.
She sighed. “Would it mean anything to you if I said I've never held anything against you?”
His ears flattened as his gaze fell to the floor, and he shook his head. “I'm sorry.”
“You can't help how you feel, InuYasha. I never expected you to.” When he didn't reply, she reached over him and dragged her diary off the nightstand to see what entry he'd read.
She didn't say anything though she did close the book and dropped it on the bedspread. He dared a secretive glance at her and frowned when he saw that she was staring down at her hands again, though her cheeks were tinged with pink, and she was gnawing on her lower lip.
Her cheeks reddened a little more as she suddenly scooted off the bed and, muttering something about checking the laundry, InuYasha blinked in surprise as Kagome, the girl who had stared down Naraku without flinching, the girl who approached him while he was transformed by his youkai blood without fear, the girl who had stood toe-to-toe with Sesshoumaru the first time she'd met him and had the gall to yell in his face, ran out of the room as though she couldn't face him at all, and all over an entry in her diary.
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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.