InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Pact ( Chapter 33 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Why did you seek me out?”
Katosan inclined his head in deference to the youkai lord. “Sesshoumaru-sama . . . I wasn't certain you would come.”
“Forego the pleasantries, Katosan. What is it you wish?”
“It is about your brother.”
“My brother?” Sesshoumaru echoed, his gaze wandering over the horizon and the rising sun. “And why would anything to do with that miserable half-breed be of interest to me?”
“You don't know?” Katosan countered, eyebrows raised in articulated surprise. “InuYasha is heir to Musashi. By his human blood he is the true daimyo, and by his youkai blood, he has the strength to take it back.”
Sesshoumaru glanced at Katosan out of the corner of his eye but gave away nothing in his expression. “Irrelevant. InuYasha possesses no such desire to rule over Musashi. His interests lie elsewhere . . . in a human, no less.”
Katosan nodded slowly. “I have noticed this as well. She holds power over him by his own choice. If she were removed . . .?”
Sesshoumaru chuckled; a sound devoid of humor, as dry as the winter wind. “Harm the miko, Katosan, and InuYasha will cut you down. Do not underestimate his power. Diluted and tainted as it may be, the blood of my father also runs through his veins. Many have made the mistake of miscalculating InuYasha's will and have suffered for it. He bears feelings for this miko. You cannot harm her.”
“Perhaps not . . . but perhaps his feelings for her could be . . . exploited?”
Sesshoumaru didn't answer right away, taking his time instead to eye the youkai speculatively. “Tell me, Katosan . . . what interest do you have in this?”
Katosan stared over the lands, his gaze intent as he surveyed the surrounding wood. “Do you remember, Sesshoumaru-sama, when your father ruled? He held Musashi. No one dared to question his authority. It was Izayoi who broke him. Because of her—because he wanted her—you know what happened. Surely I need not remind you. Tell me you do not wish to have what should have been yours from the start become yours once more?”
“Musashi means nothing to This Sesshoumaru.”
“If your brother were to claim what should be his, it would come to you in the event of an untimely death.”
Sesshoumaru nodded once then deliberately turned his back on the older inu-youkai. “And that would be a moot point should InuYasha produce an heir.”
“And we are back to the miko again?'
Sesshoumaru stared at his empty sleeve. The missing appendage was more of an annoyance than a hindrance. Still, it attested to his brother's insatiable desire to protect the lowly humans of the earth . . . “Mark me, Katosan. InuYasha protects her fiercely. Destroying her may not be as simple as you might believe. She is no ordinary mortal. She is a miko—a powerful one. You have been warned.”
“You would not fault me for trying, Sesshoumaru-sama?”
“Do you think you can?” Sesshoumaru countered. “The blood of the tainted cannot be further tainted. Feel free to pursue this, but I warn you, you do so at your own peril.”
“Do you fear your hanyou brother?”
Sesshoumaru's gaze narrowed, his eyes sparking with angry fire though the rest of his expression remained impassive. “This Sesshoumaru fears no one, especially not that worthless half-breed.”
Katosan nodded. “Then I take my leave. I'll keep in contact.”
Sesshoumaru watched as Katosan disappeared into the forest. `A fool's venture,' he thought as he dismissed it from his mind. `I shall not aide you, Katosan. You are no more than an old dreamer. However, I shall not hinder you, either . . .'
“It's looking a little better,” Kagome said as she taped fresh bandages over InuYasha's wounds. “A week, and—”
InuYasha choked on the bite of ramen he'd been chewing. “Week?” he sputtered. “I'm not lying in that bed for a week.”
“You don't have to lie in bed, InuYasha, but you do need to make sure that you take it easy until it's healed. A week ought to do it.”
“If you're not careful, you'll reopen those wounds, and then you'll be in serious trouble,” she argued.
InuYasha snorted. “Keh! I'm fine, I told you! Besides that, if we don't go back soon, that damn monk's never going to let me live it down.”
Kagome stood back, crossing her arms over her chest as she stared incredulously at the stubborn hanyou. “You're not putting yourself in danger because you're afraid Miroku would tease you!” she insisted.
“I ain't afraid of anything, wench! I know he'd tease me! Anyway, it was just slower healing because of the new moon. Now that it's over, I'll be better by tomorrow morning—just hide and watch.”
Kagome rolled her eyes then covered her mouth as she stifled a yawn. “Think so, do you?”
He nodded, crossing his arms over his chest, too. “Keh! I know so.”
She had an excellent retort formed. It didn't come, though. She yawned again, and InuYasha stopped grumbling to stare at her. “Why are you so tired?” She waved her hand to hush him. It didn't work. “You've been doing that all morning. Tell me.”
Kagome wiped the yawn-induced moisture from her eyes and blinked. “It's nothing,” she assured him. “Don't worry.”
“All right,” she admitted, “I'm a little sleepy.”
“No reason,” she said but didn't argue as he grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the bed. He let go of her hand and gestured for her to lie down. She crawled onto the bed agreeably enough and flopped backward on the freshly washed comforter. “You should take a nap, too,” she mumbled as she tucked her hands under her cheek and closed her eyes.
Sitting carefully on the edge of the bed, InuYasha stared at her thoughtfully. “I'll lay down with you if you tell me why you're so tired.”
She smiled. “You snore.”
“You snore . . . in human form . . . didn't mind it . . .” she mumbled.
“I do not snore,” he insisted. Kagome was already asleep. He traced her jaw with the tip of his claw, smiling gently as he remembered the absolute peace that had sustained him through the night and had filled his soul when he woke this morning only to find her wrapped against his side. The ache in his stomach hadn't even bothered him. Sometime in the night, he'd rolled onto his back, and either Kagome had snuggled up against him or he had pulled her into his arms because she was nestled comfortably in the crook of his shoulder.
He wasn't tired, but unfortunately he had given his word that he would lay down with her. He swung his legs up on the bed with a wince that he was grateful that Kagome couldn't see as he wrapped an arm over his still-aching stomach to hold it as he stretched out. He grabbed Kagome's diary off the nightstand and stared thoughtfully at the cover. `Well, I can't sleep,' he thought with a scowl. `It'd be mean to wake her up just to ask her if she cares if I read it . . .' He glanced from the diary to the sleeping girl then back again. `Yeah, it'd be mean . . . I'm nice, even if she isn't . . . I don't fucking snore!'
With a long-suffering sigh, InuYasha opened the diary.
`We found Kohaku today. He didn't seem to remember a thing about what happened with the rest of the slayers, and he didn't even remember Sango. InuYasha was convinced that Kohaku was faking and still under Naraku's control. I don't think he was, but it turned out that he was still being controlled. It was weird, almost like there was sort of a light switch in his brain, because suddenly the vacant look was back in his eyes, and he came after me . . .'
InuYasha closed his eyes against the memory that came back with the diary entry. He, Miroku, and Shippou had stayed behind, thinking that Kagura had come for Kohaku. It wasn't until too late that they realized that it had been an act, and that Kohaku had been sent to kill Kagome. If Kohaku hadn't resisted or if Kagome hadn't been able to get through to him . . . InuYasha shoved the dark thoughts aside as he turned to stare at Kagome's sleeping face.
`How many times have I nearly lost you? I can't . . . I couldn't . . . Kagome . . .'
As if in answer to his silent questions, Kagome shifted closer to him. He smiled and lifted a lock of her hair to his cheek. `I've promised it before, but I swear to you now . . . I'll never let anything hurt you again . . .'
She smiled in her sleep.
“Sango! Miroku! Hurry!”
Miroku lowered the sickle and chain to his side as Shippou bounded toward them in the field. Unfortunately, Sango had already swung Hiraikotsu, and she yelled, “Watch out!” a moment too late. The monk tried to avoid the weapon a moment too late as the giant boomerang struck him in the shoulder, knocking him flat on his back. He sat up as Sango rushed to his side and dropped to her knees in the snow. “Houshi-sama!” she gasped. “That's it! No arguments! We've got to get you some armor!”
“No complaints,” Miroku agreed, wincing as he tried his best to keep from passing out from the overwhelming pain that ricocheted down his arm and up to his brain.
“You can't let your guard down! What if I had been a youkai? Would you have lowered your weapon then?”
Miroku shook his head, willing back the nausea brought on by the pain in his shoulder. “But you're not, Sango . . . had you been a youkai, I would not have looked at Shippou. Speaking of, where did he go?”
The kitsune leapt and landed on Miroku's shoulder—the same one Sango had nearly cleaved in half. It was too much. Miroku opened his mouth and shrieked a very un-monk-like shriek of agony. Sango hurriedly plucked the kit from Miroku's shoulder and set Shippou on the ground.
Miroku gritted his teeth as Sango peeled back his robe to inspect the damage. She sucked in her breath, and he peeked at it and flinched. Already mottled in beautiful shades of black and purple that closely resembled the colors of his robe, his entire shoulder was discolored and rapidly swelling.
“What did you want, Shippou?” Miroku asked to distract himself as Sango poked at his shoulder, making sure that nothing had been broken or displaced.
Shippou hopped up, waving his arms in his excitement. “Katosan's here! He said he's found it!”
“The book InuYasha was looking for! He found it! He says we've got to go with him to get it before it's too late!”
“Maybe you should stay here, houshi-sama? Your shoulder—”
Miroku shook his head and pulled his robe back into place. “—Will be fine. InuYasha has always done his best to help us, injured or not. It's time we repaid the favor.”
Sango looked like she wanted to argue with Miroku. “But—”
Miroku offered her a wan smile as he got up and extended his hand to her. “Besides, I'd never hear the end of it, if they came back, and I was here while you went after this book alone.”
Sango rolled her eyes. Between the monk and the hanyou, she wasn't sure who had the bigger ego. “Kirara!” she called to the fire cat. The youkai transformed into her large form and waited patiently as Sango and Miroku climbed on while Shippou jumped up behind them. Without a word, the four set off for the village.
“Would it matter if I said that I think this is a really bad idea?”
“Didn't think so,” Kagome grumbled as InuYasha caught her under the arms and gently pulled her up out of the Bone Eater's Well. “You're not completely healed yet,” she pointed out.
“Stop complaining. I'm fine.”
She glared at him as he yanked the backpack out of her hands. “I'm not complaining! I'm worrying, there's a huge difference!”
He started to form his rebuttal until her words sank in. He stopped suddenly and glanced at her. “You're worried?”
“Yes, baka! What did you think? That I was just saying that to hear myself talk?”
He could feel warmth creeping up his face, and he couldn't help the shy smile that surfaced. “I'm fine,” he assured her softly.
She didn't look like she believed him. An odd look crossed her features, and InuYasha swallowed hard as she leaned in closer to him, up on her toes, closer . . . closer . . .
“Oi! Give that back!” InuYasha growled as Kagome pulled the bag out of his slack hand and took off running. Her laughter drifted back to him on the icy breeze, and he took off like a shot after her. “Sneaky wench!”
Kagome sprinted all the way to Kaede's hut and dropped the bag beside the door as she stepped inside. `InuYasha must not be completely healed, as he claims he is,' she realized. `Otherwise he would have easily caught me.'
“Kagome! Ye've returned! Where is InuYasha?” Kaede greeted.
Before Kagome could answer, a very irritated hanyou stomped into the hut. “See how you are, Kagome? Sneaky wench!”
She narrowed her eyes as she stared at his pouting face. “What did you think I was going to do?” she asked, suspicion lighting her gaze.
“Hmm.” She shook her head slightly before turning back to face Kaede, who was watching the two of them with avid interest. “Where is everyone?” Kagome asked, trying to sound casual.
“The youkai who calls himself Katosan came yesterday. He said he found the book that ye have been seeking, InuYasha. The others went with him to retrieve it.”
InuYasha frowned then slowly headed for the door. “Coming, sneaky wench?”
She sighed and waved to Kaede before reaching for the bag that InuYasha neatly snatched out of her grasp. “I can get that,” she informed him as she followed him out of the hut.
“Quiet,” he ordered as he knelt down to sniff. “I can't concentrate when you're chattering.” He stood up and nodded toward the west. “This way.” He held his hand out for her. Kagome crossed her arms over her chest stubbornly. “What now?”
“You're not healed enough,” she said slowly. “You can't carry me.”
He rolled his eyes. “We ain't got all day, wench! Come on!”
She shook her head slowly. “No, InuYasha!”
He stared incredulously at her. “I told you I'm fine! Would you just get on my back?” Kagome opened her mouth to argue then suddenly laughed. Her giggling escalated, and InuYasha eyed her nervously. “What's so funny?” he finally asked.
She sank down in the snow, laughing so hard that she bent over, her forehead nearly touching her knees. “I don't think . . .” she gasped between giggles, “that I've ever been told . . . to get on someone's back before . . .”
InuYasha rolled his eyes with a sigh and reached down, grabbing Kagome's hand and dragging her onto his back before setting out at a sprint to find Katosan, the others, and the missing 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.