InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Mai ( Chapter 34 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 34~~
~Mai~

'. . . I should have been more frightened.  I should have been really scared.  I'm exhausted now, but I can't sleep.  Tsubaki tried to kill me.  She tried to make me shoot InuYasha.  Naraku thought it would be funny, I guess, to have me do that to InuYasha, just like Kikyou had.  The idea of what would have happened if I hadn't missed with my arrow . . . if I hadn't been able to misdirect it . . . it keeps me awake.  And then InuYasha says to me that I'm in danger because of him?  The irony of that statement astounds me.  If I hurt him—if Naraku ever succeeded in making me hurt InuYasha—I would die . . . .'

"Left," InuYasha said without taking his eyes off the diary.

Kagome's hand migrated left, scratching his shoulder blade with skillful precision.

'He makes me happy.  I love being with him, and I love making him smile.  It doesn't happen nearly often enough.  It makes it that much more special, when he does . . . .'

"Kaede said they were going after your mother's diary," Kagome remarked, interrupting the companionable quiet that had fallen as InuYasha read her book.

"Yeah," he agreed, arching his back against her scratching fingers.  'Decent nails, for a human,' he thought with an inward grin.

Kagome stopped scratching and stood up, moving off to check their dinner.  "If they're doing that, then why are they headed toward Katosan's castle?"

His gaze narrowed as he stared at her.  "What are you saying?"

She shrugged casually—too casually.  "Nothing . . . it just struck me as a little weird, is all."

She dished up the stew and handed him a bowl with his chopsticks before sitting on her knees with her own bowl.

"What do you mean, weird?" he finally asked when she started picking at her food.

Setting her bowl aside, Kagome leaned over to shift her feet out from under her.  "I don't trust him."

"Keh!  He's fine."

Shaking her head, she stared at the fire, deliberately avoiding his gaze.  "He's got motives you don't know about," she insisted quietly.  "I can feel it."

"You're overreacting."

"It's true!"

He scraped his claws across the packed dirt floor, raking up earth with each movement.  "He served my old man," InuYasha shot back.  "Why do you have a problem with him?"

Kagome sighed.  "It's just something I feel, InuYasha . . . I don't know why, I just do, and—"

"And what?  Someone doesn't act like I'm disgusting or unnatural and suddenly there's something wrong with them?  Because he doesn't treat me like I'm a freak or something you don't like him?"  InuYasha slammed his bowl down and shot to his feet, stomping out of the cave and into the night.

"InuYasha!" she called, darting after him.  "Wait!  I never said that!"  She couldn't see him in the darkness though she had little doubt that he could probably see her, if he was still close.  "InuYasha!"

Rubbing her hands over her arms in the bitter night air, Kagome stared up at the sliver of a crescent moon.  'I didn't mean that . . . I didn't . . . did I?  I've never thought any less of him because of what he is.'  She sighed and hugged herself, tugging the cuffs of her sleeves down over her hands.  'Doesn't he know that?  Have I told him enough?  I wouldn't want him to be anything he isn't . . . . But maybe it doesn't matter what I think.  Maybe it matters more, what he thinks . . . .'

With a sigh, Kagome hung her head and shuffled back into the cave.  She set the stew to the side of the fire to keep warm on a wide flat rock, emptying both untouched bowls back into the pot and washing them in the small pan of melted-snow water before digging into her backpack to retrieve her calculus book and a notebook.

The scratch of her pencil on the paper blended with the crackling fire as Kagome tried to keep her mind on her work instead of on the hanyou.  'You should have been a little more diplomatic with the way you said that, Kagome,' she thought as she erased the math equation she'd been working on all along.  'No wonder he thought you were belittling him.  Katosan has always been decent to InuYasha, and then to say that you don't trust him . . . .'  Kagome groaned.  'Yep, I owe him an apology.'

She stared at the cave opening.  Something moved just outside.  "InuYasha?"

If it was him, he didn't answer.  Kagome set her book aside and slowly stood as she frowned at the darkness.  'That's not InuYasha.  It's wilder, stranger . . . .'

Grabbing her bow and arrows, she slowly got to her feet and, nocking back an arrow, she cautiously stepped toward the front of the cave.  Glowing yellow eyes stared at her in the darkness.  Kagome stopped and took aim.  "Who are you?" she asked, careful to keep her tone level, even.

A husky chuckle, a female voice answered.  "You are the miko who possesses the Shikon no Tama, aren't you?  I've come to take it, if you please."

"I don't think so," Kagome remarked, still keeping her arrow trained on the eyes.  "Who are you?"

The yellow eyes came closer.  "Oh, how rude of me!  I'm Mai.  Now that we've met, would you be so kind as to hand it over?"

"I don't think so."

Mai heaved a dramatic sigh as she moved in slowly, closer and closer.  "That wasn't very nice, little girl.  You may be a miko, but you're still a human."

Kagome pulled back on her arrow a little more.  Soft pink light engulfed her and the weapon, illuminating the cave entrance and the youkai.  'A cat youkai?  So evidently not all of them look like Kirara . . . .'  Steeling her resolve behind a concentrating frown, Kagome closed one eye as she took careful aim.  "I'm warning you!  Leave now or I'll shoot."

Mai stopped, shifting her weight to one of her hips while she carelessly crossed her arms over her chest and smiled pleasantly.  "Come, come, mousy.  Don't you want to play?"  When Kagome didn't answer, Mai shrugged.  "Take her, boys.  Her precious puppy isn't here.  Up for a game of hide and seek?"

Kagome fired her arrow as two dull thumps sounded behind her.  She screamed as two male cat youkai closed in on her even as she reached for another arrow.  Male laughter rang in her ears, and she reacted, using her arrow as a spear, she slammed it down.  One of the male cat youkai howled in pain as the arrow struck true, embedded in his heart.  The splash of blood hit Kagome's hands, her face, her clothes.  The other male youkai grabbed her around the waist and squeezed hard.

"InuYasha!" she shrieked.  "InuYasha!"


::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::8::


InuYasha sprinted through the trees.  'Trying to outrun your past?'

"Keh!"

'You're not even angry at Kagome, not really . . . she didn't do anything . . . what are you so afraid of?'

Altering his path in a loop, InuYasha kept running.  'I'm not afraid!  There's nothing to be afraid of!  Kagome just—'

'Loves you, baka!  And you're trying to push her away, aren't you?  Don't be stupid . . . she's the one you're afraid of.'

He winced.  'Shuddup.'

Kagome's scream permeated the night.  "Kagome!"  He pushed himself faster.  'Baka!  I left her alone!  Damn it!'

A fierce howl of agony met his ears, made him cringe as he shot forward, toward the cave.  'Hold on, Kagome . . . what the hell have I done?'  Kagome screamed again, and this time, there was an underlying terror in the sound.  Whatever danger she was in had gotten worse.  The feel of her fear in the air was thick, heavy, choking.

"InuYasha!" he heard her call out, "InuYasha!"

In a blur of movement, InuYasha leaped, clearing the treetops and drawing Tetsusaiga.   He spotted her below, a glimmer of pink light in the blackness.  'Two youkai . . . .' One sauntered forward, and he could hear her voice.

"Now be a good girl, and tell me where the Shikon no Tama is."

"No."

The male cat let go of Kagome.  He pushed her toward the female.  Turning Kagome and holding her arms, the female cat laughed.  "Tell me now or he'll use you as a scratching post, little girl . . . he might anyway for killing his brother."

"Kaze no Kizu!" InuYasha bellowed as he landed, slamming Tetsusaiga down into the earth as he hit the ground.

The flames of the Wind Scar shot out, engulfing the male youkai in shockwaves of power as Kagome screamed his name.  Her cry was cut off as the female youkai hissed and backed away with Kagome held tightly.

"Let her go," InuYasha demanded with a low growl.

"Has the puppy come back to play?  Give me the jewel, InuYasha, or the miko dies."  She flexed her knuckles, her needle-like claws extending.

InuYasha tightened his grip on Tetsusaiga and slowly turned to face the feline youkai.  A sudden haze of blue wrapped around the blade, and suddenly Kagome, too, was wrapped in the aura, the barrier.

'So it was Tetsusaiga,' he realized as he stared at the barrier.  'But why?'

"Barriers were made to be broken," the youkai purred as she raised her clawed hand.

'Damn it!  Maybe Tetsusaiga can't break that barrier, but there's no way in hell I'm taking that sort of chance!'  He clenched his jaw as he glared.  "Let her go, bitch!" he snarled as he lowered the sword.  The barrier dimmed then vanished.

"Is she so special to you, InuYasha?  A human girl?"

"Stop talking like you know me," he bit out, "and get your fucking hands off Kagome!"

Surprise registered in the female's eyes, and she shook her head slowly.  "Aww, the puppy doesn't want to play?"  She sighed, an insincere smile surfacing on her face.  "Tell me, InuYasha, how is that cold-hearted brother of yours?  Why don't you fetch me the jewel, and then we can reminisce before I kill you and your precious miko?"

"You know Sesshoumaru?"

"Don't all of us girls?"

"I don't really give a fuck."

Kagome whimpered as the youkai's arm around her stomach tightened.  The feline's other hand moved in a blur too fast for InuYasha to pinpoint exactly where she struck but the smell of Kagome's blood hit him hard as she yelped.  The cat dug her claws into Kagome's side a little more, and InuYasha couldn't contain the furious growl that escaped him.  Kagome stared at him, shock registering in her eyes as she gasped, "No!"

He could feel the singe in his veins as his youkai blood pulsed, rushed like a tide trying to overflow his body, to take over his mind.  Fighting it back, he grimaced.  The feline youkai laughed.  "That's it, InuYasha.  Transform for Mai . . . ."

"Fuck no," he growled, steadying Tetsusaiga.   His rage must have triggered the reaction because Tetsusaiga should have contained it . . . "I'll tell you one more time.  Let.  Her.  Go."

Mai's eyes widened in mock-surprise as she slowly nodded in understanding.  "She's your bitch then?  This human girl?  Just like your father, aren't you, puppy?  The great and powerful Inu no Taisho, brought to his knees by a mortal bitch, and you are just—like—him."

Kagome struggled against Mai's hold.  The scent of her blood grew stronger.  InuYasha's growl escalated into a snarl, and he glanced at Kagome long enough to see that her eyes didn't hold the fear they should have.  Worry was there, tempered by a sense of calm, but the trace amount of fear was overshadowed by the absolute trust in her expression.  He nodded at her once before letting his gaze shift back to the youkai.

"You'll hide behind her?  Can't stand on your own?" he taunted.

Mai laughed again.  "On the contrary, InuYasha.  You're more worried about your bitch than you are about yourself or the jewel.  So why don't you hand it over?  I'll trade you."

"Don't do it," Kagome said softly.  "Don't give her the jewel."

Indecision wavered in his eyes.  'Damn it . . . how the hell do I get Kagome away from her?  I never should have left her!  Baka!'

"I've heard enough from you!" Mai spat, raising her claws and swiping through the air.  InuYasha raised Tetsusaiga.  With the sword pointed directly at her, the blue barrier reformed around Kagome just in time to repel Mai's attack.  A hiss of pain, a snarl of agony cut through the night as the youkai's hand reflected off the barrier, sending Mai hurling back.  Kagome fell to her knees, and InuYasha stepped between her and Mai.  "How did you do that?" she demanded, rising to her feet as her yellow eyes narrowed on Kagome.

"Kaze no Kizu!" InuYasha snarled, bringing down Tetsusaiga hard against the frozen earth.

Mai rolled out of the way and shot to her feet with a sing-song growl.  "I've had enough of you, puppy!" she hissed, slashing her claws and sending silvery wind blades at him.

"Not nearly enough," InuYasha countered as he blocked the blades with Tetsusaiga.  "You're no match for me."

Mai slapped her hands together as a ball of silvery energy erupted from her.  InuYasha grabbed Kagome and leapt, avoiding the blast.  "Are you okay?" he asked as he gently set her on her feet outside the cave entrance.

She nodded.  "Don't worry about me."

"Keh!"  He let go of her and turned as Mai lunged at him.  InuYasha raised Tetsusaiga in time to block her, and he shoved her back.  She stumbled but didn't fall.  "Get back, Kagome!"

She didn't answer but he heard her do as he told her.  Mai shot forward again, her claws ripping through InuYasha's haori, catching his shoulder as he spun to the side to avoid her.  A searing flash of pain erupted as the smell of his blood hit him.  He ignored it as he raised Tetsusaiga once more.

"You'll never touch me with that ghastly fang," Mai taunted.

InuYasha charged toward her.  "Don't be so sure!"  He cleaved the sword in a wide arc.  The feline youkai hissed as the tip of the blade met her flesh.

Mai howled with rage and leaped at InuYasha.

"InuYasha!  Look out!" Kagome shrieked as the cat caught InuYasha's wrist.  Tetsusaiga flew out of his hand, landing point-down in the earth.  The sword reverberated as it embedded itself and transformed back to its rusty form.

InuYasha landed on his back.  Mai landed on his chest, raising her claws to swipe at him again.  InuYasha heaved her off as he rolled to his feet and lunged for Tetsusaiga.  Mai jumped into his path.  "Not strong enough on your own, without your father's fang?" she goaded.  "Guess you'll have to die then!"

"Sankon-tetsusou!" InuYasha bellowed as he swiped at the cat.  He caught her in the stomach, and she staggered back.

With a furious shriek, she lunged again.  InuYasha swiped his hand over his torn shoulder and flicked his hand as he swung in a broad arc, "Hijin-ketsusou!"

The blood-red wind blades shot through the air, moving so fast that they left red tails, like comets sweeping over the ground.  They hit Mai in the chest.  The sickening sound of tearing flesh as the feline youkai was ripped open by the Blades of Blood, and she fell to her hands.  Blood dribbled from her, pooling beneath her, melting the snow, staining it black in the dim light of the moon.

InuYasha jerked Tetsusaiga out of the ground as the blade transformed back into the fang, and he raised it as the wind twisted around it.  "Kaze no Kizu!"

Mai's body disintegrated in the flames, the black ashes dissipating on the sudden wind brought on by the attack.  With a sigh of relief, chest heaving as he struggled to breathe, InuYasha sheathed Tetsusaiga and lifted his gaze to Kagome.

She stared at him for long moments, unmoving, unblinking.  With a strangled cry that seemed to have come from her very soul, she darted forward, into his arms.  He caught her, hugged her fiercely, relief crashing over him as he held her.  'Kagome . . . .'

"I'm sorry," she babbled against his chest, "I didn't—"

The scent of her blood cut through his mind.  With a harsh curse, he lifted her and carried her back to the cave.  "Let me see," he demanded as he set her down on her bedroll.

She pushed his hands back gently.  "It's fine," she insisted.  "Doesn't even hurt now.  Let me see your shoulder."

"Wench!" he argued, reaching for the bottom of her sweater again.

Kagome twisted to the side as she leaned forward to inspect his wounds.  He growled.  "You're more important!  Now let me see!"

"I'm not more important!  You are, stupid girl!"

"I told you, they're just scratches!"

"Then let me see," he insisted.

"In a minute."

"Stubborn wench!"

"You're still bleeding," she pointed out, "so let me clean you up first."

He sighed as she retrieved her first aid kit and made quick work of wiping him off with one of her antiseptic towelettes.  Then she wiped off his wrist and wrapped a bandage around it before sitting back to observe her handiwork.  A sudden worry crossed her features, and she leaned forward again.  "You didn't reopen your stomach wounds, did you?"

InuYasha rolled his eyes but yanked open his haori and undershirt, knowing that she wouldn't be satisfied until she saw for herself that he hadn't done anything of the sort.

An odd expression passed over Kagome's face, a sort of confusion as she stared at his chest.  She forced her eyes away as a flush stole up her cheeks, and she swallowed hard.  "Yeah . . . good . . . ."

He didn't bother to close his shirt as he reached out to catch her hand.  "Let me see," he said gently.

Her blush darkened to a very nice shade of 'Monk-in-Pain'-red, and he frowned.  "I told you, they're just scratches.  Don't worry."

InuYasha sniffed at her.  She leaned back.  "I can't figure out where you're bleeding," he admitted as his frown deepened.  "You're covered with blood from that other youkai.  Now let me see."

"No!"  Suddenly she hopped up and ran over to wash her hands in the water pan.  Making a face at the dirty water, she grabbed the pan and took off toward the cave entrance.  She returned a minute later with the pan heaped with fresh clean snow.

"Why won't you let me see?" he finally asked.  "I thought you trusted me."

"I do."

"Then let me see your so-called scratch."

She deliberately ignored his question as she dug through her bag for a clean shirt.  "I really need a bath," she commented as she somehow managed to put the shirt on by pulling it over her head then tucking it into the neck of the sweater and wiggling her arms around inside the sweater until she finally pulled it off and dropped it with a grimace.

InuYasha blinked in surprise.  If he had tried doing that, he would have ended up tying himself in a knot . . . .

Kagome used some of the fresh water to brush her teeth as she tried to ignore him.  She hurried out of the cave to dump that water, too, and by the time she came back, InuYasha was digging his claws into the dirt again.

She scooted under the blankets and turned her back to him.  "Good night, InuYasha."

"Oh, no," he growled.  "You're at least going to tell me why you won't let me see these 'scratches' of yours."

"They're fine."

"I can still smell your blood, Kagome."

"That's because I didn't get a chance to wash it off," she replied calmly.

"Where?"

With a sigh, she sat up and turned to face him again.  "I'm fine, I promise."  Her gaze fell to his shoulder again and she grimaced.  "But you're not.  Let me bandage that."

Against his better judgment, he let her stick one of those large patches on his shoulder.  She smoothed the tape into place and tucked one edge of the tape under on the roll.  He caught her wrist and held on.  Hesitantly, her gaze lifted to meet his, and he glared at her.  "Where?"

Her cheeks pinked again, and her chin dropped as she stared at her hand caught in his.  "It's embarrassing," she finally admitted in a small voice.

"Embarrassing?  How can a wound be embarrassing?"

She scowled at him.  "The wound isn't embarrassing!  Where it is, is!"

"Where is it?"

She didn't look like she was going to answer him.   She shrugged miserably, obviously figuring out that he wasn't about to drop it.  "Here," she said, indicating the side of her left breast before she pinned him with a glower.  "And I'm not showing you."

He blinked in surprise and let go of her wrist.  "Well, you could have told me sooner," he shot back.

"It was embarrassing!"

"It was a wound!"

"Baka!"

His retort was cut off by his stomach demanding food.

Kagome blinked, her gaze falling to his stomach, and he frowned.  "You want some stew?"

"No."

She grinned at his sulky tone.  "Ramen?"

"No."

"One of Miroku's energy bars?"

"Fuck no."

"You've got to eat."

"Keh."

Her smile widened.  "I've got Shippou's pocky."

His ears twitched.  She giggled.  "Thought you said before it was only for the runt."

She shrugged.  "I brought more than usual.  Shippou won't even miss it."

She got up and dug into her bag.  InuYasha grimaced as he rotated his shoulder.  'Damn cat.' Then he grinned as Kagome handed him a box of chocolate pocky.

He tore into the box without hesitation as Kagome giggled.  "You shouldn't have that instead of real food."

"Hush, wench.  I'm eating."

She reached over and tweaked his ear.  He deliberately jerked back, flicking it to tease her.  "I see," she commented before scooting down in her blankets and rolling up in them with her back to him.

He grinned to himself as Kagome fell asleep and he ate the treat.  'Hmm.  I may have to accidentally let this slip to the blackmailing brat . . . .'




~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~

A/N
:

Hijin-ketsusou: Blades of Blood

== == == == == == == == == ==

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.

~Sue~
Chapter 33
Chapter 35
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