InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Goodbye ( Chapter 38 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Don't you think they're acting strange?”
“Oh, so you've noticed that, as well? It isn't just me?”
Sango shook her head and put her hand on Miroku's back as she leaned closer to whisper in his ear. “Nope, it's definitely strange.”
Shippou hopped up, landing in Miroku's arms. “Why aren't they talking?”
InuYasha stared straight ahead, purposefully avoiding Kagome's constant looks. The confusion on the young miko's face was a painful thing to see, and Sango flinched in commiseration for her friend. “We'll be back at the village today. How long do you think this will last?”
“This is all my fault,” Shippou remarked with a soft sigh then smacked himself in his head with his small fists. “Baka, baka, baka!”
Miroku petted the kit's hair. “Don't blame yourself, Shippou. I don't think this has anything to do with you.”
Honestly, Miroku had no idea what might have caused the rift between the two. It had been a long time since he had sensed this great of a divide between them, and it worried him as much as it distressed Sango and Shippou.
After he'd spent some time teasing the hanyou he had come to consider as close as any real brother about the kiss that Shippou had witnessed, Miroku had found Shippou hiding in his room. His tail stuck out from behind the futon, and Miroku hid his smile as the kit's tail shook precariously. He sat down on the futon and waited for Shippou to come out of hiding.
“He's going to kill me!” Shippou wailed as he peeked up at Miroku. Tears stood in the child's eyes, and the monk tried hard not to chuckle.
“He won't kill you,” Miroku assured him. “He might thump you, but I doubt he'd go so far as to kill you. Kagome wouldn't let him, anyway, even if he wanted to.”
Shippou sighed unhappily. “I didn't think he'd get so mad.”
“Well, you know InuYasha. He always thinks he is about to be attacked. He gets a little defensive, and while we might all know how he feels about Kagome, he might not realize it, himself, yet, or he might not understand how much Kagome cares for him. Just try not to draw his notice for a few days, until it all blows over.”
Shippou made a face as he hopped off Miroku's lap and stretched out on the floor to spin his top. “He'd have to be thick not to know how Kagome feels,” he remarked. “I mean, it's obvious, isn't it?”
“Perhaps it is easier for us to see because we're not involved,” Miroku observed. “In any case, you'd do well to stay away from him, at least for now. Can you do that?”
Shippou sighed again and nodded, looking miserable the entire time. Miroku understood. As much as InuYasha and Shippou fussed at one another—normally over Kagome's undivided attention—Shippou did care for InuYasha, and having the hanyou upset with him directly just didn't sit well with the child.
“Have you tried asking Kagome what happened?” Miroku asked Sango.
The youkai exterminator nodded. “Yes, of course I have. She won't say.”
Miroku was surprised. “I thought Kagome told you everything.”
“Not everything, apparently,” Sango remarked. “Have you tried asking InuYasha?”
Miroku shot Sango a knowing glance. “And you think that I'd have any better luck getting him to talk if you can't get Kagome to do the same?” Shippou hopped out of Miroku's arms and, with a very determined squaring of his little shoulders, the kit bounded ahead. “I . . . don't think that is a good idea,” Miroku commented with a wince.
Sango nodded. “I agree.”
“InuYasha . . .” Shippou began, hopping onto the hanyou's shoulder. “Are you mad at me?”
InuYasha didn't answer. For that matter, he didn't even glance at the kitsune. Kagome veered off into the trees toward the sound of running water. The group stopped to wait for her while she filled the water bottles.
“Did you have a fight with Kagome?” Shippou tried again. “You better not have made her cry, baka!”
Still no response. Shippou growled and hopped onto InuYasha's head, thumping his little fists against the hanyou's ears. “Are you listening to me?”
“Why isn't InuYasha beating on him yet?” Sango asked, eyes widening as she watched the debacle unfold.
“Oh, Shippou . . . .” Miroku said with a grimace, anticipating the impending thumpage. “I can't watch this . . . .”
Sango shook her head. “I'm going to go see if Kagome needs help.” She started away then turned back to point at the kitsune who was still busy hammering his fists against InuYasha's head.
Miroku heaved a sigh and nodded once before Sango turned and strode off after the miko. He watched as she disappeared into the trees.
`The trouble with this idea,' Miroku thought as he slowly approached the two males left behind, `is that InuYasha is liable to attack me instead of Shippou . . . and he hits hard.'
“InuYasha . . . you have a kitsune on your head,” Miroku remarked, careful to remain out of direct arm's length from the volatile hanyou.
InuYasha glanced at him but didn't answer.
“You know, if you needed to talk to someone about something, I'm a fair listener.”
`Well, at least he made a noise,' Miroku mused. “Shippou, why don't you go make sure Kagome and Sango are all right?”
Shippou didn't look like he was going to comply. With a sigh, he finally hopped down and ran off toward the stream. InuYasha rubbed his ears and squatted down, feet apart, hands on the ground between his knees—which meant that he really was upset about something. It wasn't the first time that Miroku had noticed that the more troubled InuYasha was, the more likely he was to fall back on his instinctive dog-traits.
“You and Kagome have been quiet on this trip,” Miroku commented, careful to keep his tone as neutral as possible. “Did the two of you have a disagreement?”
InuYasha's gaze narrowed as his head turned very slowly to face him. “No.”
“Calm down, InuYasha. I wasn't trying to imply that you were to blame for anything . . . . Was it a misunderstanding?”
InuYasha's eyes lowered again and his ears flattened against his head.
Miroku leaned back against a stout tree trunk, stabbing his staff into a snow drift beside the path. “Kagome cares for you. You know that, right?”
InuYasha didn't respond but Miroku could tell the hanyou was at least listening. “I want to offer you some advice, and you can either take it or leave it. There aren't many in the world with Kagome's heart. She judges people on what she sees on the inside, not what they look like on the outside. It's a rare and precious gift she has, and I think you see it, too. I'd hate to see you lose her because you think she sees something other than what she truly does when she looks at you.”
“It ain't what she sees when she looks at me,” InuYasha admitted softly. “It's what I do.”
“And what do you see?”
InuYasha sighed and shook his head. “It don't matter. I can't change it.”
“Do you want to?”
“Keh. Leave me alone, monk. I didn't ask for your advice.”
“No, but you need it.”
“What are you going to do? Whip out your Ofudas to use on me? They don't work. Fuck off, will you?”
Miroku snorted. “Yeah, in a minute. Just stop feeling sorry for yourself, InuYasha, because that's not helping anything. You were going to use the Shikon no Tama to become human for Kikyou, right?”
InuYasha glowered up at him. “So? Kagome wouldn't ask me to do that.”
“You're right. She wouldn't. My point is, you'd change into something you've never wanted to be for Kikyou, but you can't change yourself into something you want to be for Kagome?”
Miroku jerked his staff out of the snow and pushed away from the tree before stepping over to kneel down next to InuYasha. “Like someone who sees the same person inside you that the rest of us do.”
The monk stared at him for a long moment then got up and stalked off toward the stream, leaving a scowling hanyou sitting in the snow.
“Kagome? Are you all right?” Sango asked as she stepped out of the foliage next to the small stream.
Kagome's shoulders shifted slightly before she turned to face her friend with a falsely happy smile and a telling brightness in her eyes. “I'm fine! Shouldn't I be?”
Sango took one of the empty bottles and uncapped it. “If you told Miroku or even InuYasha that, they might believe you.”
Kagome sighed. “It's that obvious?”
“Depends on who you ask.”
Kagome stared at her hands as a worried frown drew her eyebrows together, brought a certain sadness to her eyes that was accompanied by a very long and frustrated sigh. “Katosan told me that InuYasha is the rightful heir to Musashi.”
Sango's eyes widened as she blinked in surprise. “Musashi? How?”
“His mother was the daimyo's only child. InuYasha should have inherited it when her father died. Anyway . . . I think . . . I think InuYasha is going to try to claim it.”
“Why would he do that? He doesn't want Musashi, does he?”
Kagome shook her head then shrugged, looking just a little sadder with every second that elapsed. “No, and . . . .Sango . . . I think he'd do it though. I think he'd try.”
Sango bit her bottom lip thoughtfully. There was still something that Kagome was leaving out, a crucial piece that would make the entire scenario better fit together. “What aren't you saying?”
Again Kagome shook her head. “It doesn't matter, but . . . promise me? If I go home . . . if InuYasha tries to go alone? Promise me that you and Miroku will follow him? He can't do it alone.”
“All right,” Sango agreed slowly. Staring at her friend in the noon-day sunshine, it fell into place. Sango gasped. “He's doing it for you, isn't he? That's what you're afraid of.”
Kagome didn't confirm or deny Sango's question. She didn't have to. The truth was written in her troubled eyes. She looked around, as though she feared they'd be overheard, before she reached out and touched Sango's hand. “I have a feeling,” Kagome said quietly, “that if he goes alone—” she paused, swallowing hard, squeezing her eyes closed for a moment, gathering her courage to finish her sentence, “—if he goes alone, he won't come back.”
“Kagome, if you're that worried, then find a way to stop him.”
“I've tried! I told him that I don't care about Musashi . . . .” She drew a deep breath, steadying her voice, reigning in her emotions. “Just take care of him, if I can't stop him.”
Sango nodded again. “We will.”
“I've got to do this.”
“No, you don't.”
She shook her head, glaring at the stubborn hanyou as she hitched the backpack over her shoulder. “No, InuYasha. You don't have to do this. You know you don't. You just don't want to believe it. Katosan wants you to, and you're playing right into his hands.”
“Keh! Katosan has nothing to do with it, wench.”
“Keh!” she shot back, “Katosan has everything to do with it.”
She sighed and sat on the edge of the well as she let the bag fall from her shoulder to dangle from the strap, flipping her legs over the ledge, ready to drop in, to cross the five hundred year warp back into the world she knew.
Suddenly, she couldn't look at him. Her heart felt as though it was being crushed in the tight fist of dread, and the dread had the face of Katosan. Closing her eyes and pushing away the flames of panic that enclosed around her, she opened her eyes, stared into the gaping blackness below her. “Goodbye, InuYasha,” she whispered, not trusting her voice to remain steady.
The all-too-real image of InuYasha's body, sprawled on the bloody mound of dirty snow flashed through her mind again, forcing the softest of whimpers from her soul as she struggled to force it away. `He's going, and I can't stop him . . . he'll . . . InuYasha . . . .'
She leaned forward to drop into the darkened well. As badly as she wanted to throw herself against him, to let him hold her, even just another moment longer, to have him sigh against her cheek, she felt as though a part of her was already starting to die with an aching intensity that made her want to scream. `Kiss him, Kagome! Just one more time . . . just to remind him that he has a reason to fight, even if you don't want him to go!'
But she couldn't. If she kissed him now, if she touched him now, she'd never be able to let go, and as much as she wanted to tell him how frightened she really was, ultimately, this wasn't her decision to make. She scooted forward on the ledge, prepared to drop into the darkness. He stopped her. She stared down at his arms, wrapped around her, his face buried in her hair. “Kagome . . . .”
She shook her head but relaxed against him, just for a moment. Then she drew a deep breath and pulled his arms open, dropped them away from her. “I've got to go.”
Again she stopped, poised to drop into the well. His voice, the desperation, the need, the ache of it cut her to the quick. Again she refused to look back at him, and again she braced her heart with her will alone, before it crumbled, before she died. “I can't.” She shook her head, hoping against hope that he couldn't see how badly it hurt her, to tell him this. “I'm sorry,” she choked out just before she dropped into the well.
All the hostility directed at poor Katosan is just overwhelming! We can't give the poor ol' dog a break, huh? …
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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.