InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Enter the Exterminator ( Chapter 40 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Enter the Exterminator~
“I feel a bit foolish.”
“Let me see.”
“. . . Do I have to?”
A heavy sigh designed to express complete reluctance on his part. “It's a little . . . snug.”
Sango grinned to herself about the monk's grumblings. “Snug is good. Father said that loose clothing only gets in the way.”
“Your father was obviously never a monk.”
“Come out here and let me see if it fits you.”
“It fits just fine. It fits a little too well, if you ask me.”
With another heavy sigh, Miroku came out and stood silently, waiting for Sango's approval. Cheeks flushed and looking distinctly out of his element, Sango gave him the critical once-over. The dragon youkai's hide that she'd used to fashion his armor fit like a second skin, and she admired the way the tiny black scales gave off an iridescent glow in the fire-lit room. Like his monk robes, Sango had chosen to use the same purple color on his elbow, knee, and shoulder pads, and in all, she had to admit he looked good—very good. “What do you think, Kaede?” Sango asked to the old miko.
Kaede looked up from her task of smashing dried herbs. Eyes widening as she stared in surprise at the monk, Sango hid her amusement behind a delicate cough. “. . . Can ye breathe in that, Miroku?” Kaede remarked before glancing at Sango and resuming her chore.
Sango got up and approached the uncomfortable monk. She brushed her hands over his shoulders, making sure the hide wasn't pulled too tightly over him as she frowned thoughtfully. “It looks like a good fit,” she finally said as she stepped around to inspect his back. Her hands shook slightly, and she only hoped the monk didn't notice.
“A good fit?” he echoed. “Sango—”
“A youkai exterminator must have armor,” Sango cut in. “And dragon armor is better than most because it repels fire.” Pressing her hand against her heart, she stepped back. `Maybe it wasn't such a good idea,' she mused. `Concentrating on battling youkai when houshi-sama is wearing that?' She made a face. `Where's your discipline, Sango? He's the same houshi-sama as he was before . . . just wearing tighter clothing . . . that's all . . . .'
Miroku turned his head and frowned when he caught her troubled expression. “Sango? Is something wrong?”
She felt instant heat infuse her skin, and she had trouble meeting Miroku's gaze. “Wrong?”
A sudden glow erupted in his eyes, and he grinned. “You look as thought something is disturbing you . . . would you like to talk about it?”
“I'm fine,” she assured him quickly. “There's nothing disturbing me . . . just fine.”
Miroku nodded slowly as Sango came back around. “Good. However, I was having a bit of trouble with this piece . . . would you mind showing me how to put it on?”
She stared at the belt he extended to her. Also fashioned from dragon-youkai hide, it was made to hold his weapon as well as his mask. She took it from him and swallowed hard as she leaned forward, reaching around to loop the hide around his waist. She tied it quickly and stepped back, admiring her handiwork before she noticed the chagrined expression on his face. “Miroku?”
Shippou looked up from the picture he was coloring and shook his head. “Don't worry, Sango. Miroku's just mad because he lost his chance to touch your rear when you were hugging him.”
“I wasn't hugging him!” Sango insisted quickly.
“I'm not mad!” Miroku scoffed.
Shippou rolled his eyes and returned to his picture.
“Well, I'm going to put my robes on over this,” Miroku said as he hurried to retrieve his regular clothes.
Sango couldn't help the appreciative smile that tugged at her lips as she watched him go. `I didn't realize he looked . . . like that,' she thought as her smile widened. Then she sighed. Somehow, the image he left in her head made her that much more nervous . . . .
The bamboo curtain that hung over the door rattled. Sango turned to see who had entered. “InuYasha? We were worried when you didn't return last evening . . . . Is something wrong?”
The hanyou sank down on the floor holding Tetsusaiga in his arms. “Where's the lecher?” he asked, ignoring Sango's questions. Miroku re-emerged, tying the robes closed. InuYasha frowned as he watched Miroku fiddling with the knot on his shoulder. “Why are you getting dressed just now?” he asked suspiciously.
Shippou hopped up and bounded over to land on InuYasha's knee. “Where's Kagome? Where's my pocky? Did you make her mad again?”
“Keh! She's taking a test, I ate your pocky, and no she ain't mad.”
“He seems a little too calm, if you ask me,” Miroku whispered to Sango as the kitsune and hanyou traded minor insults.
“I agree . . . do you think something happened?” Sango whispered back.
“I smell my pocky on you!” Shippou hollered, thumping his fists into InuYasha's thigh.
Sango's mouth dropped in shock as InuYasha dug into his haori and pulled out two boxes of the treat before thumping the kit's nose with his index finger. “Here, runt, now get lost.”
Shippou grabbed the boxes and bounded back to his artwork.
Suddenly, InuYasha sniffed and made a face. “Why do I smell a dead dragon youkai?”
“I was using a pelt to make something,” Sango remarked, hoping that InuYasha wouldn't notice anything odd in her answer.
InuYasha's eyes narrowed with suspicion but he was cut off when Miroku cleared his throat—loudly. “So I take it you accompanied Kagome to her time yesterday?” Miroku asked, carefully keeping his tone neutral.
“What of it?” he countered defensively.
“Just wondering,” Miroku quipped.
“InuYasha . . . will you be leaving?” Sango questioned. She had told Miroku what Kagome had said but neither of them had mentioned that they knew of InuYasha's plan to the hanyou.
“That's why I came back,” InuYasha said as he dragged his claws against the floor. “We found the book I was after, but I can't bring it back here. It can't pass through the well.”
“You found it in Kagome's time?” Miroku asked.
The monk nodded. “And because it still exists here, you can't bring it through the well.”
“Something like that.”
Sango wondered why Miroku suddenly looked apprehensive and a little worried but was sidetracked by InuYasha's next statement.
“Anyway, I have to read it, so I'm going back.”
“Why do you have to read it? What sort of book is it?”
InuYasha snorted. “It don't matter what sort of book it is. Myouga insisted that I read it before we can purify the Shikon no Tama.”
“How long will the two of you be gone?” Sango asked.
InuYasha yawned and stretched then stood up again. “Dunno . . . Just keep an eye on things till we do.” He strode toward the door but stopped before stepping outside. “Oh, and, uh, if Katosan comes back to try to get you to leave with him again? Tell him to go to hell.”
The bamboo mat dropped back into place with a whisper. Sango turned her incredulous gaze on Miroku, who still looked distinctly troubled. “Houshi-sama?”
The monk shook his head slowly, lifting his gaze to meet Sango's as he forced a smile that didn't reach his eyes. “Something wrong?”
Sango frowned. “What is it?”
Miroku sighed. “Just something InuYasha said. I'm sure it was nothing.”
Sango didn't look reassured but she let that drop when something else occurred to her. “Was it just me or did he seem . . . content?”
Pondering her assessment, Miroku slowly nodded. “He did, didn't he? Almost—dare I say it? Happy?”
Kaede chuckled. “I've said it before: Kagome is a strange child. But if anyone can heal the wounds in InuYasha's heart, it would be her.”
“Well, he did let her kiss him,” Shippou remarked.
Sango's mouth dropped open. “What? When?”
Miroku sighed. “Kagome kissed him at Katosan's. Apparently they forgot they had a young audience.”
“Wait . . . you both knew? And neither of you told me?”
Shippou hopped up and brought Sango some of his pocky as a peace offering. “Miroku told me not to tell.”
Miroku flinched as Sango's glare infiltrated his skull. “I told you not to tease,” he corrected.
“So does that mean that InuYasha doesn't want to reclaim Musashi?” Shippou asked.
“It would seem that way,” Miroku commented, glad that the kitsune had redirected the conversation.
“I thought InuYasha trusted Katosan,” Shippou remarked.
Sango stared at the fire with a thoughtful frown. The feeling that Kagome hadn't told her everything was back, as it had been yesterday when they were traveling. For that matter, it had seemed odd at the time, that InuYasha had been in such a hurry to leave, too. “Maybe we should watch the two of them a little closer,” Sango mused. “They've both been acting a little odd, wouldn't you say?”
Miroku nodded slowly though the strangely troubled expression was back in his gaze as he stared at his hand where the kazaana used to be. “All right, we'll do that as soon as they come back.”
Sango started to ask Miroku what was really bothering him. But a villager rushed into the hut, gasping for breath as he struggled to speak. “InuYasha! Where is InuYasha?”
Miroku got to his feet and offered Sango a hand in assistance. “He's gone. What's the trouble?”
The villager shook his head. “Near the well . . . youkai . . . .”
Miroku ripped off his robes before he grabbed his staff and sickle before darting out the door as Sango hurriedly shed her clothes to reveal her youkai exterminator clothes.
They took off on a transformed Kirara in deference to expediency and arrived at the clearing around the Bone Eater's Well in time to see a lumbering boar youkai rooting up the ground near the well. “Hurry!” Sango called down to Kirara. “That boar is going to cave in the well!”
Miroku hopped off the fire-cat youkai and ran at the beast, letting the sickle fly through the air. Practicing on small items on poles was one thing, and something he'd gotten decent with. A moving beast, however, was quite different, and even though the boar was clumsy and slow, it still moved. Miroku jerked the chain to bring the weapon back to him.
Lifting its head, the boar youkai snorted and lumbered forward, gamboling toward Miroku as the earth shook with each step.
“Hiraikotsu!” Sango hollered as the huge boomerang sailed past his head. It caught one of the boar's massive tusks and broke it off. The boar screeched in anger and pain and altered its course to intercept Sango.
Miroku pulled an ofuda out of his sleeve and hurled it at the creature. The agonized squeal made him cringe, and for the moment, he had to be thankful that he wasn't InuYasha. That sound was enough to make his ears ring. He could only imagine what it would have done to the hanyou. As it was, the pause gave Miroku the opening he needed.
With a grunt, Miroku heaved the sickle. The blade embedded itself between the boar's eyes atop the smoldering ofuda. He jumped onto the youkai's back and jerked on the chain with both hands, pulling back as he leaned with all his strength. The blade sliced up and wrenched free as the youkai's scream died away. Miroku, breathing hard, dropped off the carcass and caught the sickle, pausing long enough to wipe the blade clean on the dead youkai before straightening his back and looking around for Sango.
She stood beside Kirara with Hiraikotsu slung over her back. Staring at him with an odd mix of respect and awe, there was a hint of something else in her gaze that gave Miroku pause; something warm, something beautiful. “Sango?”
She didn't answer. She didn't seem like she'd even heard him. He leaned in a little closer. “Sango?”
She blinked suddenly, her cheeks pinking as she forced her gaze away from him. “We'd better get back to the village,” she remarked as she climbed onto Kirara's back. “Kaede's probably waiting for word . . . .”
Miroku stuck the sickle into his belt and crossed his arms over his chest. “I think I'll walk,” he replied softly.
Sango considered that then hopped off Kirara. “Maybe it would be a nice afternoon . . . for a walk.”
Short chapter, but I wanted to take a short detour to check in on Sango and Miroku . . . Now, back to the original story . . .
== == == == == == == == == ==
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.