InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Wary Travelers ( Chapter 42 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 42~~
~Wary Travelers~

"Kagome, is it just me or are Sango and the pervert acting weirder than normal?"

Kagome glanced over her shoulder toward Sango and Miroku.  They rode on the transformed Kirara, and when Sango caught Kagome's questioning expression, she flushed slightly and grinned before looking over toward the right—toward the trees.  "Yeah, they are," she agreed in InuYasha's ear.  "Do you suppose they've finally admitted how they feel about each other?

"Keh.  The only thing that lecher likes to feel is Sango's ass."

"Well, you're right, they are acting strange."  She sighed.  InuYasha stopped suddenly, letting go of Kagome's legs as she slid off his back.  "InuYasha?"

InuYasha bared his teeth in a fierce grimace and snarled low.  "Stay back, Kagome.  I smell vermin."

"What is it, InuYasha?" Sango asked as they stopped, too.

"Youkai," Kagome mumbled, feeling the shift in the air, the ominous presence of a powerful youkai.

"Kagome!"

Kagome's eyes widened in surprise as Rin bounded out of the forest.  The ebullient child ran over and hugged her with a delighted giggle.  "Rin!  What are you doing here?  Where's—?"

"Sesshoumaru," InuYasha remarked tightly, hand resting on Tetsusaiga's hilt.  "What the hell do you want?  Western Lands revolt against you yet?"

Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose slightly as his gaze flicked from InuYasha to Kagome and back again.  "You reek more of this worthless half-breed every time I see you, Miko," he remarked with an air of open distain and completely ignored InuYasha.  "Deplorable."  He glanced back at his half-brother.  "Will you defile her with your half-breeds, baka?"

"Shut the fuck up, bastard!  I'm not defiling her with anything!"

"How dare you insult Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken squeaked indignantly, waving the Staff of Heads as a threat.

InuYasha raised his foot against the imp's head and shoved him back.

Sesshoumaru pinned InuYasha with his inscrutable gaze for a moment then looked away, dismissing his half-brother as though InuYasha wasn't worth his efforts.  "Call it what you will, InuYasha.  The world doesn't need the half-breeds that already exist, let alone more."

"Just tell me what you're doing here."

"I seek someone."

InuYasha crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back as he assessed his brother for a moment.  "Anyone I know?"

"Katosan."

"Katosan?  Why would he be in Musashi?"

"Why, indeed?"  Sesshoumaru glared at InuYasha for another moment before looking at the little girl.  "Come, Rin."  He turned without waiting to see if she was following.  He stepped on Jaken, flattening the imp as he continued away.

"Goodbye, Kagome!" Rin called back with a jaunty wave as she raced after Sesshoumaru.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!  Wait for me!" Jaken hollered as he ran off after them.

"Well, that was as pleasant as ever," Miroku commented dryly.

InuYasha was still bristling.  Kagome laid a hand on his arm.  He shook her off.  "I'm going hunting," he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into the woods.

Kagome sighed as she watched him go before turning to follow Sango and Miroku closer to the stream.  "They'll never get along, will they?"

Sango made a face as she started clearing a spot for the campfire as Kagome sat on a fallen log to dig through her bag for the matches.  Miroku rolled out one of the tents that Kagome had brought with her this time and set to work.  "You know, Sango, I would hate for you to suffer the night's cold," he commented a little too innocently.  Sango flushed and avoided his gaze as she carefully assembled some dry kindling for the fire.

"I don't recall asking, houshi-sama," she remarked sweetly.

Kagome nearly choked as she reminded herself that she wasn't supposed to know what that comment meant.

Miroku heaved a sigh and excused himself to search for a rock to use as a hammer.

"Good for you, Sango!" Kagome whispered as soon as Miroku was out of sight.

Sango didn't reply but she did smile despite the flush on her face.

Kagome handed her friend the box of waterproof matches.  "Are you okay?  I know it's hard for you, to go back."

Sango pursed her lips and patted Kagome's hands.  "It's fine.  I'm sad when I visit the graves, but I'm not angry any longer.  You all have helped me get through the grief, and defeating Naraku helped, too."

Kagome nodded.  As much as Sango lost because of Naraku's vile acts, it amazed Kagome that Sango remained such a sweet young woman.  It had surprised her, though, when Sango had asked that they all go with her to visit the ruins of the exterminators' village.  It was intensely personal for Sango, and they all knew and respected that.

InuYasha had said that he wanted to hunt down Waku.  Kagome had been surprised when he had agreed to accompany Sango to her village since he took it as a personal insult that Waku still lived.

"What the hell is your point, lecher?" InuYasha's voice preceded him into the clearing.

Miroku held his hands up defensively.  "It was simply a suggestion!"

"Keh!"

"InuYasha?" Kagome asked as she stood up. "What's going on?"

For some reason, InuYasha was blushing.  Profusely.  "Ask him," he snarled, jerking his head in Miroku's direction.

Sango took the skinned and cleaned rabbit from the hanyou and cast Miroku a nervous glance.  "Houshi-sama?"

Miroku looked a little too innocent, in Kagome's opinion.  "I simply suggested that InuYasha might be more comfortable in Kagome's tent."

"Listen, you pervert—"

"InuYasha, hear me out.  Kagome's still got the Shikon no Tama, right?  Wouldn't you feel better knowing you were closer to protect her?"

Sango speared the rabbit and set it over the makeshift spit to cook.  "As much as I hate to agree, InuYasha, houshi-sama's got a good point."

"In fact," Miroku went on casually as he started to pin down the tent.  "The only way you'd be any closer for her protection is if you were, say, sitting on her."

Kagome had just started to take a drink of water out of one of the bottles when Miroku made that off-handed comment.  She choked, spitting water all over InuYasha as Sango gasped.  InuYasha's glower narrowed even more as he looked as though he was contemplating how badly Kagome might osuwari him if he killed the monk outright.  He must have decided he didn't really care because a second later, he was stalking toward Miroku with the light of mayhem glowing in his eyes.

"What'd I say?" Miroku asked innocently as he backed away from InuYasha.

Sango thumped Kagome's back as she continued to sputter.  Suddenly Kirara growled.  InuYasha stopped and whirled around, staring back toward the forest in the same direction as the fire-cat.

After one last withering glare at the monk, InuYasha stomped back over to stand in front of Kagome and Sango.  "Might as well come out.  I know you're there."

Slowly, deliberately, Katosan stepped out of the trees and inclined his head toward InuYasha.  "InuYasha-sama.  I've been looking for you."

"Sneaking up on someone's campsite ain't a very good idea, is it?"

Katosan shrugged as he walked closer.  "I apologize if you thought I was 'sneaking'.  I require a word, if you will."

Kagome clutched InuYasha's sleeve.  He shot her a quick look to reassure her.  She nodded slightly and let go.  Watching InuYasha follow Katosan into the woods was unsettling. 'He'll be fine,' she told herself as she moved over to set up the other tent.  Still, she'd feel much better after InuYasha came back.


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


"Have you given any thought to the things we spoke of?"

"The things we spoke of or the things you said to Kagome?"

A fleeting glimpse of surprise was quickly masked as Katosan forced a wry smile.  "I didn't mean to upset your miko."

"Yeah, you did.  I overheard it."

"Perhaps I did, then."

InuYasha was surprised that Katosan admitted that so easily.  He kept his expression blank as he carefully stared ahead at the trees.  "Why would you do that?"

Katosan shrugged.  "I wished to test her.  You feel that you can trust the miko?"

"With my life."

"Touching."

"Why did you come all the way to Musashi?"

Katosan stopped to stare at InuYasha.  In the falling shadows of early evening, something about the youkai's manner raised a vague alarm in InuYasha's head.  The directness of Katosan's stare probed his head, and InuYasha steeled himself against the mental intrusion.  "Have you given any thought to the idea I suggested?"

"About taking Musashi, you mean?"  InuYasha crossed his arms together inside the sleeves of his haori.  "More than I should have."

"So you've no interest in acquiring what the Inu no Taisho left for you as your legacy?"

"Keh," he snorted as he started walking again.  "The only thing my old man wanted to leave for me was Tetsusaiga, and I got that.  I don't have any need to have Musashi."

Katosan sighed.  "If you'll pardon my saying so, I think you're being foolish and short-sighted."

"Why does it matter to you?  Even if I took Musashi, it'd have nothing to do with you.  So why?"

"On the contrary.  It has everything to do with the honor of the inu-youkai.  Surely even a hanyou can see that."

InuYasha shook his head.  "The honor of the inu-youkai you're talking about . . . it's supposed to mean something to a 'filthy half-breed'?"

Katosan inclined his head, conceding InuYasha's point.  "Perhaps not, to a 'filthy half-breed'.  What about to the son of the Inu no Taisho?"

"Keh.  It still don't mean a fucking thing."

Half forgotten words came back to him.  InuYasha stared at Katosan as Myouga's words echoed through his mind, 'Katosan was there, when your mother was killed . . . .'

"This honor of the inu-youkai . . . where was that honor when my mother was killed?  Why were you there, and why didn't you try to save her?"

Eyes dimming as though seeing the past, Katosan stared ahead but saw nothing.  "Before he died, the Inu no Taisho asked me to guard over Musashi until such time that you were old enough to do so, yourself.  I was there when your mother died.  She asked me to see that her journal was taken to Sesshoumaru.  I was not there when she received her mortal wound.  By the time I arrived, it was too late.  Sheer determination kept Izayoi-sama alive until I took the journal and until I swore that it would be delivered safely."

"And her diary?"

"I never saw the diary."

InuYasha nodded slowly.  'He knew . . . He's hiding something . . . .'

"Musashi is your future, InuYasha-sama—"

"Musashi is someone else's wish for my future.  I don't want it, and I don't need it."  InuYasha turned to leave.  'Kagome . . . she's the constant . . . she's my future.'

"You're making a mistake."

InuYasha didn't stop walking.  "It's my mistake to make."


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


"Don't you think you should stop teasing InuYasha?"

Miroku glanced at Sango and blinked in surprise.  "Was I doing that?"

Sango shook her head.  "You know you were."

Miroku grinned.  "Maybe a little."

"You're embarrassing him."

"Ah, he looks good in 'Monk-in-Pain'-red."

Sango finished rolling herself up in her blankets in the confines of the tiny tent.  "I can't believe you talked him into trading tents."

"It made perfect sense, Sango, my sweet . . . InuYasha only wishes to protect Kagome and the jewel, and he's been sitting right in front of the tent every night, anyway . . . he might as well be comfortable, wouldn't you agree?"

Sango rolled her eyes.  He sounded sincere enough.  She knew better.  "I think you're enjoying teasing him a little too much, houshi-sama."

Miroku didn't deny it.  "It's good for him.  Builds character."

"I think he's got enough character."

"Surely you can't expect me to pass up this chance, Sango . . . ."

"If you ask me, you're only begging for trouble."

"Speaking of asking . . . ."

"Keep your distance, monk."

Miroku sighed.

In the hidden recesses of her blankets, Sango smiled.


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


"Put out that light, wench."

Kagome didn't answer as she held the flashlight in one hand while she worked a calculus problem in her notebook with the other.

InuYasha narrowed his gaze on the miko as he tapped his claws against his knee.  "Oi, Kagome, there's a rat."

"Get it, will you?" she mumbled without dragging her attention off the notebook.

"Keh.  I'm not your personal rat trap," he grumbled.  "It's really fat, too.  Sorta looks like Shippou."

"Shippou doesn't look like a rat."

InuYasha sighed and reigned in the urge to whip the notebook out from under her nose.  "Keh.  That's debatable, wench."

"Hmm.  Did you give Shippou the pocky I asked you to take to him?"

'What the hell?  From rat trap to delivery boy?  Keh!'  InuYasha rolled his eyes.  "No, I ate it.  All of it.  Every last crumb."

She giggled and still didn't glance up at him.  "You didn't.  You like it but you can't stand to eat that much of it."

Which was true.  He did like pocky but he couldn't stand to eat more than a few at a time.  Too sweet.  Ramen, on the other hand . . . . He reached for Kagome's bag.

"What are you after?" she asked.

"Keh!  Don't worry about it."

"If you eat all your ramen now, you'll be sorry later."

He didn't listen as he dug out a cup of the nearly-instant wonder food and crawled out of the tent with a loud snort.

Making short work of adding water to the cup, InuYasha sat down just outside the tent to wait for his food to be ready.  Kagome poked her head outside as he started eating.  "Are you going to stay out here all night?"

"I was thinking about it."

She sighed.  "Suit yourself . . . are you sure?"

"Keh!"

"I put away my book."

"Quiet, wench.  You'll give me indigestion if you keep talking while I'm eating."

"Really."

"Shh."

"Suit yourself."

InuYasha flicked his ears when she reached up to tweak them.  "That'll give me heartburn," he remarked.

"Heartburn?  Hrmph."

The tent flap fell closed with a whisper.  He heard Kagome shifting around inside the tent, probably rolling up in her thousands of blankets.  He sighed then grinned.  

"Well, if I'm going to have to be alone all night," she remarked loudly, "then I might as well study some more . . . ."

InuYasha's chin shot up as his ears twitched.  He dropped the ramen and the chopsticks on the ground and flopped backward into the tent again.

Kagome giggled as she leaned over to kiss him.

InuYasha grabbed her and held on.  'InuYasha—four, sneaky wench—zero.'




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A/N
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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.

~Sue~

Chapter 41
Chapter 43
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