InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Witnesses ( Chapter 43 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Sango knelt beside the graves and smiled sadly. `Strange how things change and yet they seem to remain the same here, in this place.'
“Sango? Do you wish to be alone?”
She glanced up and shook her head as Miroku knelt down beside her. The monk lifted his hand to his face as he offered a silent prayer for the deceased. Then he turned to Sango again and slipped his arm around her shoulders.
Sango patted the graves with a loving hand. “I remember each of these people. I used to talk to them all, every day. I keep them alive in my memory and in my heart, but it just isn't quite the same.”
“You never forget someone you've loved, Sango. You honor them by living.”
She stared into his eyes for several moments, her smile growing brighter. “I think my father would have liked you.”
His sparkling eyes darkened, intensified, as he stared at her. Sango's heart swelled then lurched. She remembered that look only too well. It was the same one that she'd seen that night, when she had thought he would kiss her. She saw that look every night in her dreams . . . .
Forcing her gaze away, Sango cleared her throat and stood. Miroku sighed softly and got to his feet, too. Wordlessly, the youkai exterminator moved along the rows of graves, stopping to place her hand atop each one as Miroku prayed for them all. At the last grave—the freshest grave—Sango blinked back tears and sighed. “I miss him the most.”
“You suffered for him most because he was the one who needed you most.”
“Did I fail him?”
Miroku sighed and drew Sango into his arms, against his chest. She felt the warmth of his lips on her forehead as he held her, as her silent tears flowed down her cheeks. “You didn't fail him. In the end, Kohaku chose his path so that you could live.”
She closed her eyes and nodded, her hands tightly clutching his robes. “Thank you, houshi-sama . . . why do I still cry for him? It's been so long . . . .”
“Sango . . . you weep for him as long as you need to, because you loved him, and if you need me, I'll be here. I won't leave you.”
In the doorway of the darkened hut nearby, Kagome sighed as she watched the two standing by the graves. “Poor Sango . . . I'm so glad she's got Miroku.”
“Keh! Has he groped her yet?”
“InuYasha, he's not always like that, you know. That's like saying that you're always grouchy and gruff and—”
“I am,” he argued.
She smiled and reached over to rub his ear. He jerked away but only after a second of the action. “You're not.”
“Keh. You make me sound weak and pathetic.”
Kagome's grin widened as she stared at the hanyou. “You're blushing, InuYasha.”
“I don't blush.”
“What are you, then? Selectively sunburned?”
“What's he doing?”
Kagome looked back toward Miroku and Sango. Miroku was holding Sango and whispering something to the exterminator that made her laugh. “He's making her happy.”
“Keh! Disgusting. She giggles almost as much as you do,” InuYasha grumbled.
“One of us has to,” she countered with a smile. “Laughter is the best medicine.”
“If that's the cure, I'd rather stay sick.”
Kagome rolled her eyes then gasped. “InuYasha! Look!”
He leaned forward to peek around Kagome's legs, eyes widening as his interest spiked.
“I think . . . he's going to kiss her . . . !”
Staring into Sango's gaze with such tenderness and devotion that it nearly brought tears to Kagome's eyes, the monk gently smoothed Sango's bangs off her face. “Come on . . . !” Kagome murmured, clutching her hands over her heart.
Miroku leaned toward Sango just a little. Kagome held her breath as she waited, hoping for Sango's sake that the monk didn't remember his vow to make Sango ask.
And then, it happened. The inevitable. Miroku just had to grope Sango's rear. InuYasha roll his eyes and snorted a very loud, “Keh!” as Kagome's hands dropped and she heaved a sigh with a disgusted shake of her head.
“What'd I tell you, wench? He's a pervert, through and through.”
Kagome winced as the echo of Sango's palm striking the monk echoed through the desolate village. “Can't say he didn't deserve that,” Kagome acknowledged.
“And then some.”
Kagome carefully picked her way down the overgrown path as she headed toward the lake to fill the water bottles. She breathed softly as the lake appeared before her. Bathed in the vibrant colors of the descending winter evening, the water reflected the brilliant oranges, the subtle violets, the muted reds and golds . . . .
“How fortuitous. I had hoped to talk with you.”
Smothering a gasp, Kagome whirled around, dropping her bag at the sound of the voice. “Katosan.”
Standing near the trees, he made no move to come closer though Kagome didn't try to delude herself into believing that he could not close the distance quickly enough, if that's what he wanted to do. “You don't seem pleased to see me again, Miko.” Noticing the way her hand tightened around her bow, Katosan chuckled. “Will you purify me with your paltry arrow? I think not.”
She straightened her spine, lifted her chin defiantly as she stared him in the eye. “What do you want?”
Katosan lifted his eyebrows regally, countering Kagome's question with a silent protest of innocence. Why was it that he, like Sesshoumaru, possessed such cold beauty? It was a strange thing, this sense that, of all the youkai she'd ever met, these two beings had the presence to shake her composure? “I wished to offer you some advice.”
She didn't let her trepidation show. “I don't need your advice.”
“But you do.”
Slowly, Kagome picked up the bag she'd dropped. “I need to go before everyone comes looking for me.” With a bravado that she was far from feelings, she tried to pass Katosan.
In an instant, the youkai had his hands wrapped around her arms, and he wouldn't let go. His golden eyes drilled into her head, and she tried in vain to pull away. “Let go,” she demanded, careful to keep her tone even.
“Not until you've heard me out.” When she didn't reply, he nodded. “Now that I have your attention . . . I offer you this warning: bad things happen to little mikos who don't realize they have no business with youkai . . . even half-youkai.”
“I'm not afraid.”
Katosan chuckled, low, threatening, menacing. “Neither was Izayoi-sama, and now she's dead.”
Kagome gasped. “I thought . . . Did you kill her?”
Katosan shrugged. “I did not cause her death . . . nor did I seek to prevent it.”
“Could you have prevented it?” she asked, afraid to hear his answer but having to ask anyway.
His answer was long in coming. He let go of her arms and stepped back as he scanned the horizon as though he was remembering the past. “Could I have? Yes. Should I have? Possibly. Would it change the warning I give you now? Not at all.”
“Why didn't you?”
“I hold no allegiance for mortals. You are as meaningless to me as dust under my feet. My only allegiance has ever been given to the Inu no Taisho, and to his sons, even if the one is barely worthy to claim his heritage because of his tainted blood.”
Anger boiled up inside her. Deep-rooted resentment against anyone who believed InuYasha to be less than what he was because of circumstances he couldn't control. Anger carried her forward, and anger had a voice. “You have no right to say things like that about InuYasha! You don't even know him! He's a better person inside than you or his brother or any other full youkai I've ever met, so if being half-human means that he's nothing like the rest of you, then I'm glad he is.”
Her speech amused Katosan. Derisive laughter echoed in the air, rang in Kagome's ears. “Save your righteous indignation, miko. Heed my warning; it may be the only thing that can save you in the end.”
She didn't deign to respond to Katosan's threat. Kagome turned to leave only to have his hand shoot out to stop her once more. She glared pointedly from his hand around her wrist to his face.
“Take care, Miko. There are worse things than death that could befall a hapless little mortal girl. It would be a shame for you to learn first hand, what some of those things might be. What would your hanyou do if his bitch reeked of another?”
Fury, panic, and a flash of fear combined in her, threatened to strip away the remnants of her composure. Kagome reached out with her free hand, trying to pry his hand away. His grip tightened as he grabbed for her.
She wasn't sure how it happened. In a blinding flash of pinkish-white light, Katosan let go, stumbled back. She heard his hiss of pain as she fell back, shielding her face against the stunning brightness. When the light faded, Katosan was gone, and she sat up slowly, rubbing her wrist as the beginning bruises mottled her flesh.
Relief was nudged aside by the edges of late horror at the things that Katosan had said, and she dropped her forehead against her raised knees as the tears came. She heard the sound of someone crashing through the foliage but it didn't occur to her to look. Arms locked around her, but they were arms that she knew. The silent tears gave way to sobs as she let herself be drawn into InuYasha's protective embrace.
It took a few minutes for her to realize that he was trying to talk to her. Too miserable to answer, she sniffled and shook her head as she buried her face in his haori. She felt him sigh as he gave up trying to make her answer, and he simply held her as the sun set over the lake.
“What did he want?” InuYasha asked softly.
She flinched at the fury underlying his otherwise gentle tone. “He said that we shouldn't be together . . . because you're half-youkai.”
“Keh! Bastard don't know a damn thing.” Cradling her cheeks in his hands, InuYasha nudged her bangs aside with his nose. He kissed her face, growled low in his throat, a sound meant to soothe her.
She leaned against him, accepted his comfort, ignoring the cold as he wrapped her in his haori. Lifting her chin, she gazed into his eyes. His heart was there, suspended in golden light. She drew a ragged breath as his lips touched hers.
As bright as the sunshine, InuYasha dispelled the darkness in her thoughts, banished the lingering fear from Katosan's threats. Opening like a cherry blossom in the springtime, he kissed her with careful tenderness that filled her heart and spilled over, bathing her soul and leaving her clean once more. The contentment that settled on her was complete and unblemished, whipping through her like hurricane winds even as the eye of the storm held her in silence. Whispers of dreams, a hundred doves taking flight in a bright blue sky, all of the pure things in this world united in him, and with his touch, with his lips, with his murmured words he gave them all to her.
And yet it wasn't quite enough. Shifting in his lap so that she was straddling him, Kagome rose up on her knees, pressed against him, kissed him deep, drew him out until he moaned against her. Hands delving into his hair, she gave in to the riot of emotion, the overwhelming tremors that filled her body as she collapsed into him.
He fell back, dragging her down with him. Refusing to relinquish his hold on her, he kissed her hard, scraping his fangs over her lips, making her whine as she shivered. Moving her so that he had her pinned, he let his mouth roam over her skin, to her throat as her head fell to the side, eyes closed, and she whimpered. His hand slipped under her coat, burning against her belly through the bulk of her sweater. She arched her back, bringing her body up to meet his as a sound mid-way between a growl and a whine cut through the air just before he claimed her lips again.
Through the haze of sensation, Kagome felt a wash of tears sting the back of her eyelids. The gentleness that had started the kisses had returned, and with it came the most exhilarating and yet the most frightening realization of all. `I can't live without him . . . because I love him . . .'
“Houshi-sama . . . I don't think we should be watching this . . . .”
Miroku put a finger to Sango's lips to silence her protests even though she wasn't able to actually look away. “He'll hear us if you're not quiet,” the monk warned.
She smacked his arm lightly. “Me? You're the one scuffling around in the leaves,” she pointed out. His finger pressed harder.
“I think he's going to bark,” Miroku commented with a chuckle as Kagome turned enough to straddle the seated hanyou. “Huh. Wow.”
“That's not amusing,” Sango whispered. “Just because he's half-inu-youkai doesn't mean—” She stopped abruptly as InuYasha fell back, dragging Kagome with him. “What are they doing?”
Miroku waved a hand at Sango without taking his eyes off the couple. “Kissing.”
“I know that!” Sango replied, “but it's cold, and they—”
“Aren't thinking about that in the least, Sango . . . .”
Sango's eyes widened as the hanyou rolled, pinning Kagome against the ground. Not that the miko seemed to mind. On the contrary, she seemed completely oblivious to where, exactly, she was. InuYasha shifted slightly, trailing kisses along Kagome's jaw, down her neck, against her throat. Sango's hand rose to cover her own throat as she swallowed hard. “Is that . . . good?”
Miroku groaned quietly then sighed before glancing down at Sango. “Care to find out for yourself?”
Even in the darkness, Sango could feel blood rise to her face, staining her skin. “H-h-houshi-sama!” she stammered.
“Can't blame me for trying,” Miroku grumbled before focusing again on their friends.
When InuYasha slid his hand inside Kagome's coat, drawing the miko up off the ground with a gasping moan, Sango quickly whirled around, cold hands pressing against her too-hot cheeks. “I—we shouldn't be watching them!” she insisted as she got to her feet and hurried toward the empty slayers' village.
Miroku caught her by the shoulders and pulled her into a hug. “What's wrong, Sango?”
Sango scowled at the ground, kicked a pile of dry leaves. “I feel like we betrayed them by watching,” she admitted, feeling her face heat just a little more.
“Yeah, and those two never spy on us.”
Sango considered that then grinned slightly. “They do, don't they?”
“Like earlier today, you mean?”
Miroku rubbed his cheek as the memory of Sango's slap returned. “Yes.”
She was quiet for a moment as she thought that over. “Then I suppose it isn't so bad that we watched them,” she allowed.
He chuckled. “You know, Sango . . . if you'd like to find out what that's like? I'd be happy to oblige you . . . .”
She pulled away from him as an impish smile surfaced on her face. “Thanks for the offer, houshi-sama . . . if I decide I want to know, I'll be sure to ask.”
Miroku dropped to his knees as Sango turned and sauntered away toward the village once more. “You are one stupid, stupid monk,” he told himself with a wry grin.
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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.