InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Waku ( Chapter 44 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
`That bitch! She'll die; I'll make sure of it . . . . Then that puppy she dares to keep . . . .' Waku grimaced as he stared at the stump of healed flesh. `Damn them . . . damn them both!'
Startled by the sudden appearance of the Lord of the Southern Realm, Waku turned slowly, carefully, hiding his surprise behind a mask of indifference. “Norimitsu, what a pleasant inconvenience.”
“I grow weary of your incessant chatter, Waku. Would you care to die now?”
Waku spread his wings and floated gracefully to the ground. “Is there something you wanted?”
“You know what I want,” Norimitsu said, bearing his fangs in a flash of silver in the moonlight. His inky mane of hair flowed behind him, blowing in the breeze of the chill night air. “The moon is receding, and with it comes the weakness of the human blood in the hanyou. He will be frail. He will be easy to destroy.”
“And his bitch? The miko protects him,” Waku commented as he shot a disgusted glance down where his arm should have been.
Norimitsu digested that question in silence then nodded slowly. “The miko bitch . . . leave her to me.”
“What will you do with her?”
Norimitsu's golden eyes flashed with hatred as he flicked his long raven hair over his shoulder, stabbing the hawk youkai with his disdainful glare. “I'll kill her, of course.”
Waku nodded slowly. “They say she is his power. They say that she controls his youkai.”
“Impossible. A simple bitch—miko or not—yields no power over that.”
Waku shrugged. “They say that when she is threatened, his eyes glow red.”
Nonplussed, Norimitsu blinked almost lazily, as though the very idea that InuYasha might present more of a threat did not impress him. “It matters not. His powers will be contained if you time it right. Attack him on his night of vulnerability, and he will fall, miko or not, youkai or not.”
Waku pursed his lips, staring thoughtfully at the inu-youkai. “Why is it that you bear such animosity for the Brothers of the Fang?”
Norimitsu smiled—more of a grimace in the wan light of the waning moon. “The grudge I bear is not toward them. It was their father I reviled, and all he stood for. Loathsome lot, all of them. Better to destroy them than to suffer the living reminders of the past's mistakes.”
“Why not let your grudge rest in peace with the body of the fallen Inu no Taisho? It would be simpler than trying to exact revenge on the living.”
In a blur of movement, Waku choked as Norimitsu lifted him off his feet by a hand to the hawk's throat, his talons dangling uselessly above the ground. Norimitsu's claws glowed green—glowed venomous—and they dripped with poison that fell onto the snow and melted the ice. Norimitsu glared at the hawk youkai before tossing him away as though he was little more than a common nuisance. “This Norimitsu is not a coward, and I have my reasons.”
Waku sat up, holding his throat with his remaining hand as he coughed and struggled to breathe. `I'll kill InuYasha and Sesshoumaru,' he vowed. `Then I'll find a way to kill you, as well, Norimitsu . . . .'
`He knew right away that I was with child. Since he was youkai, and since he'd chosen to give me a child, it was known. I'll remember that night forever, InuYasha. It was the blackest of nights. The heavens were clouded over, and not a star could be seen. It was the night of the new moon, a night that would remain important to me in the years to come. Not only was it one of those moonless nights when you were conceived, but, because of that, it was the night you would become mortal. There are other reasons this night will remain significant to you, in the years to come. I'll explain that later, as your father asked me to do. But for now, I only mention it so that you will understand why those nights were special to me.
`Your father loved to sing to you. He would lay his cheek against my belly and sing softly to you. He said that inu-youkai could hear even before birth. He said that you would know his voice because of this, and that you would know mine. I used to laugh at him for doing this. It wasn't until after he was gone that I realized how much I missed it. As you grew inside me, as it became apparent to one and all that I was carrying a hanyou child, more unrest came to the Western Lands. The youkai were appalled that he had chosen me as his mate, and they were disgusted that I carried a chosen child.
`I'm afraid that in all this, Sesshoumaru grew more discontent, more withdrawn. He had never been openly accepting of me, by any means. But it wasn't until he was certain that you would be born that he grew bitter, angry. He argued with your father many times, bitterly, in raised voices that I'd not heard from either of them before. Sesshoumaru swore he would never accept a hanyou child, he swore that he would kill you before you drew breath. He thought to challenge your father as Inu no Taisho. I still have no idea how your father talked sense into his head. I think now that Sesshoumaru saw you as his rival, even before you were born. Sesshoumaru was the son your father needed in order to pass down the lands, the responsibilities. But, in Sesshoumaru's eyes, you were the child your father chose, the child of his heart. I wonder if he will ever understand that, in his own way, your father loved you both equally.'
`Sesshoumaru? Accept me? Keh! As if I give a rat's ass about that bastard . . . .' InuYasha sighed and rubbed his eyes.
Kagome tilted her head back to stare at him. “You alright?”
He tweaked her nose with his index finger. “Keh.”
“Interesting?” she asked, brushing his hand away as she nodded toward the diary.
She leaned up and rubbed his ear then kissed his cheek and settled back down with the book she had to finish for school.
InuYasha shifted a little, dragging Kagome closer before he resumed his own reading.
`He left for awhile, and when he returned, he had two swords. Tenseiga, he called one, and he said it was a sword of healing. The other was called Tetsusaiga. It was this sword that he told me would be your birthright one day, and that he hoped you would be able to harness and unlock the sword's true power. He said that Tetsusaiga was forged to protect the world of man, and that, in particular, the sword was meant for you to protect those to whom you would devote your life: your own family, your own chosen mate. I pray you've found or will find this woman, InuYasha. Life is not worth living if you close yourself off from those who see you for who you are, not what you are. You will find her, I know. You will cherish her because she will cherish you. Find her, InuYasha, if you have not already. Find her, and use your birthright to allow no harm to come to her.'
“Keh! Mother's diary is trying to make me settle down and start a family,” he complained.
Kagome giggled. “Really? Anything I want to hear?”
InuYasha felt his face grow warm. He hadn't realized he had mumbled that out loud . . . . “Aren't you supposed to be reading your boring book?”
She grinned. “I would if someone would quit talking.”
`When a new challenge arose in the form of a youkai called Ryukotsusei, The youkai had extended a challenge to your father. Ryukotsusei believed that your father had weakened because of me, and while I did not believe this, I had heard tale of Ryukotsusei's unbeatable strength. They said he bore no weaknesses in mind or in body. Your father ignored the challenges, saying that he did not need to prove himself against a vile beast such as Ryukotsusei, but when Ryukotsusei began to threaten you, his unborn child, as well as me, your father decided that he'd heard enough. I begged your father not to go. It was the first time I'd ever openly asked him to ignore a threat. It was the only disagreement that your father and I ever had or would have.
`Because of the animosity that Sesshoumaru bore for you, your father thought it would be best to take me back to Musashi, to the house of my father. If I have ever held a grudge against your father, InuYasha, it is this. How could he have known that it would be the end of him? He said he would come for me as soon as he destroyed Ryukotsusei. I said some things to him that I have wished so often that I could take back. He left me in sadness, with a pain in his eyes that would haunt me every single day since. It was that look of pain, of hurt, that I saw mirrored in your eyes so many times. When the villagers would be cruel, when you reached out for someone only to be shunned, the anguish in your eyes was the same as the look in your father's eyes on that day so long ago.
`I hadn't realized until then that I was no longer to be viewed as my father's daughter. Afforded the barest of quarters, shown the minimum of respect, I was a princess still, though it was in title only. Yet it was in this humble chamber, in this quiet room, in the midst of the night that you came into my life. It was the night of the moon when you were born. The full moon was covered by clouds now and again. Between the pains I stared through the curtains, and in the distance, I could hear your father coming for me.
`Takemaru had arrived earlier in the day. Time had made him bitter. He hadn't gotten over the idea that I had chosen your father over him. He hated this, and it was this night, Takemaru came, and I knew what he meant to do. I wrapped my arms around my belly—around you, determined to protect you, no matter the cost. I remember Takemaru saying that he cared for me, and that he would save me from the mononoke. He stabbed me, but I did not die. I could not die, not until you were born. Just after I held you in my arms, nursed you against my heart, marveled at the wonder that was you, my son, I felt myself dying. Your face was the last thing I saw before I closed my eyes, the sweet little face that looked exactly like your father. The next thing I knew, your father was there beside me, holding Tenseiga. He had saved me. He draped the fire-rat kimono over me and told me to run with you, told me that I must live, for you, but before that, he gave you a name: my InuYasha.'
InuYasha sighed and closed the diary. He'd read enough for one day. He'd read more than enough for one day. They didn't answer any questions for him. Still, he had a better understanding of what had happened in the days leading up to his birth. `So that's how Mother and I ended up with humans . . . .'
Long dormant memories that he hadn't thought about in years came back to him. Every night he'd gone to his mother, had slipped into her bed even though the others in the castle had insisted that he remain in his own room. How many times had he been caught and reprimanded? “Don't disturb the princess,” they always said. “Stay away from her! She needs not the reminder of her mistakes.”
`Her mistakes.' His lips twisted into a cynical smile that better resembled a grimace. `The chosen mistake.'
Yet in the night, when he'd carefully and quietly slip under the covers next to her, she'd always welcomed him with a quick cuddle and a warm kiss, a tweak of his ears, and, if he was lucky, a softly whispered, “I love you.”
`Mother, I . . . I miss you.'
“What are you thinking?”
InuYasha blinked quickly as the memories faded. He looked down at Kagome. She had set her book aside and stared up at him with a solemn light glowing softly behind her luminous eyes. “Thinking about Mother.”
“Do you know exactly what happened to her?” Kagome asked gently, concern furrowing her brow, darkening her gaze as she worried at her lower lip.
InuYasha shook his head and sat up, scooting back against the head board and pulling Kagome into his lap. With a soft sigh, he swallowed hard once, twice, before he found his voice, before he dared put the memories into words. His mother's cries, her voice, her quiet entreaties echoed in his ears, enough to drive him crazy. “I don't remember much . . . just that she was in a room, and . . . I remember hearing her scream . . . I remember hearing her begging them not to hurt me. I remember hearing her crying, and I remember being angry that they'd made her do that . . . and I never saw her again.”
Kagome hugged him, her arms tightening around him, as though by doing so she could erase the pain of those memories. The pain didn't lessen with her actions, but somehow he felt comforted anyway. “I'm so sorry,” she murmured as her arms tightened just a little more. “That's just . . . I'm sorry.”
“Keh. It was a long time ago. It's fine now.”
She leaned back, stared at him, offered him a small smile despite the tears in her eyes. “And you're okay now? Why?”
He pushed her hair out of her face, hooked it behind her ear. “You have to ask?”
Her smile widened, and she wiggled around, resting her head in the hollow of his neck. “No, I guess I don't.”
She squeezed him again. “Do you want to do anything special tonight?”
He made a face. “You act like tonight is something special.”
She sat up and gave him a serious look. “Well, I've been thinking about it, and I've decided that what you need is to do special things on nights like tonight, so you don't feel like they're such a terrible thing, after all. Build some happy memories so that you don't hate these nights so much.”
His gaze narrowed as suspicion took root. “Just what sort of `things' you got in mind, sneaky wench?”
Kagome shrugged. “Whatever you want to do. We could go ice skating again . . . .”
She peeped up at him through the thick fringe of sooty eyelashes then blinked. “Please? For me?”
“Kn-knock that off, sneaky wench!”
Kagome sat back with a puzzled look on her face. Suddenly she gasped as a smile surfaced and her eyes grew wide. “That's your weakness, isn't it?”
“N-n-no!” he squeaked.
“Can we go?”
She lowered her chin and repeated `the look'. InuYasha heaved a ticked-off sigh. “Keh. Fine.” She squealed happily as she launched herself into his arms again as his ears flatted against the shrill sound. `Okay . . . not such a horrible trade off . . . .'
“Are you going to wear that?”
He glanced down at his normal clothing before lifting an eyebrow and shooting Kagome a pointed stare. “What's wrong with this?”
Kagome opened her closet and started rooting around. “Nothing,” she remarked, flashing him a quick smile. “I just wondered.”
He rolled his eyes. He might as well play along since she was liable to level him with `the look' again, anyway . . . . With another loud sigh of protest, he stomped out and headed down the hall to Souta's bedroom, where Mrs. Higurashi kept the few clothing items she'd purchased for him over the course of the last couple of years.
`Gotta admit, the clothes aren't that bad,' he thought as he made quick work of slipping on a pair of loose pants that Kagome called `jeans' and a dark blue tee shirt. If they were as durable as the fire rat clothing, he really would like them. Out of habit, he tucked the shirt into his jeans and then glared murderously at the hated shoes. `Those can go straight to hell.' With yet another heavy sigh, he pulled on a thick pair of socks followed by the hideous shoes, wiggling his toes with a snort of disgust. Taking a second to pull his hair back and secure it with a black leather strap, InuYasha rolled his eyes at his reflection before snatching up his fire rat clothes and stomping back down the hall to Kagome's room.
She was sitting on the edge of her bed pulling on her loafers when he thumped through the door. He stopped and stared. It'd been so long since Kagome had worn one of her short little skirts that he had somehow forgotten exactly how long and how pretty her legs actually were. Her habit in the winter was to wear jeans since they were often traveling in the cold. The sight of so much skin was a shock to his system, and he let his fire rat clothes fall to the floor in a heap as he stared at her in absolute amazement.
“What?” she asked nervously as she sat up a little straighter. “This looks stupid, doesn't it? I'll change—”
He crossed the room and sat down next to her on the bed, struggling to pull together his scattered wits before he completely humiliated himself by saying or doing something entirely stupid, like blurt out how much he liked the sight of her legs. “Keh. Sneaky wench fishing for more compliments, are you?”
She blushed and smiled then leaned over and kissed his cheek, her fingers toying idly with the kotodama rosary. “Thank you.”
Her scent filled his nostrils, the fragrance of summer flowers, of a sun-baked meadow. He inhaled her deeply, reveling in the riot of emotions that her aroma unleashed in him. He sighed. His sense of smell was rapidly diminishing. He made a face. Becoming human always unsettled him more from the viable handicap in his senses than because of any feelings of weakness. When he had been small, it had terrified him. On those nights, his mother had held him, sang to him, had told him not to fear his humanity because it was that part of him that would make him special. He hadn't understood that, at the time. Staring at Kagome as she continued to toy with the dark blue beads, and the stark white fangs, he thought that maybe now, he comprehended his mother's meaning.
A sudden frown crossed Kagome's features as her hands fell away from the rosary. InuYasha tilted his head to the side as he waited for whatever it was on her mind this time. She sighed, scrunching up her shoulder as she twisted her fingers together in a perverse-looking mass of wiggling flesh. “How did you know? When Katosan showed up, how did you know I needed you?”
InuYasha tried to keep himself from blushing. He really, really did. He didn't want to admit the reason he had gone looking for Kagome. He couldn't even meet her gaze. `Keh! Just tell her, baka!' He snorted at his own thoughts. “I wanted to talk to —” `kiss,' “—you.”
Her cheeks darkened to a beautiful shade of `Monk-in-Pain'-red. He smiled slightly then frowned, recalling Kagome's very real upset when he'd finally found her, and the all-too-thick scent of Katosan that clung to her. “What did he say to you?” he demanded quietly.
She shook her head slowly, and for a moment, he thought she was refusing to tell him. “He said . . . he wanted to warn me. He said . . . that I don't belong with you, and that . . .” she drew a deep breath and sighed. “That I should be afraid of things worse than death.” Her eyes slowly rose to meet his, sadness awash in her stare, an understated sense of fear that broke his heart. “He asked me what you would do if I smelled like someone else . . . . What did he . . . did he mean . . . ?”
InuYasha didn't give her a chance to worry about that. Dragging her roughly against his chest, into his embrace, he held her, closing his eyes against the hurtful things that Katosan said. `I'll fucking kill him . . . I'll shove Tetsusaiga so far up his—'
“I don't like him,” she said in a tiny voice muffled by his haori.
“Kagome . . . I won't let him hurt you. I promise you that.”
He kissed her forehead then gently moved her aside. She didn't let go of him until he manually removed her fingers from his clothes. “Where—What—No!”
InuYasha shook his head stubbornly as he stalked out of the room. `Fucking bastard . . . I'll find you, new moon or not . . . .'
Kagome caught his arm just before he dropped into the well. “InuYasha, no!”
He jerked his arm out of her grasp and glared at her. “I'm going!”
She shifted his fire rat clothing into one arm as she tried to grab him again. He avoided her hand. “Wait until tomorrow, please! You can't go tonight! You—”
“I'm going to be human, I know! Damn it, wench! He threatened to rape you, or did you not catch the gist of that?” At her stricken expression, he sighed, relenting enough to lower his tone before he said, “I'm going to kill him, and I'm not waiting for morning! You stay here. I mean it! If you follow me this time, I'll . . . I'll . . . I dunno, but I'll think of something.” Before she could reach for him for the third time, he flung himself over the lip of the old well. Pinkish light lit up the well-house as he slipped through the warp, and Kagome growled in frustration.
She climbed up on the side of the well and swung her legs over. `Why do you have to be so rash?' she wondered as she dropped into the blackness. Making a face, she shook her head. He might be upset that she followed him when he told her not to. Surely he didn't really think she'd listen, did he? `Don't let me be too late . . . I've got to stop him before he does something foolish . . . .' She groaned. As she fell, she saw through the open doorway that the sun had disappeared on the horizon.
Miroku pushed out his chest and drew his elbows back. The bones in his back popped and cracked, and he sighed. Sango ran over to him, her high pony tail swinging back and forth. She took his hand in hers as the two headed back toward the village. “Congratulations, houshi-sama, there's not much more to teach you,” she remarked with a bright smile.
A sense of satisfaction coupled with the warmth of Sango's hand in his brought a wide smile to the monk's face. “You, Sango, are an excellent instructor.”
“So when are you going to stop hiding in the monk robes?” she asked lightly.
“I don't hide in them,” he replied with a grimace. `All right, maybe a little,' he allowed.
She shot him a knowing look. “A youkai exterminator wears their armor with pride,” she remarked.
She grinned at his dubious expression. “I think you look very nice.”
He didn't miss her pinkening cheeks. “Any part of me in particular or just me in general?”
“Hentai,” she mumbled but smiled.
“I'll be your hentai,” he quipped, “as soon as we're married.”
Sango missed a step. Miroku caught her, bringing her up against him. Her eyes dropped to his lips, and he grinned as a slow burn kindled in the depths of her gaze. So close that her breath fanned his lips, he nearly groaned out loud as she let herself relax in his arms. `Ah, Sango, if you had any idea what it is you do to me . . . .' He sighed, willing his composure to stay when it was ready to crumble. “Ready to ask yet?”
She blushed but smiled. “Houshi-sama . . . will you—?”
A tremendous crack rumbled through the air. Sango jumped as her eyes scanned the area, thoughts of stolen kisses apparently gone. Miroku felt like crying. `She was going to ask!'
“Tell me, where is InuYasha?”
Miroku pulled Sango, maneuvering her so that she was behind him as he stared at the youkai who was striding toward them. “He's not here,” Miroku answered. “Why do you seek him, Waku?”
The hawk youkai chuckled. “What a simple question. I want to kill him, of course.”
“I don't think he'll be as easy to kill as that,” Miroku remarked evenly.
“On the contrary. I happen to know that tonight is his night of vulnerability. Tell me—” Waku trailed off suddenly, a look of confusion crossing his features before he cocked his head to the side and asked, “Weren't you a monk before?”
Miroku shrugged. “I changed vocations.”
Waku nodded. “I see . . . all right, tell me, exterminator . . . where is InuYasha?”
Miroku clucked his tongue and shook his head slowly. “My apologies, Waku . . . I can't tell you that.”
Waku laughed. “Damn, I almost like you, exterminator-monk! Almost . . . too bad I'll have to kill you if you don't tell me where you're hiding the whelp.”
Miroku jerked the sickle out of his belt and shook his head. “Not if I kill you first.”
Then he whipped the sickle toward the youkai.
Mononoke: creature spirit.
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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.