InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Escape ( Chapter 52 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha stumbled back inside the small hut as he swallowed the fear that burned in his chest. “What's going on?” he asked as he hurried over. Everyone was huddled together, and InuYasha couldn't see. He hesitated but stepped closer, willing himself to be calm as he drew a deep breath and peeked over Miroku's shoulder.
“InuYasha? You . . . why are you human?”
Waves of relief washed over him even as a little more guilt boiled up. Shippou was awake and was staring at him as though he had never seen InuYasha in human form before. “Oi, runt. Finally decided to wake up, did you?”
Shippou took the words for what they were: relief that the kit was improving. InuYasha lifted the child out of Sango's arms and sank back down on the floor with him. “InuYasha? I'm sorry . . . I knew you'd be mad when you found out I was helping Kagome . . . .”
“Keh.” InuYasha shook his head. “Don't apologize.”
Shippou blinked his sleepy eyes as he stared around at his friends. “I'm tired.”
“You should be,” Miroku said, relief evident in his tone. “You had us all worried.”
A frown creased the smoothness of his child-complexion as he slowly looked around the hut. “Where's Kagome?”
InuYasha glanced up. Kagome hadn't followed him back inside? “I dunno . . . maybe she wanted a few more minutes alone.”
Sango straightened. “I'll go check on her.”
Shippou frowned and yawned. “Why are you holding me? You hate me.”
InuYasha blinked quickly and cleared his throat. That didn't work, and he had to clear his throat again. “I never hated you, runt.”
Shippou shifted slightly, burying his face against InuYasha's haori. “Never really thought . . . you were a baka . . . .”
“Keh.” He cleared his throat again. “Go to sleep, brat.”
“Mmm,” Shippou muttered. “Pocky . . . .”
InuYasha blinked as a sudden wash of hot tears poked the back of his eyes as he stared down at the kitsune. His color was starting to pink up, and InuYasha couldn't stave back the intense relief that filled him. `He'll be fine . . . I'm sorry, Shippou.'
Sango came back inside with a worried frown.
“Sango?” Miroku asked as he rose and grasped her elbow.
“I can't find her . . . Kagome's not in the village, and she's not by the stream.”
InuYasha got up and handed Shippou over to Sango. “Take care of him.”
“InuYasha, where are you going?” Miroku asked, eyeing the human-hanyou with a distinct frown.
“Keh! Where do you think?”
Kaede spoke up from the herb mash she was concocting for Shippou. “I think `tis best to leave Kagome alone for awhile, InuYasha. She needs not the reminder of what she did.”
InuYasha glowered at the old miko. “What do you know about it? I heard you! I remember! You told her to do it when she said she couldn't.”
“Know ye nothing, InuYasha?” Kaede remarked. “But one look at ye hurts her. Think ye she wanted to do that to ye? She had no choice! Ye managed to break the kotodama rosary in your rage. What would ye have done to Shippou had she not stopped ye?”
“If you think I don't know what would have happened if she hadn't done it, then you're fucking wrong, old woman. Kagome should be here with Shippou. He wants her.” He stalked toward the door.
Miroku stopped him. “It's dangerous, InuYasha.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You're human, and you have enemies.”
InuYasha didn't answer that. He glared at the monk for a minute then jerked his arm away before stalking out the door and into the moonlight.
`She went home. You know she did. She blames herself.'
InuYasha didn't need his hanyou senses to know the path she'd taken. He made a face. He'd forgotten about the rosary. Had he ever been so furious in his life? He doubted it. That he'd managed to break the rosary worried him. In truth, he'd forgotten he still wore it; it'd been so long since Kagome had actually said `the word'. He couldn't really confess to missing the thing, but if they offered Kagome a sense of security, maybe . . . .
`How long will I be human? Is this a permanent thing? Or is it more like that barrier on Hakureizan? Temporarily purified . . . and Kagome . . . she wouldn't know, either . . . .' He glared at the darkened path that led him through the forest. `Maybe I should stay human . . . I can't hurt anyone like this, not that way . . . .' He sighed as an image of Kagome's sad expression led him further into the darkness, and he'd been scared. More scared in that moment than he'd ever been in his life, he'd been frightened; frightened of remaining human, frightened of returning to his hanyou state, frightened of his inner youkai blood . . . and frightened of Kagome's power.
`This is all my fault. If I'd been better at protecting her—if I hadn't failed her so often, she wouldn't have wanted to train . . . if I hadn't had to take off to hunt down Katosan, I would have been able to stop her before Shippou decided to help her . . . .'
Why did she leave? Didn't she realize that Shippou would have wanted her? Didn't she realize that, to the kit, she was the mother he didn't have? InuYasha sighed. He knew why she left. He'd have to be blind not to. She blamed herself for what had happened. A more experienced miko might have been able to better channel her purification powers and may have been able to confine them only to the intended target. But Kagome was still training.
Her voice came back to him, her sobs, her cries, her reluctance that had nearly cost them all, `I can't!' He didn't even want to think about what might have happened if she really hadn't been able to . . . .
Stepping into the moonlit field after being shrouded in the darkness of the forest was shocking. InuYasha blinked staring around at the meadow that looked wholly unfamiliar to him with his human eyes. Strange sounds of the night in the forest came to him. Normally comforting, the noises only served to add to his strange sense of being completely naked in the dark. He'd never reconciled himself to his mortal body but this time, he felt different, stranger, more vulnerable than he'd ever felt before. He unconsciously reached for Tetsusaiga only to remember too late that he'd left it in Kaede's hut.
`Because,' his mind whispered, `you always knew that with the dawn you'd return to your normal state . . . and this time, nothing is guaranteed.'
He swallowed hard as he stalked toward the well.
`I'm a monster . . . Shippou . . . InuYasha . . . . What have I done?'
Kagome sat on the bench staring at the back doors but couldn't bring herself to get up and go inside. Mrs. Higurashi would drop whatever she was doing to make sure that Kagome had a hot bath and something to eat. Souta would rush her and demand to know the latest tales from Sengoku Jidai. Grandpa would fire off questions that she was supposed to ask Miroku for him. None of those things appealed to her.
He broke the kotodama rosary.
`He broke the rosary, and he attacked Shippou because of me, because he thought I was in danger, and . . . then I . . . .'
`Didn't have a choice!'
She shook her head, furiously blinking back tears that rose to the surface. `Didn't I? Why did I ask Shippou to do this? He knew! He knew how angry InuYasha would be, but he trusted me to keep him safe, and . . . . Oh, Shippou!'
Wiping an angry hand over her cheeks to dispel the tears that had fallen, Kagome glared at her wet fingers, shining in the moonlight. `The best thing for them—all of them—is for me to stay as far away from them as I can . . . the next time . . . . No! There won't be a next time! There can't be! I can't control this power, and I never want to use it again!'
Staring at the shrine doors again, Kagome rose to her feet only to crumble back onto the bench as a savage jolt shot through her. The sudden yearning to be in InuYasha's arms again doubled her over. Forehead nearly touching her legs, she choked back a silent sob. She hadn't understood the look on his face at the time. Maybe now she did.
`He was scared . . . InuYasha was scared? Was he scared of me? Of what I'd done? But . . . I didn't want to do it, I just . . . .'
So she'd done what she always did when things got too complicated, too hard to deal with. She ran. She'd heard Shippou's voice, and then she left without a word. It was enough to know that he would be all right.
She gasped at the sound of the soft voice. Hesitation, wariness, a sense of reluctance that ripped at her already tattered soul. She couldn't make herself look at him, couldn't stand to see the awful fear in his eyes again.
“Shippou's awake,” he tried again, his tone even softer this time as he slowly came toward her. “He was asking for you.”
“He doesn't need me,” she whispered.
“Keh. You know that's not true.”
Warm hands grasped her shoulders, forced her to sit up. Warm fingers lifted her chin, and InuYasha's dark stare penetrated her skull. She tried to look away. He wouldn't let her. “Why did you run?”
“Why did you come after me?”
His gaze fell away. His frown darkened as he struggled to answer her question. “Because Shippou was asking for you.”
Unsure what sort of answer she should have expected, it wasn't the one she'd gotten. Her breath escaped in a rush, she felt as though her entire world had been yanked away. `After what you did? Did you expect him to tell you he wants to come back because he loves you?' She winced as her inner voice struck a barb straight through her heart. Another sob struggled to escape. She gulped it back, forced it away. “And because you're the only one who can get through the well.”
She pulled away, managed to stand. Wrapping her arms around herself in a wholly protective gesture, she turned to stare at Goshinboku. “It's okay . . . I think it's best if you go back now, and . . .” she closed her eyes against the gush of pain that shot through her. She willed it back. “Don't come back for me.”
With a soft gasp, Kagome didn't have time to react as he grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him. The fury in his eyes was shocking enough but as he glared down at her, she saw swirls of gold filtering into the darkness of his stare. He brought her up against his chest as her heart lurched into her throat and stuck. “What the fuck do you know about what's best?” he growled, his voice nothing more than a low rumble, a resonance she knew but caught against him, locked to him, she couldn't remember why.
She gasped again when the fangs reemerged, as his hair paled in the moonlight. `His anger,' she thought wildly. `His anger is returning his youkai . . . .' Relief washed through her as he transformed back into the hanyou she knew. If he noticed, he gave no indication. Staring at her with a fierceness that shocked her, he growled low, angry, as though his rage had once more been released.
With no kotodama rosary to protect her, with no Tetsusaiga to protect him, Kagome watched in shocked disbelief as brown shifted to gold, and gold bled into scarlet. The hands that held her tightened when she tried to pull away, and she winced. It registered in the back of her mind that he could kill her, and that he'd probably not even realize what he'd done. For some reason, the idea didn't frighten her. Maybe she was too far past the emotion that it would require to be scared. Maybe she thought that she didn't deserve to live, after what she'd done. Maybe the idea that her life would be ended by him was somehow ironically fitting. Or maybe she trusted him still, trusted that he wouldn't hurt her, not really, and maybe . . . maybe that made it all right.
A curious sense of calm washed over her, ebbed through her, left her feeling peaceful as she waited. When the onslaught came, it came with a fury. Lips instead of claws, he closed her mouth under his, took possession without relinquishing a thing to her. Dominance borne of his youkai blood, all of the rage that had brought it back shifted into a different kind of passion. It felt to her like a different kind of death, the kind that melded her soul with his.
He kissed her with a brutality that shocked her even as it rattled through her, ricocheted through her system, leaving her weak and grasping. Electricity crackled in the air around them, brushed against her skin with tingling sensation as his claws raked over her, gentle enough not to draw blood, strong enough to send more heat spiraling in wave after wave through her. She moaned against his demanding kiss. He growled savagely in reply. He meant to overwhelm her, and she didn't care.
Nipping at her, sucking on her lips, he held her to him with barely contained strength. Coursing through him and reaching her, she could feel his turmoil as human blood receded. With the triumph of his youkai blood came the unfurling of a scorching fire. Like being caught in the intense flames of the Kaze no Kizu, she felt her last traces of reason being whisked away from her. The rising tide, the rushing river washing over the waterfall, plummeting sensation as the two bodies met and melded, she wrapped her arms around his neck, stroking the base of his neck as he devoured her mouth with his.
Her aura surrounded them both slowly, faintly, glowing brighter as his youkai receded. Lulled by the touch of her hands on his neck, a rasping whine escaped him. His grip on her loosened but didn't fall away. His mouth didn't leave hers as his kiss shifted from the harshness inspired by his youkai to the gentler hanyou she knew best. She relaxed against him, and he felt it too. His body shuddered as he supported her when her knees gave way. If she knew what she'd done, she didn't show it. Taming his rampant youkai blood yet letting him keep his pride of dominance, he yielded to her as he laid claim to her soul.
His heart beat wildly under her fingers. She pressed her palm against him, as though the action would soothe him, only to find that the tempo increased, erratic yet strong.
She pulled her mouth away from his, swallowed as she stared into those golden eyes, glowing as he refused to look away. A soft sob of absolute relief escaped her, and he drew her against his chest, next to his heart, unable to do more than let her cry as he clumsily tried to soothe her.
He sank down on the bench and pulled her onto his lap, adjusting her head against his shoulder. He remained silent until she spoke. Winding down to sniffles and the occasional hiccup, Kagome nestled closer to him. She felt the tension drain from him with the simple action, and she sighed. “I don't want to train anymore,” she admitted softly.
“Look what happened today . . . I couldn't contain it. I almost—”
“I told you, it was my fault. I overreacted, and . . . .” He softly squeezed her. “Now, come on. That runt-fox was pretty upset that you weren't there when he woke up.”
She shook her head slowly. “How can you forgive me for that? I should have told you . . . .”
“Keh! Will you knock that off? I can't forgive you when there's not a damn thing to forgive. It was me.” He sighed, staring down at her with a pensive expression on his face. “Mother was right. My temper . . . I did this, not you.” He brushed the bangs out of her eyes with gentle claws.
“Maybe,” Kagome said slowly, “it was both of our faults?”
He looked like he was going to argue with her. In the end, he nodded even though she could tell from his expression that he didn't agree, that he still blamed himself, which was fine since she felt the same way about herself. “Will you come back with me now?”
She sighed and finally nodded. “Before we go, I want to go to the store and get a few things for Shippou.”
She stood up and headed for the shrine doors to say hello to her family and to get her purse. Maybe she should ask her mother if she could borrow some money . . . .
“Oi, Kagome!” She stopped and waited as InuYasha ran to her side. “You're going to buy him all the pocky you can carry, aren't you?”
She didn't deny it but she did smile just a little.
He snorted. “Guess I'd better go with you then. Pathetic humans can't carry much.”
Her smile widened just a little more as he followed her into the shrine.
“Gonna leave any on the shelf?” InuYasha asked in a bored tone as Kagome dropped boxes of pocky into the cart.
“They've got more in the back, you know.”
“You need more ramen, don't you?”
InuYasha didn't answer. He considered it for a moment before grabbing the remaining boxes of pocky and dumping them in the cart, too. Kagome raised her eyebrows but didn't comment as he stalked off down the aisle.
She grabbed some ramen for the hanyou, anyway, and hurried to catch up with him as he rounded the corner. “Wait! Shippou needs new crayons! His last set is worn down to practically nothing.”
InuYasha rolled his eyes but didn't comment as she made her way to the crayons and stationery aisle. She grabbed a box of sixteen assorted colors. InuYasha snatched it out of her hand and replaced it with a much larger box. She tilted her head to the side as she stared at him. He reddened slightly but refused to answer her unasked question.
He turned to survey the coloring books and tablets of paper. He picked up a few tablets, sniffed each one, felt the paper with his sensitive fingers, and retested a couple of them before dropping two tablets into the cart to join the pile of get-well gifts that Kagome was beginning to suspect would require two or three trips through the well to bring back, not to mention getting the stuff back to the shrine in the first place.
With a small grin, she stared at her mother's Visa credit card. Kagome had made the mistake of mentioning `Shippou' and `injured' in the same sentence. Mrs. Higurashi had immediately dug into her purse and had told Kagome to buy the `poor baby' whatever she thought he'd like. InuYasha had heard this, too, and apparently he felt no qualms in taking advantage of her mother's generosity. After all the stories Kagome had told her family about Shippou and his escapades, they were almost as fond of the kitsune as Kagome was.
Kagome blinked in surprise, drawn out of her reverie as InuYasha dropped a few preschool workbooks into the cart. `Learn to Love Reading' was one. `Learn to Love Writing' was another. She had let the other things pass, but these . . . . “InuYasha? You want Shippou to learn how to read and write?”
He didn't meet her gaze. “Keh. Don't look so shocked. I know how to do it. The runt should, too.” Kagome said no more as she followed the hanyou who had stalked away after his last surly statement. “What are all these?” InuYasha asked quietly as they rounded the corner into the toy aisle.
“Pups in your time play too much,” he decided as he stared at a game box. `Twister', Kagome read over his arm. She made a face. The last time she'd played that she was eight and she could have sworn she sprained something . . . .
“Magic?” InuYasha mumbled as he put the Twister box back and pulled another box, 101 Magic Tricks. He shot Kagome a questioning glance. “How do they box magic?”
She made a face. “It's not really magic,” she remarked. “It's mostly illusion, slight of hand.”
“Illusion . . . like a kitsune.”
Hiding her grin as InuYasha dropped that into the cart, too, Kagome thought that maybe she needed to stop the hanyou before she ended up owing her mother her first born child since she fully intended to pay Mrs. Higurashi back.
They slowly progressed down the aisle as InuYasha stopped to look at different things. Though he never smiled, she could feel an air of wonder around him. She squelched the desire to tweak his ears since they were hidden under the baseball cap he wore when they left the shrine grounds.
“Did you have toys when you were small?”
InuYasha blinked and shrugged. “A few. Nothing like this.”
She rolled her eyes with a smile. “Well, no, I didn't think so.”
“A ball . . . A few other things.”
She was about to comment when he suddenly growled low. She looked to see what he was staring at and had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing outright. The poor hanyou was staring at a row of stuffed animals, all of them cutesy-ed out almost beyond recognition of what they were supposed to be.
He slowly reached over and lifted a small white dog with cute little ears that stuck up like tiny triangles on his head. InuYasha sniffed it cautiously then turned it around, staring at it from all angles, as though he was trying to figure something out.
Catching Kagome's amused expression, InuYasha dropped the dog back onto the shelf as his cheeks reddened. He stomped away. Kagome grabbed the dog and put it in the cart, too, before following InuYasha.
Kagome shook her head at the huge sheet-wrapped parcel slung over InuYasha's back. Her own backpack felt as though it weighed a ton, and she couldn't believe they actually were able to bring everything back in one trip. “Ready?” he asked as she heaved her bag off the ground outside the well.
She nodded as she breathed in the smog-free air. Sengoku Jidai might have youkai running amok, no electricity, and other minor inconveniences, but she loved how clean the air was. “InuYasha? I'm sorry I ran away.”
She sighed at his standard answer. “Did you . . . was the only reason you came to get me because of Shippou?”
She could feel his eyes on her even though she kept her own on the grass where they walked. “That's a stupid question.”
She shook her head. “I guess so,” she mumbled as her cheeks warmed in embarrassment.
He stopped and put a hand out to stop her, too. “No.”
He sighed. “No, it wasn't the only reason.” Shaking his head slowly, he scowled. “I'm not so good with words, Kagome.”
She leaned up on her toes to kiss his cheek. “You are. You just don't know it.”
“Keh.” His gaze narrowed on her, and he shook his head slightly as he stared at her neck. “Kagome, the jewel . . . .”
She lifted the orb as she followed the direction of his eyes and gasped as she shook her head in disbelief. “This can't . . . how?”
Hakureizan(Mount Hakurei): white, spirit-power, mountain. InuYasha was purified briefly when he went through the barrier surrounding this mountain in search of Naraku.
You guys . . . have been bugging me about Shippou . . . So I bring him back in . . . and look what happens!!!
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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.