InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Katosan's Return ( Chapter 55 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“I thought you'd be happy to see me, InuYasha-sama . . . you aren't?”
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted, lifting Tetsusaiga to point at Katosan's chest. “Where the hell have you been hiding?”
Katosan shrugged. “I came to issue a warning—and because I heard you were searching for me. Pardon my absence. I was a bit . . . indisposed.”
“Is that what you call it? A warning? How dare you threaten Kagome? Give me one good reason that I should let you live.”
“Can you really kill me, InuYasha-sama?”
InuYasha growled. “With pleasure, Katosan.”
Katosan clucked his tongue, shook his head as he chuckled softly. “If you kill me, you'll never hear my words of wisdom, will you?”
“Like I care. No one threatens Kagome!”
“Is that what she said? I didn't threaten her. I simply told her some things she ought to know . . . things she ought to watch for; a bit of friendly advice.”
“You threatened to rape her,” InuYasha snarled.
“Surely you jest! I wouldn't demean myself to be with a mortal . . . no insult intended, of course.”
“I'm sure,” InuYasha remarked tightly. “None taken, you bastard.”
“Your precious Tetsusaiga . . . ? You think your pathetic fang is a match for me?”
“Pathetic, is it? Tetsusaiga was forged from my old man's fang and bonded with mine. I'd trust my life with it.”
Katosan nodded slightly. “So be it.”
The inu-youkai flew forward, swiping his claws at InuYasha. InuYasha grabbed Kagome and leapt out of the way. He deposited her and ran at Katosan. He swung Tetsusaiga with all his might, a wide blue arc of energy shooting out of the blade and engulfing the meadow in a rippling explosion of light. The shimmering light lingered, the bright blue hovering over the earth like fog. It dissipated slowly as the smell of seared grass rose up strong, heavy. InuYasha gaped in the wake of blast, narrowing his eyes as he glanced at Tetsusaiga, at the bright blue of the glowing blade. `What the . . . ?'
He didn't have a chance to consider what had caused the attack because Katosan, while pushed back by the blast of energy, fought through it and lunged at InuYasha. InuYasha stepped aside and swung Tetsusaiga, catching Katosan's hand with the tip of the Fang.
Katosan hissed in pain and jerked his hand back as he landed, hunkered down on the ground. Cradling his injured hand to his chest, Katosan stabbed InuYasha with a penetrating glare. InuYasha let the sword rest on the ground as he waited for Katosan to stand. “Get up, Katosan,” he taunted. “Keh! Mother was mistaken. You're weak.”
Katosan's arm dropped to his side as he rose slowly to his feet, eyes flashing with angry light, the tight hold on his emotions straining. “You're reckless, InuYasha-sama. You've always been reckless. You've never considered the consequences of your actions. That is why you'll fail.”
“And you're fucking dead!” Dragging the blade along the ground, InuYasha closed in on Katosan fast. He lifted the blade with a mighty swing. Katosan managed to leap back in time to avoid it, bringing his hands up to knock InuYasha's hold on Tetsusaiga loose. The sword flipped end over end through the air, landing point down in the grass. InuYasha didn't spare it a second glance as he lunged at the youkai again. “Sankon-tetsusou!”
He caught the top of Katosan's armor. It crumbled away as the youkai jumped back. InuYasha landed on his feet, hunkered down with his fists on the ground, and he glared at Katosan as the youkai chuckled. “Do you fight me for yourself, or do you fight me for her?”
“That's a fucking stupid question. I fight you for her.”
“You haven't learned yet, have you? Sometimes you have to fight for yourself and leave the weak to perish.” Katosan held his hand out, palm up. A ball of red flame grew in his hand. It flew off his hand straight at InuYasha.
He dove to the side, avoiding the blast as he rolled to his feet and threw himself at Katosan again. Slicing his claws through the air, InuYasha felt a rush of sober satisfaction as his claws struck Katosan's shoulder and shoved the youkai back. “I'll always fight for Kagome!”
Katosan landed on his feet but slid back. Seconds later, he flew at InuYasha, catching the hanyou in the center of his chest and sending him sprawling into the dirt. “Now, InuYasha-sama . . . your lesson's over.”
The fire blast that erupted from Katosan's hand came at him too fast to be avoided. He tried to push off the ground, to leap out of the way. A sudden flash of blue erupted around him, and InuYasha stared as Tetsusaiga's barrier engulfed him. Katosan's flames hit him and dispersed as the Aoirotoku dimmed then faded.
“Damn it, wench!” he growled as Kagome dropped down beside him. She shoved Tetsusaiga into his hands as he shoved her. She stumbled back. “Get back!”
Tetsusaiga transformed as InuYasha leapt off the ground and swung the fang in a wide arc. The Kaze no Kizu that shot off the blade as he brought it down raced across the meadow scorching the grass in a wave of flame that radiated off the earth and made the ground tremble.
Katosan pushed off the ground with a nasty chuckle. “The Kaze no Kizu did nothing to save your father,” he taunted. “It will not save you, either.”
“You'd be amazed at what I can do,” InuYasha growled as he brought up Tetsusaiga again. “Just try me.”
“Has Norimitsu come for you?” Katosan countered.
InuYasha stopped. “What do you know?”
Slowly, deliberately, Katosan drifted back to the ground. “Norimitsu. Has he come for you? Has he come for her?” he asked, nodding toward Kagome.
InuYasha gnashed his teeth, glowering at the inu-youkai. “Why would Sesshoumaru's uncle come after me?”
Katosan made a mocking bow. “Indeed. Perhaps you ought to ask him. I've little doubt he'll come for you. He hates hanyous almost as much as he hates humans . . . almost as much as he despised your mother.”
“I'm not done with you,” InuYasha pointed out as Katosan deliberately turned his back on him.
“Would you cut me down when I have my back to you, son of the Inu no Taisho?”
InuYasha growled in frustration as Katosan kept walking. He raced forward and stopped before the youkai. “No, I wouldn't. Good thing you're facing me now.”
Katosan glowered at InuYasha. “Don't be a fool, InuYasha-sama. I've no desire to cut you down. On the contrary. I only seek to serve you.”
“Cut the crap. I know what you want, and I know why you want it. Thing is, I don't give a rat's ass about Musashi, and I really don't care about my supposed birth-right. All I care about is that you'll never—ever—threaten Kagome again.”
“Pathetic, to only care for the love of a mortal. I had hoped that you would outgrow such sensibilities.”
“Keh. I've had enough talking. You're not walking out of here, Katosan.”
Katosan shook his head. “You cannot defeat me, InuYasha-sama. You have not the skill to do it. Be thankful that I choose to allow you to live.”
“Be thankful that I'll kill you quick,” InuYasha snarled as he swung Tetsusaiga. It should have struck him. It should have killed him. With a nasty chuckle, Katosan dissolved in a flash of red light that rose above the meadow and shot off toward the northwest.
“Damn it!” InuYasha snarled as he slammed Tetsusaiga into the scabbard, glaring after the retreating youkai.
“InuYasha!” Kagome called as she ran to his side. “Are you alright? Did he hit you?”
“Keh. I'm fine.”
“What was that wave attack?” she asked as she pulled his shirt open to inspect his chest where he'd been struck.
“I don't know,” he admitted as he watched her survey him for any damage.
She frowned. “Not even a scratch,” she finally said.
“I told you.”
She wrinkled her nose as she checked his wrists, his hands. “You can humor me.”
“Keh! I was humoring you.” He headed over to retrieve the bag. He stopped suddenly and stared at Kagome. “Did you do that?”
“Do what?” she asked as she walked beside him.
“That barrier . . . when he shot that flame at me.”
Kagome shook her head. “No . . . I got Tetsusaiga and it sort of moved, like it wanted to be pointed at you.”
“Aoirotoku,” InuYasha muttered. `I can see why it would protect Kagome . . . but me?'
“Aoirotoku,” he repeated. “The Blue Shield barrier . . . Myouga said something about it.”
She stopped and touched his arm. “What is going on with your sword? Don't you think we should figure this out?”
He frowned at her. “You think I haven't been trying?”
Kagome raised her eyebrows. “Things are starting to get a little weird.”
InuYasha started walking again. “You're telling me.” Between Tetsusaiga turning blue, Katosan's reappearance, his mother's diary, and Sesshoumaru's uncle that apparently wanted both him and his own nephew dead, InuYasha felt like he was about to lose his mind.
The trees bent, swayed, gave credence to the ominous presence. The lynx youkai known as Ayamakita waited in silence. Her golden hair blew with the breeze, the fine tendrils as soft as the down on a baby bird. Her jewel-like green eyes scanned the forest as she tapped her claws on her forearms impatiently. Clad in the orangey-yellow with black spots of her kind, she blended into the background. `Where are you?' she wondered as her cat-like eyes narrowed dangerously. `How dare you keep me waiting . . . ?'
“Ayamakita, how good of you to come.”
She turned her head toward the voice and shot him an insincere smile. “How good of you to summon me, Norimitsu. Tired of the stench of the dogs?”
Norimitsu winced, indulging the feline in her own game. “Careful, Ayamakita . . . Put your claws away. I have a task for you.”
She chuckled, a deep, sultry sound. “I've never bent to the sway of your kind. Why ever would I start now?”
“I need assistance, and I think you could be the one to help me.”
“Curiosity killed the cat, or so they say. I'll bite. What is it you think is worth my while?”
Norimitsu grinned, tossing his raven hair over his shoulder. “I want you to destroy the sons of the Inu no Taisho . . . the Brothers of the Fang: Sesshoumaru and InuYasha.”
Her chin lifted as her eyes flew to lock with Norimitsu's. “Sesshoumaru . . . . Now there's a name that brings back memories . . . . Can't you destroy them on your own?”
“So you don't wish to garner revenge?” he countered.
“It was a long time ago . . . I burned my bridges, Norimitsu.”
Norimitsu deliberately let his eyes rake over the lynx. “And bridges were made to be rebuilt, weren't they?”
“What's in it for me?”
“The hanyou protects the miko, and the miko protects the Shikon no Tama.”
“The Shikon no Tama, you say?” Ayamakita thought it over. “They say that whoever possesses the jewel possesses the power of the gods, themselves. And you would let me take this?”
“I have no desire for the power of the gods. I only wish to see the brothers dead and bring an end to the house of the Inu no Taisho.”
Ayamakita nodded slowly, a small smile toying with the corners of her pouty lips. “Then consider the Brothers of the Fang as good as dead.”
Norimitsu watched the lynx youkai saunter off, disappearing into the foliage, blending in as though she were one with the forest. He smiled. `Ghosts come back to haunt you, Sesshoumaru . . . and this time nothing will save you from her wrath . . . .'
InuYasha cringed and flattened his ears as Kagome squealed again, clapping her hands and bouncing up and down just a little as she and Sango discussed Miroku's proposal. The monk-exterminator was conveniently missing, and InuYasha was about to sneak out the door to escape the blatant female happiness that was choking—and deafening—him.
“I'm so happy for you!” Kagome screeched. “When are you getting married then?”
Sango shrugged. “We haven't actually decided yet.”
“Keh! Not soon enough, if I know that lecher,” InuYasha mumbled. No one heard him.
“Women!” Shippou intoned with a disgusted sigh as he climbed into InuYasha's lap. “I don't get what they're all excited about.” He grew quiet a moment, sucking on the lollipop Kagome had brought him this time, then leaned back to look up at the hanyou. “InuYasha . . . why do humans have to get married? Isn't that the same as taking a mate?”
“Keh! And what the hell are you doing, talking about that, runt?” InuYasha growled as he felt his cheeks redden.
Shippou shrugged then sniffed InuYasha in confusion. “You mean you haven't made Kagome your mate yet? What are you waiting for?” InuYasha didn't think. Instinctive reaction took over, and he flipped the kitsune's nose. “What'd I say?” Shippou wailed as tears filled his eyes.
InuYasha set the kit on the floor and stomped out of the hut. Shippou's cries escalated as InuYasha flattened his ears and headed for the solitude of Goshinboku.
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted as he ran through the forest toward his destination. All the talk of human marriages and mating was unsettling. `Why would Shippou think that Kagome and I . . . that we . . . ? Keh!'
InuYasha scowled as he increased his speed. `Damn that monk . . . this is all his fault . . . he just had to ask Sango to marry him . . . .'
He reached Goshinboku in record time and leaped up high in the branches without missing a stride. `You know why Shippou thinks that, baka,' his conscience spoke up, `because her scent is all over you, and your scent is all over her. It was an automatic assumption, given what the two of you have been doing lately . . . .'
The entirely too pleasant memory of Kagome's kisses by the well assailed him, and InuYasha nearly fell off of his perch as he groaned. He made a face as he forced the memories aside. `I wouldn't be in this predicament if she didn't smell like she does, or if she didn't smile at me the way she does . . . if she didn't look at me like she thinks I can defend her against anything . . . . Ah, who the hell am I trying to fool? I'd still want her . . . .'
He sighed. The real problem wasn't what he did or didn't want. His trouble was that he didn't know exactly what he was supposed to focus on. Before he'd always had one singular goal. In the beginning, his goal had been to survive. As he'd grown older, his goal had become obtaining the Shikon no Tama to become a full youkai. After he'd met Kikyou, then his goal had shifted to desiring to be with her. And then Naraku . . . and Kagome.
It had occurred to him before, that Kagome was the difference to him. When she released him from Kikyou's arrow, she'd given him a new focus. It was a strange thing, really. It would have been so easy, if she hadn't broken the jewel. If she hadn't, he wouldn't have traveled with her. He wouldn't have gotten to know her. He'd have found a way to get the Shikon no Tama from her and would have used it to become a full-youkai. He didn't have a doubt in his mind that if that had happened he would have been dead by now, too.
When Kagome had inadvertently shattered the jewel, InuYasha had been furious. Furious with the fates that had stuck him with a useless, pathetic, helpless human as the only one who could actually see the shards of the jewel, furious that she didn't seem to understand the seriousness of what had happened, furious that she was apparently Kikyou's reincarnation . . . .
When had he stopped thinking of her in terms of his `jewel detector'. Had he ever really thought that at all? `No, I never did. I used that as an excuse, sure. But after Kikyou was resurrected, I never really thought of her as anyone but . . . Kagome . . . .'
On the one hand, his instincts told him that Katosan was up to something. It was easy to assume that he simply wanted InuYasha to survive in hopes that he could be persuaded to reclaim Musashi. InuYasha shook his head. He didn't want Musashi. He never had. He'd had far too much of the ruling class as a child. He'd be damned before he ever willingly returned to that, and he'd be double-damned if he'd let Katosan manipulate him into doing that just to return the land to Sesshoumaru.
Then, too, was Norimitsu. Whatever his agenda was, InuYasha wanted no part of it. He'd never even met the bastard before, and it was entirely too odd that the youkai knew so much about him. The more he thought about it, the more he believed that Norimitsu did possess Izayoi's diary. There were too many coincidences. How else would Norimitsu know what InuYasha or his mother smelled like? How else would he have known when InuYasha would be human? `If I find him, I'll find Mother's diary . . . but why the hell does he have it?'
And Tetsusaiga. What the fuck was going on with his sword? It all started when he'd had that miniscule crack repaired. Myouga had admitted that Totosai had done something to it. Still, it made no sense, either. The blue aura that made the fang glow with a curious light was growing steadily darker. Almost the shade of the noonday sky, today it had chosen to cast Aoirotoku on him when Kagome pulled it out of the earth. Why did it respond to her at all? She was human, mortal. The blade was a youkai blade, and even though it possessed a barrier that prevented youkai from touching it, it had also never reacted in the slightest to a human, other than the one night when he had been human and Aoirotoku had saved Kagome.
He sighed. On top of all that, Kagome still held the Shikon no Tama; add to that the idea of purifying the jewel worried him more than he dared to admit, and, well, it seemed like the only things he was positive about were his feelings for Kagome. She gave him calm, gave him center, gave him reason in the uncertainty. She was his light, and even when she was sad, she still gave to him, because that was who she was, and that was what she needed to do. In the same way that he was driven to protect her from harm, she was driven by the desire to . . . .
Deliberately, InuYasha cut off his thoughts, unwilling to give a name to what he knew, ultimately, was her reason. She'd written as much in her diary. She'd let him read her innermost thoughts, her feelings, and he knew why, even if he didn't understand. He might never understand . . . .
“InuYasha? Are you up there?”
“Aahh!” he screamed as he plummeted through the branches and landed on his back under Goshinboku. He sat up slowly, glaring at Kagome, who had rushed over to kneel down beside him. “Don't sneak up on me, wench!”
“I didn't sneak,” she pointed out reasonably, “and what about your super-keen doggie nose?”
“Keh! Leave my `doggie nose' outta this,” he grumbled.
She frowned at him thoughtfully. He could almost see the wheels turning in her head. A wicked sparkle lit the depths of her gaze, and Kagome giggled. “You've been falling out of an awful lot of trees lately, InuYasha . . . something bothering you? You know, you really ought to talk about such things . . . .”
“Oh, you're funny, sneaky wench.” He tweaked her nose.
She tweaked him back.
“Oi!” he sputtered indignantly, “you're not supposed to do that to me!”
“Well, I didn't deserve that, either.”
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted and closed his eyes as he lifted his chin. “The male is always the disciplinarian,” he remarked haughtily. “It's the male's responsibility to make sure that the female behaves, and that the pups learn respect and—why are you looking at me like that?”
Staring at him with her mouth hanging open and a rather shocked expression on her face, InuYasha felt the burn of embarrassment creeping up his cheeks as she gaped. “But doesn't that only apply to—”
“I know what it applies to!” He shot off the ground and stomped away.
Kagome ran up beside him. “So . . . you're saying that I should let you tweak my nose whenever you think I've been naughty, and that I am not allowed to do the same to you?”
He considered that. “Yeah, sounds about right.”
“And how is that fair?”
“Keh! Fair has nothing to do with it. It's the way of the world.”
“Not in my world, it isn't,” she grumbled.
He rolled his eyes. “In the world of the youkai, that's exactly how it is, and you might as well get used to it, because—”
“Because why?” she cut in softly, studiously avoiding his gaze.
His embarrassed flush was back with a vengeance. “Because, since you travel with me . . . under my protection . . . then I have the right to make sure you don't get too sneaky, wench.”
The quiet hurt in her expression was a hard thing for him to see. His words hadn't been what she thought he'd say, and she shook her head just a little, as if to ask herself what she was thinking. She sighed, and her smile was paper-thin. “I told Sango I'd bring her back some material for a nice kimono. I think I want to go back and get that . . . .”
InuYasha flinched. `Baka! Baka, baka, baka!' He watched as she walked away, shoulders slumped and looking entirely too defeated for the Kagome he knew . . . . “Wait! Oi! Kagome!” He ran to catch up with her. She wouldn't look at him. “I'll come with you,” he offered. “I, uh, was sorta harsh with Shippou . . . .”
She shook her head. “I think . . . I'd rather do this by myself.”
He watched as she turned and ran to the well. She didn't look back as she hopped in. She didn't wait for him, after all.
He hadn't meant to hurt her. He just didn't know how to say what it was that he should have said. He wasn't good with words. She knew that. `Excuses aren't going to help you, InuYasha. Eventually you'll have to tell Kagome the truth. ` With a sigh, he dug into his haori, pulled out the red stone, the wishing stone. He stared at it for a long time, holding it in his hand before he brought it to his chest. `I'll make that wish now, Kagome . . .' and he closed his eyes to make his wish.
Ayamakita: North Night Rain …
In answer to some questions: Nope, there has been no defiling . . . when the defiling happens, I'll be sure to post lemon warnings on the chapters . . . along with links to the perspective lemon/clean chapter posts.
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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.