InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Negotiatons ( Chapter 59 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Thank you for giving back my calculus book, and for the nice fang punctures in the cover.”
InuYasha shot Kagome a sidelong glance. Looking distinctly exhausted and yet no less radiant, it amazed him that she could smile at him, as she had all morning, when he knew she was as tired as he was. He snorted. “Keh.”
“I didn't think you would give it back,” she went on with a shrug. “Does that mean I can't study it when you're around?”
He recognized her teasing tone and schooled his features. “Don't make the deal if you can't stand the terms.”
She sighed, apparently giving up on the subject for the moment. “Where are we going now?”
“Thought you had some exams,” he countered, unable to keep the bit of a snarl out of his tone.
“I meant after that.”
“I'm going after Norimitsu, what else?”
She stopped abruptly and stared at him. “What do you mean, you are? I'm coming with you.”
“Not this time.”
“Yes, this time. Every time. That's why I did all that training, and—”
“And you're not finished with that training. No.”
“You can't argue with your mate, wench!”
Her eyebrows shot up just before her gaze narrowed dangerously. In times past, that look was normally accompanied by a loudly uttered `it'. That the command no longer worked didn't do much to make InuYasha any less cautious of the look. “We aren't mates yet, InuYasha, and if that's how it's going to be, then we really need to discuss a few things first.”
“Like . . . what?”
“Like, in my time, mates—married mates—listen to each other and make decisions together. That's how it is supposed to be. You can't just tell me to stay behind!”
“Yes, I can!”
“No, you can't . . . I'm going, and that's final!”
“But you said—I thought—oi! That's not discussing anything!”
She wrinkled her nose. “You ended negotiations when you thought I'd just sit back and watch you leave.”
“Can't you be fucking reasonable?” he growled.
“I'm being reasonable.”
A contemplative expression crossed her features. For some reason, it worried InuYasha even more. “In that case, then I'll stay home . . . and hope that Katosan doesn't show up at the shrine . . . Or I could go visit your brother . . . Leikizu and Nibori are very nice company, and—”
“Damn, you play dirty, don't you, sneaky wench?”
She grinned and suddenly hugged him. “Nothing dirty about it. You know I'm safer with you, anyway.”
He looked like he wanted to argue that. “You think so?”
“Kagome . . . .”
She let go and fell in step beside him again. InuYasha resisted the urge to pull her back. “So what, exactly, does it mean, to become mates?”
InuYasha stopped short and blinked at her question. “Well, it just means that.”
She shrugged. “There's no marking or anything?” Judging from the look on her face, she was remembering the conversations with Kouga about that sort of thing. Reluctant was a good word for her expression. What was the other one? The more modern one she used from time to time? Oh yes, `grossed out'.
He sighed, deciding that the next time he ran into that mangy wolf, he was going to do some Tetsusaiga shoving . . . . “No marking, other than you'd sort of smell like me.” He made a face, remembering Shippou's words. “Well, more like me than you do now . . . does that bother you?”
She smiled in obvious relief. “I like how you smell,” she assured him. “No . . . peeing, right?”
InuYasha rolled his eyes. “Fuck . . . . No. Damn wolf was being a bastard, that's all.”
“I thought as much,” she remarked. “I just wanted to make sure . . . .”
`Definite Tetsusaiga shoving . . .' he thought as he started walking again.
Kagome fell silent for awhile. InuYasha sneaked a peek at her and was dumbfounded to see complete sadness in her eyes, tears welling up despite her effort to keep them back. Her chin trembled with her effort not to cry, and she struggled to breathe without making a sound. “What—why are you crying?”
She shook her head, wrapping her arms over her stomach as she forced a smile. He winced at the false brightness, hating the idea that there was something she obviously didn't want to tell him. “It's nothing,” she lied with a shaky laugh. “I'm just being a little stupid, is all . . . .”
“ `Stupid', how?”
She turned away, staring off into the trees, into the darkness of the surrounding forest. Her aura seemed to weep, the trees suddenly bending to her, offering their own kind of solace to a heart that was so broken. Hesitantly, InuYasha reached for her, drew her back against his chest, leaned his chin on her head. “Can we do this?” she asked quietly, unable or unwilling to look at him.
She shook her head miserably, as though giving voice to her worries would make them more real. “Can we be together? They're right, you know. I'm mortal. I'm human. If I'm lucky, I'll live for awhile . . . but old to me isn't old to you, and I . . . I can't stand the idea of leaving you alone.”
InuYasha tried to push his irritation aside, anger that Kagome would doubt what had taken so much for him to admit. “Keh! Don't be stupid.”
His arms tightened around her. “No! Don't you get it? It'll be enough for me.”
She turned, forced him to look at her. Her hands were gentle as she cupped his cheeks, and she stared at him with pleading in her eyes, eyelashes spiked with her unshed tears. “And after I'm gone?”
“Don't ask me things that I can't answer.”
“That's the problem, isn't it? Because you can't answer what I have no right to ask of you.”
“Keh. You have the right to ask,” he grumbled as he looked away. “You think too much, wench.”
She laughed but it was a hollow sound. “How can you say you want to be with me when—?”
“How can you ask me that?”
“You deserve to be with someone who can stay with you, InuYasha.”
Her upset only served to irritate him more. “Don't do that. Just stop it, all right? You love me, damn it, I know you do.”
She nodded finally, relaxed against him. Either she understood what he hadn't said or she simply didn't want to upset him more. Either way, he was relieved when she let it go. “And you love me, too. We'll worry about that later?”
“Keh.” InuYasha closed his eyes for a moment, held her against him as she struggled not to think about it, not to worry. `Maybe there's a way, Kagome . . . there's gotta be something because . . . I can't live without you, and one of your lifetimes won't be nearly long enough . . . .' She dropped her head back against his shoulder as his gaze caught on the Shikon no Tama.
Kaede's words came back to him, `It was Kikyou's belief that the jewel should be used for the betterment of someone, as she had wished to turn InuYasha human. But she wasn't certain, and I believe in my heart that she was wrong in this.'
And then Kikyou's words, too, `Take care of her, InuYasha . . . .'
Who was right?
“It's been too long.”
“If I had lived forever without seeing you again, it wouldn't have been too long, Ayamakita. What do you want?”
The lynx youkai slinked out of the foliage lips turning down in a sulky pout. “Is that the way you ought to greet me when I come with information?”
Amber eyes flicked coolly over the lynx vixen. “Your audacity astounds me. Does Sesshoumaru-sama know that you're skulking about his territory?”
“Oh, Katosan . . . no need to mention him, is there?” she asked as she stepped behind the youkai, pressing against him, leaning over his shoulder to nip at his ear. “He's a little cold for my liking, in any case . . . .”
“I grow weary of your intrigues, Aya. What do you want?”
“Taken to imitating your betters? Behaving like Sesshoumaru doesn't suit you, Katosan. I prefer the passion you used to show.”
He stared at her for a long moment, a slight smile lifting the corners of his lips as he sniffed lightly. “You've been playing with InuYasha-sama, haven't you? I smell him on you. What is your game?”
Ayamakita sauntered over to a fallen log and sat down with a dramatic sigh. “A sweet little nibble, isn't he? Too bad he had his human bitch with him. I don't think she cared for me at all . . . .”
“I don't imagine she would. What did you do?”
“Nothing bad . . . I just gave him a little lick, that's all.”
Katosan's eyebrows arched in surprise. “Then I should congratulate you for still being able to breathe.”
“InuYasha is too much of a puppy. You think he would harm me?”
Katosan chuckled. “I didn't think the harm would come from him, no . . . but the miko has the power to purify youkai.”
It was Ayamakita's turn to lift her eyebrows. “You sound as if you're familiar with her powers, first hand.”
“More familiar than I cared to be,” he allowed. “I'd be careful, if I were you. Get too close to her pet, and she might purify you, too.”
“Thanks for the warning.” The lynx stood and ambled around Katosan, idly rubbing against him, purring as she wrapped her arms around his neck, as she gazed at him through her jewel-like eyes. “Tell me, Katosan . . .” she traced his lips with her claws, “do you ever get lonely?”
“Not for you, Aya. Never . . . for . . . you.” Deliberately, he unhooked her arms and stepped back. “Now if there is something you wished to discuss with me, then do so. Otherwise be gone from these lands. We've no need for your presence here.”
“You inu-youkai aren't very playful, are you? Must be terribly boring . . . Norimitsu summoned me. It seems he wants my aide.”
“Norimitsu? Sinking to new lows, isn't he? Willingly associating himself with the likes of you? Or does he simply not realize that you will never be Sesshoumaru-sama's mate?”
Ayamakita wasn't amused. Those emerald eyes narrowed dangerously, and she hissed in a light, sing-song way. “Take care, Katosan. That was my choice, if you'll recall.”
“Believe what you will, Aya. Sesshoumaru wouldn't have taken you as his mate, not once he figured out the games you played.”
“Think what you will. You always did think badly of me, didn't you?”
“If it fits . . . .”
She sighed again, taking a few moments to inspect her razor sharp claws. “So you're not interested in Norimitsu's plans? Some keeper for the House of the Inu no Taisho you are . . . .”
“What's in it for me? I mean, if I share this information, then won't Norimitsu come for me, as well?”
“What is it you want?”
Lowering her chin, Ayamakita gazed up through her eyelashes, her gaze steady, calculating. “That's simple, Katosan. I want what I've always wanted.”
Katosan shook his head slowly. “Then you're talking to the wrong person. I cannot give you—”
She shot to her feet, crossed to him in one fluid movement. “You, Katosan . . . I've always wanted you.”
He didn't answer as he stared at the lynx youkai. Wrapping her arms around him, so close he could feel the scrape as their youki collided, she let her lips linger so close to him yet without touching his lips. “So what do you say? Do we have a deal?”
Katosan didn't reply right away. What she wanted was dangerous, wicked . . . seductive. “Tell me what you know, and I'll consider your offer.”
Ayamakita smiled as his youki caressed hers.
“Why don't you kick your leg when I scratch your ears?”
Kagome leaned to the side to peek over InuYasha's shoulder. “You heard me. Why don't you kick your leg when I scratch your ears? Eri's dog does . . . .”
“Keh!” he snorted. “I'm not a fucking dog! I'm an inu-youkai-hanyou—”
“Yes, yes, half-dog is still dog—”
“So why don't you?”
“Why don't I what?”
Kagome sighed and rolled her eyes. “Kick your leg when I scratch your ears?”
He gave her the `That-Doesn't-Even-Deserve-An-Answer' look. “Maybe you're not scratching in the right place,” he grumbled.
She giggled and leaned back while he snorted again and turned his attention back to Kagome's diary.
`We came across a weapon-sharpener. Miroku had his Shakuju sharpened, Sango left her weapon, too. InuYasha stubbornly refused to leave Tetsusaiga. I think he enjoys sharpening it himself with his claws just so he can make that hideous noise that I can't stand. I'm amazed he can, since his ears are so much more sensitive than mine. Anyway, back to today. When we returned, the weapons were done, and they were sharpened to perfection, which, of course, made InuYasha a little more irritated, since he'd been too stubborn to leave Tetsusaiga. When we moved on, we found a really nice hot spring so Sango and I got a wonder bath, and then the guys decided they'd use it too.'
InuYasha stopped reading with a frown. On the one hand, he remembered that incident well enough. Jaken, the little toad, had created the hot spring so that he could steal Tetsusaiga, and when InuYasha had tried to get his clothes, he'd ended up falling. There was something intoxicating about the magic spring, and, in the end, Kagome had come running and had seen a little more than he'd planned on showing her . . . .
Therein lay the problem. Did he really want to read her diary? What if she hadn't liked what she'd seen? What if she made fun of him, or . . . . Or what if she didn't?
`What are you waiting for? Read it!'
InuYasha made a face, dragging his claws over the dirt as he considered his options. `What if she didn't . . . what if she thought . . . keh! Damn it . . . !'
`Don't be such a coward! Read it!'
Then again, if he started to read it and it didn't look good, then he could always stop, right? Before he could talk himself out of it, he opened the diary again.
`We were minding our own business when the guys started to holler. Thinking something must have been happening, I ran over. But the guys were trying to get out of the water, stumbling around in a weird sort of way. They seemed almost drunk, and I saw more than I think I probably should have. InuYasha sort of flopped backward, arms out, legs spread, and it was more than I think I was ready to see. I screamed. I really screamed. I think I might have screamed louder than I have the times he's seen me like that. Ack! I'm blushing now, just remembering! I mean, I knew he had a nice chest since I've bandaged that often enough. I knew he had to have nice legs since he runs practically everywhere, and since he doesn't seem to mind carrying me most of the time. Maybe I'm sort of like a weight for him, so he gets a better work out while he's running through the forest.
`It doesn't make sense. I've taken biology and sexual education in school, and there were drawings in the manuals for class, but those sketches didn't look anything like InuYasha does. I think I might remember that forever. I mean, I had a good idea that he would be powerful, but wow. I almost wish I had Miroku's daring so I could have stared a little longer. Then again, if I had looked as much as I had wanted to, I'd still be standing there . . . .'
InuYasha frowned thoughtfully. He'd forgotten until now, how Kagome had acted weird for a few days afterward, blushing when he looked at her, avoiding contact with him if she could. She'd even gone so far as to give Shippou cups of ramen to hand over. At the time, he had thought that she had been disgusted by what she'd seen that night. `She wasn't . . . at all . . . ? She doesn't think I'm . . . unnatural?'
Suddenly he hopped up, ignoring Kagome's protests as he stalked off toward the nearby stream. “Where are you going?” she called after him.
“Keh. We've been traveling for days, and I'm filthy. Come on.”
He didn't look but he had a feeling that her jaw had just dropped. “I can't—that's not—I'll stay here.”
“I can't protect you from here, wench. Now get your swimming suit-thing and come on.”
“I don't want to swim,” she mumbled, her face reddening slightly.
“Suit yourself but you're coming with me. Someone's gotta watch Tetsusaiga. We're still on Sesshoumaru's land. I'd hate for that damn imp to try to steal it again.”
He glanced back in time to see Kagome's eyes widen as her flush darkened. It did the trick, though, and she got up, grabbed her backpack, and followed.
`Wanted to watch longer, did she? Keh! I'll give her something to watch . . . .'
“No peekin'!” he reminded her as Kagome sat on a rock beside the edge of the water.
“I don't peek!” she argued. From where he stood, he could see the heightened color on her cheeks as he dropped his haori and undershirt on Tetsusaiga.
`This might be a really bad idea,' his mind asserted as he removed the rest of his clothing and waded into the stream. `This could really backfire on me . . . .' He winced as the cold water bit into his skin. `Damn! Test your theory and get the hell out of this water before you freeze, baka!'
Hissing every curse word he knew or could make up, InuYasha dove under the surface of the frigid water and resurfaced moments later. Standing up in the stream, the water only covered his hips. “Oi, wench!” he hollered, “toss me the soap! I forgot it.”
He distinctly heard her sigh and groan before she dug into the backpack to rummage around for the soap she always carried for him. `Serves her right. She does this to me all the time, damn it . . . .'
She stood up and swung around to give it to him but stopped short, eyes widening as she stared at him. He put his hands on his hips for good measure and plastered on a glower. “Come on, Kagome! This water's cold!”
Her face shot up in flames, and she slowly moved toward the water's edge. He started wading toward her. She gasped and waved her hands. “Stop!”
He stopped. “How am I supposed to get the soap? You gonna bring it to me?”
Turning her head to the side, cheeks fast approaching fire-rat-haori-red, she cleared her throat. “I'll throw it.”
“Keh. Don't hit me.” She hurled the bar overhand in what could only be described as a wholly girlish way. It landed two feet in front of her. “Good, wench. Want me to come get it now?”
He leaned back, arms crossed over his chest. “No?”
“No,” she repeated as she retrieved the soap. “I'll . . . I'll bring it to you.” Leaning down to remove her shoes and socks, InuYasha watched in hidden amusement as the fully-dressed girl stepped into the cold water. “You're going to fr-r-r-reeze if you don't hu-u-u-urry,” she said through chattering teeth as she came closer. She handed him the bar of soap and turned to wade back to shore.
InuYasha sighed and watched her go. He'd fully intended to grab her when she was within reach—until he saw her shivering. He shook his head and grinned ruefully. He hadn't missed the change in her scent, either. There was no way she could mask that from him. Idly rubbing the soap against his chest, his smile widened.
She really did want him, just as desperately as he wanted her.
Youki: bewitching energy.
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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.