InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Mamorikoi ( Chapter 69 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
The darkness was as thick as fog, shrouding the landscape in the deepest night, the pall of memories best left forgotten. The moon was hidden behind the shadows of clouds, whispering stillness echoed through the ears like an unkind hum, a steady drone.
Scurrying from the deepest shadows beside the hut, he ran without making a sound. `Don't wake the others . . . they'll come after you, and they'll make you go back . . . .'
He was fast certainly. He was also young, and because of that, the others didn't trust him out on his own, especially at night, especially where he was headed.
Logic assured him that, even if they were able to return, that they would certainly come straight to the village. Still, in his young mind, he couldn't help but worry that maybe—just maybe—if he wasn't there, they would leave him again.
Running through the forest as quickly as his legs would go, the kitsune burst out of the trees, headed for the gentle rise, the sloping hill where the Bone Eater's Well used to stand. `I'll wait here for them . . . for Kagome, and for InuYasha . . . . They wouldn't have left me. They'd never have left me behind . . . .'
It was true, InuYasha and he had spent more time fussing with each other and fighting over Kagome's attention than they should have. InuYasha was always jealous of the attention Kagome paid Shippou, and he had known that and had used it to his advantage, he was ashamed to admit.
But since the purification incident, things had changed so much. InuYasha had behaved more like a father to him than a big, mean, bullying brother. He'd even taken him hunting every night on their journey to Norimitsu's castle, and InuYasha had even been pleased that Shippou had been able to retrieve his mother's diary from the castle, even if he didn't come right out and say the words.
Shippou yawned and held the stuffed dog tight in his arms. Even if they weren't able to find a way back through, he couldn't deny that he felt closer to the both of them, right here, and even though Sango and Miroku would be upset that he'd taken off again, he didn't care. Sango and Miroku were his friends. InuYasha and Kagome were his family.
The kitsune cuddled up under the white knit sweater he'd dug out of Kagome's abandoned backpack. It still smelled like both her and InuYasha. He was asleep in minutes.
Kagome awoke instantly, as though her body and mind had slept far too long. `That journal!' she thought suddenly. InuYasha was already up and gone from the room. She sat up quickly and hopped out of bed to retrieve the book. Settling back against her pillows, Kagome tried to listen, making sure that InuYasha wasn't near . . . . `Let's see what he's written in here . . . wonder if he really didn't write something in here about me . . . ?'
“Oi, wench! I thought I told you to keep your sneaky nose out of that!” InuYasha remarked as he hopped in the window. Kagome shrieked and dropped the book. Before she could recover, he had it stowed carefully it his haori.
“I let you read mine!” she argued.
“This is so unfair.”
“Live with it, Kagome. You didn't ask,” he remarked as he sank down on the bed beside her and tweaked her nose.
She tried to reach for his haori. He caught her wrist. She grabbed with her other hand. He caught that one, too. “InuYasha! This isn't fair, either,” she complained as she tried to pull her hands free.
Catching both her wrists in one hand, InuYasha used his other to tweak her nose again. “I don't see the problem.”
Heart stuttering, faltering in its rhythm, Kagome felt an altogether too-nice shiver race up her spine. “I can't move,” she remarked quietly, staring into the brightness of his gaze as a strange mix of heat and churning roiled in her.
“I know . . . let's see if I can shut you up, too.”
His lips silenced her, warm, soft, delicate, and teasing. The paradox of fangs and flesh drew a soft moan from her as he stroked her cheek, wrapped his fingers in her hair. She forgot to struggle against his hold as he nibbled the tender skin on her jaw line, along the curve of her neck. A slow ache ignited, the kindling of desire nursed by gentle breath, by silken strands of faith. InuYasha's heart beat against her own, the erratic beat thumping in time with the fervor he inspired in her.
Arching her body against his, the silent question asked and answered. He pushed her back with his own weight, pressing her down, she acquiesced to him as he growled low, nestled against the crook of her neck. Rasping breath made her shiver. Claws whispering over her collarbones made her sigh. He was wild yet contained, ardent yet giving. The same gruff, surly hanyou, the man she loved, the boy that made her smile, all in the same was the one being Kagome reveled in.
She wanted to touch him, hold him. Whimpering softly, complaining without words, she tried to pull her hands out of his grasp. He growled at her, warning her to be still. She didn't listen. Bucking against him as she tried in vain to yank free, InuYasha nipped at her neck to still her. She gasped as sinuous combustion raged through her. Trembling under the soothing touch of his hand, her body reacted with a mind of its own. Her aura reached for him, wrapped around him, held him close, asked him to shelter her. He brought his mouth up to hers again. A soft whimper, a hedonistic sigh, sounds that ebbed and flowed as he teased her with his kisses.
“Kagome, InuYasha! Oh!”
InuYasha jumped away from Kagome as though he'd been scalded as Mrs. Higurashi stuck her head into the room. His face was `Monk-in-Pain'-red, only to be topped by Kagome's fire-rat-haori hue. Mrs. Higurashi, herself, was quite pink-faced, too, and she cleared her throat. “You've a guest waiting.”
Kagome groaned as her mother hurried away, pulling the door closed behind her. “How embarrassing!” she complained as she turned over to bury her face in her pillows.
InuYasha snorted. “Keh.”
The door closed behind him as Kagome sat up. The interruption had been enough to quell the moment, certainly. Now if she could make her body understand that the magic had passed, she'd be one step ahead of the game.
He was close. He could smell him. The lingering scent had been enough. InuYasha had allowed that brat to do the task for him? The hanyou thought that he would allow such a trespass to go unpunished? `Foolish . . . foolish and fatal. No one infiltrates my domain and lives to tell the tale.'
Norimitsu grimaced. The very thought of the kitsune's scent was enough to ignite the anger all over again. Sending a child? Hiding behind a bitch? The hanyou had audacity to spare. Too bad he was going to have to die.
`Rid the world of the hanyou . . . then I shall relieve the world of his brother, as well.' Sons of the Inu no Taisho . . . sons of that unnatural being . . . they would fall. They would all be put into their graves.
That strange miko was the problem. She was powerful—too powerful. The hanyou's heart burned for the miko. She somehow lent him strength. How it was accomplished, whether through witchcraft or sorcery, Norimitsu knew that she had some unearthly alliance, some prevailing presence. Raised in her was the power of countless dead mikos. They manifested their abilities, housed in the body of this one young girl.
Stronger than Midoriko, they said of the girl, powerful enough to purify the strongest youkai. Wasn't it the miko along with her first incarnation that had brought the mighty Naraku to his demise? And yet the presence of the Shikon no Tama lingered no longer.
Norimitsu had never truly desired the tainted power of the Jewel of Four Souls. It was a controlled power, governed by the will of those whose souls it contained: the living souls of those long dead. The miko wasn't his concern. Young and untried, the girl knew little of her own strength, her own power. Had it not been for the odd barrier, the bond of the two who should never be joined, she would have been destroyed long ago. Theirs was an unnatural alliance, an unholy association. Miko and hanyou—the purest and the most tainted . . . Norimitsu would show them both the weakness of their plight. To crush the miko would mean the demise of the hanyou because the hanyou made the biggest mistake of all in daring to think that a hanyou could be loved.
But first things first . . . the kitsune. He would know where to find the miko and the hanyou.
Norimitsu smiled at the sleeping child lying at his feet. Too young to sense that he was in danger, the kit slept blissfully, happily, unaware that he was soon enough to know the meaning of pain. `First I must know where InuYasha is hiding. Such a coward, InuYasha, that you will send a pitiful child such as this to steal from me? Your audacity knows no bounds . . . and because of your arrogance, this kitsune . . . . He shall die . . . .'
His plan was coming together. `Now,' he thought as he bent down next to the kit, cracking his knuckles in anticipation of what was to come, `for it to bear fruit . . . .'
InuYasha stepped into the living room and stopped short, eyes narrowing as he glowered at the youkai who dared to enter the shrine. “You . . .”
“It has been a long time, has it not, InuYasha-sama?”
“What the fuck do you want, Katosan? What are you doing here?”
“You aren't happy to see me? Why is that?”
InuYasha bared his fangs in a grimace. “Give me one good reason not to kill you.”
Katosan smiled slightly, inclining his head in a mocking show of deference. “If you kill me, you won't hear what it is I've come to tell you.”
“And why would I care?”
Kagome's soft gasp was audible to both men as the miko entered the room. InuYasha grabbed her hand and dragged her behind his back. Katosan's smile broadened. “Miko . . . how nice to see you again.” Eyes flicking back to meet InuYasha's gaze full-on, Katosan's smile took on a slight edge, a sneering quality. “So you've chosen her as your mate? I do hope you don't come to regret that.”
“Like I would,” InuYasha rumbled, his tone low yet somehow more menacing because of it. “Just tell me what you want.”'
Katosan chuckled nastily. “Why, indeed?”
“You tell me.”
Katosan shrugged. “Are you sure you want to know?”
“Damn you,” InuYasha hissed. “Just tell me what the fuck you want.”
With a sigh, Katosan relented. “Very well. You should do something about that impatience of yours. In any case, I come to offer you warning.”
“Warning? What makes you think that I'll listen to you?”
“It's about your kitsune.”
InuYasha's eyes flared wide in surprise, in alarm. “Shippou.”
Katosan shrugged indifferently. “Is that his name?”
InuYasha growled. Kagome put a hand on his back. He could sense her anxiety. “What about him?”
“Do you care so much, InuYasha-sama?”
“Damn it . . . .” Tired of the game of cat and mouse, InuYasha moved to draw Tetsusaiga.
Katosan chuckled again. “So you do care, after all. Your kit is in danger.”
“Where?” Kagome cut in as she tried to run around InuYasha. He caught her and pulled her back again. “Where is he?”
“Right where you left him, Miko.”
“In the past?” InuYasha demanded. Kagome's fear rose.
“Did you really think that a weak child such as he would live through to this time?” Katosan bowed again as he slowly strode from the room.
“Why are you warning us?” Kagome called after him.
Katosan stopped but didn't turn back. “I was asked to deliver the message.”
InuYasha glanced at Kagome's pale, peaked face. She shot him a wild-eyed look just before he shifted his gaze back to the inu-youkai. “Who sent you?”
Katosan turned his head enough to glance at InuYasha out of the corner of his eye. “It matters not, who sent me. Suffice it to say that if you fail to reach your friend in time, he will die . . . and I was asked to say one more thing to you: Mamorikoi.”
“What does that mean?”
Katosan shrugged offhandedly. “Figure it out, InuYasha-sama. Surely you aren't so foolish that you can't?”
“Mamorikoi?” InuYasha mumbled to himself. `To protect what you cherish? What the hell does that mean?'
Kagome ran out the back door as InuYasha watched Katosan leave. `Damn it! We can't go back! How the hell are we supposed to save Shippou?'
“InuYasha!” Kagome screamed.
InuYasha sprang into action, sprinting toward the sound of her distraught cry.
“You can't really blame him,” Sango remarked as she and Miroku stepped out of the forest. “He misses them. They were like his family.
Miroku shook his head and scowled. “I don't blame him,” he said slowly. “He knows better than to go running off alone. He snuck out in the middle of the night. He can't be so careless! He's just a child.”
She knew that Miroku was simply concerned about the child's welfare. Still Shippou and Miroku had been butting heads since InuYasha and Kagome's mysterious disappearance, and Sango was starting to feel like the liaison, keeping the two from coming apart at the seams over it all. “That's the point, Miroku. Shippou's still a child. He's mourning their loss as much as he would if they had died. Please understand . . . .”
“Sango, I do understand. I am simply saying that Shippou needs to know that he cannot just take off in the middle of the night when no one knows where he's gone—though we have a fair enough idea—this time.”
“Who's that?” Sango asked as she stopped short and put a hand on Miroku's arm to stop him.
A youkai bent over near where the well had once stood. He seemed to be speaking to someone . . . .
The two exterminators' alarmed expressions met. “Shippou!”
Shippou's cry was magnified in Miroku's ears as he and Sango ran forward. The youkai stopped, a sneering, gloating smile twisting his cold features with ruthless malignance. “Bring me InuYasha and his bitch or the kit dies.”
“InuYasha isn't here,” Miroku answered evenly. “Let Shippou go.”
The youkai chuckled. “Remove your hand from your weapon, exterminator. I fear nothing from the likes of you.” His hand tightened on Shippou's neck. Shippou whined. Face ashen and eyes squeezed closed, the kit didn't even struggle against the inu-youkai.
“Shippou!” Grimacing, Miroku let his hand drop from the sickle hanging from his belt. Sango winced and uttered a small cry. “Who are you?”
“My name is Norimitsu, not that it is of any real concern to you. Now tell me where InuYasha can be found.”
“Not where,” Miroku mumbled, “when . . . .”
Sango leaned closer to Miroku. “He's the one that had the diary . . . Shippou!”
“I know . . . .”
Norimitsu tossed his raven black hair over his shoulder as he glowered at the humans. “I grow weary of this! Tell me where to find InuYasha and his bitch or you'll die just like this . . . .”
“No!” Sango gasped. Time seemed to slow as the youkai lifted Shippou higher. Shippou's legs and arms flailed helplessly, as though the way he was being held hindered his ability to move. Large emerald eyes flashed open, wide in terror, in fear. A look that tore Miroku open inside, the consuming terror, the knowing gaze of one who knew he was going to die.
“Shippou!” Miroku shrieked as he drew his sickle, as he felt complete rage engulf him, a fury he'd never felt before.
Shippou's scream pierced the air as the youkai's poison claws ripped his tiny stomach. The sudden, wet gurgle that seeped from the kit's lungs as they filled with blood repulsed Miroku yet dragged him forward. Sango and Miroku's outraged cries mingled as they rushed forward. Norimitsu tossed Shippou's limp body aside with a maniacal laugh.
“InuYasha!” Kagome shrieked as she stood outside the well-house. Seconds later, the hanyou slammed through the back door. Racing to her side, he stared, too. “What's happening?” she whispered with a shake of her head.
Sapphire light radiated out of the well house, centered in the spot where the well used to stand. InuYasha started to pull Kagome back. Tetsusaiga suddenly throbbed on his hip. “Tetsusaiga?”
“ `To protect that which you cherish' . . .” Kagome whispered. “InuYasha! Can that be what Totosai meant? Mamorikoi? That you had to have someone you wanted to protect?”
InuYasha's expression was confused as he stared at Kagome. Tetsusaiga pulsed again. “Shippou . . . .”
The third time Tetsusaiga palpitated, InuYasha dashed forward, pulling out Tetsusaiga and slicing through the barrier over the door to the well-house.
A dark blue vortex swirled in the middle of the ground, in the center where the well used to stand. Staring from the swirling mist to the glowing sword, InuYasha nodded.
“Do it,” Kagome murmured as she stepped back.
InuYasha nodded, bringing Tetsusaiga over his head. He closed his eyes and drew a deep breath as he concentrated on Shippou's face, on Kagome's love. `To protect that which I cherish,' he thought as beads of sweat broke out on his brow. `Kagome and Shippou . . . Sango and Miroku . . . Tetsusaiga . . . .' Tightening his grip, bringing the blade down in the center of the fissure, InuYasha bellowed, “Mamorikoi!”
An eruption of light and reverberation shot out of the blade. The earth trembled beneath the impact as the shockwaves zipped away in ripples. The world moaned and swayed under the power of the strike as an explosion of light and dark beamed up from Tetsusaiga, encompassing InuYasha and Kagome in the brilliant light.
InuYasha's feet lifted off the ground, sank through the hole that opened beneath. “Kagome!” he called as he turned.
“I'm here!” she called back. Her hand wrapped around his arm as he held the sword, and they fell through the new time slip together. “Was that it? Mamorikoi?”
He nodded as he let go of Tetsusaiga to wrap an arm around Kagome's shoulders. “I think . . . yeah.”
Fearful eyes met his. “Tell me we're not too late,” she begged quietly.
His hold on her tightened. “We can't be too late,” he mumbled. “Hold on, Shippou . . . . I won't fail you . . . .”
“To Protect that which you Cherish”
Mamoru Protect .
Koishii cherished .
Special thanks to BakaBokken for her assistance in choosing this name . . .
== == == == == == == == == ==
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.