InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Operation: Payback ( Chapter 77 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
The silence that surrounded the lone figure standing on the hillside was a bitter thing. Cruel, taunting, as though it were mocking him, he stared at the festively lit village in the distance with a curious melancholy. `InuYasha is there. They've accepted him? The influence of the miko . . . . She has made them see . . . .'
How could it be?
The wind rose, escalated, fitting his mood so perfectly. Gaze shifting to the horizon as the sun sank below the trees, a hint of a brewing storm filling his nose with the pungent scent of the rising earth. He blinked, no change in expression, as the familiar scent came to him. He didn't turn, made no overtures to indicate that he knew of the intruder. Eyes fixed on the village so far away, only to the ears of the youkai could the sound of merriment be discerned.
“Why are you here?”
“I come to warn you. Norimitsu is coming for you.”
Sesshoumaru's golden gaze shifted to the side, the slightest movement as his eyebrows drew together. “This Sesshoumaru fears not the pathetic likes of Norimitsu.”
“You need not fear him, Sesshoumaru-sama. Simply accept my warning for what it is.”
“Save your warnings for the weak, Katosan.”
Katosan nodded slightly. “And InuYasha-sama?”
Sesshoumaru's gaze shifted back to the village. “What of him?”
Katosan shrugged, a half-attempt to show deference where it was due, even to a worthless half-breed. “Norimitsu wants to destroy him, as well.”
Sesshoumaru's lips twisted into a vague half-smile. “Many are those foolish enough to try to quell the threat InuYasha poses. They learn.” Turning just enough to peek over his shoulder at the other inu-youkai, Sesshoumaru nodded once. “Surely you know of this, first hand, or am I mistaken?”
Katosan winced. “It was not InuYasha-sama who sought to destroy me but his miko.”
Sesshoumaru chuckled, a dry sound—one that was rarely heard. “I warned you, Katosan. Pity you heeded not my words.”
“So you did,” Katosan agreed with a slight nod. “So you did.”
“From whom did this information come to you?” Sesshoumaru asked, deliberately ignoring Katosan's cryptic tone.
Katosan shrugged. “The warning came from Ayamakita, though I've not seen her since.”
Sesshoumaru's eyes flared slightly at the mention of that name. “And you are fool enough to believe anything she has to say?”
“Her warning was clear enough though I can understand why you harbor reluctance to believe her. There used to be a time when you would have listened to her.”
Sesshoumaru nodded vaguely. “Perhaps, once.”
Katosan stared at the tai-youkai's rigid stance, the icy demeanor that veiled him like a cloak. The very things that made Sesshoumaru a feared and respected leader were the very things that demanded a life of solitude. “Norimitsu is more dangerous in his ability to commission others to aide him.”
“That may be. Too bad he's lost the swaying factor.”
“What do you mean?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged slightly. “The Shikon no Tama. The miko has dispelled it.”
Katosan seemed surprised by the information. “Does she possess that much power?”
Sesshoumaru's cool gaze flicked over the fellow inu-youkai. “Ask me not such foolish questions. You know she does, and now her power is far, far greater.”
Katosan's amazement grew. “Greater?” he echoed. “Was she not strong enough? How would she gain a greater power?”
Sesshoumaru smiled slightly, no more than a lightening of his eyes, a slight turn of his lips. “She has been mated, Katosan. Your attempt to separate the two has failed, and InuYasha . . . . He is stronger, as well.”
“You sound as though you find this troubling,” Katosan pointed out.
The hint of a smile faded quickly. “Do not underestimate me, Katosan. If I wished to destroy InuYasha, I would do it. There is no point. There is no need. InuYasha is reckless. He shall destroy himself with minimal assistance from outside interference.”
Katosan's gaze narrowed. “And you would seek to prevent this?”
Sesshoumaru stared at the village once more. “I seek to aid nothing, just as I seek to prevent nothing. I change no one's destinies. Remember that, Katosan.”
Katosan nodded slowly, eyes lighting with ironic amusement. “Understood.”
The wind shifted, tossing Sesshoumaru's silvery hair into his face. “Was there something else, Katosan?”
Digging into his sleeve, Katosan pulled out a very old scroll and handed it to the tai-youkai. “It is time to give you this.”
Sesshoumaru stared at the rolled parchment with a marked frown. Sealed closed with a smudge of white wax, the scroll still carried the hint of a familiar scent. “And what is this?”
Katosan shrugged as he turned to leave. “It is for InuYasha-sama, should you choose to give it to him. He might find it of sovereign interest . . . eventually.”
Sesshoumaru watched as the youkai disappeared into the trees before his gaze settled back on the roll of flimsy paper. `For InuYasha, is it? And I am now nothing more than his delivery service.' A bitter grimace surfaced, one that bespoke the irritation, the constant abrasion that everyone insisted on coddling the half-breed. `And so it shall be . . . at my own discretion.'
Sesshoumaru stared at the scroll for another long moment then stuffed it in his armor before turning his back on the sight of the village below and walking away.
Peeking over his arm toward the ground where Kagome stood below, he snorted. “Is that feast over yet?”
She giggled. “Yes . . . .”
Dropping out of the tree to land in front of her, InuYasha quirked an eyebrow as he stared at Kagome's mischievous little smile. “What are you plotting?”
“I offered to help Sango get ready for her wedding night, is all . . . .”
InuYasha's gaze narrowed as trepidation rose. “Why do I think this has something to do with me when it really shouldn't?”
Her smile widened. “Well . . . .”
“Spit it out, sneaky wench. What are you thinking?” Her giggle was soft, soothing in his ears. Reaching up, leaning against him, she captured one of the fuzzy appendages in her nimble fingers and rubbed. “Keh. You use me for my ears, I know it.”
“And you love it,” she mumbled as her giggle escalated. “Anyway, can you keep Miroku busy for a little while? Just long enough for me to help Sango?”
InuYasha heaved a long-suffering sigh as he eyed his mate with careful speculation. “And what's in it for me?”
She grinned, her slight flush apparent even in the dim light of the fires—and the full moon. “Oh, I don't know . . . maybe I can think of something . . . .”
Leaning up to quickly kiss his cheek, she turned and ran off as he shook his head. `How does she do that?' he wondered as he stomped off with a loud snort of self-disgust that she could so easily manipulate him into doing her dirty work. Heading off to find the newly-married ex-monk, InuYasha sighed. `Because, baka, you like it when she manipulates you.'
He snorted again but smiled just a little. `Shuddup.'
Miroku watched in abject depression as Kagome took Sango's hand and led her off toward the small hut the villagers had built for the couple. Situated next to the slightly larger hut that had been erected at the same time for Kagome, InuYasha, and Shippou, the only other hut on that side of the village was Kaede's.
InuYasha watched as the lecher got up to follow the women. His hand, heavy on Miroku's shoulder, stopped him. “Where do you think you're going?” he asked, careful to keep his tone neutral.
Miroku shook his head and sighed. “Well, I was going to go chase down my wife,” he grumbled.
InuYasha swung Miroku around and slapped him on the back, sending Miroku staggering forward. Tossing a narrow-eyed glance over his shoulder, Miroku made a point of imitating InuYasha's infamous, “Keh! You can't maim me until after my wedding night,” he pointed out.
“Come on, pervert,” InuYasha growled, grabbing Miroku and tossing him over his shoulder as he bolted out of the village and into the forest despite Miroku's loud protests.
“What do you think you're doing?” Miroku hollered as InuYasha sped through the trees. “This is just a little embarrassing, InuYasha . . . think you could put me down now?”
“Nope,” InuYasha answered with a grunt as he pushed off the ground.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Will you shut up already? Sango's got some sort of surprise for you or something.”
Miroku considered that for a moment then sighed. “Aren't there other things you'd rather be doing than dragging me wherever it is you're going?”
InuYasha stopped in the middle of a small clearing deep in the forest and dumped Miroku off his shoulder. The monk landed on his rear with a wince. Miroku sat up and pinned the hanyou with a glower as InuYasha schooled his features. “So how long are we going to stay out here?”
InuYasha shrugged. “Dunno.”
“This . . . isn't very amusing, InuYasha.”
“Do I look amused, monk?”
That didn't appease Miroku, either. “Look, can we just go back now?”
“Nope. Kagome said to keep you busy awhile.” The monk stood up slowly, hands on hips as he glared at InuYasha. Unimpressed by the monk's show of irritation, InuYasha crossed his arms and snorted. “It ain't working, lecher.”
Miroku's glare darkened to a mutinous scowl. “InuYasha . . . .”
InuYasha rolled his eyes as the monk turned away to stare at the surroundings, and likely to get a grip on his rising temper. With a slight smile, InuYasha stepped back, retreating in silence, melding into the forest before the monk was any wiser.
`Keh!' InuYasha gloated as he leapt into the night. `That'll teach that monk to keep making my life hell. Purify yourself, you lecher.' Very deliberately, InuYasha pushed aside the inner voice that told him that Kagome was very likely going to give him ten kinds of hell over this . . . . `So he can't defile Sango for a few extra hours. He'll jump on her the first chance he gets, anyway. It's not gonna kill him . . . and as for Kagome . . . Keh! I'm not scared of her!'
All the same, he slowed just a little and considered going back for the monk. In the end, though, he snorted loudly and increased his speed as he neared the familiarity of his forest.
Dropping to a walk just outside the village, InuYasha sighed. `Who are you trying to fool, baka? She's going to kill you . . . and if Kagome doesn't, Sango just might . . . . Wonder if Mrs. Higurashi still hates me . . . ?' He was seriously considering going to find out the answer to that question when an all-too-familiar voice called his name.
“InuYasha? Where's Miroku?”
“Miroku?” InuYasha echoed as he blanked his features and turned to gaze at his smiling mate.
Kagome's smile faltered as her eyes took on a suspicious glint. “InuYasha, what did you do?”
Pinking cheeks that were hidden in the shadows of night, InuYasha turned his face away, unable to meet her penetrating gaze. “Keh! You're supposed to trust your mate, wench, or didn't I tell you that?”
“Keh,” she retorted, arms crossed over her chest as she narrowed her eyes even more. “You're acting weird, and Miroku's not here . . . what did you do with him?”
“You said to get him out of here,” InuYasha pointed out, unable to meet her stare as he stepped back. “Anyway, I just did what you told me to do.”
“What I . . . ? InuYasha . . . .” Suspicion became alarm as she tapped her foot impatiently. “You'd better undo whatever it is you've done, or you'll be so sorry!”
“Keh! I'm not scared of you!”
She sighed out of sheer frustration. “You will be, if you don't go get him . . . you left him somewhere, didn't you?” InuYasha didn't answer as he scrunched up his shoulders and flattened his ears before Kagome started yelling in earnest. “Now quit pouting and go get him!” She started away, having had the final word, but stopped and spun around to glare at him. “You'd better hope Sango doesn't kill you, herself.”
“I'm still not scared of you, wench!” he insisted stubbornly, stomping after her to prove his point and convincing himself that the only reason he stayed back was because he wasn't going to run to catch up with her.
“InuYasha? Have you seen Miroku?”
InuYasha winced at the voice that called out to him. Turning slowly to face Sango, who was standing in the doorway of her hut with the bamboo curtain hiding most of her from view, InuYasha wondered whether he could get away with acting like he hadn't heard her. `Keh . . . wishful thinking . . . and you may pretend not to be scared of Kagome but you know Sango is a totally different story . . . .'
“Yeah, I saw him,” InuYasha mumbled. “Did you need him for something?”
The incredulity on Sango's face might have been amusing—if her hand didn't disappear from the doorframe, likely groping around for Hiraikotsu. “Keh!” he snorted as he turned on his heel and sped out of the village. “None of you women can take a joke, can you?”
It took another twenty minutes to reach the clearing where he'd dumped Miroku. The meadow was still there, but the monk was not. InuYasha shook his head slowly, envisioning the Great Hanyou Hunt that would happen if he didn't find the damn lecher quickly. The idea that Kagome and Sango would be at the head of the mob after whatever part of him they could catch was enough to make him cringe as he lifted his head and sniffed the air for any sign of the monk.
His scent was still fresh, which meant that he couldn't have gotten far. Following his nose, InuYasha lit out at a dead run.
“Miroku!” InuYasha hollered, scanning the dense forest. He didn't have to go far. Sitting atop a fallen log glaring at him was the monk.
“I didn't complain too much when Kaede just assumed I'd dishonor Sango by trying things with her before we were properly married,” Miroku commented as he stared through the canopy of leaves above at the full moon high overhead. InuYasha stopped and folded his arms together. “I didn't get upset when you told Kagome's mother that I was a pervert so that she'd ask me to sleep in the main house instead of in Kagome's home with Sango.” Miroku shook his head slowly. “I didn't even complain when you refused to get that dancing girl away from me sooner.” Turning his face to stare at InuYasha with a very dark scowl, Miroku drew a deep breath. “But this . . . ? I'm not supposed to be in the middle of the forest, completely alone on my wedding night! The least you could have done would have been to abandon me out here with Sango!”
“Keh!” InuYasha scoffed though he had the grace to flush—not that Miroku could see that in the darkness. “But it's all fine for you to make jokes about Kagome and me?”
“Well . . . maybe once or twice . . . .”
Miroku sighed as the two fell silent. Forest creatures scurried about in the dark. Miroku made no move to get up, and InuYasha didn't make any overtures, either. Suddenly Miroku chuckled. “All right, so I've not been as thoughtful as I should have been. I humbly apologize.”
InuYasha blinked in surprise. Rarely did he get any sort of apology from anyone. It seemed strange to him, and he blushed, shuffling his feet in the dirt. “I wasn't really going to leave you out here all night,” he grumbled.
Miroku recognized the surly words for what they were. “It's all right. We were both wrong. To tell the truth, I was feeling a little anxious, anyway. I've never . . . well . . .” he trailed off then chuckled. “Let's just say there wasn't really any risk of running into one of my offspring somewhere.” InuYasha didn't respond to that. He wasn't sure how. “This is where you make a joke, InuYasha,” Miroku teased.
InuYasha shook his head. “Keh. We're even.”
“Houshi-sama!” Sango called as Kirara landed in the tiny clearing.
Hopping off the fire cat's back and casting InuYasha a withering glare, Kagome sighed. “I'm so sorry, Miroku, Sango . . . .”
“It's fine, Kagome. No harm done,” Miroku assured her. “I had it coming.”
“Not on your wedding night, you didn't,” she remarked. “Anyway, I'm going to walk back now . . . alone,” she reiterated when InuYasha started to follow her. “I brought my bow and arrows. I'm perfectly safe.”
“Keh! You're not going anywhere without me, stupid wench.”
“Don't call me stupid, baka!” she shot back.
“See you in the morning!” Sango called after their retreating forms.
“If he lives till morning,” Miroku remarked with a chuckle.
“I heard that, lecher!” InuYasha called back over his shoulder.
Kagome strode through the forest with a purpose behind her steps. InuYasha didn't doubt that anything that thought about attacking her would think twice, if they were smart. Her miko aura crackled in the air with every movement. His ears flattened. She was going to clobber him.
“That was just mean, InuYasha,” she pointed out without missing a step.
“No real harm done.”
“How would you like it, if you were him? I'll bet you'd be upset, too.”
“Hell, Kagome! He needles me about every fucking thing. I put him in his place one time, and you deal me a ration of shit for it. He deserved to sweat it, just this once.”
Kagome stopped dead in her tracks and swiveled her head slowly to stab InuYasha with an incredulous stare. “But on his wedding night? InuYasha . . . .” Little alarm bells rang in his head as she suddenly sauntered closer to wrap her arms around his neck. “Do you remember our first time?”
“Keh! That's a stupid question! Of course I—”
“Then you should understand why they'd be upset . . . I mean, even if their first time isn't as beautiful as ours was—”
He blinked in surprise as he wrapped his arms around her waist, drawing her closer. “Did you think it was . . . beautiful?”
She nodded, idly tracing circles with her index finger against his chest. “Uh huh . . . . Now don't you feel bad that you tried to keep Sango and Miroku from having their night, too?”
InuYasha snorted. “Not especially.”
“InuYasha!” She tried to push away from him. He held on.
“Not so fast, wench. You came to me, remember?”
“You're being impossible.”
“Because I'm not sorry that the monk got what was coming to him?”
“Maybe he deserved it, but did Sango?”
That gave him pause. InuYasha had to think about it. With a slight frown, a drooping of the ears, InuYasha sighed. “All right, so maybe she didn't. I'm still not sorry, though . . . .”
“You're being mean.”
“Keh! Kiss me and I'll pretend to be sorry.”
She leaned back to send him a chagrined look. “I don't think I will, thanks.”
He sighed, ears flattening as he blinked innocently at her. “But I was going to bring him back.”
“I know you were . . . It was still a really cruel thing to do.”
He snorted, dropping his arms from her as he took her hand and started walking again. “You wanna talk about cruel? `Cruel' is that pervert having to rub my nose in every single fucking thing that isn't any of his business anyway. `Cruel' is you, being mad at me for giving him have what he had coming. `Cruel' is having to keep my hands off you because tonight is a fucking full moon!”
Kagome gasped softly and stopped. InuYasha stopped, too, and let go of her hand, folding his arms together over his chest. “I forgot about that,” she remarked with a grimace. Shaking her head, she pushed herself onto a boulder, legs dangling in the air. “That's weird . . . does it mean that if we . . . well . . . if we were together tonight, I'd . . . ?”
“Keh!” InuYasha scoffed, cheeks reddening under the cover of night, “chew it to death, why don't you?”
He could sense her own embarrassment as she shrugged almost off-handedly. “I was just trying to clarify this, if you must know.”
He sighed. “Yes, wench, yes, that's exactly what it meant. Not that I would care, but your mother already hates me—”
Kagome's soft giggle cut off his tirade. “She doesn't hate you, InuYasha, and you know it.”
He snorted but reached up to pluck her off the rock. “Come on. I'll bet the runt is panicking because we're gone.”
Kagome let him pull her onto his back this time. He grinned. `At least she's done being mad at me . . . .'
“Shippou's staying with Kaede tonight,” she ventured to say. “I wasn't sure how long we'd be gone, and I don't like the idea of him being alone.”
“Keh. He's not a baby.”
“I know . . . but he is still young.”
“By his age, I was alone all the time,” InuYasha pointed out as he pushed off the ground, soaring toward the village again.
Kagome sighed. “I know . . . I wish you hadn't had to, and I don't want Shippou to have to go through that, even for one night. ”
InuYasha swallowed hard and blinked his suddenly-burning eyes. “Yeah,” he rasped out. “I don't want that, either.”
Totosai was talking about Shippou as InuYasha's son, though Sesshoumaru stopped him since InuYasha doesn't even know that yet . . . LoL!
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Final Thought from Sango:
Wait . . . Do we get to have a wedding night or not?
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.