InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Admission of Guilt ( Chapter 80 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Admission of Guilt~
The tai-youkai sat in the thickly cushioned chair idly drumming his claws against the supple leather as he stared from InuYasha to Kagome and back again. The miko kept glancing over toward the window that overlooked the sprawling back yard of the estate, checking on her new son as the kitsune kicked a soccer ball around with Jaken.
Leikizu swept into the room with a tray of beverages. Setting it down on the highly polished cherry wood coffee table, the drinks went ignored as the heavy silence grew thicker and thicker.
“It pleases you not, to have the kitsune as your own son?” Sesshoumaru finally asked, breaking the stifling silence with the softly uttered question.
InuYasha narrowed his gaze as he glared at his brother. “Don't be stupid, bastard. I just want to know why you did it. You never do anything for the hell of it. Why this?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged and slowly cracked his knuckles. “Let's say I felt for the child and leave it at that.”
“Let's not,” InuYasha growled, “because you and I both know that ain't the truth.”
“Do you have so little faith in your brother, InuYasha? Truly, I'm wounded.”
“Sesshoumaru thought the child needed to have the benefit of the protection of a real family, InuYasha. Surely you can understand this,” Leikizu cut in, pinning her mate with a baleful look.
InuYasha nodded slowly. “Okay, I can accept that, so why the secrecy? Why demand my fang and not tell me what the hell you wanted it for? Why hide all this? Wouldn't it be easier to protect him if I knew he was mine?”
Sesshoumaru stared at InuYasha, blinking lazily, idly, as though InuYasha weren't really there even as he stared deliberately at his brother. “So you know nothing of the parental bonding? You should sense without knowing that your pup is in danger. That would have been enough, wouldn't' it?”
“So that's why we knew it,” Kagome remarked in a hushed whisper as she turned her gaze toward the window once more.
“The longer Shippou keeps the necklace on, the stronger the bond will become. By the time he reaches maturity, he should be able to remove the necklace without disturbing the family circle,” Leikizu explained since Sesshoumaru seemed to be finished talking. “Sesshoumaru has warned Shippou to leave it on, but you may wish to reiterate the importance of it, yourselves.”
“But I still don't get why you did it,” InuYasha growled, leaning forward as he glared at his brother. “What's it in it for you?”
Sesshoumaru shook his head slowly. “Be not a fool, InuYasha. You have absolutely nothing that I would want.”
Nibori slipped into the room and sat down beside Leikizu. Nodding his silent greeting, Kagome was surprised when InuYasha nodded back.
Sesshoumaru nodded at Nibori. Nibori seemed to understand the unspoken question as he stood and retrieved a manila envelope off the occasional table near the fireplace. He stared at the packet for a moment before returning to hand it to Sesshoumaru.
The tai-youkai deliberately took his time shuffling through the documents without removing them from the envelope before extending it to Kagome.
InuYasha growled slightly but let her take it. With a questioning look, she pulled out the papers inside and frowned in confusion. “What's all this?”
Sesshoumaru made a deliberate show of rolling his eyes and flicking his wrist to stare at the heavy Rolex timepiece. “That is everything you require for that worthless baka and your kit to exist in this day and age.”
Kagome stared at the birth certificate that proclaimed him Inotaishou InuYasha, and another one that announced the birth of Inotaishou Shippou. The mother space was filled as Inotaishou Kagome Higurashi. She made a face. Her mother might not like that at all . . . . She did, after all, want them to have a traditional wedding as soon as Kagome finished school.
InuYasha peeked over her shoulder at the documents but didn't bother reading them thoroughly. “Keh. It don't matter. We ain't staying in this time.”
Nibori cleared his throat, drawing his uncle's attention. “Pardon my saying, but Shippou does show interest in attending school, so you might well be in need of those.”
InuYasha just snorted again in answer.
“Another thing that you should know,” Leikizu spoke up. “In some cases—rarely but it does happen—the child may start to take on some of the adoptive parents' traits, if those traits are strong enough.”
“What does that mean?” InuYasha asked, shaking his head in confusion.
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. “I swear, InuYasha, your complete lack of intelligence astound me. It means that the kitsune could assimilate some of your—heaven forbid—or the miko's powers, strengths.”
InuYasha narrowed his gaze at his brother then snorted indelicately. “You mean the runt could be more like me?”
`Now, why does he sound almost happy about that?' Kagome wondered as suspicion grew. `Unless . . . he wouldn't mind Shippou being more like him . . . ?'
A sudden and vastly disturbing image of Shippou running all around Musashi with a huge sword, bellowing “Kaze no Kizu!” flashed through her head, and Kagome stifled a groan. The same thing must have occurred to InuYasha because he suddenly coughed to hide a grin and a chuckle of his own.
“It's more of a technicality than anything,” Leikizu explained. “Though you've watched over him for this long, you now have the added advantage of knowing if he is in danger, and that may come in handy.”
InuYasha shot off the sofa and paced the floor, nervous energy carrying from one end of the room to the other. “What are you up to, Sesshoumaru?” he finally demanded, stopping by the windows and glancing outside at the kitsune.
“I have no ulterior motives,” Sesshoumaru remarked with a lazy flick of his wrist.
“And I don't breathe.” InuYasha stalked back over, planting himself next to Kagome though he refused to sit down again. “What was all that crap the other night? About you fixing my mistakes? What the hell do you know that you're not telling me?”
Sesshoumaru stood and crossed the floor. Staring out the window at the overcast sky, Kagome thought she could discern a slight frown on his features, a near sadness as he saw nothing. What was it he remembered? Why did she have a feeling it was something that they might not want to know? A wretched sense of foreboding spilled over her, leaving her cold. What was Sesshoumaru hiding from them?
InuYasha sensed it, too. Stalking over to Sesshoumaru, he refused to back down as he challenged his brother in quiet contention. “What do you know that you're not telling me?”
Sesshoumaru shook his head, refusing to meet InuYasha's steady gaze. “Lei, take the miko,” he stated quietly. “InuYasha and I . . . need to speak in private.”
“I'll go see if Jaken needs a break,” Nibori offered as he headed out of the room. Kagome hung back for a moment. Something told her that she ought to hear this, too.
In the end, InuYasha nodded at her, silently telling her to go. Kagome did but couldn't help staring back at him. `Will he tell me what Sesshoumaru says? What is it that Sesshoumaru doesn't want to say in front of me?'
“So tell me, Kagome, how is your training progressing?” Leikizu asked in a falsely bright tone as the two women headed for the back doors and the garden beyond.
“What's going on?” Kagome asked quietly. “I have the feeling that there's something that no one is willing to say.”
Leikizu's sighed and sank down in one of the wrought iron patio chairs, motioning for Kagome to do the same. “I don't think it's so much that Sesshoumaru is unwilling to say what his motives are. I simply think that he would rather interfere as little as possible.”
Kagome shook her head slowly, grasping for an understanding that she couldn't attain. “It doesn't make sense. Sure, Sesshoumaru saved Shippou. It just seems a little odd, though. Why would he care if we adopted him or not, and why does it always seem like there's something he wants to say but can't?”
Leikizu's gaze flicked away, a slow smile turning the corners of her lips as she stared at her son and Shippou as the two kicked the soccer ball back and forth. “It's not my story to tell, Kagome. I'm sorry.”
Kagome nodded with a frown. As much as she wanted answers of her own, she could understand Leikizu's reluctance to divulge Sesshoumaru's secrets, whatever they were. The lingering doubt over the things that always seemed to be left unsaid tugged at her as she watched Shippou's antics. The kitsune was having a great time playing with Nibori. Smiling despite her bleak thoughts, Kagome nodded toward the inu-youkai. “Nibori really isn't anything like Sesshoumaru,” she remarked without taking her eyes off the two.
“No, he's not. Sesshoumaru's always said that he never wanted Nibori to be like him.”
Kagome's gaze shifted to the female youkai. The look on her face was vaguely sad as she watched her son and new nephew. “Sesshoumaru's not terrible,” Kagome remarked, carefully measuring her words.
Leikizu smiled then chuckled. “Not terrible . . . that's true. Sesshoumaru has a good heart. He just doesn't always know how to show it.”
“What is it that you didn't want to say in front of Kagome?” InuYasha asked as Leikizu pulled the door closed behind them.
Sesshoumaru stared out the window, remembering the sky—it had looked the same that day . . . overcast, gray, hinting at rain that never fell. That day, as he'd realized what his pride had cost him . . . the day that Sesshoumaru had promised himself that everything would be different, even if he had to defy destiny to make sure it was so . . . The day he realized just what the price of his own greed has cost . . . .
It had begun with the kitsune, the weakest of them. How could he have known then that it was the beginning of the end? That the vicious cycle would continue, that the intrinsic spiral of decline would bring them all to their knees?
Blinking rapidly as he snapped out of his memories, Sesshoumaru let his gaze rake over his younger brother's face. “There was a time I despised you, InuYasha, did you know? I loathed everything you were, everything you represented.”
Stubbornly refusing to meet Sesshoumaru's gaze, InuYasha stared out the window, a scowl engulfing his features. “Keh . . . you still do.”
“Would I have saved your kitsune if I did? Would I have trifled with you at all?”
InuYasha didn't blink as he shifting his gaze to stare at his brother, his countenance a mixture of stubborn pride and arrogant resolve. “I don't fucking need your help. I never have.”
Sesshoumaru's smile was vague, tainted by the bitterness of memories, by the unrelenting irony behind InuYasha's obdurate claims. “Think what you will, InuYasha. Just remember that sometimes the answers you seek are closer than you'd believe. All you really have to do is ask.”
Sesshoumaru wasn't surprised to see his brother rest his hand on Tetsusaiga's hilt. It was always his answer, wasn't it? Fight now, think later. It was the creed by which the hanyou had always lived. “Enough of your riddles! Damn, why do you do that? Why can't you ever just say something without having to hide every little thing in your fucking games?”
Sesshoumaru leaned against the window frame, a cynical smile toying with his lips. Silvery hair that matched the overcast skies, his enigmatic expression was enough to set InuYasha's teeth grinding. “Find Myouga. Ask him the secrets of the well.”
“The secrets of the well?” InuYasha echoed, his frown deepening. “What do you know about the well?”
Sesshoumaru's gaze was penetrating, thorough, boring into InuYasha's skull as though he were trying to read his mind. “I know enough, InuYasha. I know more than you credit me. Mark me. If you do not stop looking to others to answer your own inadequacies then you shall fail . . . to the detriment of yourself as well as all those you care about.”
Peeking down through the boughs of Goshinboku, InuYasha caught sight of Kagome and Shippou. She held a large wicker basket while the kit carried Baka under one arm and a new soccer ball—a present from Sesshoumaru, the dirty bastard—under the other. “Where do you think you're going?”
Shielding her eyes from the harsh midday sun, Kagome smiled almost shyly up at him. “We were going to go on a picnic . . . and we were hoping you'd come, too.”
“Oi!” InuYasha growled, dropping out of the tree and chasing after the kitsune who darted through the courtyard and hopped over the gate to disappear into the forest. He vaulted the gate, too, and leaped after the cackling kitsune. In the distance, he could hear Kagome closing the gate behind her, and he slowed down just enough to keep an eye on her as he followed Shippou. “Get back here, runt! I told you what would happen if you called me that again!”
“InuYasha!” Kagome called out as she turned her head from side to side, trying to spot him through the thick foliage.
InuYasha grinned. `Now . . . I could chase the kit and tweak him a good one . . . or I could sneak up on sneaky wench . . . .' He considered his options a moment then rolled his eyes and snorted. `Keh! What the hell kind of choice is that? Only one of them will kiss me . . . .'
Creeping around in a wide circle through the dense underbrush, InuYasha waited to pounce.
“InuYasha? Where did he go?” Kagome wandered a few more steps and stopped to look around again. “Shippou? InuYasha?” She sighed and shook her head. “Figures . . . they both left me.”
“Keh! You don't really believe that, do you?” InuYasha mumbled as he grabbed her from behind, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her back against him as she gasped.
“You scared the life out of me!” she complained.
“I'd rather scare the pants off you,” he countered, nipping at her ear.
She shuddered. “St—stop that . . . Shippou—”
“Thinks I'm going to tweak him. He'll be gone awhile.”
“Still,” she complained as her scent shifted, spiked, soared. “This isn't . . . fair . . .” she pointed out as fangs grazed over the soft flesh of her neck.
“Tell me you don't want me,” he argued, pausing his assault on her senses long enough to speak before dropping his mouth back to her throat again.
“I . . . don't,” she maintained stubbornly, eyes fluttering closed.
“Don't do a damn bit of good to lie when I can smell you, wench.”
“That's not really fair . . . I can't smell you,” she remarked, her voice veiled in the huskiness that bespoke her true feelings.
“You don't need to smell me,” he retorted, pulling her back flush against him.
She gasped as the full understanding of what he meant pressed against her. “That's really, really unfair,” she complained as she leaned against him, drawing a groan from the hanyou.
“What are you guys doing?” Shippou demanded, suspicion lighting the depths of his jewel-like eyes as he stared at them.
Kagome gasped and straightened up suddenly, her head bumping hard against InuYasha's chin. “Damn!” he growled, unsure if he was more irritated by the interruption, the reminder that they weren't alone, or the sharp pain that rattled through him as his teeth smashed together from the impact with Kagome's head.
“There you are!” Kagome said brightly as she hurried over to the kitsune. “We were just getting ready to look for you.”
Shippou frowned, shaking his head slowly. “I could go play with Baka if you two are busy,” he offered.
`Thwarted by your own kit,' he fumed. Stomping toward them, he snatched the basket out of Kagome's slack hand and led the way into the forest. `Sneaky wench owes me for this . . . .'
“Nibori said I'll be as strong as you one day, InuYasha,” Shippou piped up.
InuYasha shot the kit a sidelong glance and snorted. “Keh. What happened to you calling me `papa'?”
Shippou shrugged. “Sorry . . . I forgot.” He hopped along beside InuYasha then ran ahead, stopping in front of a huge tree. “Watch! I've been practicing!” Shippou hollered. He turned to face the tree, setting down his toys. “Sankon-tetsusou!” he hollered, scratching his tiny claws against the tree trunk in a rather pathetic rendition of the Iron Reaver, Soul Stealer attack.
InuYasha's eyes widened as he choked back a laugh. Shippou retrieved his toys and turned back with a self-satisfied smile. “Nice form,” InuYasha remarked. “Keep working on it.” The kitsune beamed happily.
“He really idolizes you,” Kagome said softly, slipping her hand into his as Shippou bounded ahead.
InuYasha felt his face warm. “Keh.” Kagome giggled. “Oi! Runt! Don't run off too far!”
Shippou waved over his shoulder and slowed down a little before stopping at another tree to practice his Sankon-tetsusou on it. InuYasha sighed and winced. “He's got a long way to go.”
Kagome giggled again. “Well, he is still young.”
“He'll be fine,” InuYasha assured her. “He's just got small hands. If they'd grow, he could do some real damage.”
“Spoken like a true father.” He made a face. She caught the look and stopped. “Tell me why you hate being called that so much,” she prodded.
He stopped, too, and shrugged then sighed. “Sesshoumaru, you know? He's always made such a point to make sure I knew that it's my fault that my old man died. Well, mine and my mother's, like we wanted him to die . . . . It's stupid,” he grumbled as he started walking again.
Kagome caught his arm. “It's not stupid . . . but it's not right, either. Your father died to protect your mother and you. He chose to do that. It wasn't your fault any more than it was your mother's.”
InuYasha stared over her head at the young kit who was still trying to bring down a sapling with his weak version of the Iron Reaver, Soul Stealer. He smiled despite himself. “Besides, I'm not really `father' material. That's more Sesshoumaru.”
His grin widened. “Because he's so uptight you'd have to shove Tetsusaiga up his ass to loosen him up.”
She shook her head but grinned. “Shippou thinks you're `father' material.”
“Keh. Shippou's just happy to have you as his mother.” This time when he started walking again Kagome fell in step beside him. “I can live with `papa', though . . . that's not so bad.”
“So . . . .”
When she trailed off, InuYasha spared her a glance. “Out with it.”
She sighed. “Are you going to tell me what you and Sesshoumaru talked about after you kicked me out?”
“Keh. We didn't kick you out.”
“Okay . . . after he asked me to leave?”
InuYasha frowned. “He said that I should ask Myouga about the well.”
Kagome shook her head, her face mirroring his thoughtful frown. “What would Myouga know about it?”
“You tell me.” For some reason, he didn't want to tell her about Sesshoumaru's parting remarks. Those words made him uneasy, as though there were something he ought to have realized already, and yet he couldn't quite get a grip on it, either.
`If you do not stop looking to others to answer your own inadequacies then you shall fail . . . to the detriment of yourself as well as all those you care about.'
What had he meant?
They continued on to the pond near the tree where he'd first claimed Kagome as his mate. Kagome dug a red and white checked cloth out of the basket and spread it on the ground. InuYasha sat down next to her as they watched Shippou kick the ball all over the clearing. Kagome busied herself by pulling items out of the basket and spreading them on the cloth.
InuYasha couldn't help but remember his own childhood, playing with the red ball in the castle courtyard near the gardens and of how the nobles took his ball and wouldn't let him have it back. His mother had always been there, back then . . . . She always hugged him, and when he had asked her what a half-breed was, she had cried . . . .
Deliberately pushing those memories away, InuYasha steeled his resolve. His own family . . . they'd never have to suffer that sort of treatment . . . would they? the villagers left him alone, whether it was because of their acceptance of Kagome, their respect for his protection of the village, itself, or because they had witnessed what he could do, first hand, he didn't know, and he didn't care so long as his own children would never have to endure the teasing, the taunts that he had to.
“Shippou! Come eat!” Kagome called as she handed InuYasha a plastic container and chopsticks. The kit dropped the ball as he ran over and plopped down between Kagome and InuYasha. “Can we find Myouga here?” Kagome asked as she picked at her food.
“I don't think so,” InuYasha commented with a frown. “I think he might be dead now. Totosai mentioned that before.”
“No, he's not,” Shippou piped up as he swallowed a huge bite of sausage. “He was at Sesshoumaru's earlier.”
“He was?” InuYasha echoed. “You saw him?”
Shippou nodded. “Yeah . . . he was trying to suck Nibori's blood. Nibori flattened him a good one.”
Kagome stared at her food, deep in thought. “That's weird. I wonder why he's never bothered to come around then . . . .”
InuYasha frowned. “Yeah . . . .” He set his food aside and shook his head. It was all getting stranger and stranger. Between Sesshoumaru and his damn riddles and Myouga's uncharacteristic absence, it seemed as though there was something really important that InuYasha just didn't understand . . . . `What the hell am I missing?'
“Now that we're a family,” Shippou piped up as he reached over and stabbed a sausage out of InuYasha's container, “when do I get a brother or sister? I'd rather have a brother, though, if I can choose . . . Do I get to?”
Kagome choked on the rice ball she was eating. InuYasha's face was as red as hers as he reached over to thump her on the back. Shippou stared at them both as if he thought they'd lost their minds.
“That's not . . . not for awhile,” InuYasha ground out since Kagome obviously couldn't. Digging in the basket for a bottle of water as she continued to sputter InuYasha wished that he could reach over and wallop the kit's head . . . .
“How does it work?” Shippou went on. “I know Miroku always liked to start by rubbing women's rears, but that never really seemed to work for him—”
“Shippou,” Kagome gasped out after drinking nearly half of her bottle of water—and choking again when the curious kitsune continued his line of questioning. “InuYasha will explain all that to you when you're older.”
“I will?” he rasped out, suddenly wanting a bottle of water, himself, since his throat had suddenly gone bone dry.
She narrowed her eyes at him, daring him to challenge her on this. “Yes, InuYasha, you will . . . later.”
“Much later,” he mumbled, cheeks reddening even more, “and stay the hell away from Miroku. He'll give you bad ideas.”
Shippou frowned and started to ask something else. InuYasha hurriedly shoved his last sausage into the kit's overzealous mouth.
Kagome suddenly started giggling as she handed InuYasha a bottle of water then dug one out for Shippou.
“What's so funny, wench?” he asked suspiciously as Shippou got up and ran off to play again.
Winding down, Kagome leaned over and kissed InuYasha's cheek. “I'm just wondering if you're just going to keep shoving food in Shippou's mouth every time he asks a question.”
He donned his pouting face and snorted. “If it works . . . .”
She dissolved in laughter again. InuYasha stared pointedly at her until she calmed down again. “Can you imagine how fat he'll be then?”
InuYasha rolled his eyes but chuckled. “So I'll teach him how to roll over his enemies instead of using his claws.”
Kagome finally sighed and leaned against InuYasha's shoulder with a contented smile. “This is nice, isn't it?”
She shrugged. “Just sitting here, like this . . . not having to do anything or be anywhere for once.”
He snorted but pulled her closer, resting his cheek on her hair as they watched Shippou chase the soccer ball. “Yeah,” he agreed softly, “it is.”
Inotaishou: Sort of a mix of Inu no Taisho, this is both InuYasha and Sesshoumaru's last name in the modern world, in honor of their father.
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Final Thought fromMiroku:
Stay away from me? Me? What did I do? InuYasha, that just hurts.
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.