InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Strange Days ( Chapter 84 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha stared at Miroku with unmasked amazement in his expression, a brightness in his gaze, a confusion furrowing his brow. “You're serious, aren't you?”
Miroku nodded slowly. The perpetual optimism that was his creed seemed conspicuously absent, a strange determination, a deeper will as he met InuYasha's stare, as he returned it. “There isn't really a choice. This is what Sango wants . . . .”
InuYasha stared at the Bone Eater's Well with a frown. The villagers had pitched in to rebuild the well walls. It looked exactly as it always had even though the wood was obviously newer. The only difference was the ladder that had been built up inside it to aide the humans in entering and exiting the well. “Are you sure? Do you really think you can trust him?”
Shaking his head, Miroku shrugged. “I don't think we have a choice. I can't let Sango down . . . I'm not saying we'll never come back. You know that if you need us, we'll come,” he went on. “What would you do if you were me? What would you do if Kagome wanted children but couldn't have them? There's nothing left for us here. We have no ties binding us to this time. Sango's family is all dead, and mine . . . .” Shaking his head, he stopped as though he had to gather his thoughts before continuing. “We're all we have now, each other, and I have to think of Sango and what she wants.”
InuYasha nodded. “Keh, well, it isn't like we'll never see you. You're staying at the shrine, right?”
Miroku nodded. “Yes, at least for now. Come, Kirara.” With a wan smile as the fire cat hopped into his arms, the monk turned and dropped back into the well. InuYasha watched him go.
`They're staying in the present . . . in Kagome's time.'
Shaking his head, InuYasha stared at the clearing. `I have to think of Sango and what she wants . . . .'
Sango had been released from the hospital after three days, and in the last ten days, she'd been recuperating at the shrine in the main house since it was easier for her to manage with Mrs. Higurashi's help. He could understand Miroku and Sango's choice. If it came down to it, he would choose pups, too.
It wasn't so much that they'd chosen to live in Kagome's time that bothered InuYasha. It was his brother's interference that did. `What is that bastard trying to prove?' InuYasha wondered again. `He'd better not demand another one of my fangs for this. I didn't have a thing to do with this one, and I sure as hell ain't adopting Miroku . . . .'
Sesshoumaru had offered Miroku a job as the head of mansion security. Because of his training, both as a monk as well as a youkai exterminator, Miroku's skills would be invaluable—or so Sesshoumaru claimed. InuYasha didn't trust him. He never had. Kagome had told him that the job paid well, and that Sesshoumaru would also offer medical benefits to Miroku and Sango, and that those benefits should cover the expense of having Sango's fertility problem taken care of.
Still, it smacked InuYasha as strange, almost as though Sesshoumaru was going out of his way to be . . . nice? He snorted. `The day that bastard develops a nice streak is the day I fucking die.'
Leaning on the edge of the well, InuYasha sighed. Kagome had asked him to come back and make certain that everything was safe here. It struck him again, how fast everything seemed to be changing. First, with claiming Kagome, then with Shippou . . . then Shippou choosing to stay in the modern world to go to school, and now with Miroku and Sango's exit . . . was there anything left for him here?
He frowned, gaze narrowing as he scanned the horizon. `Keh! I got some scores to settle before I go anywhere.'
“InuYasha-sama! What a pleasant surprise.”
InuYasha blinked quickly, staring at the missing flea youkai. “Myouga.”
Kagome frowned as she stared at the letter in her hand. It didn't make sense. Heading for the kitchen without looking up from the paper, she sank down at the table and shook her head, extending the letter to her mother. “What is this?”
Mrs. Higurashi set her tea cup aside and took the paper, a thoughtful frown furrowing her brow as she shook her head. “I don't know . . . would you like for me to call and ask?”
Kagome shook her head slowly and took the letter from her mother's extended hand. “I will. It was addressed to me, so I guess I should call . . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi handed her the cordless phone and headed for the doorway. “I'm going to check in on Sango.”
Kagome nodded as her mother left. Dialing the number on the letterhead, Kagome didn't have to wait long for her call to be answered. “Yes, this is Higurashi Kagome, and I'm calling about a letter I received today?”
“Higurashi,” the woman on the other end mumbled. “Oh, yes, you're in our internet schooling database . . . that letter was sent by Mrs. Uneomou, correct? Let me see if she's free . . . .”
Kagome reread the letter as she waited on hold.
Dear Miss Higurashi:
It has come to the attention of this office that you are about to enter your final year of internet schooling, and while we will accept your decision to continue, we have recently reviewed our policies. You have been chosen as one of the few who, should you pass your final exams within the top percentile, we will allow you to graduate at the conclusion of this scholastic term . . . .
“Mrs. Uneomou. Higurashi Kagome, yes?”
Kagome started as the phone was answered by another woman. “Yes, hi. I was calling about the letter I received?”
“Oh, yes! We've reviewed our policies, and, as the letter stated, so long as you complete your exams with no less than a three-point-seven-five on a four point scale, we'll allow you to graduate at the end of this term, if you're willing. Is this something you'd be interested in, Kagome? You would, of course, be accepted by any university without prejudice, meaning that they wouldn't mind if you graduated a year early because of this.”
Kagome shook her head, trying to make sense of what she was being told. “Sure . . . I need to talk it over with my mother, but I think so . . . .”
Mrs. Uneomou laughed. “Of course! After your exams, we'll send you the forms to fill out, assuming you qualify grade-wise. Any more questions?”
“No . . . thank you,” she said as she clicked the phone off.
Mrs. Higurashi bustled back into the kitchen with an empty glass and a happy smile. “It seems Sango is feeling much better today. She's resting now . . . did you find out anything about that letter?”
Kagome nodded, idly refolding the paper and unfolding it again. “Yes, they said that, so long as I score at least a three-point-seven-five on all my exams that I will qualify for early graduation . . . if . . . you think it's all right.”
Leaning her head to the side, Mrs. Higurashi smiled. “Why wouldn't I?”
Shrugging, Kagome tried to keep her tone neutral. “I don't know . . . I know you've had a hard time dealing with InuYasha and me, and—”
“And I've never seen you so happy, darling. It just makes me glad to know that you and he are so devoted to each other . . . and it makes me feel old.”
Kagome smiled despite herself. “You're not old, Mama.”
She opened the refrigerator and started assembling the ingredients for dinner. “I suppose you'll want to go tell InuYasha right away?”
Making a face, Kagome shook her head slowly. “Actually . . . could you not tell him? I mean, I'll be nervous enough about it without the added worry that he's counting on me to pass them. It'll take a lot of studying to get those marks.”
Mrs. Higurashi smiled. “Certainly, dear. If you don't wish to tell him, then I'll keep your secret.”
Kagome hopped up and kissed her mother's cheek. “Thanks, Mama. I'm going to go see if Miroku's back yet.”
Folding the letter, Kagome stuck it in her pocket as she headed through the house and out the back door.
She wanted to share the news with InuYasha, but on the other hand, she was almost afraid that, in his twisted efforts to help her study, he'd wind up becoming more of a hindrance than a help. She grinned. No, she'd much rather wait, take the tests, pass them if she could, and be proud of herself in the end.
Miroku stepped out of the well house and let Kirara down as he waved at Kagome. “How's Sango?”
Kagome smiled. “Mama says she's sleeping.”
Miroku's relief was evident. His eyes brightened, and he grinned, too. “Good. She wasn't resting very well.”
“I can't say that I blame her. How are you?”
True to form, Miroku's smile didn't wane. “I'm fine. I'll be fine. Sango's the one I worry about.”
“She's a fighter.”
“Yes, she is.”
Kagome sighed and shook her head. “Did InuYasha take the news well?”
Miroku made a face. “Sort of,” he hedged. “He wasn't unhappy about it. He's worried about Sesshoumaru's motives, and I can't really blame him.”
Kagome nodded. “You know, for as helpful as Sesshoumaru's been in this time, there is something weird . . . like he's got reasons that he doesn't want to tell anyone.”
“That could be. Who wouldn't have some sort of tale to tell after a five hundred years?” Miroku suddenly turned thoughtful, a darkness, a shadow falling over his normally carefree expression. “I've been meaning to ask you, Kagome . . . I've thought a lot about the well, and about how it works . . . . It used to be that InuYasha and you were the only ones who could get through, but after he reopened it . . . .”
A vague shiver raced up Kagome's spine. She wasn't sure why, but she had a feeling that Miroku's thoughts on the subject weren't something she wanted to hear . . . .
InuYasha crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the worthless vassal he'd been saddled with. “Where the fuck have you been?”
Myouga blinked innocently. “Me? I've been where I always am . . . why? Was there something you required?”
“Cut the crap, you parasite. Tell me what you know about the well.”
“The well?” Myouga repeated, looking distinctly nervous.
“Yes, the well, or I'll squash you.”
“Now, now, let's not be hasty, InuYasha-sama . . . .” Sinking down and crossing his legs, Myouga cleared his throat as he prepared to launch into his explanation. InuYasha drummed his claws on the ledge of the well, impatiently waiting for the flea to spill his guts. “As you know, you reopened the well with the power of Tetsusaiga, but it isn't a permanent slip.”
“What do you mean?”
Myouga scooted further away from InuYasha's claws before continuing. “Well, Tetsusaiga has been strengthened by the power of the blood bond between you and Kagome-sama, but your friends have all crossed into the present—into Kagome-sama's time. The power of Blue Tetsusaiga is balanced by the ones you wish to protect in this time . . . your friends—”
“Keh!” InuYasha scoffed, making a face as he crossed his arms over his chest again and gave his hair an arrogant toss. “Sango and the monk have decided that they want to stay there . . . Blame that damned bastard of a brother of mine for that,” he muttered, jerking his head toward the well.
The flea hopped up, waving his arms in the air. “What's that? What did you say?”
InuYasha snorted. “I said that they're going to stay in Kagome's time,” he growled. “Damn it! What the fuck is Sesshoumaru up to, anyway? That bastard! I ought to—”
“Did they already go through?”
Blinking at the interruption, it took a moment for InuYasha to make sense of Myouga's question. “What? Of course they did. You saw the monk leave, didn't you?”
“Oh, dear,” Myouga muttered, rubbing his hands in a decidedly nervous fashion. “And the fire-cat?”
InuYasha's confused scowl deepened. “Kirara?”
“He took her with him,” InuYasha stated. “What the fuck does that matter, anyway?”
The flea actually looked panicked . . . “So they've all gone, have they?”
“What are you saying?”
Myouga shook his head. “InuYasha-sama, I'm saying that the time slip stayed open so long as you needed to get through, so long as you had those you wished to protect, and . . . .”
“And what?” InuYasha prodded.
Myouga looked like he was going to cry. “Surely you're not going to make me say it?”
“You must go through! You must do it now, and don't look back!” Myouga insisted, the pitch of his voice rising as a measure of apprehension started to take hold of InuYasha's gut. “Go on!”
InuYasha leaned away from the flea and eyed him as though he thought that Myouga was losing his mind. “What's your rush? I'll go . . . give me a minute. I need to make sure the old hag don't need nothing before I do. I might not make it back here for a while, and—”
Myouga waved his arms around in his excitement. “The well will close, and it won't matter which side of it you're on, you'll be stuck forever!”
A sudden tremor shook the ground. InuYasha's eyes widened as he stared at Myouga. “What the—?”
“Go!” Myouga hollered, leaping onto InuYasha's shoulder and stabbing him for one last long drink. InuYasha smacked him. “Go! It's closing!” Myouga hollered as InuYasha hopped onto the ledge of the well.
“See you in the future,” InuYasha called over his shoulder.
Myouga shook his head. “You won't, InuYasha-sama! It's been a pleasure serving you! Live long with Kagome-sama . . . .” The rest of Myouga's words were muffled, and InuYasha only heard part of them. “So long as . . . protect her . . . Tetsusaiga, she'll . . . goodbye!”
InuYasha didn't get a chance to answer. The ground shook again, and he fell off the ledge into the black hole as the walls of the well collapsed around him.
“What are you doing?”
Miroku blinked and slowly turned to peer over his shoulder at the young miko. She intercepted the look and smiled as Kirara weaved around her feet, rubbing against her legs. Her smile faded a little, though, when Miroku turned away to stare thoughtfully at the well house once more. Something about his stance, his silence, even the air around him . . . She cleared her throat. “Are you okay, Miroku?”
For a moment, she didn't know if he'd heard her or not. He gave no real indication. Finally, though, he crossed his arms over his chest and gave a curt nod, but he didn't turn to face her. “You've said that matter cannot exist on two separate planes, right?”
Kagome nodded slowly and stared at the ground, almost afraid to meet Miroku's gaze. “That's what the textbooks say, anyway,” she agreed.
“Like InuYasha's mother's diary.”
She nodded again.
Miroku sighed and led Kagome over to sit on the bench under Goshinboku's canopy of leaves. “That would explain why Sango and I could get through. We'd have died long ago, in the past, and Shippou . . . .” He trailed off with a sigh. “We all know what happened there . . . .”
“Don't say it,” Kagome whispered, eyes flashing to meet Miroku's, a gentle pleading entering her expression. She shook her head, refused to believe what Miroku implied . . . refused to listen to the voice in her mind that told her that what he said made perfect sense. “Don't say that InuYasha . . . . Don't.”
Miroku's gaze was pained, and he tried to force a smile. “Perhaps I'm wrong,” he offered.
Before Kagome could answer, the ground shook with an ominous rumble that seemed to come from the well-house. Shooting Miroku a cursory glance, the two ran for the well as a sudden and terrible sense of foreboding washed over her, gripping her heart, refusing to let go.
“The well's collapsing!” Miroku yelled. Kagome barely heard him. “Kagome! No!” Grabbing her arms, holding her back, Kagome screamed as, with a terrible groan, another shattering roar, the well caved in.
“InuYasha!” she shrieked over and over as the earth stopped shaking, as the rumble died away. “InuYasha!” Tearing away from Miroku's grasp, she stumbled down the stairs and dropped next to the pile of soft earth. “InuYasha!” she screeched as a small sob escaped her, as she dug furiously at the earth, as though she could dig her way through the well.
Miroku mumbled something, grasped her shoulders to pull her away. She shoved him back and kept digging. “InuYasha!” Wiping away tears with her forearm, the sting of dirt, the ache of her panic choking her as she dug faster. “Don't just stand there, Miroku! Help me! I've got to . . . he's . . . InuYasha . . . .”
“Kagome . . .” Miroku said slowly, kneeling beside her and trying to draw her into his embrace. She pushed him back again. “Listen, Kagome . . . You can't help him! You can't! I think he might be—”
“No!” she screamed. “No, he's not! He's . . . he can't be . . . InuYasha!”
He didn't answer.
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Final Thought from Myouga:
I'm calling my agent . . . you've written me out of the story? I feel so . . . used!!
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.