InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Beyond the Control ( Chapter 88 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Beyond the Control~
The opulent office overlooking the city was dark, the dim lamps scattered around the room did little to lighten the abject atmosphere. As though sound itself had been forbidden in this place, the only noise was the slow, methodic drum of claws against polished wood.
The soft whir of the computer fan was dulled by the cabinet beneath the desk. The phone on the desk rang, a disturbance in the order, a vapid noise that shattered the forced tranquility. “Yes.”
“Have you seen this morning's paper?”
Moving the receiver away from his head long enough to stare at the device for a moment before bringing it back to his ear, he grunted in reply. “I have.”
“The Inu no Taisho is drawing unnecessary attention, don't you think?”
“Let him. If he exposes us all, at least we won't have to hide behind disguises and subterfuge, huddling like vermin afraid of the light.”
A pause on the other end of the line, a moment of quiet, a moment of peace. “I called for your orders, my lord.”
“Nothing, for now. I'll be in touch, should I require anything more of you.”
Dropping the handset back into the cradle, he sank back in his chair and stifled a growl. The Inu no Taisho. He hated Inotaishou Sesshoumaru almost as much as he had loathed the youkai's half-brother. Lips drawing back in a primal snarl, he dug his claws against the desk, leaving deep gouges in the wood in the wake of his fingers.
`How did he escape me?' he asked himself again. `That worthless brat, that shameful presence . . . I had it all within my grasp, and somehow he managed to evade even me.' Anger rose in him, bitter rage. `Impossible! How could he have just disappeared? And his companions as well . . . where in the world . . . ?'
It had something to do with that well. He knew it did. Both times he had seen them, they had been at that well. Had they somehow managed to escape through it? At the time, he had thought that was simply a fanciful thought. Now, however, he had to wonder. There had once been a legend of a magical well. Was that how they'd managed to escape?
Wrapping his hand around the brandy snifter, swirling the amber liquid inside, he stared at the fragile crystal with a cynical sneer. The newspaper beside him wrenched a low, menacing growl. `Inotaishou Sesshoumaru Announces Inotaishou Technologies' Acquisition of Telekazaan.' It wasn't the headline that bothered him. The publicity shot of the tai-youkai and his family . . . his bitch was whelping again? Bad enough, that weak, pathetic son, the one known as Nibori—the one who bore the crescent moon crest . . . to add more to their count was unforgivable.
Something else about that photo drew his attention as he gazed at it. Setting the snifter aside, he deliberately reached for the paper, eyes narrowing as he looked again. The photo, taken on the steps outside Inotaishou's office building, the man behind the family was the point of interest. Short, black hair, expensive suit, dark sunglasses, holding a cell phone to his ear as he kept an eye out for his employer . . . . He knew that face. `The monk,' he thought with a twisted smile. `They're here? And if they're here . . . .'
Hand closing around the snifter so tightly that the crystal shattered in his grasp. Dull pain registered as the scent of blood that dripped onto the blotter and dissolved the paper with a wisp of acrid smoke.
“I don't have all day to waste while you consider my offer.”
InuYasha glared across the desk at his brother, wondering just what Sesshoumaru's motives were. “Let me get this straight. You bought a company you had no interest in just so that you could have it, and you want me to run it? Keh! I don't know a fucking thing about business.”
Sesshoumaru leaned back in his chair, pinning InuYasha with a bored stare. “I have my reasons, baka. It'll never make money. It's nothing but a financial drain. In the business world, a financial drain means a tax break. It doesn't matter if you know what you're doing or not. You can't mess it up any worse than it already is.”
“So you're setting me up to fail from the start?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged. “Call it training ground.”
“Call it stupid.”
“Call it what you will, InuYasha. I thought you had more pride than that.”
“I don't think I like where you're going with this,” InuYasha remarked tightly.
Sesshoumaru sighed. “Be not a fool. Your mate is carrying your pup, and who is paying for this? Where are you living? Does this satisfy you?”
InuYasha's glare darkened as Sesshoumaru's assessment of the situation hit home. “Damn you . . . .”
“I'm offering you a chance to earn your keep, baka. Granted, this company will eventually fold. It's inevitable. But until then, perhaps you should use the opportunity to learn something other than how to swing Tetsusaiga around?”
InuYasha shook his head. “And you know this place will fail? Always so ready to write off everyone, aren't you? What a bastard.”
Staring at him for long moments, Sesshoumaru leaned forward, narrowing his gaze on his brother. “All right, InuYasha. You learn the business, you turn it around, and if you can manage to keep it from becoming a complete loss, I'll sign it over to you.”
“And if I can't?”
Sesshoumaru sat back. “If you can't, then I'll take your forest.”
“Keh! What forest?”
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. “Baka . . . pay attention. The forest the miko's shrine sits on. It's always been yours.”
InuYasha blinked in surprise. “It has?”
Rifling through his desk drawers, Sesshoumaru pulled out a deed and a small black book and tossed them down on the desk. “Yes, it has, which reminds me.” Digging around again this time produced a set of keys that Sesshoumaru dropped atop the land title. “Here's your house.”
“How the hell did I get a house?”
Sesshoumaru shook his head. “Your forest is government protected, and while it is private property, you have received disbursements from them for the last hundred or so years. You didn't think I paid for your house?”
“Keh.” Lifting the black book, InuYasha made a face at the plastic smell of the cover.
“It's your bank account, baka.”
It occurred to him that he ought to thank Sesshoumaru. Staring across the wide desk at his smug face, though, InuYasha just couldn't do it. “Did you set traps in the house?” he asked instead.
“I've never been inside it. Leikizu commissioned it. I told you before, she had a fondness for pathetic animals.”
“Always a bastard,” InuYasha mumbled under his breath as he stood up and grabbed the documents off the desk.
“Not a damn thing,” InuYasha bit out. “I'll take your fucking offer, but you'll never get my forest.”
He stormed out of the study. Sesshoumaru smiled as the front door slammed closed. Miroku stuck his head into the room. “It worked, I take it?”
Sesshoumaru nodded slowly. “Like a charm. You know my brother well.”
Miroku grinned. “Well . . . yeah.”
“What?” InuYasha bellowed.
Kagome grimaced. She knew that InuYasha wasn't going to like it, but . . . . “Just for tonight,” she pleaded as her belly lurched in protest of his raised voice.
“What the fuck! No!”
“Well, it really is tradition,” she went on lamely, a hand pressed against her stomach as though she were trying to soothe the life she carried. “Mama said—”
“I knew she hated me,” he fumed, pacing the length of the bedroom. “Damn it, there is no way you're going to stay in the main house tonight without me!”
“InuYasha, you need to lower your voice,” Kagome explained, fighting to keep her own lowered before the baby really had a fit. “You know the baby can hear you, and you're upsetting him.”
“Keh! I'll yell if I want to,” he growled though his tone did lower. “She might as well get used to it.”
Kagome rolled her eyes. “You're going to give him a complex if you keep calling him a girl.”
“We already have a son,” InuYasha shot back. “So she'll be a girl!”
Kagome sighed. There was no reasoning with him. Absolutely none. It didn't matter to him one bit that she had been having dreams lately of their unborn child, and in every one of those dreams, the child had been a boy. InuYasha still stubbornly held to the idea that they were going to have a daughter—because he said so.
“Well, stop yelling or I'll throw up on you,” she threatened. Every time he started one of his tirades, which hadn't been often lately, thank goodness, it always ended with her getting sick, as though the child couldn't stand to hear the raised voices, or maybe it could just sense Kagome's upset. Either way, since the morning sickness had passed after two weeks of nonstop purging, she wasn't in the mood to revisit that.
The doctor she'd seen—Dr. Yamachi—said that Kagome's morning sickness shouldn't last long and had given her an herbal remedy for it. The one pill she took in the morning along with her prenatal vitamin did the trick. Since she'd started the herbal regimen, she had never felt better. Other than that, though, she'd been assured that hanyou pregnancies were exactly the same as regular human ones, so that was a huge relief to her, too. InuYasha had grumbled about the `better doctor' being booked solid. Kagome liked Dr. Yamachi, though, mostly because she was a woman, and that made things a lot more comfortable.
“You can't throw up on command, wench!” he growled. “Anyway, you've got to keep your food down. You're wasting away to nothing, and you didn't have much on you to start with. You can't starve my pup!”
“He's fine,” she protested.
“He is a she, damn it! You'd better eat your dinner tonight, and stop starving her!”
“I think you should be glad that your baby is healthy and leave the question of boy or girl to kami.” Both turned to see Sango lingering in the doorway. Kagome didn't miss the marked brightness in her friend's eyes. “Dinner is ready.” Sango turned and hurried out of the room.
Kagome started after her. InuYasha caught her arm. “We're not done, wench!”
Pulling her arm away from InuYasha, she glared at him. “I don't have time to argue with you, InuYasha. Just go somewhere for the night, and I'll see you tomorrow. Right now . . . we upset Sango, and she needs me.”
With a start, Sango quickly wiped the tears off her cheeks and pasted on a bright smile as Kagome sat down beside her on the bed. “I'm sorry, Sango . . . I wasn't thinking, and, well . . . .”
“You have nothing to apologize for, Kagome,” Sango insisted. “I lost my temper, and I shouldn't have. I'm so glad for you two . . . . I shouldn't have said what I did.”
Kagome sighed. “It was thoughtless of me. Sango . . . .”
“I feel so badly because I spoke out of line. I'm sorry.”
“It must be hard for you. I know you and Miroku want a baby, too.”
“We do, and we'll have one. The doctor said that the surgery should go well, and afterwards . . .” she sighed. “I'm learning a lot about your time—a lot more than I ever thought I would.” She shook her head. “Tomorrow is your day, and I want it to be as happy for you as mine was for me.”
“Sango . . . .”
Sango's smile was real this time. “Your mother and I planned a special evening for us. It's called a `spa night', and she invited some of your friends from your old school as well as Leikizu and the others.”
Kagome hugged her. “You're right. It'll be fun.”
Sango shrugged. “Did Shippou go with Miroku and InuYasha?”
“No, he and Souta are staying with one of Souta's friends tonight.” She trailed off, staring at her friend, trying to discern if Sango really was as all right as she seemed to be. “Sango . . . I'm really sorry about your baby . . . I wish I could have helped.”
Sango's eyes widened in alarm as she grabbed Kagome's hands and squeezed. “Oh, no! Had it not been for you, I might have . . .” she trailed off, swallowing hard as she forced a weak smile. “If you hadn't thought to bring me here, I wouldn't be able to have the surgery so I could have children, I hope! You haven't a thing to be sorry for!”
Kagome smiled. “I know it will be all right. If anyone deserves children and everything, you and Miroku do.”
A sudden frown surfaced on Sango's face. “Kagome . . . did InuYasha tell you what he was going to do tonight?”
Kagome shook her head slowly. “No, he didn't . . . why?”
Sango shrugged. “Miroku didn't, either. All he knew was that InuYasha had `plans'.”
Kagome's eyebrows arched. `Plans? Why does that scare me?'
Miroku dropped the box as he struggled to breathe and wiped the sweat off his brow. “When you said you had plans for tonight, InuYasha, I didn't think it would involve manual labor.”
“Shut up and lift, monk,” InuYasha grumbled as he stomped through with two boxes.
“Why the rush? You could do this tomorrow after the reception,” Miroku pointed out.
“Because after the reception I'm barricading the door against all of the rest of you,” he stated.
The doorbell interrupted Miroku's reply to that. Since InuYasha's arms were still full, he strode out of the room and into the foyer to answer the door. With a wide grin, Miroku stepped back to admit the visitors. “InuYasha . . . you have guests.”
“Unless it's Kagome tell them to go the fuck away,” InuYasha called.
InuYasha's groan was audible before he even turned around. “Hell, I thought I got away from you when I left Sengoku Jidai.”
“You can never have too much of a great thing,” Kouga remarked as he moved a box off the sofa and plopped down.
“You're a thing, all right, you mangy wolf,” InuYasha muttered as he dropped the box in his arms and stomped off to retrieve another.
“Uncle, I hope you like the house. Mother wasn't sure what sort of furnishings you'd care for.”
InuYasha rolled his eyes. “Damn, you, too? The only thing that could make this any worse would be—”
“Forgive the intrusion, Uncle. Mother and the other women are all at the shrine, and Kagome's mother said you were here.”
“Great,” InuYasha snorted. “So I'm stuck with all you bastards?”
“Oh, now that hurts, dog-shit,” Kouga remarked. “Got anything to drink?”
Miroku headed back to the kitchen to retrieve sodas out of the refrigerator. He made a face. InuYasha flat out refused to allow anything that might be bad for Kagome or the `pup' over the threshold, and that included sake.
When he rounded the corner into the living room again, it was to find the others standing around staring at InuYasha with varying degrees of humor in their expressions. Kouga looked the most amused. Sesshoumaru was barely smiling. Nibori was coughing into his fist as he tried not to laugh. Daichi stood back with Jinenji, both of whom were hiding smirks of their own. InuYasha was a lovely shade of `Monk-in-Pain' red but that was rapidly escalating into `fire-rat-haori' . . . .
“Did I miss something?” Miroku asked.
“No,” InuYasha snarled.
“We were just marveling at InuYasha's ability to . . . purify the jewel,” Nibori managed to say between bouts of coughing.
InuYasha shot him a glare that promised Miroku hours of painful movement for having let that bit of information slip.
“Gotta hand it to you, mutt-face, I was amazed you finally got the nerve to claim Kagome in the first place,” Kouga remarked as he popped open his soda. “Must've been the most abysmal fifteen seconds of her life.”
“You hella nasty fucking mangy—”
“I don't know, Kouga . . . InuYasha had some decent scratches on his back from his playtime with Kagome . . . .”
Kouga chuckled. “Didn't think you had it in you, mutt-face.”
“I should have left you in the forest,” InuYasha grumbled as he shot to his feet and snatched up a box labeled `kitchen supplies'.
Ignoring InuYasha's irritated response, Miroku twisted the knife, just a little more. “Sesshoumaru asked him once if he'd defiled the miko,” Miroku spoke up.
“Ah, yes,” Sesshoumaru remembered, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “So I did.”
“Shut the fuck up!” InuYasha growled as he dropped the box. The sound of shattering glass inside the parcel made Miroku wince as he wondered exactly how much trouble InuYasha would catch for that. The hanyou lunged at him, obviously deciding that Miroku was the cause of the torment he was suffering. Nibori caught InuYasha and held him back.
Miroku chuckled. “Was it something I said?” he couldn't resist asking.
InuYasha growled but straightened up to glare at him, instead. “Keh! I'll remember this, monk.”
Miroku's chuckle escalated into a deep laugh. It was going to be a long night . . . for InuYasha . . . .
Sitting around the Higurashi living room in bathrobes with avocado and ginseng facial masks applied, the women all seemed to be enjoying themselves in their `spa night'.
Kagome's old friends were taking turns telling her the latest stories about classes and their happenings. Kagome was glad they'd come. It had been far too long since she'd spent an evening `with the girls'. Eri sat back with a happy sigh. “Kagome, why are you getting married so suddenly?”
Kagome glanced down at her still-flat stomach and forced a smile. “InuYasha just got a job, and we just thought . . . now would be good.”
“I can't believe you're getting married to the angry, jealous guy!” Ayumi spoke up with a giggle.
“But he was cool when we met him, remember? So adorable! He looked like such a cute little puppy, with those eyes and that way he sat on the floor!” Yuka giggled. “You just wanted to squeeze him! He didn't look like a knuckle-dragger to me . . . .”
Sango choked on her tea at the puppy reference. Kagome reached over and thumped her back. “That's InuYasha . . . cute as a puppy,” she remarked with a grin. Sango's choke escalated into a hacking cough.
“When is your baby due?” Eri asked.
It was Kagome's turn to cough before she realized that her friend was talking to Leikizu, who, though only four months along, was already showing her condition.
Leikizu smiled as she rubbed her distended stomach. “Not nearly soon enough,” she joked.
“Are you going to start a family soon, Kagome?” Ayumi asked.
“Umm . . . .”
“Oh, she's got lots of time to do that, don't you, Kagome? No rush, right?” Yuka piped up.
“Y—yeah, right,” Kagome agreed weakly. She caught her mother's eye as she glanced up from her discussion with Kouga's mate, Ayame. Mrs. Higurashi just smiled.
Forcing a smile that she hoped the others couldn't see right through, Kagome tried to relax. The way her stomach was churning, she had to wonder if she'd make it through the rest of the night as well as the wedding tomorrow without throwing up.
She sighed and willed herself to calm down. Sango got up to wash off her mask, and Kagome trailed after her, as much to escape the women's teasing as she was to try to regain a semblance of composure.
“You're pale,” Sango noted as Kagome dried her face with a fluffy pink towel. “Do you need to lie down?”
Kagome shook her head. “No . . . and I'd never be able to explain that, anyway.”
Sango didn't look convinced. “Still, if you're not feeling well, I'm sure your mother and I can come up with something acceptable . . . .”
She forced another smile and quickly hugged Sango. “I'm fine!” Though she didn't look like she was buying Kagome's fabrication, Sango smiled, too.
`Come on, Kagome. By this time tomorrow, it'll all be over . . . . I'll be Inotaishou Kagome . . . .'
And that thought was more than enough to make her smile very, very real.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Sango :
… I have a bad feeling about this wedding …
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.