InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ New Beginnings ( Chapter 90 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha shifted his hand as he studied the latest contracts that had come into Telekazaan. Stretched out on the sofa with Kagome lying on his chest as Shippou sat at the coffee table with his homework, InuYasha cracked a little smile as his gaze shifted away from the documents to his mate, curled on her side with her cheek against his heart and her arms wrapped protectively over her distended stomach. At six months pregnant, Kagome was happy enough to doze on him when he brought work home from the office, and he didn't mind having to work around her as he hummed the lullaby under his breath.
He shook his head. It wasn't so difficult, he had to admit. All that was really required of him was his signature on new contracts and stuff like that, though he had been considering taking over the meetings with some of the potential clients, mostly because Sesshoumaru had hinted that it wouldn't be wise to send `the hot-headed half-breed' in to negotiate. It seemed like they'd been receiving more calls lately. In fact, if it kept up, he'd have to hire at least ten new men to stay even with demand. They'd broken even financially last quarter, and with any luck, Sesshoumaru would be signing over the company when the next reports were sent in.
Leaning his head from side to side, he winced as a knotted muscle in his shoulder protested the movement. The security firm had a full gym in the basement where the men trained in order to keep up to standard between jobs. InuYasha had taken on one of the guys this morning, and while he won, the man had given him decent competition.
With a sigh, Shippou stowed his homework away and scampered to his feet. “Can I go play outside?”
Letting the papers dangle in his hand beside the sofa, InuYasha used his other hand to put his index finger to his lips to shush the kitsune then nodded. “You'd better be home before dark, runt,” he remarked as Shippou ran off to get his boots. Rolling his eyes as the kitsune slammed the front door behind himself, InuYasha leaned over to drop the contracts on the table. Kagome awoke with a jerk and leaned up to stare sleepily at her mate. “You get enough rest?”
She nodded and yawned. “Where's Shippou?”
“Outside. Remind me to tweak him for slamming the door.”
He grinned as he rubbed her belly. She made a face. “I'm not Buddha,” she grumbled as she sat up and pushed his hands away.
“Oi! Where do you think you're going?” he complained as she stood up.
“To the bathroom,” she replied as she kept moving. “Your son won't stay off my bladder.”
“My daughter is as sneaky as you are,” he argued. “They said at your last visit that she's a girl,” he called after her.
“They said that they couldn't tell because he was hiding his parts during the ultrasound,” she called back, her voice muffled by the bathroom door.
“Believe what you want, wench. She's a girl.”
“You're living in denial, baka!” Kagome taunted. “He's a boy!”
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted as he headed for the kitchen. “If I have to make dinner, you're eating ramen,” he warned.
Kagome shuffled into the kitchen after him. “Stand aside, dog-boy. Ramen. Keh!”
Hiding his grin, InuYasha grabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and leaned back against the counter as Kagome dug out the pup's favorite food: frozen pizza. “We should get started on the nursery,” she commented as she turned on the oven dial.
InuYasha wrinkled his nose. “Do we have to?”
“Yes,” she insisted. “Everything's white in there. He'll think he's in a jail.”
Having gotten acquainted with the fundamentals of the judicial system because of his business, InuYasha rolled his eyes. “They're not white, wench,” he pointed out, “and she won't care.”
“He's a boy, and he'll have cute little ears, just like yours,” she predicted, as she stood on tiptoe to rub InuYasha's ears. “So will you help me?”
“What's in it for me?”
She grinned. “We can think of something, can't we? Isn't tonight the full moon?”
Narrowing his gaze on her as heat stole up his face, InuYasha snorted. “Keh.” Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her close only to receive a good kick against his thigh. “Watch it,” he growled playfully, earning him another decent kick as Kagome giggled. “How about we think of something for me now and later?”
Kagome patted his cheek as she pulled away to put the pizza in the oven. “Wallpaper first, then play or we'll never get it done.”
He sighed. “And who says that wasn't the plan?”
Sesshoumaru glanced up and took the paper cup from Nibori, who flopped into the uncomfortable chair beside his father. Staring at the coffee, the tai-youkai sighed. “You might as well go for now,” he told Nibori. “If memory serves, this takes a very long while.”
“That's all right. It's not every day I can stop claiming to be an only child,” he quipped just before turning to his speculative gaze at his father. “Why are you out here instead of in there with Mother?”
That earned Nibori a sidelong glance. “I thought I'd wait out here with you.”
Nibori nodded. “Mother kicked you out, didn't she?”
“Did you call Uncle?”
“Think I want that baka here? He's worse than a pup.”
Nibori nodded again and stood up. “I'll take care of it,” he remarked as he headed for the door.
Staring into the swirling, oily liquid in the cup, Sesshoumaru frowned.
It was easy to believe that it was over, that he'd managed to repair the past. `But why, then, do I suffer this unease? Something is coming. It is not finished.'
The most troubling thing was that there were answers in that ancient scroll. Whenever he touched it, he could feel the secrets, and though he'd never demean himself to opening his brother's missive, he couldn't help but be compelled to know what sort of truths it contained.
`The will to change one's destiny . . . I cannot meet with failure.'
Setting aside the tepid coffee, Sesshoumaru stared at the cover of a magazine carelessly thrown on the table beside him. The picturesque scene of a quaint little village reminded him of times long past, of secrets that were better left buried in the recesses of his mind. The memories he sought to forget, and the miserable knowledge that even now, they still lingered.
The woman exterminator was the next to fall. Though her death wasn't caused by anything InuYasha had done, the damning of the miko's voice had only served to ensure the slayer's death. Versed in modern medicines and possessing a rudimentary knowledge of common afflictions, surely she had understood the situation. Modern medicine would have dubbed it an `ectopic pregnancy'—the same thing that had nearly cost her life this time. The miko had known. The guilt in her eyes later had convinced him of this—the guilt that she had been unable to say what it was; the guilt that she hadn't been able to save her friend. Sesshoumaru hadn't been there when the exterminator died. He was there when they buried her.
The strength of humans, he realized at the time, was their weakness, as well. The love they felt, the desire to protect, and ultimately, the blame they inevitably cast upon themselves . . . that was what had killed the monk.
InuYasha left the miko, running off to Musashi, to reclaim the birthright in hopes that this gesture could somehow repair the damage he'd done with his foolish wish. The monk left in the night. Curious to see where he would go, wondering why it was that a human as clever as the monk could sink into such a state of despair, Sesshoumaru had followed him. Perhaps that had been his biggest mistake . . . .
The monk traveled to the temple where he'd received his instruction. In the depression left by his father, Sesshoumaru watched as the monk stabbed a ragged hole in his hand, trying to reawaken the kazaana. Repulsed by his actions yet compelled to watch, Sesshoumaru bore witness to the black art, the power so terrifying that he had drawn away a little further. The fool succeeded in returning the kazaana to his hand. Then he had turned it on himself.
Returning to the village, Sesshoumaru realized right away that the miko was gone. It hadn't been difficult to figure out that she had run after InuYasha. After the baka's foolish wish, the well had ceased to exist, the tie that bound the two worlds. As had happened when the jewel purified this time, it was the same then. The ground had simply closed in, as though the well had never existed.
What had already been done was too strong to counteract. He arrived in time to see the last semblance of decency taken from InuYasha. While InuYasha was facing down Norimitsu, the miko arrived and shot one of her pathetic arrows at the youkai. Norimitsu laughed at her weak attempt and went after her. In his concern for the miko's safety, InuYasha took his focus off Norimitsu long enough for the youkai to alter his course, and within an instant and a woman's foolish heartbeat, she had thrown herself between the two, and she was the one who fell. In his rage, InuYasha managed a Kaze no Kizu, and the flames connected with Norimitsu's leg. The injured youkai ran away as InuYasha held the miko's torn body in his arms.
Tenseiga pulsed on his hip. Staring at the sword, drawing it out, he stepped forward slowly, cautiously, to stand over the miko, over his brother. “Save her,” InuYasha rasped out, voice weak, thick, heavy with the weight of pure emotion. “Please.”
“Why would you save her? You curse her, you mock her . . . you suffered her to lose her only way back to her home, to her people.”
“You want me to beg?” InuYasha snarled, eyes bright in a wash of tears, tears that Sesshoumaru hadn't understood then. “I'll beg. I'll plead. Just save her.”
Sesshoumaru lifted Tenseiga, the blade throbbing with the desire to save her. Something stopped him, the whisper of a gentle voice, no more than a murmur on the wind. `Let me go . . . I can't save him . . . I couldn't save them . . . Shippou died because I couldn't call for help . . . Sango died because I couldn't tell them what I thought was wrong . . . Miroku . . . his soul is dying because I can't make him talk, and InuYasha . . . I wasn't the one who could save him, at all . . . and he's better off without me . . . .'
Conceding to her wishes, the miko held her sway. Sesshoumaru dropped Tenseiga into the scabbard as InuYasha cursed him. What he hadn't realized then was that, in letting the miko's tired soul move on, he'd condemned his brother, as well, and in the dark, in the passage of centuries, that one moment in time, when he could have saved two lives by saving one that didn't wish to be saved . . . . He should have listened to Tenseiga.
The miko and the hanyou. The one would have healed the other, and the latter would have healed the first.
Sesshoumaru blinked as the memory faded.
“You looked awfully deep in thought,” Nibori remarked as she sat back down.
Sesshoumaru flicked his wrist to adjust his watch. “It was nothing,” he remarked.
Nibori nodded. “Of course, Father.”
“Did you reach your uncle?”
“Nope. I left a message on his voicemail, though.”
The pleasant midi-intonation of Nibori's cell phone rang, and he stood again, mumbling something about hospital rules as he strode from the waiting room again. Sesshoumaru smiled faintly as he deliberated the soundness of returning to Leikizu's room. Sending him away after he left a sixth nurse trembling and dissolved in a bundle of raw nerves from his cold stare alone, Leikizu had demanded that he leave. `Modern youkai,' he thought as his smile widened just a little, `are far too weak . . . .'
He sighed, figuring that he was probably better off where he was, at least until Leikizu's pain killers kicked in . . . .
Sango paced the living room floor of the small house, shooting glances at the clock and willing it to move faster. Feeling like nothing but a huge bundle of raw nerves, she drew a steadying breath and told herself to be patient.
“You're going to worry yourself sick, Sango,” Miroku pointed out calmly as he set the evening newspaper aside and patted the sofa beside him. They'd moved into Kagome's little apartment house behind the shrine but at the moment, Sango was stalking around staring daggers at the creeping hands on the clock.
Sango muttered under her breath as she peeked at the clock again, completely ignoring her husband's invitation to sit with him With a dejected sigh, she shook her head and continued stalking across the floor, shooting surreptitious glances at the offending timepiece and silently cursing the slow-moving hands.
Miroku's soft chuckle did little to soothe her rapidly fraying nerves. “Darling Sango, your antics are highly amusing but you really ought to sit down and wait.”
She shot him a dark look for that as she strode into the kitchen and jerked open the utility drawer. Rifling through it, she finally located her quarry and held pulled two `AA' sized batteries out of the economy pack before dropping the rest into the drawer and slamming it closed.
Miroku wisely remained silent as he watched Sango pull the clock off the wall and change the batteries. “What time does your watch say?” she asked as she fiddled with the set dial.
“Exactly the same as the clock you just changed the batteries in,” he replied as he stood up. “Just a minute longer, Sango. Calm down.” She let him take the clock and watched him hang it back on the wall. “If you'll recall, you just put fresh batteries in the clock before we started this.”
Sango made a face and slapped the batteries onto the counter. True enough. She'd insisted that he do it when she'd gone into the bathroom. Kagome had told her often enough, though, that even in this modern age, things still broke without any hint. Maybe the batteries Miroku had used were dead to start with . . . .
Miroku checked his watch and grinned. “All right. You can check it now.”
That was all she waited to hear. Breaking into a light sprint as she headed for the bathroom, she suddenly stopped and swung around to face her husband, eyes widening as fear surfaced. “I . . . I can't . . . you do it.”
Miroku's chuckle did soothe her this time as he came to her and drew her into a warm embrace. “Sango . . . even if it isn't what we want to know, it's all right. It'll happen. Trust me.”
She sighed and leaned against his shoulder. “I know . . . I just really want it to be . . . .”
Kissing her forehead gently, Miroku sighed, too. “I know. Now do you want to look at it?”
Sango pushed away to stare into Miroku's beautiful eyes and nodded slowly. “All right.”
Leaning around the corner, he flicked on the bathroom light and stepped back. “Ladies first.”
Sango swallowed hard. Facing down powerful youkai wasn't nearly as difficult, she discovered, as it was to make her leaden feet step into the bathroom. The small plastic device sat on the edge of the sink. Sango's heart caught in her throat as her blood pounded in her ears. She reached out for it then stopped, hesitated. Miroku's arms wrapped around her waist, offering her a reassuring squeeze. “You can do it,” he whispered.
She nodded. Steeling her resolve again, her fingers trembled as she edged closer. That last bit of space that separated her fingertips from the target seemed unbreechable. Closing her eyes, she grasped it with a sharp gasp, as though the one gesture had been the most difficult thing she had ever had to do.
She'd thought it had been difficult, enduring the three months of waiting after the surgery before they could try. She thought it had been difficult, having to learn things about her body that still confused her, a little. She thought it had been difficult, learning how to predict her ovulation cycles so that they had a fighting chance of conceiving a child. She'd learned more about the human body in the last few months than she had ever realized there was to know. But no, the most difficult part was the consuming fear that she'd failed this time, even if they could and would try again.
Clutching the tester to her chest, she couldn't quite make herself look at it. Miroku understood and gently, he pulled her hand away from her body to look for the results when she could not. Clearing his throat a few times before he could speak, he squeezed her hand gently. “Sango . . . you'd better look for yourself.”
Eyes flashing open as she turned her head to stare at her husband's oddly choked tone, Sango searched in vain for some sort of clue in his face. His expression gave away nothing.
“All right,” she whispered, hesitantly letting her gaze fall onto the home pregnancy test in her hand. Her gasp filled the bathroom, echoing off the walls . . . .
Kagome stifled a giggle as InuYasha tried to press the stubborn wallpaper into place. Working for three hours, and they had yet to get one strip to hang correctly, and though she had mentioned to him that the rolls had come with instructions, the stubborn hanyou refused to read them. She'd made the mistake of wrinkling her nose at the slight odor that was emitted from the pre-pasted paper once it was wet. He had intercepted it and insisted that she not subject herself to the fumes since, if it affected her, then it might affect his daughter. Kagome had assured him that his son was fine. InuYasha had snapped back that his daughter was bound to have a more sensitive nose since most females did. Kagome had only been able to roll her eyes at that and had let him take over even though she had pointed out once more that the child was a boy; she could feel it.
“You can't tell me that there's not someone you can pay to do this shit,” InuYasha grouched as he tried to hold both corners of the top and flatted down the center with his hip. Kagome blanked her features as he glanced back at her. Sitting in the carved wooden rocking chair as she watched, she managed to smile without laughing outright at the absolute frustration on his adorable face.
“Well, sure,” she agreed easily enough. “But I wanted to do this, ourselves.”
Slowly moving his hands to test the paper's adhesion, InuYasha slowly stepped away from the wall, crossing his arms over his chest rather proudly as he surveyed the first strip of paper. “It's crooked,” Shippou remarked as he glanced up from his K'nex building set.
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted. “It is not!”
Kagome leaned her head to the side, critically eyeing the strip. “No, I think Shippou's right . . . it's crooked.”
“You both need your eyes checked, wench. It's perfectly straight, and—”
His tirade was cut short as the paper suddenly fell off the wall, draping over her mate as she giggled. Shippou did, too, and with a frustrated growl, InuYasha jerked Tetsusaiga free and slashed at the offending wallpaper.
“And that was necessary because . . . ?” Kagome asked dryly.
“It attacked me,” InuYasha grumbled as he pushed the ripped paper aside and resheathed Tetsusaiga.
Shippou rolled his eyes and gathered up his construction toys, hurrying out of the room and mumbling something about InuYasha `coming after his toy next.'
Pinning Kagome with a significant look, InuYasha propped his hands on his hips and snorted. “You call someone to fix this or I will.”
She grinned. “Fine, in the morning,” she agreed as she stooped down to retrieve the pan of water they'd been using to dip the wallpaper. “Throw away the paper you destroyed, all right?” she called over her shoulder as she carefully carried the pan to the bathroom.
InuYasha stomped past the bathroom door with a wad of wallpaper in his hands. Her smile spread. It amazed her, how well he was adapting to her time. Though he still suffered the occasional headache from too overtaxing his hanyou senses, those weren't occurring as often as they had when he first started work. It was one thing, for him to be subjected to the somewhat isolated shrine, but when he'd been so enclosed by it all day every day, it had taken a toll on him. Still he never complained about that. She had a feeling it was because, while he missed the wide open feel of Sengoku Jidai, everyone he cared about was here.
Even stranger was the odd bond that was slowly developing between the brothers. Though she doubted either one of them would ever admit to caring about the other, there was an undeniable sense of mutual respect, and even when InuYasha grumbled and complained about having to go to his brother's mansion for any reason at all, he wasn't nearly as reluctant to go. In fact, to her knowledge, InuYasha had only drawn Tetsusaiga on Sesshoumaru once or twice since their disaster of a wedding, and that, in her opinion, was huge.
Turning off the tap and setting the pan upside down to dry, Kagome pushed herself up on the side of the tub, pausing just long enough to dry her hands before she hurried out of the bathroom.
Standing in the kitchen with his ankles crossed as he leaned against the sink eating ramen, he pointed his chopsticks at the phone on the wall. “Voicemail is blinking,” he remarked around his mouthful of food.
Kagome made a face as she hit the retrieval button. “So why didn't you check it? And stop talking with food in your mouth.”
“I knew you'd do it,” he pointed out as he stuffed more ramen into his mouth, “and you complain when I don't talk. Make up your mind, wench.”
“Disgusting,” she retorted as she waited for the messages to play.
“Uncle? Aunt Kagome? This is Nibori . . . I'm calling from the hospital. Mother's in labor, and Father could really use the calming influence Uncle provides . . . at your earliest convenience, of course.”
Kagome chortled at the idea of `calming influence' and `InuYasha' in the same sentence. Nibori, she was sure, was trying to instigate something . . . .
“Hmm,” InuYasha drawled as he tossed his cup into the trash. “Too bad we're busy the rest of the night. Poor bastard will just have to live without me.”
Kagome waved a hand as Miroku's voice came from the answering machine. “Kagome? InuYasha? This is Miroku. Sango and I wanted you both to be the first to know . . . Sango's pregnant . . . .”
“That's a bad omen,” InuYasha snorted as he wrapped his arms around Kagome's belly, pulling her back against him as he buried his nose against her neck. “Like the world needs more perverts.”
She savored the feel of being in his arms for a moment before she pulled away with a sigh. “Come on. We can stop by Sango and Miroku's before we go to the hospital.”
“No, we can't,” he argued, “because we ain't going.”
“All right,” she agreed. “You stay here, and I'll go.”
`The infamous pout surfaced on his face. “But you promised,” he pointed out.
“We'll have time for that when we get home,” she assured him.
“Keh! Not for what I have in mind,” he grumbled.
Kagome grinned and kissed his cheek. “Shippou! Come here!”
The kitsune ran into the kitchen moments later with Baka in tow.
“Leikizu is having her baby, and we were going to go to the hospital. Do you want to go to Sango and Miroku's while we're gone?”
Shippou shrugged as he took off to get his shoes. “Nah, I'll go to grandma's. She promised she'd buy more pocky for me.”
She didn't miss the slight hint of poutiness behind the kitsune's tone, either. Convinced that the child was eating far too much pocky, she'd limited him to one package per day—which wasn't something that pleased him.
InuYasha heaved a sigh designed to let her know just what he thought of her perceived cruelty. “You know, InuYasha . . .” she mused as she followed him out of the kitchen. He sat on the sofa to pull on the shoes he hated. “Maybe we ought to consider getting our driver's licenses? I mean, we'll have this baby soon enough . . . just how many of us do you plan on carrying around?”
InuYasha snorted. “You make me sound weak, wench,” he grumbled. “No cars. They're noisy and smelly and I don't trust anything that moves by itself and doesn't breathe.”
She grinned. “You've ridden buses.”
His expression told her that the discussion was closed. Kagome laughed. He made that so easy for her to do, and she loved him for that.
“What the hell is taking so fucking long?” InuYasha growled.
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. “Be not a fool, baka. It takes time to give birth.”
InuYasha scowled at Kagome, who was patiently reading a magazine. “Oi, wench, you'd better not take this long.”
“InuYasha . . . I'd stop now, if I were you,” Miroku commented as he leaned in closer to his friend. “Kagome can still purify you.”
“Keh! She could but she wouldn't.”
“And why's that?” Miroku asked, noting the self-satisfied grin on the hanyou's face.
InuYasha shrugged. “No reason . . . just certain side effect she doesn't like as much . . . .”
“InuYasha!” Kagome complained as her cheeks reddened.
“Nothing,” Kagome insisted, dropping her magazine on the table as she stood up and grabbed Sango's arm. “Come on, Sango.”
“What side effects?” Miroku asked again.
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. “Spare me the sordid details of things I'm better of not hearing.”
Miroku sighed and stood up. “I'm going to get coffee. Want some?”
InuYasha made a face. It was the one drink that he couldn't abide at all. The smell was too strong, too overpowering, and he'd end up sneezing the rest of the day if he was subjected to it long enough.
Nibori left with Miroku as InuYasha regarded his stoic brother with a measure of amusement. The normally untouchable youkai looked like he'd been dragged through hell. “You look terrible,” he remarked.
“Thank you, baka.”
“Any time, bastard.”
Staring around the empty waiting room, Sesshoumaru finally sighed. “It didn't take nearly this long when Nibori was born,” he admitted quietly.
InuYasha was caught off guard by his brother's quiet statement. “Keh. You ain't got a thing to worry about. Leikizu puts up with you, doesn't she? This is nothing compared to that.”
“At least I didn't drag my mate away from her own wedding reception.”
InuYasha snorted. “It was her idea.”
“Ugh . . . you really have defiled the miko,” he stated with open distain.
Two heads turned at the sound of that name. InuYasha looked away quickly enough, since the nurse was obviously talking to Sesshoumaru. “My wife?”
The nurse smiled. “She's fine, and she'd like to see you.”
Sesshoumaru nodded and followed the nurse out of the waiting room.
InuYasha shook his head and sat back, tapping his foot impatiently. `Good,' he thought with a slight grin, `as soon as Kagome gets back in here . . . we're leaving . . . she made a deal with me, after all . . . .'
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Nibori:
Wait . . . do I have a brother or a sister?
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.