InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ The Scroll ( Chapter 92 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Staring out the floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the front driveway, Sesshoumaru's pensive gaze saw everything and saw nothing. The moisture of the early morning dew hung thick on the land; crystalline droplets, the tears of heaven.
Amber eyes dropping to the ancient scroll in his hand, Sesshoumaru nodded. `It is time.'
The familiar twinge, the protracted doubt, the worry that perhaps it was too late for the scroll to make a difference at all assailed him. Though the shift in his memories was pronounced, definitive, the smallest thing could precipitate another change, another bending of the wills, another tilt in the precarious balance of what should have been and what would be.
Turning away from the window, Sesshoumaru stared at the framed picture on his desk. Nibori, Keiko, and Kumiko . . . his children . . . if he didn't need to ensure the future for himself, didn't he owe it to them, and to young Inuakamori?
The day it had all ended the first time was now over five hundred years ago. At times, in the darkness of the night, in the quiet just before dawn, in the stillness of his life, he wondered. Had it not been for these things—these mistakes of the past, the inevitability of being made to see his own shortcomings—who would he be now? Had these events somehow shaped his life, culminating in this moment, in this one last opportunity to alter the tides of destiny? And InuYasha . . . would he even listen? Would he even care?
Dropping the scroll on the desk, Sesshoumaru picked up the photo and stared at it. In the end it didn't matter as much, what was in the scroll, as it did that Sesshoumaru should finally give it to the intended recipient. He set the picture frame down with a nod. `It will be done. This Sesshoumaru . . . will finish this.'
“All right, bastard, there better be a damn good reason you rolled me out of bed at the crack of dawn. Bark it out, will you?”
Sesshoumaru's steely gaze rose to lock with InuYasha's bored expression. “I met with the head of the financial department, InuYasha. It seems Telekazaan has actually managed to turn a profit last quarter.” Pushing the title for the security firm across the desk, Sesshoumaru stood back while InuYasha hesitantly picked up the document, looking it over slowly, carefully.
“So you were serious about handing it over.”
“Be not a fool, InuYasha. I do not renege on my word.”
Slouching into one of the chairs facing the desk, InuYasha deliberately propped up one foot then dropped his other over top, crossing them at the ankles. “Tell me something. What do you really want?”
Deliberately taking his time as he sat down behind the desk, Sesshoumaru leaned back, staring at his brother as seconds ticked by on the crystal clock next to the desktop calendar. “What do I want?” he repeated. “Surely you jest. You have nothing I want or need. You haven't figured that out by now?”
InuYasha shook his head. Gaze narrowing as he met his brother's stare dead-on. “Cut the shit, Sesshoumaru. I know you. I've always known you. You've never given a rat's ass about anything, and yet . . . . Why do I have the feeling you've got motives you haven't told me about?”
Sesshoumaru nodded once as he lifted the scroll, extended it to his brother. “You're right. It's time you knew.”
“What's this?” InuYasha asked, staring at the scroll with a marked frown. Turning it over in his hands, he touched the seal with his fingertips, traced over the old wax that held it closed.
“How should I know, baka? It was entrusted to me so that I could give it to you.”
“Who gave it to you?”
“Katosan . . . over five hundred years ago.”
“You bastard . . . why didn't you give it to me back then?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged. “I didn't realize you had need of it then. I know not whether you have need of it now. Do you?”
InuYasha stared at the scroll for another minute before slowly, hesitantly breaking the seal. Watching his brother's face as he read whatever secrets the papers contained, Sesshoumaru was shocked to see the confusion give way to a sudden rage in InuYasha's eyes. Slowly edged aside by sorrow, by sadness, by a pain that could bridge the passing of centuries, his emotions flowed freely through the brightness of his gaze.
Finally with a savage growl, InuYasha crushed the scroll in his fist, knuckles white, grimacing as he glared across the desk at Sesshoumaru. “Damn you to hell, Sesshoumaru! Why the fuck did you keep this from me?”
“What did our father have to tell you?” he countered.
InuYasha snorted, his anger a palpable thing. “It wasn't from our old man. It was from Mother—the missing pages of her diary. Now you tell me . . . why didn't you fucking give this to me before?”
“How would I have known what was of import when I did not read your scroll?”
InuYasha tossed the rumpled papers onto the desk before flopping back in his chair with a furious growl.
Sesshoumaru stared at him for a moment before reaching for the pages.
`Strange things have come to pass this last while—things that you shall not understand for such a long time to come. I fear in the dark, I can hear him coming. He wants to destroy me, to destroy you because of me. For this, I am so sorry. It began on the waning of the moon, six times past. He wanted to claim me, wanted me to renounce you, renounce the vows I'd made to your father. Though your father might be gone from this world, in my heart he will remain my mate, so long as you live. It was my mistake to say as much to him. Norimitsu promised he would see you dead, and that was something I could not allow.
`Bitter and twisted, coveting what another has, unsatisfied to possess what he is given, Norimitsu's heart is tainted black. In every way that your father was my light, my life, Norimitsu seeks to destroy it all. I will save you, InuYasha. I must save you. I was foolish, I think. Understand that I would have done anything to protect you, promised anything if it meant that you would live on. I bargained for your life, and in the doing, I damned myself forever.
`In exchange for his word that he would not bring you to harm, I became Norimitsu's lover. I make no excuses. I offer no lies. InuYasha, it was enough for me to know that he had promised, but every time he touched me with his vile hands, I felt as though I died just a little. You were the one being who could make me feel complete, whole. I think I knew that it wouldn't be long before I had to leave you. One way or another, the human spirit can only endure so much before it falters, before we lose our way. I pray you never learn this truth. I pray that you never see one you love lose so much that their wearied soul would better welcome death than to face the pain of living.
`Norimitsu blamed your father for killing his sister. She died shortly after Sesshoumaru's birth. Though I feel for your brother—how hard would it be to lose your parent? I cannot be sad when, in the end, your father chose me. Being driven by hatred is such an ugly thing to see. If there had ever been a time when Norimitsu had a good spirit, there is none left in him now.
`My father has heard rumors of a mononoke that comes to me in the night. I've denied this to him, adding my lies to the weight of my innumerable sins. I've wished for death so many times now, it becomes a mantra, a chant, a salvation. But you, my child, you give me a reason to survive, to carry on. My child of lightness, my child of beauty . . . it is my wish that you never need the information on these pages, that you never know the things I have done, that you never realize the price I've paid for loving your father.
`But the secret that Norimitsu can never take from me is that, for every moment I spent with your father, for every second I hold you in my heart, for every pain in endure at Norimitsu's whims . . . to have known your father, to have loved him as I did, and to have known that he loved me, too . . . it was enough, and it will sustain me. I love you, child of mine. For life, for love, and for your father and me, live strong.
`Your devoted mother.
Letting the pages scroll closed over his fingers, Sesshoumaru slowly lifted his gaze to meet his brother's stare. “What will you do, InuYasha?”
InuYasha shot to his feet, snatching the scroll out of Sesshoumaru's hand. “Tell me where Katosan is.”
“Myouga and Totosai said before that Katosan was there when Mother died. I want to know what happened.”
With a sigh, Sesshoumaru nodded. “He is likely in his office by now. I trust you can sniff him out.”
Sesshoumaru watched as InuYasha stormed out of the study and shook his head as the front door slammed moments later.
`So . . . Norimitsu is to blame for this as well?' Slowly, Sesshoumaru reached for the phone and dialed. “It's me. InuYasha is on his way to see you.”
A pause on the other end as Katosan pondered Sesshoumaru's words. “Trying to kill me again?'
“No . . . he seeks answers.”
“I see. What would you have me tell him, Sesshoumaru-sama?”
Closing his eyes for just a moment as the levity of the knowledge InuYasha sought bore down on him, Sesshoumaru opened his eyes and grimaced. “Tell him whatever he wishes to know.”
Katosan sighed. “As you wish.”
“InuYasha-sama, I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. How is Kagome-sama? I trust your new pup is doing well?”
“Cut the crap, Katosan,” InuYasha growled. “Tell me what happened to my mother.”
Noticing the papers still clutched in the hanyou's hand, Katosan nodded. “I take it you finally received the scroll.”
“Unless you want another taste of Tetsusaiga, you'll just answer my fucking question.”
Katosan sank down on the edge of his desk and nodded. “I was there when your mother was killed.”
“How did she die?”
As though needing to scroll back years in his mind, Katosan's eyes grew misty, distant, unfocused as his gaze fell away from InuYasha. “After the Inu no Taisho died, Norimitsu wanted your mother.” He shook his head, a humorless smile that seemed more like a grimace twisting the corners of his lips. “Wanted isn't the right word. He was obsessed with her, with his desire to possess her because she had once belonged to your father.”
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted, squelching the impulse to pace the plush office floor. “I know all that. I want to know what happened the night she died.”
Katosan nodded again. “Your grandfather had heard the whispering of the servants, the murmurs of a youkai who came to your mother in the night. He feared another like your father, you understand. He waited with his men until the night came, and he caught your mother and Norimitsu . . . .” Trailing off with a shake of his head, Katosan closed his eyes for a moment. “You need not know that, I'm assuming. Your grandfather went into a mad rage, intent on cutting down Norimitsu for defiling your mother, and intent on killing your mother for allowing it to be so.”
Katosan stared at his claws, concentrating on his hands as though there were blood on them, and perhaps in his own mind, there was. “Norimitsu—the bastard—escaped into the night, leaving your mother at your grandfather's mercy . . . and I'm sorry to say, he had none. She begged for your life, begged for them to allow you to live. I must confess, I never though he would do it. He raised his hand to Izayoi-sama time and again, but when he drew his sword . . . . Forgive me, InuYasha-sama. I could have stopped him then.”
“Why didn't you?”
Katosan finally lifted his gaze to meet InuYasha's. With a shrug, he shook his head slowly. “She asked me not to. She was weary of being used, of being persecuted . . . weary of Norimitsu . . . . You were the one thing that kept her alive for a very long time. The living mate oftentimes follows in death within months of losing the first. That she remained alive was a testament of her love for you, and for that, I respected her wishes. It was not my choice to make.”
“Mother . . . .”
“She was dying when her father left her. The stench of her blood filled the room. I asked her if she would see you, tell you goodbye. She wanted to save you the memory of seeing her that way, and I can't say I blame her for that, either. With the last of her strength, the last of her will, she tore the pages from her diary, sealed them with the mark of the Inu no Taisho. She asked me to give them to Sesshoumaru in case the diary fell into someone else's hands. But, if it helps at all, she died with your name on her lips, and she died with a peace that she hadn't known in years.”
InuYasha absorbed all of that in silence as something hot, ugly twisted his stomach in knots. Finally he stood, casting Katosan a last long glance. “Somehow it doesn't really help.”
Katosan nodded. “I didn't imagine it would.”
“I thought you hated humans.”
“I thought I did, too.”
InuYasha snorted with the waning bravado he possessed. “Keh. What changed?”
Katosan shrugged. “Many things . . . your mother's strength in choosing death . . . your miko's courage in choosing life . . . Sesshoumaru-sama's changes of heart over the passing centuries . . . and perhaps I owe your miko a debt. Had she not done what she did, I wouldn't have found my mate.”
Staring at Katosan for another long moment, InuYasha finally nodded and turned away. `That bastard's dead. . . I'll rip him apart . . . for Mother,' he thought as he strode toward the door.
Katosan's voice stopped him. “Before you do anything rash, consider all you have to lose. Neither your father nor your mother would have you suffer what they did. Do you understand?”
InuYasha just stared at him before turning on his heel and slamming out of the office.
Stepping onto the crowded street, the hazy sunshine hurt his eyes. A sharp pain reverberated through his skull, nearly bringing him to his knees as a dull ache twisted around his chest. Unmindful of the milling crowds, the wash of faceless people that closed in on him, InuYasha started to run. Faster and faster, higher and higher, further and further, chased by the secrets of the past, the truths that left him torn open and bleeding, he pushed off the ground, sailed above buildings, moving in a blur of movement that no one could discern. Lungs burning, head pounding, wanting only to escape the vicious truths, the hateful deceit.
Sprinting through the city with eyes blurred with distorted images, outrunning the ghosts that whispered his name, he didn't stop. If he ran forever, would someone catch him? If he reached the ocean, could he run on the water?
A soft voice whispered to his mind, a voice he knew but couldn't place. Feminine, beautiful, his reason . . . his center. Her voice called to him time and again, soft as a snowfall, pure as rain . . . . `Kagome . . . .'
The sound of crying broke through the mists shrouding his mind, dulling the pain in his heart. `A pup . . . ?'
Stopping suddenly, InuYasha blinked in surprise. The path he'd taken without thinking . . . it led him home.
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Final Thought from Katosan:
::grimace:: … He took the news rather well …
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.