InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Chronicles ❯ Changing Destiny ( Chapter 94 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Glancing back at the house in the middle of the clearing, InuYasha swallowed the suspect lump in his throat before he broke into a sprint. The trouble in this time was, he had no idea where the bastard was hiding. Scents were easily lost amongst all the convoluted odors of the modern world. Someone had to know where the bastard was hiding. He frowned. What had Kagome said before? Hadn't Leikizu told her that Norimitsu showed up every once in awhile to try to battle Sesshoumaru?
`Damn it!' he growled to himself as he altered his course. He should have thought to ask earlier . . . . `Damn it, damn it, double damn it, and damn it some more . . . .'
Tokyo flew by in a blur of color-washed gray. He felt the need to hurry, as if Norimitsu would escape if he didn't. `That couldn't be,' he thought with an inward snort. `Bastard doesn't know I'm after him . . . but he will . . . .'
Nibori was coming out of the mansion when InuYasha skidded to a stop before the doors. His friendly smile faded when he caught the murderous scowl on InuYasha's face. “You're here to see Father.”
InuYasha nodded as Nibori led the way back inside.
Sesshoumaru was talking on the phone when InuYasha strode in and sank down. That didn't last long. InuYasha shot to his feet, flexing his claws as he paced the floor and waited for his brother to hang up.
“That's fine, thank you.” Sesshoumaru said before he dropped the receiver back into the cradle. “Is there something you wanted?”
InuYasha wasted no time cutting to the crux of it. “Tell me where to find Norimitsu, and don't tell me you don't know because I think you do.”
His expression said that Sesshoumaru was reluctant to divulge any such information to the volatile hanyou. InuYasha gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. “What will you do if you find him?” Sesshoumaru asked casually—too casually.
InuYasha's glare plainly told Sesshoumaru that he thought his brother was being dense on purpose. “What the hell do you think?”
Sesshoumaru sighed and stood abruptly, turning away to stare out the window as he stuffed his hand into his pocket and shook his head. “Will you go charging in there alone? Surely even you are not that foolish . . . or could it be that you really haven't learned a thing, after all?”
“I don't have time for your fucking riddles, Sesshoumaru. Just tell me what I need to know, all right?”
Pinning InuYasha with a shrewd stare, Sesshoumaru turned around again. Outlined by the early afternoon sunshine filtering through the window, his brother's face was veiled in shadows, the expression in his eyes unreadable, the thinning of his lips telling. “I'll tell you where to find him,” Sesshoumaru agreed quietly. “But you will listen to what I have to say first. Now sit down.”
“I don't have the fucking time for this,” InuYasha snarled as he headed for the door.
“And I have had nothing but time for this! For the lives of your miko and your children, you will sit down and hear me out!”
The bitter anger—more sincere, more emotional, more real than InuYasha could remember having heard from his stoic brother—caught him off guard. With a heavy sigh, InuYasha stalked back over to the chair and plopped down. “Keh! Fine. Hurry it up.”
Deliberately taking his time, Sesshoumaru shook his head and sat down again, too. “It began over five hundred years ago, over something I didn't want but didn't care enough to stop, either: your acquisition of Musashi.”
InuYasha frowned. “I never took Musashi. I never even tried.”
“Of course you didn't . . . this time. Shut up and listen for once.” Sitting back with a deep breath, as though trying to figure out where to go from there, Sesshoumaru shifted his gaze to meet InuYasha's without turning his head. “The past was quite different from that which you've recreated. There have been contingencies that would have struck you sooner if you had enough foresight to look for them.”
“Do you need a dictionary, baka?”
“Shut the hell up and get on with it.”
Satisfied that InuYasha would be quiet and hear him out, Sesshoumaru nodded. “Surely you've wondered how it could be so, that you could not carry your mother's diary through the enchanted well?”
“How do you know about the well?”
Sesshoumaru drummed his claws against his desktop with a pointed scowl. “Myouga, but we digress. I'll get to him.”
“How did you get Mother's diary?”
Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, Sesshoumaru drummed his claws on the desk. “I know not how it came to be there. It was by chance that I found it at the annual antiques auction just before I gave it to you. The gentleman I spoke with said that it was in a box of old books donated by a Mr. Yamashita . . . .”
InuYasha snorted, wondering why Sesshoumaru had put so much emphasis on that name. “Is that name supposed to mean something to me?”
“Perhaps his surname does not . . . however, his given name might . . . Yamashita Norimitsu.”
Eyes flaring wide in surprise, InuYasha sat back. “Norimitsu . . . why would he willingly give up the diary?”
A careless shrug as Sesshoumaru sat back and frowned in apparent thought. “I know not why. Perhaps it was a mistake, that he never intended for it to be sold. Perhaps he simply thought he had no need for it now, five hundred years later. Whatever the reason, I knew it to be yours.”
Something else occurred to InuYasha, and he shook his head. “I missed a lunch meeting with a potential client today . . . his name was Yamashita . . . .”
“He called last week to set it up.”
“Then he knows.”
“He knows what I've done, that I've altered the past, baka. What else?”
InuYasha rolled his eyes. “You're a real bastard.”
“Yes, so you've said countless times. Now shall I go on, or should we continue this witty banter until it is too late to go after Norimitsu tonight?”
“Keh,” InuYasha snorted but sat back, arms crossed over his chest.
Sesshoumaru sighed, eyebrows lifting in a bored affectation. “It's simple, really. Nothing can exist in two places at the same time. Nothing.”
“Kagome said something like that.”
“She always has been smarter than you.”
“In any case,” Sesshoumaru cut in with a wave of his hand, “After Naraku was destroyed, after the jewel was complete, it granted a wish that never should have been made. It became clear to me then, that any wish made to purify the jewel would come to a bad end, no matter what the wish would have been. It was a tainted power, curbed by the desires of the youkai within. It was purified, and it was gone.”
A strange knot formed in InuYasha's stomach, as though he didn't really want to hear whatever it was Sesshoumaru was trying to say. “What sort of wish?”
A humorless smile, a hint of disgust in his eyes, Sesshoumaru cleared his throat. “You wished for the miko's silence, and the wish was granted.”
“I wished for what?”
“With that wish, the well closed itself. She was trapped with you, in the past.”
“Keh! I wouldn't wish for something so fucking stupid!” InuYasha bellowed, shooting to his feet and stalking toward the door.
Sesshoumaru moved faster, barring the door with his body, shoving InuYasha, making him stumble back. “You did, and your friends suffered for it. They died, InuYasha. One by one, they died. Your miko was last to die . . . and I could have saved her.”
InuYasha's mind slowed. Eyes narrowing, fists clenching and unclenching, fury edging aside reason, he stared in disbelief at his brother. “What?”
“I would have saved her. Tenseiga willed it to be so. Your miko . . . didn't want it. Her soul was tired, weary, pained from seeing the rest of your pack die, and you . . . you wanted Musashi. You wanted to atone for your foolish wish.”
“How?” he rasped out, unable to meet Sesshoumaru's gaze.
“By offering her the world of Musashi, of course. How else could you ever hope to make up for the two families you'd cost her?”
InuYasha shook his head furiously, violently. “That's not what I . . . . How did she . . . how?”
Sesshoumaru snorted out a dry laugh, devoid of humor, ironic and weary. “How did she die?” Staring hard at his younger brother as precious seconds ticked away, Sesshoumaru finally nodded. Raising his hand, index and middle fingers extended, glowing, crackling with a green light—his youki—he stepped forward, touched his fingers to InuYasha's forehead. “Unlock your mind, InuYasha. Do it, in the name of the Inu no Taisho.”
Stumbling away from Sesshoumaru's outstretched hand, InuYasha winced as the weight of memory crashed over him. “Kami, what did you do?” he muttered, clutching his head as bile rolled in his stomach.
“Norimitsu. She followed you. She threw herself between you and him, and she took the hit meant to strike you down.”
And as if a dam broke free, dislodging a torrent of dormant memories, InuYasha staggered back, fell into a chair, a soft groan as the images, one after another, spilled over, flowed through his head, stuck in his brain.
“Shippou,” he mumbled, the image of the dead kitsune, of Kagome trying to scream, and she couldn't . . . . The memory hurt. He hadn't arrived in time to save the kit . . . . Overcome with guilt over Kagome's voiceless pain, the only solace she sought was in sitting beside the shattered remains of the Bone Eater's Well, and he hadn't been able to look her in the eye . . . .
Sango's body on a blood-soaked bed . . . Miroku screaming in his grief, in his pain . . . Kagome, silent in the corner, unable to speak as rivers of tears flowed down her face . . . . Would she have been able to save Sango if she had been able to speak? InuYasha didn't know. Maybe not . . . but maybe she could have at least eased the exterminator's fears with her soft words, her gentle smile—the smile he'd taken away from her with his careless, stupid wish . . . .
And Miroku . . . no one could help Miroku. InuYasha had never been good with words, and Kagome . . . . He knew from experience that Kagome could heal the broken souls. But it was his wish, his thoughtless, damning wish, and in the end, Miroku had disappeared . . . . InuYasha never saw him again . . . .
Visions of the innumerable bodies—human armies—littering the ground . . . the campaign for Musashi that had come with the price of the blood on his hands. Norimitsu had come “to settle an old score,” he claimed . . . and InuYasha had foolishly swung Tetsusaiga as Kagome's scent came to him. Glancing at her, and in that second, her hand raised, pointing toward Norimitsu, and not a word came from her . . . not a sound. Looking back in time to see Norimitsu's razor sharp poison claws descending on him, and Kagome, impetuous, beautiful, stupid Kagome . . . .
Even when Norimitsu struck her down, she hadn't made a sound. Her gasp was nothing more than a whisper of wind. She collapsed in his arms as he brought down Tetsusaiga in the Kaze no Kizu.
Her eyes were so sad, so full of death—everyone else's but her own. In that moment, InuYasha knew . . . he had wasted the one life that he had sworn to protect, to cherish. “Kagome, hang on . . . you can't leave me . . . you promised, remember? And I . . . I promised you . . . . Why did you do that? Stupid wench! Damn it!”
Lifting her hand, pushing his hair out of his face as she caressed his cheek, as she mouthed the words she had wanted to say for so very long. His heart heard them as he choked on his own tears. `I love you, InuYasha . . . I'm sorry . . . I'm so sorry . . . .'
As her hand fell away, as an eternal peace settled over her beautiful face, as her body jarred in his arms only to go limp, as the trees bowed to her, as the wind stilled . . . the earth rumbled under them, as though the entire world knew—as though the entire world mourned. The cry known instinctively to all inu-youkai—the cry of grief, the howl of death, the mournful wail of the damned and those they left behind welled up inside InuYasha, broke from him, cut through the light and dark as his heart swelled and shattered, and in that moment, in that second, in the instant when she slipped away from him, he said the words he had always meant to say to her, “No, Kagome . . . . I love you. . . .”
Sesshoumaru stepped out of the forest, moved toward them in silence as he drew Tenseiga. Staring down at InuYasha with an oddly troubled expression, he said nothing as he stared from the reverberating sword to the torn body of the miko.
“Save her,” InuYasha rasped out, hoping against hope for this one kindness from the only person who could help. “Please.”
Sesshoumaru leaned his head to the side, staring at InuYasha with anger flashing behind his gaze, as though he knew that InuYasha, alone, was to blame . . . . “Why would you have me save her? You curse her, you mock her . . . you suffered her to lose her only way back to her home, to her people.”
Flinching at the deadly accuracy in Sesshoumaru's tone, the desire to defend his actions gave way to the fear of living his life without her. “You want me to beg?” InuYasha snarled, eyes bright in a wash of tears, as he felt the edges of hysteria gripping him, wrenching him. “I'll beg. I'll plead. Just save her.”
And Sesshoumaru lifted Tenseiga, ready to wield it. Grip tightening on the hilt, staring at Kagome, still held tightly in InuYasha's arms . . . something stilled his hand, stopped him. Staring down at Kagome, as though she was talking to him . . . one jerk of his head, and InuYasha stared incredulously as Sesshoumaru dropped Tenseiga back into its scabbard and walked away.
It could have been the passage of minutes or hours or days. InuYasha didn't know. He held onto her body, trying to convince himself that it was not true, that Kagome hadn't died, that she was sleeping, just sleeping. In the end, it was her smile that made him realize that she was dead. The look of absolute peace in her expression—a peace he'd taken from her when he'd made his wish on the Shikon no Tama.
He buried her on the hill next to his mother's grave. On the stone that marked it, he had carved one word that said everything he'd been too stupid to tell her in life: koishii . . . cherished.
“You bastard . . . . Why didn't you save her?” InuYasha asked as the memory cleared, his voice still raw, still throbbing, aching as emotion roiled deep inside.
Sesshoumaru sighed. “Her soul was weary . . . she asked me not to.”
“That's a load of shit! She wouldn't have! She—”
“Had watched everyone she loved be taken from her! And yet the only person she wanted to save was the one who was out of her reach! You destroyed her, InuYasha! You ruined her, and then you cast her aside for Musashi . . . and when that fell to you, only then did you think about avenging your miko.”
InuYasha wanted to argue Sesshoumaru's claims even as the truth of his statements came back with the vindictiveness of five hundred years, of a destiny that had ended so early. “I . . . I died, too . . . .”
He had hunted down Norimitsu, tracked him down with a ruthless abandon. More intent on finding him than he had been on locating Naraku, as though the one point of his life had come down to this.
The battle had been quick. He had been careless, and maybe, just maybe, it had been intentional. With the passing of her had come the understanding that she had been his mate, if not in body then in mind, in spirit, in soul . . . . He loved her like no other, and to have killed her, to have been responsible for crushing the most beautiful creature he'd ever known . . . .' Kagome, forgive me.' And maybe he wanted to die. He was just too much of a coward to do it, himself . . . .
InuYasha hadn't even drawn Tetsusaiga—it wouldn't transform after Kagome's death—Norimitsu stuck his poison claws through InuYasha's stomach, had left him half-gutted and perversely, still alive. Sesshoumaru had done the same to him before. This was somehow different. Norimitsu's poison had been purposefully inflicted, and where Sesshoumaru had simply punched a hole through him, Norimitsu had tried to disembowel him completely. Through his agonized gaze with Tetsusaiga clutched to his chest, InuYasha suddenly laughed as Norimitsu stood over him. “You think you've won, bastard? You didn't. Kagome's waiting for me.”
“Pathetic hanyou . . . your mother should have let me kill you.”
His laughter escalated, interrupted by coughs and gurgles as blood seeped into his lungs as Norimitsu walked away. `Hang on, Kagome . . . wait for me . . . .'
Feeling the surge of his youkai blood locked away by Tetsusaiga, it was the one thing that would save him now. Surging to free itself, reacting to the primitive knowledge that his hanyou body was dying . . . . He tightened his hold on the sword as he waited . . . waited for death, or for the sunset, whichever would come first. It struck him then, the bitter irony. How much he had always loathed nights of the new moon, when his body was weak and frail, given to too many human emotions, too many pains. Tonight, though, the new moon meant freedom, and it meant that he'd see Kagome again . . . .
“What have you done?”
Another weakened laugh forced more blood to rise in his throat. He spit out as much as he could and blinked as he tried to focus his wavering vision on his brother, standing over him, holding Tenseiga as it pulsed in his hand.
“Put it away, bastard,” InuYasha gasped out. “It won't help me now.”
“So you wish to die?”
“Now . . . tomorrow . . . it don't matter . . . I died months ago when you refused to save Kagome.” Gathering his strength as the sun dropped lower, almost below the horizon . . . just a few more moments . . . . “Did you come here to gloat? To tell me I'm a fool? I damned myself . . . now let me die.”
“You'll give up? You'll waste the miko's life? She chose her path. She—”
Breathing much heavier, more labored, the tell-tale signs of the changes coming. With the last of his waning strength, InuYasha shoved Tetsusaiga away. “Take it and go. It's the only thing you've ever wanted . . . and I don't need it anymore.”
The beat of his heart, the pain growing stronger, he felt his youkai recede until only the human remained.
“If you die like this, you do not deserve our father's blood that courses in you! Be not a fool, InuYasha!”
“I'll see you . . . in hell . . . Sesshoumaru . . . .”
And the descending darkness took him to a place where he never found Kagome . . . .
Sesshoumaru's voice drew him back to the present. Unaccountably soft in the quiet of the study, the tai-youkai cleared his throat. “Since that day, I knew that I'd made the wrong choice. I honored your miko's wish, and I didn't bring her back. I knew not, that you would seek to follow her.”
“Why would you care? You've never liked me. You can't stand me.”
“Don't be dense. If I had truly wished you dead, you'd have died long before then. I would have let you freeze in the night when you were a pup.” With a slight shake of his head, Sesshoumaru sighed again. “And now you know.”
“What does it mean?”
Deliberately ignoring InuYasha's question, Sesshoumaru made a show of brandishing his claws, cracking his knuckles. “It took me centuries to realize the one seemingly insignificant wrinkle. You see, your miko had yet to be born. You would have a chance to change your destiny. “
“More of your riddles?”
“Think, InuYasha . . . did you find your miko's soul when your soul died?”
“. . . No.”
He shrugged. “I thought as much. She was reincarnated.”
“Reincarnated, baka. She was reincarnated into herself. I saw the results. My memories have altered, too. Because none of you left behind offspring, it was simple to redirect the past. The miko is stronger in this life than she was before. I know this because I have seen it. Trouble was, I needed a liaison with the past. Back then, I wouldn't have done a thing to help or hinder you. It was by chance that I found Myouga.”
Sesshoumaru went on as though InuYasha hadn't interrupted him. “The first time Myouga came through the well with you was on accident. I believe it was the first time you came to drag the miko back.”
InuYasha snorted. “How could he get through? No one else could . . . just Kagome and me . . . . How could Myouga have done it?”
Sesshoumaru shrugged and sank down in the chair across from InuYasha. “I had been keeping an eye on the shrine, trying to find a way to get a message to the past. I found Myouga on the floor of the well-house, and I convinced him to help me. He's a parasite, InuYasha. You know what that means?”
InuYasha shot Sesshoumaru an `I'm-Not-Stupid-Look'. Sesshoumaru arched his eyebrows but didn't contradict him. “Keh! Of course I know what a fucking parasite is!”
“Then you know that a parasite youkai is capable of absorbing trace quantities of youki, too. That, combined with your blood, allowed him to pass through the well. We thought it best if he didn't make his presence known to you, for obvious reasons.” Sesshoumaru got up and retrieved two bottles of water from the wetbar, tossing one to his brother before melting the top off the other for himself. “The first goal was to keep you from making your idiotic wish that started the trouble. The easiest way to do that was to give you something to preoccupy yourself with.”
“The search for Mother's diary . . . .” InuYasha drank half of his water and snorted. “Sneaky bastard.”
Sesshoumaru nodded. “Myouga was charged with finding out all he could about the jewel, and how to purify it without the wish being tainted, with a planned pit stop to see Totosai, of course. That Myouga happened to be there when you and the miko came with that hairline crack in Tetsusaiga was just more expedient. Either way, Totosai would have gained a measure of your blood.”
InuYasha shook his head slowly. “Wait . . . you said that any wish would be tainted. What does that mean? Kagome and I . . . .”
“Didn't make a wish, did you? Myouga told me that the combination of youkai blood and miko power . . . the only true way to purify the jewel. When the two of you . . . mated—” InuYasha flushed, “—the reaction was the joining of souls, of miko and youkai that lives inside you. It forced the soul of Midoriko to absorb the youkai, merging it together, and when they met, they cancelled the effect, of light and darkness. So far as we know, there should be no tainting from your actions.”
“What does this have to do with Norimitsu?”
“You really are a baka . . . Norimitsu killed your kitsune. He killed your miko, and he killed you. What do you think it has to do with him?”
InuYasha nodded slowly, leaning forward as he rubbed his forehead with a weary hand. “To make the change in destiny complete, I gotta kill him.”
Sesshoumaru nodded. “Norimitsu has an office here in Tokyo but he isn't often here. He prefers Kyoto, or so I've been told. Word has it that he is in town for a convention.”
Staring at his brother for long seconds, InuYasha sighed.
“What are you waiting for? Grab Tokijin, and—”
“I'm coming with—”
They both stopped mid-sentence. InuYasha nodded as Sesshoumaru stood and stepped over to the fireplace to pull down his swords. Tokijin and Tenseiga . . . . InuYasha's hand fell to grip the hilt of his own sword, his birthright. Tetsusaiga.
“Keh! Don't get any wise ideas, bastard. I just need you to show me where he's hiding.”
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought fromSesshoumaru:
And now you know …
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.