InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Dead Famous ❯ If You Go Down to the Woods Today... ( Chapter 21 )
Author's Notes: After some complaints that have apparently been made, I'd just like to clarify that Kanashi's story 'Temptation' is not a copy of this story, I've had a look at it myself and I can assure people that the story is completely different. Only the summary seems to resemble the summary for Dead Famous - so to those who flame Kanashi - back off!
Ah… I feel so empowered today ^_^
If You Go Down to the Woods Today…
"I don't think this is such a good idea." Kagome voiced her opinion.
Kikyo blinked in surprise and stopped fixing her hair the hallway mirror. She turned to fix Kagome with an incredulous look. "Excuse me?"
Sango and Miroku who were sitting on either side of Kagome at the base of the stairs both pointedly turned away and became unduly interested in the streaks of colour in the marble steps they sat on. Kagome glanced at them both before realising that she wasn't going to get any help off them now, so she turned back to Kikyo. "This whole interview thing that Inuyasha's supposed to go for today… I don't think he should do it."
Kikyo turned completely to face her. "And why not?"
Kagome squirmed under the scrutiny. "I just think it's too soon… Inuyasha seemed really upset that he lost, and maybe confronting everyone's questions in an interview so soon having losing isn't such a good-"
"Kagome," Kikyo interrupted with a brusque tone. "Inuyasha has been facing these questions his entire life. He's used to it. Besides, if he doesn't turn up to the interview it won't seem very sportsman like of him. In fact they'll all think he's bitter about losing-"
"Which he is." Kagome interjected.
"But we can't let them think that." Kikyo cut her off firmly. "But what on earth makes you think Inuyasha wouldn't be able to cope today?"
Apart from the fact that he said he'd commit suicide if he had to answer any more questions? Ok, Kagome's memory of the conversation that had taken place the night before was a little distant. She'd been dwelling on it ever since, worrying about it in her mother-hen way and even her dreams had been invaded by her concern. She was almost certain now that he'd been implying he wanted to end his life. "Well…" She started off uneasily. "I talked to him last night… and it seemed, to me, that he didn't really want to go talk to the press today…"
"What he wants and what he has to do, are two completely different things." Kikyo frowned. "There's no argument, Kagome, he has to do this."
"But…" she winced slightly. "I think he really doesn't want to do this…"
"Really?" Kikyo folded her arms.
"Really, really, doesn't want to do this…"
Sango glanced at Kagome dubiously. "Is it him or you who doesn't want to go talk to the press."
"Look, I'm not making this up!" Kagome tried to convince them. "I talked to that guy last night and he was upset! I don't think we should go anywhere where there will be people to ask him questions - he's bordering on depression!"
"You're exaggerating." Miroku said, not unkindly.
"I'm telling you, I don't think Inuyasha is what you'd call… happy." She jabbed a finger in the direction of the top of the stairs. "You can bet your life's savings that he's not going to be coming down those stairs with a big grin on his face because I'm telling you that he's depressed!"
"Morning all!" The elevator door 'pinged' and out stepped a rather chirpy looking Inuyasha, brandishing a perfectly healed arm. "I've never seen the sky so blue, have you?"
"About time you showed up." Kikyo called to him, beckoning him to follow as she headed for the front door. "We need to get going if we want to arrive before the rush."
"I know, I know," he yawned slightly but happily trailed out after her. Sango patted Kagome's arms and headed out after the pair with Miroku, leaving the school-girl on the steps, lost in her own dumbfounded world.
Then she got angry.
"How dare he…?!" she hissed under her breath and stomped out after the group, down the steps and to where the two awaiting limos sat. She caught Inuyasha by the sleeve, just as he was getting into the second vehicle. "What's the matter with you?"
He blinked at her, the epitome of innocence and confusion. "Nothing."
"Like hell." She ground out. The other three were too far away to hear what she said. "Last night you're moping around like you'd sold your soul to the devil and last week you were crying on my shoulder because you were tearing your room apart - don't tell me there's nothing wrong with you!"
Inuyasha hand whipped out and dragged her forward by the lapels until she was literally nose to nose with him. His expression was thunderous. "This is not the time to try my patience!" he said quietly in the most dangerous and deadly tone she'd heard so far. He let go of her blouse and pushed her back. "Now get in the limo with the others."
Kagome opened her mouth to tell him about how petty that was, when she noticed that the front limo was already pulling away from the curb. She gave him a hooded look. "Too late."
"Then you're staying here." He said shortly and ducked into the limo. He began pulling the door close behind him but Kagome quickly caught it before it slammed shut.
"No way, Kikyo said this will probably take all afternoon - I'm not hanging around this place for a whole afternoon with nothing to do and no one to talk to." She told him hotly.
"Do I care?" he cast an impatient look towards the driver's end of the limo. "Kagome, look, I'll make it up to you later, just don't come out this time."
"Do you hate me that much?" She narrowed her eyes.
He narrowed his eyes straight back. "I'm not stupid enough to answer that. Just… this time, you have to stay here."
"Because-" He quickly broke off and lowered his voice. "Because you won't be thanking me if you come out this time - you have to stay here. Trust me."
"I wouldn't trust you as far as I can throw you." She snapped back and barged her way in through the door.
"Kagome!" he hissed.
"Inuyasha!" she hissed back, taking her seat and shutting the door with a slam. "So we have to ride together - live with it!"
The limo was already moving off and Inuyasha tensed where he sat, looking anxiously from Kagome to the driver's cabin and then back. "Fine." He grumbled, but he didn't relax.
Kagome rolled her eyes at his behaviour. It was almost as if he was worried that she would go blabbing about all their little conversations to everyone… well, she had, but she hadn't gone into the important detail like the fact that he'd cried. That was still a secret between them. But maybe she'd been a little fast in assuming he was upset enough to consider suicide… perhaps it had just been a mood swing where he'd been feeling a little low. He seemed better today… less depressed and more angry at the world. It was probably for the better…
"I'm sorry I make your life so difficult." She said in a slightly bitter tone. "I don't understand you… you seem like you're bearing your soul one minute and then the next you act like nothing happened - you have a lid on your emotions as tight as a clam's shell."
She glanced up at him, but scowled in irritation to find him watching the driver's cab intently with his arms folded. He wasn't listening.
"Is staring at that glass divider that much more interesting than listening to me?" she asked dryly.
"Mm." He hummed, further proof that he was away with the fairies.
Kagome sighed and turned her attention out of the window, watching the world whiz by with that odd dark tint that came from the windows. By now she was learning the way into town off by heart, she could probably walk from the villa to town centre on her own with no help, and she'd only been in this district for a week and a bit.
Which was why she was faintly surprised when the limo took a sudden left at the traffic lights when she knew they should have gone straight on. As they peeled away from the main road Kagome watched the first limo head straight on along the route they normally took… so why were they going this way?
"Uh… Inuyasha?" she frowned slightly. "Are we taking a short cut?"
"Shh." He hushed her quietly, keeping his eyes trained on the floor between his feet. His arms were still folded but now his hand had crept to rest inside his jacket. He was frowning quite deeply.
Kagome was now completely confused. She didn't recognise the way they were going at all and she was almost certain that this wasn't the way to the news arena where the interview was supposed to take place. The shops that marked the town centre were being replaced by more suburban houses. Kagome could only watch with increasing puzzlement as even those houses were left behind to be replaced by more rural landscape.
"I think we're going the wrong way." Kagome whispered to Inuyasha after they'd been travelling this way for quite a while. "Maybe you should go ask them if-"
"Be quiet." He snapped back, eyes still averted to the floor.
The limo began slowing down as they entered a copse of trees. Large pines rose up on either side of the road with fields of agriculture surrounded them beyond the trees. Kagome glanced at Inuyasha, wondering why he wasn't so surprised by this… when the limo rolled to a stop she stood and stooped, heading for the driver's cabin. "Now I know this isn't the way to the news arena-"
Inuyasha grabbed her as she passed him and dragged her into the seat beside him. "Just sit down and do as I say."
Nothing was making sense, least of all Inuyasha. She glared at him accusingly. "What's going on here? Why have we stopped in the middle of nowhere - we must be like half an hour late by now!"
"Shh!" he dug his elbow into her side, making her squeak and shuffle away hastily. But not that she was quiet she heard arguing voices coming from the drivers compartment. She couldn't see who was in there because the glass divider was up… but she was sure that they usually only had one driver for the limo, but it sounded like there were at least two. She glanced over at Inuyasha. "What's going on?"
The limo swayed slightly as the two drivers got out, and as they did so, their words became that much clearer.
"Where have you taken us? We're way into the interstate here-!"
"Just get back in the car."
"We should have gone straight on at Junction forty-two."
"I said get back in the car."
Kagome tried squinting out of the window to see what was going on but the two drivers seemed to be standing in front of the bonnet, obscuring any view she might have. "I think they're lost." She jumped up and headed for the door.
"No, don't!" Inuyasha lunged after her, but his hands fell short and she was out of the vehicle before he could stop her.
"What's going on?" she asked, walking around to the front of the limo. The two drivers dress in their black suits turned to look at her. The one of the left seemed just as confused as she was, but the other looked just plain angry. "I think you guys missed your turn off back…"
She trailed off as the angry looking driver suddenly reached into his black jacket, as if about to pull something from the hidden pocket.
A scratched up and rather old looking gun.
The second driver had only a moment to register bleak shock as the weapon was turned on him and the trigger was pulled. Kagome flinched hard as the gun cracked off loudly, with a sound that seemed more like a loud pop than a bang. The driver crumpled to the ground without a sound, a messy hole in his chest with a an oozing red stain that was slowly spreading.
He was dead… there was no doubt about it.
Kagome couldn't tear her eyes off of him. She felt cold with shock and she felt detached from everything… her ears were ringing and her stomach was twisting with sickening butterflies. She couldn't even move as the first driver came for her. But his cold, hard grip of her arm was enough to snap her world back into focus, but by then it was too late.
"No - let go!" she yelped as he twisted her arm behind her back. She didn't dare struggle anymore when the hot barrel of the revolver was pushed into her mouth, clicking against her teeth. She could quite clearly smell the stench of sulphur with it this close.
No words could describe how utterly and absolutely terrified she was.
Something metal clicked behind them. "Let her go."
At once the driver - if he was a driver at all - turned sharply, bringing Kagome in front of him like a human shield. Now not only did she have a black revolver in her mouth but she now had a shiny silver handgun pointed her way by none other than Inuyasha.
She probably would have demanded an explanation if she didn't have the barrel of a loaded gun in her mouth. As it was she could only whimper slightly as the man behind her tightened his hold on her arm, twisting it painfully.
"If you so much as squeeze that trigger," the man hissed beside Kagome's ear. "I'll shoot her - I swear to god!"
Kagome tried to plead to Inuyasha with her eyes, trying to warn him not to do anything rash or stupid… because if was her life on the line. But he wasn't looking at her, instead his glare was trained on the man behind her… but the weapon in his hands wavered uncertainly, as if looking for an opening.
"Drop the gun!" the so-called-driver snapped.
"No!" Inuyasha snapped back, shifting his stance.
Was it Kagome, or did he look really uncomfortable holding that thing?
Kagome swallowed uneasily. "In-g-sha…" she tried to speak, but it only resulted in her being jostled angrily from behind. She closed her eyes and silently began chanting a prayer that no one pulled any triggers.
"I'll give you to the count of five." The man warned. "If you don't drop the gun by then I'll blow her brain out."
Kagome began hyperventilating. Drop it Inuyasha… please don't test him…
Kagome didn't dare pry open her eyes. Please…
A clatter on the tarmac road caused Kagome's eyes to snap open. Inuyasha had dropped the gun, and was now ever so slowly raising his hands into the air. Kagome couldn't help but feel an enormous quivering wave of relief when the man pulled the gun from her mouth and turned it on Inuyasha instead… did that make her a bad person?
"Hands up where I can see them."
Inuyasha scowled slightly.
"Now kick the weapon to me." The driver gestured to the silver handgun with his own. "Try anything funny and she gets it." He turned the gun back to Kagome, pressing the cooling rim of the barrel to her temple. She swallowed with difficulty, once again looking to Inuyasha for help… but realising it was probably useless.
Inuyasha hesitated only a moment, glancing between her and the driver before he stepped forward and kicked it… hard.
The silver gun rocketed up from the ground, propelled by Inuyasha's foot, and hurtled towards the driver, hitting him square in the face… Kagome barely had time to flinch away to avoid being hit herself. But the tactic proved effective as the driver cried out in pain, loosening his grip on Kagome at the same moment. It gave her the chance to wrench herself away, collapsing against the side of the limo breathing hard… and give Inuyasha the opening he needed.
"Right…" the superstar said decisively as the driver furiously cradled his bruised brow. He seemed to suddenly realise he was being advanced upon and quickly tried to raise the black gun… but all too slow.
With one swift move Inuyasha snatched the weapon out of his hand and turned it on its owner, pushing the metal tip against his forehead.
The driver was at once a quivering wreck. "P-p-please… I-I'm begging you… ple-please…"
"P-p-please kill you?" Inuyasha parodied her stammer, before snorting derogatorily. "I should just shoot you right now."
The man only quivered and stammered even more incomprehensibly. Compared to him, Kagome felt quite proud of herself. But she eyed Inuyasha warily… certainly not trusting him with a dangerous projectile weapon. She slid her gaze slowly to the man lying sprawled on the road a few metres away… he still lay in the same position, but the blood stain had stopped spreading and he looked pale.
He was still dead.
Kagome felt cold as she turned a hard glare on his killer.
"You were the one who shot Kouga weren't you?" Inuyasha continued, crouching enough to pick up his own silver gun and straightened to press it up against the driver's chest. "I knew it had to be one of my drivers… no one else has access to the keys of the cars. So what were you planning to do this time? Kill me and the girl in the middle of nowhere and dump our bodies in that ditch over their?"
Kagome tried to calm her breathing, but it was hard… knowing that she'd come very close to ending her life this time.
The man wasn't providing any useful answers, only whispering something under his breath that sounded like a prayer.
"Who are you working for?" Inuyasha demanded, clicking back the safety catch on both guns, making the man flinch. "Tell me or I fill you with lead!"
He said that so vehemently that Kagome was slightly shocked. "Inuyasha…?" she breathed.
He glanced at her with a conflicted look, but didn't lessen his threatening behaviour towards the phoney driver. "Tell me!" he hissed. "Or you end up like your pal over there."
What a flippant way to talk about a poor dead man… Kagome found herself beginning to oppose Inuyasha's methods.
"J-Jinko… Jinko Aida." The man stuttered.
Inuyasha frowned. "Who's she?"
"Alright, alright!" Inuyasha snapped impatiently. "That's all I needed to know."
With one push he sent the man sprawling to the ground near Kagome's feet… and then levelled both pistols at him. Kagome saw what he was doing and panicked. "No! What are you doing?! You can't-"
She broke off with a scream as Inuyasha emptied the clips of both weapons. Deafening bangs engulfed Kagome who happened to be crouching so near… she could only throw her hands over her head and squeeze her eyes shut.
Eventually the shots stopped abruptly, with an echo of clicks from the empty guns. Inuyasha clicked his tongue with irritation in the frigid silence that followed and cast both weapons aside as if they were trivial rubbish.
He killed him… he really did it… Kagome trembled where she was crouched near the wheel of the limo, unable to bring herself to look up. For the first time she was scared of him. He's no better than the man he just-
That scream had not come from Inuyasha.
Kagome jolted her head up and stared in wide shock at the driver who trembled even more wretchedly than her… and with good reason. White chips in the tarmac around him marked where each bullet had hit the road… he'd been toyed with.
"Get up." Inuyasha said with a great deal of disgust. He grabbed the man by the arm and dragged him up and to the limo. He opened one of the back doors and shoved him inside. Once the door was shut he went to the drivers compartment and took the keys out of the ignition, locking the vehicle securely.
The killer was going no where.
Kagome continued to gather her rattled nerves on the ground, images of what had just happened flashed before her eyes. She'd just watched someone being killed…
Inuyasha crouched beside her… he looked troubled. "Are you ok?"
She struggled to find words as her thoughts flashed up images of him kicking the gun at the driver. "If you'd missed… I'd be dead."
"I did miss." Inuyasha said grimly. "I was aiming for his balls."
"Oh…" Kagome nodded slowly before looking over at the dead driver… he hadn't been in on the deal with the other guy apparently… he was an innocent.
"I better call the police." Inuyasha said as he straightened and pulled out a phone from his pocket. Kagome tuned him out as she crept slowly towards the dead man, staring into his face and those glassy, lifeless eyes.
She didn't even know him but she felt overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow… perhaps if she hadn't leapt out of the car so soon he wouldn't have been killed. But she knew that was unlikely… that killer probably would have shot him anyway…
Inuyasha filled in the police behind her. "…yeah, he's locked in our vehicle… a mile into the interstate between Hoka-shi and Kussa-shi… near the coast…"
Kagome knelt beside the dead driver and cautiously reached out to brush the backs of her fingers against his cheek. He wasn't quite cold yet… but not warm either.
Did he have a family? A wife? Children…? His life had just been snatched away so quickly… it had just been so easy to take. Kagome felt awful about this as she moved her hand up and gently closed those lifeless eyes. But couldn't she do something more than just close her eyes.
"Kagome, don't touch it." Inuyasha called over sharply as he snapped his phone shut and slipped it back into his pocket.
Kagome hardened at his choice of words. "'It'?" she echoed. "It is a human being - your driver! How can you just call him and 'it'?!"
"He… is dead." Inuyasha said, with barely even a drop of remorse in his voice. "It's too late to start getting attached to him."
She gave him an insulted glare. "You're pathetic… you know, I thought you were callous to take your fans for granted - but to take your employees who give their life for you for granted is a whole different story! You're truly the most jerkish… jerk in the world!" she turned her furious gaze back on the dead man, clenching her fingers in the cloth of his sleeve as if perhaps she could coax a little life back into him.
She heard him sigh behind her. Then slowly he crouched down next to her and began shrugging out of his jacket. She watched him apprehensively as he reached out to drape the denim coat over the man's head and upper body, blocking the bullet wound from view and the paleness of his complexion.
Perhaps she was a little grateful…
"Come on," he gently tugged on her elbow as he began to stand. "Let's go sit over there." He gestured to the grassy road verge a short distance away.
She nodded numbly and allowed him to pull her up and over towards the roadside. In fact he actually managed to walk her further than he'd originally pointed out… until they sat down on the grass quite a good distance from the limo with the killer locked inside and his victim lying beside it.
"I've never seen a dead man before." She said quietly, looking at the ground flatly. "I've never seen someone killed…"
"There's always a first time for everything." Inuyasha said somewhat callously.
For the first time she noticed how callous he'd been about the whole thing. Someone who knew him less well would have thought he was cold and detached to seeing people killed… but Kagome had a feeling that he was on edge right then. She'd never seen someone more unsettled than Inuyasha at that moment.
But she also had the feeling that this wasn't the first time he'd seen someone die… Was this stirring unpleasant memories for him?
"What were you doing with a gun?" she asked bluntly, picking at the grass blades beside her.
He took his time before answering. "I saw them arguing from the upstairs window this morning… the drivers… I saw one get into the car and then saw the other loading a gun before he got into the driver's seat. I figured that he was the mysterious gunman from before, and that he was planning something for this ride…"
"Is that why you wanted me to stay behind?" she asked, thoroughly wishing that she'd heeded his warning.
He nodded. "I came prepared to scare him… you'd be surprised how many people underestimate me and my own skills… they think that when I fight in a ring it's just special effects and that I can't really hurt anyone outside of the arena…"
Kagome nodded slightly, still perturbed that he'd even carried a gun with him in the first place.
"Are y-you ok?"
Kagome glanced at him sharply, detecting the unmistakable waver in his voice. His expression was calm… but she could see that the hand that rested lightly on his knee was shaking ever so slightly. She carefully shook her head in answer to his question. "Are you?"
He stared at her a long time before he shook his head as well, then quickly averted his gaze into the trees across the road.
Kagome sat silently for a while, contemplating the events so far, when suddenly Inuyasha's phone rang again… from the pocket of the denim jacket that was draped over the dead driver. They stared after it a moment before Inuyasha sucked in a breath. "It's probably Kikyo wondering why we haven't arrived…"
He was in no state to deal with her. "Leave it then." She said quietly. Ignoring his look of surprise, she shifted closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder. "I was so scared…" she whispered as if that excused her wanting to get close.
He slowly pulled an arm around her shoulder and she relaxed against him more fully, closing her eyes as she allowed herself to feel safe. She didn't, of course, add that it was Inuyasha she had been scared of…
But of course all that happened when she closed her eyes was seeing the driver being shot… over and over again as if her mind was stuck on replay.
It was an image that she would probably take to her grave…
AN: Ok… 92 seems to be coming a bit late.