InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Desideratum ❯ Changes ( Chapter 2 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 2~~
~Changes~


"I see."

InuYasha jammed his arms up the sleeves of his haori as he tried to keep his ears from flattening against his head while sitting on the kitchen floor next to the doorway with his knees up to his chest and his hands on the floor between his feet.

Mrs. Higurashi's face was pale and drawn, ashen, and InuYasha winced as he noticed the trembling in her hands as she brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.  "So you don't think she can get back through."

Swallowing hard to force down the thickening in his throat, InuYasha jerked his head once in answer.  "The well's closed.  I checked it."

She sighed, licking her lips before pressing them together in a thin line.  "I don't understand," she began in a quiet monotone, "I don't see how this could have happened."

'Because,' he thought as he scowled at the floor.  'I was careless . . . I thought . . . and she . . . Damn that Kagome . . . always doing stupid shit, and now . . .'

Mrs. Higurashi pushed herself to her feet and hurried over to the cupboard, rummaging around until she located a big Styrofoam cup of instant ramen.  It didn't take long for her to open the container and dump in the boiling water.  Her actions reminded InuYasha of her daughter, of how Kagome would do things simply to keep herself from having to think about things that troubled her.

The smile that surfaced on Mrs. Higurashi's face was somehow horrifying to him.  As thin and weak as a grimace . . . "You must be hungry, right?  We already ate, but . . . You're probably starving."

InuYasha ducked his head at the smooth tone, the calmness that she used to hide her emotions.  'What the fuck is wrong with her?  I just told her Kagome ain't coming back, and . . . and she's making me ramen?  What the hell is she doing?'

"Do you have a place to go, InuYasha?"  Uttering a terse little laugh, the woman waved a hand dismissively, as though she'd figured something out on her own.  "Of course you don't, do you?  You can stay here, naturally.  Souta and Grandpa . . . and I . . . we'd really like for you to stay."

"Thank you," he grumbled, ears flattening for a moment before he willed them to pop up again.

Mrs. Higurashi sighed again, her gaze rising to stare out the window at the darkness . . . at Goshinboku's leaves swaying in the summer night.  "You can stay in K-Kagome's room," she said at last, her voice faltering when she tried to say her daughter's name.  "Yes, she'd want you to."

'Stay in her room?'

Could he do that?  To be surrounded by Kagome's things . . . to be so near the objects that were hers and yet to know in his heart that she couldn't get to him?  InuYasha shook his head.  "I'll sleep in Goshinboku," he mumbled.

"If that's what you want," Mrs. Higurashi agreed, forcing another smile that was paper-thin.

"Inu-no-nii-chan!  You're here!  Where's nee-chan?" Souta asked as he ran into the kitchen with his best friend on his heels.  Hitomi skidded to a stop and bowed to Mrs. Higurashi before cocking her head to the side and staring at InuYasha—or more precisely, at his ears.  He'd seen the girl a few times.  He'd even spoken to her once, but he'd been wearing a kerchief to hide his ears, at Kagome's insistence, of course.

Souta used to have a crush on Hitomi—that was what Kagome called it.  She said it was puppy love, and while InuYasha had taken offense to that reference, he sort of understood what it meant.  Souta and Hitomi hadn't been boyfriend and girlfriend long, but they had become friends, and that sort of friendship was hard to find.  InuYasha knew that, first hand.

"You have . . . dog ears!" Hitomi blurted, cheeks turning bright red about the moment the words left her mouth as she slapped her hands over her lips, eyes widening in shock at her slip.  "I'm sorry!"

Souta laughed.  "Sure he does!  He's hanyou—inu-hanyou!"

"I didn't know that, baka!" Hitomi growled as she rounded on Souta.  The boy backed up, fingers splayed as he waved his hands to protest his innocence.

"It's fine!  Calm down!  Inu-no-nii-chan doesn't mind, do you?"

InuYasha took the ramen from Mrs. Higurashi and shot Souta a cursory glance.  He didn't feel like eating, but for some reason, he thought that Mrs. Higurashi would be upset if he didn't.  "Keh."

"See?" Souta sputtered as he backed away from Hitomi's wrath.

"But I didn't know it, and . . ." Hitomi gasped.  "Souta!  You said you tell me everything!  You're a liar!"

"I didn't lie!  I just didn't tell you!  Inu-no-nii-chan!"

"You're on your own, runt," InuYasha grunted between bites of ramen.

"Where's nee-chan?  She can explain this better than I can," Souta insisted.

InuYasha choked on the ramen that he'd been eating.  Mrs. Higurashi uttered a tiny sound that reminded him of Kirara's soft mewling when the youkai was in her normal form.  The stubborn desire to eat the ramen dissipated, and InuYasha set the bowl on the floor with a hefty thump, sending a wave of broth over the edge of the Styrofoam as his chopsticks hit the floor with an obscenely loud clatter.

"What'd I say?" Souta asked, staring from InuYasha to his mother and back again.

Mrs. Higurashi cleared her throat as she glanced over Souta's head.  Grandpa Higurashi shuffled into the kitchen.  While he seemed surprised to see InuYasha crouching on the floor, he didn't remark on it, and InuYasha had to wonder if the old man knew something.  "She's gone, isn't she?" he asked without preamble, his voice a dry whisper as he gripped Mrs. Higurashi's shoulder.

"Who's gone?" Souta asked, the first real hint of panic seeping into his tone.

Mrs. Higurashi shot InuYasha an indiscernible glance and slowly nodded.  "I think so."

Grandpa's hand dropped away, and he turned, stumbling back out of the kitchen without another word and still without even glancing at the hanyou.

InuYasha winced, hearing the old man's muffled sobs mingled with the creak of the stairs.  The others probably didn't hear it, and that was what he wanted.  InuYasha wished that he hadn't heard it, either.

"Nee-chan's gone?" Souta demanded, shaking his head as he scowled at his mother.  "How?  How could she be . . . But Inu-no-nii-chan's here . . ."

InuYasha shot to his feet and stomped out of the house, through the back door, not pausing till he reached the base of Goshinboku.  Leaping into the uppermost branches of the gnarled old tree, he hid himself among the leaves, smacked his head back against the trunk as he balled his hands into fists, biting his lip until he tasted blood.

After he spoke to Midoriko—after he told her what it was he wanted—he'd appeared in the bottom of the dry well.  His senses had told him immediately that he was in Kagome's era, in Kagome's time.  He knew it, and yet he couldn't accept it.  Jumping out of the well only to leap back in again, he'd tried to ignore the voice in his mind, the one that told him that he wasn't going to get back through.  He'd made his choice, but what he didn't understand was how it had gone so wrong.

'I want to be in Kagome's world.  That's what I . . . I want . . .'

Midoriko had smiled at him, and he had thought, for that brief moment, that maybe dreams did come true.  When he'd started to disappear, when he'd realized that Kagome wasn't coming with him . . .

His stomach twisted itself in knots.  Surrounded by a world that didn't make sense to him, lost in a place where he didn't really belong, any more than he belonged in the world five hundred years ago, InuYasha closed his eyes and moaned softly.  The only place he'd ever belonged was beside Kagome.  The only times he'd ever felt completely accepted was when Kagome smiled at him.  To be here or there or anywhere without her . . .

'Stupid Kagome . . . This is her fault!  She was supposed to want to be with me!  She . . . she wasn't supposed to leave me alone . . .'

"Can I stay with you, InuYasha?"

"It's all right, you know . . . I'm with you by choice . . ."

And all the tears she'd cried for him . . . after all the times he'd let her down, all the times he'd failed her . . .

All those moments when she hadn't said a word because she didn't need to . . .

Something inside him was breaking, shattering.  The terror that choked him as he thought of never seeing Kagome's face again was so much worse than the wounds he'd received while he sought to protect her.

She was his reason for living, wasn't she?

She was his entire world, and now . . .

Now she was gone . . .


:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:O:


". . . Won't eat . . ."

". . . Hasn't slept . . ."

". . . How long . . .?"

". . . Will she . . .?"

". . . Because he's . . ."

"Poor Kagome-chan . . ."

Kagome stared into the blackness of the gaping hole and blinked slowly.  If she stopped to consider what she was doing, she would have realized that there was no way that it would happen.  The well wasn't going to suddenly open, and InuYasha . . .

Her eyelids burned, her throat ached, and she wished she could cry.  Sure, she'd come close to crying more than once.  She'd teetered on the brink—nose burning, eyes prickling, lip trembling.  It was her last hope; a desperate hope.  She sat here on the edge of the Bone Eater's Well every day for the last three days since the night InuYasha had disappeared.  She hadn't been able to muster the courage to drop into it yet.  In her heart she knew the well was closed.  In her mind, she knew that there really wasn't a way to bridge the five hundred year separation, but she couldn't help hoping, wishing, wondering . . . If she wanted it bad enough, couldn't a wish come true?  If she promised enough of herself, would it count for anything?

Hitching her backpack over her shoulder again, Kagome braced herself on the edge of the well.  'It has to let me through, right?  It . . . it has to . . .'

"Kagome-chan . . ."

She didn't turn at the sound of Sango's soft voice.  Gripping the wall until her fingertips turned white, Kagome braced her feet against the wood, ready to push off and drop.

"Kagome-chan, please . . ."

"I've got to try," Kagome whispered, unable to look her friend in the eye, unable to deal with the pity in her expression that Kagome knew she would see.

"Do you think it'll work?  Do you really?"

"It has to work."

"But what if it doesn't?  What if . . .? It's a long drop."

"And if you were me?  If Miroku were InuYasha instead?  You'd try; I know you would."

Sango didn't deny it.  She sighed and touched Kagome's arm.  No one had tried to touch Kagome since that night.  Whether they were afraid of her miko power or if they just didn't know what to expect, not one of her friends had tried to say anything.  She heard them whispering, knew of their concerns.  Some things were more important; things like InuYasha and the things they hadn't gotten a chance to say . . .

"I have to try," she stated again.  "I have to."

"If you do, and it doesn't work—"

Kagome shook her head.  "If I do and it doesn't work, then at least I'll have tried."

"Kagome-dono, wait!" Miroku called, the hoops on the Shakuju jingling as he hurried forward.  "Listen, please.  If you jump in there, and you don't go through, you're going to hurt yourself."

She didn't know how to explain it to them.  She didn't know how to make them listen.  Part of her was already broken.  Part of her felt like it was dying.

A low rumble split the afternoon.  A tell-tale rustling in the trees drew their attention.  The bag slipped off Kagome's shoulder as she flipped her legs back around to the solid side of the well.  Miroku spared the women a glance before he stepped forward, waving for them to stay behind.  "It's youkai," Sango murmured, holding onto Kagome's arm as the miko retrieved her bow and arrows.

The lynx youkai ran out of the forest, spotting the group and running straight toward them.  He was young—not much older than Shippou, and by the time he skidded to a stop before them, he was panting for breath, his ears drooping in exhaustion as he tried to speak and draw air at the same time.  "Looking . . . for . . . Inu . . . Yasha . . ." he gasped.  "Hi, Kirara!"

The fire cat youkai mewled and rubbed against the lynx youkai's leg.

"He looks shifty," Shippou remarked, tugging on Kagome's sock.  "I wouldn't trust him . . ."

"It's okay, Shippou," Kagome assured him.  "I think he's fine."

"Yeah, but he knows InuYasha.  That can't be good."

"Hush, Shippou," Sango hissed, waving her hand at the kitsune to silence him.

"InuYasha?  Who are you, and what business do you have with him?" Kagome asked evenly.

"Name's Bunza," he replied.  "My tribe is being attacked.  InuYasha said that if we ever needed him . . ."

"Attacked by what?" Sango asked.

Bunza shrugged and made a face.  "There's an oni that came down from the mountain.  He says that my father woke him, and he's demanding retribution.  My father could take care of it, no problem, but . . . but he's been sick lately . . ."

Kagome sighed.  InuYasha could have easily helped Bunza, she was sure, and even if he grumbled about it, he'd have done it.  How many people did InuYasha leave behind?  How many people need his protection, his help?  'Oh, InuYasha . . . I wish you were here . . .'

The monk frowned, glancing over his shoulder at Kagome.

"How do you know InuYasha?" she asked, kneeling down before the young youkai.

Bunza stared at her curiously, head tilted to the side as his eyes narrowed.  "We trained together with Master Totosai.  We wanted to learn to break barriers.  InuYasha helped me save my father that time.  He's my kouhai."

"Kouhai?" Miroku echoed rather incredulously.

"Yeah, because I was there first, so I was his sempai.  InuYasha was pretty tough, but he was still only my kouhai."

"Did he thump you for saying that?" Shippou asked, peeking out from behind Sango's legs.

"No, he was kind to me," Bunza replied.  "He gave me his fish and stuff."

Shippou hopped down and ran over to Bunza.  The two youkai children were practically nose to nose, staring at each other like they were sizing up the competition.  "You're just a lynx.  You're not very tough," Shippou remarked.

"Yeah?  You're just a kitsune.  Kitsunes use tricks and toys," Bunza shot back.

"Kitsunes are masters of deception," Shippou replied hotly.

"And lynxes are faster that stupid kitsunes, so we don't need your babyish deceptions!"

"InuYasha's not here," Kagome said, struggling to keep her voice steady as she pulled Shippou back before the two started fighting for real.  Shippou tried to pull himself free but settled for sticking his tongue out at Bunza.  Bunza retaliated in kind as Kagome sighed and shook her head.  "Maybe we can help you."

"Kagome . . . are you sure?" Sango questioned as Kagome stood up.

Kagome nodded, retrieving her bag, a determination stealing into her gaze; a determination that had been missing of late.  "InuYasha would do it," she stated.  "I can do it, too."


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A/N
:
Nee-chan: big sister. Souta refers to Kagome in this way.
Inu-no-nii-chan: This is the cutest thing, ever. Souta calls InuYasha this: dog-big-brother, basically.
-dono: largely archaic honorific denoting very high respect.  Typically denotes status above '-sama', often translated as "Lord/Lady" but does not necessarily reflect a lower social status for the speaker, as is implied.
Kouhai: roughly translated Junior (Little) Brother.
Sempai: roughly translated Senior (Big) Brother.
Shakuju: Miroku's staff.
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Reviewers
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LunarAlchemist (MMorg):Poor Kagome, poor InuYasha... maybe now he'll actually realize how much she means to him? I loved Kirara's wish... it was so simple and so sweet. I always love your InuYasha stories. Do you only write fanfic or do you read it, too?

InuYasha: Oi, Sueric!  Get your nose out of that fic!
Sueric:  Ehh?
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MMorg
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Final
Thought from InuYasha:
Kagome
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Desideratum):  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.

~Sue~

Chapter 1
Chapter 3
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