InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Fireside Chats ❯ Part One: New Moon ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Update: A few clarifications added, fixed some nonsequitur moments, adjusted some grammatical inconsistencies and streamlined the punctuation.

  Fireside Chats
Part One: New Moon


The sun was a few hours from setting, but Inuyasha was clearly anxious and ill-at-ease. Everyone had noticed it by now. His temper was shorter than usual and he periodically glanced at the sky as if expecting something menacing. When asked about it, he generally snapped that he was looking for clues. Kagome was trying desperately to remember what the moon cycle was. She was sure they'd just had a full moon a few nights ago.

Shippo had borne the brunt of Inuyasha's irritability throughout the day, and now the little kitsune sulked in the basket of Kagome's bicycle. Kagome patted him on the head and smiled at him. "Don't worry, Shippo. It's nothing personal toward you."

"Hard not to take it personally," Shippo pouted, "when he's pounding you on the head. He's never pounded you, Kagome. You don't know what I'm talking about."

"No, I suppose not. He knows what I'd do if he tried pounding on me." She mimed the "sit" command that would instantly send Inuyasha flat on his face.

"Can't you do that now? Maybe that'll snap him out of this."

Kagome shook her head. "It's not easy on him when I do it, you know. It should only be used in extreme measures."

Miroku, overhearing this, snickered. "Extreme measures? Somehow I don't see it."

"I don't expect you to."

Sango, a few paces behind Inuyasha, hitched her boomerang up a little higher on her back and sighed as the pace quickened slightly. Inuyasha shot her a disgusted glare. "Give over, Inuyasha. We've been walking all day with no sign of a Jewel fragment or of Naraku, and yet you press the pace on us like it's some form of race. I don't know about the others, but I'm ready to stop for the night. I've about had it with your headlong dive into the countryside."

"Useless humans," the hanyou muttered. Miroku obliged Sango by swatting Inuyasha with his staff, earning him a blistering string of curse words. Miroku just gave Inuyasha the same irritating "I'm humoring you because I know it pisses you off" grin. Inuyasha growled a little but turned away again, and Miroku resumed his favorite pastime - putting the moves on Sango.

For about an hour and a half they continued to trudge in relative silence, only occasionally conversing about idle nonsense. Kagome racked her mind, trying to figure out what would have Inuyasha so spooked and on edge. Surely Kikyo hadn't started haunting him again! And yet...

She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she nearly ran Miroku over with her bike, stopping just in time and causing Shippo to tumble out onto the ground. The kitsune spit out a surprised invective and hopped back up into the basket.

"What's the matter, Miroku?"

"Nothing. Inuyasha's stopped moving forward, so I assume this is where he wants to pitch camp." Miroku was assembling a pit for a campfire. Kagome parked the bike and slung her backpack to the ground, looking around for Inuyasha. He was standing by a huge rock formation, scowling. The dying sunlight glinted off his argent hair. For a moment, the blazing sunset illuminated a breathtaking silhouette of him. Kagome froze mid-step, but Kirara scampered by, brushing her foot and breaking the spell.

Sango sighed with relief as she propped her boomerang against a rock and sat down, leaning against the rock wall. "Finally. I hate to admit it, but I'm really tired. I haven't been able to sleep very well the past few nights."

Kagome set about unpacking her backpack and unrolling her bedroll, while Shippo lit and tended the fire; Miroku prepared a light meal and Sango fetched some water from a nearby stream. As the last rays of sunlight slid across the sky, Inuyasha dropped down from a tree and crouched down by the fire. He looked defeated.

"What is the matter, Inuyasha?" Kagome asked. "You've been in a foul mood all day -- "

Before she could finish her sentence, the question was answered. Inuyasha bent forward, as if in pain, and his hair spilled across his chest in a fan. It seemed momentarily as though a great shadow had passed over them. Kagome's eyes widened as Inuyasha's hair, starting at the roots and moving towards the tips, changed from brilliant silver to glossy black. His polished-citrine eyes smoked over into a smoldering gray and his long claws suddenly disappeared.

"Dammit," he growled. "That actually sort of hurt, that time. It doesn't usually hurt."

Sango gasped and Miroku whistled softly. While they had seen him in human form before, no one had actually witnessed the transformation take place. Kagome looked skyward, searching for the moon. It couldn't be!

But it had to be. There was no moon in sight. Gods, had another moon cycle already passed by?

Despite being human, Inuyasha's countenance was menacing. "You are all a bunch of useless idiots," he said crossly. "Not a single one of you realized it was time for the new moon, did you?"

Kirara growled softly.

"Get off my case, furball, you didn't say anything," Inuyasha retorted.

Sango responded with a big yawn. "My goodness, I'm more tired than I thought. I think I shall be going to bed, if you all don't mind. I fear I'm of little use. Good night. Wake me when it's time for my watch."

"Don't worry about it, Sango," Inuyasha said. "I'll take the watch tonight. I told you guys before, I don't sleep on the night of the new moon."

"I see. Well, good night everyone."

"I'll join you shortly," Miroku said over his shoulder, and instinctively ducked as she threw a punch at him.

"Not in this lifetime, you won't!" Sango retorted as she curled up in Kirara's tails.

After a little while, Shippo followed suit, curling up beside Kagome's vacant bedroll. Miroku finished his meal, cleaned up after the meal and bid his goodnights as well, propping himself up against a rock and dozing off.

Crickets chirped and a lazy breeze wandered through the small camp, making the smoke dance off the flames.

"You too, Kagome. Get some sleep."

Kagome started and looked up across the fire to where Inuyasha was studying her, his expression carefully blank.

"I'm... I'm not tired yet."

"Liar," Inuyasha said mildly. "I can see it in your eyes. I may be human in body, but I've still got some of my old senses. I picked this place out deliberately because I knew you all would be tired, and I won't be as equipped to fight tonight as I normally would be. Now, go get some sleep. I'll watch the fire and the camp. I'll wake one of you if there's trouble. You know that."

Kagome stood up, dusting herself off absently as she gazed at her bedroll. But then an idea struck her, and instead of going to her bedroll, she sat down beside Inuyasha.

"Did I stutter or something?" Inuyasha snapped crossly. "Get some sleep, Kagome, you're going to need it."

"I need to ask you something. I've asked it before, but I want to ask again. What will you do when you've defeated Naraku and restored the Shikon no Tama?"

Inuyasha's eyes narrowed; "Well, you don't beat around the bush, do you?"

"Please answer my question. What are you going to do with it?"

"Assuming I get to use it," he paused slightly, eying her pointedly, "I would think the answer is obvious. I haven't exactly changed my mind. I have one goal."

"Then why?"


"Why do you want to become a full demon?"

"Uh, why not?"

"Just answer the question, will you?"

"Perhaps it's because I'm sick and tired of being a neither-nor -- and humans are so damned weak. Why does it matter?"

"Oh, never mind. You're impossible, Inuyasha! Good night!"

Inuyasha shook his head and settled himself down against the rock wall. He watched as Kagome crawled into her bedroll, situated herself and lumbered off into sleep. Watching the others sleep brought troubling thoughts to his mind.

There were times he wished he was so certain about his desires with the Shikon no Tama. What exactly did he want from life? He'd always felt so alone in the world, having carved his own place, and finding no one to share the world with. And when he did open up, his heart was ripped from his chest and pinned to a tree.

"I wouldn't mind being full demon, if only to kick Sesshomaru's ass once and for all," he growled through clenched teeth, staring intently at the fire.

"Indeed," crooned a velvet voice that sent icicles down Inuyasha's spine. "Ironic. You've had plenty of chances with me, and I seem to be intact. Lacking a limb, no thanks to you, but otherwise intact."

"Sesshomaru!" Inuyasha launched to his feet, and his surprised utterance brought the others instantly awake. "What are you doing here?"

"I should think that it would be obvious. You cannot be nearly as stupid as you pretend. You would not survive this long being that stupid." The tall white-haired demon lord sauntered into the firelight. His very presence dominated the enclosure as the firelight glinted menacingly off the hilt of his sword Tokijin.

"Don't move another step, Sesshomaru," Miroku growled, unstringing his rosary from his hand and giving the impression that he intended to unleash his Wind Tunnel. Sesshomaru eyed him amusedly and turned to face him. He said nothing as he locked gazes with the monk. Miroku, intimidated by the cold precision in his citrine eyes, restrung the beads and lowered his hand. Sesshomaru acknowledged his acquiescence by turning his gaze to Sango and Kagome.

"You will not interfere. Do I make myself understood?"

Inuyasha straightened his spine; "I don't know what you want, Sesshomaru, but I won't give you Tetsusaiga. You can't even wield it. You can barely touch it."

"The Tetsusaiga is the least of your concerns."

Inuyasha unbelted Tetsusaiga from his torso and thrust it into Kagome's hands; "Keep this. It won't do me any good, not while I'm like this. But don't give it to Sesshomaru. No matter what happens, don't give it to him."

"Inuyasha!" Kagome's eyes filled with tears at the nihilism in his voice. He had always said he wanted to die in a blaze of glory, but that couldn't happen while he was human. And here his own brother was taking advantage of his most debilitating weakness.

Sango chose that moment to hurl her weapon. Sesshomaru, who had been aware of her actions despite seeming to have dismissed her, raised his arm -- poison claws and all -- and with a quick slash he deflected the boomerang, sending it skidding across the ground.

"Sango!" Inuyasha barked. "Stay out of this! This is between Sesshomaru and me."

"A regular family reunion if I ever saw one," Miroku jeered.

Sesshomaru favored Miroku with a withering glance. "I see that I have not made myself understood. Jaken, set up a barrier. Keep them from interfering."

The little obsequious toad bobbled forward and sealed them inside a circular barrier, cutting Inuyasha off from any weapons.

Inuyasha eyed his older brother; "You will leave them alone once you are done with me?"

"You may rest assured of that. They have nothing I want. Seeing as you have foolishly chosen to relinquish your weapon, I see that this will be more complex than I'd thought. You have much to learn, you insolent puppy!" With that as his only warning, Sesshomaru launched his offensive.

Kagome pounded on the energy barrier, which cut them off completely, sight, sound and reach. Unable to see or hear what was going on outside the barrier, she could only fear the worst. Tears streamed from her eyes as she rammed fists, bow, arrowheads, and even Tetsusaiga, against the barrier, all to no avail.

"He's going to get killed out there!" she wailed when Miroku and Sango tried to calm her. Miroku tried all his sutras and incantations, also to no avail. Jaken stood in place and heckled them continuously, exhorting his master's supremacy. He also refused to answer when they demanded to know where he'd learned to put up such a barrier.

For a good hour or so Kagome raged against the barrier, desperate to get to Inuyasha's side. Then, suddenly, the barrier shattered. Sesshomaru stood in front of her as the barrier dissipated. Kagome got the distinct impression that he was evaluating her as he looked her up and down. Then, without a word, he turned and walked away, with Jaken trotting after him, whining petulantly for him to wait up.

"INUYASHA!" Kagome screamed as she sighted him, flat on his face, his fire-rat robe tossed aside and his undershirt in tatters. His back was red with blood. She was so sure that he was dead that she couldn't bear to touch him. Fortunately, Shippo had no such compunction.

"He's alive. Unconscious, but alive."

"Beaten within an inch of his life, from the looks of it," Miroku said, kneeling beside Inuyasha's motionless form. "But these are all superficial surface wounds. Sesshomaru has inflicted much, much worse on Inuyasha before. These are not even life threatening, now that I look at them. Painful, yes, but nothing that will kill him, even as a human."

"He looks like he's been flogged!" Sango breathed.

"You fucking got that right," Inuyasha moaned petulantly. "Flogged with his whip and his piercing tongue. The whole time he lashed me, he chided me as well for being such a disgrace. Called my blood dirty. Treated me like I chose to be born this way."

Miroku hooked his arms under Inuyasha's and hauled him to his feet. "Kagome, get some of your medicines. The least we can do is ease the pain."

"Leave it alone. It'll be fine once the sun comes up," Inuyasha retorted. "He only nicked me a couple of times with his claws. I think he was being deliberately careful not to inflict lasting injuries, though I can't understand why."

"Nevertheless," Miroku insisted, "you're in pain and we might as well ease it. It's a long way yet 'til dawn."

Inuyasha didn't protest, and his countless scratches and cuts bled profusely as they walked him to the campfire and plopped him down in front of it.

"I don't understand," Sango murmured as Kagome rinsed Inuyasha's cuts with antiseptic and then painted them with an analgesic ointment. "Sesshomaru says he hates you and wants you dead, but he never kills you."

"Well, it wasn't exactly honorable, killing Inuyasha while he's vulnerable like this," Kagome reasoned.

"Honorable?" Sango said archly. "You think there's an ounce of honor in that demon? Listen, I know demons, particularly the malevolent kind like he is, demon lord or not. There is no honor in them when it comes to an opponent. Take Inuyasha here, though he's only half demon. Inuyasha, if you had him at a disadvantage, would you hesitate to kill him?"

"Hell no." Inuyasha flinched as a particularly deep cut screamed in protest. "Not after all he's done to me."

"So then why does he hesitate to kill you?"

"He doesn't want my dirty blood on his hands, I imagine."

Miroku scowled. "Has it never occurred to you that maybe Sesshomaru was appointed by your father to be your teacher, and that while Sesshomaru may hate you, he bears enough love for his and your father to do as your father wished?"

"My teacher!" Inuyasha erupted, sitting bolt upright and cringing in pain, his face twisted into a mask of fury. "Fuck that, Miroku, you don't know what kind of shit he's put me through all my life! Who the hell do you think you are!"

"Shut up and listen to me!" Miroku roared, getting into Inuyasha's face. Inuyasha's eyes grew huge and he hunkered down, as if cowering in submission. "All the signs point to it! If he hates you so much, why hasn't he killed you yet? He's a demon lord with the most prestigious sire in the land. Hell, he's the heir of the entire domain! He's got more than enough power to disintegrate you, particularly when you're vulnerable like this.

"Every time you've gone up against Sesshomaru, he's tested you," Miroku pressed. "Tested your weaknesses. He forced you to take possession of and learn to use the Tetsusaiga. He forced you to learn the Wind Scar. He tested your limits as a full demon and threw you off without batting an eyelash. He knows that the Tetsusaiga keeps your demon blood at bay, and that when your demon blood rises on its own, you become a killing machine. He all but paved the road for you to go and destroy Ryukotsusei. He has no problem killing you if you refuse to learn, which makes him a perfect teacher. Either you learn it, or you die. Sesshomaru acts like he wants the sword, but we all know he can't wield it. He can't even touch its hilt. And it's powerless if it's not being used to defend humans, you've said so yourself."

Inuyasha remained silent, his expression now pole axed.

"Sesshomaru is the only demon I've seen," Sango said, "that is completely uninterested in the Shikon no Tama shards. With a fully restored Shikon no Tama, he'd be a match for the Tetsusaiga without any blade at all. And he's completely uninterested in it. It's like he knows about its taint."

"I think he also detests Naraku, which means he could be our ally, at least insomuch as he's not Naraku's ally," Kagome added.

"He only strapped you," Miroku said, applying a bandage to Inuyasha's arm. "He didn't even bleed you badly. He could have cut off one of your arms in vengeance for the one you deprived him. Instead, he chose to flog you, knowing your scars would heal as soon as the sun came up and your demonic powers were restored.

"If he hates humans -- and hanyous -- so much and has so little regard for them, why does he spare you? Why does he continuously spare you? And he does spare you, however much you refuse to believe it. He only shows you his strength when you show him enough to match it. What other explanation do you have?"

"You are too damned observant, Miroku," Inuyasha sighed. "Sometimes, you scare the hell out of me with what you know from watching."

"I'm a monk, Inuyasha. Part of what I do as a man of the cloth is to observe people and situations. Spiritual powers are only part of what I am. All I'm trying to say is that perhaps you shouldn't consider him an enemy right now. He's said that he will kill you eventually, but he seems uninterested in doing so right now. He doesn't strike me as the type of demon that Naraku is, toying with his enemies for fun. He's got to have a reason."

"Pardon me," Inuyasha spat, "if I fail to embrace a brotherly love for that bastard. I'd rather rip his heart out and shred it. I'm incapable of forgiving him."

"No one is suggesting you forgive him," Sango said gently, and for once Inuyasha didn't rise to the bait and snap at them.

Uh oh, Kagome thought. Where are his knee-jerk responses? He's usually on the defensive so quick it makes your head spin. All the same, were he in his hanyou form, I bet his ears would be twitching like crazy.

last updated: August 28, 2005