InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Fireside Chats ❯ Part Sixteen: Misunderstandings ( Chapter 16 )
Author's Note: This chapter was extremely difficult to get started, and I don't really know why. I brooded and brainstormed for a very long time, and with the help of my impromptu "beta" DarklessVasion (*wink*), I was able to get this chapter started. Of course, then it started throwing tantrums and didn't WANT to get written, so I had to take it out back and reason with it, then spank it a few times, before it behaved itself. The chapter came out much shorter than I wanted it to, because there are things I wanted to cover in it, but I couldn't get them to come out properly, and I wanted to post an update.... thus, the short chapter. ANYWAY, a big thanks to DarklessVasion for all the ideas. This chapter took a lot of work, so I hope it was worth the wait! ^_^
Disclaimer: The incident that Sango mentions, of Kagura stealing the shard Miroku was carrying, is pure artistic license. It never happened in the manga or in the TV series. Nor did the incident where Inuyasha went "haring off after Kikyo," which set up for Miroku being robbed of his shard. Miroku apparently never gave to Kagome the shards he'd collected before he joined the group, but he has to lose them at some point, because pretty soon in the timeline Naraku ends up with nearly all the shards. This now takes place just before the Shichinintai arc begins, and after that arc is done there are only a few shards left to be added to the Jewel to make it whole, most of which are accounted for.
Update: A few clarifications added, adjusted some grammatical inconsistencies and streamlined the punctuation.
Part Sixteen: Misunderstandings
The tension in the air was almost visible, it was so thick. For close to a week, Inuyasha had been quiet and withdrawn, a tad stand-offish and distant. Ever since they'd left the exterminator village, he had seemed deeply troubled and saddened. His behavior following the death of Kiniromaru had been out of character to say the least, and rather disturbing.
Immediately after Kiniromaru's demise, he had picked up the two Shikon shards and had handed one of them to Kagome. The other he had held onto himself, refusing to let anyone even see it. Kagome had later confirmed that the shard he held onto was the enhanced one -- the one that had crystallized portions of Nijimaru's soul around itself. He had collected together any strands of the uma-youkai hairs that had been left behind by the Backlash Wave and had wrapped them around the enhanced shard, tucking both the shard and the hairs into a hastily-assembled pouch of horse-hide. He kept the pouch sequestered away inside his clothing, snapping angrily at anyone who inquired about it. His temper was unusually short, especially since they knew it had nothing to do with the moon cycle.
And now he was quite deliberately avoiding Kagome. As they all sat around the fire at night, admiring the spectacular view of the full moon framed by a pair of mountain peaks, Inuyasha sat deliberately across the fire from Kagome, refusing to meet her eyes when she spoke to him.
Miroku, who was seated next to the moody hanyou, finally broke the uncomfortable silence. "Inuyasha, why don't you tell us what's wrong?"
"Wrong? What makes you think something's wrong? Nothing's wrong."
Shippo hopped up onto the monk's shoulder and peered at the hanyou. "I know what's going on here."
"Huh?" Inuyasha about choked on his dinner. "What?"
The kitsune child leaned forward, bracing himself by putting his tiny hands on Inuyasha's shoulder, and looked him squarely in the eye. Bright teal youkai eye met deep golden hanyou eye in equal suspicion, as the two shared a "..." moment between them before Inuyasha finally grew impatient. "Well?"
"You're hiding something."
Inuyasha sputtered. "I am not!"
Shippo looked triumphant as he hopped up onto Inuyasha's head, grabbing his ears for balance when the hanyou tried to duck.
"Get off me, runt!"
"You are too hiding something! You've been all quiet and mopey ever since -- "
"Keh! I don't mope, you little baka!" Inuyasha grabbed Shippo by the tail and hurled the kitsune over the campfire. Sango obligingly caught the cub as he careened through the air, setting the little fox down next to herself and Kagome.
"He's right, though," Miroku said. "You haven't been yourself lately. You've been far too quiet."
"Humph." The hanyou folded his arms into his voluminous sleeves, feigning boredom as he looked away. "You're imagining things." His ears betrayed his bored expression by twitching.
"I've seen it too, Inuyasha," Sango replied. "We all have. You don't talk to us much anymore, you frequently seem lost in thought... and it's not like we've learned anything new about Naraku's whereabouts or about the nature of the Shikon shards. Ever since we left my village, you've been.... well... weird."
Inuyasha's ears twitched again. "I tell you, you're just imagining things. There's nothing wrong with me. Besides, I'm entitled to take some time to think once in a while. I'm trying to get a bead on Naraku, you know. I'm the only one of use who can track him, and now we've got both Koga and Sesshomaru tracking Naraku, and if we don't find him first, they're going to get the jump on us. And I won't let either that skinny wolf or that asshole brother of mine take out that bastard Naraku -- he's my prey before either one of them. And if you people don't stop bugging me, I'll never be able to concentrate long enough to find him!"
"Then answer me this," Miroku said, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Why won't you hand that one fragment over to Kagome? Why do you insist on keeping it? You've never been so adamant before."
"That shard that originally came from Nijimaru -- you won't even let Kagome purify it. Why does that particular shard matter so much to you?"
"Fuck off, monk. It ain't none of your business what I do with it. I did all the hard work to get it, and I'm going to keep it, thank you!" Inuyasha glared at Miroku. "You went and lost yours, so don't come panting after mine!"
"That's not fair, Inuyasha!" Sango interrupted. "It wasn't his fault that Kagura stole his shard! We could blame you for being an idiot -- after all, you took the bait and went haring off after Kikyo -- but the fact of the matter is that Kagura caught us off guard. Besides, that was almost a month ago!"
"Whatever. I'll hang onto this shard all the same. As long as the Jewel isn't whole, we have a chance to beat Naraku. If I have to hang onto one shard in order to keep the Jewel from being whole, so be it. If you don't like that, just try to take it from me!"
"Why that particular one?" Miroku pressed.
"What the hell is this, Twenty Questions? Who cares why this one as opposed to others?"
"Do you regret killing Kiniromaru?" Sango asked softly.
"Where the hell did that come from? Leave that horse demon out of this! She's got nothing to do with anything! She's dead anyway, so forget about her!"
"I bet you do regret killing her," Sango replied, "and that's why you want her shard. A memento."
Inuyasha's eyebrows twitched in annoyance. "Listen, you're all starting to piss me off. Let's just get one thing straight here: I did what I had to. Kiniromaru was suffering and wanted to die. She had to die or she'd never find peace, and she asked me to help her. I regret nothing. Now drop the damned subject."
"I bet you were falling in love with her," Shippo commented. "That's why you want to keep her shard."
The hanyou's jaw unhinged in complete disbelief. He sputtered in outrage and lurched to his feet. "What the fuck -- I can't believe -- YOU LITTLE BASTARD! That's the most ridic -- I'm gonna kick your -- "
"SIT!" Kagome barked as Inuyasha lunged at Shippo, claws at the ready. The incantation sent him face first into the dirt, just missing the campfire itself by less than a foot.
"I want to know why you've been avoiding me," she demanded once he had stopped twitching.
Inuyasha spat out a mouthful of road dirt and ashes. "Keh! I ain't avoiding anyone. You're delusional."
"You won't look me in the eye, you stand away from me, you don't even offer to carry me anymore... what is it? Did you go see Kikyo again?"
"Kikyo?" Inuyasha looked incredulous. "Not that it's any of your business -- "
"SIT! SIT! SIT!"
"Ack! Oof! Aargh! Dammit, woman -- !"
Miroku lunged across the campfire (just barely avoiding catching his robes on fire) and clapped his hands over her mouth in a desperate attempt to stop her from Sitting Inuyasha any more times. "Stop, please, Kagome! Let him speak!"
"Fuck this," Inuyasha snarled from the indentation in the ground he'd made with all the Sit commands. "I ain't taking any more of this shit tonight!" With a surprising display of agility -- considering he'd just received a baker's-dozen Sit commands in a very short period and in rapid succession -- the hanyou leaped up into the trees and bounded out of sight in a few heartbeats.
Miroku released Kagome and sighed. "Honestly, Kagome, that was a bit excessive."
"It's no more than he deserved, the three-timing hound," Shippo proclaimed. "He can't choose between Kikyo and Kagome, and so he throws another one into the equation?"
"I think you're wrong," Sango replied. "I don't think Inuyasha had any romantic feelings for Kiniromaru."
Kagome buried her face in her hands; "What I wouldn't give to just hate him!"
Miroku stood up, dusting off the dirt and ashes from his violet robes. "Kirara, may I borrow your services?"
The firecat mewed in reply and scrambled out of Sango's lap. She transformed into her large form the moment she touched the ground.
"You're going to follow him?" Sango asked.
"I think I'd better go talk to him. In his current state, he could do something really stupid. Besides, I want to see if I can get him to tell me what's going on."
"You think you can?"
"Well, I don't know. Kagome is usually the one who can get information out of him, but at present I know he won't talk to her. It can't hurt for me to try."
last updated: August 28, 2005