InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Fireside Chats ❯ Part Nineteen: Borderlands ( Chapter 19 )
Author's Note: I lied XD. Sesshomaru bullied his way back into the story! He's so pushy! This chapter also played out very differently from what I'd originally imagined. I'm not sure where I will be taking it from here. Obviously, though, the story isn't finished yet.
Update: A few clarifications added, adjusted some grammatical inconsistencies and streamlined the punctuation.
Part Nineteen: Borderlands
Kagome had fallen into a restless sleep when suddenly the forest roared and trees went crashing some ways off in the distance. Sango stood up and grabbed Hiraikotsu to keep it at the ready.
"What in the world was that all about?" Kagome burrowed a little in her sleeping bag, hugging Shippo close.
"That's coming from the direction Inuyasha went in," Sango said with a frown. Which meant she was worried about Miroku and Kirara as well.
"Sounds like at least five trees went down," Shippo said. "I don't have Inuyasha's nose, but I think if something had happened to them I'd smell it."
"I think it's best if we stay here," Sango said finally. "If there's trouble, Inuyasha can handle it alone. We can't see very well in the dark, so it's probably best if we stay here."
"Miroku's with him anyway, and so is Kirara," Shippo added. "He'll be fine."
The roar escalated as the largest of the trees finally hit the ground with an almighty crash, and the forest fell completely silent. Too silent.
Shippo sat up, crossing his little legs. "I'll stand watch. You girls can go back to sleep." Kagome smothered a giggle at his attempt to act grown-up.
Sango smiled and patted the kitsune on the head; "Done deal, Shippo. I am a bit tired, after all." The exterminator curled up with a blanket and dozed off, propped up against Hiraikotsu.
Shippo poked Kagome. "You can go back to sleep, Kagome."
"Easier said than done, Shippo," she said with a sigh, trying to snuggle into the warmth of her bedding. "I've got a lot on my mind."
Sango and Shippo had pried out of her why she'd Sat Inuyasha so many times -- she had feared the very thing that Shippo had jokingly said. She'd feared that Inuyasha had felt a kindred spirit toward Kiniromaru and had begun to fall in love with her. Sango had voiced loud disapproval at Kagome's assumptions, saying it was beyond stupid to think that he'd fall in love with someone who had tried more than once to kill him.
But Kagome couldn't think of any other answers as to why he was behaving so strangely. He wouldn't let her purify the Jewel fragment, and he got huffy and defensive if anyone even so much as mentioned Kiniromaru. It was not so dissimilar from talking to him about Kikyo.
I give my heart to him, and now this? Honestly, I wish I could stop loving him.
Kagome reflected with some regret on her outburst earlier that evening. It really hadn't been very nice of her to Sit him that many times. One carefully timed Sit did it just as succinctly as a series of three or five of them, and it wasn't as hard on his back.
With a sigh, she closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but sleep eluded her. She probably wouldn't be able to rest soundly until Inuyasha returned. She just didn't feel safe without him. She knew that Sango was very strong and capable... but Inuyasha was inhumanly strong and fast. The sounds of a large animal approaching at a slow and deliberate pace did nothing to ease her apprehension.
She heard a tentative sniffing and opened her eyes slowly to see Shippo standing up next to her, his tail stiff. He was sniffing the air. Then she saw him look over at her, and above her -- "EEEE!!" He screeched and tumbled back, landing almost in the coals of the campfire.
"Don't move," a cold, familiar voice instructed from directly overhead.
Sesshomaru? What's he doing here?
The taiyoukai's voice, low though it was, brought Sango fully awake.
"What are you doing here?" the exterminator demanded.
"I should ask you that, but I see that the lowly half-breed has abandoned you. Typical of a half-breed, I suppose, though rather disgraceful for the inu-youkai blood in him." Sesshomaru sounded displeased, more so than usual.
Kagome rolled slightly and tipped her head back, looking up. He really was standing directly over her. If she reached out, she could touch his long sleeve, which hung just inches above her. But he turned his amber eyes to her, and the chill in his gaze froze any thoughts of moving out of her.
It was in moments like these that she was reminded of his true nature. Whatever else he was, he was a killer. An honorable one, possibly, whatever Sango might say, but a killer nonetheless. As a general rule, he despised humans and thought nothing of killing them if they got in his way or if they annoyed him.
Considering Inuyasha's hesitance to kill anything unless it was absolutely necessary, it made her wonder what the Inu no Taisho had been like. The two brothers were so unalike, it made her wonder what their father's personality had been like -- which of his two sons resembled him in spirit more?
"Where is he?" the inu-taiyoukai demanded coolly.
"Who?" Kagome blurted, a half-second before kicking herself. Sesshomaru could only be asking about one person. He knew they knew nothing about Naraku's locale. Obviously he was inquiring about Inuyasha.
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed marginally. "Considering the scent here -- this place is rife with it -- I'm surprised the half-breed took off. Perhaps he has better tastes than I gave him credit for."
Kagome had just enough time to realize that Sesshomaru wasn't alone, that he'd brought with him his companions - the toad-imp Jaken, the two-headed dragon creature and the cute little human girl that no one could figure out why Sesshomaru bothered to even let live, let alone allow to travel with him - and that they stood just a few feet behind him. Then a feral growl from about ten yards away interrupted the moment.
"What the FUCK are YOU doing here?" Inuyasha snarled savagely as he stalked into the campsite. Kagome breathed a sigh of relief. Sesshomaru wouldn't have any more to do with them if Inuyasha was around. He seemed to prefer to deal with his little brother exclusively.
"That, to some degree, is my question," Sesshomaru said calmly, though his eyes flashed momentarily.
This is bad, Miroku thought to himself as he viewed the situation. This is really bad. Inuyasha is aggressive enough as it is, and now Sesshomaru has appeared. If there's one person who can put Inuyasha in a violent mood, it's his brother. And Sesshomaru has to know what it is that's gotten Inuyasha uptight. He's got a nose that's every bit as good, and he's certainly more worldly. He'll probably be acutely aware as to why Inuyasha isn't himself, and he'll probably use that to his own advantage. He's always looking for ways to one-up Inuyasha, I'm sure of it. Inuyasha sliced off his arm, flattened him with the Wind Scar, and if what Inuyasha says is true, he also saved Sesshomaru from being absorbed by Naraku. Sesshomaru's got to be annoyed, to say the least.
I've got to stop this now, before it gets out of hand.
Miroku shoved forward, stepping in front of Inuyasha even as the hanyou drew Tetsusaiga. "Let me handle this, Inuyasha. You're too worked up."
"Back the fuck off, monk. I warned you. Sesshomaru, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I should ask you that," Sesshomaru replied, "because you are in my territory. This is my forest."
Miroku held his hand out, trying to hold Inuyasha back, and was rewarded by an uncharacteristically violent shove that sent him stumbling toward the campfire. He barely managed to keep his wits about him and keep from landing face-first in the coals.
Inuyasha cocked Tetsusaiga up, gathering the Wind Scar around the blade, but Sesshomaru struck with practiced ease. Raising his hand up level with his eyes, his nails glowing a slight ominous green, he slashed his hand around, sending out his energy-whip. But instead of using it like a weapon, as he usually did, he merely wrapped the whip around Tetsusaiga's blade and with a sharp jerk of his arm, the whole motion wrenched Tetsusaiga out of Inuyasha's hands. The blade spun through the air and impaled itself into a tree trunk, losing its transformation as it did.
"Alas, Father bred with a human and produced an idiot far stupider than any half-demon has a right to be. I did not come here to fight you, Inuyasha, and if you had half a brain in your head, you'd know that."
Oh I get it! Kagome thought. So that's why he brought his companions -- as proof of his benign intentions.
"I see the scent has addled your wits, little brother." Sesshomaru dropped his hand back down at his side, leaving the hilts of both of his swords untouched. His face was as stoic as ever, but with Inuyasha disarmed, he looked slightly -- very slightly -- smug... or maybe that was just a trick of the light?
What the hell is he doing? He's deliberately provoking Inuyasha! Miroku ground his teeth in frustration as he dusted off his robes. Sango shot him a weird "what-happened-while-you-were-gone?" look that he chose to momentarily ignore. Inuyasha threatened me twice because of the "scent" and how it's addled him, and now Sesshomaru is making a point of it. There's no way Inuyasha will let that slide. He says he isn't here to fight, but he's deliberately backing Inuyasha into a corner and forcing him to fight!
Kagome sat up; "Sesshomaru, what are you talking about?"
She felt an instant chill as the inu-taiyoukai turned his eyes on her again. For a moment she saw a flame of pure hatred flicker through his steely golden eyes. She found herself unable to speak, to swallow -- she could barely breathe.
"Get. Away. From. Kagome." Inuyasha growled, his voice gravelly and feral with tension. "If you don't back away from her, Sesshomaru, I WILL KILL YOU."
Sesshomaru met his gaze and remained motionless, challenging the hanyou to follow through with his threat.
"Please leave, Sesshomaru," Miroku added, desperate to break the tension. If only the demon lord would leave. There was enough strife going on without him getting involved. "If you're not here to fight, there's nothing we can do for you. We have no further leads on Naraku than what we've already told you -- the Ox and Tiger."
"Leave?" Sesshomaru turned his frigid eyes to the monk. "This is my forest. You are trespassing on my territory."
"Don't fucking pull a Nijimaru on me, Sesshomaru," Inuyasha snarled as he pulled Tetsusaiga out of the tree it was impaled in. To everyone's surprise, he sheathed the blade and faced his brother barehanded. "Is this because of the Shikon shards? Are you trying to tell us we can't be in your territory while carrying Shikon shards? Because that never stopped us before."
"I have no interest in the Shikon no Tama. Such a petty bauble has nothing to offer me. But I do not suffer fools to trespass."
"I don't give a fuck if this is your territory, we're only passing through." Inuyasha spat. "What are you going to do? Transform yourself and hike a leg on a tree to mark your territory?"
"If you leave us alone, we'll be out of your forest by sunrise," Miroku added, hoping to break the tension between the siblings.
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed as he stared Inuyasha down, completely ignoring the monk. " You will answer me this: why do you attack my forest?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
"The forest screamed. Several trees were inexplicably torn down. And you, little brother, were involved. The affected area reeks of you. The damage is such as I would expect from low-class youkai such as Naraku uses. Not even a hanyou should stoop so low as to inflict such senseless damage on a demon forest."
Sesshomaru favored his younger half-brother with a look of incredulous disgust; "Do you not know a demon tree when you see one? Do you go around recklessly killing them without knowing them for what they are? You are even more of an insult to Father's memory than I realized, if you are so idiotic as that."
Oh shit! Miroku felt his jaw unhinge in disbelief. That explosion from the shard -- one of those trees must've been a demon tree! So that's why he's so angry -- he thinks Inuyasha killed one of his vassals, for no apparent reason.
This apparently was dawning on Inuyasha. "There are demon trees in this forest?" The hanyou asked, his face a brief study of uninhibited disbelief.
Somehow, that was the last thing Sesshomaru expected Inuyasha to say, because the demon lord had no response. His facial expression didn't change, but his eyes became clouded with confusion.
Inuyasha regained his composure; "I didn't kill those trees, though. The shard did."
Technically, Miroku thought, scratching his chin, you caused it, Inuyasha. You hit that shard with the Tetsusaiga... but then again, that's what released Nijimaru. The monk looked over at where Kagome was scooting slowly away from where Sesshomaru still stood motionless. I do wonder if that was necessary though? If Kagome had purified that shard, wouldn't Nijimaru have been released anyway?
"Once again, Inuyasha," Sesshomaru's voice was icy with hatred, "you have an excuse for everything. This is beyond tiresome." He put his hand to Tokijin, drawing the blade and pointing it at Inuyasha. "Retreat to the edge of the forest, Jaken. I will meet you there when I have finished here."
The toad-imp bowed and grabbed the two-headed dragon's bridle, turning it around -- the thing was amazingly agile for such a big creature -- and hurrying out of the clearing.
Inuyasha drew Tetsusaiga again. Kagome squawked in surprise and scrambled out of the way as the two brothers lunged simultaneously at each other.
"Great, not again," Sango grumbled as she braced Hiraikotsu against a tree and crouched behind it, using it as a shield. "They never quit!"
"What happened, Miroku?" Kagome asked as she gathered Shippo into her arms and huddled behind Hiraikotsu as well. Miroku crouched behind the tree that the giant boomerang was propped against. "What are they going on about, with the shard and demon trees?"
Miroku sighed. "Inuyasha tried to destroy that shard he's been carrying. He said he was keeping the shard himself as a reminder of how evil the Shikon no Tama is, because the shard from Nijimaru took a pure, selfless wish and corrupted it, and made Kiniromaru suffer because of it. I convinced him that it's a bad idea to keep a tainted shard around, and so he was his usual idiotic self and tried to destroy, to ensure that the Jewel will never be whole."
"What an idiot!" Kagome exclaimed. "You can't destroy it by breaking it apart -- he should know that! The whole reason we're hunting like we are is because of the Jewel's inability to be destroyed. Even when broken into dozens or hundreds of pieces, it's still not destroyed! What'd he do, hit the shard with Tetsusaiga?"
She said it in exasperation, but Miroku confirmed it with a nod; "Exactly. And when he did, the shard exploded."
"What?!" Kagome, Shippo and Sango all said in unison.
"The Shard exploded -- violently, I might add -- when he hit it with Tetsusaiga, and that explosion is what knocked down a number of trees."
"Why did it explode?" Shippo asked, flinching as he watched Inuyasha get thrown against a tree by Sesshomaru's strikes.
"It turns out that part of Nijimaru's soul was imprisoned by the shard, and when Inuyasha hit it with Tetsusaiga, the force of the blow allowed Nijimaru to escape. So the explosion was Nijimaru breaking away from the shard."
Miroku seated himself in the dirt, strategically placing both the tree and Hiraikotsu in front of himself so that he wouldn't get caught by an attack from one of the two fighting demons. "Nijimaru manifested in front of us and explained a few things, which I found really disturbing."
"Well, for one thing, he warned us that Naraku is someone who can master the Shikon no Tama. Not only can he use it, he can command it."
While Inuyasha and Sesshomaru continued to go around and around, trading blows and insults, Miroku recounted to Kagome, Sango and Shippo what he and Inuyasha had learned from Nijimaru's spiritual remains. Kagome grew very quiet, thinking about what they'd learned.
"What did Sesshomaru mean, when he commented about the scent of the area addling Inuyasha's wits? I know we don't have very good noses, but Shippo does, and he didn't sense anything out of the ordinary," Sango mused. Shippo nodded emphatically in agreement.
Miroku raised an eyebrow. "Let's just say there are certain aspects of your gender that, at certain times of the month, generate a particular scent, and apparently Inuyasha reacts to that change in scent."
For a moment, Miroku felt his blood go ice-cold in recollection of what Inuyasha had said to him about the subject. You're human. That means you can't smell the changes in Kagome. That one fact alone is all that's keeping me from ripping out your throat right now. Even though he'd traveled with Inuyasha for many months, the thought that the hanyou he considered a friend would for even a moment entertain thoughts of dismembering him for so trivial a reason.... it was hard not to shudder. There were still some aspects of Inuyasha that seemed so primeval, so base, so... inhuman.
And therein lies the problem. He isn't human. Half-human, but half-youkai too.
Sango studied Miroku wordlessly, her forehead creased with thought as she waded through what he'd said.
Kagome sighed; "I wondered if he was aware of that. I guess that makes sense, I usually have that happen around the full moon. I didn't know my scent changed, though."
"You do smell a little bit different, Kagome," Shippo said, "but in a good way. Inuyasha's got a much more sensitive nose than I do, though. Maybe there's something about the scent change that hurts his nose?"
Hardly, Miroku thought. It's not his nose that hurts...
Kagome hugged the kitsune kit. "Thanks, Shippo."
Miroku quirked an eyebrow at Kagome; "I'll mention this much: he threatened me with bodily harm -- and he wasn't kidding in the least, I might add -- if I made any suggestive overtures at you. Your change in scent has made him extremely aggressive for some reason, and I only hope we don't encounter Koga while this is happening, because I think that Inuyasha will rip that wolf apart, regardless of if you Sit him into the underworld."
Sango frowned; "Did he really threaten you, or was he just saying that?"
"He was completely serious. He told me that the only reason he wasn't ripping my throat out right then and there was because he knew I was unable to smell the changes in Kagome's scent. And he was completely serious." Miroku suppressed a shudder. "And of all the times for Sesshomaru to show up..."
last updated: August 28, 2005