InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Unspoken Promises ( Chapter 22 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha yawned and stretched as he opened his eyes. “What the—?” he mumbled as shifted his eyes shifted to take in the five sets of eyes staring at him in varying degrees of curious interest. One set of eyes was carefully studying the book in her lap though he was able to discern the tinge of pink in her cheeks. “Did I grow horns or something? Stop staring at me!” InuYasha grumbled as he felt his own face reddening.
Miroku shrugged and grinned suddenly. “It would seem that the binding ritual worked.”
“Aye,” Kaede agreed as she stirred a pot of rice next to the fire. “Does this please ye, InuYasha?”
“Keh,” he mumbled.
“Ah, the grouchy hanyou we know best,” Sango remarked with a smile.
“Good,” Shippou said as he accepted a bowl of rice from Kaede. “He smells normal.”
Ichisaru skittered over to him and hopped up on InuYasha's knee. Frowning as he peered into the hanyou's face, the monkey finally hopped down. “Yep, he does,” Ichisaru seconded as he took his bowl from Kaede and sat down to eat.
InuYasha growled in response to that as he intercepted the quick glance Kagome sent him. She smiled faintly before forcing her attention back to the book in her lap. For reasons he didn't want to think about, that he'd just had a blissfully dreamless sleep for the first time in months didn't please him nearly as much as it should have.
“Have you all been staring at me all fucking morning?” he hollered as he shot to his feet and stomped toward the door.
“Not all morning,” Miroku drawled.
“Just since Kagome woke up and said you left her alone all night.”
InuYasha didn't trust himself to speak as he slowly turned his head to stare at the girl in question. Still staring down at her book, the only hint that she'd heard any of them was the tell-tale pinking in her cheeks. “I'm outta here,” InuYasha grumbled as he wheeled around to stalk out the door again.
He stopped and waited as Kagome ran up behind him.
“I didn't say exactly what it sounded like . . .”
InuYasha snorted and started walking again, slow enough for Kagome to stay in step with him as he headed for his forest. “I figured,” he remarked tightly. Since he distinctly remembered falling asleep against the wall with Kagome cuddled in his lap, he had a feeling that their friends had probably stayed awake well into the night to make sure that InuYasha wasn't having any of those disturbing dreams.
There wasn't really any excuse for it other than the fact that after the ritual, he had just been so damn tired that he hadn't been able to help falling asleep. It had been weeks since he'd had a really good night's rest, and he could only be thankful that the talisman obviously worked. So why wasn't he happier about that? `Keh! Don't be fucking stupid! You're thrilled, baka!'
“You were sleeping so peacefully,” Kagome commented with a gentle smile. “No one had the heart to wake you up this morning.”
“Keh,” he retorted.
“I slept pretty well, myself,” she ventured as she held her coat closed against the brisk morning air. “InuYasha . . .”
He stopped when she did. She looked like she wanted to say something but wasn't sure how to bring it up. Opening her mouth, she suddenly snapped it closed again as her head turned, the light of suspicion dawning in her gaze. His chin lifted as he sensed it, too . . . Youkai.
“Get behind me,” he demanded, reaching for her hand and tugging her behind his back. She did as she was told. He stepped forward, hand on Tetsusaiga's hilt, toward the edge of the forest just outside the village.
A lumbering form—a giant scorpion youkai—scooted out of the barren trees into InuYasha's path. “The Shikon no Tama . . . give it to me!”
InuYasha cracked his knuckles. “Over my dead body,” he remarked casually.
Waving its poisonous tail dangerously in the air, InuYasha easily hopped out of the way as the youkai plunged the tip of the appendage into the earth where InuYasha had been standing. “The girl has the jewel? You leave it in the hands of a weak little girl?” the youkai taunted.
“Sure do,” InuYasha shot back as he lunged at the youkai. “Think you can take me?”
“Hanyou! Get out of my way!”
“Sankon-tetsusou!” InuYasha bellowed as he sliced through the youkai's front leg.
The youkai screeched in pain. The tail rose and fell with a vicious abandon as the youkai tried to impale InuYasha time and again.
InuYasha laughed outright at the youkai's clumsy attempts to stab him. “You missed me,” he taunted as he hopped out of the way again.
The scorpion lurched forward, swinging its tail as it tried to compensate for the injured leg. With a menacing laugh, the beast raised its tail and pointed it at Kagome. She scooted out of the way but not before the scorpion unleashed a jet of poisonous acid. InuYasha barely had time to react. Barreling toward her, he managed to shield her from the spray, catching the brunt of the acid in the center of his chest. With a sharp hiss, he stumbled back as the fire rat haori and undershirt beneath dissolved under the stream of poison.
“Give me the Shikon no Tama,” the scorpion wheezed as it tried to close in on Kagome. She darted back behind a tree and shrieked as the youkai unleashed another round of poison. “Are you so willing to die?”
Kagome shrieked as the jet of toxic acid hit the tree she was hiding behind. The tree started to melt.
“Stay the hell away from her!” InuYasha snarled as he shot forward, drawing Tetsusaiga as he sprinted to intercept the scorpion youkai. “Kaze no Kizu!”
The Wind Scar flashed out in a flash of whitish yellow flames. With a terrible shriek, the scorpion youkai disintegrated in the waves of power and exploded in a puff of dust.
She poked out from behind what remained of the dissolving tree. With a sharp cry, she ran out from behind the tree and threw herself against InuYasha's chest. “Keh! Don't be stupid, wench! I'm still covered with that scorpion's poison, remember?” he growled as he caught her and pushed her back. “Trying to get yourself poisoned?”
Shaking her head quickly, Kagome stumbled backward and nearly fell. InuYasha caught her. “Sorry . . . I wasn't thinking . . .”
InuYasha snorted and let go of her hand. “Keh!” Stopping his tirade as quickly as he had started it, he glowered at her though his tone was gruffly gentle when he asked, “You all right?”
She drew a deep breath and nodded. “Yes.”
Turning away, InuYasha started back toward the village but veered off to the right—toward the river.
“Where are you going?” Kagome finally asked.
“You're going back to Kaede's before you get sick . . . I'm going to wash this crap off me.”
“But . . . I have some unscented soap . . . I bought it for you . . . Let me go get it.”
“Wench!” Stopping and turning to pin her with a glower, InuYasha made a face and shook his head. “I don't need it, and you don't need to come with me. Unlike you, I don't need protection while I take a bath.”
Her cheeks pinked but she stubbornly shook her head. “You need soap, baka . . . I'll send Miroku with it.”
InuYasha rolled his eyes and headed off again. `You really are a baka . . . you should have let her come along . . .'
`Keh,' he thought as he pulled off what was left of his haori. `Shuddup.'
After peeking back over his shoulder to make sure Kagome really hadn't followed him, InuYasha finished disrobing before wading into the frigid water. Brushing aside his misplaced feelings of wistfulness, InuYasha winced as he rinsed the remaining poison acid off his chest. The skin was red and starting to blister.
By the time Miroku stepped up beside the river and tossed him the bar of soap, blisters had formed and the soap did little other than pop the blisters as InuYasha sucked in a sharp breath and ordered himself not to let the monk see how much pain they were causing him. `Damn . . . I hate poison youkai . . . Saimyoushou. . . scorpions . . . Sesshoumaru . . . bastards, every last one . . .'
He sighed as he dunked himself under the water to rinse off the burning soap.
Then again . . . `Wonder if Kagome's got anything that might help . . . they hurt a little . . . and she's always rattling on about infection . . .'
When he stood up again, the plan was formed.
Grinding her teeth together in irritation, Hisadaicho stared at the wispy smoke. `Damn him! How could he have countered the toxin powder?'
Conjuring the trailing vapors once more, she narrowed her gaze. `Thinks he can outwit me? Absolutely not. I won't have it . . .'
In the brief time, in the clearing, when he'd been captured in her barrier, she'd discerned enough about him. Coddled by the first miko and then the second . . . InuYasha didn't begin to comprehend how much both women cared for him, did he?
The barrier had given her the necessary insight. That the undead miko had to die was unfortunate. Hisadaicho had a feeling that the one resurrected and known as Kikyou might have been a formidable adversary against Kagome. Too bad she couldn't be swayed . . . and too bad Kagome had to possess all of her soul in order for the plan to succeed.
It hadn't mattered that the foolish hanyou had unwittingly subjected himself to her toxins. It had simply made the subterfuge that much simpler. He would come in useful before it was finished. What perplexed her was the hanyou's sense of urgency about the miko known as Kagome. She was obviously with child, and yet in the hanyou's mind, she was still untouched. How could that be?
Hisadaicho turned away from the swirling mist with a frustrated sigh. `That girl . . . Kagome . . . Could she have figured out my toxin? Could she be the reason why it has been rendered useless?'
`Impossible! There's no way that little girl could stand against me! She's just a child, herself . . .'
What she had discovered from her moments of probing into InuYasha's mind was that this cherished girl was the heart and soul of the hanyou and his friends. Devoted to her without question, almost blindly, he and the others would die for her. `It could easily be arranged . . .'
Hisadaicho paced the floor as the servants entered with trays of food.
This girl Kagome was too good, too pure . . . `How to taint an untainted heart?'
Dismissing the servants with a quick nod, Hisadaicho made no move to eat. Staring at the array with little real interest, a determined glow lit behind her lavender eyes. `I'll get you, my pretty . . . and your little dog, too . . .'
Kagome looked up when Miroku stepped into Kaede's hut with the soggy bar of soap and no InuYasha. She laid the soap on a folded washcloth to dry out and turned her questioning stare on the ex-monk. “Where is he?” she asked, trying for an air of nonchalance.
Miroku squinted and raised his eyebrows. “You know InuYasha . . . Kagome, that poison acid . . . it got him pretty severely. Do you have anything for that in your first aid kit? He swears it doesn't hurt, but he took off in the direction of Goshinboku . . .”
“How severely?” she asked as she dug into her bag for the medicine.
“Broken blisters, and his haori is still in tatters.”
Kagome gave up and grabbed the entire kit before handing it to Miroku while she shrugged on her coat again. She snatched up a blanket before taking back the first aid kit and dashing out the door. `Baka . . . he could have at least come inside so I could bandage him in the hut! How typical! He can't ever admit that he's in pain or that he needs help . . .'
To her surprise, she saw the flash of silver hair, the crimson hakama before she reached the edge of the forest. “InuYasha!”
He stopped and swung around to face her, his scowl in place as he waited for her to catch up to him.
“Why didn't you come inside? You can't walk around out here like that! You'll freeze!” she scolded.
“Keh. I'm fine.”
She glared up at him as she pushed his arms away from his chest. “You're not okay . . . kami . . .” Wincing as she stared in horror at the rent and raw flesh, she couldn't help the small cry that slipped from her lips as she raised her hands but didn't touch him. “Sit down so I can bandage them,” she said, her voice trembling. She knew how painful one blister could be . . . His entire chest was covered with welled up blisters or ones that had just popped . . .
He did as she instructed, and Kagome draped the blanket over his bare shoulders as he dropped the wrecked haori on the ground. She dug out the antibacterial burn ointment and squeezed a huge glob out onto her shaking fingers. “This might hurt,” she apologized as she hesitantly reached out to smooth the medicine on his skin.
He managed to keep from wincing as she carefully applied the salve. She lifted the vial of blood to move it aside but paused, staring at it with a slight frown. “InuYasha . . .”
“Our blood isn't mixed.”
Dropping his gaze to the bottle in her hand, he took it and lifted it to see what she meant. As she had said, the blood had separated into two layers, and though it was impossible to tell whose was whose, the overall effect was strange. “Is it supposed to do that?”
Kagome shook her head as she placed sheets of nonstick padding on his stomach before wrapping him up with roll of gauze. “Should we ask Kaede?”
“In a minute,” he agreed as he continued to stare at the vial.
“But this is serious . . . what if it didn't really work?”
“Keh! Of course it did! You slept on my lap last night, didn't you?”
She blinked and nodded. “Yeah, but—”
He snorted. “Then you ought to know it worked.”
“And how would I really know that?” she countered softly.
He blushed. “Never fucking mind. You would have known if it didn't, damn it.”
She started to say something but frowned as she stared into his face. Pressing her hand against his forehead, Kagome gasped and drew away. “You're burning up . . .”
“Keh. Poison, wench, remember?”
“Come on,” she coaxed, tugging on his hands until he stood up. He swayed slightly. Kagome caught him and dragged his arm over her shoulder. “You should have told me about this earlier,” she told him.
InuYasha tried to pull away. “Damn it—”
Kagome held on. “Stop being so stubborn for once and let me help you.”
He looked like he wanted to argue. In the end he sighed and let her help him back to Kaede's hut.
“It seems as though InuYasha's reluctance to harm ye caused the binding to function improperly.”
Kagome shook her head. “What does that mean?”
Kaede and Miroku exchanged significant looks. “If I understand what you're saying, Kaede, it means that the binding works but only for one night.”
Kaede shook her head. “To keep the effect, ye must perform the ritual mixing, Kagome. Both ye and InuYasha must shake the vial ten times each night to remix the blood. No more, no less.”
Kaede nodded. “So it would seem. Should either of ye forget, the protection against the dreams will not be complete for the night.”
Kagome opened and closed her mouth a few times as confusion blossomed in her expression as she shifted her gaze to stare at the reclining hanyou. He must have really felt bad because he hadn't spoken the entire time. She reached over and pulled the damp cloth off him before she felt his forehead again. Still hot with fever, she gently wet the washcloth and wrung it out before replacing it on his head again. “Then that means we can't be apart at all?”
“So it would seem . . .” Miroku remarked with a sigh. “Best shake that now, before InuYasha falls asleep.”
Kagome did then tapped InuYasha's cheek. Groggy golden eyes opened just a little to pin her with an accusing glower. “You need to shake this,” she told him, shoving the vial into his hand. “Just ten times, okay?”
With a low growl, the hanyou did as she instructed the dropped the talisman and closed his eyes again.
“Ye dare not forget,” Kaede said sternly as she got to her feet and retrieved the water bucket.
“I'll come with you,” Miroku offered. “Kagome . . . perhaps you ought to go visit with Sango . . . the fever is likely caused by the poison, but with the baby . . .”
Kagome shook her head. “InuYasha doesn't get sick. It is the poison, I'm sure of it. I'll stay here. We're fine.”
Miroku looked like he wanted to argue with her but he let the subject drop and nodded instead. “All right . . . I'll be back.”
Following Kaede out of the hut, Miroku frowned as he took the bucket from the old miko. The bright sunlight glinted off the snow with a shimmering light. “Something else bothers you, doesn't it?”
Kaede sighed. “Ye are a shrewd one, Miroku,” she acknowledged with a nod. “I fear that the mixing of their blood may have repercussions we know nothing of. Should they forget to remix it . . .”
Miroku's expression turned more thoughtful as he pondered Kaede's dire prediction. “What do you think might happen?”
Kaede shifted her stare to meet Miroku's trouble gaze. “I mean there is much mischief to be had in the mixing of blood. Whether there will be any true side effects or not remains to be seen. Best to keep a close eye on the two.”
Miroku nodded his agreement. “All right. We will.”
`Baka . . . how could you be so careless?'
Flattening his ears against his own thoughts, InuYasha kept his eyes closed as Kagome's cool hand pressed against his forehead. He hadn't been resting, at all, simply listening to the conversation around him. His own reticence to hurt Kagome at all had meant that the binding didn't work? And just why didn't the idea that he was now officially stuck with Kagome bother him in the least? `Don't answer that.'
His next thought was that his plan had been a dismal failure, too. Not long after stomping away from Miroku—after making sure that the monk got a really good look at the blisters all over his chest—he had started to realize that the poison had seeped into his system along with the acid that had eaten away most of the front of his haori. The monk had played right into InuYasha's plan. He'd done exactly what InuYasha had hoped and had told Kagome about the injuries right away.
Unfortunately even if it hadn't been his intention to actually reach Goshinboku before Kagome caught up with him, there had been no way he really would have. The poison had already ignited a fever under his skin by the time Kagome called out to him.
He supposed it wasn't any worse than most human ailments. Kagome had a worse fever the one time he had willingly taken her back to her time. The thing that saved InuYasha from actually being poisoned directly had to be his youkai blood, and for that he was thankful.
He wrinkled his nose. His plan hadn't been a complete failure, he supposed. Kagome was here with him and giving him her undivided attention, at least since the lecher and the old woman had left the hut . . . It may not have been exactly the sort of attention he had been after to start with, but it'd do . . . for now.
The stillness in the hut was broken only by Kagome's soft breathing as she fussed over him. It was remarkable, really. Normally he dared not allow himself such a thing. `I'm not a weak, pathetic human . . . I don't need to be coddled or anything.'
Still, feeling Kagome's calm, her sense of peace, her kindness . . . it was a comforting thing. `Keh! That's just your fever talking.'
`I knew there was a good reason I hated poison youkai,' he thought with an inward grimace. `They can all go straight to hell . . . and I won't miss a damn one of them.'
If he were honest with himself, he'd have to allow that his main source of irritation at the moment wasn't being feverish or being subjected to Kagome's constant attention. It was the idea that his search for the youkai responsible for the toxins in his system would have to be postponed, and even though he hadn't even considered dragging Kagome along with him, he had to admit, too, that he rather liked the idea of her tagging along. Unfortunately, if that was the case, he might well have to postpone the search until she'd delivered the pup, or he'd have to go alone and suffer the dreams while he was gone.
Rolling over on the pallet, InuYasha shoved aside the little voice in the back of his mind that laughed at him. `Baka . . . you're not so upset that the binding didn't work completely because you like those dreams.'
`Keh! I do not.'
`Keh! You do, too . . . you like what Kagome does to you in those dreams, and since you're too stubborn to claim her, then they're the closest thing you have to the real thing.'
All right, so maybe a small part of him did like it . . . was that so terrible?
`Yes, you hentai, because you know that Kagome really doesn't know what's happening in those dreams, what you see her doing to you sometimes when you look at her . . .'
“InuYasha, do you need something?” Kagome asked softly when a soft whine escaped him despite his best efforts to keep from doing it.
Her fingers gently smoothed back his hair. “Are you sure? How's your chest?”
“I'll live,” he remarked in a dry tone.
She sighed. “You can go to sleep,” she ventured. “You're safe here.”
“You talk too much.”
She giggled. “I'll take care of you, all right?”
He didn't answer as she kept fingering his hair, idly rubbing his ears. Balancing between the invitation of sleep and the will to stay awake, to savor the feel of her touch, he couldn't summon the strength to open his eyes. `I'll . . . protect . . . Kagome . . .'
He drifted off to sleep with the rare feeling of absolute security wrapped around him.
`I'll get you, my pretty . . . and your little dog, too . . .' Ok, this was a request from… someone… I think I know who but am not positive… in any case, I couldn't work it into Chronicles, so here you go . . . laugh it up, fuzzball . . .
Saimyoushou: most-fierce, victory … Naraku's poisonous insects.
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
…Damn it …
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Metamorphosis): 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.