InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Playing the Game ( Chapter 23 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Playing the Game~
Stepping out of the forest into the early evening shadows to gaze across the lands that he considered his domain, Sesshoumaru sensed the unwelcome presence. Without deigning to comment on it, he deliberately strode forward, stopping on the crest of a rising hill as he continued his silent perusal of the Western Lands. `All is as it should be . . . except for her, of course. Deceitful bitch . . . what does she seek?'
Turning with a flourish as Mokomoko-sama billowed behind him on the cold breeze, Sesshoumaru continued to ignore her as he strode back toward the distant castle. Uninterested in why she would have come all this way to see him, he made no move to stop, didn't care if he seemed abrupt or rude. Had he ever cared?
“Does your sense of smell fail you, Inu no Taisho?”
Sesshoumaru didn't stop, didn't even spare her a parting glance. “Do you seek my acknowledgement?”
“Ooh . . . the pretty puppy has fangs?”
His answer was no more than a shifting of his gaze to meet hers as he kept walking.
She hurried her step to catch up with the inu-youkai. “No pleasantries at all, O great Lord of the Dogs?”
“The pleasantries extend so far as my not killing you for entering my domain unbidden, Hisadaicho.”
Making him a mocking bow, Hisadaicho smiled coyly. “Sesshoumaru-sama, I beg you forgive me . . . I require information that I hoped you could give me?”
Sesshoumaru stopped and regarded Hisadaicho for a long moment, gaze cool, unrelenting. “And why would I give information to the likes of you?”
She offered him a tight smile. “Surely there's something you want from me?”
Meeting her challenging gaze, Sesshoumaru started moving forward again. “Not a thing.”
“Are you always so cold to one who has saved your human girl?”
“When the reek of those who took her still lingered in your castle? This Sesshoumaru owes you nothing.”
She chuckled. “Those were but a renegade band. They acted on their own accord . . . and if you didn't believe me, then why did you linger in my home?”
He didn't answer. Sensing her rising irritation, he very nearly smiled. `Easily predicted, your kind . . .'
“At least hear my question, I beg of you.” Taking his silence as compliance, Hisadaicho forced a thin smile. “Your brother's miko . . . what do you know of her?”
The question surprised him. Sesshoumaru didn't show it, but he couldn't help but wonder just what this woman's interest in the young miko really was. “You'd do better to ask InuYasha, though I doubt he would tell you anything, either. Then again, there are certain things the two of you share in common . . . are there not?”
Her smile widened, as though he had amused her. “Intriguing . . . you mean because we are both hanyou?”
“I have not the time to waste on the likes of you.”
She watched him go, back straight and proud, a deliberate slowness in his movements. “Kagura.”
Sesshoumaru stopped and slowly turned back to face her again. Finally having gained his full attention if the intensity behind his gaze meant anything, Hisadaicho grinned wickedly as she pulled a feather from her kimono. His eyes flared wide in recognition, staring at the feather and perhaps seeing a ghost from his past. “Do you miss her?”
Sesshoumaru didn't answer as he slowly reached out and plucked the feather out of Hisadaicho's fingertips.
“Will you stop fussing?”
Kagome shook her head slowly and shoved the thermometer into InuYasha's mouth. “Don't bite it, InuYasha!” she insisted as the hanyou bit down on the fragile glass instrument.
“I'm fine, damn it,” he muttered around the thermometer sticking out of his mouth.
Staring at her watch, Kagome completely missed the menacing glower on InuYasha's face. “Shh, I have to time this,” she remarked absently.
The only thing InuYasha could be truly thankful for was that Miroku and Sango had been called away to a neighboring village to take care of a rat youkai infestation, and that Kaede had taken the brats to gather some winter herbs and roots, leaving them alone in blissful peace and quiet—until Kagome had pulled out that damn thermometer, anyway . . .
Rolling her eyes when she had to tug the thermometer loose, Kagome shook it once then narrowed her eyes as she tried to read it. “Yep, you're normal . . . as normal as you ever were, anyway.”
InuYasha snorted as he jerked his regenerated haori on. “Keh! I told you that, wench. If you'd just listen—”
“I'm just making sure since you always say you're fine, even when you aren't.”
Three days' worth of fever had been almost unbearable. Had it not been for Kagome's constant attention, it would have been more than he could have withstood. As it was, InuYasha was secretly glad that Kagome had won the numerous arguments about the risk of catching his fever. She'd yelled Miroku into submission. She'd flat out refused to give in to Sango's requests that she leave InuYasha's care to them. She'd even glared at Kaede over it. If he had truly been ill, he would have been the first to send her away. She knew, like he did, that the fever had been caused by the scorpion's poison, and he didn't feel the least bit sorry that she'd barely left his side in the three-day-long ordeal.
Now that he was feeling normal again, though, and had been since yesterday, he didn't want to lie around anymore. Unused to such long bouts of inactivity, his body was sore, his legs hurt, and all he wanted was a nice, long run through the forest.
“Let me see your chest.”
She gasped and flushed a pretty shade of pink. “I am not! I just want to make sure your wounds are healed,” she countered.
“Keh! It looks the same as it did this morning, and it was fine then.”
“It wasn't. You still had a few blisters—”
“Stubborn baka . . . I still think you should lay down today and regain the rest of your strength,” Kagome pointed out.
“I ain't dead,” he grumbled. “I did that all day yesterday because you said I still had a fever—which I didn't.”
She waved off his blustering and stuck the thermometer back into the thin padded case. “You did, too.”
“I was concerned, that's all. It doesn't hurt to be safe, you know.”
Standing up slowly, InuYasha grabbed Tetsusaiga and headed for the doorway, ignoring Kagome's irritated scowl. He paused before pushing past the bamboo mat to gaze back at her. “I'm going for a run. Coming with me or not?”
She wrinkled her nose stubbornly. “I can't keep up with you on my better days,” she stiffly informed him.
He shrugged. “So I'll have to carry you.”
She still looked dubious, at best.
“Suit yourself. When the others get back, though, it wouldn't surprise me if they want to spend the rest of the day with their fucking hands all over your stomach.”
Kagome appeared to think that over and quickly stood up to grab her coat. InuYasha hid his smile. While it didn't bother her when they felt the pup move, it did get to her after hours and hours of having their hands on her, especially when she was trying to sleep, like last night.
She followed him outside and wrapped her arms around his neck when he carefully picked her up. “I feel sort of mean,” Kagome admitted as InuYasha broke into a light run. “It shouldn't bother me, should it? That they want to be close to the baby?”
InuYasha snorted. Kagome ought to know his thoughts on the subject by now. Though he had given in and allowed Miroku to touch Kagome's belly, the monk knew that he was only allowed to do it when InuYasha was there, and that he wasn't allowed to touch any bare skin. “I'd have ripped them both to shreds by now,” he remarked.
Kagome giggled. “Then we should be glad I'm doing this, not you.”
“I have to use the bathroom.”
InuYasha rolled his eyes. “You're fucking kidding me. You spent all morning running off to do that, didn't you?”
“Yeah, let's see you carry around a baby in your stomach and not have to pee constantly, dog-boy,” she shot back.
InuYasha stopped and set her on her feet. “And hurry it up, will you? You'd better get it all out of your system `cause we ain't stopping again till I say so.”
“We'll see if you change your tune . . . if you make me pee on myself, you'll be sorry,” she threatened.
InuYasha's face heated up at her quip, however, and he had to concede the round to her, at least in his head. “Hurry it up, will you?”
“The more you yell at me, the longer it'll take, you know.”
“Keh! It as already taking you forever.”
Idly staring at the vial of blood suspended from his neck, InuYasha frowned. “So we have to shake this every night?” he hollered to her.
“That's what Kaede said.”
“What happens if we forget to shake it?”
Kagome sighed. “I told you before; you'll probably have more . . . dreams . . .”
`More dreams, huh . . .'
`Don't even think it,' InuYasha thought with a snort.
Kagome reemerged from the foliage shaking her very red hands. “Cold!” she shivered as she cupped her hands together and blew into them. “I think I have frostbite.”
“What the hell did you do? Roll around in the snow? I thought you had to—”
“I had to wash my hands off, didn't I? The only thing back there was snow.”
InuYasha shook his head, muttering under his breath about worthless humans. Grabbing her roughly, he rubbed her hands between his until she stopped shivering. Then he picked her up again and set off through the trees.
They both fell quiet as he ran. Invigorated by the exercise, InuYasha could feel his mood lifting with every step he took. He felt somehow freed, as though nothing in the world mattered but the movement, the symmetry. Even with Kagome in his arms instead of on his back, the pattern of soothed him, and it must have done the same to her because she laughed.
“InuYasha, can I ask you something?” Kagome finally asked as he slowed to a walk near the hot spring where she loved to bathe in the summertime. Thankful that she hadn't thought to bring her backpack, he figured they were safe enough here. The air was much warmer near the water. He was just glad she wouldn't be whining about taking a bath because in the course of those dreams, this hot spring had been visited more than once, and if he had learned nothing else, it was that a naked Kagome with glistening wet flesh was just something that he couldn't ignore if he tried.
She sat on a large, flat rock that jutted out over the spring and stared out over the water. “What, exactly, were we doing in your dreams?”
InuYasha suppressed the grimace inspired by her softly uttered question. Her face was flushed and her gaze averted. That didn't quell his own rising blush as he thought about his answer. He had figured she'd ask that eventually. He just hadn't thought it would be this soon . . .
“Does it matter?”
He snorted. “Keh, I don't think it does.”
“It does . . .”
InuYasha stomped over to the water's edge and tried to avoid her demand for answers.
“Wouldn't you want to know if I was having dreams of you?”
Ears twitching despite his resolve not to ask, he couldn't quite help himself. “. . . Have you?”
“You answer me first.”
InuYasha nearly growled out loud at her evasion. “Just . . . stuff . . .”
She snorted. “I gathered as much already. What sort of stuff?”
“Stuff, wench, stuff!” he hollered as his coloring darkened.
“That's not an answer,” she argued. He refused to look at her but he could feel her gaze pierce his skull, and for a moment he had to wonder if she could read his mind. She heaved a long-suffering sigh. “All right, don't tell me. I didn't want to know, anyway.”
If he weren't so uncomfortable about the topic under discussion, he would have laughed at her obviously pouting tone. As it was, he could only pray that she really was giving up, because the last thing he was ever going to admit to her was exactly what he'd dreamed . . .
She was quiet for another few moments before she finally giggled, and the sound of it, though wholly familiar, had a certain strange undertone that he couldn't quite place. “InuYasha . . .”
When she didn't continue, he dared a peek at her. Sitting on the rock with her legs tucked up under her, she looked entirely too smug about something, and that alone was enough to worry him as he slowly edged back away from the water and away from her. “What?”
“That night, in my room, when I woke you up . . . were you dreaming about me then?”
His instant and almost painful blush must have answered her question because she suddenly cleared her throat and was mysteriously absorbed in odd fascination with her gloves.
InuYasha sighed. “You ready to go back now?” he finally asked.
Kagome sighed too and started to scoot off the rock. “If you are,” she agreed.
“Keh! Hold on before you slip,” he grouched as he hurried over to help her down. He caught her under the arms and gently pulled her down.
He didn't let go of her right away. Staring into her eyes, he couldn't look away from the softness in her gaze as she stared at him, cheeks flushed, lips parted, breath coming in smothered gasps that fogged the air in front of her face. An invisible draw between the two of them was real all the same, and he smothered a groan as she flicked the tip of her tongue out to moisten her lips.
She was too close to him. He could feel the absolute warmth of her body radiating off her to engulf him. Heart stuttering in an erratic pattern that made him feel lightheaded, InuYasha struggled to recall that he was supposed to be taking her back to the village.
A stout kick against his still tender stomach snapped him out of his bemusement. Stepping back as his gaze dropped to Kagome's stomach, he blinked in surprise at the force behind the pup's movement. The pup didn't want to share? InuYasha made a face. `Too damn bad,' he thought then shook his head as he gathered Kagome back into his arms for the return trip.
Kagome's face was almost the same shade of red as his haori, he noticed when he glanced down at her. Erupting in a giggle, though, she settled her head against his shoulder. “I can walk if you're tired,” she offered as she snuggled a little closer.
“Keh. I'll let you know when you break the weight limit,” he retorted.
She gasped in outrage but laughed a little louder. “Give me another month,” she promised.
Traveling in companionable silence, InuYasha glanced down at her. She was drowsing against his chest. He grinned and slowed to a walk. Kagome's words earlier came back to him, and he frowned. `Does she . . . ? Could she really . . . ? Dream about me?'
Burying his nose in her hair as he walked along, InuYasha breathed in the scent of her, and that only led to an uncomfortable stirring as his body seemed to come alive. Jerking his face away from her hair, he heaved a sigh.
“Inu . . . Yasha . . .”
Peeking down at her, he frowned. She was sleeping. He could tell from her scent that she was.
“I . . . need . . .”
Heart hammering against his ribcage as he fought against the urge to do something stupid, like kiss her, InuYasha waited to see if she'd say more.
“ . . . Food . . .”
He nearly dropped her out of complete irritation as he glared at her serene expression. `Food? I'm fucking carrying her around like she's a damn princess, and she wants food?' he fumed. Shaking his head at his own thoughts, InuYasha flattened his ears as he sighed. `You can't control her dreams, baka . . . she can't help it if she's always fucking hungry.' Still, he wrinkled his nose as another thought occurred to him. `Not her fault . . . but I know a certain monk who can and should be held responsible for this . . .'
Mokomoko-sama: The Fluff . . .
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
…. soabout these dreams, wench …
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.