InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Evasion ( Chapter 25 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Drawing a deep, fortifying breath before she grabbed the ladder to climb out of the well, Kagome tried to push down her embarrassment as she told herself for the hundredth time that there wasn't any way that anyone knew what she had dreamed. `Don't be stupid, Kagome . . . they can't tell by looking at you . . . it's not like any of them were there . . . except InuYasha, and he can't really have been there . . .'
Telling herself that and believing it, though . . . well, those were two very different things.
To her surprise, no one was there to meet her when she climbed out of the well. Lately it seemed as though InuYasha had taken to living beside the well when she was gone. The meadow was empty, and Kagome brushed aside the odd feeling of melancholy, the stupid notion that she had been forgotten.
Turning her head to see who had called her name as a bright smile surfaced, she waved as Ichisaru came bursting from the forest straight toward her. “Hi!”
“Did you bring Shippou and me pocky?”
“Sure did . . .”
Ichisaru hopped up and down happily and skipped along beside her as Kagome headed toward the trail. “Sango and Miroku told me not to jump on your shoulder right now, so I'll be good `til we get back to the village.”
Kagome laughed. “All right . . . Have you seen InuYasha?”
`Ugh! If you're going to blush when you say his name, of course he'll figure out that there's something wrong with you, Kagome!'
Wrinkling her nose at her own thoughts, Kagome waited for Ichisaru to answer the question. “Nope . . . we thought he was with you. No one's seen him all morning.”
Kagome sighed. `He's probably still mad about yesterday . . . I did overreact . . . I shouldn't have yelled in his face like that, even though he did startle me . . .' But where was he? “Did anyone look in Goshinboku?”
Ichisaru shook his head. “I'll do it!” he offered. Darting off toward the God Tree, Kagome sighed again and waited.
Though she'd meant to come back much earlier, she hadn't been able to face the idea of seeing InuYasha without dying of complete mortification. Something strange was happening. The few dreams she'd had before had been bad enough, in her opinion, and those hadn't been anything, really, other than kisses . . . But the dream last night . . .
Why had that one seemed so different? So . . . real? InuYasha had seemed more natural, more like his normal self. A little shy, hesitant, almost uncertain of himself . . .
She frowned. The freedom of her dreams had allowed her to act so much differently, she supposed. It stood to reason that he did, too. Why had her natural inhibitions been so lax? Something about the trancelike dream had afforded her a certain kind of wanton liberty that she didn't fully understand. Why had she been able to . . . she grimaced. Had she really demanded that he kiss her? `Stop thinking about it or you'll be permanently red the rest of your life, Kagome!'
“He's not there,” Ichisaru said as he skidded to a stop next to her. She blinked in surprise. She hadn't heard him come back . . .
With a sigh, Kagome nodded and started walking again. Wherever he was, she was sure he'd be fine. Maybe the extra time was a blessing. With any luck she'd be able to curb her embarrassment before he showed up again.
A sudden ripple of gooseflesh broke over her arms as the fleeting thought of his caresses raced through her mind. She grimaced again as another wash of color stained her cheeks crimson. `Then again . . . maybe not . . .'
InuYasha picked his way through the dense foliage, careful not to make any sound. Following along behind Kagome and Ichisaru as the two headed toward the village, he just couldn't bring himself to come out of hiding. `Keh! I ain't hiding! If she wouldn't have bellowed in my face, I'd come out . . . stupid Kagome . . .'
Willing himself to believe his thoughts, he stubbornly kept his silence. Certainly it had nothing to do with the dream he'd had last night—the one that made him fall out of Goshinboku . . . and worse, the fall, itself, hadn't even roused him. Nope . . . it was a stupid, grating buzz that did it—a buzzing that reminded him of that irritating clock beside Kagome's bed . . .
Somehow the dream last night had seemed different, too, more like Kagome was actually there with him and not just a dream version, but her . . . really her. Something she'd said in that dream . . .
He shrugged. “I dunno . . . in my dreams we're in familiar places. You must've picked this one.”
“Well, that makes sense, I guess . . . this is my dream, right?”
He thought that over. “But I'm here, too . . .”
What did it mean? Did it mean that he really was with her, in her dream? That they . . . ?
Feeling a heated flush creep up his skin, InuYasha grimaced and shook his head. `That's not possible . . .'
Still . . . if it was Kagome's dream, and if he had been there, too . . . if her alarm clock had jarred them both out of it . . . then it was possible, after all . . .
`Oh, hell . . . I can't . . . she'll . . . no fucking way.'
It didn't make sense. She shook the vial. He'd watched her do it, and then he had, too. Why didn't it work?
“Yes, with a five hundred year gap between you . . .”
InuYasha winced as Miroku's voice echoed through his head. Damn . . . Was that it? He'd discarded Miroku's concerns last evening. Still, even he had to admit that there was something strange about the dream last night. It had been a little too . . . vivid.
What was it about Kagome that made him want to let his guard down? Why didn't he care that she was carrying a pup that wasn't his? There was something about the sight of her distended stomach, even in his dreams . . . he liked it. Maybe it made her seem even healthier, happier, skin glowing, eyes sparkling. Whatever the reason, it didn't make him feel any less drawn to her . . .
His head snapped up suddenly as a suspicion clouded his features, and he sniffed. Kagome smelled fine, absolutely fine . . . Letting his breath escape in a relieved rush, he flinched when Kagome quickly looked around as though she had heard him. Still . . .
`If I fell out of Goshinboku . . . did she fall, too? And if she did . . . the pup . . . ?'
Damn. He had to know if his dream— Kagome's dream—had been the same, and he had to make sure that the pup was all right.
Sesshoumaru held the solitary feather in his fingertips, twisting it idly as he stared at it. Even the bitter cold of the morning didn't distract him from his thoughts. On that day so long ago, when he thought he'd lost her forever . . .
What sort of price was he willing to pay to have her back?
Dangerous, yes. Trusting Hisadaicho was a nefarious venture at best. It was a good way to end up dead. Could he even trust that she was able to do such a thing? Did he dare not to try?
True enough, he had lived by the creed of live and let live, contenting himself by letting others forge their own fates, intervening only when it benefited him to do so. The cost of his desire could well be too high to pay . . .
Even so, the sickening feeling when he'd come to realize that Tenseiga could not save Kagura . . . Sesshoumaru willed away the memory. He had never felt quite so helpless in his life, and it was a feeling he never wanted to experience again.
“Give me the information I seek, Sesshoumaru . . . help me, and in return, I can help you bring back the one you desire . . .”
“And you think that I will trust you? You give me no reason to, and I am not a fool.”
Hisadaicho smiled, lips twisting into a toying expression as her tongue flicked out to touch her lips. “Of course you aren't. You are the Inu no Taisho. I would expect nothing less.” Walking slowly, deliberately, around him, reaching out to let her fingers linger on his shoulder, across his back, burying her hand in the silky Mokomoko-sama. “Tell me, Sesshoumaru . . . how badly do you want her back? How much are you willing to sacrifice for her?”
Sesshoumaru's eyes cleared as he stared at the horizon. `How much am I willing to sacrifice for her—for Kagura?'
Gaze dropping once more to the feather in his hand, he scowled. `How much, indeed? The life of one in exchange for the life of another . . .'
Stomping through the foliage that hid him from view and masked his scent from the monkey youkai, InuYasha stepped onto the path behind Kagome. “Wench,” he hollered to stop her. “You, ape-shit, get lost.”
Ichisaru looked like he was going to argue. One look at the hanyou's scowling red face, and Ichisaru changed his mind. Wheeling around, he dropped to all fours and ran off toward the village.
“I-InuYasha . . .” Kagome stuttered, face flushing as she looked everywhere but directly at him.
He was too busy staring at the trees to notice. “You, uh . . . you have a good visit? In your time?”
“Oh, sure . . . wonderful . . .”
“Sleep . . . well?”
“Sleep? Oh, uh . . . sure . . .”
“Nothing . . . weird?”
Face reddening to a very deep crimson, Kagome seemed to be struggling for words. “Weird?” she squeaked. “Of course not! Everything was fine! No weird dreams . . . none at all!”
For some reason, InuYasha wasn't particularly relieved by her answer. “Oh . . . good . . .”
She was quiet a moment. “Did you? Sleep well? No dreams . . . right?”
InuYasha's ears twitched nervously. `Keh! Quit beating around the bush and just ask her, damn it!' He frowned. “Didyoufalloutofbed?” he blurted.
“What was that?” Kagome asked, finally daring to peek at the hanyou.
He could tell by the feverish feel of his own skin that he was blushing as furiously as she was. “I said, did you fall out of bed, wench?”
She blinked in surprise. “No . . . should I have?”
“So the pup is . . . fine?”
Kagome nodded slowly. “Yes.”
“Are you okay?” she asked hesitantly.
She shook her head. “I don't know . . . you're acting . . . different.”
“There ain't a damn thing different about me.”
She was quiet for another moment. Turning her gaze to eye him suspiciously, Kagome frowned. “InuYasha . . . did you shake that vial last night?”
“What? Do you think I'm stupid? Of course I did . . .”
“Then why won't you look at me?”
He snorted. “Keh. Not like I enjoy having those dreams . . . I don't! They're weak and stupid, and—” he lied, praying that she would not see through his blustering.
Wincing at the slight hint of hurt in Kagome's soft tone, he blurted, “It ain't you! It's . . . Keh! Never mind.”
“You brought it up,” she informed him icily.
“I didn't! You said—”
“I know what I said! You're the one who was asking about my dreams . . . Did you dream . . . anything . . . last night?”
“No,” he choked out quickly.
Kagome rubbed her temple and started walking again. InuYasha had to hurry to catch up with her.
Something strange was happening. He could feel her gaze on him but every time he looked at her, she was staring away. The color was still high in her cheeks, and he couldn't say his was probably much different. The uncomfortable silence thickened, deepened. It was almost more than he could bear.
She ducked into Sango and Miroku's hut, stomping snow off her shoes as she shrugged off the backpack and dropped it beside the door.
Sango hopped up and hurried over, hugging Kagome's belly with her hands as she greeted her friend. “How is the baby?”
Kagome sighed and struggled out of her coat as InuYasha pushed through the curtain only to run into her. She stumbled. InuYasha caught her, his face reddening just a little more. “Damn, wench, I thought we talked about this habit of yours to get in my way?”
“And I thought you're the one with super senses!” she shot back, her face coloring as much as his.
“And I thought I told you that I was preoccupied!”
“Yeah, you did—yesterday!”
“Listen, you—” Cutting herself off with a sharp gasp as her hands rose to lock around her stomach, Kagome's eyes widened as the smell of her sudden panic swept over him.
Shoving Sango gently aside as he picked up Kagome and stalked over to the fire, he sank down against the wall and cradled her against his chest. “Kagome? What is it?”
Her suddenly pale skin seemed to take on a yellowish tint but she forced a smile and a weak laugh. “It's nothing . . . just a twinge . . . I'm fine . . .”
Sango and Miroku hovered nervously, exchanging worried glances. InuYasha glowered at them both. “Will you back off? She can't breathe with you two in her face.”
“Kagome, do you need anything?” Sango asked, ignoring InuYasha completely.
“Perhaps you ought to lie down,” Miroku broke in.
“It says in that book that you ought to elevate your feet,” Sango added.
“Or maybe some cold compresses would help,” Miroku suggested.
“Back off!” InuYasha bellowed as Kagome cringed at his tone. “Now, or I take her right back outta here!”
“We're just trying to help,” Sango assured the hanyou.
“She needs to remain calm, for the sake of the baby,” Miroku said, his expression inscrutable as he eyed InuYasha. “So some people should remember that and not yell at her.”
InuYasha growled as he gently set Kagome aside and stood, cracking his knuckles as he advanced on the monk. “Are you implying that I would do something to hurt her?”
“No . . . I'm saying that you're the one who was yelling at her, to start with,” Miroku countered.
“Calm down, you two! Fighting isn't helping! You're going to upset her more!”
“I'll show you upset! Move it, Sango!” InuYasha snarled.
Trying to move Sango out of the way as Miroku glared back at the hanyou, the kitsune went unnoticed.
“I'm warning you, Sango . . .”
“No! InuYasha, stop it!”
“InuYasha!” Shippou called insistently as he climbed InuYasha's clothing.
Shippou sighed and shook his head. “Kagome's gone.”
“What?” he bellowed, spinning around as he yanked Shippou loose and dumped him on the floor. InuYasha stalked toward the door and turned to pin each of them with a glower. “Follow us, and I'll shred you,” he snarled before darting outside.
It didn't take him more than a moment to locate her scent leading back toward the forest. Two minutes later, he spotted her moving along the path toward the well . . . or Goshinboku . . . With a sharp curse, he sprinted toward her. `Stupid wench! She didn't even wear her coat!' Ripping off his haori as he closed the distance between them, he didn't slow his pace as he dropped the garment over her shoulders and snatched her off the ground. “Where the hell do you think you're going?” he growled.
“I don't know . . . I just didn't want to hear you guys fighting,” she grumbled.
Altering his path, he headed toward Goshinboku. “Are you all right? The pup?”
“Fine, fine . . . it just gave me a really good kick . . . it doesn't like it when I'm upset, I guess . . .”
InuYasha winced and leaped off the ground into the safety of the tree. “Sorry.”
She sighed as he pulled her close against him. “It's all right. I'm sorry, too.”
“Don't be, wench. You warm enough?”
She nodded. “Are you?”
“Keh. I'm not like you, remember?” True enough, he wasn't cold. With Kagome so close to him, there wasn't any way he could be cold. She was too close, too warm, too alive . . . too enthralling.
She shifted to peek over her shoulder at him. “This is nice.”
InuYasha didn't answer right away. Her hair tickled his chin, his cheek. Every breath he took drew her closer into him, tightened around him with a warmth that was entirely too inviting. Maybe it was the culmination of the dreams, the months of silent yearning . . .
Stifling a whine that rose inside him as the memories of their shared kisses, even in the confines of his dreams assailed him, it was all he could do to keep himself from reaching for her, just to see if kissing her while he was awake could be as good as those he'd experienced in the night . . .
An urgency came over him, a singular desire spurred by his youkai blood yet welcomed by his human blood, too. Kagome, always Kagome . . . she was the one both sides had chosen . . . mate of the youkai, mate of the human—mate of the hanyou . . .
Her soul whispered to him as Bokuseno's words came back to him on the wind, `Trust not what your eyes tell you. Believe what her soul says to you, or all will be lost.'
His blood burned through his body, called out for her touch, needed her with a fierce desperation. Tired of fighting the losing battle, wanting nothing more than the feel of her lips, the touch of her hands, the balm of her heart, her soul . . . so pure, so fresh, so brilliant, this mysterious girl that could transcend time, that could control his will at her whim . . . `Kagome . . .'
Turning to face him, leaning against him as the gentle breeze rippled through her hair. “What are you thinking?”
A sudden thought had occurred to him, and he gathered his nerve to tell her. “Kagome . . . you owe me a favor, right?”
She frowned, obviously not recalling this favor. “Do I?”
He nodded. “Keh! When you wanted to go back to your time and wanted me to wait for you . . . trying to back out of it?”
She shook her head. “Oh, that . . . okay . . .”
He winced inwardly at her almost scared tone. What was she afraid that he'd ask of her? “Never mind.”
“No . . . go ahead . . . tell me what you want,” she coaxed.
Faced with the hesitation he'd sensed in her, did he really want to do this? Then again . . . `What if I was right? What if we had the same dream? If we did, then . . .'
“Come on, InuYasha . . . this is just a favor, right? So tell me.”
He had to clear his throat to get his words out. “. . . Kiss me.”
She gasped softly, eyes filling with a strange emotion, a cautious hope? “. . . What?”
He swallowed hard but couldn't look away. “I want you to kiss me . . .”
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Kagome:
… I could have sworn he just told me to kiss him???
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.