InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Purging the Toxins ( Chapter 32 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Purging the Toxins~
“Keh! She ain't your mate!” InuYasha bellowed in Kouga's face.
“Yes, she is!” Kouga yelled back.
Kagome rolled her eyes and tried in vain to shrink down a little smaller where she sat huddled by the fire pit between Sango and Kaede.
“Will you two stop screaming? You'll upset Marisaiko,” Miroku commented as he nodded at the cooing baby, content to be held in Sango's arms.
It did the trick, though. InuYasha and Kouga both glanced down at the infant and stopped yelling though they continued to glare at each other.
Kaede shook her head as she smashed herbs.
“How can Kagome be your mate? You don't smell anything like her,” Shippou commented as he glanced up from his drawing where he sat beside Ichisaru.
InuYasha blinked in surprise and stared at the kitsune for a long moment before turning his very smug expression back on the disgruntled wolf youkai.
“Yeah,” Ichisaru agreed without looking up from his paper. “InuYasha does, though.”
Kagome could feel all the eyes in the hut turn to gawp at her—all except for InuYasha, who was studiously looking anywhere but directly at her. She tried hard not to blush. The harder she tried, the redder she got.
“Keep your damn dog stench away from Kagome!” Kouga snarled.
InuYasha shifted his eyes to narrow on the youkai. “Keh! You're one to talk about stench, bastard!”
Kouga cracked his knuckles. “You want to take this outside, dog-shit?”
“Yeah, I think I do.”
“Fine by me. Let's go.”
“After you, mangy wolf.”
Standing nose to nose, growling viciously, the two refused to back down. Miroku sighed and stood before sticking his shakuju between them and wedging them away from one another.
Kaede scraped the herb mixture into a small clay pot and stuck a cork in it as she muttered a soft incantation before extending it to Miroku. He mumbled a short blessing and handed it over to Kouga.
“Spread this on your eyes every evening for one fortnight to draw out the toxin, and ye shall be cured.”
Kouga nodded slowly. “I think a couple of my tribesmen might have been infected, too.”
“There should be enough there for the three of ye . . . however the sooner ye begin to use the poultice, the more effective it should be,” Kaede warned.
Kouga looked like he wanted to say something. “I'll be back, Kagome. Then I'll bring you home with me,” he said as he started for the door.
“Wait!” Kagome quickly shot to her feet and ran after Kouga. InuYasha glared and caught Kagome as she tried to run past him. “InuYasha!”
“InuYasha, I need to—-”
“You need to listen to me, wench, and I fucking said no!”
She sighed. “All right, then you go over there and get the kotodama off Kouga.”
The look on his face was almost comical. Caught between utter irritation and the arrogant part of him that hated to admit that he was wrong, the hanyou's frown was bordering on `The Pout'. He compromised by hefting Kagome off the floor and stomping over to the wolf youkai with her securely cradled in his arms, much to everyone's disguised amusement.
Kouga stopped and turned back as Kagome reached out, ignoring InuYasha's warning growl. With an apologetic look, Kagome whipped the kotodama rosary off the wolf youkai and quickly pulled her hands back before InuYasha decided to attack again.
Kouga nodded and grinned at her. “Don't think this is over. I'll be back for you, as soon as I get this to Ginta and Hakkaku.”
InuYasha snorted loudly as Kouga hurried out the door.
Miroku chuckled. “I wouldn't worry, InuYasha . . . I'm sure that all Ichisaru smells on you is that you carry Kagome around quite often.”
InuYasha snorted again as he let Kagome down. She slipped back over to the place she had vacated, twisting the kotodama around her hands nervously.
“What I want to know is, why did he smell like Kagome to me but not to the runt?”
Kaede stared at InuYasha for a moment before she shook her head. “Is it not obvious, InuYasha? He smelled like Kagome because this youkai's toxin is still in your system. Ye smelled the youkai but since the toxin makes ye see the youkai as Kagome, then that is how it smells to ye, too. The only way this would happen is if the youkai that affected ye and the one that affected Kouga were one in the same.”
InuYasha made a face. “Keh. Then until I kill it, this youkai will continue to look and smell like Kagome to me?”
Miroku sighed. “So it seems.”
“InuYasha . . . when Kohaku first came back under Naraku's control, you asked me if I really could kill him since he still looked like my brother . . .” Sango said slowly. “Do you think . . . ?”
“Keh! This is different. Kagome will be with me. I'll know the difference.” He caught the doubting looks passing between Sango, Miroku, and Kaede. With a growl, he glared at them all. “Will you stop that? I ain't stupid! I think I can tell the difference between Kagome and a youkai!”
“Calm down, InuYasha, no one is saying you're stupid,” Miroku said reasonably. “But as hard as you try to hide it, we all know you well enough to know that it will be exceedingly difficult.”
“That is what makes butterfly youkai more formidable. They are not overly strong but they have very good defenses, like this toxin powder,” Sango said reasonably as Kagome lifted Marisaiko out of Sango's arms and held the baby close.
“And you're saying I can't track . . . Kagome?”
Miroku winced. Sango shrugged. Kaede nodded. Kagome concentrated on the baby she held.
“Can you do it, InuYasha?” Miroku asked again.
“Keh! Of course I can!” he scoffed.
Kagome peeked up in time to see the heightened color in InuYasha's cheeks, the hint of reluctance underlying the conviction in his voice. Miroku must have discerned the same because he shook his head slowly. “InuYasha . . . forgive me for reminding you, but you had trouble dealing with Kikyou when she was resurrected, didn't you? Do you really think you can hunt this youkai if she hides behind Kagome's face?”
InuYasha stubbornly shook his head. “It don't matter, monk. I have to, don't I?”
“Perhaps I ought to come with you,” Miroku said slowly. “And perhaps Kagome ought not to go with you . . .”
“I could come along, too . . . if Kagome wouldn't mind taking care of Marisaiko,” Sango asked hesitantly.
Kagome blinked and stared at the baby in her arms. Could she do that? Did she dare? A strange lump welled up in her throat. The girl's violet eyes focused on Kagome's face. `I want to, but I . . . oh, kami, I don't think I can . . .'
InuYasha snorted. “It ain't necessary.” He turned and stalked toward the door. Stopping just before he headed outside, his gaze locked on Kagome. “You coming, wench?”
Kagome hurriedly kissed Marisaiko's cheek and handed her back to Sango.
“Be careful, Kagome!” Sango called after her as Kagome stood up to grab her backpack and hurried after InuYasha.
“I will!” she assured her friends before darting outside.
InuYasha took Kagome's bag and slung it over his shoulders before sweeping Kagome up into his arms and setting out in a sprint toward the forest.
“I can walk,” she pointed out as she wrapped her arms around his neck anyway.
“Keh! I'm putting as much distance between that damn wolf and us as I can,” he informed her.
Kagome sighed. “He brings a whole new meaning to the word `stubborn', doesn't he?”
InuYasha snorted and pushed himself faster. “Keh . . . and the word `bastard', too.”
She couldn't help but feel a little grateful to InuYasha for wanting to leave when he did. Sango's question kept echoing in her head, and truthfully, she wasn't sure she could have made such a decision, not yet. `I could come along, too . . . if Kagome wouldn't mind taking care of Marisaiko . . .'
She let her temple fall against InuYasha's shoulder. No, she didn't think she could have made a choice like that, at all . . . It was too new, too fresh, it would be too easy to forget that Marisaiko wasn't her child, and maybe . . . had InuYasha known that?
“You didn't want to stay, did you?” he asked quietly, almost as though he knew what she was thinking.
“Yes . . . and no . . .” She shook her head, unable to make sense of her growing confusion. “I don't know.”
InuYasha didn't ask for clarification. It struck her again, as it had so many times before, that somehow InuYasha just seemed to know what she needed lately, even if she, herself, didn't.
InuYasha rolled his eyes as Kagome stretched out on the ground, knees bent, feet flat, hands tucked behind her neck. Doing what she called `stomach crunches', she grimaced as she sat up halfway, held the position, then dropped back to the ground again. He was of the opinion that she was being a little ridiculous but since he didn't sense any real discomfort on her part, he wisely remained silent as she kept at her task.
“Forty-eight . . . forty-nine . . . fifty . . .”
Flopping back with a heavy sigh, Kagome rested for a moment before rolling over onto her side, propping her cheek on her hand as she stared across the encampment at InuYasha. “Done?” he asked, careful to keep his tone neutral.
“For now,” she agreed.
“Tell me again, why were you doing that?”
She made a face. “Because my stomach feels like Jell-o,” she told him. “You would know, if you ever had a baby.”
InuYasha's gaze narrowed at her teasing commentary. “I'll take your word on it, wench.”
“You could exercise with me,” she remarked. “Be supportive and all that.”
He wrinkled his nose. “Keh! You don't think I get enough of what you call `exercise' on my own? What would you call fighting off youkai?”
She grinned. “Of course you get plenty of exercise. I just meant that it would encourage me, if you did it, too.”
“I'll just watch you. More interesting.”
She heaved a sigh and dug into the bag for a bottle of water. He leaned forward and snatched the bottle out of her hand before she got a chance to drink. “Give that back!”
“What? It wasn't for me?”
She rolled her eyes and dug out another bottle. “Baka.”
Kagome giggled between gulps of water. InuYasha drained his bottle and tossed it back to her. She stuck it back into the bag and recapped her bottle. “You're supposed to be supportive. That's what friends do,” she pointed out.
“I'm supportive,” he countered. “I let you carry that lecher's pup, didn't I?”
“I didn't kill him. That was supportive enough.”
She dug a small rock out of the ground and tossed it at him.
InuYasha blocked it and snorted. “Keh! Like that's gonna hurt me.”
She did it again.
“Oi! Stop it, I'm warning you . . .”
His growl was the only warning he offered as he lunged toward her, catching her shoulders to push her back against the ground before he tossed a leg carelessly over hers to pin her in place. “You owe me an apology,” he informed her.
Kagome blanked her features. “All right. I'm sorry you're a baka.”
“InuYasha . . . this isn't . . . get off me,” she choked out as hot color crept up her skin. All too aware of his proximity, it was all she could do to remember to breathe.
“Apologize and I will,” he challenged. She was trying to form a retort when he suddenly whined softly, forehead falling against her shoulder as he shifted his leg off her. “Keh,” he rasped out. “You're sorry.”
Before she could figure out what had gotten into him, he rolled to his feet and stomped over to the opposite side of the fire.
Kagome sat up slowly, willing her heart to stop pounding in her ears. Her hands were shaking when she straightened her blouse. InuYasha was carefully staring off into the trees.
“Well, I guess I'd better get some sleep,” Kagome announced in an overly bright tone. “Good night!”
InuYasha growled. Kagome frowned as she stared at him. Still staring into the trees, the hanyou slowly shifted his hand to Tetsusaiga as she sensed the approach of a strange youkai. “Stay back,” he mumbled. Kagome grabbed her bow and quiver of arrows and ran to duck behind him.
The ground gave off a small tremble just before the trees on the edge of the meadow started to tremble. Kagome gasped as a huge bear youkai lurched out of the trees. Raising his giant head as he sniffed the air, she could see the wan light of the crescent moon reflecting off the dilated pupils, off his red eyes. Opening his drooling maw to unleash an ungodly screech into the night, he slowly lumbered toward them as InuYasha drew Tetsusaiga.
“You reek of blood,” he commented as he hefted Tetsusaiga over his shoulder. “What the . . . ?”
Another presence twisted together with the bear's youki, a sinister feel that Kagome felt even across the distance. “InuYasha!”
“I know,” he called back. “Infested with vermin.”
“Shi . . . kon . . .” the bear uttered, his voice a mix of a primitive growl and a breathy demand.
“Keh! You gotta get through me to get the jewel, and I promise you, you won't get it.”
Caught off guard by the bear's sudden lunge, InuYasha sprang back, catching himself on one hand and propelling himself back onto his feet.
“Fuck!” InuYasha growled as he shot forward to intercept the bear. It had altered its course and was chasing after Kagome with speed that it shouldn't have had. Kagome jerked an arrow out of the quiver and nocked it back as she ran. “No!” InuYasha shouted as she twisted her body around, firing the arrow as she fell to the ground.
In a flash of pink light, the arrow struck the bear's chest. The bear youkai didn't seem affected as it reared up over Kagome, claws flashing in the night.
InuYasha leaped off the ground, bringing down Tetsusaiga, embedding it into the bear's broad back with a sickening sound of metal meeting bone: a squishing noise, a suction giving way as InuYasha jerked the hilt, tearing the bear's back wide open.
With an unearthly howl of pain and rage, the bear swung his paws wildly, catching InuYasha directly in the chest, the bear. InuYasha let go of Tetsusaiga as his body was hurled back. He hit the ground hard and slid back as Kagome shrieked his name.
Shaking off the edges of fuzzy blackness, InuYasha staggered to his feet. Kagome was running again, and the damn bear was still lurching after her with Tetsusaiga still embedded in its back.
Moving as fast as he could, InuYasha closed the distance between himself and the injured youkai. The blade had transformed back to its rusty form after he'd been forced to let go. With a grimace, he launched himself at the bear, grabbing hold of the hilt. In a flash of yellowish light dulled by the youkai's body, the fang transformed again, and with a grunt, InuYasha wrenched the blade as blood spurted from the violent laceration. He'd stabbed the youkai's heart from behind . . .
The youkai screeched as its body swelled then burst in a cloud of dust. Tetsusaiga's blade fell heavily against the ground as InuYasha breathed hard.
“Fucking parasites,” InuYasha scoffed as he sheathed the sword and slowly turned to look for Kagome. She was no more than a blur to him, and suddenly she was there, arms wrapped tight around him as she buried her face in his haori. “You all right?”
She nodded as he lifted his arms to clumsily pat her back.
“For future reference, wench, when a youkai is on your ass, you'd do better to keep running,” he scolded though his tone was more relieved than angry.
She choked out a weak laugh and squeezed him tighter. He sighed and gave up, stroking her hair as he waited for her to calm down enough to peel herself away from him as a small, tired smile surfaced on his lips.
Her heart pounded so hard that he could feel it thumping against him like a wild creature trying to escape. Closing his eyes and rubbing his cheek against her hair, the curious rumbling sound he'd made before welled up inside him, offering her comfort as he held her tight. Slowly she relaxed against him, her breathing slowing as the rapid pounding of her heart diminished to normal. Her arms loosened around him but didn't fall away. InuYasha bent down, caught her behind the knees, lifted her up to carry her back to the campfire.
“Go to sleep, Kagome,” he said as he set her on her feet. She didn't argue as she crawled into her blankets and curled up on her side. Her dark eyes stared at him in the wan firelight. InuYasha saw her through the corner or his eye as he sank down beside her. He could sense her exhaustion. She'd only slept sporadically at best the night before. `Yet another thing I can blame on that damn wolf,' he decided with a disgusted snort. `That bastard damn well better remember to use that cure, or I'll fucking cut off his head . . . or something else . . .'
InuYasha stifled a yawn. Kagome was already asleep. `Can't hurt to lie down with her . . . just for awhile,' he thought as he scooted behind her and stretched out. `I'll know it if anything comes along . . .'
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Kouga :
I'll be back to claim you, Kagome!
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.