InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Dissatisfaction ( Chapter 34 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Hisadaicho dug her pointed fingernails into the soft pillow as she clenched her jaw, trying to repress her anger. `I had him right where I wanted him! How did he escape me?'
Aki continued his gentle ministrations, working the tight muscles in his lady's shoulders and back. She hissed sharply as he found a particularly sore spot.
`He's nothing more than a petty youkai . . . he should have been easily subdued . . . Who could have countered my toxin?'
A flash of memory, of Kouga's ardent attentions . . . a welcome diversion . . . `He is a decent lover, I'll give him that . . .' She sighed as Aki's hands slipped lower on her back. `Too bad he has to die . . . If I can't use him, then I'll just have to kill him . . .'
At first, the images conjured in the smoke had been the same. Slowly, though, they started to calm, to dissipate. Last night she'd been unable to track any trace of the toxin in the wolf youkai's system. He managed to find a cure.
And, too, was the problem Sesshoumaru presented.
A plan began to form in her mind, a way to kill two birds with one stone . . . or two dogs . . .
Rolling over on the futon, Hisadaicho's eyes brightened, and she smiled as Aki's voracious mouth fell over one of her breasts as a hand lifted to cover the other. “Aki . . . I need you to bring me someone . . .”
The servant leaned away long enough to nod, sliding the length of his finger into her quivering flesh. “As you wish, Hisadaicho-sama.”
Her smile widened. “Bring me a maiden, Aki . . . any maiden will suffice . . . But first . . .”
His vacant eyes seemed to spark for just a moment as he shifted his position to kneel between her thighs. “As you wish,” he agreed again.
“So did you find anything?” Sango asked as she bathed Marisaiko near the fire. The month old baby whimpered in protest as Sango gently washed her hair. The sound dug at Kagome's already frayed nerves, and she gritted her teeth together, pushing aside her unreasonable upset that Marisaiko should be unhappy.
Kagome sighed and wrinkled her nose. “Not a thing.”
“That must be why InuYasha is in such a foul mood,” Miroku surmised with a sage nod, as though it all made sense to him now.
Kagome didn't answer as she grabbed her bag and hefted it over her shoulder. “I've got to go. I need to go home, re-supply, and check in with Mama. I'll be back later.” With what she hoped was a jaunty wave, Kagome hurried out of the hut into the early spring sunshine.
Shippou ran toward her, hollering her name as a happy smile broke over his adorable face. “Kagome! You're back!”
She caught him and hugged him as Ichisaru shimmied up her leg. “How have you two been? Staying out of trouble?”
Shippou shrugged. “Ichisaru got growled at for doing monkey shake to Kaede . . .”
Kagome tried not to laugh at the sad look on the monkey youkai's face. “Did you explain that it didn't mean anything bad?”
Ichisaru nodded. “No one understands me,” he lamented.
Kagome couldn't help laughing at the woebegone expression on his face.
“Are you going back to your time, Kagome?” Shippou asked.
“Yep. Why? Did you eat all the pocky I brought you the last time?”
Shippou shot her a cheesy grin. “It wasn't my fault. Marisaiko cries all night and keeps everyone awake, and I get hungry.”
Kagome's step faltered for a moment. “She does? Why?”
Ichisaru shrugged. “I don't know . . . Miroku and Sango walk around with her all night but she just cries.”
The two children hopped down and ran off after reminding Kagome to bring them pocky. Kagome headed down the path toward the Bone Eater's Well with a thoughtful frown. `Sounds like colic,' she mused. `The poor baby . . . and poor Sango and Miroku . . . that's got to be hard to deal with . . .'
Staring up at the patches of blue sky that shined high above through the trees, Kagome tried to make sense of everything. It seemed like her life was spinning out of her control. The time away had been good for her. She'd begun to rediscover who she was inside, had started to distinguish between Kagome-the-Surrogate and Kagome-the-Person. In a round about way, InuYasha had helped her with that, even if he hadn't known it at the time. He'd given her more to think about, even if the things were almost enough to set her teeth to grinding.
Add that to InuYasha's volatile temper of late, and Kagome sighed again.
She was sure that part of his frustration had been caused by the fact that they hadn't been able to track down anything or anyone that could lead them to this butterfly youkai. The majority of it, though, was because of the strange tension between them. Since the night of the new moon, it had seemed like neither of them could really find much to talk about. Strained silence pervaded everything, from making camp to traveling. Even in the encounters InuYasha had fought, there had been a stiffness that she couldn't comprehend.
She'd caught him staring at her over the campfire numerous times, eyes clouded by a nameless emotion, a fierceness that always made her forget to breathe. A few more times, she really had believed that he was going to kiss her. Something had always stopped him, and, red-faced, he had turned away. It was enough to make her want to scream.
Heaving yet another sigh, Kagome shook her head as she stepped out of the forest and headed toward the time slip. A nice, hot bath and a nap were in order, she decided. With a grimace, she stopped short, staring at the well as her shoulders slumped in defeat. `I can't take a nap without asking InuYasha to come with me, and he's in such a temperamental mood that he'd say no just to spite me since shaking the vial won't work if he stays here . . .'
Kagome hitched up the bag on her back and climbed over the edge of the well before dropping into the time slip.
She didn't see the crimson-clad figure standing at the edge of the clearing, arms crossed over his chest as the breeze whipped his hair into his face, and she didn't see the sad look of longing that culminated in his gaze.
InuYasha knelt beside the well as his ears drooped, staring into the empty void with a sadness that he couldn't hide.
The emptiness she left behind never failed to gnaw at him. `Admit it: you miss the wench, and she just left . . .'
Making a face, InuYasha snorted. `Keh. I don't miss her . . . but she does have to shake the damn vial . . .'
He didn't miss her at all . . . didn't miss her laughter, didn't miss her smile, didn't miss the way she stared at him, as though he were the only other creature on earth . . .
`Stop thinking about her and concentrate! You know what you've got to do, now think! If you ever hope to have any kind of, well, anything with her, you've got to make sure she's safe, and you've got to keep your promise to Kikyou! Where else can you look for that damn butterfly youkai?'
And he couldn't get Bokuseno's words out of his head, either, replaying them over and over again, as though there were something that he just couldn't quite grasp. `I've heard whispers of rumors on the winds that have filtered through my branches, InuYasha. They say that an evil has come, that this evil seeks to find the jewel . . . and to create something far more sinister than you can possibly imagine . . .'
InuYasha sighed and shook his head. `Not one damn thing makes sense! Something evil . . . finding the butterfly bitch . . . Kagome . . . none of it!' And yet why did he feel as though all three of those were somehow connected?
He dug his claws into the wooden ledge. He didn't know where to find this evil thing. He had no idea what he'd even be looking for. He couldn't find as much as a trace of the youkai. He and Kagome had searched for over two weeks to find her trail and came up empty. She couldn't just disappear.
The only thing he did understand was that until he found and dealt with that youkai, everything else had to wait. Everything else had to be set aside while he tried to locate her. He had to avenge Kikyou, he had to protect Kagome, and he couldn't do that if he was too preoccupied with the miko and with what she did to him.
The problem was that Kagome was getting harder and harder to ignore. If he had thought that the dreams were bad, he'd learned since the one night that there were things that could be so much worse. Waking up with Kagome that close, with her hands wrapped around him . . .
He deliberately pushed that memory aside. `Keh! You're stronger than that, baka . . .'
His ears flattened even more, and he winced, tucking his nose into his folded hands. Maybe . . . maybe he really wasn't, not when it came to Kagome . . .
“Mama, I'm back!”
Mrs. Higurashi ducked out of the kitchen with a wide smile and hurried over to hug her daughter. “Kagome! I'm glad you're back! You look exhausted. Shall I draw you a bath?”
Kagome grinned. “That sounds nice . . . maybe in awhile? I could really use a cup of tea.”
Mrs. Higurashi's smile widened. “Sure!”
Kagome followed her into the kitchen and sat down while her mother poured her some tea. “There you go . . . how was your trip?”
“We didn't find the youkai we were after.”
“Well, I'm glad you're safe.”
Kagome took a cautious sip of the hot tea. “Marisaiko has colic.”
“Oh . . . poor baby. How are Miroku and Sango dealing with it?”
“They seem okay . . . Shippou said that Marisaiko cries all night, though.”
Mrs. Higurashi leaned back in her chair and regarded her quietly. “Maybe you should stay here awhile, Kagome.”
Kagome blinked in surprise and set her cup down. “Why?”
“Can you really bear to hear her cry all night?” she asked gently.
Kagome shrugged, idly turning the cup in circles. “I was thinking . . . I thought maybe it'd be okay to offer to watch her for the night, so they can have a break.”
Mrs. Higurashi sighed. “Is that a good idea?”
Kagome nodded slowly. “I think it'd be okay. I think I'm better now than I was before.”
“And what does InuYasha think?”
Kagome frowned. “He wouldn't notice. He hasn't noticed much of anything lately.”
Her mother chuckled at the sullen note in Kagome's voice. “I find that hard to believe, dear.”
Shaking her head, Kagome stuck her finger in the tea, idly swirling the liquid. “I haven't really talked to him in days. Every time I try, he just sits there, like he can't even hear me . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi ignored Kagome's preoccupied rudeness. “Is something bothering him?”
Kagome wrinkled her nose and stuck her finger in her mouth. “I don't know.”
“Maybe you should try talking to him again.”
Kagome nodded and offered her mother a half-hearted smile. “I could use that bath now.”
Mrs. Higurashi smiled. “All right.”
InuYasha hopped out of the darkness and lifted his nose to sniff the air as he stomped out of the well-house. Kagome's scent was faint but grew stronger as he neared the shrine. Pausing for a moment long enough to stare at the sun as it sank closer to the horizon, he uttered a frustrated growl.
He made a face. The plan was to have Kagome shake the vial and he'd spend the night in Goshinboku—where he didn't have to smell her all night—at least, not as strongly as normal.
He changed his mind and hopped onto the roof next to Kagome's window. She was there, alone, stuffing things into her backpack.
The girl turned at her mother's voice and hurried out of the room. “Coming!”
InuYasha pushed against the window and dropped into the empty room, breathing deep. Kagome's scent was so welcome, so inviting . . . almost painful.
Stifling a whine, InuYasha suddenly had to get out of her room. Her scent was too strong, too overwhelming . . . With a snort, he stomped to the door and headed down the hallway toward the stairs. He wasn't even halfway down when he realized she was in the kitchen. He headed that way. Mrs. Higurashi's question stopped him.
“Kagome . . . I was wondering if you could tell me what happened to your blouse and . . . bra . . . ?”
InuYasha winced. The wince turned into a grimace as he sensed the change in Kagome's body temperature. `Keh! don't do that, wench!'
“Oh, uh . . . we were attacked by a youkai, and . . . um . . . yeah . . .”
The grimace turned into a stifled groan as InuYasha's face erupted in hot flames. `Oh, kami . . . her mother is gonna kill me . . .'
Mrs. Higurashi didn't answer for a long minute. Beside the doorway, InuYasha could sense the rising tension in the room. He shifted his stance, ready to spring in, grab Kagome, and run, if need be . . .
“A youkai did this?”
`Oh, hell . . . she knows! Fuck!' InuYasha thought, digging his claws into the wooden door frame.
“Um, wha—? Yes, yes . . . a youkai—a bear youkai. Infested. With parasites.”
“Kagome . . . So you're telling me InuYasha let a parasite-infested bear youkai close enough to you to slice your blouse and bra to shreds . . . and you don't have a scratch on you?”
“Well . . . he didn't let the bear that close . . . the bear swatted him out of the way . . .”
InuYasha had to remind himself a few times that he really did respect the fact that Kagome wasn't the kind who could easily lie . . . at the moment, however, he wished she were . . . His conscience poked him. `Keh! Get your ass in there, and tell her mother what you did . . . it's all your fault anyway, being baka enough to get infected with that toxin, in the first place . . .'
Sure . . . if he could get his feet to move . . .
“Okay, dear,” Mrs. Higurashi finally said. “Did you launder this already?”
“What? No . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi sighed. “So . . . the bear was careful enough not to cut you at all, then? That was nice of him . . .”
She shook her head and tossed the ruined blouse onto the table. “Kagome . . . you've brought home your clothes torn and bloodied . . . and this one is absolutely clean. You really can't tell me what happened?”
InuYasha flinched. He couldn't put Kagome through this. Cowering in the hallway while her mother was giving her the once-over about something he'd done . . . Embarrassing or not, InuYasha couldn't let it continue. Stomping into the kitchen, he grabbed Kagome's hand and shoved her behind his back. Crossing his arms over his chest as he glared defiantly at Mrs. Higurashi, he snorted. “I did it, okay? You really can't lie worth a damn, Kagome,” he mumbled over his shoulder.
Mrs. Higurashi's already surprised expression gave way to one of complete shock just before her own face exploded in crimson color. “I see . . .”
“Oh, kami,” Kagome groaned, letting her forehead fall against InuYasha's back.
Mrs. Higurashi opened and closed her mouth a few times, reminding InuYasha of a fish out of water. “Well . . . thank you for your honesty, InuYasha . . . I think I need to speak with my daughter. Alone.”
InuYasha narrowed his gaze and bared his fangs. “No.”
“InuYasha . . .” Kagome hissed.
“No,” he stated again.
“She's my mother!”
“And you're my ma—responsibility!”
She drew back, her face suddenly registering hurt. She dropped her gaze for a moment then pushed past him, jerking her arm away as he tried to stop her.
Out of sheer stubbornness, he stomped over to her and dragged her back to the other side of the kitchen again.
“You can let go,” she ground out. “I'm in my time, remember? In my time, you're relinquished of your responsibility since there aren't any youkai to endanger me here.”
“That's not what I fucking meant!”
“I know what you meant!”
“Okay, that's enough, you two,” Mrs. Higurashi cut in, rubbing a weary hand over her face in complete exasperation. “Why don't we all . . . sit down and talk this over.”
Kagome shot InuYasha a fulminating glare and sat down in the chair next to her mother, who sat at the head of the table. InuYasha picked up her chair and moved her to the other end of the table before planting himself in the chair between the two women.
Kagome heaved a loud sigh designed to let InuYasha know that she thought he was being entirely ridiculous. He ignored her.
“At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to pry . . . do I need to worry about . . . grandchildren?” Mrs. Higurashi asked, carefully choosing her words.
InuYasha felt his face color. “Keh!”
“No,” Kagome managed to squeak. “We forgot to shake the vial . . . after the parasite-infested bear youkai . . .”
“So there really is a bear youkai?”
“Keh! Was one, till I killed him.”
“Do you have to sound so . . . bloodthirsty in front of Mama?” Kagome demanded pointedly.
“Keh! I did kill him, wench!”
“Baka . . .”
“All right . . . This vial . . . the one you needed from me, InuYasha?”
Seeing no way out of answering that, InuYasha nodded once.
“So . . . the combined blood didn't work?”
“Sort of . . .” Kagome supplied. “We have to shake it every night for it to work.”
“And if you don't?”
InuYasha winced. “We have, uh . . . dreams.”
“ . . . Yeah,” Kagome answered.
“Okay,” Mrs. Higurashi said.
“It was my fault,” InuYasha muttered, staring down at the table with a frown. “I forgot, and . . . I didn't mean to.”
Mrs. Higurashi smiled just a little. “It seems to me it took two of you to forget,” she remarked as he gaze shifted to meet Kagome's. “I trust . . . you won't forget again?” She shook her head slowly. “Kagome . . . if you were going to do that favor for Sango and Miroku you'd best get going, don't you think?”
“Oh, uh, yeah . . . you're right.”
InuYasha turned his head to stare at Kagome. “What favor?”
“Don't forget to shake that vial, all right?”
InuYasha nodded, cheeks reddening all over again. He stood up and started out of the room after Kagome, who was already halfway up the stairs to retrieve her bag.
“InuYasha? Can I ask you something?”
He hesitated but finally nodded.
“I don't really have the right to ask this of you, but . . . I think Kagome thinks of you as one of her best friends, and since I'm not there, I'd just feel better if you'd promise me you'll listen to her? She says she's all right, about Marisaiko, and I'm sure she believes that. I still worry . . . I think she might really need you right now.”
InuYasha digested that for a moment and nodded. He hadn't really considered the idea that Kagome would still think about that, but it made sense. There had been a few times—not often, but a few—when he thought that she had something on her mind, something that made her sad. He was used to Kagome wanting to talk about her feelings, so much so that, at times he thought she'd drive him crazy. When had that changed?
Kagome tapped him on the shoulder and grabbed his arm. “Come on, InuYasha. You're the one normally telling me to hurry. Bye, Mama!”
InuYasha stayed silent as Kagome led the way through the shrine and outside toward the well-house. She caught his stare and smiled sheepishly. “You didn't have to come in there . . . I'd almost rather that Mama didn't know about the dreams.”
“Keh,” he snorted as he took the bag from her hands. “Come on.”
She slipped her hand into his, and together they dropped into the well.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Mrs. Higurashi:
An infested bear youkai, huh?
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.