InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Babysitting ( Chapter 35 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Walking in silence in the crisp spring evening air, Kagome stopped at the edge of the forest and drew a deep breath. “InuYasha? Can you smell that?”
He stopped and cast her a questioning look. “Smell what?”
She drew another breath. “It's so fresh and clean here . . . I feel . . . freer than in my time . . .”
He shrugged. “Think so?”
“Absolutely,” she insisted as she started walking toward the burning torches that illuminated the village.
“Kagome . . .”
She stopped and swung around to face him. “Come on, pokey.”
“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
The carefully constructed mask of contentment faltered before Kagome could manage a smile. “Yeah. I think it will help.”
He didn't look like he believed her. Gaze daring her to hide the truth in her heart, InuYasha stared at her, arms crossed, mouth set in a thin line.
She smiled and shrugged. “It's all right. I'm fine.”
Though he didn't look any more convinced than he was before, InuYasha let it drop, obviously figuring that she wasn't going to admit to having any reservations about what she chose to do. “Keh. Well, don't expect me to change diapers, because I ain't doing that.”
Kagome rolled her eyes as her grin broadened. She understood what he didn't say, that he would stay with her just in case she did need him. “Thank you.”
InuYasha snorted and stomped forward once more. “Keh, I'm serious, wench. No diapers.”
“All right, no diapers,” she agreed as she grabbed his hand and dragged him forward.
“And sometimes she cries when she really doesn't want anything at all . . .” Sango said for the tenth time.
“Normally she likes it when you just walk around with her . . .” Miroku chimed in.
InuYasha stifled a frustrated growl. “Go already, will you? Hell, the pup cryin' ain't nothin' compared to you two!”
“InuYasha!” Kagome scolded as she rolled her eyes and hurried over to Sango. “They're just worried! It is the first time they've left her with someone else, so be nice!” Turning back to face Sango, Kagome smiled brightly. “She'll be fine, I promise.”
Sango grimaced. “Oh, she'll be fine. It's the two of you that I'm worried about.”
Kagome grinned and hugged her friend with one arm while balancing the still-content Marisaiko in the other. “You two need a break . . . I remember when Souta had colic, and Mama had a hard time of it.”
Ichisaru ran over to hop up on Miroku's shoulder. “Can I come, too?”
Miroku made a face. “Uh . . .”
“Perverts and exterminators only, ape-shit,” InuYasha remarked, knocking Ichisaru off Miroku's shoulder.
Shippou sighed melodramatically and shook his head. “Come on, Ichi. Let's go to Kaede's, where it's quiet.”
The two youkai darted out the door. Miroku kissed Marisaiko's head before grabbing Sango's hand. “Come on, Sango. She's in the most capable of hands.”
With one last fretful glance back, Sango let Miroku pull her out of the hut. “Come, Kirara. Kagome, if you need us, we'll be at the hot spring!”
Kagome giggled as the mat fell back into place. “They'll worry all night,” she predicted.
“Keh,” InuYasha snorted as he sank down beside the door, dragging Tetsusaiga up to wrap his arms around it.
“She's still so tiny,” Kagome mused with a gentle smile as she rubbed the baby's soft cheek with the back of her knuckle. “Were you ever this small, InuYasha?”
Her smile widened when she noticed the way he was trying his best not to stare at the bundle she held. “You want to see her?” Instant alarm registered in his gaze. “I could hold her and you could just look at her.”
He thought that over then shrugged. “Whatever, wench.”
`He just hates to admit that he is curious about her,' Kagome thought as she carefully knelt before InuYasha. He leaned forward, peeking down at her, leaning his head to the side as his ears twitched at the small gurgles Marisaiko uttered.
Intercepting the knowing smile on Kagome's face, InuYasha straightened up and closed his eyes as he lifted his chin proudly. “Keh. She still looks like a beet.”
“She does not! She's gorgeous! Besides, she has hair now.”
He shrugged. “A beet with hair.”
“If you had the kotodama, you'd so be eating dirt right now, baka,” she remarked but grinned.
“Yeah . . . too bad you changed the incantation for that fucking mangy wolf.”
She narrowed her eyes. “I could change it back.”
“Yeah . . . you could . . . but you won't.”
She sighed since he was right.
She looked up and took the vial InuYasha dangled before her face. Shaking it the requisite number of times, she let go and turned her attention back to the baby. “Who's a pretty girl? Who is she? Is she you? Yes, she is!”
“Oi! What the hell are you doing to the pup?” InuYasha growled. “Stop talking to her like she's a baby or something!”
Kagome blinked slowly. “InuYasha . . . she is a baby . . . and I can't help it . . .”
“I'm sure your mother did it to you, too. You just don't remember.”
He didn't dignify that with a response. “Come here.”
He reached over and turned her before drawing her back against him. “If she wakes up crying' then you'd better get some sleep while you can.”
Kagome stared at the baby in her arms and tried not to think about what it would have been like, to have a family of her own, like this . . .
As though he knew of her sudden melancholy shift in thoughts, InuYasha broke into that low rumble that never ceased to soothe her. She cradled Marisaiko against her shoulder and closed her eyes, letting the sound lull her to sleep.
Yuriko turned her head from side to side as she tugged on the ropes that bound her hands. The blindfold only covered her eyes but felt as though it were stifling the life from her. The cold, the dark, the damp clung to her skin. She didn't know where she was, she didn't even know if anyone was with her. She hadn't heard movement, hadn't sensed anyone else in such a long time. Digging her fingernails into her palms behind her back to keep herself from screaming, the girl could feel the welling panic, the beckon of a sinister madness.
The oldest daughter of a country farmer, Yuriko had just turned nineteen a few days before she'd been taken. Having given up on finding a husband so that she could stay behind and take care of her younger siblings, she'd tried to be thankful for her lot in life. Her siblings loved her, needed her. Who would take care of them if she couldn't escape? Her mother died years ago giving life to Yuriko's sister. Ever since then, Yuriko had been both sister and mother to her siblings, all six of them . . .
`But who has taken me? What would they want?'
She couldn't be ransomed. Her father was too poor. Surely there was a reason . . .
Unable to stave back the sharp whimper as fear gripped her again, Yuriko gasped when a callused hand grabbed the front of her kimono and yanked her to her feet.
“Who are you? What do you want from me?”
No answer came; no breath, nothing. The sudden jerk, the violent ripping of aged fabric wrenched a scream from her. Her clothes fell away, the cold press of thin metal as another slash cut the sleeves of her kimono away, as well. Tears squeezed from the corners of her eyes only to be absorbed in the blindfold.
“Your fear is delicious.”
Yuriko gasped at the woman's smooth voice in her ear. She tried to shy away from her. The callused hand stopped her, choked her.
“What do you want from me?” Yuriko whispered again.
The woman chuckled, a husky sound in the darkness. “I want you to be reborn, my dear . . . and you shall serve me.”
Another surge of panic rippled up her spine. She screamed again as those callused hands gripped her arms and dragged her away only to leave her standing on something soft. A rustle of movement as something brushed against her skin, as something cold and moist penetrated every pore on her body. Something slimy oozed over her. She opened her mouth to scream again, and the substance gagged her.
A slow unconsciousness crept over her just as a strange numbness stilled her body.
InuYasha flattened his ears and dug his claws into the dirt floor as Kagome paced slowly, bouncing the pup in her arms as Marisaiko shrieked. `Kami . . . I didn't think such a tiny thing could make that much fucking noise!' Well past ready to run for it, the only reason InuYasha hadn't fled the racket was because of Kagome. If the baby's crying was bothering her in the least, she had yet to show it. Calm and serene, Kagome kept talking to Marisaiko in hushed tones meant to soothe her.
Startled out of a very peaceful sleep by the ear-piercing wails from the tiny human, InuYasha had shot to his feet and had Tetsusaiga drawn before he realized what was making the ungodly ruckus. It hadn't helped when Kagome, trying to talk the baby out of her crying, said, “Look, Mari . . . silly InuYasha . . . he needs to put that sword away before he scares the baby! Yes he does!”
Throwing his arms over his ears to further block the noise, InuYasha couldn't help it when he bellowed, “For the love of kami, make her stop!”
“I'm trying,” Kagome said, the first signs of her own exasperation starting to show. “If she bothers you so much, then go sleep in Goshinboku.”
That she said it in such a reasonable tone just irritated him even more. “I can't! I promised your mother I wouldn't leave you alone with her!”
Kagome stopped pacing and stared incredulously at him, instantaneous hurt registering in her expression, in her eyes. “What?”
InuYasha winced. “She thought it'd be too much for you, that's all.”
Kagome glanced down at the still wailing baby in her arms, her voice a whisper of pain, of acquiescence. “And you agree.”
Trying to stave off Kagome's upset before it worsened, InuYasha tried to reassure her. “Keh! You're handling it better than me.” He winced as Marisaiko managed an octave that should not have been humanly possible. Stalking around the hut, himself, InuYasha tried to shake off the disorienting effects of the girl's screeching.
“I can't believe you . . . How could you . . . ?” she demanded.
“I didn't mean it like that!” InuYasha growled.
“Then how did you mean it?”
“I meant that your mother thought you weren't ready for this, and maybe—”
“Maybe what? Maybe I'll break down because I offered to watch her for one night? I won't! I thought that if anyone would believe me, it'd be you!” The hurt in her tone, the tears that choked her voice rattled through him.
“It ain't about believing! Damn it! You think you're fine, but you're not!”
“How would you know?” she challenged, her voice rising in pitch and volume as her upset grew.
“Because I know you, Kagome!” he bellowed.
Anger suddenly flashed in her gaze. InuYasha recoiled when she glared at him. “We're fine, as you can see! Why don't you go back and tell Mama that? We don't need you, so just go away!”
“My baby and me!”
InuYasha stopped and slowly turned to stare at Kagome. A chill crept up his spine at the look on her face. Staring down at the baby in the same way a mother animal protected her own, Kagome glanced up at him and stepped back, bringing the baby closer to her chest, her stance obviously protective. He stepped toward her, held out his hands. “Give me the pup,” he said softly, carefully.
Tears suddenly filled her eyes, a wash of emotion as she realized what she'd said. “No,” she whispered. “Don't take her.”
InuYasha shook his head as he tried to contain his own upset. His eyes were bright, sad, his voice raw, full of quiet emotion as he said, “Kagome, she's not yours. Do you know that?”
The tears spilled over. She jerked her head in a nod.
“Yes!” she shrieked as a sob escaped, as she stared at the baby through her tears. “No . . .” she whispered as she shook her head. “What have I done?”
InuYasha slowly, hesitantly stepped toward her. She didn't back away. When he pulled her against his chest, she didn't resist. He ignored the pounding in his skull and did the only thing he knew to do. He held her until she finished crying. Sobbing as though her heart was breaking, she shook with the force of her emotions. Gritting his teeth against the knowledge that there wasn't a damn thing he could do for her, InuYasha closed his eyes and tried to comfort her.
He wasn't sure how long he stood there, holding Kagome, as she held Marisaiko. He'd fight for her, protect her, slay anything that threatened her. In this, though . . . there wasn't a damn thing he could do.
“Come on. She wants to move, right?”
Kagome shook her head as she sniffled. “What do you mean?”
“Just come on.”
Kagome grabbed a blanket for the baby and followed him outside. Carefully lifting her into his arms as she held onto the crying infant, InuYasha ran toward the forest. After ten minutes of running, Marisaiko was blessedly asleep, and InuYasha breathed a sigh of relief.
“You all right, Kagome?” he asked.
She didn't answer. InuYasha glanced down to see her staring at the bundle in her arms. `Hell no, baka, she ain't all right . . . she won't be all right for awhile . . .'
He altered his path and headed toward Goshinboku. Kagome didn't comment, only tightened her hold on the baby as he leapt into the tree and settled them all on a sturdy branch.
“I thought . . . I thought I was all right,” she whispered.
He covered Kagome and Marisaiko in the folds of his haori sleeves. “I don't think it's about being `all right'.”
“Then what's it about?”
He shrugged. “It's about doing something for a friend, even though you knew it would hurt.”
“I don't regret doing it, I just . . .”
He rested his chin on her shoulder as she trailed off. He could feel her heart beat through her back. “I know,” he replied, wishing that it didn't hurt her so much, too.
She was quiet for a few moments, her gaze shifting from the baby in her arms to the moon high above. “InuYasha?”
Staring at the waxing moon, himself, InuYasha sighed. “Hmm?”
She leaned away, turning to look at him until he finally noticed her rapt attention. In the darkness, her eyes were hooded in shadows, glistening pools of secrets that InuYasha didn't understand. “Maybe . . . maybe if I had another baby . . . ? My own baby . . .”
InuYasha blinked as his mind blanked—completely. “What?”
She shook her head. “Nothing. It was a . . . stupid thought.”
“Kagome . . .”
“Never mind,” she said, her tone thin, overly bright.
He didn't say anything else. `Keh! She isn't serious . . . she's just upset, and hell, I can't blame her for that . . . She didn't mean it. By morning she'll forget she even said it. . .'
Still . . . something about the look in her eyes haunted him.
`Will she forget? Will she, really?'
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from InuYasha:
She was just kidding . . . right?
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.