InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Two Steps Back ( Chapter 36 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Two Steps Back~
Sango sat back and wiped her brow with the back of her hand. Glancing over at Marisaiko on Kagome's lap, she smiled. “So InuYasha calmed her by running through the forest with her?”
Kagome nodded and grinned. “She was fine the rest of the night.”
“I'm glad she wasn't a burden.”
“How could she be?”
Sango shrugged. “She's can't be, can she?”
Kagome shook her head. She didn't add that they'd spent the rest of the night in Goshinboku. Not for the first time, she wondered if Marisaiko somehow remembered being up there, or sensed it somehow . . .
Sango looked like she wanted to say something but wasn't sure how to bring it up. Kagome contented herself with staring happily at the baby in her arms. The youkai exterminator smiled. “Kagome . . . you don't know how much I appreciate your taking care of her last night. We really needed the break, and . . . to be honest, I was worried about you.”
Smiling despite the memory of what she'd said in the night, Kagome wanted to reassure Sango. “You mean, because I carried her for you?”
Sango nodded. “I know you never said . . . I know it had to be hard for you, to give her to us. I wish there were something I could do to show you how much it means to us . . . But there really isn't, and I . . . I'm ashamed to say it, but the night you gave birth to her, I . . . I felt a little jealous.”
“Sango . . .”
Sango shook her head. “No, I . . . I have to tell you this, because it's been bothering me. I wanted to give Miroku a child, and watching you give life to Marisaiko made me realize that I never will be able to do that. At the same time, what you did . . . it was so beautiful, and . . . and I want you to be a huge part of Marisaiko's life, too.”
Kagome blinked quickly, swallowing the rising lump that threatened to choke her. “I want to be.”
Sango smiled encouragingly. “I know it isn't easy for you. You carried her and loved her . . . and I don't know how to express how much it means to me . . . how much you mean to us . . .”
Kagome forced a smile. “Just be good parents.”
Sango blinked as tears surfaced. “What you did, though . . . there aren't many who would . . . I don't know if I could.”
Unable to stand the quiet praise that her friend was lavishing on her with, Kagome shook her head slowly. “I'm not a saint.”
“No . . . but you're a true friend.”
“Seeing how happy you and Miroku are is worth it, to me.”
Sango nodded. Marisaiko gurgled happily. Kagome smiled but her smile was touched by a sadness that she couldn't hide. “InuYasha and Miroku should be back soon, right?” she asked to change the subject.
Sango had resumed her weeding. Glancing up, she let the shovel drop from her fingers and turned her attention more fully on her friend. “I think so, unless they run into more trouble . . .” Trailing off, Sango smiled gently. “You miss him when he's gone, don't you?”
Kagome shrugged but couldn't stop the color that dusted her cheeks. “Yeah . . . I guess . . .”
“Miroku and I were noticing . . . you two have grown much closer, haven't you?”
“Sometimes,” Kagome agreed. “Maybe . . .” She stared at Marisaiko's downy head. “I can't wait to start my own family . . .”
Sango laughed. “I know what you mean . . . whenever I saw women with their babies, I thought about how much I wanted one, too . . .”
Kagome's smile was a little strained. “Yeah . . .”
Sango's grin turned mischievous. “So . . . thinking about starting this family with anyone I might know?”
Blushing, Kagome shook her head. “I don't know . . . maybe.”
Sango went back to her weeding as Kagome stared thoughtfully at the baby in her arms.
She wasn't sure why the idea of having a baby of her own had occurred to her. Maybe it was just a natural thought after being around Marisaiko. All Kagome knew was that the idea had plagued her the entire night and through the day.
The trouble was, InuYasha had looked pretty well freaked out when she'd mentioned it in the night. Then again, maybe it was because they'd had so much trouble calming Marisaiko enough for her to sleep . . .
Whatever the reason, Kagome wasn't sure how to approach the subject again. If it weren't for the gnawing ache in the center of her chest that erupted when she thought about this emptiness, she would try harder to talk herself out of it, but the emptiness hurt so badly that it made her want to scream. It was a feeling that she feared wouldn't ever go away.
`It's a stupid idea, Kagome, and you know it. You can't have a baby out of the blue. You know you don't want that, and InuYasha . . . you have no idea what he wants, do you?'
Thing was, there wasn't anyone else she wanted to have a baby with. It was InuYasha or no one, and that was enough to make her sigh.
She made a face. Sometimes that voice in her mind was annoying, and this was one of those times . . .
Kagome sighed as she glanced at her watch. “I've got to go. I've got a doctor appointment . . .”
Sango frowned and took the baby. “Is everything okay?”
She shrugged. “Yeah . . . just a postnatal checkup . . .”
“Oh . . . will you be back later?”
Kagome nodded as she grabbed her backpack. “Yes. See you!”
She waved over her shoulder as she jogged toward the well. She was running late. Dreading this checkup, Kagome had considered asking her mother to cancel it. In the end, she knew that there was no way her mother would let her get away with that. She didn't dread the checkup nearly as much as she dreaded the questions. She'd told the doctor on her first visit that she was going to give the child up for adoption since she'd already been told she was too young to be a surrogate. Still . . .
She made a face as she stared into the empty well. Why did she feel like she'd rather be getting ready for her own funeral?
“So how's that talisman working for you?”
InuYasha paused mid-step to glower back at Miroku. “Just fine, pervert . . . why?”
Miroku held his hands up in a placating gesture. “No reason . . . you just seem . . . preoccupied, that's all.”
InuYasha frowned. “Someone's pup kept me up all night.”
“Ahh, blame it on the sweet, innocent child . . .”
“I blame it on you.”
Miroku laughed. “Yes, well, all right . . .”
InuYasha could tell there was something else on the monk's mind. He stubbornly refused to ask.
Miroku sighed, figuring that InuYasha wasn't going to talk without a bit of prodding. “So . . . how are you and Kagome getting along?”
“Uh oh . . . the sound of a disgruntled hanyou . . . so tell me, my friend, what's bothering you?”
“Not a damn thing.”
“. . . You're sure?”
“Stop chewing on whatever it is you're trying to get at and just say it, Miroku!” InuYasha bellowed.
Miroku relented. “It's just that Sango and I have been a little worried about Kagome . . . and you . . .”
“Keh! Why me?”
Miroku stopped and stared up at the sky with one hand shielding his eyes from the midday sun. “We just . . . hoped . . . you were being . . . supportive to her since she's been a little distant from us.”
“Keh!” InuYasha snorted as he started walking again, not bothering to see if Miroku was following or not. “What do you expect? You took her pup, monk.”
Miroku fell in beside InuYasha, his tone measured, controlled, as though he were afraid of whatever answer he was looking for. “ . . . Is that how she feels?”
InuYasha shrugged. “She ain't said as much, no . . .”
“Then what has she said?”
`Maybe . . . maybe if I had another baby . . . ? My own baby . . .'
Shaking his head, InuYasha shoved that thought aside. “Nothing.”
“Keh. Yes, monk, nothing.”
Miroku sighed and shook his head. “'Nothing' doesn't normally result in the nice shade of `Hanyou-in-Hell'-red you're currently wearing.”
“But you'd feel better if you talk about it,” Miroku pressed.
“I don't need to talk about it,” InuYasha snarled. “It was a stupid idea, and she said so, too, so don't worry about it.”
“It can't have been that stupid of an idea if it came from Kagome, and if it was important enough for her to mention.”
“What? Did she suggest running away together? Migrating to the mainland? Why are you so upset about this?”
“Never fucking mind!”
“What? It can't be that bad . . . What'd she do? Ask you to start a family?”
Miroku's laughter died at the stunned look that surfaced on InuYasha's face followed closely by the even deeper shade of crimson that shot to the fore. “Oh . . . I see . . . and you don't like this idea, I take it?”
“Well, gee, I dunno . . . depends on who she was talking about, wouldn't it?”
InuYasha shrugged and snorted. “She didn't specify who she wanted to father a pup, lecher, if you must know. She just said—Never mind!”
Miroku blinked quickly and shook his head. “I don't know, InuYasha . . . I would guess, knowing her, that there's only one man she'd want for that job . . .”
“Yeah . . . and I'll fucking kill that bastard, too.”
“That . . . that . . . that Houjou thing of hers.”
“Houjou thing?” Miroku echoed with a confused frown. “What's that?”
InuYasha cracked his knuckles. “Keh! He follows her around like a fucking pup . . . always being all nice and . . . if she'd let me I'd shred him.” Looking around for something—anything—on which to vent his frustration, InuYasha stopped growling when Miroku smacked him upside the head with the blunt end of his staff. “What the fuck was that for?”
“Beating some sense into your fat head, my friend. Thank me later. You ought to know by now that Kagome isn't interested in anyone . . . other than you . . . kami knows why . . .”
InuYasha swung his head around to glare at Miroku. “That ain't right . . .”
“How do you know?”
“Well, I . . . because she . . . `cause it just ain't!”
Miroku heaved a sigh. “Your powers of reasoning amaze me yet again. InuYasha, don't be dense. She comes back time and again, not to spend time with this Houjou person, but to spend time with you . . . does that tell you anything?”
“Keh! Yeah . . . it tells me you and Sango need to get out more.”
“There are worse things, InuYasha, than to marry a pretty girl and start a family.”
“Yeah . . . there's being a half-breed, and passing that along to my pups. No fucking thanks.”
Shaking his head and contemplating smacking InuYasha upside the head again, Miroku rolled his eyes and sucked in his cheeks as he deliberated a way to say his peace without the hanyou turning on him. “InuYasha, in the time you've known Kagome, has she ever said even once that you were less than what you are because of that? Has she ever once acted as though you being hanyou bothered her?”
InuYasha frowned, stuffing his arms up his sleeves as he crossed them over his chest and kept walking. “No.”
“Doesn't that say something about her?”
“That ain't the point, Miroku. I can't . . . she deserves better than that.”
Miroku walked in silence a few moments. “Perhaps . . . then again, perhaps you ought to ask her.”
InuYasha digested that for a moment then shrugged. “It don't matter, anyway. I've got to find this youkai first, and she knows that.”
“And if you can't find her?”
InuYasha snorted. “I'll find her.”
“InuYasha . . . something else.”
InuYasha sighed. “What now?”
Miroku's gaze was serious for once. He stared at InuYasha like he was trying to find a good way to say whatever it was he was thinking. “You know . . . if you don't want her . . . if you really don't want her . . . I think you owe it to her to let her know that, too, because she's waiting for you.”
InuYasha shook his head and stomped away, leaving Miroku to catch up or lag behind. That was the trouble, wasn't it? As much as he hated the idea of condemning her to share his life, the idea of her being with someone else . . . He growled. That was something that he couldn't even consider.
InuYasha hopped out of the well and stomped up the steps leading out of the well-house only to be greeted by the sounds of soft sobbing, the salt of tears filling his nose with the pungent tang, the scent of Kagome underlying that. Tamping down the sudden rage that shot through him—the anger that she would be weeping for any reason, InuYasha followed his ears and spotted her, her pale yellow dress so at odds with the sound of her upset.
“Kagome . . . what's wrong?” he asked as he squatted beside her.
She didn't act like she heard him. Face buried in her raised knees with her arms wrapped around her legs, her shoulders shook as she cried. Gently, hesitantly, he reached out and touched her arm. “Kagome?”
She didn't answer. Lifting her tear-stained face, she threw herself against his chest, into his arms. Too miserable to try to speak, Kagome sobbed as InuYasha tried to comfort her.
Her face hot, sweaty as she struggled to stop crying, the sound of her sorrow wrenched him somewhere deep inside.
Gradually she wound down to miserable sniffles, occasional gasps as she tried to breathe. “Going to tell me why you're crying yet?” he finally asked.
She shook her head and sat back, wiping her eyes with her fingertips as she scowled at the lingering moisture. “It's nothing,” she told him, unable to meet his gaze. “It's stupid . . . it's my own fault . . .”
She sniffled and resumed her pose, arms wrapped around her legs, chin on her knees. “I went to the doctor, is all . . . she said I should see a psychiatrist.”
He frowned. “What's a `psychiatrist'?”
“They're specialists . . . they try to help you if they think you need it . . .” She sighed at the confusion still evident in his expression. “They're mind doctors. They try to fix things that are messed up in your thoughts.”
InuYasha snorted. “How can someone fix something like that?”
Kagome sighed. “That's just it. There's nothing wrong with my thoughts . . . but Mama said . . .” her eyes filled with tears again. InuYasha could smell them. “Mama said . . . maybe I should see one . . .”
“You don't want to?”
She shook her head then shrugged. “No . . . I don't know . . . I chose this, right? No one made me do it, and . . . I just want . . . I want this emptiness to go away.”
He stared at her. Turning her face and resting her cheek on her knees, she gazed over her shoulder at him, her eyes bright with unshed tears.
“It will, right?”
InuYasha wasn't sure how to answer that. She so desperately wanted his reassurance. He could tell from the expression on her face, and as much as he wanted to do that, he just didn't know. “Keh. You're asking the wrong person, wench.”
She nodded. “Maybe I am.” She sighed. He flattened his ears at the sadness in her aura. He'd noticed from time to time before, that Kagome's aura had the ability to touch his youki, and while he didn't fully understand what it meant, at times like this it made his shortcomings seem that much worse. “I'm sorry . . . I don't have the right to lay all this on you.”
“I'll live,” he mumbled, feeling guilty for not being able to help her when she really needed him. “You feeling any better?”
The smile she attempted was a dismal failure and wholly for his benefit alone. “Sure.”
Grasping at something—anything—that might make her a little happier, InuYasha flattened his ears and asked, “Do you . . . uh . . . want to stay here tonight?”
She seemed surprised by his question. “Are you sure?”
He turned his gaze away before she could see how her upset was affecting him. “Keh. I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't sure, would I?”
She sighed. He had the distinct feeling that she had been hoping for some other kind of answer from him. “No . . . I guess not . . .”
She started to get up.
“Kagome?” he called quickly, needing to say something because her sadness hurt him, too.
He stood up and winced as he tried to figure out how to explain his feelings. “Don't be sad. I . . . I hate it when you're sad.”
She finally smiled. It was thin and weak but her eyes shined as her lips trembled. “I hate it when you're sad, too.”
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from InuYasha:
… A head doctor …?
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.