InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Another Perspective ( Chapter 38 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha sat on the roof peeking over the edge as Sango sat in the shade of the hut with Marisaiko in her arms. It still baffled him, how such a tiny human could make such an unearthly racket with her crying. At the moment, though, the pup seemed content to be held and cuddled, and Sango seemed happy to oblige her.
“InuYasha, why didn't you go with Kagome to gather the herbs for Kaede?”
InuYasha wrinkled his nose. “She's fine . . . it ain't that far away, and she took Kirara and Miroku.”
“That's true . . . but you still didn't answer my question.”
He snorted and hopped off the roof. “Keh.”
Sango shook her head, accustomed to InuYasha's stubborn temperament. “Is Kagome all right?” she asked instead.
“What do you mean?”
Sango shrugged and adjusted Marisaiko in her arms. “She just seems . . . distant . . . Sometimes, when I look at her, she seems so sad.”
InuYasha wrapped his arms around Tetsusaiga. “Yeah.”
“I have a confession.”
InuYasha's golden eyes snapped up to meet Sango's. The exterminator looked distinctly uncomfortable, which should have been warning enough.
“I asked Miroku to go with Kagome today. He and I thought maybe you'd talk to me.”
“About what?” he asked cautiously.
“About . . . Kagome's . . . request . . .”
“Reque—” InuYasha cut himself off as realization as to just what request that might be washed over him. Fighting back embarrassed color as he tried to control his rising irritation, InuYasha started to get up.
“Wait . . . he didn't tell me to make fun or anything. He's concerned, as am I.”
InuYasha paused, glowering at Sango, daring her to lie. He sat back down slowly though he raised his chin and squared his shoulders, body language telling her that he would leave if she teased him, even once.
Sango's smile was compassionate, gentle. “After I miscarried the first few times, I wanted to try again right away. I think I felt like I just wanted a baby—any baby—to hold, to call my own. I came to realize that I was pushing too hard. I was looking for something to fill this great, big emptiness inside my heart, and even though it's not the same, I wonder if maybe Kagome's feelings have something to do with that. Not that she wouldn't be a great mother . . . I just . . . I worry that she wants it for the wrong reasons. Do you understand what I'm saying?”
InuYasha thought it over and nodded. The emptiness he'd felt inside himself when his mother died . . . he'd tried for awhile to fill that, too. He had tried a few times, to find a new family to belong with. He'd even followed Sesshoumaru for a time. Trouble was, he also knew what it was like to not have that void filled. And Kagome? Could he stand to see her feel that way? For how long? Could he stand to watch her turn into someone cynical and afraid to let anyone near? Someone like . . . himself?
Sango interrupted his thoughts with a soft sigh. “I'd tell her this, myself, if I thought she'd listen to me . . . or if I thought I had the right to say it. I know she doesn't regret giving us Marisaiko. I just really wish she didn't have to hurt.”
InuYasha shook his head. “So . . . so what are you saying? Y-y-y-you think I should just . . . ?”
Sango laughed and waved a hand to stop him. “Oh, no! No . . . no . . . but maybe you . . . could give her something else to fill that place in her heart . . . ? Someone else for her to love and cherish?”
“And just where would I find this . . . someone?” His gaze narrowed suspiciously. “You'd damn well better not be talking about that Houjou thing of hers, or that fucking wolf, Sango, because I'll—”
Sango shook her head. “Don't be a baka, InuYasha.”
“I don't think I like where you're goin' with this.”
She giggled. “You, baka . . . who else? And don't try to tell me you don't feel the same way about her as she does about you, because Miroku also told me about those dreams you were having, too.”
A violent explosion of red flamed under his skin. InuYasha shot off the ground and started to stomp away. “Just think about it, InuYasha!” Sango called after him.
InuYasha answer floated back to her on the breeze. “Keh!”
“Um . . . Kagome . . . why didn't you ask InuYasha to come along with you?”
Kagome faltered in her herb gathering and forced a bright smile. “Oh, he was busy . . . and I wanted you to come along.”
“I see . . . then I'm glad you thought so highly of me.”
Setting the basket of herbs aside as she sat back and wiped her brow with the back of her hand, Kagome shot the monk a grin. “Of course.”
Miroku sat down in the fresh green grass and leaned his staff against a boulder. “So you and InuYasha had no luck in your search for the butterfly youkai?”
Kagome shook her head and made a face. “Nope. Nothing.”
“Any trouble while you were gone?”
“Not really . . . we got attacked a couple of times, but nothing big.”
“That's good . . .”
Kagome frowned and sat back on her heels. “All right, Miroku. I can tell you've got something on your mind. Spill it.”
Miroku leaned back, stared up at the clouds. “Oh . . . nothing . . . just something interesting InuYasha said yesterday . . .”
“Yes . . . he said you'd mentioned . . . having a baby of your own.”
“He . . . he did?” Kagome asked, praying that her cheeks weren't nearly as red as she thought they were.
“Not that I think that's such a bad idea,” Miroku went on, still gazing at the sky.
“But?” Kagome prompted when Miroku stopped.
“But . . . Kagome . . . wouldn't you rather have the husband, first?”
She could feel her cheeks growing redder by the second and shrugged. “Sure . . . Anyway, it was just a thought,” she lied. `A thought I can't get rid of . . .'
“He's concerned about you. I think he cares a lot more than he's willing to admit,” Miroku said softly, gently. “You know that, right?”
Tucking her arms around her raised knees, Kagome shrugged again. “I don't know what I know anymore,” she confessed. “He doesn't make sense to me . . . One minute, he's coming into my dreams, and the next, he's . . . Forget I said that . . .”
“Come again? What do you mean? You dream about him?”
Kagome shook her head. “Sort of . . . more like we had the same dream, I guess . . . I think it was because we were both tired and forgot to shake the vial . . .”
Kagome's blush darkened, wondering too late if she should have told Miroku all that.
“This is a wonderful thing, you know.”
Kagome did a double take at the monk. “How do you figure?”
“Because of the toxin. . . he dreams about you because you're the one he desires. Because of the blood bond, you're forced to have dreams of the one you . . . love, and it happens to be him . . . Yes, a very good thing, indeed.”
The ex-monk grinned. “If you find this butterfly youkai, see if you can't get your hands on some of that powder, will you? I'd love to share some dreams with Sango . . .”
“Ugh!” Kagome groaned, letting her face fall against her raised knees. “Will you be serious?”
“All right, sorry,” Miroku apologized. “If you want my opinion, I think InuYasha is a bit too serious for his own good on it. I mean, they're just dreams, right? No harm done.”
Kagome clamped her mouth closed. There was no way she was going to disabuse Miroku of that idea . . .
Excusing herself to continue gathering the herbs Kaede asked for, Kagome could only hope that the Grand Inquisition was over.
The main problem was that she couldn't forget about the idea of having another baby. It just kept spinning around her head, over and over.
Miroku was right, though. Kagome did want to have a family, and if she were complete honest with herself, she wanted the husband first. She sighed. That was the entire trouble. The one man she wanted was the one who, half the time, acted like he forgot she existed . . .
`Okay, so that's not entirely true . . . you're just mad because he hasn't kissed you since that night, and you want him to . . .'
Kagome wrinkled her nose and stooped down to gather more herbs.
`Maybe you should just tell InuYasha what you want instead of beating around the bush with it . . .'
Unfortunately, she had a feeling that he wouldn't answer her about that, either.
A shadow fell over her, and Kagome looked up in surprise. A wizened old woman stood over her, smiling at her in a friendly sort of way. “Who are you, child? What are you doing in my field?”
Kagome sat back and bowed her head respectfully. The woman's old robes smelled dusty and dry. A wisp of her wiry gray hair stood up straight in the breeze. “I'm Kagome . . . I didn't know anyone owned this meadow,” she explained.
“Pay no heed, pay no heed . . . No one does to this old woman . . .”
“I'm sorry,” Kagome said again as she stood up. Kagome wasn't tall, herself, but she towered over the old woman. “I was gathering herbs for our village miko, Kaede.”
“Kaede? Sister of Kikyou?”
“Yes, that's her. Do you know her?”
“I've heard of her . . . when one gets to be as old as I am, there aren't many one doesn't know . . .”
“What's your name?”
The old woman wheezed out a laugh. “My name? It's been too long since anyone's asked my name. Around here, they call me Old Seer.”
“You're a seer?”
Nodding slowly, the old woman sank down on a flat boulder, leaning heavily on the gnarled walking stick she carried. “Ah, yes . . . I've seen many things in the passing of time. I've seen many battles fought. I've seen lives begin and end. The world is an unkind place, child. There is much to learn and to experience.”
Kagome nodded. “I understand.”
Old Seer patted Kagome's hand and smiled. “Shall I see for you?”
Kagome shook her head. “Oh, I don't want to inconvenience you.”
“There is no such thing as an inconvenience, child. There is only time, and how we choose to spend it.” Leaning her walking stick against her knees, the woman raised her hands and traced an outline around Kagome's sides in the air. “A kind aura . . . a miko's aura . . . you're a miko?”
“Well, not exactly,” Kagome answered. “I mean, I've been told that I'm a reincarnation, but I've not been trained.”
“Powerful, you are . . . yet your aura is sad, melancholy . . . you've given away a part of yourself, and you wish to have it back.”
Kagome knelt down and shook her head. “No . . . not like that.”
The old woman nodded as though she understood. “This part of you, there is a way to reclaim it, however it is not in the way you seek . . . to reclaim a lost heart, child, takes courage and patience and love. There is one who cherishes you, and this one holds the answer. Do you understand what I tell you, Kagome?”
“Yes, but . . . I don't know if . . .”
The old woman's faded eyes sharpened as she stared at Kagome. “No. You must listen to me. What you want would please you for a time. It also has the power to destroy that which you hope for in your heart. You know this. You must choose your path. Would you cast aside the one who brings you peace?”
“ . . . No,” Kagome whispered as she stared at her clasped hands.
“Fear not, child. You shall have that which you desire but do not rush to find it.”
Kagome nodded and started to rise. “Thank you.”
The old woman gasped and reached out to grab Kagome's hand. “You . . . you possess something tainted . . . what is it?”
Kagome glanced down. The old woman was pointing at Kagome's chest. “I don't have anything,” she said quickly as she started to pull her hand away.
Old Seer pushed herself up with her cane. “You do . . . it is vile, accursed . . . unclean . . .”
Kagome stumbled back as the woman tottered toward her.
“Get away from this child, demons! Plague her no more!”
Kagome retreated, raising her hands before her as though to ward off the old woman's progress. “No, I—”
Old Seer gasped again, her hand slowly clutching her chest. Eyes widening as she stared, she looked as though she were ready to fall. “The Shikon no Tama . . . That is what I sensed. You keep it pure, don't you?”
Kagome nodded, her hands shaking as she unconsciously wrapped her hands around the pink orb that had worked itself out of her blouse as she had tried to get away. “Yes, I do.”
Old Seer shook her head. “There is still a strong aura of evil surrounding it . . . stronger than I remember . . .”
“You've seen the jewel before?”
“Oh, yes . . . Kikyou had it then . . . but this aura . . . it keeps you from purifying the jewel.”
Kagome frowned. “What do you mean? Why didn't I sense this evil aura?”
Old Seer smiled. “You're young and untrained, Kagome. More subtle changes in aura are harder to sense . . . and it is not in your nature to be distrustful. This is your strength, and this is your weakness.”
“How can I dispel this aura?”
“You must discover its source, and you must dispel the evil. Be careful. This evil you seek is far more skilled at subterfuge.”
Kagome shook her head, her eyes shrouded in confusion. “No one else has had possession of the jewel . . . it doesn't make sense.”
Old Seer nodded her agreement. “So it would seem.”
“Over here,” she called as Miroku ran toward her.
“This is my friend, Miroku,” Kagome told the old woman.
“You used to be a monk . . . a powerful monk . . . and yet you chose to turn your back on this for a woman?”
Miroku nodded. “Yes, I did.”
Old Seer shook her head, a confused look cloaking her face as she shifted her gaze between Kagome and Miroku then back again. “This part of yourself, this emptiness . . . you gave this part to him, and to his wife . . .”
Kagome didn't get a chance to answer. Miroku stepped between the women and frowned. “She did something that not many could do, and for that, my wife and I are grateful.”
Old Seer nodded slowly. “As it should be. You need not protect Kagome from me. I seek not to harm her.”
Miroku didn't look impressed. “Come, Kagome. We've gathered Kaede's herbs.”
Kagome turned to go. Old Seer laid a hand on her arm to stop her. “Kagome, trust in what I've told you.”
She tried to smile. “I will.”
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Miroku:
I really want some of that toxin powder…
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.