InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Closer ( Chapter 42 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Ah, just the two we were hoping to see!” Miroku greeted as Kagome and InuYasha entered the hut. Marisaiko slept on a blanket beside her father. Kagome tried not to stare at her too long. Though she felt better since the night InuYasha had caught her with the vitamins, she didn't even try to convince herself that she was entirely over everything. “Did Shippou and Ichisaru find you?”
“Oh, uh, yeah . . . I gave them candy . . .”
Sango stirred the stew she was cooking on the fire. “I think they look forward to your trips home for the sweets you bring them,” she said with a laugh.
Kagome dug into her bag and retrieved the things she'd brought back for them. For Miroku, she'd brought some various treats that he hadn't sampled yet. For Sango, she'd brought some aromatherapy candles, hoping they'd help her since Marisaiko was still suffering colic. For Marisaiko, she'd brought soothing vapor bath that was supposed to help babies sleep.
“Thank you, Kagome,” Sango said as she popped the plastic bottle top open and sniffed the vapor bath. “Oh, that's nice!”
Miroku set his treats aside and grinned at InuYasha and Kagome. “Will you be leaving again soon?”
“Yeah. InuYasha wanted to hunt for the youkai again,” Kagome supplied.
“Ah . . . you know, Shippou has been saying of late how much he misses accompanying you both . . . why don't you take him this time?”
“Keh. Fat fucking chance. The kit is safer here,” InuYasha remarked.
“Safer . . . yes . . . of course,” Miroku agreed. “No . . . other reasons . . . ?”
Kagome peeked back at InuYasha. The hanyou was staring over her head at the wall, studiously avoiding Miroku's gaze. “Should there be?”
“Not at all,” Miroku assured him. “InuYasha . . . can I see your talisman?”
InuYasha's eyes narrowed as he pulled the vial out of his undershirt. “Why?”
Miroku shook his head. “No . . . I need to hold it.”
“I don't think you do,” InuYasha snorted.
Miroku sighed and shrugged as his gaze shifted to Kagome. “Sorry, Kagome. I tried to help.”
Kagome felt her cheeks heat up as she caught InuYasha's suspicious glower. “I never—”
“What?” InuYasha bellowed.
“We're teasing, InuYasha!” Miroku insisted. “I'm sorry . . .”
“Keh! Fucking lecher!”
“Well, it is nice to know that you and Kagome seem to be closer,” Sango added. “We would be happy to hold the vial for you, for a night, if you want . . .”
“Oi, Sango! What the—?”
She waved a hand before her laughing face. “I'm sorry . . . it's just hard not to laugh about that . . . you have to admit, if you must suffer a toxin, this isn't exactly a horrible way to do it.”
Kagome stared at the floor, red-faced, wondering how hard she'd have to pray to get it to open up and swallow her.
“Keh! Speak for yourselves,” InuYasha shot back.
“Ah, poor innocent Kagome, subjected to InuYasha's dreams because of the blood bond . . .” Miroku lamented.
InuYasha choked as Kagome reddened a little more.
“Something wrong, InuYasha?” Sango asked as she glanced up from the stew.
“Nope, nothin',” he grumbled as he stomped back out the door.
“Can we talk about something else?” Kagome hollered.
Sango and Miroku exchanged raised-eyebrow expressions. “All right . . . what do you want to talk about?”
“Anything but that,” Kagome mumbled.
Ichisaru skittered into the hut followed closely by Shippou. Both had sticky fingers and faces, and Ichisaru was sucking on a banana flavored candy stick.
Miroku's eyes widened as he stared at the large bags of candy. “Uh . . . Kagome . . . you gave them both that much candy . . . at once?”
Ichisaru hopped up on Miroku's leg. “Yeah . . . she and InuYasha were rubbing their scent all over each other . . . so we promised not to say they were kis—um . . .”
“Kagome!” Shippou squealed. “Tell InuYasha that I didn't say it!”
Kagome stood up slowly and stalked toward the door, garnering as much dignity as she could muster—given the circumstances, it wasn't much.
Cringing as laughter echoed out of the hut in her wake, Kagome broke into a sprint as mortified color engulfed her face.
Running through the forest toward Goshinboku since she figured that was where InuYasha had taken refuge, Kagome didn't notice the approaching youkai until he stepped out of the trees and caught her by the shoulders to keep her from running him down. “Oi, Kagome . . . you all right?”
“Oh, uh, Kouga,” she stammered as she stepped back in retreat. “What are you doing here?”
He rolled his eyes, as though she ought to have known why he was there. “I came to get you, remember? I told you I'd be back.”
“I know, I know . . . I figured it out. You're afraid of that damn mutt. You don't have to be. He can't hurt you. I won't let him.”
She shook her head and retreated another step. “No, Kouga, that's not it, at all. I've never been afraid of him. I lo—”
“Damn you, Kouga . . . I thought I told you to stay the hell away from Kagome or I'd kill you,” InuYasha snarled as he dropped from a branch to land between Kagome and the wolf youkai. “Baka . . . you'll never learn, will you?”
“Get outta my way, InuYasha. It's time to take Kagome home with me . . . where she belongs.”
Kagome made a face, wishing once more that the stubborn youkai would listen for once instead of only listening to what he wanted to hear. “Kouga, I already told you, I—”
“Forget it, Kagome. He ain't gonna listen to you now if he's never listened to you before.” InuYasha dragged out Tetsusaiga and brandished it dangerously. “Now I suggest you back the hell off, Kouga.”
Kouga grimaced and cracked his knuckles. “I've had enough of you, InuYasha . . . what do you say we finish this?”
“Thought you'd never ask.”
“No!” Kagome screamed, darting around InuYasha and planting herself between the two. “Listen to me! I'm not going with you because I want to stay here! I belong here, and I belong with InuYasha!”
For the first time ever, Kouga actually looked like he might have heard her. Kagome felt InuYasha's arm snake around her waist but didn't look down to confirm it. Glaring defiantly at the wolf youkai, she tried not to feel bad at the stunned sadness that flickered to life behind his blue eyes. Stepping back, Kouga finally nodded as a wan smile surfaced. “Is this really what you want, Kagome?”
“You heard her!” InuYasha snarled.
“I want to hear it from her, dog-shit!”
“Yes,” Kagome said quietly. “I'm sorry, Kouga. It's always been InuYasha.”
Kouga sighed then shrugged as his smile widened. There was still a lingering hurt in his gaze, and Kagome flinched. She didn't want to hurt him, but what else could she do? “Eh, can't blame me for trying, can you? I wish you luck, Kagome . . . with that fat-head, you'll need it.” He turned on his heel and started to walk back into the trees. “See you!”
Kagome didn't breathe until InuYasha relaxed behind her. `So it wasn't exactly the way I wanted to tell him,' she thought with an inward wince, `then again, he should have known already, shouldn't he?' When she finally gathered the courage to face InuYasha, she bit her lip. Scowling down at her with an almost hostile light in his gaze, Kagome stepped back and braced herself for whatever he had to say.
“You could have told him that sooner, wench,” InuYasha pointed out mildly enough.
Kagome shook her head. “I couldn't have,” she admitted. “I tried before . . . I just never really knew how you felt . . . I still don't, not really.”
InuYasha stared at her a moment longer before snorting loudly and sweeping her off the ground as he sprinted toward Goshinboku. “Keh. Don't be stupid, Kagome.”
She smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck. `All right . . . so maybe I do have a better idea now . . .'
“You don't believe it's me, do you?”
Staring at the woman he thought he'd never see again, Sesshoumaru didn't speak.
Kagura sank down in the grass, legs folded to her side. “Sit with me, Sesshoumaru?”
He did, slowly. Golden gaze piercing magenta as he tried to discern if she was really there. How could it be, after all this time?
Lips pursing in a moue, the troubled light in her expression touched him. “You don't believe I am who I claim to be? I can't blame you . . . it's been far too long, hasn't it?”
He shook his head. “Kagura . . . How did you come back?”
“I . . . don't know. I felt a tug on my soul, a voice that called me back, but I . . . I don't know where I was, and I don't know how I was returned.”
“And you saw no one?”
Shifting her gaze to meet his, she blinked as her eyebrows drew together in a frown. “No one . . . should I have?”
He didn't answer for a moment, the light of suspicion still in his gaze. “Let me see your back.”
She seemed confused at his simple request but lowered the back of her kimono, holding it closed over her chest.
“The mark . . . it is gone.”
Kagura shrugged the kimono back into place and shook her head. “Of course it is . . . Naraku is dead. I am not under his power any longer. I am . . . free . . .”
He didn't miss the slight hesitation in her words, the tenseness in the corners of her eyes. “I thought you wished for this freedom, Kagura. Do you tell me now that you do not?”
“I had freedom, Sesshoumaru. I had the freedom of the wind . . . what I didn't have was you.”
“I do not care to own you.”
“I didn't expect you would.” She sighed as she leaned back to stare at the sky. “Do you remember that day? When you came to me, I thought . . . I thought I was hallucinating. I didn't think you were real . . . Sesshoumaru, did you come to find me or were you simply searching for Naraku after all?”
Sesshoumaru's gaze followed hers skyward. “Do you think I lied simply to appease you?”
She smiled. “I hope not.”
He finally did, too, just a little. “This Sesshoumaru does not lie.”
“Think he'll come back?”
InuYasha snorted and rested his chin on Kagome's shoulder. “Not unless he wants Tetsusaiga embedded in his ass.”
“Is that all you ever think about? Shoving Tetsusaiga where it doesn't belong?”
He shot her one of those rare smiles that never failed to curl her toes. The added light in his gaze, the sparkle of unguarded amusement . . . `He really is amazing,' she decided.
“Not the only thing, no . . . just when it comes to that fucking wolf or that bastard brother of mine.”
“You're really hopeless, you know.”
“Yeah . . . I tolerate you, too, wench.”
“Just tolerate me?”
“Don't push your luck.”
She heaved a dramatic sigh. “All right . . .”
“I don't get it,” InuYasha finally said, his voice gruff yet soft.
He sighed. His breath tickled her neck, and she giggled. “How could the jewel have picked up this evil aura? It don't make sense.”
Kagome frowned. “It doesn't really make sense to me, either.” Making a face, loathe to suggest what she was thinking, she drew a deep breath before hesitantly saying, “We could go back to the village and ask Kaede and Miroku.”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh! I'd rather die wondering, thanks.”
“Ah, look, Sango . . . what kinds of birds do you think those are?”
“Are you two coming back to the village tonight?” Sango asked, ignoring Miroku's teasing commentary.
“Wasn't planning on it,” InuYasha answered evenly before whispering to Kagome, “Ignore `em, wench, and they'll go away.”
Kagome rolled her eyes. “I doubt it, and they're our friends.”
“Keh! They're your friends. I just tolerate them.”
“Like you tolerate me?”
“You're a little more useful than they are.”
“Wait till they leave, and I'll tell you.”
“I don't think I like the sound of that.”
“Keh! Shut up or they'll never leave.”
“I might not have hanyou ears, but I can still hear you, InuYasha,” Miroku called up.
“Good . . . then you know I want you to fucking leave,” InuYasha shot back.
“Ah, then you shall miss my pearls of wisdom.”
InuYasha turned to stare at Kagome with a meaningful lifting of his eyebrow. “Can I shove those up his ass?”
“InuYasha!” she giggled.
“Did you find out anything else from Old Seer?” Miroku asked, deciding that he'd dealt enough teasing for one day.
A rather nasty smile surfaced on the hanyou's face. “Well, gee, I dunno, Miroku . . . why don't you go ask her, yourself?”
“I suppose I deserved that . . . but you know, for the record, if you did entrust me with the talisman then I'm sure you'd both have very, very sweet dreams.”
“Did she say any more about this evil aura?” Sango broke in to stave off whatever retort InuYasha was thinking of.
“Not a damn thing,” InuYasha admitted.
“It doesn't make sense, though. No one else has been near the jewel. Kagome's always had it,” Miroku added thoughtfully.
InuYasha sat up quickly. Kagome squealed as he forced her to sit up, too. “You could warn me when you're going to do that,” she remarked, loosening her hold on his sleeve.
“Keh! There was someone else who had it . . .” InuYasha said slowly.
Kagome shook her head. “No, there wasn't . . .”
“Think, wench. A certain someone who took the jewel and ran off with it?”
Kagome gasped, eyes widening as she shook her head quickly. “No . . . InuYasha, he's just . . . it can't be . . .”
Miroku caught on and shook his head, too. “I agree with Kagome . . . he's too young . . . he can't have done anything to it.”
“He's harmless!” Sango insisted. “He's just a child.”
“Child or not, Ichisaru is the only one who's had the jewel away from Kagome,” InuYasha maintained.
“But we couldn't purify the jewel before he came along, InuYasha. It can't be him!” Kagome countered, unwilling to believe that Ichisaru did anything to the jewel.
Miroku rubbed his forehead. “Kagome, has he tried to get near the jewel since that day?”
Kagome thought it over. “No . . . not since he did that monkey shake thing . . .”
“That's his youkai vow,” Sango added. “Even a child as young as he is would understand what that means. It's instinctive.”
InuYasha still didn't look convinced. “Well, something had to have gotten a-hold of the jewel. If it wasn't the ape-shit then who?”
Unfortunately, no one else had an answer for that, either.
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Final Thought from Kagura:
To be free . . .
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.