InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Kagura ( Chapter 44 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Are you going to be Sesshoumaru-sama's mate?”
Kagura quickly glanced up from the flowers she'd been eyeing to see the little girl's cautiously hopeful expression. Rin sat down in the grass beside her and blinked as she waited for an answer. “Perhaps you ought to ask Sesshoumaru that,” she answered carefully.
Rin shrugged. “I did. He said that it was up to you.”
Kagura forced a smile. “We'll see . . .” she answered, hoping that the precocious child would leave it at that.
“It would make him happy, I think,” Rin went on. “Then he won't be lonely . . . and you won't leave us, right?”
The thin smile thinned a little more. “He's lonely?”
Rin plucked a flower and stuck it into her hair. “He doesn't say he's lonely but sometimes he just stares off at the trees like he's looking for something,” she commented. “Sometimes he doesn't talk for days.”
Kagura didn't respond to that. Somehow the idea that Sesshoumaru might be lonely . . . it hurt.
“But he likes you, I can tell,” Rin continued as a faint trace of yearning lit in her gaze. “He said . . . he said you could teach me how to be a lady . . . can you? I mean, would you?”
Kagura winced inwardly. `To make a promise . . . ? Can I . . . do that?' Brightening her wan smile, Kagura reached out, smoothed the hair back off of Rin's face. “I think you already are one.”
Rin smiled happily. “Would you like to see my new summer kimono? Sesshoumaru-sama had it made just for me!”
“Of course,” Kagura agreed as Rin hopped up and ran off toward the castle.
Her smile faded as the quiet words came back to her. `You aren't free to do as you will. You were reborn to serve me. You know what you must do.'
`I would have rather remained as the wind,' she thought as she closed her eyes. `I cannot . . .' Lifting her gaze as she felt the strange sensation that she was being watched, Kagura's eyes met Sesshoumaru's. Standing alone just outside the doors, the light in his amber stare penetrating her skull, her mind commanded, `Then run, Kagura . . . fly away . . . you cannot do this! You mustn't!'
Yet even as she thought this, the traitorous body she'd been given stood, slowly ambled over to the tai-youkai. The smile on her face was not her own, the hand that reached out to touch his arm was not her flesh. “I spoke with Rin,” she heard herself saying, the same smooth, calm voice she recognized was hers and yet was not. “Do you wish for me to stay?”
`Send me away, Sesshoumaru! Tell me to leave, because I can't . . . please!'
He considered her question for several moments, gazing at her and then looking away. “I thought to never see you again, Kagura. I thought you'd slipped through my fingers that day . . .” Eyes narrowed, searching her face for traces of the truth, he pulled his arm away only to touch her cheek. “Stay, if it pleases you.”
Her heart leapt at his words and yet a part of it shrank, too. She opened her mouth, tried to tell him about Hisadaicho's plot, about the plan that Kagura wanted no part of. Her mind and her body were separated. The words that came weren't the ones that she wanted to say. “It pleases me to be with you, Sesshoumaru . . .”
And he smiled.
“Was Myouga sure it was Kagura?” Kagome asked as InuYasha dropped a pile of firewood.
“That's what he said.”
“But how? We saw her . . . she died . . .” Kagome said for the fiftieth time of the day.
InuYasha sighed and hunkered down to start the fire. “I know what we saw, wench. What I don't know is how, so it ain't doing you a damn bit of good to keep asking me.”
She was about to comment again when a strange presence made her look around cautiously. “InuYasha?”
He stood up slowly, smelling exactly what Kagome had sensed. “Stay back. I'll take care of it.”
She nodded and scooted back out of the way, grabbing her bow and arrows, as InuYasha stomped forward. “Come out, vermin. I know you're there.”
Kagome gasped as low growls announced the arrival of three youkai. The sing-song wails made her wince, and Kagome watched in horror as the tiger youkai surrounded InuYasha.
“You're the one known as InuYasha, aren't you? The hanyou who defeated Naraku?” the one male asked, a hint of a smirk on his tiger-striped face.
“Where is the Shikon no Tama?” one of the females demanded as she flexed her needle-like claws.
“Where you'll never touch it,” InuYasha growled.
“The girl has it,” the other female added, her green gaze resting on Kagome.
Kagome drew an arrow and nocked it back.
The male laughed. “Aw, the pretty miko wants to play . . . take care of her while I deal with the hanyou.”
InuYasha dragged Tetsusaiga out of the scabbard and held it at the ready. “I'd like to see you try. No one threatens Kagome!”
In a blinding flash of moment, one of the females lunged at Kagome. She fired the arrow, and the youkai screeched as she exploded in a violent shower of pink sparks. InuYasha brought down Tetsusaiga. “Kaze no Kizu!” he bellowed as the rush of flames shot toward the other female. With a hiss of rage as she dove out of the way, the tiger avoided the blast and headed for Kagome.
The male yowled at InuYasha and leapt. He caught the youkai with Tetsusaiga's blade and shoved him away before dashing over to intercept the female before she could reach Kagome. The female caught InuYasha's haori and ripped the sleeve. “Run, Kagome!” InuYasha hollered.
Kagome already was. The female pushed off the ground, landing in front of Kagome. She couldn't stop herself in time as she crashed into the youkai. “InuYasha!” she shrieked as the youkai's arms locked around her.
Glancing back at Kagome, InuYasha uttered a loud curse as he swung Tetsusaiga at the oncoming male. The blade sliced through his stomach, and he screamed in pain and rage. The familiar smell of Kagome's blood hit his nose just as her soft whimper boomed in his ears. Before he thought about it, he ran after the female. Her claws sank a little deeper into Kagome's side, and despite her effort not to make a sound, InuYasha heard the pained gasp.
Eyes widening with fear, Kagome struggled against the female tiger despite the sinking claws. “InuYasha! Watch out!”
The warning came too late. The male caught InuYasha's hip with his claws as he leapt to intercept the hanyou. InuYasha spun away with a sharp hiss as the youkai's claws tore through his hakama and into his hip. Ignoring the explosion of pain, InuYasha staggered forward. “Kagome!”
“Stupid dog! Don't you know when to stay down?” the male youkai taunted as he shot forward again.
InuYasha spun around, raising Tetsusaiga just in time to catch the youkai in mid-air. A heavy gurgle, the wet tearing of flesh as the tiger youkai impaled himself on the blade, InuYasha wrenched the hilt as blood poured from the wound, down the hilt, down his arm. The youkai burst in a cloud of dust, and InuYasha turned to face the remaining youkai. “Let her go,” he demanded, the words no less forceful with the softness of his voice.
“I'm not so foolish,” the female hissed. Kagome winced as the youkai's arm tightened.
“Foolish or not, you'll be just as dead.”
The tiger laughed. “Think so? I hold the girl, and she is obviously special to you . . . tainted though you are . . .”
“I'd rather be tainted than be like you,” InuYasha growled. “Now let her go.”
“Give me the jewel, miko,” the youkai demanded. “Your pretty puppy can't help you now, so you might as well hand it over.”
Kagome closed her eyes and slowly lifted her hand. InuYasha opened his mouth to tell her not to do it, but when she opened her eyes again, he saw it in the depths of her stare. She wasn't afraid, and she wasn't about to hand over the jewel, either.
Slowly, as though she really was going to retrieve the jewel from under her blouse, Kagome's hand locked over the youkai's arm, and in a blast of pink light, the youkai was thrown back. Kagome stumbled forward when she was released. InuYasha caught her, steadied her, then shoved her behind his back before he raised Tetsusaiga and unleashed the Wind Scar in another flash of flames. “Kaze no Kizu!”
This time the flames hit their target, and the youkai's screams lingered well after the wind had scattered her ashes.
Heaving a sigh, InuYasha dropped Tetsusaiga into the scabbard before turning to face Kagome. “Let me see,” he demanded.
“Let me take care of you, first,” she countered. “I'm fine. Just scratches.”
“Keh! Don't argue with me, human wench! Now let me see.”
“Human wench?” she echoed. “Funny, dog-boy. You first.”
InuYasha ended the argument by lifting her up and carrying her over to a large log. Dragging over her backpack, he winced as he knelt down and gently pushed aside the torn fabric of her blouse, ignoring her protests as he wiped away the blood with one of her crisp white kerchiefs.
He made quick work of patching up her side with a very large bandage and a lot of medical tape despite Kagome's assurances that a few small bandages would work just fine. After taking a moment to survey his handiwork, he snorted and slowly rubbed the bandage with his thumb.
“What?” she teased, catching the slight dusting of pink in his cheeks. “No kiss this time?”
The dusting turned into more of a mottling, but rising to her challenge, he leaned forward and quickly pressed a kiss on the bandage before sitting back with another grimace that he couldn't hide.
Kagome's giggling died away as she remembered that he was hurt, too. She scooted off the log and slowly reached out to examine the torn hakama and the lacerated flesh beneath. Sucking in her breath, she glanced up at him, her eyes clouded with concern. “I need to clean that,” she told him apologetically, since she knew she'd never be able to do it without it hurting him even more. “Those are deep.”
“Keh. They're fine. I'll just go soak in the pond.”
Kagome shook her head. “You won't. There are bacteria in that water. You'll get an infection, and you've lost a lot of blood.”
“Forget it, wench. It's fine. They'll be healed by morning.”
“It'll get infected, and—”
“And what? You want I should just drop my fucking hakama right here?”
She rolled her eyes. “Not like that, baka! Let me clean your wounds!”
Kagome dug out her bedroll and spread it out. “Now lie down so I can look at those.”
“I'd rather not,” he grumbled.
Her expression turned menacing, and InuYasha flattened his ears. She didn't get that look often, but he knew from experience that once he did, it was nearly impossible to argue with her. “Fine,” he snarled as he flopped down on the blankets. Propping his cheek on his raised hand, InuYasha tried really hard not to blush, and not to think about exactly what Kagome was touching.
After a minute of fiddling with the ripped fabric before she realized what InuYasha had already figured out, Kagome sighed and sat back on her heels. “Uh, InuYasha?”
“I told you, I'm fine,” he snarled, fighting down a rising blush.
“No, I've got to clean them . . . you've got little bits of tiger fur in the cuts, and . . . um . . . you need to . . . untie your . . . pants,” she squeaked, staring up at the sky as her own face blossomed in embarrassed color.
“Fucking hell,” he muttered as he slowly sat up and untied his hakama. Pure irritation had nearly made him demand that, if she was that set on cleaning his wounds that she could damn well do it herself. Unfortunately, that would also mean that her hands would be really close to parts of him that she really ought to stay away from since he couldn't quiet seem to get last night out of his head, either.
Untying his hakama, however, was about the most he was willing to give, and so having accomplished that, he stretched out once more and tried to think of something else to preoccupy himself. `Kouga . . . and that thing . . . whatever he mated . . .' InuYasha thought with a somewhat smug grin—until he realized just who Kouga thought he had mated, and that was more than enough to wipe the smile right back off his face. `Bastard . . . I ought to shove Tetsusaiga up his ass just on principle . . .'
Wincing as Kagome gingerly pulled the waist of his hakama down to expose the torn flesh, InuYasha tried again. `Sesshoumaru . . . and that nasty imp of his . . . what the hell does he do with him, anyway . . . ? Oi, bad image . . .'
“Um . . . InuYasha?”
“What, wench, what?”
Kagome made a strangled sort of sound, and InuYasha finally looked at her. Staring at her hands again, cheeks cherry-red, she waved a finger toward him and sighed. “You . . . have to . . . take those off, too.”
“Wha—Oh, hell, no,” he growled as he looked to see what she was talking about. The only thing left there was his loin cloth and there wasn't a chance in hell he was taking that off. “Work around it, if you have to,” he grumbled.
She sighed again. “You'll have to, anyway . . . it's soaked with blood,” she pointed out a little too reasonably.
“Oi! I'm not a fucking pup!”
“Well, I'm not too thrilled about this either, but I've got to clean it! Just do it!” She stood up. “Here . . . I won't watch. Just get under the blanket, okay?”
It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her that he absolutely wasn't going to do it. His ears flattened. If he said that, though, he also knew that she'd insist, and then she'd holler, and then she'd yell. With a few more choice curses, all loud enough for her to hear, he stripped off his clothing from the waist down and got under the blanket. “There,” he growled. “Just get it over with, will you?”
Kagome peeked back over her shoulder, as though she didn't trust InuYasha to be completely covered. He was covered, all right, from head to toe with a nice, bright red flush.
Very slowly she knelt back down. Very, very slowly, she pulled the edge of the blanket down, trying not to uncover things that, in her mind and his, were better left covered. It seemed to him that she took an extraordinarily long time cleaning out the cuts, using her fingernails when the cloth failed to get the debris out of the wounds. That he knew she was being as gentle as she could didn't keep it from hurting anyway, and he gasped a few times and winced a bit more as she thoroughly cleaned each one.
With mumbled apologies and winces of her own, InuYasha relaxed just a little. `She hates doing this,' he thought. He hadn't realized that before. It wasn't that she hated tending his injuries, he supposed. She hated to cause him more pain, and that thought was enough to relieve much of the tension he was experiencing.
She took extra care in applying the bandages and when she stopped moving for a second, he finally glanced over at her. Sitting back on her heels with the roll of medical tape in her hands, she was staring thoughtfully at his hip—-at least, that's where he thought she was staring—with a frown of concentration and a rapidly darkening flush.
“Something wrong?” he managed to ask in a neutral tone of voice.
She jumped, as if she didn't realize he was staring at her, and bit her bottom lip. “I-I-I can't figure out how to tape this,” she stammered. Gesturing at him with her mouth open, she struggled to figure out a way to state the problem. “You-you've-your hair,” she finally blurted as her face took on a shade of red that really shouldn't have been possible.
When he realized just what she was talking about, though, he felt his skin racing to catch up with hers in shade. “Keh.”
Turning her head from side to side as she considered the problem further, she finally managed, “Maybe it would be all right if I just tape from, uh . . . top to bottom.”
“Kami, wench, just hurry it up, will you?” he snarled.
She did and sat back before gasping very loudly. InuYasha wasn't sure he wanted to see what the problem was this time. When he did, he spat a few curses as he snatched the blanket and dragged it up onto his chest. The blanket had slipped, nearly uncovering him completely, and Kagome . . .
He frowned. `That . . . that can't be right . . .'
Daring a peek at her face once more, InuYasha blinked in surprise. Though she was staring at the first aid kit she was busy repacking, the change in her scent was unmistakable. He knew that scent, damned if he didn't. It was the same one she woke up with the night they'd forgotten to shake the vial . . . and she had been staring at him without a trace of disgust or even a hint that he didn't please her—just the opposite, if the change in her scent meant anything at all . . .
“Well, there you go!” she remarked in a forced-cheerful tone. “See? It wasn't so . . . bad.”
It was on the tip of his tongue to disabuse her of that stupid notion. Another thought passed through his mind, and he latched on. “You're done?” he asked, carefully keeping his tone nonchalant.
“Yep, all done,” she answered.
“You're not,” he countered.
Kagome dropped the kit into the bag and finally looked at him. “I'm not?”
He shook his head. “You didn't—”
Eyes widening as she seemed to catch onto what he was about to say, Kagome shook her head quickly, almost violently. “Oh, no . . .”
“—kiss it,” he finished.
For a second he thought she was going to either hit him or cry, or both. Gaze narrowing on him as he struggled to keep his expression blank, she squared her shoulders and pulled the blanket back down enough to uncover his bandaged hip. Before she could talk herself out of it, she leaned forward and down, kissing the bandage before she whipped the blanket back into place and turned away to stack the firewood.
InuYasha was the one who grimaced, then flinched as he lay motionless. On the one hand, he ought to get his damn hakama back on before he did something really stupid, like reach for her and drag her over to him. On the other hand . . . well . . . there was a very noticeable problem that she'd see if he weren't careful . . .
`Damn, baka . . . just what the hell were you thinking?'
He shook his head slowly, wincing as a completely different kind of pain shot through him. `Maybe I ought to see one of those `head doctors' in Kagome's time, because I think I'm losing my mind,' he thought ruefully. He should have known that goading her into kissing anything that close to certain other parts wasn't a good idea. He should have, and he probably did. Somehow, the common sense part of his brain had apparently stopped functioning, and now . . . He smothered a groan with the back of his hand. `I'm gonna die, and it's my own fucking fault. Baka!'
Just when did he ever really think when Kagome was this close?
Kagome peeked over the top of her magazine to stare at InuYasha. Leaning back against a tree with his injured leg stretched out straight and his arms wrapped around Tetsusaiga, he looked like he was deep in thought, which suited her just fine.
They'd hardly said more than a handful of words to each other since he'd goaded her into kissing his injury. She still wasn't sure why she'd let him do that. Normally she could ignore his taunts, but that one . . . Maybe it was because she'd done the same thing to him after he'd bandaged her side. Maybe it was just that she really did feel bad, knowing that cleaning his wounds hadn't been pleasant for him. Or maybe . . . `Maybe you just wanted to kiss him, and he gave you the opportunity.'
She made a face as she pressed her hand against her suddenly-flaming cheek. `Kiss him, maybe, but there? Kami . . . I'm still blushing . . . ugh!'
She sighed and forced her eyes back onto the article of one of the upcoming summer movies that was supposed to be big. `At least he didn't catch you staring,' she told herself. `That would have been . . . humiliating . . .'
But she hadn't been able to help it, either . . . The blanket had slipped as she taped his hip, and the result had been . . . a lot more than she should have seen. The way his muscles converged from his waist downward had been too fascinating to ignore. A sparse trail of silvery hair from his belly button had looked so soft that the only thing that kept her from touching it was the thinnest thread of reason that clung to her mind and demanded that she remember she couldn't touch him just because she thought his body was beautiful.
The blanket still covered him, thank kami, but not before she had seen the barest hint of flesh under, and that image was still emblazoned on her brain so sharply that she had a feeling it wouldn't matter if she shook the vial or not, she'd still have dreams of him . . .
`Tell him, Kagome! Tell him what you think of him.'
She frowned. It wasn't that she wouldn't love to tell him, but would he even listen? So convinced that he was some sort of anomaly, so tainted, so vile, would he listen to her? `So make him listen.'
`. . . He listens when he's in your dreams, right?'
Kagome bit her bottom lip. That was true. They both remembered the dreams they shared, but . . .
`That's sort of . . . dangerous, isn't it?'
`Hm, maybe, but at least he does listen. He can't run away in your dreams, can he?'
Kagome closed her magazine and set it aside. `He won't forget to shake it . . . I know him . . .'
Besides, even if she could get him to forget to shake, if it came right down to it, she wanted him to believe what she had to say, and she wanted him to be awake and listening. It was too important, too vital. she didn't want him to doubt her, not even a little.
His eyes shifting to meet her gaze was the only indication he gave that he'd heard her.
“Do you . . . want to lie down over here? With . . . me?”
He shrugged. “Maybe later.”
She sighed inwardly. “All right. Then can I come sit by you?”
He didn't answer. Kagome tucked her magazine away and hurried over to sit by him. “If you're tired, we can go ahead and shake the vial,” he commented.
Kagome shrugged. “I'm all right.”
He glanced at her but didn't say anything.
“How's your hip?”
That got an answer out of him. Blushing just a little, InuYasha snorted. “Keh. I'll live, thanks.”
“I should check your bandage before bed,” she commented.
“It's fine,” he insisted again.
She shook her head, staring at him with an enigmatic frown. “Is it that you don't want me to touch you or that you're scared to let me touch you?” she asked softly.
She shrugged. “I don't mind,” she went on, ignoring his outburst. “I just want you to know that.”
“Kagome . . .”
She leaned over and kissed his cheek before standing up again to head over to her bedroll. “Night, InuYasha.”
“Kagome, wait . . .”
She turned back as he stood up, using Tetsusaiga as a cane. A beautiful brightness in his eyes lit the semi-darkness as Kagome felt a surge of liquid heat shoot through her. He dropped his gaze when he reached her and dug the vial out of his shirt. She stifled a sigh and shook it ten times before letting go of it and turning back toward her bedroll. He caught her hand and pulled her into a tight hug before kissing her quickly and letting go. She sighed, gaze dark as she struggled to hide the irritation caused by the too-fast kiss.
He must have interpreted the consternation on her face correctly because, clearing his throat, he smiled and said, “Get to bed, wench. With any luck we'll be done with Sesshoumaru and off his land by tomorrow night.”
She smiled back at him and crawled under her blankets as InuYasha sank down beside her. “Aren't you going to shake it, too?”
He shrugged but shook the vial. “Keh. I won't be sleeping, not here. Not till we're out of Sesshoumaru's forest.”
Kagome closed her eyes. `Maybe,' she thought as she started to feel the welcoming lull of sleep surround her. `Maybe he understood what I was trying to tell him . . .'
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from InuYasha:
…Damn it …
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.