InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Trust Not Your Eyes ( Chapter 46 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Trust Not Your Eyes~
Kagome ran, blinded by tears that rose to blur her vision. The darkness of the forest thwarted her, and she tripped over a tangled root. Brushing the dirt off her knees as she forced herself to stand, to ignore the eruption of pain, she lurched forward again.
`Who was that woman?'
Choking back a sob, Kagome ran faster. Again the image of InuYasha holding that woman solidified in her mind, and she smashed the back of her hand against her mouth as she pushed herself onward.
Stumbling as her shoulder caught on a thick tree branch that was hanging low to the ground, she dashed the back of her hand over her eyes. Lips nearly touching, the image of him with her goaded Kagome to move her feet faster. `Why? Why would he . . . how could he? Why?'
Pain ravaged her body, racked through her as she fought to hold it in, tried to keep herself from coming undone. An ache burst inside her, a hurt so deep that it nearly brought her to her knees, and still she kept running. `Don't think, Kagome . . . don't think, and don't feel . . . just run . . .'
The night wasn't a friendly thing. Everything tried to stop her. Roots wrapped around her ankles to trip her. Branches reached down to catch her. Even the air, itself, seemed to press against her. A white-hot burn erupted in her lungs, the pain of drawing breath warred with the ache in her soul, in her heart, in her body. The image of InuYasha holding that woman was too vicious, too bitter, flashing before her with a gut-wrenching potency.
`I just wanted . . . all I wanted . . .'
Too hard to cast the visions aside, too hard to repress the hurt, the pain, the ache that overwhelmed her. Instinct alone guided her, led her deeper into the dark forest, into the hateful blackness. Pressing against her eyes, rising in her throat to choke her, and suddenly, she broke into a small clearing, the shaft of moonlight breaking the darkness with the sharp edge of a dagger.
“How could you?” she sobbed, screamed, unable to hold in the sting any longer. Stopping in the middle of the clearing, raising her tear-streaked face toward heaven, Kagome dropped to her knees. “How could you?” she whispered.
InuYasha's mind slowed as he stared at the woman in his arms—Kagome—just before his face lifted to glare at the empty tree line where she had disappeared. Kagome?
“What's the matter, InuYasha? You look as though you've seen a ghost.”
Letting her down, InuYasha pushed her away, and she stumbled. Steadying herself, catching her balance, the woman threw her head back and laughed. The sound of it was wholly Kagome and yet wasn't. There was a bitter sharp edge to her mirth, an underlying cynicism that Kagome didn't know. The familiar and yet foreign sound sent chills up his spine as the truth of what had nearly happened sickened him. “You . . . you're not . . .” His eyes widened as he understood, the taunting light behind this Kagome's gaze was too uncharacteristic, too . . . malevolent. “Hisadaicho.”
“So you know my name. What will you do? Fight me or chase your koishii?” Her smile widened as she casually leaned back against the boulder. “Dangerous things lurk in the dark. Your darling Kagome is merely a mortal girl.”
Flexing his claws as he clenched his jaw, InuYasha wanted to tear her limb from limb, to rip Kagome's face off her body. She didn't deserve to look like Kagome, not now, now ever. With a low growl, he stalked forward, cracking his knuckles as he advanced on her. “Damn you, bitch! I'll—”
Clucking her tongue, Hisadaicho shook her head as tears suddenly pooled in her eyes—in the eyes he knew better than he knew his own. “InuYasha, you promised! You swore you'd protect me!” she whispered.
With a sharp hiss as he inhaled, InuYasha raised his claws, intending to hack her to bits. His hand stilled in mid-air as those damned tears sparkled, caught on her lashes, assaulted his nose, mingled with the scent of her, of Kagome.
Hisadaicho laughed. “You're so simple to manipulate. Do you really think you can hurt me? So long as you're subject to my toxin, InuYasha . . .” she straightened her back, sauntered closer, ran her fingertips along his cheek. “Run after her, my sweet puppy. Save her from the evils of the night.”
“Fuck!” he growled as he shoved her away.
“Before you go,” she called as he mentally berated himself for his own indecisiveness, “are you sure you wouldn't like to kiss me?”
Hopping up on the boulder, Hisadaicho leaped back, up the cliff behind her, her mocking laughter lingering in the air as she disappeared from view.
Kagome's shocked, hurt expression tore at him. With another mumbled curse, he sprinted into the forest, following her scent into the dense foliage.
`Trust not what your eyes tell you. Believe what her soul says to you, or all will be lost.'
“Old Bokuseno . . .” InuYasha muttered as he followed her trail. “What else does he know?”
Kagome's voice split the stillness of the forest. “How could you?” she shrieked, her voice far away, thick with tears.
He winced. `Baka! Damn it! Kagome . . .'
He broke into the clearing and stopped. Crumpled in a beam of moonlight, she sat in the grass, shoulders slumped, arms helplessly at her sides. Legs folded under her, her body trembled as she silently cried, the tears streaking her temples in silvery lines that disappeared into the blackened shadows of her hair. Her head was tilted back, face turned upward as she stared at the sky, the edges of her aura wrapped around her tightly, as though the aura itself were trying to offer her solace. If he had ever seen her look more defeated than she did in that moment, he didn't remember it, and that it was entirely his fault . . .
He stumbled forward, dropped to his knees beside her. “Kagome . . .”
She didn't reply.
“Who is she?” Kagome asked quietly.
“I thought she was you . . . it's her, Hisadaicho . . . Kagome, I . . . I'm sorry.”
“Hisadaicho,” Kagome repeated. “I see . . .”
InuYasha winced at the resigned tone of her voice. “Do you? I thought . . . she looked, she smelled . . . she was you.”
Kagome shook her head, finally shifting her gaze to the side, her eyes still full of tears that had yet to fall. “But she wasn't me, InuYasha . . .”
Ears flattening against the sadness surrounding her, InuYasha dug his claws into the ground. “I didn't know that . . . I thought . . . I thought she was.”
“You were . . . going to kiss her . . .” Kagome whispered as she squeezed her eyes closed. “You . . . you would have . . .”
InuYasha didn't deny it. How could he? He flinched inwardly. “Kagome, I—”
“You thought she was me.”
He couldn't keep the whine that welled up inside. Whether it was the complete lack of anger behind her words or the way her pain had become a palpable thing, InuYasha reached out a hand to touch her. He couldn't do it. She was somehow just out of his reach, and that idea was enough to kill him little by little. The reasons sounded pathetic to him, and they had to sound just as stupid to her.
“Is that . . . how you felt? When you saw Houjou kiss me? Or Kouga?”
Caught off guard by her question, InuYasha blinked in surprise and nodded, head jerking, as though he had to force himself to answer her. “. . . Yeah.”
Kagome nodded, too, her chin lowering as she closed her eyes. “Would you have known? If you . . . if you had kissed her . . . would you have known she wasn't me?”
He swallowed hard. He wanted to tell her he'd know, but would he have? Would his mind have known?
She nodded as her raised her head, dropped her chin against her chest. “It's all right,” she mumbled. “You don't have to answer that.”
“It ain't that,” he growled, irritated at his own inability to tell her what he was thinking. “Do you think I'd want to kiss someone else?”
Kagome shook her head. “. . . No, but . . .”
She shook her head stubbornly. “Nothing.”
“But what?” he pressed.
“But I'd know, even if he looked exactly like you, I'd know, because I lo—” She cut herself off with a soft gasp, as though she just realized what she had been about to say.
He recoiled from the understated vehemence in her tone, the raw pain in her expression. `She was going to say she . . . Keh! Don't finish it, baka!' “I couldn't even . . . I let her get away because . . . I can't . . . even knowing that she wasn't you, I couldn't . . . damn it!”
She gasped softly, bringing her fingers up to flutter over her lips. “You couldn't hurt her? Because she . . . looks like me, to you.”
“Kagome, don't you know?” he whispered, grabbing her wrist and forcing her to look at him. Face covered in shadows, he couldn't discern her expression, or maybe he just didn't want to.
She nodded, and in the darkness, he could see her vague smile. “I . . . I think I do.”
InuYasha frowned as he stared at her hand. `She's never tried to pull away when I've touched her . . . and she doesn't mind touching me . . . she's never rejected me or treated me like a filthy hanyou . . . Maybe she does know, and maybe . . .' He sighed and muttered, “I wish . . .”
“Wish?” she prodded when he trailed off.
He shook his head and snorted. “Keh. It ain't important.”
“It is, to me.”
He let go of her hand as he glared at the trees over her head. “I got nothing, Kagome,” he confessed quietly. “I don't have a home or a place that is mine, but . . . but I can protect you, and, uh . . . I can . . .” he stumbled over the words he wanted to say.
He winced at the hopefulness in her voice, the breathy quality that bespoke her quiet wonder. `What are you thinking, baka? She's Kagome, and she deserves more than . . . more than you.' “It's stupid,” he mumbled, thankful, at least, that it was dark enough to hide his blush. “Never mind.”
“Why don't you let me decide?”
She smiled, lips trembling as her hand stroked his cheek. “If it's stupid.”
Daring to meet her gaze, her eyes glittering like stars in the darkest night sky, InuYasha swallowed hard and shook his head. “All my life I've heard how worthless I am, ignorant half-breed . . . but you . . . you let me protect you . . . you've cried for me, and . . .”
Kagome's finger pressed against his lips to silence him. “You're not, you know? You're not worthless, and you're not ignorant, and I . . . I love being with you, InuYasha.”
Desperate to believe her but unable to let go of the last remnants of doubt, InuYasha forced himself to ask the one question that burned in his mind. “Why?”
She shrugged as she let her hand fall away. “Because you're you,” she answered, as though the answer was simple.
“Kagome . . .” he said, brow furrowing as he sat back. “I made a promise to myself . . . that I would avenge Kikyou, and keep you safe . . .”
Kagome nodded. “I knew you would,” she answered, her tone oddly detached. “It's who you are. You take care of people, even if they never really asked you to do it.”
He cleared his throat, mustering his courage to tell her what he really wanted to say. She was Kagome, and he knew her. Even then, the lingering fear remained, the worry that somehow he'd misunderstood her signals, that she would reject him, but she needed to know, and he needed to say it. “After I take care of Hisadaicho . . . I want to take care of you.”
Bottom lip trembling precariously, InuYasha watched in amazement as Kagome leaned forward and pressed her lips against his, a gentle caress, and he knew that he was forgiven. “Only if I can take care of you, too,” she told him.
He finally managed a small grin. “Keh. What can you do to take care of me?”
She let her head fall against his shoulder. “I can make anywhere we are into a home . . . for you.”
He felt a curious prickling behind his eyes as his gaze suddenly grew fuzzy. Wrinkling his nose as an odd tickle developed in his throat, in his nostrils, he blinked quickly, wrapping his arms around her. “That'd be . . . nice.”
“Do you think he knows anything else?” Kagome asked as she leaned forward on InuYasha's shoulder.
InuYasha snorted as he pushed off the ground to soar above the trees. “I don't know . . . there's got to be something, some way to fight that bitch, and if Bokuseno knows, then he's damn well going to tell me.”
“What if he already told you everything? We could have just followed Hisadaicho's scent,” Kagome pointed out.
“Keh! We could have, sure . . .”
Kagome frowned at InuYasha's sarcastic tone. `He's afraid he can't hurt her,' she thought suddenly, `because when he looks at her, he sees . . . me . . .'
“Anyway, we'll just find another way to handle her,” InuYasha replied with grim determination.
“Okay,” she agreed, mostly to humor him. `He couldn't do anything against Kikyou, when she was resurrected, either . . . How can we fight against Hisadaicho if InuYasha can't stand to hurt her?'
“Bokuseno is ancient. He's gotta know more than he let on,” InuYasha continued. “We'll figure something out, even if I have to rip Hisadaicho's fucking face off.”
Kagome winced at InuYasha's vehemence. “You sound confident,” she remarked.
He sighed. “If you're there . . . maybe . . .”
He left his sentence off. He didn't need to finish it. She knew what he would have said. `If I can see you there, maybe I can fight her because I'll know she isn't you.'
For some reason, Kagome couldn't help but feel a little happy. It wasn't a good situation, at all, but . . . but if he really felt that way then . . . `Then he does really . . . love me, doesn't he?'
She squirmed closer to him, recalling his words. `After I take care of Hisadaicho . . . I want to take care of you.'
“I've been thinking, wench,” InuYasha said, cutting through Kagome's musings. “Maybe it'd be best if you don't leave my sight for awhile.”
Eyebrows lifting in surprise, Kagome leaned forward to look at InuYasha's face. He looked serious enough. Still . . . “What do you mean?”
He shrugged. “I mean, she can't pretend to be you if you don't leave my sight, right?”
Kagome didn't answer that. She wasn't sure what he wanted her to say. Not that the idea of being with him all the time bothered her, but she was also sure that what he was asking was going to be a lot of trouble.
“So, uh . . . no taking off anywhere without me, got that?”
Deciding that there really wasn't any use arguing with him over it, Kagome nodded. “All right.”
InuYasha's shoulders relaxed a little. “Good.”
Kagome winced. Just what had she agreed to?
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Kagome:
…So we'll take care of each other, 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.