InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Insanity ( Chapter 48 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]

~~Chapter 48~~
“So you've seen this youkai, then?” Miroku asked, a thoughtful frown furrowing his brow as he glanced from InuYasha to Kagome and back again.
“Hisadaicho, you said her name was?” Kaede added.
InuYasha nodded. “Yeah.”
“How did Sesshoumaru know her name?” Sango questioned.
Kagome glanced up from Marisaiko's face. “I wondered that, too,” she remarked. “It was odd . . .”
“Unless he's had dealings with her,” Miroku added.
Ichisaru hopped up on InuYasha's knee and sniffed his haori. “Why do you smell . . . weird?”
“Keh! Get off, ape-shit!” InuYasha snarled as he wiggled his knee to unseat the youkai.
“You smell like Oro did, some,” Ichisaru went on as he held onto fistfuls of the hanyou's hakama.
InuYasha raised his fist to thump the monkey youkai but stopped in mid-air. “What do you mean, Oro smelled like her?”
Ichisaru's little face paled when he caught sight of InuYasha's glower. “Just before he made me come after the jewel, he started smelling weird, too.”
“Perhaps Oro had something to do with her?” Miroku suggested slowly.
Kaede nodded. “That could be. Will ye and Kagome check into this, InuYasha?”
InuYasha stared over Sango's head at Kagome. “We'd better.”
“All right. I'd better go home, though. I need to get a few things, and I should check in with Mama.”
InuYasha didn't miss the slightly worried expression in her eyes. She'd purposefully avoided going home in time for the appointment with the psychiatrist, and the other times they'd gone back to her time had only been for very brief resupply visits. Kagome had only stayed home long enough to grab fresh clothes and go to the store, avoiding her mother as best as she could. He caught her gaze and nodded, trying to reassure her that he'd tell her mother that he didn't think she needed to go see this doctor.
It was true enough. Kagome seemed much more like her old self since the night she'd aired her feelings. She might not be completely at peace with everything but he didn't doubt for a moment that she was getting there.
He stood up. “All right, wench. Let's go.”
Kagome quickly kissed Marisaiko's cheek before handing the baby back to Sango. “Do you need anything for the baby?” she asked as she stood up.
Miroku grinned. “No, Kagome, but thanks. You've done so much already. She's fine.”
Kagome bent to hug Sango. “You're sure?”
“Well . . . maybe more of that baby bath? She really seems to like it, and I think it helps her sleep.”
Kagome nodded. “All right.”
“Come on, wench!” InuYasha called over his shoulder as he waited impatiently near the door.
Kagome rolled her eyes and followed him out into the overcast afternoon. “You don't have to come with me,” she pointed out as they headed toward the forest.
“Keh! I told you, you're not leaving my sight, not even in your time.”
“I'm fine there, you know,” she assured him.
“No arguments.”
She looked like she wanted to debate it more but she sighed instead, shaking her head as though she knew that it wouldn't do her a bit of good. “She's here, not there,” Kagome commented in a reasonable tone.
“It don't matter,” he told her. “She's not the only danger, remember?”
“I haven't seen any youkai in my time, either.”
“Oh? Then you don't remember the Noh mask? Or the Soul Piper? Or—”
She grabbed his arm with one hand and smashed her other over his mouth. “All right, you've made your point. Still, there aren't that many, and I've not seen any in a very long time.”
He pulled her hand away and scowled at her. “Too bad. You're my responsibility.”
She wrinkled her nose and let her hands drop away from him. “I hate that word,” Kagome admitted in a grumble.
“That's not what I meant, wench. I promised I'd protect you.”
Glancing up at the sky as a droplet of water hit her nose, Kagome grimaced. “Protect me, huh? Well, protect me from the rain, will you?”
InuYasha snorted but picked her up and sprinted toward the well, muttering under his breath about slow humans and wenches who only remembered promises when it suited them.
Kagome laughed and pulled herself up to kiss his cheek as he dropped into the Bone Eater's Well.
“She is so arrogant!” Jaken grumbled under his breath as he hurried into the dusky chamber. “Why do you allow her to stay?”
Sesshoumaru glanced down at the imp and narrowed his eyes as Jaken paled to a sallow shade of green.
Eyes bulging in panic, the lesser-youkai bowed repeatedly. “I apologize, Sesshoumaru-sama! I do not mean to question you!”
“What is it, Jaken?”
Jaken bowed once more for good measure before drawing himself up straight. “Kagura wishes to see you,” he informed his lord. “She is waiting in the garden.”
Sesshoumaru didn't respond as he strode toward the doors that opened onto the garden.
Standing in the middle of the path between rows of sakura trees, Kagura was staring at the setting sun.
“I don't recall seeing a sunset quite like this one,” she remarked softly without turning to look at him. “Or perhaps I never had the opportunity to watch one.”
“Did you request my presence to watch the sunset, Kagura?”
She chuckled softly. “Maybe I did . . .”
“There's a better place to watch it,” he answered as he stepped closer to her. “Would you like me to take you there?”
Finally turning to smile at him, Kagura nodded. “I would.”
She looked surprised when he wrapped Mokomoko-sama around her. Holding onto the end, he used it to hold her, cradled against his chest, and then he broke into a sprint.
Gasping as he raced over hills and through forests, as he vaulted over rivers and glided above treetops, Kagura's gaze tried to take in everything until she gave up and contented herself by staring at the youkai who held her.
He stopped on a cliff that stood higher than the trees, and after he set her back on her feet, he tugged the other end of the Mokomoko-sama free, letting her wrap herself in it; protection against the chill wind that blew against them.
She stared at the sinking sun with a gentle smile.
“Are you warm enough?” he asked, breaking the silence that had fallen.
She nodded. “The cold is beautiful. To feel again . . . is beautiful.”
Sesshoumaru frowned. `She is my . . . equal . . . she is my match . . .' It didn't seem to matter anymore, that she was created as an incarnation of Naraku. It didn't seem important that she couldn't remember how she had been returned to the flesh. He'd realized too late what she meant to him before. To lose her twice would be unforgivable . . .
“You look so serious, Sesshoumaru,” she said as she turned to gaze at him. Concern furrowed her brow, added a darker hue to her magenta eyes.
“Stay with me, Kagura,” he whispered, lifting his hand to pull the Mokomoko-sama closer around her.
The brilliant light of happiness glowed in her eyes, an underlying seriousness as she nodded in silence.
“You are free to choose?”
She nodded again, blinking suddenly as a film of tears gathered in her stare. “I want to be.”
Tilting her chin with gentle fingers, Sesshoumaru dropped his lips over hers as the sun disappeared on the horizon.
Hesitating in the doorway, Kagome tried to smile as her mother looked up from the newspaper. “Kagome! I didn't hear you come in!” she said as she came around the table to hug her.
Shifting from one foot to the other, Kagome nervously shrugged. “I just got back.”
Is something wrong?
Kagome shook her head then nodded as she sank down at the table as InuYasha slipped into the kitchen to stand behind her. “No . . . I just wanted to say . . . I'm sorry, Mama . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi smiled. “It's okay, Kagome. I just worry about you. You are still my child.”
Kagome smiled, too. “I know . . . but I really am dealing with things better now.”
Mrs. Higurashi looked over Kagome's head and must have been reassured by something InuYasha did because her smile widened, and she nodded. “All right.”
With a sigh, Kagome shook her head, clearing the memory from her mind as she leaned over the side of the tub to retrieve her towel. Standing up to get out of the bath and dry herself off, she wrapped her hair in a towel and grinned.
For once, InuYasha hadn't made a fuss about staying here for the night, and for that she was grateful. She'd almost forgotten what it was like, to sleep in a real bed. In fact, after she'd finally managed to talk him into lying down with her, he'd fallen fast asleep in minutes, which gave her the opportunity to slip away for a much-longed-for hot soaking.
Pulling on her pajamas, Kagome quickly brushed her teeth and ran her brush through her hair. She didn't dare stay gone too long. Knowing InuYasha, he'd start hollering if he woke up and she was gone . . .
Kagome opened the bathroom door and swallowed a tiny scream. InuYasha stood in the doorway, arms crossed over his chest and a very irritated look on his face as he glowered down at her. “Kami, InuYasha!” she scolded as she smashed her fist over her heart. “You scared me half to death! Don't do that!”
“I thought I told you, you're not allowed to go anywhere without me,” he growled, careful to keep his voice lowered so he didn't wake the rest of the house.
She restrained the desire to roll her eyes. “I just took a bath . . . you were sleeping, and I didn't want to wake you up.”
“Keh! Nice try, wench. You were supposed to be sleeping, too, remember?”
She made a face and edged past him. “I wasn't tired,” she explained as she headed toward the living room.
He snorted as he stomped after her. “We shook the vial, like we do every night before we go to sleep. You were trying to fool me.”
She forced a smile that she hoped looked innocent enough. “Why would I do that?”
He narrowed his gaze, and she knew he wasn't buying it. “Dunno . . . you tell me.”
She grimaced, giving up the lie for what it was as she leaned in closer to hiss at him, “Do you have any idea how . . . wrong that would seem to my mother? It's one thing, in your time. There are dangers, and I know that. This is my time, though. Do you honestly think someone's going to break into the bathroom?
“Things happen when you let your guard down,” he countered in a slightly louder hiss of his own.
“Not in my house, they don't!” she retaliated.
“Wench, we're not arguing this, got it?”
She planted her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Yes, I think we are!”
“I'm trying to keep you safe, damn it!”
Kagome growled in frustration. It was one thing to keep an eye on each other when they were traveling. It was another thing entirely, for him to be so obsessed that she couldn't even take a bath or use the bathroom without him insisting that she talk to him the entire time. As far as she was concerned, he was taking his protectiveness to a whole new—and very distressing—level. “I know that, and I adore you for it, but I'm telling you, I'm safe here, too!”
His ears twitched as his mouth snapped closed on whatever retort he'd been formulating. Eyes widening incredulously, he stared at her for several seconds as color slowly crept up his cheeks. “You . . . you . . . you do?”
She relented with a smile as her anger washed away as quickly as it had come. The vulnerability in his expression was enough to temper her irritation, and she cupped his cheeks in her hands. “You know I do, baka.”
He snorted though his color didn't wane. “Come on, wench. We've got to get an early start tomorrow.”
She shook her head but let InuYasha take her hand and drag her toward the stairs. “I hope Ichisaru remembers where they used to live,” she commented as he led the way up to her room.
“Yeah . . . I can always jog his memory,” InuYasha remarked as he cracked his knuckles.
Kagome shoved him lightly. “You will not! He's already half-scared of you.”
“Keh! Only half?”
Kagome sighed then giggled as she skirted past him. Pulling back her covers so she could climb into bed, she leaned on her elbow and watched as InuYasha sank down by the window, wrapping his arms around Tetsusaiga. “InuYasha?”
He peeked over at her.
“There's room up here, if you want to lie down.”
He snorted.
Kagome flicked off her lamp and rolled over. “All right,” she muttered. “I was just trying to be nice, but if you'd rather get a kink in your back from sleeping there, then that's fine, too . . .”
He heaved a long-suffering sigh. “If I lay down with you, will you be quiet?”
Kagome hid her smile in her pillow. “Sure.”
She heard the scrape as he leaned Tetsusaiga against the nightstand just before the bed sank next to her as he stretched out. In the end, he was the one who broke the silence. “This is weird.”
“What is?”
The room was so quiet that she could hear herself blink as she waited for him to answer. “The last time I slept next to anyone was when Mother was still alive,” he admitted at last. “I forgot . . .”
Kagome rolled over and stared at his profile in the darkness. Etched in silvery moonlight, the golden pools of his eyes seemed to be misted over, as though he were seeing the past, and the sadness surrounding him made her want to cry.
“I forgot what it was like, to have someone this close to me.”
Kagome swallowed hard, blinking quickly to hold back her tears. “InuYasha?”
He shifted his gaze to meet hers.
“I . . . I'll never let you forget that again.”
He reached over and pulled her against his chest, her cheek against his heart. “Good night, Kagome.”
She snuggled closer, willing him to remember those feelings he'd forgotten. “Good night, InuYasha.”
“Are you sure you can't just leave me in the forest nearby?”
Kagome patted the monkey youkai's head. “It'll be fine, Ichisaru. InuYasha won't let anything happen to you.”
Peeking up at the hanyou, Ichisaru shook his head slowly. “Oro's scary, sometimes,” he whispered as he hopped up onto Kagome's shoulder.
She grinned. “Scarier than InuYasha?”
“Keh! I heard that, wench,” InuYasha grouched.
Ichisaru was shaking. His hands trembled as he tightened his grip on her blouse. “Much scarier . . .” the monkey youkai told her. “And much bigger.”
“Oi!” InuYasha exclaimed as he tried to grab the youngster. Ichisaru hopped onto Kagome's other shoulder.
“And meaner,” Ichisaru explained.
“What do you mean by that?” Kagome pressed gently.
Ichisaru shook his head. “He used to get real mad at me. If I didn't get enough food from the farmers, or if he caught me playing . . . he hit me and stuff.”
“Ichisaru . . .” Kagome trailed off, wanting to comfort him yet unsure what to say.
“I hit you,” InuYasha pointed out. Kagome glanced at him and was surprised to see a thoughtful frown on his face.
Ichisaru nodded slowly. “Yeah, but when you do, it's because I deserve it, and it doesn't hurt . . . not really . . .”
“Don't worry about it, ape-shit. Oro won't lay a fucking hand on you, ever again.”
Ichisaru's blue eyes rounded in wonder as he stared at InuYasha. “You . . . you mean it?”
“Keh. I said it, didn't I? Now stop worrying about it.”
Catching the smile, the tender look Kagome sent him, InuYasha quickly turned away, stuffing his arms together up his sleeves as fought back the pink that tinged his skin.
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
Now where is that damn human, Oro?
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.