InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Real Emotion ( Chapter 51 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Do you think she'll be all right?”
InuYasha grunted as he launched them both into the sky. Kagome leaned on his shoulder, voicing the question he knew she'd been pondering since they left Old Seer's hovel. “Keh. She's tougher than she looks. I think she can hold her own.”
“If Hisadaicho used to be Emi, then that really does mean that she's hanyou, doesn't it?”
“Does it matter? I'll still kill her.”
`Sure I will,' he thought with a scowl. `About the time I stop breathing . . . damn it! If she didn't look like Kagome . . .'
“It might matter . . . I wonder when she's human?”
Sailing above the trees of his forest, InuYasha grimaced in determination.
“Maybe Miroku or Kaede will have an idea,” Kagome offered, her tone tinged with hope though he could tell that she really didn't hold out much.
“Maybe,” InuYasha agreed.
“I need to go back home. Today's Souta's birthday.”
He snorted. “Keh. I suppose you want me to go with you.”
She grinned. “Well, now that you mention it . . .”
He rolled his eyes. “You're completely helpless without me, aren't you?”
“I'll let you think so.”
Dropping to a walk as they neared the Bone Eater's Well, InuYasha stopped long enough to let Kagome off his back. He swept her off her feet before he hopped into the well. She squealed at the sudden movement. He flattened his ears and made a face as the time slip closed in around them. “Damn, wench. Do you have to do that?”
“You're the one who grabbed me,” she countered with a soft giggle as she rubbed his ears, massaging away the discomfort. Her touch shot through him, and he jerked his head back with a scowl meant to stay her hands. She giggled a little louder and squirmed to reach his ears again.
“I'll drop you,” he threatened as he tried to lean away from her.
“Go ahead! It won't hurt here,” she challenged as she grasped one of his ears.
“Wench!” he growled as he jerked back.
“Aww, the big, tough hanyou can't take a little ear torture?”
For once, InuYasha didn't try to hide the emotions that twisted him inside out. Staring at her, letting her see the raw fervor, her smile faded as her gaze took on the same intense glow. Her scent shifted so fast that he felt dizzy, and he nearly dropped her. Tightening his grip, he refused to look away. “I can take it, Kagome,” he murmured, “if you can.”
She nodded slowly as he landed on the ground in the bottom of the well in her time. He didn't seem to notice that they'd arrived. They stared at each other as seconds ticked away.
Sesshoumaru gazed out at the evening's falling shadows as a gentle breeze stirred his hair, caressed his skin. In the garden below, Kagura's laughter drifted to him. She was watching Rin's antics. Nearly thirteen years old now, the girl he'd taken in had grown into a young woman, and in the weeks since Kagura's arrival, she had gently tempered the child's ebullience as she taught Rin by example to be a lady.
`Kagura belongs here . . . my equal . . . my . . . mate.'
She made him smile, even if it was nothing more than a light in his gaze, a slight lifting of the corners of his lips.
As though she sensed his perusal, Kagura turned and looked up at him. He nodded at her. She stared at him for another moment before calling out to Rin. “I'm going inside now. Don't wander far.”
Rin nodded as she stooped down to pick more flowers. “All right!”
“Sesshoumaru-sama, you wished to see me?”
Turning away from the window, Sesshoumaru ignored Jaken as he deliberately strode across the chamber. “Watch over Rin, Jaken.”
The imp nodded and bowed. “Are you leaving?” Jaken asked then gulped as Sesshoumaru shot him a quelling glance. “Forgive me! I did not mean to question you!”
“That is all.”
“Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama! A thousand apologies,” Jaken groveled as he backed out of the chamber again.
Sesshoumaru waited until Jaken was out of sight before heading downstairs, himself.
“Sesshoumaru . . . did you wished to see me?” Kagura asked as she swept into the castle, her arms laden with Rin's flowers.
“I did. Come.”
Kagura nodded. “Let me put these in water,” she told him as she hurried to do that.
`Father . . . would you approve of her? Would you find her worthy?'
The enigmatic smile surfaced once more. He had a feeling that the Inu no Taisho would have . . .
Sango glanced down at Marisaiko as the baby cooed softly. Nestled in the little basket with a blanket draped to keep the sun off her, she was content to swat at tiny butterflies as she kicked her feet and blew slobber bubbles.
Sango smiled. Miroku had taken Shippou, Ichisaru, and Kirara to gather some roots for Kaede. She wandered down the forest path humming a song to Marisaiko. Having finished weeding the memorial garden, she was on her way back to the village to start dinner.
“Excuse me! I'm sorry to bother you . . . I seem to have lost my way.”
Sango stopped as the woman approached her. “Are you traveling?”
The woman winced as she smiled then heaved a mournful sigh as she smoothed down her outer kimono. She looked like a princess or a very wealthy woman. What was she doing with only one escort? “I was . . . my escorts fell victim to youkai. I barely escaped.”
“Youkai? Near here?”
Sango frowned. Youkai near? Why hadn't she heard of this? Most often, area villages sent word right away . . . “Where were you going?”
“I was traveling to visit a man named Kasuga.”
Sango shook her head. “I've never heard of him. My husband will be back soon . . . we can take care of the youkai. The village miko may know this man, Kasuga . . .”
Her lavender eyes filled with tears, and she bowed slightly. Sango touched her arm. Something about the woman . . . `I feel like I've met her before . . .' She brushed that thought aside. Surely the woman would have commented if they had met somewhere . . . “It's fine . . . I'm a youkai exterminator . . . the last of my village.”
The woman started to straighten up but leaned her head to the side as she stared into the basket with an appreciative smile. “Oh, she's beautiful!”
“Thank you,” Sango answered with a bright grin.
“May I inquire as to her name?”
“Lovely!” the woman assured her as her gaze lingered on the baby. “She has a miko's aura, a strong one.”
Sango blinked in surprise. “You can sense that?”
Expression clouding over, the woman shook her head. “You . . . aren't a miko, are you? Oh . . . you must be watching her for someone else? I just assumed she was your daughter.”
Shocked speechless for a moment, Sango tried to cover it with a tight smile. “She is my daughter,” she informed the stranger.
The woman looked perplexed. “But this child's aura . . . it is too strong not to be direct blood.”
“I don't know what you mean,” Sango replied in a clipped tone, indignant color brightening her cheeks as she hurried past the woman.
“I'm sorry if I offended you . . . I was born with the gift of sight . . .” With a soft gasp, she trailed off, her eyes widening as a look of understanding dawned on her. “Another gave life to this child for you, and she . . . she is the miko!”
Sango stopped abruptly and shot the woman a suspicious glance. “How do you know?”
She wrung her hands nervously as an embarrassed flush tinged her cheeks. “I see it . . . I apologize. I don't mean to offend you . . . this miko must have a very caring heart, to have done this for you, and you . . . Are you friends of hers?”
“Of course we are,” Sango answered slowly. “She's my closest friend.”
The woman nodded. “Close friend or not, when a child is involved . . . I'd be frightened that she would seek to reclaim her.”
“She wouldn't! Marisaiko isn't her child, she's mine!”
“My lady! I've been searching everywhere for you!”
The woman gasped and turned to look at the man ahead on the path. “You escaped? Kami be praised!” She reached out and patted Sango's hand. “Thank you for your offer of assistance. Goodbye!”
Sango watched as the woman strode away to meet her escort with a darkening frown. `Why do I still feel like I've seen her somewhere before?' she asked herself as she shook her head and tightened her hold on Marisaiko's basket.
A sudden chill raced up Sango's spine as her gaze dropped to her daughter's sweet face. `Close friend or not, when a child is involved . . . I'd be frightened that she would seek to reclaim her.'
`Not Kagome . . . she'd never . . . no . . .'
Miroku's face flashed through her mind, the pensive look as he told Sango that InuYasha had admitted that Kagome wanted a baby of her own . . .
She shook her head as she willed the images away. `Kagome wouldn't do that, not to Miroku or me . . .'
Still the doubt lingered at the back of her mind as she hurried back to the village.
“So this was the Inu no Taisho,” Kagura murmured quietly, as though she were afraid to break the serenity, the sense of peace.
Sesshoumaru nodded slowly, staring at the skeleton of the Great tai-youkai. “Yes . . . he rests here.”
Kagura's solemn gaze was reverent, quiet. “Your father . . .”
The wind escalated around them, surrounded them in the brisk air, the melancholy feel of the souls of the youkai, the shining glimmers of their immortal auras that hung thick in this graveyard, this tomb.
“Such a sad yet peaceful place,” Kagura murmured as she lifted her gaze to watch the lights of the wandering souls passing overhead. Spirals of glowing lights, shimmering hues of pinks and blues, of whites and the palest purples . . .
“There were many things that I could not comprehend,” he admitted in a hushed tone. “The things he believed in . . . the reasons he chose to fight . . . I never understood those things, but you . . . make me want to try.”
“Sesshoumaru . . .”
He stared at her for a moment before gazing away at his father's skeleton again. “Father, this is Kagura, the Wind Sorceress . . . I seek your blessing in taking her as my mate.”
The wind escalated, whipping his hair, tendrils of silken silver that penetrated his mind, his soul. Beside him, Kagura stiffened. The low moan of the breeze carried with it the answer of the Inu no Taisho as his father's spirit engulfed him in the bluish haze of his father's aura. Turning his head to glance at Kagura, he saw that she, too, was enveloped in the same sheen, and Sesshoumaru smiled just a little.
“It seems Father approves,” Sesshoumaru murmured.
Tears stood in Kagura's eyes without falling. The liquid film sparkled like a thousand jewels. Her nostrils trembled, her bottom lip quivered as she slowly closed her eyes and bowed in deference to the Inu no Taisho. When she straightened, Sesshoumaru saw the thin, silvery trails from the tears that had slipped from the corners of her eyes. He turned toward her, wiped her cheeks with his fingertips.
She smiled and touched his face, eyes luminous, glowing. “Thank you,” she whispered, “for bringing me here.”
Wrapping her in his Mokomoko-sama, he gathered her up and nodded. “Come, Kagura. I'll take you home.”
“Home,” she echoed as she leaned against him. “Yes . . . home . . .”
`You could act out your dreams! That would do it!'
`There are only two ways, young miko. One would be to destroy the butterfly youkai, and the other is to give life to the dreams . . .'
InuYasha stared out Kagome's window with a concentrated frown at the dark night. Willing away the words that kept rolling around his head, he tightened his arms, wrapped around Tetsusaiga. `Keh! That's not something we can just do for the hell of it,' he thought as his glower intensified. `Stop being stupid! It ain't like trying to decide what kind of pocky to buy the brats . . .'
It was instinctive, the other thing he knew. It was something that he didn't question because it had somehow been obvious to him all along. `Inu youkai mate for life . . . and Kagome . . . she'd want that, too . . . wouldn't she?'
Shifting his gaze from the window to the girl sleeping on the bed, InuYasha sighed. `She has to want it, too . . .'
`Only if I can take care of you, too,' she had said.
`Keh. What can you do to take care of me?'
`I can make anywhere we are into a home . . . for you.'
Shaking his head, InuYasha forced his eyes away from her, ignored the gentle tug of her aura on him as he stared out the window again.
`You could `forget' to shake the vial. Do you think Kagome would even notice? You're the one who always has to remind her. Then you wouldn't have to worry about being embarrassed about asking her. It'd be a done deal . . .'
InuYasha made a face. No . . . he couldn't do that, either. `She . . . she has to agree . . . she has to want me. Not like that, not in a damn dream . . .'
The trouble was, if he couldn't bring himself to fight Hisadaicho because of her face, how would he ever be able to protect Kagome from her? `Damn it . . . if she didn't look like Kagome . . . I could fight her . . .'
`So . . . break the toxin, baka!'
He winced as he dragged the tiny vial out of his haori and stared at it. That was the problem, wasn't it? He wanted her to be there with him forever, beside him, as his mate, but he wanted to know that it was for the right reasons.
`Don't be stupid. You know Kagome probably better than you know yourself. Do you think that if she agreed that it wouldn't be for the right reasons?'
He had to concede that. He did know her, everything about her. Sure there were times he didn't understand her, but he knew her heart, knew her soul, knew that there wasn't an unkind bone in her body. What she did for Sango and Miroku . . . that was the Kagome he knew, and that was the reason he hadn't been able to be angry with her for doing something that he had known would hurt her. She gave of herself until she had nothing left to give, and then she gave more. Hadn't she already healed the parts of his soul that he hadn't ever thought would stop aching?
Maybe it was true, that she deserved better than him. She either didn't notice or didn't care because time and again, she always came back, and she always made him feel like he could do anything, so long as she believed in him.
Anything but fight the butterfly with her face, that was.
He let his head fall back against the window frame and closed his eyes. `There's got to be another way . . .'
He just had to figure it out.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Sesshoumaru:
Father approves …
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.