InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Civil Unrest ( Chapter 53 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“I don't know, InuYasha . . . if there were another way to counter the toxin, I'm sure that you'd have found that out by now,” Miroku commented as he turned up the earth where Sango normally planted her vegetable garden. Stopping long enough to lean casually on the handle of the spade, he wiped perspiration off his brow as he slowly shook his head. “Sounds to me like there isn't any other way other than killing the youkai.”
“Hanyou,” InuYasha mumbled as the `other way' that Miroku didn't know about tumbled around his already confused thoughts.
InuYasha blinked and scowled from his perch on the fence. “I said, she's a hanyou.”
“A hanyou? Interesting . . .”
InuYasha wasn't nearly as inclined to agree with that assessment, and the dark look he shot the monk said as much. “Whatever. It don't change a damn thing.”
Miroku jammed his spade into the loosened earth and ambled over to lean on the fence beside him. “You could always learn to fight blindfolded. Use your youki to fight her.”
InuYasha cracked his knuckles. “You're useless, monk, did you know?” he snarled. “Anyway, that wouldn't do a damn bit of good, or do you forget, she smells just like Kagome, too?”
“Plug your nose?”
InuYasha took a wild swing as Miroku darted back out of his reach. “Never fucking mind!” he growled as he hopped off the fence and headed for the hut.
“Where are you going, InuYasha? I'll be serious!”
“Keh! I'm going to talk to the sane one,” he retorted as he shoved past the bamboo mat and into the hut.
Sango glanced up from feeding Marisaiko as Kagome knelt across from her, obviously in the middle of telling Sango about Oro's condition when they'd found him. Miroku stepped inside, running directly into InuYasha's back since he hadn't moved away from the doorway.
“Oof!” Miroku grunted as he caught himself on InuYasha's shoulders.
The hanyou stumbled forward before glowering over his shoulder at the monk. “Do you mind?”
Miroku let go and edged past InuYasha. “You're the one who stopped,” Miroku pointed out reasonably enough as he sat down beside Sango and leaned over to play with his daughter.
“So you say that Oro was driven mad by his dreams?” Sango asked Kagome with a frown.
Kagome nodded slowly. “Yeah . . . Even if he weren't . . . Ichisaru was so sad . . .”
Miroku nodded slowly. “He's not said much since you brought him back,” he agreed. “It must have been shocking for him, to see his former master like that. You were more fortunate, InuYasha. At least the one you dream about was willing to help you . . . not to mention that I don't think she minds the . . . side effects . . .”
Kagome coughed suddenly as she stared at her hands, red-faced. InuYasha tried not to blush as he stomped over and sat back against the wall. “Shut up, pervert,” he grumbled.
“A woman mentioned some youkai attacks near here,” Sango said slowly as she concentrated on the baby in her arms. “All of her escorts were killed, except for one.”
“Sango? Is something wrong?” Kagome asked, a worried frown creasing her brow.
Sango shook her head slowly though the thoughtful look didn't dissipate. “There was something familiar about that woman,” she ventured. “Like . . . I had met her before, somewhere . . .”
Miroku took Marisaiko and held her against his shoulder. “The woman you told me about yesterday, right?” he asked.
“Yes . . .” She sighed and wrinkled her nose. “I'm sure it wasn't anything important or I would remember.”
InuYasha stood up and headed for the door. “Come on, wench. We've got some youkai to hunt.”
Kagome hopped up and hurried over to kiss Marisaiko's head before chasing InuYasha out of the hut.
Miroku watched them go with a bemused smile. “Does InuYasha ever let her out of his sight anymore? You should have seen the way he watched her when she came inside. If there were another door to this hut, I don't think he'd have let her go alone.”
Sango grinned. “Either that's really great or really awful,” she commented. Her smile faded as she gazed sadly at Marisaiko.
Miroku frowned. “All right, Sango. You've been like this since yesterday.”
Her smile was faked, and Miroku knew it. He didn't say anything about it. “Did you and Kagome have time to catch up?”
“Yes . . . she talked about Oro quite a bit, and that she thought InuYasha was afraid of ending up like him.”
Miroku nodded. “That's understandable. I think they'll be fine though.” Sango agreed as Miroku let her take Marisaiko to lay her down. “Did Kagome get to hold Mari?”
Sango's back stiffened for a moment. “Oh . . . no . . . she wanted to, but I was ready to feed her . . .”
Miroku frowned. “Sango . . . what's going on?”
“Nothing,” she assured him with an overly bright smile. “It's nothing!”
“Why do I have the feeling that it is something, and that you don't want to tell me about it?” he asked gently.
Sango sighed. “There's nothing to tell,” she replied. “Anyway, it's not important.”
He stared at her for another long moment as she moved around to gather the ingredients for their supper. He didn't believe that it really was as `nothing' as Sango said. He also knew her well enough to realize that he wouldn't get more out of her than what she had already said.
`So it is done . . .'
Hisadaicho stared into the rising mist with a satisfied smile.
`Kagura . . . you have done well . . . Perhaps I should reward you for this . . .'
Or perhaps she already had her reward. How long had Kagura's restless soul wanted a physical body? As long as she had wandered on the breeze, as long as her essence had been returned to the ever-shifting wind.
The problem of the miko and her stubborn hanyou, though . . .
Hisadaicho's smile faded. The girl with the pure heart and her would-be lover . . . the talisman that protected them both . . .
“That blood bond is formidable,” Hisadaicho mused as she breathed in the swirling vapor, as a euphoria ebbed through her, “though perhaps it isn't formidable enough.”
Wandering toward the open window, Hisadaicho leaned on the frame, stared out into the dusk of night. `She must complete the cycle. She must empower her soul . . .'
Burning eyes floated before her. The face she saw was one she knew. She heard his voice in her mind, heard his whispered words. `It happened before; it can happen again. This is what is necessary. She must learn what it means to be possessed, my butterfly . . . to know the touch of the one she treasures. That is the key to unlocking her true power . . .'
Her true power.
The power of the mikos who had protected the Shikon no Tama in the years since its inception, a power that grew as the singular soul was reincarnated time and again . . .
This was the power that Hisadaicho needed. This was the goal.
`To restore my koishii . . . I need her . . . and the hanyou will be powerless to stop me.'
Once the hanyou accomplished his task, he would be far too easy to destroy.
Hisadaicho's smile returned. `Perhaps they need a bit of encouragement, a tiny shove in the right direction . . .'
Hisadaicho let her head fall back, uttered the silent cry that would bring Iwazawa to her.
Moments later the hulking form appeared in the doorway. “You summoned me, Hisadaicho-sama?”
Slowly, deliberately, Hisadaicho turned to gaze at the warrior. “Go to Musashi. Find InuYasha and destroy the talisman he possesses. Take care, Iwazawa. Do not harm him or his beloved miko.”
Iwazawa nodded, bowing curtly before he turned on his heel and strode out of the chamber as Hisadaicho nodded to herself. `Very soon, InuYasha . . . you and your miko will be mine . . .'
InuYasha sat back against the wall and wondered again just how long Kagome was going to be upset with him this time.
Shifting his expression into the infamous pout, he settled back and waited, arms wrapped loosely around Tetsusaiga, while Kagome dug a small, rough-textured tan-colored stick-thing and began rubbing it against her fingernails.
It might not have worried him quite so much if she would at least yell at him or fuss about something. It wouldn't have bothered him nearly as badly if she would just grumble about it. The silent treatment, though, was enough to drive him crazy, and he ground his teeth together to keep from demanding that she stop it.
Extending her hand and stretching her fingers back, she inspected her nails, turning her hand from side to side. Satisfied with her work, she switched to the other hand and started the process again, ignoring him the entire time. He grimaced.
She finished the other hand and slipped the stick-thing back in her bag before producing a magazine and popping a square of pink bubble gum into her mouth. Seconds later, she was popping said gum repeatedly, and InuYasha dug his claws against the floor in an effort to keep from growling at her. That singular noise was enough to grate his very last nerve, and she knew it.
Turning to flop onto her stomach, she kicked her feet in the air, smashing her heels together. The sound of her bones thudding together added to the unnecessary irritation, and InuYasha flattened his ears as his pout shifted into a scowl, as his claws dug into the wooden plank floor, as his jaw throbbed with the force he used to keep his mouth closed against her silent war.
Flailing her arm around behind her, she managed to snag the strap on her bag to pull it closer. InuYasha really didn't want to see what she was getting out of there now. He couldn't help but watch, though. Some sort of sick fascination, he supposed. `Keh! She can't do worse than what she's already doing, can she?' He wrinkled his nose as a dull thud and a tiny rattle sounded over and over and should have warned him just what she had gotten out of the bloody bag but didn't.
Seconds later the most horrid scent assailed him, and he nearly whined out loud. `She—she—oh hell!' he fumed as Kagome calmly smashed her heels together, popped her gum, and painted her fingernails.
He couldn't stave back his sigh of relief when she finally, blessedly dropped the polish back into the bag. Deciding that he would conveniently lose that bottle at the first given opportunity, InuYasha contented himself with trying to believe that it just couldn't get much worse.
The crinkle of a candy wrapper made him glance over, and he growled low in his throat—not that she could hear him over the ruckus she was making already. Popping the cinnamon disk into her mouth, she crunched it along with the gum as he cringed, the sound of the breaking candy echoing in his ears as she wrinkled the wrapper in her fingers, kicked her heels together, resumed the gum popping, and crunched between as the scent of the damned polish lingered in the air and in his nose. The last strand of his nerves was fast unraveling, and he fought not to give in to the desire to bellow.
And then she did the unthinkable. Too dumbstruck to stop her since he'd never seen her do such a thing before, Kagome carefully straightened out the wrapper, held it tight in her hands, raised the damn bit of plastic to her lips . . . and blew.
The sound that came from that little bit of rubbish had him shooting to his feet and stomping over to her. Reaching down as he cringed, grinding his teeth together in a marked grimace, flattened his ears down to block as much of the ungodly racket as he could, and trying not to inhale too much of the much stronger fumes, InuYasha snatched the wrapper out of her hands and unlocked his jaw long enough to bellow, “That's fucking enough!” before he turned on his heel and stomped toward the door.
“InuYasha,” she called after him, her voice serene, calm.
“What?” he growled without stopping.
“You can't leave, remember? I'm not allowed to be out of your sight. Isn't that what you told the headman when he asked if you wanted a room of your own?” She sat up when he stopped. “Isn't that what you said when I said I had to use the bathroom earlier? Isn't that what you said when I said that I didn't need to go with you when you had to do the same thing? Isn't that what you said when I said I couldn't eat that rabbit that you made me watch you kill? Isn't that what you said when I said I—”
“All right!” he thundered. “You made your fucking point already!”
“I'm not done!” she yelled as she scampered to her feet.
“What else is there?” he bellowed as he shoved Tetsusaiga through his waist band.
“There's the fact that you completely freaked out when the headman asked if we were married since you had to say that I wasn't allowed to sleep alone, baka!”
“That's what you're so mad about? We ain't married!”
“I know we're not, but do you have to act like you'd rather be dead than married to me?”
He recoiled at the anger in her voice as her cheeks blossomed in indignant color and tears brightened her glare. `Nice, baka! Damn it . . .' Wincing, InuYasha drew a deep breath and tamped down the desire to run far, far away. “That's not what I meant! I wasn't trying to . . . oh hell, wench!”
She clamped her mouth closed and flopped back down on her futon, rolling so that she wasn't facing him anymore.
InuYasha stifled a frustrated growl. Everything had been fine when they left Miroku and Sango's hut. They'd set off to find the youkai that were waylaying travelers, but no one in any of the nearby villages had heard any rumors of the sort. In the end, they'd stopped by one of the villages they'd helped with a rat youkai infestation, and the headman had insisted that they spend the night, which would have been fine until he ordered two rooms to be prepared for them. Before he thought about it, InuYasha had stupidly blurted that one room would do nicely, and the headman, with a rather shocked expression, had asked if they had been married recently.
He sighed as the conversation replayed in his head.
“I take it you two have been married since the last time you were here?” the headman asked with a frown.
“Uh,” Kagome hedged as a flush streaked up her cheeks.
“Keh! Why would you ask a stupid thing like that? Of course we ain't married!” InuYasha snarled.
The headman looked even more confused. “I see . . . but I have accommodation enough for the both of you . . .”
“One room,” InuYasha growled. “She don't leave my sight. She ain't sleeping alone, got it?”
Kagome choked out a cough. “InuYasha—”
“No way, wench!” he snarled. “I ain't taking any chances!”
“If you're not married,” the headman cut in with a slight bow, “it isn't very . . . seemly . . . to put you in the same room . . . If you want to visit each other, I can't stop you . . .”
As the man's insinuation sank in, InuYasha's face flamed, too. “What the fuck? It ain't like that, damn it!”
“I don't understand . . . if you're not married and you're not . . . involved . . . then why the need to stay in the same room?” the headman pressed.
“We'll take the two rooms, thanks,” Kagome squeaked, unable to look anyone in the eye as she stared at her feet. “And I'll lock my door.”
The headman shook his head. “Is someone trying to attack you?”
“No,” Kagome forced herself to answer. “But you're right. We aren't married or involved, and it would look bad.” Mustering as much dignity as she could, Kagome raised her chin, eyes suspiciously bright. “I think I need to go to bed now . . . if you'll excuse me.”
InuYasha wheeled around on his heel and stomped after her, shoving the door open when she tried to close it behind her.
He sighed. That scene had culminated in this one, and now that he thought about it, he had to allow that he should have handled it better than he did.
“Okay,” he grumbled as he shuffled away from the door. “I'm sorry.”
Kagome didn't answer though she did narrow her gaze at his surly apology.
InuYasha edged closer. “What did you want me to say to him?”
She sat up with a heavy sigh and shook her head as she stared at her hands, folded in her lap. “It's not what you said, InuYasha. It was the way you said it, that's all.”
He snorted as he hunkered down beside her. “You don't get it at all, do you? No one `chooses' to be with a hanyou, especially not . . . they just don't. All those people . . . they would have thought I brainwashed you or something.”
“No, I get it just fine. You're the one who wants to believe the worst of everyone, and even then, what does it matter, what any of them think? What matters is what you think . . . and what I think . . . and I think—no, I believe—that you're a better man than any of them, even if you are only half human.”
She shrugged as she turned to stare at him. “Because I know you and because you know me, too.”
He stared at her for several seconds. “I think you've lost your mind. Maybe you've been in the sun too long.”
She grinned and lay back down. He dangled the vial over her head, and she shook it then watched as he did the same before he stretched out beside her.
“You know . . . I was thinking . . . Maybe some part of Hisadaicho is still Emi . . . If she didn't kill Old Seer . . .”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. You're joking, right?”
She shook her head. “No . . . if she was all bad, wouldn't she have killed Old Seer?”
“Go to sleep, wench. You're making my head hurt.”
Kagome sighed. “Good night.”
He pulled her close. She cuddled against his side as he frowned at the ceiling. “Night, wench.”
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Final Thought fromHisadaicho:
Just a nudge in the right direction …
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.