InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Envy ( Chapter 54 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“So no one had heard anything about any recent youkai appearances?” Sango asked as she scrubbed some clothes in the shallow river near the bank.
Kagome took the garment that Sango had finished and dipped it in cleaner water to rinse it. “No . . . it was strange, really . . . we went to all the nearby villages, but no one had heard a thing.”
“That is odd . . .”
Kagome wrinkled her nose as she spread the garment out to dry. InuYasha caught her gaze and blinked as he stared back at her. She quickly looked away as a flush stole up her cheeks and a small smile surfaced. Miroku sat beside InuYasha in the shade of an old sakura tree with the baby in his lap. Marisaiko leaned over and grabbed a fistful of InuYasha's hair, squealing happily as the hanyou winced and flattened his ears. To her surprise, Kagome watched as InuYasha carefully untangled the girl's fingers and flipped his hair back out of her reach. With a widening smile, Kagome grabbed the next article of clothing and started rinsing.. “Anyway, we can't figure it out.”
“Are you going to go after Hisadaicho again?”
When Kagome didn't answer, Sango glanced over at her. “Kagome?”
Kagome shook her head slowly, her shoulders slumping as she heaved a sigh. “I don't know . . . we may, but . . . InuYasha can't fight her.”
Sango seemed to be considering something as she slowed in her washing. “Maybe . . . maybe Miroku and I should come along? Surely we can help . . .”
“But the baby . . . ?”
Sango didn't meet Kagome's concerned gaze. “We could bring her . . .”
Kagome dropped the garment she'd been rinsing and peeked over her shoulder again. Assured that InuYasha was at least out of earshot, she leaned toward Sango. “I think . . . there's another way to break the toxin's control,” she murmured, carefully staring away from her friend as she tried to keep herself from blushing.
“There is?” Sango questioned, her eyebrows arching in surprise.
“Kaede said so, and Bokuseno agreed . . . but . . . I don't know if . . . if we should . . . I mean, I want him to be able to fight her, and I don't like what it does to him, to see her with my face. I think that if we did break the toxin's control, it would help him, but at the same time, I just worry. It seems like a bad reason to do that sort of thing, and I know girls in my time do it without a second thought, but I don't know if I could, and . . . I just don't know . . . you know?”
Sango shook her head slowly. “Uh . . . no, Kagome . . . just what are you trying to say?”
Kagome grimaced as she squeezed water out of the garment. “We . . . if we acted out his . . . dreams . . .” Sango's eyes widened, understanding finally dawning on her as Kagome struggled to keep a level of nonchalance in her tone that she absolutely wasn't feeling. “I mean . . . it'd only be one night, right . . . ?”
“You don't know? He hasn't told you?” Sango asked quietly.
“Told me what?”
The youkai exterminator sat back on her heels, all pretenses of washing the laundry forgotten. “Inu-youkai are some of the fiercest, most loyal youkai there are, Kagome. When they take a mate, it isn't for just one night.”
Kagome's numb mind slowed even more. “When they . . . ? But . . . he wouldn't be . . . I mean, he never said . . .”
“Inu-youkai don't do . . . that . . . Only with their mates, and once is enough.”
Eyes widening, Kagome squelched a groan. Memories flooded back to her, the times she'd bugged him about what he had been dreaming . . . the promise he'd made to take care of her . . . the look in his eyes when he'd challenged her, when she tried to play with his ears . . . the pained expression on his face when he moved away from her time and again . . .“So that's why he won't tell me . . .”
A sudden quickening in her heart flickered to life, a cautious hope kindled, lit . . . `Forever? I . . . that's what I want, isn't it? Forever, with InuYasha . . . but . . . what does he want . . . ?'
More to the point, how would she find out?
“Tell me what you're thinking about?”
InuYasha snorted and shook his head. “About wenches that talk to damn much.”
Kagome reached over her shoulder and gently tugged InuYasha's hair. “Baka. Seriously. You've been so quiet all day . . . what's bothering you?”
“Keh. I thought you said you knew me. You don't know what I'm thinking?”
She shrugged as she wiggled her shoulders to get more comfortable. “Not always, no . . . I never said I could read your mind.”
Drawing his knee up, he shifted behind her. “If you fall, it's your own fault,” he pointed out when she kept ferreting around.
“You wouldn't let me fall,” she contradicted.
“It ain't a question of `letting' you do it,” he argued. “You'd fall, then you'd be sorry.”
Finally satisfied with the way she was settled, Kagome sighed in contentment and tipped her head back to peek at InuYasha's face. Staring out over his forest with a thoughtful frown drawing his brows together, he seemed like he was a million miles away. “You never told me what Sesshoumaru and you talked about after I left,” Kagome pointed out.
InuYasha glanced at her and shrugged. “Weren't nothin',” he answered
“Hmm, tell me why I don't believe that,” she drawled as she squirmed again, this time to face him. Carefully leaning against InuYasha, Kagome straddled the branch and inched forward. “So tell me the truth, dog-boy.”
He blinked slowly as he stared at her. “I-i-isn't that a little uncomfortable, wench?'
“Nope, now answer the question.”
“What did you and Sesshoumaru talk about?”
“At his house?”
“No, his house in Tokyo.”
“Oh . . . nothing.”
She arched her eyebrows as she deliberately lifted his chin, forcing his eyes up away from the branch between them. “Why are you flattening your ears?”
“You are,” she countered as she caught his ears and rubbed. Arching her back as she leaned toward him, Kagome was relentless as she kept fondling the appendages. The low growl that escaped his lips was tight, controlled, completely primal.
“Wench!” he grumbled as she jerked his head back.
She leaned forward even further. “Honestly, you'd think you were never taught how to share,” she complained as she scooted closer.
“And since when is torturing my ears `sharing'?”
“Give me one good reason to stop.”
The look he shot her stayed her hands as she reached for his ears once more. Gaze blazing with unbridled emotion, he silently dared her to reach for him again. Kagome swallowed hard as slow comprehension dawned on her, and it suddenly made sense. The reasons he always got so irritated with her when she tried to play with his ears . . . `He likes it . . . a little too much . . .'
“S-sorry,” she muttered as her hands dropped to the branch.
His cheeks reddened as he crossed his arms over his chest and shifted his gaze out over the forest.
Sango trudged up the path from the river with a basket of dried clothes in her arms. Miroku had offered to go after the laundry, but he had been having such a good time playing with Marisaiko that Sango didn't want to interrupt them.
She smiled as some of the village children darted across the path in their play.
It was nice, having Kagome and InuYasha around the village lately. They'd spent over a week here this time, and Sango didn't realize how much she had missed her friends until they had been around. Even though they were still trying to figure out some way to defeat the butterfly hanyou's toxin, they had chosen to stick closer to home for awhile.
She sighed as a slight shadow passed through her thoughts. `I was crazy to think that Kagome would ever try to take back Marisaiko,' she told herself. She'd watched her friend play with her daughter, and while Kagome did seem more than happy to watch the baby, she never, ever gave any indication that she even thought about trying to take her away.
With a frown, Sango set the clothes down inside her hut. Miroku hadn't been outside, and he wasn't in here, either. She gave a mental shrug. Maybe he'd gone to see Kaede . . .
Grabbing her sewing basket and a small pile of things that needed to be mended, she ducked back outside to take full advantage of the afternoon sunshine.
Stopping short as she glanced at the forest then away only to look back once more, Sango's eyes narrowed. Kagome was heading into the forest with her backpack slung over her shoulders and Marisaiko in her arms.
`I'd be frightened that she would seek to reclaim her.'
Without pausing to think about it, Sango dropped the basket and ran after Kagome.
The miko either didn't hear her or was ignoring her because Kagome kept moving. Sango sped up. `If she goes through the well with her, I'll never see Mari again . . .'
Halfway down the trail that led to the Bone Eater's Well, Sango saw Kagome stop long enough to adjust the tiny bonnet she'd brought back for Marisaiko to keep the sun out of the baby's face before Kagome started walking again. Common sense told her that she wasn't even sure if Marisaiko could get through the well and that Kagome certainly wouldn't jump in with the baby if she wasn't sure. Common sense had no room in her thoughts at the moment.
Kagome stopped abruptly and turned, a bright smile breaking over her features as Sango closed the distance. “Look, Mari! There's Mama!”
Marisaiko squealed happily as she waved her hands toward Sango.
“Where are you going?” Sango asked as she grabbed her daughter and tried to catch her breath. “Why didn't you stop?”
Kagome's smile faded when she saw the angry glint in Sango's eyes. “I didn't hear you . . .”
“Why do you have her?”
Kagome shook her head. “Miroku didn't have a diaper, so I took her back to change her . . . Sango? What's wrong?”
“Where is he? Where's Miroku? He had her! He said he'd watch her!”
Kagome tried to reach out, to touch Sango's arm. Sango retreated, cradling Marisaiko against her shoulder. The child sensed Sango's upset and started to whimper. Kagome let her arm drop. “He's in the meadow with InuYasha . . . There was a dragonfly youkai . . .”
Sango swallowed, hearing Kagome's calm words, her concerned tone. She closed her eyes, biting back the panic that still twisted her stomach. “I'm sorry,” she mumbled, feeling hot color flood her cheeks. “I don't know what I was thinking.”
When she opened her eyes again, though, she winced. Kagome's gaze was full of tears, and the girl was trying to smile for Sango's benefit. “I just remembered . . . I have to go home . . .”
“Kagome, wait!” Sango called as Kagome turned on her heel and ran. Kagome knew what Sango had thought.
Kagome didn't stop.
“The youkai of late don't seem to give you much trouble, do they?” Miroku observed as InuYasha sat down by the well, leaning back against the wall.
“Keh! That one was weak,” he scoffed.
Miroku shrugged. “Could it be the manifestations of some other frustrations?”
InuYasha shifted his gaze to the side to meet the monk's overly-innocent expression. “I don't think I like where you're going with this.”
Miroku's eyebrows shot to protest his innocence. “Got something on your mind, InuYasha?”
“No, I don't think I do.” Glancing over Miroku's head, InuYasha started to rise as Kagome shot out of the forest, barreling straight toward them. He could smell the salt of her tears, and he opened his mouth to stop her. She uttered a choked sob as she streaked past him and vaulted into the well.
“What in the—?” Miroku began as he stood and turned to see Sango with Marisaiko in her arms. The slayer was running as fast as she dared with the child, and as she drew closer to them, InuYasha frowned, smelling her tears, too.
“What the fuck is going on?” InuYasha growled as Sango stopped.
Miroku took the baby as Sango peeked over the side of the well. “I upset her,” Sango admitted as she wiped away her tears. “I'm such a fool! I knew she'd never have done it, but . . .”
“Done what?” InuYasha demanded.
Sango flinched and shook her head, wringing her hands as she stared from Marisaiko to Miroku. “I . . . I thought she was taking her . . . I thought Kagome meant to steal Marisaiko back . . .”
He tried to keep his temper in check. He really, really did. Glancing over the side of the well, himself, the lingering scent of Kagome's tears assailed him once more, and he lost what little control he had. “You thought what?” he bellowed.
“But I knew she wouldn't . . . the woman said that it isn't that easy, to give up your own child, and . . . I know Kagome wouldn't have taken her. I just . . . I just panicked.” Turning pleading eyes that were awash with more tears, Sango stared at InuYasha. “Please . . . can you bring her back?”
“Why? So you can hurt her again? Do you know how hard it's been for her to get past all that in the first place?” he screamed.
Miroku reached out to grab InuYasha's arm. “InuYasha, Sango's had difficulty with this, too. Perhaps they really do need to speak about it. All of it.”
“Well, hell, Miroku, that'll help,” InuYasha spat as he rounded on the monk.
“She chose to do this for us,” Miroku said calmly. “She knew—”
“She knew! She knew that the second she'd birthed the pup you both took her. Did either of you ask Kagome if she was okay? Did either of you look at Kagome? No, because you were both too busy arguing over a fucking name!”
“And how do you think it felt to see someone else give birth to my daughter? The daughter I wanted to give Miroku!” Sango interrupted. “How do you think it felt to see Kagome every day, growing larger and larger with the child that I couldn't carry?”
“All I fucking know is that if Kagome wanted her back, she'd never have given her to you, to start with!” he snarled. “So back the fuck off!”
“This isn't helping,” Miroku stated before either of the others could say more. “The point is, Sango overacted and admits as much, and there isn't a thing we can do, InuYasha. This really needs to be between Sango and Kagome.”
InuYasha hopped up onto the ledge and shook his head stubbornly. “I won't bring her back if she ain't willing,” he told them before he dropped into the darkness.
The time slip opened up as he fell. Sango sank down on the edge of the well and stifled a sob with the back of her hand. “Miroku . . . I'm sorry.”
Miroku set Marisaiko on her mother's lap before kneeling in front of Sango, wrapping his arms around them both. “You're human, Sango.”
“But she's my friend . . . and I . . .”
Miroku kissed her forehead. “And you're a mother, too. Protecting your child . . . that's what a mother does.”
“What if Kagome won't come back?” she whispered.
Miroku shook his head. “She will. She loves you. I think . . . I think she did this more for you than for me, because she loves you.”
Sango choked back more tears. “I feel so guilty, having these selfish thoughts . . .”
Miroku tilted her chin, forced her to look into his eyes as he smiled wanly. “For every guilty, selfish thought you've had, haven't you also been grateful, too?”
Sango nodded. “Yes, of course . . .”
Miroku sighed. “And don't you think that perhaps Kagome might have the same sort of thoughts, too?”
Sango nodded again. “I knew that woman was wrong . . . she said that I should be frightened that Kagome would try to take her back. I know in my heart that Kagome wouldn't do that, and yet . . . I was afraid.”
He caught her hand and pulled her to her feet. “Come, Sango. Let's go home. Waiting here isn't going to get them back any faster, and I'm sure that InuYasha will bring her. If Kagome is half the woman we know she is, she'll listen. It really is time for you both to come clean, you know?”
Sango sighed, leaning her head against Miroku's arm as he led her back toward the path. “You're right. How do you know so much?”
He chuckled softly. “Everything I know I learned from a beautiful youkai exterminator who stole my heart the first time she slapped me.”
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Final Thought fromKagome:
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.