InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Clearing the Air ( Chapter 56 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Clearing the Air~
InuYasha flattened his ears as Kagome walked beside him toward the well house. She wouldn't even look at him and had barely spoken more than a sentence in the few hours since he had felt safe enough to emerge from her bedroom.
`Stupid! Baka! She'll never talk to me again; me and my fucking hentai dreams . . . how could I forget to shake that damn bottle?”
“You sure you want to go back now?” InuYasha grumbled as they entered the well-house. “You could come back later.”
She sighed. “No, I . . . I need to talk to Sango.”
“Why would she think you were trying to run off with the pup?” InuYasha couldn't help but ask.
Kagome shrugged. “I took her back to change her, and I didn't hear Sango call after me. Even when I told her I was just taking her back to Miroku . . .”
InuYasha scowled as she sat down on the edge of the well and flipped her feet over the side. A small voice in the back of his head told him not to leave her alone. He shook his head. After last night, his presence would only make things worse, and he knew it.
He didn't say anything else as they dropped into the well. Both studiously avoided the others' gaze as the time slip opened up around them. The couple of times that he thought he felt her gaze on him, he must have been mistaken because when he looked at her, she was staring up or down, to one side or the other but she never looked directly at him.
By the time his feet hit the cool, packed earth in Sengoku Jidai, the silence was as thick as a fog. When Kagome headed for the ladder instead of letting him carry her out of the well, he winced. Indecision kept him from reaching for her, and by the time he thought to do it, she was already halfway up the ladder.
Stifling a groan as he lit on the ground outside the well only to come face to face with both Sango and Miroku with Marisaiko in his arms, InuYasha schooled his features as the monk divided his quizzical glance between InuYasha and Kagome as the latter nearly tumbled out of the well.
“Kagome, I'm glad you came back,” Sango murmured as a flush brightened her cheeks. “Can we . . . talk?”
Kagome nodded once and hitched the backpack up as she fell into step behind Sango, heading toward Goshinboku.
InuYasha started to follow. Miroku cleared his throat. “Perhaps it'd be best to let them clear the air by themselves,” he suggested. Though he wasn't inclined to agree, InuYasha folded his arms together stubbornly and rotated to face the monk. “They've needed to do this for awhile,” Miroku went on as he sank down in the grass. Marisaiko shrieked happily as the breeze tugged on her bonnet.
InuYasha didn't answer. Turning to glower at the clearing, his ears twitched as he sniffed the air. The women had stopped near Goshinboku, he could tell. He could also tell that Shippou and Ichisaru were heading toward the well, probably in hopes of getting more treats from Kagome.
“I thought maybe you'd come back last night,” Miroku commented. “Sango feels horrible about the things she thought about Kagome. She didn't sleep well last night.”
InuYasha snorted. “And you think Kagome did?”
Miroku shook his head. “I didn't say that.”
“Look, Miroku, I won't let anyone hurt Kagome like that, Sango included.”
Miroku's gaze narrowed as a small smile surfaced on his features. “You love her, don't you?”
InuYasha felt his face heat up as he straightened his back. “Keh!” he scoffed as Miroku chuckled.
“I'm sorry,” Sango said quietly as Kagome wandered around Goshinboku, idly running her fingertips along the bark.
Kagome stopped, glancing at Sango with a sad smile touching her lips. “You don't have to be sorry. You were protecting your daughter. I understand.”
Sango winced and shook her head quickly. “That's just it . . . she's your . . . she's your daughter, too.”
Kagome closed her eyes as her chin dropped. “She's not. She . . . she never really was.” With a sigh, Kagome stared at the memorial garden.
“I knew you'd never try to take her from me,” Sango explained, her voice tinged with sadness. “I knew it, but I . . . I doubted you.” Sinking down next to the newly forming buds, she touched the thick, waxy blades of the lilies with a tender finger. “That woman . . . she knew that Mari wasn't mine. She said she had the gift of sight, and she knew that Mari's mother . . . you . . . are a miko.” Drawing a deep, ragged breath, Sango shrugged and let her hand fall away from the plants. “She said that it wouldn't matter, that we were friends . . . that you would seek to reclaim her.”
Kagome dropped to her knees beside Sango, hesitantly slipped an arm around her shoulders. “Sango . . . you know I wouldn't do that . . . I didn't have her for me. I had her for you, and for Miroku.”
Sango wiped at the tears that slid down her cheeks. “You've been so kind to us, and I—”
“I haven't,” Kagome admitted quietly. “I was so angry, at first . . . I didn't want to give her up, and I . . . I was ashamed. I thought I didn't have the right to feel that way because I chose it, but . . . but I'm not a saint, and I'm not special. I'm not even particularly kind all the time. I just wanted you and Miroku to be happy, and after seeing how happy Marisaiko makes you, and how happy you both make her . . . I know in my heart I did the right thing, even if it does still hurt sometimes.”
Sango sniffled and nodded. “I was so jealous of you when you were pregnant. I wanted so badly, to be the one to give birth to Miroku's child, and I felt like I was dishonoring you, what you were trying to do for us. Sometimes, when I looked at you when you were pregnant . . . when I saw how gentle InuYasha was with you . . . I thought that was how it should have been, for Miroku and me.”
Kagome offered her a thin laugh. “Sad, aren't we? Each of us was jealous of things that the other had, and neither of us were willing to say.” Kagome leaned forward, hands on her knees as she stared at her friend. “I promise, Sango . . . I don't want to take your daughter from you. I just want to be a part of her life, whatever part you'll let me have.”
Sango smiled, weak and watery and altogether brilliant, despite that. “Miroku and I have always wanted you to be a part of her life, Kagome, and a part of ours, too.”
Kagome sighed. “This is nice. It seems like forever, since we've had a long talk.”
Sango nodded her agreement as a slight shadow fell over her expression.
“What is it?”
“That woman . . . every time I think about her, I swear I've seen her somewhere before, but I can't remember where.”
Kagome considered that for a moment then shrugged. “It'll come back to you, right? Things do that to me, when I stop thinking about it.”
Sango didn't look convinced. Finally she shrugged. “You're probably right. I'm just thinking about it too hard.” Tugging idly at a weed, Sango tossed it away and glanced at Kagome again. “Strange, though. You and InuYasha didn't hear anything about the youkai that attacked her and her escorts?”
Kagome shook her head. “Nope, not a thing.”
Shaking herself, Sango stood up and brushed off her skirt as Kagome got up, too. “Maybe the youkai moved on,” Sango surmised as they headed back toward the meadow and the well.
“Sure, they could have,” Kagome agreed as they stepped out of the trees.
“Kagome!” Shippou hollered as he tore toward her with Ichisaru close on his heels. “Did you bring me pocky?”
Kagome giggled and shrugged off her backpack to dig out two boxes of strawberry pocky for Shippou and two boxes of banana pocky for Ichisaru. Squealing happily, the youngsters ran off with their bounty as Sango and Kagome watched their retreat.
`Why is she allowing me this happiness?'
Staring across the garden as Rin wandered through the foliage of spring flowers and sakura trees, Kagura sighed.
She watched the sun rise every morning through the expansive windows of the master chamber. The sky would darken to black just before the sun peeked over the horizon. The reds and purples gave way to golden yellows and pinks as the orb slowly rose. Sesshoumaru would give her that tiny smile as his gaze glowed with the intensity of the new morning.
He accompanied her wherever she wanted to go, always saying that it pleased him to do so, and this, she knew to be true. He gave up his fangs so that old Master Totosai to create new wind fans for her. True they grew back in a day. Still it had been a sacrifice for the proud Sesshoumaru, a concession he made for her. He sat with her in silence for hours, waiting for the sunset, and for every moment that she allowed herself to feel such happiness, she knew deep down that it was to be too short-lived.
`I will fight her! She cannot win! I won't allow her to destroy him!'
Lifting her chin defiantly, Kagura strengthened her resolve. She didn't know how she could do it, but she had to try.
If she knew how Hisadaicho had forced her will upon this body, perhaps she could break it. How to do that when the body would not do anything to go against Hisadaicho's wishes? There were moments when she couldn't even say the things that were truly on her mind. Telling Sesshoumaru wouldn't work. She'd already tried.
`It doesn't matter . . . I'll find a way.'
“So you're saying there's nothing we can do about the toxin,” InuYasha asked to clarify. He and Kagome were sitting in Kaede's hut, just the three of them. When InuYasha told Kaede that he needed to talk to her, Kaede had sent the children to gather herbs in the forest while Miroku and Sango readied themselves for a sojourn to the youkai exterminators' village. Sango wanted to introduce Marisaiko to her family's grave sites, and though she'd asked Kagome to come along, Kagome had declined.
Kaede nodded slowly. “Aye, InuYasha. I've told ye all I know on the matter.”
Kagome stared into the low flames in the fire pit. “Old Seer said that Hisadaicho used to be a human girl, her apprentice. Is there any chance she could be reminded about her past?”
“If ye are asking if there is a way to bring back the girl she was, I doubt it. Ye saw for yourselves. Naraku did the same, did he not?”
Kagome sighed, shoulders slouching in defeat. “I just thought, maybe, if there was still some good in her heart . . .”
“If this girl of whom ye speak had a pure heart, she would have had to be twisted and tainted to become what she is now. The innocence of the girl she was must be long gone.”
“Old Seer said something about a man, that Hisadaicho left her to go to him. If this man did something to her . . . brainwashed her into wanting to do this, that means . . .” Kagome added.
InuYasha seemed to catch onto what Kagome had been mulling over. “So if we find this sick bastard we might be able to stop her, after all.” He stood up suddenly and stalked toward the door. “What are you waiting for, wench? Come on.”
Kagome rolled her eyes but got up to follow him. “Thanks, Kaede,” she called over her shoulder as she let the bamboo mat fall back into place behind her. “InuYasha, it's almost night . . . shouldn't we wait till morning? Do you have any idea where we're even going?”
“I'll figure it out,” he assured her, his voice rife with confidence as he headed toward the forest path.
“Oh, you will, will you?”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh! Of course I will!” He stopped suddenly and shot her a quick look. She frowned at the hint of doubt in his gaze. “Kagome . . . do you . . . do you want to come with me? I could . . . I could leave you in your time, if you don't . . .”
She winced. Though she had tried hard to hide her embarrassment and to act like she hadn't seen a thing, it was blatantly obvious to her that he knew better, and she felt her cheeks pinking. If it were up to her, she'd run and hide as memories of what he'd been doing crossed her mind. The tinge of fear in the depths of his eyes that she knew he was trying to hide made her stay where she was. “I thought you said I can't be out of your sight,” she countered lightly.
A few seconds passed, and he finally nodded, the fear dissipating as a flicker of warmth replaced it. “That's right, I did, didn't I? Pathetic human.”
She smiled. “This pathetic human should stop in at home before we go. I need to grab a few more things, if we're going to be gone a while.”
He looked like he was ready to argue. Kagome cut him off. “You're also nearly out of ramen. I forgot to grab more this morning.”
His ears twitched. “I suppose it wouldn't hurt to go back,” he allowed grudgingly.
Kagome giggled as he pulled her onto his back and sprinted toward the well.
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Final Thought fromSueric:
Happy fucking birthday to ME ::grumbling::
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.