InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Scrutiny ( Chapter 59 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Clean version of this chapter can be read here:
It seemed to InuYasha that everyone was conspiring against him, including Kagome.
Miroku's constant presence on the two day return trip had been enough distraction, in InuYasha's opinion. Even after they'd reached the village, he hadn't been able to get a moment alone with Kagome. If it wasn't Miroku showing up when he tried to steal a few minutes, it was one of the runt pups, and if it wasn't them, then it was Sango, who wanted Kagome's opinion on the tiny kimono she was sewing for Marisaiko. Then there was the old woman who insisted on having Kagome's input on festival preparations.
All in all, InuYasha was ready to shred every last one of them as his mood grew blacker and blacker.
He scowled as he stared over at the meadow, at the Bone Eater's Well. He'd sought the sanctuary of Goshinboku when Kagome returned to her time in an effort to get that shirt off. He was still of the opinion that she wasn't going to get the zipper undone without cutting off the blouse. Kagome still held out hope that she could unzip it. He snorted. Somehow he didn't figure the wench would put that particular bit of clothing on willingly, ever again.
Kaede had said that she wasn't sure about the stranger who had come looking for him. She said, though, that the man had a strange aura, like he wasn't quite alive. InuYasha wasn't sure what that meant, but he knew it couldn't be a good sign. If the man were connected to that butterfly bitch, he'd find out . . .
What did it mean? Who was the man? Sure, he could be Hisadaicho's lover, the man she'd left Old Seer to be with. But that didn't really make sense, either. If the man didn't have all of his soul, then how could he be the one telling Hisadaicho what to do?
Straightening up as his ears twitched, InuYasha narrowed his gaze as he inspected the surrounding forest. `That smell . . . I know that stench . . .'
Vaguely familiar, entirely unsettling . . . he shook his head and stared as the man stepped into view. Dressed like a samurai, he lumbered forward, head down, gaze fixed on the ground. Kaede had said that the man had a dead sort of pallor to his skin, vacant eyes. His black hair hung in oily tendrils, and he looked like he could benefit from both a bath as well as from a good meal. The sudden memory of Oro's wasted form flashed through InuYasha's mind, and he shook his head. The man below wasn't Oro, but there was something way too similar about the two men . . .
“I can smell him,” the man muttered as he searched around Goshinkboku. He never looked up. “InuYasha!” he called out. “Come out of hiding!”
InuYasha snorted as he hopped to his feet, as he dragged Tetsusaiga out of the scabbard and dropped from the branches of the tree. “Keh! I don't hide. Who the hell are you?”
A vague light in the man's gaze was the only change in expression. “So you're the half-breed InuYasha.”
“Tell me who the fuck you are,” InuYasha snarled again.
“My mistress calls me Iwazawa,” he mumbled as he stared at InuYasha's throat.
InuYasha frowned as the man stumbled forward. InuYasha brought Tetsusaiga up level with Iwazawa's chest. “You . . . you were born in that cave, weren't you? The same cave as Hisadaicho . . .”
The man shrugged indifferently as he ignored the sword trained on him. He lunged, moving deceptively fast. InuYasha hopped back to avoid the man's grasping hands.
Iwazawa drew his sword and gestured at InuYasha's chest. “Give me your talisman,” he growled.
InuYasha frowned. “My talisman? Never.”
Iwazawa grunted as he shot forward again. InuYasha swung Tetsusaiga. The warrior met the Fang with his own blade. Iwazawa held him off with one hand while the other reached out to swipe for the talisman. InuYasha shoved him away. The man slid across the dry forest floor. “You're strong, half-breed, but you're no match for me.”
“You're dreamin',” InuYasha snarled as he brought down his sword. “Kaze no Kizu!”
The Wind Scar flashed out in a violent wave. Iwazawa's eyes widened as he saw the blast coming. He disappeared in a flash of yellow-white light. InuYasha shielded his eyes against the blast. `Keh! How did he disappear? He wasn't youkai . . . what the hell is he?'
The forest was empty, and InuYasha was alone. Snorting in disgust as he dropped Tetsusaiga into the scabbard, he glared at the place where Iwazawa had stood. `Damn it!' Slowly, almost absently, InuYasha dragged the vial out of his undershirt and held it tight. `Why the hell did he want this? Unless . . .' InuYasha's thought trailed off as understanding dawned on him. Golden eyes darkening to an amber hue, he turned on his heel and stalked toward the well.
`Unless she wants it broken.'
It didn't make sense. Why would Hisadaicho want it destroyed? Surely she knew that the benefit of her toxin was still in effect. He still saw her as Kagome. Why else would it matter?
Myouga's cryptic assessment came back to him. `Breaking it could have no effect at all, or it could cause whatever it is you're trying to inhibit to become irreversible.'
So that was her plan . . . to break the vial so that he had no choice but to always see her as Kagome?
InuYasha snorted as he glanced over his shoulder. Satisfied that he sensed nothing out of the ordinary, he dropped into the well.
Kagome stared at her mother with a shocked expression. “I thought you'd be angry at me if I did that,” she admitted at last.
Mrs. Higurashi slid a pair of scissors across the table to her daughter. “I don't really think you have much of a choice, sweetheart, do you? You've worn that blouse over a week, and I daresay that you won't put it on again, even if you do get it off, right?”
Kagome sighed. “Well, not without making sure I was more careful, no,” she agreed. “I'm sorry, Mama.”
Mrs. Higurashi laughed. “Don't be, dear. I'll go draw a nice, hot bath for you, okay?”
“That'd be great . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi squeezed Kagome's shoulder as she hurried out of the kitchen to start that bath. Kagome got up and dragged the scissors off the table before she turned to follow her mother out of the room.
“Oi, wench, what the hell are you doing?” InuYasha grumbled as he jumped back away from the sharp point as she whirled around.
Kagome stifled a scream and shrank back against the table for support as she clutched her chest with her free hand. “InuYasha! Don't do that!”
He wrinkled up his nose into `The Pout' and crossed his arms stubbornly. “Keh! You're the one trying to stab me!”
“I was not! You sneaked up on me!”
“I see your lips flappin', Kagome, but I ain't hearing a sound,” he retorted.
“You're such a baka,” she shot back as she brushed past him and headed for the bathroom.
“You can't call me that,” he pointed out as he fell in step behind her.
“Thought you said you didn't hear a sound.”
“Anyway, I can call you that if you're being one.”
He snorted again.
“Go find something else to do, InuYasha. I'm going to take a bath.”
InuYasha grabbed her hand. “I come all this way to see you, and you're going to go hide in the bathroom?”
She shook her head and hid the smile that welled up in her. “All this way? You came through the well, InuYasha, not from China or something.”
“Five hundred years, wench, five hundred years.”
She glanced at her watch. “Five hundred years, huh? Well then I doubt another hour is going to hurt you.”
“An hour?” he blustered. “What the fuck takes an hour, wench?”
She grinned. “I haven't had a decent bath in a week, InuYasha. These things take time.” She leaned toward him and sniffed before wrinkling her nose. “You could use a bath, yourself, dog-boy,” she pointed out.
His mouth dropped open as he stared at her. “What? I don't need a—Oi! Are you saying I stink?” he bellowed.
Her giggle escalated into a full-blown laugh as she hurried away from him and closed the bathroom door. Seconds later, he heard the distinct sound of the lock clicking into place, and he screwed his face up in the darkest glower he could manage, trying to hide his bruised pride. “See if I ever come to visit you again, Kagome!” he hollered before he grudgingly sniffed. `Do I stink?' He grimaced. `Keh! Wench! Just you wait, Kagome . . . just you wait . . .'
“InuYasha, is something wrong?”
InuYasha shifted his gaze to the side to eye Mrs. Higurashi. “No,” he grumbled.
She didn't look like she believed him. “Are you sure?”
He snorted. “Yes, I'm sure.” With a sigh, his ears drooped a little, and he shrugged. “Do I . . . do I stink?”
Mrs. Higurashi looked confused for a moment as she sniffed in his direction. Shaking her head as her frown deepened, she blinked quickly. “No . . . are you supposed to?”
InuYasha didn't answer as he strode toward the bathroom door. Pounding on it with his fist, he was rewarded when he heard Kagome's soft gasp and the sudden splash of water. “Oi! Your mother said I don't stink!” he informed her—loudly.
“Your lips are flappin' but I can't hear a sound,” Kagome called back.
InuYasha snorted, planting his hands on either side of the door frame. `So . . . wench thinks she can beat me, does she? Keh!'
And he settled down to wait.
`Kami . . . how long does it take to wash her scrawny body?' he grumbled to himself as he restrained the urge to drum his claws against the doorframe. `There ain't that much of her to wash, damn it!'
“InuYasha, do you want to wait in the living room?” Mrs. Higurashi asked as she stared at the immobile hanyou.
“Nope,” he answered without taking his eyes off the door.
Mrs. Higurashi nodded slowly. “All right . . . I need to go to the store and run a few errands . . . can you two watch the shrine for me while I'm gone?”
Taking that as his agreement, Mrs. Higurashi slowly turned to go. “Souta should be home soon,” she informed him, “and if you're hungry, there's ramen in the cupboard.”
InuYasha nodded once as he glowered at the door.
An ungodly racket erupted in the bathroom, and InuYasha made a face, rolling his eyes as the noise registered. `She's drying her hair? Oh for the love of kami . . . Wench!'
Trouble was, InuYasha had never been the most patient being on earth. Kagome's insistence on trying what little patience he had, though . . . that was uncalled-for. Before he could think out the consequences, he slammed his fist into the door, smacking it wide open. Kagome shrieked and dropped the dryer. It shut itself off when it hit the marble countertop and fell to the floor.
The first thing he noticed was that she was only wearing one of those fluffy pink towels she liked so much. The second thing he noticed was how provocative her mussed hair was. The third thing was the spike in her scent as he deliberately strode toward her.
“See what happens when you take too fucking long?” he growled as he dragged her close. Her response was cut off by his lips on hers, a searing kiss meant to tell her in no uncertain terms just why he'd followed her home.
“Mama,” she murmured between kisses as she gave a token effort to pull away from him.
“Errands,” he growled as he nipped at her lips to shut her up. A violent tremor ran through her as she collapsed against him.
“G-grandpa . . . ?”
Her acquiescence came in the form of a half-sigh, half-giggle, and she leaned closer to him, squeezing handfuls of his haori in her fists.
“You . . . we . . . shouldn't . . .” she mumbled as his lips trailed down her jaw, along her throat. Her head fell back despite her protests, and she moaned softly.
“Shut up, wench,” he complained as his fangs grazed over the fluttering pulse in her neck.
“ . . . Okay,” she agreed as her knees buckled. If he hadn't already been supporting her, she would have fallen.
Lingering kisses against her damp skin, the balm of the bathroom air seemed to cloud his mind and drive away his reason, his sanity. Her soft moans, her quiet whimpers, her sighs, her ragged breaths all seemed to flow together, to combine into a river of sensation, a deluge of instinct and reaction. Her hands tangled into his hair, her body wrapped around his as he lifted her, set her on the counter, nudged her knees apart and dragged her flush against him.
One arm snaked around her waist, he used his free hand to support her head, to lift her face as his lips returned to hers. Searching, feeling, discovering her secrets as her body ignited in a fire that spread through her into him, a fracturing consciousness, a combustion of heat and light. Her hands sank into his hair, her aura engulfed his senses as her being surrendered to him. He'd never known her to keep anything from him, and she laid bare her soul to him, her heart, her mind, her body. A combination of desire and yearning thundered through him, goaded him. His youkai fought with his humanity, the need to have her was a frightening thing, the wish to love her tinged with something wholly primitive.
“InuYasha . . . I want . . .”
His growl silenced her, and he reveled in the tremors of her body. Kisses lengthening , deepening, bleeding from one sensation into another, he let his hand drop to her knee, gently trailed his claws up the outside of her thigh as she scooted forward, pressing herself closer, closer. Her scent shifted, ever-changing, invading the very recesses of his mind as the rush of passion goaded him.
She untangled her fingers from his hair to hesitantly push at his haori, his undershirt. Hands kneading flesh, he gasped as she touched him. Hurried yet gentle, trembling and hesitant, she didn't stop as she nudged his clothing aside to stroke his skin, to press her palm over his heart.
Lured by the heat emanating from her, his fingers edged closer to that part of her, the part that breathed fire, that promised him everything he'd ever dreamed of, everything he'd ever wanted. Her body understood, arched toward him. The wetness on his fingers, on her thighs, the scent that permeated his mind . . .
Pulling her lips away from his only to press kisses on his chest, InuYasha was the one to tremble, to shudder under her touch. She traced the vales, the slight hollows of him with her lips, with her teeth, with her tongue. Her mouth was hungry, lavishing him with sultry open-mouthed kisses. Her hand slipped lower, hesitantly brushing over him as he gasped, as he growled, only to return with more pressure when he leaned toward her hand. The fabric that separated them was almost too much to endure. The heat of her palm stung him, and yet he needed so much more.
Shaking fingers rubbed against her, against that part of her that was silently calling out to him. Her body stiffened, quaked, a culmination of liquid ardor and energy that propelled him closer. The absolute sensation, the silken skin, the beauty of her heat, of her very essence, the central ache that tormented him as he touched her, as he urged a gentle finger into her . . . her body cried out for him as an detonation deep inside her wrung the softest cry from her.
A dull slam echoed through the house. In his dazed state, it took a moment for InuYasha's mind to comprehend it.
“Mama? Grandpa? I'm home!”
Kagome gasped as she sat up straight, her face flushed bright pink though whether it was because of what they'd been doing or because of the shock of hearing her brother's voice, InuYasha wasn't sure. He jerked his hand away from her and quickly pulled her towel into place before spinning to face the door, and a very puzzled-looking Souta.
“What are you two doing in here?” he asked slowly, staring from InuYasha to Kagome then back again. Souta's eyes narrowed at the matching red faces, and he shook his head. “Kami, Kagome . . . don't you have a bedroom for that?”
Kagome gasped again as her face deepened in color. “Souta, you little brat! It wasn't like that!” she insisted. “I . . . I . . . I had something in my eye!”
Souta snorted. “And InuYasha needed to take his shirt off to get it, huh? Nice try, sis. You can't lie to save your life, can you?”
She stared in shock as Souta turned and trudged off.
InuYasha didn't even trust himself to speak. On the one hand, he wanted to run after Souta and make him promise not to tell a living soul what he'd almost seen, even if it meant beating the promise out of him. On the other, the acute embarrassment was a difficult thing to swallow, coupled by the fact that his body was not getting the hint that he'd not be getting a chance to pick up where they'd left off . . . `Damn it . . . I'm fucking doomed . . .'
Without a word, InuYasha straightened his shirts and headed for the door.
“InuYasha? Where are you—-?”
He sighed. “You said I stink, wench, remember?” he reminded her tersely. “Just . . . hurry back, all right?”
Kagome didn't reply as he jerked open the bathroom window and hopped outside. Two words kept racing through his mind as he sprinted for the well house.
`Cold . . . bath . . .'
Kagome stepped out of the overheated hut with a heavy sigh. To her surprise, InuYasha hadn't been anywhere to be found when she'd returned to Sengoku Jidai a few hours later, and as evening fell and night approached, he still hadn't returned. No one had seen him, either, and that was even stranger.
Peeking up at the rising moon, Kagome shook her head. `InuYasha . . . where are you?'
Still she could sense him near, and that was even more perplexing.
Turning suddenly as she glanced up at the roof, she didn't miss the flash of silvery hair that ducked behind the edge, out of sight. “Why are you hiding up there?” she asked quietly.
He didn't answer.
Kagome stared at the roof for several moments before nodding in resignation. “Have it your way, InuYasha . . . I'll be inside, when you're ready to shake the vial.”
InuYasha waited until he heard the bamboo mat slip back into place before he scooted forward and peeked over the side of the roof. Ears flattening against his head, he couldn't help the soft whine that escaped as Kagome's scent came to him.
`Baka! InuYasha no baka,' he hissed at himself as he scowled into the night. `Stupid, weak, pathetic . . . How could I do such a thing?'
And he hadn't been able to face Kagome, afterward . . .
“So there you are . . . we've been looking for you all day.”
InuYasha peeked over the side of the roof again to stare at Miroku. “I ain't coming inside,” he grumbled.
Miroku shrugged as he climbed atop the covered rain barrel and hiked himself up onto the roof. “Want to tell me what's bothering you?”
InuYasha snorted as he wrapped his arms tighter around Tetsusaiga. “Keh. Not particularly.”
“You know . . . Kagome is an interesting woman. You know, she was blushing horribly when Sango asked if you'd gone to her time to get her.”
InuYasha snorted again.
“Did something . . . happen . . . in her time? Something you want to talk about?”
InuYasha made a face. “Thought I said no already.”
Miroku's violet eyes seemed almost black in the moonlight as he leveled a no-nonsense look at the hanyou. “Come on, InuYasha. Give me some credit. I'm not completely stupid. Why don't you just tell me what happened because Kagome's quite upset. I think she believes whatever is bothering you is her fault.”
He winced. “It wasn't her,” he grumbled. “Not really, anyway . . .”
“I can be a fairly decent listener,” Miroku commented when InuYasha trailed off.
InuYasha shook his head slowly. “It's stupid.”
“Stupid, perhaps . . . but if it's bothering you, you should get it out of your system.”
“I . . . it don't matter.”
Miroku nodded slowly, deliberately checking a few shingles to see if they were loose. “InuYasha . . . how . . . close . . . are you and Kagome these days?”
“Have you . . . kissed her? Even just a peck on the cheek?”
InuYasha shrugged and snorted.
Miroku nodded again. “Anything more than . . . a peck on the cheek?”
InuYasha shrugged, snorted, and dug his claws into a shingle.
“I see.” Taking his time and measuring his words carefully, Miroku made a mental note that he was going to have to replace the shingle in InuYasha's claws before he went on. “So this . . . more than a peck on the cheek . . . happened at Kagome's home?”
InuYasha shrugged, snorted, and shattered the shingle into a million splinters of wood.
“And that's why you are avoiding everyone now?”
“Keh! No!” InuYasha snarled then snapped his mouth closed as heat stole up his features.
Miroku shook his head in confusion. “Bear with me, InuYasha . . . I really don't know what your trouble is, then . . . did Kagome not care for . . . something?”
He grunted a little and quickly looked away as another shingle bit the dust under his claws.
Eyebrows lifting, Miroku wisely hid his grin. “Did she like it . . . too much?”
Another shingle crumbled.
“InuYasha . . . I have to say that having a woman enjoy your attentions is more than half the battle . . . are you sure you're not just overreacting?”
That earned him a scathing glare as shingle number four was destroyed.
“What stopped you?”
For a moment, Miroku didn't think that InuYasha was going to answer him. Glaring off into the distance, the hanyou drew himself up proudly even as his ears flattened against his head, as an almost imperceptible dropping of his shoulders attested his very real upset. “Souta.”
Miroku winced. “Oh . . . that can't have been good,” he agreed.
InuYasha shook his head but didn't volunteer more information.
“So . . . you came back, right? Where were you?”
“. . . Swimming.”
Understanding dawned on him, and Miroku sighed as he reached over to clap InuYasha's shoulder. “Happens to the best of us, InuYasha. Don't take it so seriously. It proves we're human . . . err, half human.”
InuYasha shook his head again as his face shifted into the look Kagome had long since dubbed `The Pout'.
“That wasn't all of it, was it?” Miroku asked, struggling to keep his tone neutral.
The fifth shingle was rendered useless under the hanyou's destructive claws. Miroku figured he'd better get to the root of InuYasha's problem if he hoped to keep a roof over his family's heads.
“Was it . . . too late . . . for the swim to help?”
InuYasha snorted again as he avoided Miroku's stare.
Miroku winced as he drew his own conclusion. “And that troubles you.”
InuYasha finally met Miroku's eyes, his frown tinged with a hint of guilt. He opened his mouth to say something but couldn't figure out what to say. Snapping his jaw closed with a sigh, InuYasha looked away again.
“Would it matter to you if I told you that I've had to . . . do that . . . myself?” Miroku finally asked, trying to keep his own blush at bay.
Golden eyes flashed to meet his, flaring wide as InuYasha blinked in surprise. Despite the rising color in his cheeks, InuYasha shook his head. “I dishonored her,” he mumbled.
Miroku shrugged. “I doubt that,” he replied lightly. “Not that I'm saying you should tell her, but I'm sure that Kagome wouldn't see it the same way.”
InuYasha didn't look like he agreed. His derisive snort backed that opinion.
“Physical bodies have needs, InuYasha, and as much as you'd like to think that it isn't true, it is. Even yours.”
The expression on InuYasha's face told the story. A lifetime of being called filthy, disgusting, dirty . . . and this on top of it all . . . Miroku sat back and shrugged. “She never has believed any of those things,” he remarked quietly as he scooted toward the edge of the roof again. “You can either learn to accept that or you can't. If you don't, though, it'll make it that much harder on Kagome when you keep pushing her away. Just . . . think about that, InuYasha. You and she both deserve to be happy.” He dropped back down onto the rain barrel then hopped onto the ground. “As for me . . . I'm exhausted . . . and you should get some rest, too. The children are looking forward to the festivities tomorrow.”
InuYasha made a face and hopped down off the roof behind Miroku.
Miroku grinned. “Goshinboku, right?”
“I'll send Kagome out. You two might as well just move into the tree . . . but if you decide to build her a house up there, I am not helping you build it.”
InuYasha frowned as Miroku headed back inside. `Build her a house . . . ? Would she . . . want that?' He shook his head. What if she didn't want to stay here, in the past? Would he really be willing to live in her time? Would they have to choose?
`One thing at a time, baka. Concentrate. You've got to deal with Hisadaicho first, no matter what, and Kagome . . . ?' He winced. He had a feeling that he couldn't wait for her.
She stepped out of the hut with a soft rustle as the bamboo mat fell back into place behind her. Smiling shyly, she pulled the vial out of his shirt and shook it as Shippou stumbled out of the hut, too. InuYasha cast the kitsune a questioning glance. Kagome made a face. “He wanted to come with us, just for tonight,” she explained as Shippou hopped up onto InuYasha's shoulder.
InuYasha restrained a sigh before taking Kagome's hand and leading her toward the forest.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought fromInuYasha:
The next personwho interrupts will die…
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.