InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Blood Test ( Chapter 65 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“I can't believe he left me behind!” Kagome fumed as she yanked a weed out of Sango's fledgling vegetable garden. InuYasha and Miroku had been gone for three days now, and she really had no idea when he'd be back. “First he says I should go home, then he says I should stay, then he says that I'm not coming with him? Baka!”
Sango judiciously hid her smile as she adjusted Marisaiko's bonnet. “It shouldn't take them long,” she offered, trying to console the irritated miko.
Kagome turned her head to the side just in time to avoid a shower of dirt as she tugged a particularly stubborn weed loose. “He just doesn't make sense, ever. I swear he's trying to drive me crazy.”
“I'm sure he had his reasons for not wanting you to go with him,” Sango replied. “Maybe he thinks it'd be too dangerous.”
“I've been in more dangerous situations with him, like battling Naraku,” Kagome pointed out. “He's just being . . . InuYasha.”
“It is strange, though,” Sango agreed. “Normally he doesn't let you out of his sight.”
Kagome shrugged. “Maybe he thinks I'll be okay here.”
Marisaiko fussed quietly in her little basket. Sango lifted her out as the infant sucked on her fist hungrily. “Kagome? Can you hold her while I go get her bottle?”
Kagome hopped up and brushed off her hands. “I'll get it.” Running inside the hut, she quickly washed her hands before dumping powdered formula into a plastic bottle with enough water to shake it before adding enough water to fill the bottle. By the time she ran back outside, Marisaiko was red in the face and screeching, her tiny body stiff as she wound up for an all-out temper tantrum.
Quickly handing over the bottle, Kagome knelt beside Sango and watched with a smile as Marisaiko stopped crying as quickly as she started. Catching the smile on Kagome's face, Sango grinned. “Would you like to feed her, Kagome?”
Her smile faded as she shrugged. “It's fine, Sango. I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to interfere. Besides, she's happy where she is, with her mama.”
Sango nodded slowly. “I trust you with her. I'm so ashamed of what I thought . . .”
Kagome waved off Sango's concern. “She'll always be special to me, Sango. I understand. I'd probably worry, too, if I were you.”
“It was unfair to you. I know you're not like that, Kagome.”
Kagome waved off Sango's concern as she dug into her backpack and pulled out a tube of Chap Stick. She smeared it on her lip and held the tube out. Sango leaned forward and let Kagome apply it while Marisaiko continued her meal. “Do you think they'll find any answers?”
Kagome shrugged as she dropped the Chap Stick back into her bag. “I don't know, but I'm surprised InuYasha didn't want to go right after Hisadaicho again . . .”
“But he still sees her as you, doesn't he? He can't touch her, so long as she hides behind her toxin, can he?”
Kagome's back stiffened for a moment as she realized what she'd almost admitted. Sango didn't notice Kagome's discomfort. “Maybe he can beat her now,” Kagome hedged.
“Really? Does he have a new plan of attack?”
“Uh . . . sure . . . something like that.”
Sango turned her head to stare at Kagome with a slight frown. “Kagome? You sound strange.”
“Strange?” Kagome echoed. “Me?”
Sango's suspicious look darkened even more. “Is something the matter?”
Kagome checked her watch and forced a laugh. “Oh, look at the time! Can you believe it? I totally forgot that I promised Mama I'd, umm . . . have dinner with the family tonight! Gotta run! Bye, Sango!” she called, waving over her shoulder as she ran toward the forest trail.
`That was close . . . I almost slipped!'
Dropping to a walk, Kagome shook her head. She could understand how difficult it was for him to admit that they were together since he'd lived most of his life alone. Reluctant for the teasing that he would probably get from Miroku as well as the idea that he'd spent the better portion of his life as a cast-out, Kagome couldn't really blame him for that. What bothered her, though, was that he'd left her here with Sango. The youkai exterminator was one of the most perceptive people Kagome knew. If she stayed here, it'd be only a matter of time before Sango knew the entire story, and then InuYasha would have no one to blame but himself. Kagome wrinkled her nose as she strode along the sun-dappled path. `Fine, then, InuYasha. I'll just go home and wait there . . .'
Claws ripping through the air, InuYasha ripped through a horde of rat youkai as Miroku unleashed a handful of Ofuda. The rats screeched as the papers struck them, dissolving the rats in flashes of light.
InuYasha landed in a squat and slowly stood up. “Keh! Pathetic.”
Miroku lifted his hand perpendicular to his face and bowed his head in a silent moment of prayer. “They were quite weak.”
“I meant you and your fucking papers,” InuYasha grumbled as he stared at the scattered remains of the rats. “If you can't learn how to use a real weapon, what good are you?”
“I am but a simple man, InuYasha, and monks are not encouraged to learn such skills.”
“You ain't a monk any more,” InuYasha pointed out.
“True, true . . . however, just because I am not a practicing monk doesn't mean that I should turn away from the teachings.”
InuYasha shook his head. “Useless.”
Miroku laughed. “Not entirely.”
Though he looked like he wanted to argue, the hanyou snorted instead. “Anyway, I don't get it. Those rats seemed like they're running away from something.”
“Yes, they did.” Miroku nodded slowly as he jammed the end of his Shakuju into the ground and adjusted the rosary beads he still wore over his hand.
InuYasha frowned as he watched the monk's action. “Why do you still wear that? The kazaana disappeared long ago.”
Miroku shrugged and grinned sheepishly as he pulled the beads off his hand to let the glove fall open and stared at the unblemished flesh. “Habit, I suppose . . . a reminder of the things I might never have had.”
Nodding slowly, InuYasha kicked the corpse of a dead rat youkai. The kazaana had been a part of Miroku for so long he probably had trouble remembering that it wasn't there anymore. “Come on, monk. I want to get back to the village before dark.”
Miroku jerked the Shakuju out of the earth and fell into step beside InuYasha. “You miss her that much, do you?”
“Keh. I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“Right, InuYasha. Keep telling yourself that.”
“Shut up, monk.”
Miroku laughed. “Ah, InuYasha, you bring such amusement to my life.”
“You're such a pain in my ass,” InuYasha growled.
The ex-monk suddenly turned serious as he glanced back at the slain youkai, corpses already shriveling in the sunshine. “If it were one or two incidences, it wouldn't be so strange,” he remarked as they kept walking. “This resurgence of youkai is just . . . it doesn't seem right.”
InuYasha nodded his agreement. Even the rats they'd just taken care of had seemed rushed, as though they were simply trying to get out of the way of something far more menacing.
They had given up their effort to figure out why the youkai were behaving so strangely. None of the people in the outlying villages had any idea what was going on with the youkai, though they all claimed that there had been quite a few incidences in the past week. The headman in one of the villages asked that they bring Kagome to purify the area in hopes that the youkai would bypass them.
InuYasha snorted, voicing his doubt over the headman's request. “Keh. Is it even possible to purify the area? Barriers, maybe, but what he's asking . . .”
Miroku shrugged. “She might be able to do it. She may be untrained but she is probably the most powerful miko alive. If anyone could do it, she could.”
For some reason, that didn't sit well with InuYasha at all.
Walking in silence awhile longer, InuYasha scowled. `Kagome might be that strong spiritually, but . . . but that don't explain why the youkai are acting like that, like they know something's gonna happen . . . but what?' He shook his head as he glanced up at the sky, sniffing the air as the undercurrent of something dark seeped into his conscious again.
Miroku noticed and narrowed his eyes as he watched InuYasha's reactions. “Something bothering you?”
InuYasha shook his head. “Nope.” Jamming his hands up his sleeves, he walked along, staring at the ground with a thoughtful frown. A sudden sense of emptiness swept through him, and InuYasha stopped. It felt as though a part of him had become unreachable, as though it had completely disappeared.
Golden eyes flaring wide as absolute understanding swept over him, InuYasha lengthened his stride. He didn't like the distance, not one little bit. `What the . . . ? Kagome . . . ? Why do I feel like Kagome is . . . gone?'
Jerked out of his reverie as Miroku gripped the hanyou's shoulder, InuYasha shifted his gaze to the monk and winced inwardly at the open concern in his friend's face. “What?” he grumbled.
Miroku's brow furrowed as he stared at InuYasha. “Is something wrong?”
InuYasha shrugged off Miroku's hand and started walking again. “Ain't nothing,” he growled. Glancing down, he made a face when he saw the talisman hanging on the outside of his haori. Quickly tucking it away, he shook his head as he stubbornly ignored Miroku's questioning looks.
Remembering Kagome's happy outburst by the well, he stifled a sigh. At the time he'd been thinking that she'd be safer in her own time, and that was the reason he wanted her to go. He had felt the underlying threat in the air, too, and though he didn't know why, his instincts had demanded that Kagome was not safe. He couldn't bring himself to give voice to the worries that cut him deep. The danger that he sensed, the warning in the wind . . . something was coming, and it wanted Kagome.
`Over my fucking dead body,' InuYasha thought with an inward snort. `Nothing will touch her, not while I'm alive . . .'
The fleeting memory of her sparkling eyes as she launched herself into his arms nearly made him groan. She'd been so thrilled by the idea that he didn't want her to go back to her time, and he had to admit that her happiness made him happy, too. `Admit it. You love having me around.'
He sighed. Yeah, he loved having her around. He also loved knowing that she was safe, and that was the main reason he'd thought to send her home, in the first place—until she mentioned breaking the toxin. With her reminder had come the one thing he'd forgotten. Kagome couldn't go home, not without the talisman being rendered ineffective. That was the reason he'd kept her from going back. That was the reason he'd stopped her. That she believed that he just didn't want to be away from her . . . He sighed. True enough, he didn't like it when she was out of his sight. The need to keep her safe, though, was far more important than his own feelings of inadequacy that maybe this time, he wouldn't be able to see to her protection.
He wrinkled his nose. `Keh! I'll keep her safe, damn it. She's my mate, my responsibility . . . and I'll find a way to get rid of the toxin, too . . .'
Trouble was, he wasn't sure how long he could keep the truth about the toxin from her. She wasn't stupid. Eventually she'd figure out that he was still forced to shake the vial every night, and when she did . . . Damn it. He didn't even want to think about her reaction to that . . .
“You know, InuYasha, if something is troubling you, it's better to get it off your chest than to keep it all inside,” Miroku prodded.
“It's like this every time,” he pointed out. “I ask you what's wrong, you tell me it's nothing; I press the issue, you get irritated; I say something wise, and you break down and tell me anyway. Why don't we just cut out that middle portion, and you can tell me what's bothering you then?”
InuYasha made a face at Miroku's much-too-accurate assessment. “That ain't how it goes! You annoy the fuck out of me, I tell you to shut the hell up; you say you're sorry when you ain't, I try to beat the shit out of you; you hide behind Kagome, I try to kill you.”
“And then Kagome `osuwari's you . . . or at least she used to.”
“Keh. Bet you miss that, huh, lecher?”
“Not nearly as much as I think you might.”
“And what the hell does that mean?”
“Are we still in the `beat the shit out of me' phase?”
“We're moving on,” InuYasha snorted.
Miroku grinned. “Do I really have to prod the truth out of you?”
Miroku heaved an exaggerated sigh. “You're far more forthcoming with things when you're angry.”
InuYasha pinned Miroku with a furious glare. “We'll see how `forthcoming' I am when I've got you on the sharp end of Tetsusaiga, monk.”
“If you slice me up, you can't hear my pearls of wisdom, and you know you want to,” Miroku quipped.
“Keh! About as much as I'd love to move in with Sesshoumaru.”
“I hear the Western Lands are beautiful this time of year.”
InuYasha cracked his knuckles as a warning that Miroku was pushing his luck. “Go to hell, monk, straight to hell.”
Miroku chuckled and shook his head slowly. “All right, InuYasha, you win. What is on your mind?”
InuYasha made a face. “Nothin'.”
“Lying is a sin,” Miroku pointed out, “and withholding information is the same as lying.”
InuYasha winced at Miroku's shocking accuracy, even if he was talking about something completely different.
Miroku, unfortunately, was too perceptive not to notice InuYasha's reaction. “I see.”
InuYasha's face shifted into a disgusted frown. “You ever . . . keep anything from Sango?”
“Like . . . lie to her?”
InuYasha flinched and shot Miroku a fulminating glare. “Not lie, damn it, just not tell her something.”
Miroku thought it over and shrugged. “Sure, if it's nothing important.”
“How do you know what's important?”
Miroku grinned. “That's easy. If it affects her, then it's important. If it's just, say, whether or not you should put your right foot into your hakama before your left, then not so important.”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. That's stupid.”
“Of course it is. Women tend to stand on honesty, though.” Flicking some dirt off the sleeve of his robes, Miroku sighed as he turned his face skyward, closing one eye as he shielded his gaze from the afternoon sunshine. “Anything in particular you're keeping from Kagome?”
“Who said I was keeping anything from her?”
Miroku's glance told InuYasha plainly that the monk wasn't buying it. “Why else would you be asking?”
InuYasha didn't answer. As far as he was concerned, he'd said enough.
`Everything? Damn . . . I can't tell her . . . She'll think I'm some sort of freak or something . . .' He felt his ears droop. No, there really wasn't any way he could tell her.
“Mama! I'm back!”
Mrs. Higurashi popped her head out of the kitchen to smile at her daughter. Kagome dropped her backpack onto the floor beside the door and stretched. “Welcome home, dear. I was just getting ready to step out for a bit.”
“Oh? Where are you going?”
Mrs. Higurashi pulled on her shoes. “I was heading down to donate blood. It's been all over the news. There's an emergency blood shortage. One of the blood banks caught fire, and the reserves were lost.”
Kagome frowned. “That's too bad. Maybe I should go, too.”
Mrs. Higurashi nodded. “That'd be helpful. They need all the types, from what they've said.” She glanced past Kagome toward the back door. “InuYasha didn't come with you?”
“Nope. He and Miroku are trying to figure out why some of the lesser-youkai seem agitated lately. I'll leave him a note though, in case he does come.”
Scribbling a quick explanation as to where she was going, Kagome left the note in the middle of the kitchen table and set a cup of ramen atop it. `He can't miss that,' she thought with a little grin as she hurried back to the foyer where Mrs. Higurashi was waiting.
The trip to the donation center was uneventful. It was a nice change of pace from the more guarded feeling of Sengoku Jidai. All in all, Kagome was a lot more relaxed by the time they reached the center, and she filled out the questionnaire without incident.
“Higurashi Kagome?” the nurse asked as she read Kagome's form. Kagome stood up and followed the older woman back to a small cubicle. “Have a seat.”
“You've just turned twenty, correct?”
Kagome nodded. “Yes.”
“You left the space for your occupation blank.”
“Is that a problem?” Kagome asked as she tried to think of something she could have written down. She didn't really have an occupation since she didn't figure that protector of the Shikon no Tama would get her far . . .
“No, not a problem at all. Still trying to decide what you want to do with your life?” the nurse asked with a small smile. “There are so many options available to women your age. I envy you.”
“Something like that,” Kagome answered.
“I'm sure there's no rush,” the nurse agreed as she finished looking at Kagome's form. “And you've not traveled outside Japan in the last few months?”
She shook her head. “Uh, no . . .”
The nurse nodded as she scrawled some things onto the paper and pushed her glasses up her nose. “All right . . . Higurashi-san, just a few more questions. Are you sexually active?”
“N—yes,” Kagome answered as her cheeks pinked. Her automatic answer was `no', or at least, it had been . . .
The nurse shot her a quizzical look. Kagome tried to smile as he face reddened a little more. “Well, I wasn't, until recently.”
“I see . . . and your sexual partner . . . was he born before 1977?”
Kagome nearly choked. “Y-yes.” `About five hundred years before that . . .'
“And have either of you had occasion to believe you'd been exposed to any sexually transmitted diseases?”
Praying her face wasn't as red as she thought it might be, Kagome tried for a neutral tone as she answered, “Uh, no . . . he and I . . . we . . . it was the . . . first time . . . for both of us.”
“Oh, that's so sweet! Are you engaged?” the nurse asked with a smile.
“Uh . . . sort of . . . I guess . . .”
The nurse nodded as she let the pen drop onto the small table. “All right, then. Give me your hand, please.”
Kagome did as she was instructed as the nurse pulled a small pen-like lancet device off her worktable and took Kagome's hand, squeezing the tip of her index finger gently. “Everything looks in order on your paperwork. I'll have to see some identification, but I'll get the blood test going before I do that, okay?”
Kagome nodded and winced as the lancet pricked her fingertip.
“I must say, it's so nice to see a girl your age donating blood. Kids nowadays just aren't as responsible as they used to be . . .”
Looking away as the nurse squeezed Kagome's finger to produce enough blood for the sample, she didn't answer.
“Okay, if you can get your identification out, I'll check this and be right back.”
Kagome dug her school ID card from her pocket and tapped it nervously against her chin. Still flushed from the nurse's line of questioning, she waited in the quiet cubicle, hoping that her mother wasn't in the one beside her and therefore hadn't heard the answers to the questions. Finding out about her and InuYasha in the middle of donating blood wasn't exactly what Kagome had in mind.
It seemed to Kagome that the nurse was taking an awfully long time in returning. Checking her watch, she willed herself to be patient, but the longer it took for the nurse to return, the more restless Kagome became. Her mother had said that they just checked to make sure she had enough red blood cells for the donation and to discern her blood type. There weren't that many other people here, and Kagome was starting to wonder what was taking so long when a very tall man in a white lab coat pushed the curtain aside and stepped into the cubicle.
“Higurashi-san,” he greeted as he sank down on the stool the nurse had vacated. “My name is Dr. Yukino Amata. I screen the applicants here.”
Kagome frowned as an inexplicable panic welled up inside her. “Was there something wrong with my blood?”
He shook his head as he shrugged. “Nothing . . . bad . . . just perhaps not something you realized. Your form said you are sexually active?”
Kagome's eyes widened as her face shot up in flames. It was one thing to tell the nurse. It was something completely different to admit as much to the strange man. “Y-yes,” she forced herself to say.
Dr. Yukino nodded, kind brown eyes bright, quick as he stared at her in a friendly, albeit curious sort of way. “And is there anything . . . remarkable . . . about this . . . partner of yours? Something you didn't specify during questioning?”
Why did Kagome have the feeling that this doctor somehow knew about InuYasha and about what InuYasha was? She swallowed hard as she willed her blush to go away. It didn't. “Remarkable?” she echoed as she tried to find a way out of this line of questioning. “I . . . uh . . .”
“He's youkai, ne?”
Kagome gasped. “How . . . ?”
Dr. Yukino chuckled. “I am one, myself.”
She blinked in surprise. She hadn't realized that youkai existed in her time, and then to be face to face with one . . . “I don't understand. How did you know?”
“When we take a mate—especially a human mate—certain things happen. Our blood fuses, thus offering the human a bit more resilience and many of our own immunities . . . and certain things happen to your blood in the process. You cannot donate blood for human use. I'm surprised your mate didn't tell you this.”
She shook her head as she tried to understand what Dr. Yukino was telling her. “I don't think he knew . . . and I didn't tell him I was coming here.”
Staring at her with a thoughtful frown, Dr. Yukino leaned forward and hooked his human-looking finger under the delicate silver chains around her neck to drag out both InuYasha's fang as well as the Shikon no Tama. “The Sacred Jewel of Four Souls . . . so it does still exist?”
She nodded as she quickly jerked the jewel out of the youkai's hand. “I protect it.”
“Then you're the miko of legend . . . and your mate . . . he's the hanyou . . . ?”
“Miko of legend?”
Dr. Yukino waved a hand dismissively. “Of course you are. Your scent is that of the house of the Inu no Taisho.”
“Not him, per se, but I can tell that your mate is related. Brother?”
He nodded. “So the legends are true. I'm honored to meet you, Higurashi-san. Please understand that it is simply a better idea if you do not seek to donate blood, and I would advise you to find a reliable youkai doctor, as well.”
She watched in dumbstruck amazement as the youkai stood and formally bowed to her as he backed out of the cubicle.
Shoving her ID back into her pocket as she stepped out of the cubicle, she shook her head. It seemed that everything in her life was getting more and more complicated by the second.
Sankon-tetsusou: Iron Reaver, Soul Stealer.
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Final Thought fromKagome:
What next? Altered DNA???
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.