InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Family Ties ( Chapter 67 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“How could you be so foolish, InuYasha?”
InuYasha glowered at his brother with a fierce scowl. “Don't be stupid! Do you really think I told her to go donate blood?”
“Yet you did not tell her what would happen once you mated her?” Sesshoumaru countered.
“How was I supposed to know that? No one told me anything, bastard. `Course, you wouldn't know that, would you, since you weren't around, either.”
Sesshoumaru nodded slowly as he tapped his fingertips on the arm of his chair. “As true as that might be, had the wrong people discovered this about your miko, the trouble that might have been incurred could have been catastrophic.”
InuYasha snorted, cracking his knuckles as he gritted his teeth in an angry snarl. “Keh! I'll tell you once more. How was I supposed to know something that no one ever told me, and how could I have stopped her from doing something I had no idea was even done?”
Sesshoumaru's bored gaze pierced through his half-brother. “And should she require medical attention in this time, InuYasha? Human blood is toxic to her now. If she were given human blood for any reason, it would not help her. In some cases, the human has been known to die. That is the choice you made for her.”
“Are you saying she's not human?” InuYasha growled incredulously.
Sesshoumaru shrugged. “Of course not, baka. She is human. She simply has an ignorant mate.”
“Kagura will help her find a suitable doctor. I trust you'll understand the need for such precautions.”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh! And why the hell should we trust you?”
Sesshoumaru regarded his half-brother for several moments, a vague frown furrowing his brow, darkening his amber eyes to a topaz hue. “It's simple, InuYasha. There is no one else in this time that you can trust. I win the . . . dubious honor . . . by default.”
Scowling at the trace sneer on Sesshoumaru's face, InuYasha stood abruptly and headed for the doorway to locate Kagome in Sesshoumaru's stiflingly pretentious house. “Keh. Whatever.”
.Sesshoumaru's voice stopped them. “InuYasha, be not a fool. Would you take such a chance with the life of your mate?”
“What the fuck does it matter to you?”
Sesshoumaru suddenly smiled. Little more than the slight upturn of his lips and a discernable lightening in his gaze, the tai-youkai looked like he believed that InuYasha ought to already know the answer to his own question. “You're the only family I have, InuYasha. Though I might wish it otherwise, the bonds of blood are stronger than all else. If it wasn't so, I would have cut you down centuries ago. Is that not reason enough?”
He started to leave but shook his head slowly as he stared at Sesshoumaru. “One more thing. Why couldn't Kagome sense youkai in this time?”
Sesshoumaru seemed amused by InuYasha's question. “That's simple enough. Over the centuries, we've learned to manipulate things, namely the Fuyouheki.”
“The Fuyouheki?” InuYasha echoed, confusion obvious in his expression. `The stone that hides the bearer's youki? But . . .' “But that can't be.”
With a nonchalant shrug Sesshoumaru stood up. The breeze that filtered through the window flapped his empty left sleeve as the tai-youkai retrieved the small pendant that hung on a golden chain around his neck. “The miracles of modern science, InuYasha. We have been reproducing these stones for quite some time. That is why your miko didn't sense youkai here. That is why you cannot tell from their scent alone. We have learned to camouflage ourselves, which reminds me . . .” Letting go of his charm as he strode to the desk near the floor-to-ceiling windows, Sesshoumaru pulled a small box from the top drawer and tossed it to InuYasha.
“What's this?” InuYasha asked as he carefully opened the box.
“It's your Fuyouheki. I would caution you, however, not to wear it when you go back through the well. I daresay you'd draw more attention for your lack of youki than you would for possessing it.”
“Keh! Why do you care?”
Sesshoumaru shook his head. “Don't be ignorant, baka. I don't care. I simply do not wish for you to draw undue attention to our kind. That miserable hat doesn't hide your claws and doesn't conceal your fangs. It will have no effect on those who have seen you as you are. They can see through the disguise.”
“Keh! Fine, I get it. Anything else, bastard?” InuYasha growled as he glowered at his brother.
Sesshoumaru narrowed his gaze as he stared at InuYasha. “The toxin . . . it still taints you.”
InuYasha gritted his teeth together and stormed toward the door. “Keh! Forget I asked!” he snarled.
“You cannot defeat her while she hides behind your miko's face.”
InuYasha stopped short and turned his head slowly, glaring at Sesshoumaru out of the corner of his eye. “Don't lose any sleep over it, bastard. I'll take care of that bitch. Just hide and watch.”
“Overconfidence will be your downfall.”
“Talking in fucking riddles will be yours.” InuYasha turned on his heel and strode out of the room, intent on finding Kagome and getting as far away from this place as he possibly could.
Scowling at the Fuyouheki stone pendant, he snorted in abject disgust as he dropped it over his head. Maybe Sesshoumaru was wrong. He didn't look any different. He didn't feel any different. Pausing long enough to sniff the air, InuYasha made a face. He didn't smell any different, either. `How do you learn how to make a Fuyouheki stone?'
Following Kagome's scent to the kitchen, he was surprised to find her laughing at something Kagura had said. “Oi, wench, we're leaving.”
Kagome glanced up and smiled. “Thanks for the tea, Kagura.”
Kagura stood as Kagome got up. “You've finished speaking to Sesshoumaru so quickly?”
InuYasha made a face. “Keh. I've heard all I can stand, if that's what you mean.”
Shaking her head as she hurried over to InuYasha's side, Kagome sighed softly as he turned on his heel and stomped toward the front door. “InuYasha!” Kagome called after him as she ran to catch up.
Grabbing her hand and leading her out of the house, InuYasha wasted no time in grabbing Kagome's hand and dragging her onto his back before sprinting forward and launching them over the high fence surrounding Sesshoumaru's home.
“What did he have to say?” Kagome finally asked when she realized that InuYasha wasn't going to volunteer any information.
“Absolutely nothing,” InuYasha growled as he leapt from building to building.
She heaved a sigh designed to let him know that she wasn't buying his answer.
“He just wanted to prove again that he is a complete and utter bastard,” InuYasha told her.
“There had to be a reason he wanted to see you,” Kagome pointed out reasonably. “Did he say anything else?”
InuYasha made a face. “Yeah, he said I should have told you that your blood would change.”
“But you didn't know, did you?”
He craned his neck around to shoot her `The Look'. “Don't you think I might have mentioned that if I had known?”
“It isn't exactly a normal topic of conversation,” she pointed out in her own defense.
InuYasha conceded her point with a snort as he vaulted off the top of another building. “Anyway, it don't matter, does it? We know now.”
He sailed through the sky over Tokyo without speaking again. Kagome laid her cheek on his shoulder and sighed happily. The wind caught his hat and Kagome tried to grab it. InuYasha caught her before she fell off his back. Scowling at her as he lit atop the movie theater, InuYasha set her down and turned to face her. “Now that was stupid! What if you had slipped?”
Kagome tried not to peek over the side of the building as she scooted away from the edge. “I was trying to catch your hat,” she explained after she felt sufficiently distanced from the drop off. She caught his irritated expression and stepped forward to place her hands on his forearm in a placating gesture. “I'm very attached to your ears, you know. It's not that I'm ashamed of you. I'm not. It's just . . . if they saw you like this . . . I don't think they'd understand. They'd cart you off to some lab or something, poke you with needles to figure out why you are what you are. That's all.”
InuYasha sighed. He hadn't really thought about why she insisted he wear the hat, and he probably had believed somewhere deep inside that she was ashamed of him. He shrugged, trying to brush aside the misplaced happiness her words inspired. “Keh, that ain't it. Sesshoumaru gave me a Fuyouheki stone necklace.”
Kagome's eyes widened in surprise. “So that's why we never sensed youkai here before?”
He nodded. “'Course, I wouldn't put it past that bastard to poison it or something. I fucking hate him . . .”
“Are you wearing it now?”
“Well, yeah . . .”
“Let me see!”
Gently slapping her hands away as she tried to dig for the Fuyouheki stone, InuYasha couldn't help but grin at her childlike show of curiosity. “I'll show you later,” he huffed despite the smile on his face.
She made a face. “I see your lips flapping, dog-boy, but I'm not hearing a thing,” she countered as she retrieved the Fuyouheki stone—and the talisman. She frowned as she stared at the vial of blood. “You can take this off, right?” she asked, turning the bottle in her fingers.
InuYasha jerked both necklaces out of her hands and shoved them back inside his haori. “I, uh, forgot,” he grumbled as he pulled her onto his back again. “Now come on before someone sees us up here and thinks we're gonna jump.”
Kagome didn't press the issue as she giggled and settled herself against his shoulder again.
InuYasha hopped to the next building, flattening his ears as his conscience pricked at him again. `You've gotta tell her, baka! She thinks the toxin is broken . . .'
As he lit on the roof of the shrine, he shook his head. `Maybe if she just don't see it . . . maybe she'll forget about it . . .'
He winced as he dropped to the ground and knelt to let Kagome off his back. She tweaked his ear before hurrying past him into the shrine.
He sighed. `Fucking doomed . . .'
“All right, what's wrong?”
InuYasha stopped mid-stride and turned a guilty face toward Kagome. She set her magazine aside and folded her hands in her lap patiently as she waited for InuYasha to talk. He snorted. “Dunno what you're talking about, wench.”
She shook her head at his stubbornness and sighed. “Don't make me drag it out of you, InuYasha.”
“The day I'm scared of a helpless little human girl like you is the day I sprout wings and learn to fly.”
Smiling at his retort, Kagome rolled her eyes and scooted over, patting the empty space on her bed. “Lie down. You're making me nervous with your pacing.”
His ears drooped and he wouldn't look her in the eye. “I . . . it's not a good idea,” he finally said.
Kagome tilted her head to the side as she stared at him. She could tell that something was really bothering him, and she hated that he didn't want to tell her, even if she did understand why. “InuYasha, you can't protect me from everything. You just can't do it. Tell me what's wrong.”
“It's not wrong,” he grumbled as he jerked Tetsusaiga out of his waistband and leaned it against the wall. “It's just . . . I was thinking . . . I'm going to sleep in Goshinboku tonight.”
“Oh . . . okay,” Kagome said slowly. She couldn't mask the upset in her voice. Was he regretting what they'd done? He had enough on his mind with Hisadaicho and the unrest in the youkai, and now . . . Measuring her tone as she fiddled with the hem of her blouse, she tried to sound like it didn't bother her when she felt like begging him to stay. “If you think that's best . . .”
Whether he saw her face and interpreted it correctly or if he could sense her upset in her carefully controlled tone, Kagome wasn't sure. He sat down beside her and covered her fidgeting hands in his. “I don't want your mother to think . . .” He trailed off, wincing as he struggled to say what he was thinking. “I mean, until we tell your mother, is all.”
“That's why? That's the reason you wanted to sleep in Goshinboku? Because of Mama?”
Jerking his head in a nod, InuYasha scowled at the coverlet between them. Kagome smile was gentle as she leaned forward, wrapping her arms around InuYasha's neck. “Ka—go—me,” he protested as her lips collided with his time and again, teasing kisses as she giggled. “Out—tree—you—-need—-sleep.”
“You—here—sleep—better,” Kagome countered as she continued kissing him.
With a contented sigh, she cuddled against his chest, slipping her arms around his waist. “We could leave my door open,” she suggested.
InuYasha considered that. “That'll do.”
She scampered off the bed and dug a pair of pajamas out of her bureau. “Be right back,” she assured him as she strolled out of the room and down the hallway toward the stairs.
InuYasha waited until she was gone before he pulled the talisman out of his haori and shook it ten times. With every motion, he grew a little more disgusted with himself, with his secrets. Kagome deserved to know, didn't she? He snorted as a stubborn scowl stole over his features. `Keh! Not hardly! There ain't any way I can tell her about that . . . She would think I lost my mind, and I . . . No. No way, not ever.'
Kagome peeked around the doorway into the kitchen and bit her bottom lip when she spotted her mother sitting at the kitchen table calmly reading the newspaper as she sipped a mug of tea. InuYasha crossed his arms and tapped his foot as he tried to ignore his mate's show of silliness. “What are we doing? Hunting her?”
“Of course not!” Kagome muttered absently as she continued her reconnaissance. “Okay, she's alone, and she seems like she's in a good enough mood . . .”
InuYasha rolled his eyes. “Keh! I could have told you that much, wench,” he pointed out, lifting his chin proudly. He glanced at her quickly before looking away only to shift his eyes back to her face once more. Gnawing on her bottom lip as she twisted her fingers together nervously, Kagome squinted as she tried to smile and failed. He winced inwardly. Her reluctance only served to feed his own. It had taken him the better portion of the night to convince himself that telling her mother wouldn't be the horrible venture that he couldn't help but believe it would be. In the face of Kagome's tangible reticence, he could feel his confidence slowly slipping away. “Don't tell me you're chickening out! You're the one who wanted to do this! It wasn't my idea!” he hissed in a whisper as he frowned at her.
Kagome sighed as he gently pulled her hands apart. “I did—I mean, I do!” Scrunching up her shoulders as she squeezed her eyes closed and pursed her lips, Kagome let out a deep breath as she relaxed her body and shook her arms to loosen them up. “All right, I'm ready.”
Wisely hiding his amusement at her forced resolve, he followed her into the kitchen and waited while she sat down beside her mother. InuYasha leaned against the counter with his arms crossed over his chest, ears twitching uneasily as he monitored the emotions in the room, waiting for any traces of fear from Kagome, of anger from her mother. `She's her mother, baka!'
He wrinkled his nose, defying his own thoughts. `Keh! But she's my mate.'
Mrs. Higurashi glanced up from her newspaper and smiled as she carefully folded it and laid it aside. “You two look serious. Did you sleep well last night?”
“Fine,” Kagome answered with a strained smile. “Did you close my door last night?”
Mrs. Higurashi nodded and narrowed one eye. “Your grandfather woke me up last night with his snoring. I got a glass of water and closed your door on the way back so he wouldn't wake you, too.” Her expression took on a frown of concern as she gazed at InuYasha. “Did you sleep all right, InuYasha? You slept sitting up . . .”
InuYasha blinked in surprise. He hadn't thought about it. He normally did sleep sitting up, and he never slept deeply. In a constant state of alertness, even in sleep, he could count on his fingers, the number of times he could remember really sleeping. Strangely, they were all time when he knew Kagome was near. “Keh. I'm fine.”
“I need to tell you something,” Kagome said quietly. He didn't have to see her hands to know she was knitting her fingers together under the tabletop.
“You sound serious, dear. Is something wrong?”
InuYasha's ears twitched as he sensed Kagome's rising anxiety.
“InuYasha and I . . . we're . . . together.”
Mrs. Higurashi chuckled. “Of course you are. He's right here.”
Kagome shook her head and sighed. “Yes, but . . . umm . . . well, I meant that we're together, like a couple.”
“I see . . .” she trailed off then smiled, staring from Kagome to InuYasha and back again. “I can't say that this surprises me. I'm glad to see you've come to terms. You make a darling couple. Dating is such a fun time! I remember when your father and I started seeing one another—-”
“No, Mama,” Kagome cut in, fighting the livid and painful blush that was rising in her cheeks. InuYasha could sense her ballooning discomfort as he straightened up and slowly shuffled closer to her chair as he broke into the low rumble that soothed her best. She shot him a grateful glance over her shoulder before drawing a deep breath and continuing. “It's more than that . . . we . . . uh . . .”
Mrs. Higurashi's smile faded as Kagome faltered. Her gaze shifted to InuYasha. He grimaced inwardly as her expression shifted into quiet assessment. It didn't matter that she still seemed calm enough. He couldn't help but think that Mrs. Higurashi would know that he didn't deserve Kagome, that no being as tainted and disgusting as he was should be allowed to so much as touch Kagome. His ears flattened as her hand shot up to hover at her lips, eyes widening and a rosy hue filtered into her cheeks. “Oh . . . o-okay . . . When did this happen?”
InuYasha bristled at the hint of quiet upset in Mrs. Higurashi's tone. Planting himself between the two women, he intercepted Kagome's questioning glance as he folded his arms together in the sleeves of his haori. “Almost a week ago,” he admitted, staring over Mrs. Higurashi's head as he concentrated on not blushing, as he tried to control the growl that welled up in his throat, the warning sound that Kagome was his and that no one, not even her mother, would be allowed to keep him away from her.
Mrs. Higurashi sat back, biting her lower lip as she took in their confessions. She sighed and cleared her throat as she managed a tight smile, clearly shaken by his words. “And . . . what does this . . . mean . . . to the two of you?”
“What does it mean?” InuYasha echoed, unable to keep the irritated rumble out of his voice.
“It's kind of like . . . youkai marriage,” Kagome ventured before InuYasha got too riled up.
“Youkai . . . marriage . . .” she repeated slowly, mulling it over in her head. “Was there a ceremony?”
“Uh . . . no,” InuYasha admitted. `Damn, she makes it sound like . . . stupid!'
“What, exactly, did this involve?”
InuYasha and Kagome exchanged nervous looks as Mrs. Higurashi stared. “It, uh, wasn't quite like that. I mean . . . when we . . .”
“Oh, my,” Mrs. Higurashi murmured as her flush darkened. “I see . . .” Deliberating what she wanted to say, Kagome's mother shook her head slowly and pursed her lips. As seconds ticked off the kitchen clock, the tension in the air seemed to thicken. “That isn't really the same, Kagome. You know that. I'm sure that it was a big step for both of you, but—”
Kagome shook her head as InuYasha's back stiffened, as indignant color blossomed in his cheeks. “No, Mama, you don't understand. Youkai only do that when they . . . when they take a mate, and . . .” she trailed off as she fought back her rising embarrassment, as she struggled to find words to make her mother understand. “When we went to donate blood, I couldn't. Because of this, InuYasha's blood and mine are mixed. It's more binding than marriage. It's . . . forever.”
Digesting Kagome's words in silence, Mrs. Higurashi seemed at least somewhat reassured. “Your blood is mixed? I don't understand . . .”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. Tell me about it.”
Kagome shrugged. “We didn't know it happened. InuYasha didn't know it would . . .”
“That's a big commitment,” Mrs. Higurashi finally commented, carefully measuring her words though she seemed oddly relieved, as well. “And you two want this? You're sure?”
Kagome ducked her head and nodded.
Mrs. Higurashi's gaze shifted to meet InuYasha's. “You, too?”
His mouth was suddenly parched. Words stuck under a rising swell of irrational panic and refused to come out. Restraining the desire to grab Kagome and run, he nodded once.
Her smile finally brightened into a much more natural expression, and InuYasha relaxed, just a little. “Well, even if you share this blood bond, I still would rather see that the two of you are married.”
“Married?” InuYasha croaked out before he could stop himself. “Married?”
“If what Kagome says is true, and you've already committed yourselves like you would in marriage, then you surely wouldn't mind,” Mrs. Higurashi remarked gently.
Kagome shot InuYasha a tense glance. “We . . . hadn't talked about that,” she mumbled as more heat rose in her cheeks.
“But you will, I hope?” she asked in a tone that didn't sound questioning at all.
InuYasha grimaced at the quiet censure. She reached out to pat Kagome's hand, and before InuYasha could think about it, he growled menacingly as his hand shot out to stop her. Kagome gasped as Mrs. Higurashi jerked her hand away. “InuYasha!” Kagome exclaimed.
Blushing furiously as he flattened his ears, InuYasha refused to back down.
“Mama isn't going to hurt me!” she argued.
“Keh! I didn't think she was!”
“Of course I wouldn't,” Mrs. Higurashi assured him and sighed as a rueful smile surfaced. “I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised. It's been obvious to me all along, how close the two of you are. You must think about marriage though, especially if you intend to have children.”
“Children?” InuYasha rasped out. Between Sesshoumaru and Kagome's mother, he couldn't help but feel as though he'd done something terribly wrong despite Kagome's quiet reassurances that she was with him because she wanted to be. “As in, pups?”
“Maybe eventually,” Kagome hedged as the color in her cheeks escalated to match InuYasha's. “We're not really in a hurry . . .”
“Surely you wouldn't dishonor my daughter?” Mrs. Higurashi asked, arching an eyebrow to emphasize her question.
InuYasha snapped his mouth closed as his scowl deepened. “What the hell—?”
“Mama's just saying that it isn't right to have children when we're not married!” Kagome hurriedly explained.
“But we're mated!” he bellowed.
“Humans don't really understand the concept of `mating', InuYasha,” Mrs. Higurashi broke in, blushing at the use of the word `mating'. “The marriage would be for Kagome.”
He snorted. There wasn't any way to argue the logic in that, and he knew it. If he did, he'd be belittling Kagome. Still it rankled him, that her mother would even ask him such a thing. He'd die before he dishonored Kagome in any way. Didn't her mother know that? “Keh! Fine,” he grumbled as his ears flattened a little more.
The smile on Mrs. Higurashi's face registered her obvious relief. “I knew you wouldn't dishonor her, InuYasha.”
Why did he have the feeling he'd just been completely manipulated? He narrowed a suspicious stare on Mrs. Higurashi. The woman was still smiling, looking way too pleased with herself. InuYasha shook his head. Because he had been completely manipulated, that was why . . .
Kagome finally smiled as she stood up and darted around InuYasha to hug her mother as InuYasha resisted the urge to grab her and hold her back. `That's stupid, baka! It's her mother, for kami's sake!'
“I want you to be happy, Kagome, and you, too, InuYasha. Will you both be staying here today or do you have to get back?”
Kagome made a face as she peered up at InuYasha. “I think we need to go. One of the neighboring villages wanted me to try to purify the grounds, and we still have to find Hisadaicho . . .”
InuYasha gritted his teeth at that reminder. The last thing he wanted to think about on top of everything else was Hisadaicho, not to mention the active toxin that still infected him . . .
Mrs. Higurashi sighed but nodded. “I repacked your bag, just in case, while you were gone yesterday,” she explained.
Kagome seemed surprised but smiled gratefully as InuYasha grabbed her hand and tugged, message clear. “Thank you. We'll be back soon!”
InuYasha snorted as he dragged Kagome out of the kitchen. She pulled away long enough to retrieve her bag from beside the hall table. He plucked it out of her arms and led the way out of the shrine.
Kagome let out a deep breath as they stepped into the bright morning sunshine in the courtyard. “I'm relieved we told her,” she remarked happily. “But I'm even more relieved that it's over.”
InuYasha snorted, allowing himself to savor the cautious relief that the hard part was finished. He'd dreaded telling Kagome's mother more than anyone else. He hadn't really thought that she would try to keep Kagome away from him—as if she really could—but he also couldn't help worrying that she would try to. Brushing aside his troubling thoughts, he pushed open the well-house doors to slowly descend the stairs.
“Do you still want to wait to tell Sango and Miroku?”
He stopped abruptly and grimaced as he imagined the teasing that would bring on. She caught his expression and winced, shaking her head quickly, as if the same thing had just occurred to her, as well.
“On second thought, they can wait,” Kagome agreed as InuYasha picked her up and hopped into the well.
Fuyouheki: un-magic barrier. Introduced in Manga scroll 337 (Fuyouheki), the stone was used to hide the youki (demonic aura) of the bearer.
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Final Thought from Mrs. Higurashi:
…Mated … ?
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.