InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Fighting For Control ( Chapter 74 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~Fighting for Control~
“Do you think so?”
“You're lying, I can tell.”
InuYasha peeked over his shoulder at Kagome and snorted. She'd brought up the subject of where they were going to live, but he hadn't wanted to discuss it in depth. She figured it was because of the Hisadaicho business. What surprised her was his attitude about staying in the past. He seemed to think that Kagome wouldn't be able to adjust to life in this time, which wasn't really fair. Hadn't she done that already? “Right, wench. You can't live without your `stuff'.”
She made a face. “I could,” she argued. “I don't have to have all the modern conveniences . . . like . . . heat and hot water . . . and—”
“I'm not the only one who'd miss `stuff', InuYasha. If we couldn't get back to my time, you'd miss the ramen, and don't try to lie.”
InuYasha made a face, and Kagome hid her triumphant smile. “Let's just hope it don't come to that,” he grumbled.
She giggled as she rested her cheek against his shoulder. “Are we going to stop for the night?”
That earned her another dark look. “Can't you sleep back there?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Do you want me to answer that?”
InuYasha grinned before his features shifted into a determined frown. She could almost see the wheels turning in his head. On the one hand, she knew he didn't want to stop. On the other, he had to know that she really couldn't travel through the night, too. She stifled a sigh. `Poor guy . . . stuck with a weak human,' she thought but smiled.
There really wasn't a choice, and he knew it. Kagome was right. He couldn't ask her to sleep as they traveled. She never complained about the way they normally got around but he didn't doubt at all that it wasn't the most comfortable mode of transportation for her.
“This looks like as good a spot as any,” InuYasha commented as he slowed his movements. Stepping out of the trees into a small glen, he stared around with a critical eye before allowing Kagome to slide off his back. “I'll catch something for dinner,” he offered.
Kagome nodded as she shrugged off her backpack and stooped down to gather some fire kindling as InuYasha disappeared into the forest.
Sango, Miroku, and the children were heading back to the village while InuYasha and she were trying to find Hisadaicho. Miroku had wanted to come with but in the end, InuYasha had insisted that they'd find her on their own. He seemed to think that he needed to take care of Hisadaicho by himself.
Kagome shook her head as she cleared away grass to form a fire ring. She was used to doing this sort of thing. Funny, really. She'd done it so many times that it seemed like second nature now. Carefully stacking the kindling together in the middle of the cleared area, Kagome stuffed a handful of dried grass underneath the small sticks and dug out her matches.
Moments later, the fledgling fire stuttered to life, burning brighter and more intense as the flames spread and ignited. Carefully, Kagome stuck two larger pieces of wood into the fire and, satisfied with her setup; she retrieved the pot and wandered toward the sounds of water.
InuYasha knelt on a rock in the middle of the stream with his sleeves tied up out of the way while he watched with a concentrated frown. His hand shot out in a blur of movement, snagging a fish that squirmed and wigged in his grasp. She winced as his claws flashed in the waning sunlight. She'd seen him do this many times before, and it never ceased to amaze her, just how fast he could gut and clean a fish. Moments later, the cleaned fish was skewered with one of the sticks he'd stripped and sharpened, and he sat back to wait for the next unsuspecting fish.
“How hungry are you, Kagome?”
She blinked quickly and grinned. She hadn't realized that he knew she was there. She should have known. He always knew, didn't he? “One's fine,” she called back as she stepped out of the tree line and to the water's edge.
He caught another fish as she filled the pot then washed his hands and lunged off the rock to light neatly beside her with his fresh catch. Kagome smiled up at him as they headed back for the camp. “You know, InuYasha, you really are good at that,” Kagome commented as she set the pot near the fire to warm.
“Good at what?”
“Hunting . . . fishing,” she commented lightly as she dragged out the small box where she kept salt and pepper shakers.
She took the stick he held out to her after she sank down beside the fire.
“Kinda had to be,” he grumbled as he stuck his fish over the fire. “I'd have died otherwise.”
Kagome nudged him with her shoulder. “Do you think . . . ?”
InuYasha glanced at her when she trailed off. “What?”
Kagome stared intently at the fire, turning her fish slowly as she tried for a neutral tone. “Do you think . . . I wonder if Hisadaicho can be saved?”
“Why do you think she can?”
“Why do you think she can't?”
InuYasha jammed his sticks between two rocks and snorted as he turned to face her more fully. “Kagome, have you stopped to think that she might have wanted to be what she is?”
Kagome bit her bottom lip. “That might be true, but . . .”
“If she were all bad, why didn't she kill Old Seer?”
InuYasha stared at her for a moment then shook his head slowly before he took up his sticks and extended them out over the fire again.
Kagura felt the tremors in her body, in her mind. The pain in her chest intensified, swelled as the bitter ache worsened.
`I . . . won't . . . do . . . it . . .'
Sesshoumaru stepped out of the castle. Answering Rin in a hushed tone as the girl ran to his side, he strode purposefully, his eyes as bright as the noonday sun.
“Kagura? Does something trouble you?”
Kagura's lips twisted up in a smile as she let her hand fall away from her chest. “Of course not, Sesshoumaru.”
He regarded her carefully, as though he wasn't sure whether or not he believed her. In the end, he nodded as he slipped his hand under her elbow and escorted her through the garden toward the cliff, to gaze out over the ocean.
`She is calling to this body,' Kagura realized with an inward grimace. `She wants it . . . she wants me to destroy . . . him . . .'
Eyes darkening to a fiery, blazing red, Kagura straightened her back, lifted her chin. Defiant, proud, she strolled through the flowering garden, her cheeks flushed from her own rebellious thoughts. `Never! I'll never do what she wants! She may control my body, but she cannot control my mind . . . I will not let her destroy Sesshoumaru . . . I will stop her . . .'
“You seem so distant, Kagura. Why?”
She smiled at him. “I don't mean to be.”
Sesshoumaru's gaze regarded her slowly. “Are you so sure?”
She waved off his concern, laughing while her mind was screaming. “You doubt me?”
The wind escalated, whipping his silvery hair on the breeze as Sesshoumaru turned his back to her and strode to the edge of the cliff. Staring over the foaming ocean below, the tai-youkai was proud, unashamed. A sudden chill raced up Kagura's spine as another stabbing pain shot through her chest. `Damn you, Hisadaicho! I will not do it!'
The voice whispered in her mind, Hisadaicho's hurtful incantation. `Now, Kagura! Use your fans—the fans he gave you! Kill him, Kagura! Then I shall set you free . . .'
Her trembling hand reached for the fans stuck in her waistband. Kagura gasped, fighting with her will, with her soul, with her heart. `No!'
`You must! I brought you back! You will do as I say!'
Another explosion of pain nearly brought Kagura to her knees. Blinding, engulfing, consuming, it raged through her with a brutal vengeance, with a cruel irony. `I will not do it! You cannot control me!'
`Do not cross me, Kagura! I can end your miserable life right now! Do you dare deny it?'
`You don't own me!'
Like a thread pulled too tightly, something deep inside her snapped. Hisadaicho's voice faded away as the pain loosened its grip around her heart. Whether for a moment or forever, Kagura didn't know. It had been much too close. If there was a next time . . .
“Sesshoumaru,” she whispered as she stumbled back.
He turned to stare at her as she pulled the feather from her hair, tossing it high as it converted into her escape. “Kagura?”
She shook her head as she hopped onto the feather. “You must listen, Sesshoumaru . . . She wants me to destroy you, and I cannot! You must stay away from me!”
“Kagura!” he called as he reached out to stop her. The feather zipped away from him, and she glanced over her shoulder as she climbed into the sky.
`I cannot hurt him . . . I will not!' she maintained. In the distance she could see the green glow of Sesshoumaru's energy form as he gave chase. Kagura bent low as the feather gained speed. Time was of the essence. She couldn't afford to let him catch her now.
Before she lost the control over her body, before she found herself a mere pawn once more . . . `Hisadaicho . . . I will kill you . . .'
Hisadaicho stopped in the clearing, grinding her teeth together in her disgust. `Kagura! You dare defy me?'
The wind sorceress' disobedience made Hisadaicho seethe. She was growing impatient, perhaps. It was time for the high and mighty Sesshoumaru to reap his comeuppance but Kagura . . .
`Had it not been for me, you wouldn't have known true joy, Kagura. You believe you can defy me? For your arrogance . . .'
She should have destroyed Sesshoumaru sooner. Perhaps the lure of toying with the great tai-youkai was too delicious. To bring the proud lord to his knees . . . well, it was an opportunity that Hisadaicho hadn't been able to ignore. Too bad for Kagura. She had given up her chance to be free. She had sealed her own fate . . . again.
The trees whispered, swaying in the unnatural wind. Hisadaicho schooled her features, blanked her expression as Kagura circled on her feather, making her slow descent.
“Kagura . . . so nice of you to save me the effort of hunting you down,” Hisadaicho commented as Kagura lit on the ground.
The wind sorceress caught the feather in her nimble fingers and stuck it in her hair as she yanked out her fans, flicking them open with a loud snap. “You cannot control me, Hisadaicho! You were a fool for thinking that you could. Now you will die!” Sweeping her fans, shooting out blades of wind, Kagura yelled, “Fujin no mai!”
Hisadaicho raised her hand, stopping the blades before they hit her. “Foolish, Kagura. Don't you know you can't attack your creator?”
“You don't own me!”
“That's where you're wrong, Kagura. I do own you. I own your body, I own your soul. How dare you presume to cross me?”
Kagura's eyes flared. “I died once, Hisadaicho. What makes you think that dying again would matter to me? The physical pain is nothing to me.”
Hisadaicho raised her eyebrows, mocking the wind sorceress. “And this is what you truly believe? There are some things worse than death, Kagura.”
Kagura smiled tightly. “Yes, there are. Betraying someone you care for . . . that's a burden I will not carry.”
The wind sorceress glanced back at her mate. “Something wrong, Sesshoumaru? You look a bit disgruntled.”
The tai-youkai stared at the two women cautiously, trying to discern just what was going on. “Tell me what this is about, Kagura.”
Hisadaicho's lazy smile widened at the consternation in the tai-youkai's gaze. “Tell him, Kagura. Tell him . . . or better yet,” she drawled as she clamped her hand over the scar on her wrist. Kagura gasped as she clutched her chest. “Show him.”
Slowly pivoting to face Sesshoumaru, Kagura's arms jerked as she raised her fans. Her face registered no emotion as she flicked her weapons, as she leveled them to release her attack. “N-n-n,” she gritted out as a flicker of emotion warred in her eyes. The flicker grew into a burn, into a battle within herself, a battle of her soul against her body. “R-r-run.”
Indignant anger banked behind those golden eyes. Hisadaicho's smile twisted her lips as Sesshoumaru's gaze narrowed on his mate. “This Sesshoumaru does not run.” His stare didn't move from Kagura though his question was directed at Hisadaicho. “What have you done?”
Throwing her head back in giddy laughter, Hisadaicho couldn't hide her amusement at the situation she'd masterminded. “She's my creation, Sesshoumaru. Isn't she lovely? Isn't she . . . perfect? And you played right into my hands. Kagura's mind may be her own but her body is mine, and I want her to destroy you.”
Absolute rage ignited behind Sesshoumaru's glare as the pulsating crimson of the youkai's true form bled into his eyes. “You will not have her!”
“I already do! Now, Kagura! Unleash your fans, wind sorceress! Show him my wrath.”
Kagura's stilted movements gave silent testimony to the conflict between her mind and her body. She raised her fans as she groaned, the will of her body overpowering her mind's dictates.
“Hisadaicho, you bitch! You're gonna die!”
Both Hisadaicho and Kagura turned to glance at the late arrivals. InuYasha knelt down, let Kagome off his back before dragging Tetsusaiga out of the scabbard and leveling it at the butterfly hanyou.
Sesshoumaru shot forward, ripped the fans out of Kagura's hands before dragging her away from Hisadaicho. The wind sorceress collapsed against Sesshoumaru's chest as she leaned on him for support. “Stay back, half-breed,” Sesshoumaru growled. “This is not your concern.”
“The hell it ain't,” InuYasha shot back. “You're not the only one who wants a piece of her.”
“You boys flatter me,” Hisadaicho laughed. “Too bad I don't have time to play.”
“What do you want from us?” Kagome asked as she peeked over InuYasha's shoulder. “Why are you doing this?”
Hisadaicho's eyes widened for a moment as she regarded the young miko with a keen interest. “Your power is complete, miko . . . good . . .”
“Stay the hell away from her,” InuYasha snarled as he brought his sword down, cleaving a neat arc in the air. “Kaze no Kizu!”
Hisadaicho held out her hand as the Wind Scar rushed toward her. The attack reflected off her hand, redirecting the path of the flames straight toward Sesshoumaru. He yanked Kagura off the ground and leapt out of the way.
Reading the surprise in the hanyou's glare, Hisadaicho chuckled. “Kagura is my creation, InuYasha. I can choose to have her take the brunt of the attacks you levy against me. You would destroy Kagura? Foolish, InuYasha, contemptible and foolish.”
“Will you kill your brother's mate?”
She wasn't surprised to see the reluctance in InuYasha's gaze. In fact, she'd counted on it.
“Release her,” Sesshoumaru demanded as he shoved Kagura behind his back. “I'll kill you!”
“I grow weary of your very existence,” Hisadaicho scoffed. Raising her hand again as a ball of purple energy intensified, she released it with a flick of her wrist. The sizzling streak of energy erupted, singed the air as it hurled toward Sesshoumaru.
“No!” Kagura screamed as she threw herself around Sesshoumaru. The ball of energy hit her in the chest. Her body flew up in the air as her scream filled the clearing and beyond. Sesshoumaru's enraged growl mingled with her pained cry that cut off abruptly as Kagura landed in a crumpled heap nearby.
“Kagura!” Kagome shrieked. InuYasha caught her hand and held her back. “Let me go!”
“You can't do a damn thing!” InuYasha growled. “Now stay out of the way!”
Sesshoumaru lunged at Hisadaicho.
With a wicked laugh, the butterfly hanyou leapt away and, blowing a parting kiss to him, she ran away, into the forest.
InuYasha growled in frustration as he watched Hisadaicho's retreat. He reached for Kagome's hand, intent on giving chase, but she darted away from his grasp. She stopped just behind Sesshoumaru, who stood next to Kagura's broken body.
Dropping Tetsusaiga into its sheathe with a disgusted sigh, InuYasha stomped over to Kagome's side.
The look on Sesshoumaru's face stopped InuYasha from commenting. He couldn't remember seeing that much emotion on the tai-youkai's stoic countenance before. Despite his controlled demeanor, something brewed just below the façade though InuYasha couldn't tell if it was sorrow or pain, anger or grief . . . or a mixture of all of them.
Slowly, deliberately, Sesshoumaru unsheathed Tenseiga. The sword pulsed in his hand, and he lifted the blade, resting it against his forehead for a moment before slashing through the beasts that had come to bear Kagura's soul away. InuYasha heard the imps scream even though he couldn't see them. The woman on the ground twitched, moved, slowly sat up as Kagome gasped softly and retreated a step, her complete horror a palpable thing.
Sesshoumaru glowered at the woman sitting on the ground and shook his head as he spoke, his voice tinged with rage, shaking with emotion despite his clipped, tight tone. “What is the meaning of this?”
Fujin no mai: Wind, blade, and dance. Dance of Blades.
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
…What the … ?
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.