InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Resolve ( Chapter 75 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“Where do you think Sesshoumaru went?” Kagome asked as she leaned closer against InuYasha's back.
InuYasha pushed off the ground to sail over the trees with a loud snort. “Keh. No tellin'. We're not exactly close, remember?”
Kagome sighed. InuYasha was in a horrible mood, not that she could blame him. They'd lost precious time . . .
“What is the meaning of this?” Sesshoumaru demanded as he glared at the woman cowering on the ground.
“How can that be?” Kagome murmured, turning her stunned gaze on InuYasha. `She's not Kagura . . . but who is she?'
InuYasha shook his head. He had no more answers than she did.
“Where . . . who . . . ?” the girl murmured quietly as her fearful glance shifted from one strange face to the next. With a soft whimper, she choked back a sob.
Kagome shook off her initial shock and stepped around Sesshoumaru to kneel by the girl. The tai-youkai's expression was unreadable though his anger was evident in the slight tick in his jaw, in the heightened brightness behind his troubled scowl.
“What's your name?” Kagome asked gently.
The girl shook her head slowly. “Yuriko,” she said. “My name is . . . Yuriko.”
“She's human,” InuYasha said, shaking his head in confusion. “What the hell is going on?”
“Do you remember anything?” Kagome interrupted gently.
Yuriko shook her head slowly. “I was taken away, but I . . . I was blindfolded, and it was cold and dark . . . I don't know where I was . . .”
“Come on, wench. We ain't got time for this. Hisadaicho's getting away, and—”
“And we have to take this girl home, InuYasha. We can't just leave her here.”
“Then let Sesshoumaru do it for once!”
Kagome rolled her eyes. “If that were an option—which it isn't—it's a moot point since he's gone!”
InuYasha spun around and unleashed a string of expletives since he hadn't realized that Sesshoumaru had left.
In the end, they had taken Yuriko back to her home. Kagome didn't think she'd ever forget the quiet joy, the overwhelming relief she saw in Yuriko's father's face or the tears and the joy as Yuriko's siblings all vied for her attention. The girl didn't remember what had happened or how she had been transformed into Kagura, and Kagome figured that was for the best. Whatever had happened couldn't have been a pleasant experience. Maybe it was best if she never did remember.
Still the pleasure of the reunion she'd witnessed lightened Kagome's troubled thoughts. It was a bittersweet thing, really, but Kagome knew that Kagura had chosen her path. Better to return to the wind than to be forced to reside in the body of another.
A strange thought crossed her mind, and Kagome frowned. `Was that what it was like for Kikyou? For the part of her soul that she kept to be housed in a body made of clay and bone? A body that wasn't really meant to belong to her. How bitter, how angry, would I have been, if I were her?'
Kagome cleared her throat. “Did . . . did Kikyou resent me? For being made to live in that body Urasue created?”
InuYasha's eyebrows drew together as he turned his head enough to glance over his shoulder at her. “What are you talking about?”
Kagome made a face. “If I had been stronger . . . maybe my soul wouldn't have been drawn out, you know?”
“Keh! The only one Kikyou blamed for that was Urasue . . . and me.”
“I did. It was my fault she died, in the first place, and . . .” he trailed off with a sigh. “And I called her name. That's why your soul was released to go to her.”
“That wasn't really your fault,” she chided. “You didn't know.”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. I should have.”
Kagome fell silent a moment before she wiggled a little higher on InuYasha's back. “Yuriko's family really was happy to see her. At least she got a happy ending.”
“Yeah,” InuYasha agreed.
That was the old saying, wasn't it? Every cloud has a silver lining. The lining was harder to see in some, but in this case . . . Yuriko had been as much of a victim as Kagura had been. At least Yuriko had gotten to go home, and her trembling smile full of grateful tears . . . that had been enough.
In the midst of the happy memory, a flash of the pain in Sesshoumaru's face tempered the warm, pleasant feeling. “InuYasha?”
“If Hisadaicho used Yuriko's body to resurrect Kagura . . . isn't she Sesshoumaru's mate?”
InuYasha snorted as he launched them off the ground again. “Keh. I don't think so. She didn't smell like him, at all. Maybe it had something to do with Kagura's soul . . . Damn! Just once I'd love to rub that bastard's nose in it, especially since he loves to remind me how worthless humans are . . .”
Kagome sighed. “InuYasha, you're a little too vengeful for your own good, did you know?”
What he'd said made sense, though. Kagura's soul had made the difference. Kagura's awareness, Kagura's heart . . . did the body really matter if the mind was someone else?
Despite the magnitude of the situation, Kagome smiled and hugged InuYasha's shoulders.
“What's gotten into you?” he demanded suspiciously.
“Oh, just something you said . . .”
“And what was that?”
“It wouldn't matter, would it? Our souls are mated, not just . . . well, it's a nice thought,” she finished as her cheeks pinked a little.
“Keh. Whatever, Kagome,” he grumbled as his cheeks reddened, too.
Kagome giggled then frowned. “How can that be, though? Kagura's alive in my era. We've seen her, right?”
InuYasha didn't answer, and Kagome knew he had already thought of that, too.
“It doesn't make sense, does it? That means something had to have happened . . . or that something has changed?”
A sudden surge of panic ripped through Kagome's stomach, and she gripped InuYasha's shoulders tighter. “InuYasha, we have to go back.”
She shook her head and tapped his chest. “Seriously, InuYasha. We have to! We've got to go home. I've got to see if something's changed.”
“Like what?” he challenged.
“Like Kagura! Remember? She is alive in my time with Sesshoumaru . . . I don't know what this means, but . . .”
InuYasha stopped suddenly and whipped around before setting off at a sprint once more. “Damn it . . .”
Kagome held on as InuYasha shot off the ground, hoping once more that she was wrong.
The trees stilled as he walked through the forest. Creatures stilled upon his approach, an eerie hush surrounded him. As though the very earth knew of his sadness, his anger, his absolute frustration, the world seemed to yield to him in the quiet. `Kagura . . .'
Hisadaicho planned this all along? To recreate her in the hopes of destroying him . . .
`How had she known? Kagura . . .'
He knew Kagura's soul, knew that it had been her—her emotions, her presence. The mortal girl . . . she was not his mate.
Anger simmered, boiled, raged through him with a vindictiveness, a thorough clouding of his brain, of conscious thought. The need to lash out grew inside him, the consuming desire to hurt something, if only to block the pain from his mind.
A low rumble filtered into his ears, growing louder as he blinked in confusion. A growl that came from a dark place, a savage pain, engulfed him. Festering hot and contemptible, rising like bile from within, it choked him, smothered him, tore from him a cry, a wail, the mourning call of the inu-youkai.
Unleashing his rage on an age-old sakura tree, he found no comfort in the deafening crack of wood like thunder in the forest. The splinters shot out in every direction; the morbid lances of a stagnant ache fell like rain from his claws as the scent of his blood warred with the scent of her that clung to his very clothes.
But the frustration did not wane; the pain could not be eased. The destruction he had wrought only fueled his desire for more, much more: a rampant blood-lust that only desecration could appease . . .
He raised his claws again without a target in mind. The need to give in, to destroy and annihilate was almost overwhelming, was welcome, was comforting. Cracking his knuckles, he drew back, grimacing as the surge of his youkai blood pulsed in time with his pounding heart.
A foreign wind rippled over him—a soothing wind, a gentle warmth. It whispered to him, stilled his hand. Sesshoumaru closed his eyes. `Kagura . . . ?'
The wind caressed him, touched him, soothed him as the unsteady ache—an odd emotion—burgeoned and swelled. `Sesshoumaru . . . my mate . . .'
And then it was gone.
“Why aren't you dead?”
“InuYasha!” Kagome hissed, clamping her hand over her mate's mouth as she poked InuYasha's side with her other hand. “We wanted to talk to you.”
Kagura stood back and gestured for the two to enter. InuYasha jerked his head to the side to evade Kagome's hand and sniffed Kagura as they passed. Kagome rolled her eyes and shoved him forward.
Leading the way into the living room, Kagura sat in one of the taupe suede armchairs as Kagome settled on the sofa. InuYasha stomped over to the windows and stared outside.
“Did something happen?” Kagura asked, her gaze direct but unconcerned.
Kagome shifted as she bit her lower lip, trying to figure out a good way to state her concerns. “Sort of,” she confessed, twisting her fingers on her lap. “We were looking for Hisadaicho, and we found you and Sesshoumaru confronting her. Anyway, she . . . uh . . .”
InuYasha snorted but didn't turn away from the window. “She killed you, damn it,” InuYasha growled without turning away from the window.
Kagome sighed, wincing at InuYasha's harsh statement. “Yeah.”
Kagura didn't seem upset by the news. To Kagome's amazement, she smiled instead. “I see. So the two of you are wondering why I am alive now?”
Kagome nodded. “I was a little worried something had changed in the past,” she admitted.
Kagura shook her head and shrugged. “I can't tell you what happened.”
Turning away from the window with his arms crossed over his chest stubbornly, InuYasha pinned Kagura with a dark glower as he snorted. “Keh. Can't or won't?”
Kagome wasn't surprised to see Sesshoumaru stride into the room though she was surprised that he held his daughter in his arm.
“Why not?” InuYasha countered. “What the fuck are you hiding?”
Sesshoumaru shook his head as he handed the girl off to Kagura. “I hide nothing, InuYasha. Don't be a fool. She can't tell you something that would affect the past.”
InuYasha looked like he was ready to challenge Sesshoumaru's claim. Kagome cleared her throat quickly to stave off whatever tirade InuYasha saw fit to launch. “That makes sense. If we knew what was going to happen, then we might accidentally change it.”
Sesshoumaru seemed surprised at Kagome's deduction. Slowly he nodded. “You understand well, miko.”
Kagome stood up. “We should go, InuYasha. We've got to stop Hisadaicho.”
InuYasha shot his brother a belligerent glare before he stalked over to Kagome's side. “Whatever. What a huge waste of time.”
“InuYasha,” Sesshoumaru called as InuYasha grabbed Kagome's hand and headed for the door.
The tai-youkai's gaze narrowed as he regarded his brother. “Do not make the mistake of underestimating Hisadaicho. Her powers of trickery know no bounds.”
“Why didn't you take her out?” InuYasha countered.
Sesshoumaru almost smiled. “I had . . . other things to see to.”
InuYasha rolled his eyes and tugged on Kagome's hand. “Fucking bastard! Why does he always have to talk in riddles?”
Kagome wisely held her tongue as he dragged her through the foyer and out the front door.
He didn't speak again until they were on the sidewalk heading back toward downtown Tokyo. “There's a helluva lot of something neither one of them is saying,” he finally commented as he tugged his baseball cap down on his head.
“I got that feeling, too,” Kagome admitted. “It's strange, isn't it? I mean, I think Kagura wanted to tell us. She just couldn't.”
InuYasha snorted. “Maybe.”
“I wish we knew what she really wants. She killed Kikyou; she's targeted Kouga and Sesshoumaru . . .”
A dark shadow passed over InuYasha's features, a consternated expression as he slowly shook his head. “Kikyou said . . . she said Hisadaicho wants you.”
“Me?” Kagome echoed as her eyebrows drew together in a marked frown. “Why would she want me?”
Hisadaicho's words came back to her but they didn't make sense. `Your power is complete, miko . . . good . . .'
`She was smiling; she was happy . . . but why? What does she want with me? What power? I don't have any powers—at least, nothing like that . . .'
InuYasha folded his arms together under his haori sleeves. “She won't fucking touch you, Kagome, do you hear?”
She forced a smile for InuYasha's benefit and grimaced inwardly as his already foreboding expression grew more disbelieving. “I know.”
Sango stood up from her garden as Miroku stepped forward, gently moving others aside as he hurried to the terrified man's side. The man collapsed, and Miroku caught him. “Youkai? In your village?”
The man struggled to catch his breath but nodded. “They . . . north . . . so many . . .”
“What's going on?”
The assembled crowd parted at the sound of InuYasha's demand. The hanyou came forward with Kagome in tow. She peeked over InuYasha's shoulder then darted past him as she dug a bottle of water out of her bag. “Here,” she offered.
The man smiled weakly and accepted the bottle, drinking heartily before he stared at the bottle with a perplexed frown. “You're the miko they speak of!” he exclaimed as embarrassed color suffused his already ruddy face. Pulling away from Miroku's grasp, the man bowed as he latched onto Kagome's hand. “Please, can you rid our village of the youkai?”
InuYasha's hand shot out when the man didn't let go. “That's enough,” InuYasha snorted, pulling Kagome back a step. “I'll take care of your youkai problem. Just tell me where they are.”
“There are so many,” the man commented as he stared at InuYasha. “They come at night—thousands of them—from the hills to the east.”
InuYasha's glower shifted to Miroku. The ex-monk nodded. “All right. Feel free to rest here. We'll see that the youkai are dealt with.”
Kaede stepped forward and led the man away. Sango hurried over, balancing Marisaiko on her hip. “Thousands of youkai?”
“From the east,” Miroku added as he frowned in concentration.
“InuYasha?” Kagome asked, letting her unvoiced question hang in the air.
InuYasha nodded slowly. “Yeah.”
Miroku's eyes darted from Kagome to InuYasha and back again. “What?”
“Hisadaicho . . . we found her. She . . . she killed Kagura, and when Sesshoumaru tried to revive her, she wasn't Kagura at all but a human girl named Yuriko.”
“And she ran off toward the east,” InuYasha added as his scowl darkened.
“Do you think she's behind the youkai uprisings?” Sango asked.
InuYasha shrugged. “Keh. Probably. Anyway, before we can go after her, we gotta take care of this.”
“I'll come, too,” Miroku offered. “We have no idea what kind of youkai these are. It may be a tougher battle than normal.”
“I should come, too,” Sango spoke up. “I am a youkai exterminator.”
“What about the baby?” Miroku countered.
“I can watch her,” Kagome said. “If there are that many, your skills would come in more useful than my arrows.”
InuYasha looked like he was going to argue it. “Wench—”
Kagome shook her head. “It's fine. Miroku, Sango, Kirara, and you can take care of it, right?”
“Kagome's got a point,” Miroku added.
Kagome reached for Marisaiko. Sango kissed her daughter's cheek and smiled at Kagome before turning away to call Kirara. Miroku kissed Marisaiko's head and clasped Kagome's shoulder. He climbed up behind Sango on the fire cat youkai.
InuYasha frowned at Kagome. “Be careful, wench,” he warned.
Kagome caught his hand and squeezed. “Isn't that what I'm supposed to say?”
He looked like he wanted to kiss her. She knew his hesitation. She understood why he seemed reluctant when the villagers were still milling around. She smiled sweetly and shoved his chest playfully. “Go on, dog-boy. Just don't forget where you left me.”
He grinned then, too, and to her surprise, he leaned in quickly and brushed his lips over hers. “Keh! As if you'd ever let me forget that,” he scoffed.
She laughed, her cheeks pinking, as she watched him sprint after Sango and Miroku. Marisaiko giggled as she waved her hands at the retreating figures. Kagome smiled and stood still until they were out of sight, disappearing into the forest. Then she turned her smile on the girl in her arms. “Well, Mari . . . looks like it's just us for a day or two.”
Marisaiko giggled again.
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
Happy fucking birthday(a day late), Diana …
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.