InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Recovery ( Chapter 80 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Shippou scrambled off Kagome's lap as the miko pushed herself to her shaky feet. InuYasha screamed again and again, his voice growing angrier, more desperate with every passing minute. She stumbled forward, touched InuYasha's shoulder as the hanyou tossed a huge wooden beam aside. “InuYasha . . .”
“Why does he have to be such a bastard?” InuYasha bellowed as he shrugged off Kagome's hand. She winced as he muscled a large section of wall up and, with a mighty push, sent it flying back. “Sesshoumaru!”
Kagome gasped as her head jerked to the side. Narrowing her gaze as she stared off into the distance, she could feel the pulse of something familiar pulling her, calling to her. “InuYasha? Can you . . . ?”
He didn't spare her a glance as he continued rummaging through the rubble. “Damn you, bastard! Where the fuck are you?”
“InuYasha! The jewel . . .”
InuYasha stopped and glanced back at her, his gaze torn by rage, by concern that he fought to hide. “What?”
Kagome shook her head as she wandered forward, lured by the Shikon no Tama. InuYasha caught her arm and pulled her back. She gasped softly as Sesshoumaru stepped out of the heavy foliage of the dense forest. Staring down in obvious disgust at a jagged tear in his otherwise still-pristine white sleeve, he lowered his arm as he strode toward them as he turned his head slowly, his amber eyes rising to meet InuYasha's incredulous stare. “It is over. Hisadaicho is dead, and Naraku's youki has been dispelled.”
“How did you get out?” InuYasha demanded, his frown shifting into a suspicious glower.
Sesshoumaru's cold gaze flicked over his half-brother. “Does it matter?”
“Yeah, I think it does,” InuYasha challenged. Kagome put a hand on his arm to stop him. InuYasha shrugged her off.
Sesshoumaru didn't answer as he dug the Shikon no Tama out of his armor and deliberately stepped around InuYasha to drop it into Kagome's hand. She stared at the glowing pink orb for several moments. “Perhaps,” he allowed as he turned his back on them to walk away, “Tenseiga isn't as useless as I once believed.”
InuYasha didn't say anything as he watched Sesshoumaru walk away. Kagome stepped up beside him and leaned on his arm as she watched the lone figure retreating into the forest. She started to go after him. InuYasha caught her and pulled her back. “I've got to go! I've got to thank him!”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. Forget it. He wasn't trying to help us. He just wanted revenge.”
“Maybe,” Kagome agreed as she watched Sesshoumaru disappear into the trees. “Getting revenge doesn't really help, does it? I mean, he can't get back what he lost.”
InuYasha shook his head, his eyes serious, sad. “Lost stuff, huh? That reminds me.”
Kagome sucked in a sharp breath as InuYasha pulled the fang necklace from the folds of his haori. Carefully tugging it over his head, he grimaced as he stared at it. She reached out to take it from him but he pulled his hand away, shaking his head just a little. Carefully, gently, he placed the chain over her head and drew her hair out from under it before he touched the fang, fingers trembling. His eyes bright, solemn, he tried to smile.
“I thought it was gone,” she admitted as tears stung her eyes. “I thought—”
“Come on, wench,” he interrupted, his voice gruff but not unkind. “I'll take you home.”
Kagome nodded as he pulled her onto his back and called for Shippou to move it. The kitsune skittered over and hopped onto InuYasha's shoulder before the hanyou sprinted in the opposite direction of Sesshoumaru's exit.
It seemed to Kagome that she'd slept the better portion of the week that followed. Kaede had wanted to question her. Miroku and Sango had been anxious to talk to her, too. InuYasha had refused them all, barring the door to their hut despite Kagome's weak protests that she was fine.
She hadn't realized how exhausted she really was. Between naps, she'd overheard InuYasha outside as he spoke with Kaede. She'd told InuYasha about Hisadaicho's desire to make her fight, to force her to create another Shikon no Tama. He'd looked positively sick after that. She wasn't sure what he was thinking, but his protectiveness after that had practically doubled.
“If I'd have been a little later,” InuYasha growled angrily, “it might have happened . . .”
“Ye should not dwell on what might have happened, InuYasha,” Kaede chided. “Kagome is strong. She always has been.”
“Keh! You didn't see her, you hag! She . . . she collapsed. If I . . . damn it! I have half a mind to find that damned bastard of a half-brother of mine, steal Tenseiga, find that bitch's body, and resurrect her so I can kill her, too.”
“Kagome will be fine,” Kaede maintained.
InuYasha sighed. “I keep wondering if Hisadaicho did something to her.”
“Why's she so tired? It's been days, and I put my fang back on her. It should help, right?”
Kaede clucked her tongue. “Physically, Kagome is fine. Her exhaustion is mental. She has not been trained as a miko. The battle she fought was all instinctive.”
Kagome sat up on the futon and winced, her back tight and knotted in what felt like a million different places. That conversation had been the day after they'd returned to the village. Since then, InuYasha had been adamant that she rest. The only time he didn't argue with her about getting up was when she had to use the bathroom, and even then he followed her and insisted that she keep chatting with him as she did her business. He said he wasn't afraid that she would be kidnapped again. Kagome had to wonder if he thought she was on the brink of death or something instead.
As if he could tell that she was sitting up, InuYasha stomped inside with a dark scowl as he shot Kagome the `I-thought-I-told-you' look. She held her hand up before he could start in on her. “Before you say anything, I'm feeling much better,” she insisted. “Well enough that I want to go home and have a real bath.”
He looked like he wanted to protest. He even opened his mouth to do it but suddenly whipped his head to the side as a low growl erupted from his chest. Kagome frowned as she watched InuYasha stalk over to the doorway as he cracked his knuckles.
“You've got some fucking nerve, showing your face around here. What the hell do you want?” he snarled.
Kagome threw the light blanket back and stood up, her muscles twitching from lack of use as she swayed just a little on her feet.
“I want to talk to Kagome.”
Kagome frowned as Kouga's voice drifted to her. She hurried forward but was blocked by InuYasha's arm.
“Are you fucking out of your mind? You're not coming anywhere near her, you got that?” InuYasha growled.
“It's all right, InuYasha,” Kagome spoke up. “I want to hear what he has to say.”
InuYasha didn't look like he agreed. He snorted. “Keh. Fine. Fucking talk then, wolf, and make it fast before I decide to gut you on principle.”
Kouga's jaw twitched as he stared at the ground and nodded. “I'm sorry, Kagome. When I found Hisadaicho . . . she kissed me before I could stop her, and she sucked out part of my soul, I guess. I didn't realize what I was doing until Sesshoumaru broke her control. When she died and the part of my soul was restored, I didn't . . . I didn't remember what I'd done. I remembered yesterday, and I came to tell you . . .”
“If you think I'm gonna buy that load of crap—”
“He's telling the truth, InuYasha,” Kagome interrupted as she gently placed her hands on InuYasha's arm.
“I don't blame you, Kouga. It's okay. Hisadaicho . . . she never should have done that to you.”
Kouga nodded and tried to smile. His eyes still carried the scars of his perceived betrayal. “I'm . . . uh . . . sorry, too . . . for what I did to Shippou.”
Kagome frowned as Kouga turned and walked back toward the forest. His back straight and proud, his stance rigid and warrior-like, and yet she could see the sadness in the aura that surrounded him. It would be a long time before the wolf youkai would be able to forgive himself. Some scars ran deeper than others, and those scars were the ones that the human eye couldn't see.
`What's happened to me?' Kagome wondered as InuYasha scooped her up to take her to the well—to her home. `Why can I see these things now?'
“That fucking wolf . . . if he comes anywhere near you again, I'll scoop his guts out with my bare hands,” InuYasha fumed.
Kagome sighed and let her forehead fall against InuYasha's shoulder. `Hisadaicho wanted to use me to create another Shikon no Tama . . . she wanted to bring Kagewaki back to life, but . . . but in reality, it was Naraku's doing. She killed Kikyou. She brought Kagura back just to hurt Sesshoumaru. She used Kouga, too . . . Maybe . . . maybe there really wasn't anything good left inside her, after all.'
The fleeting memory of Sesshoumaru, of his silent departure, shot through her mind, and Kagome winced inwardly. Out of everyone who had suffered from Hisadaicho's twisted plan, Kagome couldn't help but think that what the butterfly hanyou had done to Sesshoumaru was the worst of all. `There's got to be something . . .'
She closed her eyes as InuYasha streaked through the forest. The sadness that surrounded Sesshoumaru, whether he realized she could sense it or not, tore at her. Though she didn't doubt for a second that he would deny it, that he was much too proud to admit to the pain he felt inside, Kagome had sensed it, and despite the reason behind his assistance, it was enough that Sesshoumaru had helped them.
Sango sat in the shade of the sakura tree beside Miroku as Marisaiko played with her rattle. Shippou and Ichisaru played near the riverbank; their happy voices drifting back to the humans as the youkai children darted back and forth without a care in the world. “So Hisadaicho was fooled into believing that Kagewaki was her love?” she asked as she stared at the gently flowing river.
Miroku nodded. “Apparently. That's what InuYasha said.”
Sango frowned. “Kagewaki was a decent man. How could she not realize that something had changed? Naraku was twisted and evil.”
“Sometimes we see what we want to see, Sango. Surely you know this better than most. You watched your entire family die, and yet you still believed that Kohaku was not to blame.”
“But he wasn't,” she argued. “It was Naraku.”
Miroku shrugged as he plucked a blade of grass and methodically tore it into bits. “It's the same, isn't it? Hisadaicho didn't want to see that Kagewaki had ceased to exist so she chose to believe Naraku's lies instead. You didn't want to believe Kohaku could do such a thing, even though you saw it with your own eyes. The difference was that what you chose to believe and what she did . . . you were right in your belief. She wasn't.”
“I still don't understand how Naraku managed to do it; how he transformed her.”
Miroku sighed as he considered her question. “It's my guess that, since Naraku was made up of so many different youkai, that he did something similar to create her as he did to create the rest of his incarnations.”
“So you think that she was created by merging her soul with youkai?”
“Something like that. We'll never know for sure, but it seems to be that way. InuYasha said that she emerged from a cocoon. That must have been where she was transformed.”
“But according to InuYasha and the children, she didn't smell like one of Naraku's incarnations.”
“She wouldn't. She started out like him: a human. That was why InuYasha didn't catch on to her sooner . . . and she didn't want to be discovered, either,” Miroku reasoned.
“I cannot believe that Kagewaki had anything to do with Hisadaicho's creation,” Sango said slowly. “Kagewaki was a decent man. He couldn't have changed her into what she became.”
Miroku nodded in agreement. “You're right. I doubt Kagewaki had anything at all to do with it. Hitomi-sama took you into the castle. I doubt he could have realized what Naraku was going to do.”
“And Naraku was the one who tainted the jewel's aura,” Sango mused with a sad little smile. “His evil was deeper than anyone could have guessed.”
“He planned for all contingencies, didn't he? He just never expected that Kagome would be even more powerful than he had suspected.”
Sango nodded, accepting Miroku's reasons since they did make sense and since there was no real way to find out the absolute truth to any of it. “InuYasha said that Tenseiga must have transported Sesshoumaru out of the cavern before it collapsed,” she mused as she ruffled their daughter's hair.
“That surprised me. I thought it was the connection between Tenseiga and Tetsusaiga that had saved Sesshoumaru before.”
“Maybe Sesshoumaru has gained a deeper understanding of Tenseiga. Maybe that's why it saved him.”
Miroku's smile was almost wistful as he reached over to cup Sango's cheek, smoothed her hair out of her face. “That could very well be.”
Sango sighed and smiled wanly, sadly. “Houshi-sama . . . I've been thinking.”
Miroku's violet gaze met hers, serious, steady. “All right.”
“I think it's time to go home. I think . . . I think we should return to the exterminators' village. I think we could rebuild it.”
Miroku didn't answer right away. “I thought you'd come to think of this place as your home.”
“A second one, perhaps,” she agreed quietly. “I think I need to lay my past to rest. I need to see something grow from the pain of my own past. I owe it to you, and I owe it to me, but mostly I owe it to Marisaiko. I want her to know the stories I knew of the exterminators and of my family . . . I want to show her that things can be rebuilt.”
Miroku's smile was tender, bright. “As you wish, my darling Sango. I would follow you anywhere.”
She smiled back, her eyes sparkling brighter than the Shikon no Tama.
Mrs. Higurashi set a steaming cup of ramen before InuYasha and sank down in her normal seat at the table as she slowly shook her head in disbelief. “That's quite some tale,” she finally said with a heavy sigh.
InuYasha pushed the noodles around in the cup and shrugged a little too casually. “Keh.”
“Do you want to tell me what's troubling you?”
He made a face as he glared at the cup he held in his hand. “It's nothing,” he muttered.
Mrs. Higurashi leveled a no-nonsense look at InuYasha as she sat back and folded her arms over her chest. “If it was nothing, you'd tell me.”
InuYasha quirked his ears, listening to make sure Kagome was still barricaded in the bathroom as she had been for the last forty-five minutes. “She's different,” he grumbled, ears flattening with the admission. “She . . . she won't talk.”
Mrs. Higurashi nodded her head as she digested what InuYasha had told her. “Maybe she just needs time to sort things out. From what you've said, she's been through a lot.”
InuYasha didn't look convinced. He made a face as he pushed the untouched ramen aside. “I . . . I let her down.”
“How did you do that?”
Face contorting in self-disgust, InuYasha crossed his arms stubbornly. “I promised her before that she'd never have to fight,” he growled, ears twitching nervously. “I told her that, and . . .”
“I doubt Kagome feels like you let her down at all,” Mrs. Higurashi stated gently. “I think you're the only one who ever thought you'd be able to make good on that. My daughter is a strong young woman.”
“That ain't it,” he argued. “It ain't that I didn't think she was strong enough. I just . . . I never . . . I don't want her to have to be.”
He grimaced as he shot to his feet, chair slipping back against the counter with a loud scrape and a dull thump. Blushing furiously as he whipped around to meet Kagome's steady gaze, he glared at the floor, angry that he hadn't been more attuned to her approach.
“I want to go back,” she murmured. “I need to do something.”
“Are you sure, Kagome? Maybe you should rest a few more days,” Mrs. Higurashi coaxed.
Kagome shook her head and smiled. “No, I've rested enough. I need to do something. I probably should have done it long ago.”
The glimmer of the Shikon no Tama caught InuYasha's eye. Kagome held it in her hand, fingers curled loosely around the sacred jewel, and it pulsed in time with the beat of her heart. His frown deepened as he gazed at the orb. The pink had faded; the jewel was nearly white now. Kagome had somehow managed to dispel the evil aura that had prevented the jewel from being purified but the question was, how?
She fastened the chain around her neck as the orb glowed bright.
He nodded as he stepped back. Kagome smiled at him as she hurried past to hug her mother. “I'll be back soon, Mama . . . I hope.”
Mrs. Higurashi hugged Kagome, the expression on her face telling Kagome that she understood. “All right, dear.”
“Tell Souta and Grandpa that I love them, if . . .”
“They know you do,” Mrs. Higurashi assured her, understanding what Kagome couldn't bring herself to say. “We all just want what's best for you, dear. You know that.”
Kagome nodded and blinked quickly as she turned to follow InuYasha but spied the untouched cup of ramen on the table. She grabbed the cup in one hand and InuYasha's hand in the other as she dragged him through the house toward the back door.
“What are you doing with that, wench?” InuYasha asked as he pulled the door closed behind them and re-shouldered her new backpack. Her old one had been lost when the cavern collapsed.
Kagome shrugged. “Well, you weren't going to eat it, and I'm starving.”
InuYasha wrinkled his nose as he watched her dig into the ramen.
She caught his avid interest and giggled as she lifted an InuYasha-sized bite and extended the chopsticks toward him. He snorted and wrinkled his nose again but grudgingly let her feed him.
“After we do this,” Kagome said as she let InuYasha take the cup and chopsticks, “I don't know what will happen to the well. I just . . . if I'm with you, it's enough.”
InuYasha stared at her as she pushed open the well-house doors. She seemed calm, decided. She knew what had to be done, and yet . . . “Kagome, are you sure?”
For a moment, her smile faltered as she sat down on the edge of the well and waited for him. Sparing a moment to gaze around the old shrine building, she nodded slowly as her smile returned, as she met his gaze again. “I'm sure. Let's do it.”
He hopped up on the side of the well and took Kagome's hand. She squeezed his fingers as her smile widened. She nodded just a little, and he set the empty ramen cup on the edge of the well as he gathered her close. Together, the two dropped into the well and into the time slip again.
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Review Q & A
Final Thought from InuYasha:
You sure about this, wench?
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.