InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Metamorphosis ( Chapter 81 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
“You sure about this, Kagome?”
Kagome leaned up on InuYasha's shoulder and nodded, giggling as his hair tickled her cheek. “Yes, InuYasha, I'm sure. I was sure when you asked last night. I was sure twenty minutes ago, too. This is what I want to do.”
InuYasha snorted as he tightened his grasp on her knees as they sailed over the treetops. The castle was well within view. Kagome snuggled closer to InuYasha and tried to quell the rising anxiety that trembled in her belly. “I gave this a lot of thought, you know? I'm sure it's what I'm supposed to do.”
InuYasha shrugged. “All right, but I'm warning you: that bastard won't thank you, so don't hold your breath.”
Kagome wrinkled her nose as she slowly shook her head. “I don't care if he does or not. It's the right thing to do. I know it is.”
InuYasha dropped to the ground just outside the tree line. Sniffing the air, he veered to the right as he sprinted through the open field. “You don't have to do it,” he remarked, careful to keep his tone neutral. “I'll protect you.”
Kagome sighed but smiled. “I know you will, InuYasha. I'm not scared of my responsibility. I want to do this.”
His golden gaze shifted to the side as he stared at her for a moment before letting his eyes sweep the horizon again. “You sure? That you want to stay here? I'll never be completely accepted, and—”
“You're wrong, you know? Your friends accept you. I accept you. Does it matter if people you don't know never do?”
He snorted. “Keh. Not really.”
She smiled again. “Good.”
InuYasha grinned a little then grimaced. “Keh! Damn! You'd think he could do something about that stench,” he complained as Kagome saw Sesshoumaru standing alone on a hill ahead of them. “He still reeks of that bastard,” he growled.
Kagome rolled her eyes and tugged InuYasha's hair. “He can't help it. That's how Kagura smelled, right? It's kind of ironic, isn't it? Naraku just wanted to destroy everything, but when he created Kagura . . .”
InuYasha snorted but didn't utter one of his more characteristic caustic replies.
Sesshoumaru's Mokomoko-sama blew in the breeze behind him, his hair whipping like a silky white banner. As still as a statue, the tai-youkai didn't move at all. If he sensed their approach, he didn't show it. Kagome knew better. She winced as the spiraling flow of his youki created an odd glow, the edges of the aura tinged and curled with the ever-lingering melancholy that Sesshoumaru masked so well.
InuYasha stopped and knelt down to let Kagome slide off his back. Sesshoumaru still didn't acknowledge them as his gaze swept over the rising and falling countryside.
“What do you want, InuYasha?” he finally asked without deigning to look at his half-brother or Kagome.
“Not a fucking thing, bastard,” InuYasha retorted easily.
“Then why are you here?”
“Keh. It wasn't my choice,” he growled. “Kagome wanted to come.”
Sesshoumaru turned slowly, regarding Kagome through his narrowed gaze, expression as stoic as ever.
Kagome stepped forward as she grasped the Shikon no Tama, as she pulled it off with one quick jerk. Holding the undulating jewel in her open palm, she stared at it for a long moment.
“You're alive, in my time,” Kagome said quietly as she closed her hand around the jewel. “You are . . . and Kagura is, too . . . I didn't understand how that could be, because we saw her die. I finally understood something. Hisadaicho . . . she was wrong in doing what she did, and Kagura never should have had to suffer for it.”
Sesshoumaru's eyes slowly rose from the jewel in Kagome's hand to her face. She was calm, serene, unwavering in her resolve. She stood between the half-brothers like a silent catalyst, the Sacred Jewel of Four Souls the tie that bound them inexorably together. The bridge between fire and ice was a miko, a woman with a giving soul, a rare creature that somehow possessed the power to heal.
Kagome closed her eyes as she let her fingers fall open like a blossoming flower. She smiled, her lips trembling as the Shikon no Tama rose, hovering above her palm, bathing her hand in radiant light. It bobbled in the air as Kagome nodded. A tear escaped each of her closed eyes to trace iridescent paths down her cheeks as her smile widened, as the voice spoke to her, whispering like the breeze, and maybe only she could hear it.
`Young woman, you have set me free.'
`Aye. For so long I have waited, I have fought, I have hoped. You wish for the dead to be returned to the living?'
`Yes . . . to be alive, and to be free . . . Kagura was never free. All she ever wanted was to be free and to be with Sesshoumaru.'
`You've heard it said that there are no truly selfless wishes,' Midoriko's voice whispered. `The only true purity resides in the heart. In all the hearts I've encountered, Kagome, yours is the least tainted, and while a human heart can never be fully pure, the choices you've made—the love that you have shown—this is what allows me to grant what you ask. It is this love that allows you to purify this jewel. Before I do this, Kagome . . . what is in your heart? Would you stay here with InuYasha? What of those you love in your time?'
Kagome hesitated only a moment. `InuYasha is my home. InuYasha is the one I belong with. I love my friends and my family, but I love InuYasha more.'
Midoriko's soft laughter filled Kagome's heart with courage. `You chose to give life from your own body to ease the pain of your friends. You put your mate's needs before your own time and again, and you've given an orphan a place to call his home. Your actions speak not of selfishness but of pure and untainted love. For this, Kagome, and because you ask for nothing except the life of another, I will grant you a way to see those you love in your time. I grant you the freedom to pass through the well so long as InuYasha is with you.'
Kagome gasped softly, eyes popping open as the jewel rose high above them all.
The jewel glowed brighter and brighter, the light engulfing the meadow. Kagome shielded her eyes against InuYasha's arm. He lifted his other sleeve to block his face as a fierce wind whipped at Kagome's hair, her skirt. The current seemed to emanate from the Shikon no Tama as it shattered in a flash of white light, and as quickly as the storm had come, it was gone, leaving behind an eerie silence, as though the world was waiting for a sign, a cue to resume living. A whisper of movement was little more than a gasp of air, a shallow inhalation as a silent flare sparked a life.
Sesshoumaru's sharply indrawn breath made Kagome open her eyes, and she blinked quickly as she stared, spellbound. Kagura stood before her, her face upturned as she stared at the sky. “I . . . I'm alive . . . I'm . . . free . . .”
The wind sorceress whirled around at the sound of Sesshoumaru's voice. Kagome blinked as tears welled in her eyes again. InuYasha slipped an arm around her waist and drew her close.
Kagura's chin dropped as she clasped her hands before her. “I wanted to tell you,” she admitted quietly. “I tried many times . . . I betrayed you, Sesshoumaru. I wasn't strong enough . . .”
Kagome caught InuYasha's hand and tugged. “Let's go,” she murmured as she led him away. “I did what I came here to do.”
InuYasha nodded, his eyes bright and full of a quiet sense of wonder. “You didn't have to do that,” he pointed out as he pulled her onto his back once more and set off into the forest.
Kagome sighed. “It's okay, InuYasha. I wanted to do it. Anyway, Midoriko . . . she spoke to me. She said she would leave the well open for us but we have to use it together.”
“Keh! As if I'm gonna let you run around alone, anyway. You always get in trouble that way, wench.”
Kagome grinned as she hugged InuYasha. “This is strange, isn't it?”
She giggled. “We don't have anywhere we have to be, nothing we have to hunt or fight . . . It's nice.”
“Yeah,” InuYasha finally agreed with a contented grin as he leapt above the trees, heading for home. “It is.”
The night breeze filtered through the branches of Goshinboku as InuYasha pulled Kagome more securely against his chest.
Kagome heaved a sigh as she idly fingered the lock of InuYasha's hair that had fallen over her shoulder. “It isn't fair, you know,” she pointed out in a rather sulky tone.
“It ain't that bad, wench,” he assured her as he tried to hide his amusement.
“That's what you think,” she grumbled as she stared up at the night sky. “You made me rest for an entire week, dog-boy! Then the days of traveling to the Western Lands and back . . . and now I'm all better, and . . .” She trailed off with another disgusted sigh as she glared up at the full moon. She could swear that it was laughing at her. She wrinkled her nose.
“It's only one night, Kagome. You ain't gonna die. Maybe you've been around that damn monk too long. Maybe it's a good thing they're moving back to the exterminators' village.”
Kagome sighed again but didn't bother to argue with him. “InuYasha? Not that I mean I want to now, this minute, but . . . do you ever want to have a baby?” she asked, carefully keeping her tone neutral.
“It ain't possible, anyway, wench. Last time I checked males couldn't do that.”
“Baka,” she retorted as she jerked on his hair.
“Oi!” he complained as he pulled his hair out of her grasp.
“Well, would you ever consider us having a baby of our own?”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. Maybe, as long as you understand that I ain't changing diapers.”
She grinned. “You can't say you won't. What if I'm sick—?”
“Keh. You've got my fang, remember?”
“Or helping Kaede?”
“You're not leaving my sight, either.”
“Or doing something else at the time?”
“Again, a moot point.”
She craned her neck to pin her mate with a calculating stare. “Or we have twins?”
InuYasha's amusement disappeared at the mention of twins. “Then I'm sending them to live with their fucking uncle until they're out of diapers.”
Kagome blinked incredulously just before she dissolved into gales of laughter that rang through the forest and dissipated in the night.
“Kagome . . . are you sure you're all right now?” he asked when she finally wound down to a few small giggles.
“Sure. Why wouldn't I be?”
InuYasha shrugged as he rested his cheek against her hair. His tone was casual despite the discernable stiffening in his back, the worry in the tightening of his arms around her. “You were so tired . . . I never saw that much power from you, and . . .”
His words lingered in the air; his sentence didn't have to be finished. She could sense the tension brought on by his memories of that awful day. Kagome wiggled around to face him. “I knew you'd come for me,” she said softly as she turned his face toward hers with gentle fingers. “I wasn't afraid . . . I fought because I wanted to see you again, because I wanted to be with you again. I think I realized that you gave me strength. I kept telling myself that I could do that because I knew you'd be there soon.”
“How did you get rid of the tainted aura on the jewel?”
Kagome shrugged. “I didn't. I think that once Naraku's youki dissipated, so did his influence on the jewel.”
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. That's too fucking easy, wench. I think you did something.”
“Keh. You're stronger now.”
She blinked at the almost accusing tone in his voice. “I'm stronger because you taught me to be.”
“How do you figure?”
Kagome smiled. “Just by being you. You showed me how to be strong.”
“Keh. You're crazy,” he grumbled. Kagome could barely discern the hint of blush that dusted his cheeks in the semi-darkness.
His gaze brightened in the soft moonlight, full of emotion that he couldn't voice. She felt the changes in his aura, could sense the conflicting feelings that he struggled to keep in check. Kagome smiled gently as she stared back at him. “I think this power I feel now was there all along. I just never knew it.”
And that was true. InuYasha was her strength. He had been for a very long time. It struck Kagome how similar she was to Hisadaicho, in a way. Hisadaicho had been driven by love, and though her emotions had been warped and twisted by Naraku and his own greed, InuYasha's love had somehow lifted Kagome higher, given her hope in the darkness, given her strength to fight when her body had wanted to quit. One emotion that led to such different ends . . .
If Kagewaki had lived, would Emi have become what she did? The strange metamorphosis of a human girl's body and mind had been perverted and altered from the pure love she should have known.
Kagome had started out on a similar journey. The distinction was the day that she'd first seen InuYasha pinned to Goshinboku, she had chosen a different path. Maybe she wasn't enclosed in a cocoon to undergo her own changes, but the end result had brought her here. Every choice she'd made in her life seemed to have led to this moment, and despite the tears and the pain that she'd experienced along the way, she realized that she wouldn't change a thing. Maybe in that sense, she was a butterfly, too.
Even if the world continued to change, even if they had to face more challenges or deal with enemies, Kagome knew in her heart that InuYasha would still be with her because he chose to be, just as she chose to be with him. That was the difference. There was no desperation; they had no regrets. In the end they had each other, and that thought made her smile
“You know, InuYasha, I think I figured out why they called me the `miko of legend',” she murmured into the quiet.
InuYasha snorted. “Keh. Why's that?”
Her smile widened as she cuddled closer to him, as she turned a little more to wrap her arms around his waist. “Because you wanted me to be.”
She giggled. “Didn't you?”
“Maybe,” he confessed, his voice gruff but his tone gentle. “But you're my `miko of legend'. Don't forget that.”
Kagome lifted her chin and felt his lips flutter over hers as soft as a butterfly's wings. “Just keep reminding me, dog-boy.”
“Keh!” he scoffed before his lips returned with a kiss meant to silence her.
And it's a wrap, other than the Epilogue that will be posted either later today or tomorrow morning. I hope you've enjoyed the show. Please deposit all trash in the proper receptacle and make your way out of the theater in a calm and orderly fashion …
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Final Thought from InuYasha:
… Pups …?
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.