InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Out of Time ❯ The Melancholy Monk ( Chapter 5 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
~The Melancholy Monk~
Shrouded in the swirling mists and hidden from the prying eyes of the world, the mountain swarmed with jyaki. Stifling all but the vilest of life forms, the miasma undulated, reverberated, teemed over and under, swelled and shrank.
Growing denser with every passing day as it had for the last five centuries, the mountain had been abandoned back in the beginning, when the first crops had failed, when the first sentient beings had made their presence known. Now existing only on local legend, the mysterious mountain remained a place where man did not venture. Said to be haunted by the most daunting of fears, the greatest of trepidations, any fool enough to enter Mt. Sorrow never came out alive. `You'll be driven mad,' some said. `Evil is a place, and it is Mt. Sorrow,' others proclaimed.
Truth is something that is rarely divulged. It is up to the adventurous to discover . . . and to share with others.
“All right, Monk. Spill it. Why are you so quiet?”
Miroku turned to stare at InuYasha. He hadn't heard the hanyou approach. Leaning against the fence that surrounded Goshinboku—the God Tree—InuYasha was glaring at Miroku as though he knew that the monk was hiding something.
Miroku forced a smile. “Whatever are you talking about, my good hanyou? There's nothing wrong with a bit of silent introspection now and again.”
“Feh!” InuYasha swatted down next to Miroku and stabbed him with a knowing look. “You're lying, and I know it. Maybe you can fool Sango with your crap but it don't work on me.”
Miroku made a face. Unfortunately, InuYasha was right. For as long as they'd known one another, it seemed as though the hanyou was very good at deciphering when Miroku was being less than honest. Still, this wasn't something that he really wished to discuss now, and he sighed. “You're worried over nothing, InuYasha.”
“Worried my ass, monk. You're brooding more than a girl, though, and that's enough to concern anyone.”
Miroku grinned wanly, staring off at the horizon as evening fell over the remnants of InuYasha's Forest. “After Kagome purified the jewel, I thought of many things I wanted to do. The Great Quest was over. I thought perhaps I could convince Sango to . . .” Trailing off, Miroku shook his head slowly then drew a deep breath, as though to cleanse his mind and body. “I don't think that I ever considered ending up here, though. Strange how things work out, wouldn't you say?”
InuYasha shrugged. “I never really gave it much thought.”
“How did Kagome purify the Shikon no Tama? Did she ever tell you?”
“Nope. Not a word. She changes the subject if I ask her.”
Miroku digested that in silence. It remained a mystery to all of them, what Kagome had used the jewel to do. He remembered the day she'd done it, though. She'd been gone when they all awoke. InuYasha had been livid. He searched everywhere for her, even having gone through the Bone Eater's Well long enough to see if she'd gone home . . .
At noon, InuYasha had been angry enough that he challenged anyone who had so much as looked at him. By evening, he'd been pale, worried. Though the hanyou wouldn't ever admit to feeling that way, Miroku knew better. The stressed-out lines around those golden eyes had given InuYasha away.
Kagome finally walked through the door of Kaede's hut with a bright smile, as though she hadn't been missing all day. Never having been one to deal rationally with his feelings, InuYasha had lit into her pretty much as soon as she entered the dwelling.
“Where the fuck have you been, bitch?” he roared.
Kagome shot him a surprised glance and shrugged. “Just thinking.”
“Thinking?” InuYasha snarled. “I've been sitting here all day wondering what kind of danger you'd put yourself in again, and you fucking tell me you were `just thinking'?”
“Calm down, InuYasha!” she replied, placing a gentle hand on the hanyou's sleeve. “I didn't mean to worry you.”
InuYasha jerked away. “Feh! Fat lot you know. Go out and get yourself killed, see if I care, but next time leave the jewel behind!”
Miroku hadn't missed the flash of hurt that crossed over Kagome's face. It was true, InuYasha had a tendency to say things he didn't necessarily mean when he was angry, and it was just as true that Kagome knew this. Still, it was Miroku's opinion that perhaps InuYasha had taken his frustration a little too far that time. He was ready to call him on it, too, when Kagome's soft voice spoke again.
“The Shikon no Tama . . . right. Since it's whole again, I guess there's no need for you to protect me anymore. Here.” She held out her hand to InuYasha. He stared at her for a long moment before he extended his palm under her fist. She dropped the pink orb into his outstretched hand. All of them gasped. The once shining jewel was dull, dead.
“Ka . . . Kagome?” Sango gasped, unable to believe what her eyes told her was true. “How did you . . .?”
The miko shook her head, her eyes dark, miserable, but she addressed her words to InuYasha when she spoke, her voice soft yet clear. “Anyway, it's been purified, as you can see. You don't have to worry about me anymore, InuYasha. I won't trouble you anymore. Goodbye.” She turned to stare at Shippou, Sango, Kaede, himself, and Kirara. Tears welled up in her eyes, spilled over, ran down her cheeks. “I . . . . Goodbye.”
Then she turned and ran from the hut.
InuYasha stared down at the jewel in his hand. He opened his mouth to say something as Sango grabbed Miroku's arm, willing him to do something. Miroku understood. Kagome was leaving, and she wasn't coming back this time.
He started for the door. InuYasha caught him and jerked him back. “I'll go,” he said, his ears drooping just a little. He shot them all an apologetic look then darted after Kagome.
Two hours later when the couple had returned, they had both seemed happy, content to be together. No one had ever been able to get either to say what had happened in that time. It was apparent, though, that something had changed between InuYasha and Kagome, as though a mutual agreement had been reached.
Miroku blinked and shook himself out of his memories. He cast InuYasha a sidelong glance. The hanyou, wearing his fire rat clothes and hugging Tetsusaiga, was staring out at the horizon in much the same fashion that Miroku had been. “InuYasha, what happened between you and Kagome the night she purified the Shikon no Tama?” he asked, careful to keep his tone casual.
In the waning daylight, Miroku noticed the slight flush that crept over the hanyou's cheeks. He kept his amusement to himself. “Does it matter?” he growled, distinctly uncomfortable being the one under such close scrutiny.
“At least tell me what you said to make her stay,” Miroku coaxed.
“That's something I ain't ever tellin' you,” InuYasha said with a snort.
“Oh, come on! If it's good, I may be able to use it on Sango, if need be.”
InuYasha glowered at Miroku. “It wasn't some line, and anyway, it's between me and Kagome.”
Miroku was set to tease his volatile friend even more when a sharp pain erupted in his hand. He sucked in his breath, unable to keep the sound back. InuYasha eyed him carefully as Miroku clutched his hand tight, rubbing furiously at the center of his palm.
Miroku shook his head, willed his voice to be steady, reassuring. “Nothing. It just twinges every now and again.”
“And how often is that?”
“It's nothing serious. If it was, I'd tell you.”
InuYasha didn't believe the lie. The look he cast Miroku said as much. In an effort to divert attention away from his pain, Miroku forced a wide grin and said, “I was thinking about growing my hair out and bleaching it. The girls of this era seem to be enamored of yours. It couldn't hurt with the ladies.”
It did the trick. InuYasha flushed almost as dark as his haori, and he shot to his feet. “Feh!” he snorted as he stomped back toward the shrine. Miroku watched in silent amusement as InuYasha hurled himself onto the roof of the house.
`Right next to Kagome's window,' Miroku thought. `Why doesn't that surprise me?'
“What are you doing out here?”
With a small smile, Miroku held his hand out to Sango. She was wearing one of Kagome's longer skirts though it barely reached Sango's knees. When she sat, Miroku didn't miss how the youkai exterminator tried in vain to tug the skirt down a little more. “Have I told you, Sango, that I think you look lovely in modern clothing?”
The look she cast him was wary at best, downright cynical at worst. “Because they're shorter?” she demanded.
He shrugged. “There's that . . .” When she looked as though she was ready to clobber him, he relented. “I was simply thinking that the vibrant colors suit you, that's all, I swear.”
Sango smiled slightly, her gaze skittering away from his as a hint of pink stole over her face. “You . . . you think so?”
He grinned. “Definitely.”
“I wish this was a little longer,” she admitted, tugging once more on the hemline. She leaned forward to readjust her shirt. Miroku couldn't help himself. Her rear just called to him. With a strangled gasp, Sango whirled around and slapped him. He knew that was coming. “Can't you ever just stop?”
“The hand is possessed, I tell you!”
Sango looked like she wanted to hit him again. “Don't give me that! Your hand's fine, remember? Your kazaana disappeared long ago.”
He sighed dramatically. “I was hoping you'd forgotten,” he admitted. “Sango . . .”
He smiled at her cautious tone. “You promised before that you'd bear my children after we defeated Naraku . . . ”
“That was before I knew that you had no intention of curbing your lecherous habits,” she remarked.
Miroku frowned. “You're going back on your word?”
She narrowed her eyes at him as her cheeks bloomed with righteous indignation. “You're impossible, houshi-sama,” she retorted as she stood up. “Good night.”
He watched her haughty departure with another sigh. After she disappeared into the shrine, his gaze fell to his palm again. `The Wind Tunnel is gone,' he thought with a frown, `but why does it hurt?'
It wasn't the first time, either. The day they'd gone to the mall it had happened. When Sango had noticed his preoccupation, he had assured her that he simply missed his ability, and while it hadn't been a complete lie, it hadn't been the actual truth, either.
His frown deepened as he stared at his hand. The flesh perfect, unbroken, unscarred, and yet . . . another stabbing pain shot through it. Gritting his teeth, Miroku squeezed his fist, bringing his hand up to his chest.
What did it mean?
Jyaki: wicked energy-miasma.
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Out of Time): 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.