InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Out of Time ❯ Calm Before the Storm ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

~~Chapter 9~~
~Calm Before the Storm~
Writhing, undulating, swirling, twisting upon itself, the layers of the mist seemed to pulsate, to breathe; nourishing the foul things, savoring the feel of the night that cultivated it. It was a palpable thing.
Years had given him this ability, this patience. To wait for the right moment, and it was drawing near. `Revenge is a sweetness borne of time and of desire.' He'd known they come. They'd always had a fool's hope . . . a hope that he would smother.
A few things remained; a few things had to be done before he could call to her. She was the key. She was the beginning. She would be their end. She, who had so foolishly done what she never should have done . . . He would show her the crux of her mistake: how much they loved her, cherished her . . . how willing they would be to die for her . . . The foolish hearts of mortals were too easy to manipulate. And the one who was stronger than the rest?
A rumbling wind, the ebbing pall, it curled with the sound. The mountain was dead but the miasma was alive. `The strongest one would succumb first. That is how it should be.'
The first stirrings in five hundred years.
The hints of prophecy yet to be revealed.
All would end, the way it should have before, and he, at last, would be the victor.
`I shall call them, one by one, and she will know; she, who is but a shadow of the first . . . She will know it is because of her that they are all made to suffer . . . .'
The monk . . . the monk who is unwilling to read the signs of the inevitable—the one who could warn them of the dangers to come—will be destroyed, completely shattered. As power is attained will come his demise. Too stubborn, too caring, too proud, he will be humbled . . . . By then, however, it would have been too late. The slayer will be next. Remind her of her brother's senseless death and she will crumble . . .
The hanyou. His death will not come so easily. Would he fight so desperately for her, though, if he knew what she did? Would he believe in the pure heart of the miko if he knew the darkness that lies dormant in her soul?
And the miko. The miko was the key. The miko was the one with the ultimate power to destroy them all. With her heart and her light, she could prove dangerous . . .
Neutralizing the threat she presented was the key. Hearts at odds were hearts easily given to distrust, to despair, and in that despair would come the end for them all . . .
And the beginning, for him.
“So what do you think is going on between those two?” Sango asked, nodding in the direction of InuYasha—sitting up in Goshinboku—and Kagome, who was leaning against the tree trunk talking softly. Obviously, InuYasha was in a mood again, because he had his eyes closed and didn't seem to be listening at all to whatever Kagome was saying. It had been that way for the last few days.
“I think he is still jealous.”
“Of his nephew?”
Miroku made a face. “Nephew or not, InuYasha sees Yukio as a rival for Kagome's affections. Can't you tell?”
Sango digested that for a moment then nodded slowly. Twice they'd seen Yukio since the meeting with Sesshoumaru. Neither had gone well. Yukio seemed to be quite taken with Kagome, and InuYasha was having none of that. “If he would just admit his feelings to her, he could avoid much of it,” Sango pointed out vaguely, still staring over Miroku's shoulder at the two in question.
“Easier said than done, Sango, my sweet. How long have we known InuYasha? When has he ever been forthcoming with his feelings?”
Shippou skittered across the courtyard and hopped onto Miroku's shoulder. “Hey, guys! S'up?”
Sango grinned at the young youkai. He'd been spending most of his time hanging out with Souta, and the human youth was rubbing off on the impressionable Shippou. “I'm surprised you're not still playing video games with Souta.”
“I was. I wanted to see what you guys were doing, though.”
Miroku turned his head to stare at Shippou. “You beat him again, didn't you?”
Shippou sighed, his chin falling just a little. “Yeah. I guess I could let him win some.”
“And he is frustrated with you, right?”
Shippou nodded slowly. “I kind of . . . sort of . . . I guess I rubbed it in, some . . .”
“Maybe you should apologize?” Sango suggested slowly.
The kitsune youkai made a face. “All right,” he agreed at last. He hopped off Miroku's shoulder and trudged slowly back toward the shrine.
“I think he's adapting better than anyone else,” Sango remarked with a small smile as Shippou wandered away. Miroku didn't answer. Sango frowned as she watched the monk. “Houshi-sama?”
“What's that?” Miroku glanced up. He'd been staring at his hand, flexing his fingers idly.
Sango noticed. “All right, Monk. What aren't you telling me?”
Miroku sighed. “Nothing at all. Do you think that I would intentionally keep something from you?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Yes, yes I do. Don't lie to me.”
“Sango . . .”
Her fingers were gentle as she lifted his chin to make him look her in the eye. The contact shocked him, shot through him. It wasn't often that Sango touched him. That she did now proved just how concerned she was. “Houshi-sama, I know there's something you're not saying. What is it?”
His answer was long in coming. As though he didn't want to admit the truth of his fears, especially to her, Miroku shook his head slowly. “It shouldn't hurt like this,” he finally said. “At first, it was just a twinge now and then. But the last few days . . . It really hurts.”
“Let me see.”
He held out his hand. The flesh was smooth, unmarred. As she tenderly rubbed her fingertips over the skin, though, Miroku gasped. The skin felt as though it was being stretched, painfully pulled apart. Blood pooled in his palm. Sango flinched but didn't pull away. Hooking her sleeve over the heel of her hand, she used her blouse to soak up the blood, surveying the damage with a marked frown.
A small hole had opened up. With a smothered gasp, she watched as her sleeve was tugged, as though by an unseen thread, toward that small hole. “H-H-Houshi-sama?”
He grabbed her wrist with his free hand, forcing her gaze to meet his. “Don't tell them. They don't need to worry about it . . . not yet.”
She swallowed hard, tears suddenly clouding her vision as the repercussions of what it might be sank in. “You must tell them! What if he . . .?” Trailing off, Sango couldn't even finish the thought in her own head.
They both stared back. Sometime during their discussion, InuYasha had jumped down and gotten Kagome, who now sat up in the tree with him, her head on his shoulder. The hanyou looked content. It wasn't an expression they often saw. “We can't ruin it for them; not yet.”
Sango sighed but nodded slowly. She was still staring at her friend and the half-demon. “It means we didn't kill him, doesn't it? Because if we had . . .”
Miroku's smile was cynical, ironic. Sango glanced down only to see that the hole had once more sealed itself closed. The trace stains of blood lingered. He swallowed hard and sighed. “At least it was nice while it lasted.”
“What was?”
Forcing a smile that Sango was sure was for her benefit alone, Miroku said with a sigh, “The calm.”
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.