InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Out of Time ❯ The Return ( Chapter 11 )

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

~~Chapter 11~~
~The Return~
Sango sighed, slowly shaking her head. Renewing her grip on the small hand spade, she turned the earth gently, carefully, trying her hardest not to disturb the plants that rooted there. Satisfied that she'd removed all the weeds from the small section of the flower garden, she set aside the tool and stood, wiping her hands on the faded denim overall shorts before she headed off to find the watering can.
She filled the can and turned off the hose. As she started back for the garden, she frowned. Miroku sat against Goshinboku, his back toward her, his eyes seemingly staring down at his hands. She sighed and set down the can. Things had been strained between the two of them since the other day and the incident with Kisho. Honestly, Sango couldn't figure it out. One minute, she was fine, and the next, she was swooning over the hanyou. It made no sense. She didn't even know Kisho, and certainly not well enough to have behaved the way she did. `There is just something about his eyes,' she thought . . .
Point was, though, when she'd tried to explain to Miroku, he didn't seem to want to hear it.
“I didn't know you were outside,” she commented as she stopped beside the quiet monk. He didn't look at her. He didn't even acknowledge her. The breeze lifted his hair, toyed with it gently, let it go. It floated back with an exquisite lethargy. She reached out to touch it then pulled her hand away. Funny how she'd never noticed before, how much she valued the monk's constant attention. She knelt down beside him. “Houshi-sama . . .”
Miroku shook his head slowly. Opening his mouth to speak, he closed it once, twice, before his gaze slid to the side, pinning Sango where she sat. “It's back.”
Sango's eyes fell to his hand. She pulled his hand away and winced. The kazaana had reopened, there was no doubt about it. Though small enough that the wind was, for the most part, unremarkable, Sango could feel the air being whisked through her fingers. “N . . . no . . .”
Miroku sat up and dug in his pocket, dragging out the purple glove, the prayer beads. Sango let a strangled sob as she smashed her hands over her mouth. “It's okay, Sango. Don't cry.”
She couldn't help herself as she watched him slowly slip the glove over his hand; the ring over his middle finger. He smoothed the glove into place then quickly wrapped the prayer beads around it. It seemed to mock him. Sango swallowed hard. “He really didn't die, did he? How . . .? Why?
Shaking his head slowly, Miroku pulled Sango into a comforting hug. “We'll find him. Sesshoumaru must know something. InuYasha is convinced that he knows more than he's told us thus far. I think he may be right.”
She pulled away, sinking back on her knees with her hands in her lap. “About the other day,” she started to say.
Miroku sighed. “Sango, you deserve to be happy. If Kisho is the one who can offer you that happiness . . .”
“Miroku! Sango! Check these—” Shippou tore out the back door of the shrine with a small stack of trading cards clutched in his hands and skidded to a halt, staring between the humans with a questioning frown. “What's wrong?” He stared at the glove then back up at Miroku. “What does that mean? Miroku?”
With a half-hearted smile, Miroku tried to assure the kitsune. “It's nothing, Shippou. Just a little insurance, is all.”
“Insurance?” the kitsune echoed. He didn't understand exactly what Miroku meant, but he'd never been stupid, either. Shippou frowned. “Insurance against what?”
“Shippou,” Sango interrupted, “do you know where Kagome and InuYasha are?”
“They sent me out here to show you my new cards!” Shippou said, extending the trading cards toward them. Sango looked them over and forced a smile as she handed them to Miroku. “Anyway, InuYasha is still in a bad mood from the other day. I think Kagome is trying to get him out of it because she was sitting on him.”
Miroku's interest spiked. “Really, now? Tell us more, Shippou.”
Sango slapped Miroku's arm.
“He said something about Yukio that she didn't like, and she `osuwari-ed' him, and, well, you know InuYasha.” Shippou sighed dramatically.
“Will you leave it alone?” InuYasha snarled as he stomped out of the shrine.
Kagome caught his sleeve. The hanyou jerked away. “InuYasha, will you just listen!”
“I don't care, and I don't want to hear anymore! Go find him if you want him so badly!”
Kagome looked as though she wanted to argue her case further, but she caught sight of Miroku's gloved hand and gasped softly. InuYasha glanced over to see what had caught her attention. His frown deepened as he altered his direction, heading straight over to Miroku, Sango, and Shippou. Kagome sank down in the grass and touched Miroku's glove. “It's back, isn't it?”
“Yeah,” he said softly then sighed.
Shippou gasped, the color draining from his face. Kagome flinched and forced a smile for the youngster. “Shippou, I think Souta was looking for you.”
The kitsune spared them each a last suspicious glance before he ran back into the shrine. InuYasha glared at the tree over Miroku's head. Kagome looked as though she was about to cry. Sango stared at her hands folded in her lap.
“We've got to find out where Naraku is hiding,” Kagome finally said, steely resolve backing her words.
“He's still weak,” Sango mused, more to herself than to anyone else. “If the kazaana is that small . . . does it mean that Naraku is gaining strength as it grows?”
“What do you mean?” Kagome asked.
Sango sighed. “I mean, when we defeated Naraku, the kazaana disappeared. We thought he was destroyed, but if he was just weakened to the point of death and somehow survived all these years . . .”
Miroku continued after Sango trailed off. “Then it would also make sense that he's gaining strength again, as you said.” He shook his head slowly, as though he didn't want to understand the implications of the kazaana's return. “Which would mean . . .”
InuYasha shot to his feet and stalked toward the gate, toward the street. Kagome hopped up and ran after him leaving Miroku and Sango to follow. “InuYasha? Where are you going?”
InuYasha didn't act like he was going to answer. He kept walking, not bothering to look to see whether or not the others were behind him. “InuYasha?” Miroku called out.
“Feh!” InuYasha snorted without missing a step. “I'm going to see my bastard brother. He knows something, and he's going to fucking spill it.”
“Tell me what you know, Sesshoumaru.”
Sesshoumaru stared at the assembly, sherry golden eyes flicking from one to the next as though dismissing them each in turn. “What makes you so certain I know anything at all, little brother?”
InuYasha's temper was near ignition. Kagome laid a placating hand on his arm. For once the hanyou didn't shrug her off. “Either you tell us what you know,” he snarled, “or I'll wipe the floor with you. Either way you'll spill your guts. Care to choose before I do it for you?”
Sesshoumaru's gaze narrowed but he didn't take the bait. He stood and crossed the floor, stopping only to lean against the stocked bar on the other side of the plush study. The track lighting above the mirrored backsplash lent him an unearthly glow, like the gathering of Kagome's miko energy, only surrounding the youkai, the fake lighting seemed harsh, cryptic. He waved his hand toward Miroku, almost as though it was an afterthought. “Your kazaana has returned?”
Miroku nodded, one terse jerk of his head. “Yes.” Bringing his hand up against his chest, he stared belligerently at Sesshoumaru. “It's only a small opening now; hardly worth worrying over, but it leads us to believe that Naraku is still weak. Do you know where he is?”
“Perhaps,” Sesshoumaru remarked, making a show of checking his watch. “Then again, perhaps not.”
“Knock off your fucking games, bastard, and tell us what you know!” InuYasha bellowed, his hand reaching for Tetsusaiga. Kagome tried to stop the hanyou again. This time he shook her off.
“Please,” Sango spoke up, her voice choked, rasping, as she glanced at Miroku then back at the youkai. “If you know anything, Sesshoumaru . . .”
“And what will you do if you find him, exterminator? Will you seek to destroy Naraku again? Or do you simply wish to render him dormant, as you did the first time?” Sesshoumaru's lips twisted up in a half-smile. “Dormancy has its advantages, of course, for ones as weak as you. You'd be able to live out the remainder of your lives without having to worry that Naraku would return. Miko . . .”
Kagome didn't hesitate to meet Sesshoumaru's gaze. InuYasha growled beside her but didn't speak.
“You were foolish to purify the jewel. Do you realize? Do you know what you've done? Your silly wish wasted the one true power necessary to destroy Naraku, and all for him.” Sesshoumaru's eyes flicked coolly to InuYasha.
InuYasha frowned, turning to stare at Kagome, a fierce light behind his gaze. `Kagome? What the hell did you do?'
Kagome didn't flinch as she gazed at the youkai, didn't spare InuYasha even a glimpse. “I did what I had to do, Sesshoumaru. We can defeat Naraku, and this time we will stop him from coming back, ever again. Now do you know anything or not?”
Sesshoumaru sighed and pushed the intercom button on the bar beside him. “Shiori, will you send in Yukio and Kisho?” Cracking his knuckles in an idle way, Sesshoumaru finally looked back at Kagome. “Mt. Sorrow is an eastern isle. Desolate and abandoned, the miasma that surrounds the mountain is said to be thick, potent enough to kill most humans upon contact. This is where you'll find Naraku. My sons will show you the way . . . if you really think you can brave it.”
“Just tell us where to find it. There's no way in hell I'm taking your sons with us,” InuYasha ground out.
Sesshoumaru shrugged. “Be not a baka, InuYasha. My sons are as strong as I am. If you have any hope of coming out of there alive, you will take them with you.”
“I'd rather—”
“Thank you,” Kagome cut in.
InuYasha scowled at her. She refused to meet his eyes.
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.

Chapter 10
Chapter 12
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