InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Four ( Chapter 4 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Possession 04
Present Day
Kagome awoke with a snort. She tried to sit up and found herself trapped between squashy pillows and the open screen of her laptop. She must have fallen asleep while working on the Szubei merger. Groaning, she sat up and tapped a few keys, hoping she'd had the presence of mind to save her work before dropping into unconsciousness.
Jet lag was hell.
It looked like the gods weren't completely against her. At least not today, she amended. She found she was satisfied with the briefs she'd written and decided to take the rest of the day for herself. No more working, she admonished as she went to go brush her teeth.
The back of her throat tasted of bitter tea and Kagome was sure that something foul had nested under her tongue. She took care of her morning needs briskly, tying back her hair in a ponytail and changing into a pair of baggy sweats and her oversized UCal sweatshirt. The shirt had belonged to Scott and was the only thing of his that she'd taken in the divorce.
He probably hadn't even noticed it missing yet, but when Kagome wore the shirt she was reminded of her first year of law school and bonfires on the beach with her friends. That was where she'd met Scott and this was the very same hooded sweatshirt he'd been wearing at the time.
She grinned at the memory, she'd had at least three beers too many and he'd been so shy she'd had a terrible time making conversation. Conversation hadn't been on her mind that night anyway. She didn't care if the gorgeous hunk was smart or so stupid he would take off his shoes to count.
One thing she had learned by then was how to size up a man. Some went all weird if you were too aggressive, then she had to play the game of making him be the one to draw her out. Some liked the chase; the excitement of talking a girl out of her panties in less time than it took to down a cheeseburger and a margarita.
Kagome personally found both of those types boring. What she liked was a guy who would stare at her from across the room or from on the other side of a campfire. She liked it when he pretended that he really didn't want her as badly as she knew he did. Even more than that she liked the flicker of confusion and jealousy in his eyes when she talked to every other man but him.
When she finally sauntered over, dropping down into the sand and making sure he saw the way she licked her lips, she had his undivided attention. Poor Scott didn't have a chance that night, she was half drunk and all the way horny and something about his eyes and his smile made her warm inside. After a few minutes of polite conversation, she'd dragged the befuddled young man over a sand dune and damn near raped him senseless.
"I never should have given him my number," she muttered as she made her way to the kitchen.
It was still relatively early, her waking and sleeping schedule still attuned to Honolulu time. She wondered if her mother was going to make her an old fashioned breakfast. Pancakes and syrup sounded divine but she thought she might be asking a little too much for there to be bacon or sausage. Kagome spent so much time traveling that she'd nearly forgotten how to cook for herself.
After all, this was no restaurant; it was her mother's home.
What she found in the kitchen was a note from her mother and a covered pot on the stove. The note explained that her mother had gone out to make some arrangements for jiichan's funeral and her breakfast was still hot on the stove. Kagome went to investigate the lidded pot and stared at the contents in amusement. Miso soup with chunks of tofu and onions floating on the top.
She grinned and covered the pot, amused. "Toto, we're not in Hawaii anymore."
She wondered whom she'd have to kill to get a decent cup of coffee though. A quick investigation left her with the knowledge that her mother didn't drink coffee but there was an astonishing assortment of different teas, both loose leaf and bags, including one decaffeinated brand. Shaking her head, Kagome decided to make do with a can of soda that she'd found tucked in the back of the refrigerator.
"Thank you, Souta," she murmured as she tipped the can back and the cold beverage made her throat ache.
Still a little hungry and really not in the mood for miso, she continued rifling through her mother's cupboards in hopes of finding something edible and not requiring any preparation on her part. It was improbable that she would come across a freshly baked scone or a nice lemon poppy seed muffin, but even a package of stale doughnuts would have made her happy at this point.
"Does the woman eat?" she muttered to herself, still swigging back her soda.
She came to the last cupboard and opened it warily, expecting more tea to be forced upon her. But there was no tea, and what she found made her stand still, her morning forage quite forgotten as her appetite died away. Her hand shook a little when she picked up the familiar, brightly colored package, turning it over in her hands like she'd been presented with her own death sentence.
No appeal this time, no friendly or bribable judge to ask mercy from. She couldn't stop the memories from washing over, both the bright and the horrible. Funny how seeing it in her mother's cupboard affected her so strongly, she'd walked by displays of the crap in grocery stores and never even looked twice.
Carefully, because this was not her home and throwing the offending foodstuffs out the window was not going to be acceptable, she replaced the package and closed the cupboard door.
"God, I hate ramen," she whispered bitterly.
Ten Years Earlier
She was in agony, absolute agony. Kagome tried not to let it show on her face, hiding her pain from the rest of her classmates. She'd studied night and day for this exam and nothing, not even the most horrible stabbing pain was going to make her miss it. It was bitter irony how many tests she'd missed for being sick when she'd really been perfectly healthy.
It hadn't been easy trying to cram a year's worth of schooling into two months, but Kagome promised herself it would be worth it, if she could just bring her grades up enough to move on to her final year with her classmates. Trig had definitely not been her strong area; she detested all math in general.
Luckily for Kagome, her friends had enthusiastically thrown themselves into the task of keeping her afloat in her studies, coming over to her house as often as they could to help her prepare for exams. They had also been considerate about not asking too many questions about her now ex-boyfriend.
Kagome was grateful, she needed all the damn help she could get. She'd worked her ass off studying for this last test and she refused to do badly. She wanted the top grades, the very top, and even if she had the worst case of indigestion in her life, she wasn't going to foul this up.
Sweat was dripping into her eyes by the time she'd finished the test. She forced herself to recheck her answers, running them over in her mind at least seven times. When the buzzer sounded, she wanted to cry with relief. The teacher walked slowly, too slowly, up the aisle collecting the test papers. Kagome cursed her for not moving faster, she needed the restroom desperately.
If she didn't puke her guts out on the way.
Ms. Hinako paused as she passed Kagome's desk and took her paper. The girl was deathly pale, sickly looking. She understood that Kagome had suffered from an astonishing array of ailments for most of her high school career, but right now the girl seemed to be holding in a cry of pain, her arms clenched tight over her midsection.
The teacher touched her gently on her shoulder. "Are you well, Higurashi?"
Kagome shook her head, trying to keep the pain out of her voice. She'd been having this pain off and on for a couple weeks, but she'd been scared to tell her mother about it. She didn't need any damn doctor.
"I'm sorry, Hinako-san," she whispered tightly. "I need to use the restroom please."
Usually Ms. Hinako was the very devil about letting her students out of class early for any reason. Having students running loose in the halls was just asking for delinquent behavior that could get out of hand. But Kagome was different; she had never given anyone a reason to think she might be a troublemaker.
The teacher nodded and handed the obviously distressed girl a pass. "You may go."
Kagome felt pain shoot down both her legs as she stood up and tried to gather her things. She was going to explode, her bladder was on fire and it felt like someone was sticking a rusty katana into her belly just above her pelvic bone. If she hadn't hurt so much, she would have tried to run for the toilet but as it was she could just barely manage a slow, aching walk.
What was the matter now, she railed at herself. Couldn't the universe give her just a little break, hadn't she already been through enough hell?
Sealing the well hadn't been difficult. Jiichan had been able to help her more than she'd expected. She'd run hot and cold as they finished the incantations that night, the same night she'd returned to her family.
Even with the seals in place, she'd had nightmares for weeks afterwards, expecting to see Inuyasha tearing his way out of the well house like a zombie rising from the grave. She'd had dreams of going down to breakfast and finding him sitting at the table as he licked her mother's blood off his claws.
Each time she woke up trying to hold back the screams. Her imagination was torturing her far more efficiently than she'd ever dreamed, no girl her age should have to endure nightly visions of slaughter.
And she couldn't, absolutely could not, explain to her family about it. Her mother already knew that she didn't sleep very well. She cried out and wept in her dreams, usually waking to a damp pillow. Only her mother's loving and accepting eyes kept her from losing it completely.
That was one of the reasons she was so determined to get through school, not only to pass, but also to excel. She wanted to make her mother proud, make her see that Kagome really hadn't ruined her life by running around like a crazed fool, trying to save the past even as she let the future die of neglect. Her mother hadn't asked many questions, but she'd had to tell jiichan something when she sealed the well.
"What are you trying to keep out?" the old man had asked as he helped her carefully place the sutras.
"Oh, nothing serious," she said cheerfully, waving her hand like it was no bother at all. "I just don't have any reason to go back there, grandfather. I just think it's for the best if nothing else can get through."
He'd looked at her shrewdly, the old man was a priest himself and he knew what he was looking at when he read Kaede's seals. "It doesn't have anything to do with that boy, does it? That Inuyasha fellow?"
"No," she said, grimly lighting a stick of incense. "It has nothing to do with him at all."
Kagome had reached the bathroom and couldn't help herself, dropping her books on the floor. It was all she could do to make herself go into the stall and sit, clutching her tummy like she expected to keep her entrails inside by force.
"God, god, god," she chanted, tearing pouring down her face. "Just let it stop, please, just let it stop."
As if in answer to her prayers, an unwelcome answer, Kagome's body filled with pain. She screamed suddenly, her hand pressing hard against the wall as she tried to claw her way out of the agony. Looking down at her lap, she was horrified to see ribbons of blood streaming down her legs, staining her skirt and the seat of the commode.
She touched the blood anxiously with her fingers. It was dark, not bright red like what would bleed from a clean cut, but instead the mysterious blood of womanhood.
She was hemorrhaging from between her legs. Kagome raised her hand, looking at her stained fingers. "What's happening to me?" she whispered brokenly. She felt dizzy, sickened, but all she could do was lean her head against the wall and cry like her soul was being torn out of her.
The sides of her vision were starting to go dark. Maybe she would pass out for a bit, that would be quite nice. Anything to get away from this horrible, cramping, twisting pain.
"Kagome?" she heard Eri's voice as her friend entered the bathroom. "Are you all right, I heard you had to leave Hinako's class early."
She couldn't breathe as her friend's footsteps filled the small room. She heard Eri kneel and pick up her books, slowly, one at a time, waiting for her response. Please go away, Kagome begged silently. I don't want anyone to see me like this. Eri's feet were right in front of her stall now and all Kagome could do was close her eyes and try to keep from slumping to the floor.
"Kagome?" Eri's voice seemed concerned. "Answer me, Kagome! Open the door!" Her friend's fist was pounding on the locked door, she heard the girl shouting for help.
"There's blood all over the floor and she won't come out!"
She'd made a mess. She was so ashamed. Some poor janitor was going to have to mop up all that sticky blood. Kagome wondered if they would wait until she felt better, she'd be glad to clean it up herself when she had the strength. She heard more pounding but she couldn't lift her head.
I think they're going to tear the door off, she thought fuzzily, her head dropping down as her spine curved into an unsupportive slump. I hope they aren't too angry with me, I didn't mean to make things go so wrong.
She slipped into unconsciousness even as the door to her stall was pried open and Kagome stopped worrying about what they were going to think.
Present Day
The doorbell buzzed, startling Kagome out of light nap that she'd been so enjoying. She still had the TV remote cradled in her hand and some woman was yammering on about how sanitary her toilet was. Snorting in annoyance, she clicked the damn thing off and marched over to the door.
She supposed her mother wouldn't ring her own doorbell. It was probably something to do with the funeral; packages and condolences had been arriving steadily since before she'd gotten up.
Kagome had no idea her grandfather had been so well liked or had so many acquaintances. It made her feel bad that she'd not known who his friends were or that he was well respected by the neighborhood. After she'd returned for the last time, she'd kind of lived her own little world, focusing on school so hard it was easy to tune everything out. Even family. Memories.
She opened the door to be greeted by a huge, expensive flower display. Her jaw dropped open for a moment before she closed it firmly, not quite knowing what to say to such an imposing floral arrangement and tried not to be overwhelmed by the strong, sweet aroma that was filling her nose.
The flowers bobbed politely, then spoke in a plaintive, apologetic tone. "I'm sorry to disturb you, Mrs. Higurashi, my family asked that I bring these over personally when they heard of your father's death."
"Houjou?" she asked incredulously.
The green leaves and pale blossoms parted to reveal a handsome young man's face. "Higurashi?" he asked, obviously delighted and surprised. "Kagome, is that really you?"
"Uh, yeah," she said, cursing silently at his timing. Her hair had to be matted and look disgusting since she'd been sleeping on it. No make up, baggy sweats, just exactly how she liked to greet an ex-boyfriend from high school.
She forced herself to smile. "It's good to see you, Houjou."
He gestured with his massive armload of flowers and ribbons. Kagome stepped back, abashed, realizing that the arrangement had to be heavy. He brought it in, carefully setting it on a low table. He bowed respectfully to the shrine patron, as if he was embarrassed to be happy to see her at such a grave occasion.
Kagome couldn't help but laugh when he bowed to her in turn. "Stop it, you idiot," she in between chuckles.
Houjou looked solemn. "I'm very sorry to hear about your grandfather, Kagome. Both Eri and I will be coming to the funeral."
That made her smile, thinking of Houjou and his wife caring enough about the Higurashi family to pay their respects. "How is Eri?" she asked, eager to have news of her old school friend. "We've lost touch over the years, I'm afraid I'm a lousy friend."
He shook his head, still smiling warmly. "Not at all, Eri knows how busy you are with your work. She's really very jealous, especially when you send her postcards from so many exotic places. She blames me for not being a more exciting husband."
Kagome giggled, feeling like she was fifteen and invincible. She had been once, hadn't she? Kagome couldn't quite remember, but Houjou's friendly personality was sunshine to her dismal thoughts. "Well, I'm sure that she finds you exciting, Houjou. At least exciting enough to have had two babies with you. How are the girls?"
"Yuki and Meiani are both very well, getting into trouble faster than their mother can keep up." Houjou looked around and smiled. "You know it's been forever since I've been to the shrine. Do you mind if I walk around?"
"Not at all," she answered quickly, not wanting him to leave. He'd been a persistent suitor at one time, generous and fun to be with. Sometimes a little too heavy on the I'm-just-a-dumb-guy routine, but for the most part, Houjou was every bit as sincere as he appeared.
That fascinated Kagome, for years most of her friends and her colleagues were the kind of people who practiced sincerity the same way another person would practice a sport. She led Houjou out through the back door so that they would wander the grounds.
Kagome surprised herself, this felt so easy, so natural. She was glad she'd left her shoes off, the smoothness of the pavement against her feet felt like childhood, every single stone was a familiar memory for her.
Houjou looked pleased too, looking up at the leaves rustling in the breeze. "How is your husband, Kagome?"
She flinched, not really meaning to but unable to help herself just the same. Houjou noticed and raised his eyebrows. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," she said, flying on autopilot.
He frowned, concerned. "Are you sure?"
"I'm divorced," she said at last. "I haven't told Mama yet, she's got enough on her mind." Houjou looked surprised, but instead of awkwardly withdrawing, he took her arm and tucked it around his.
"I'm sorry, Kagome."
She winced. "Don't be, it was my decision, Houjou. He's not happy about it, but it's for the best."
"I'm still sorry," he murmured.
Kagome's mouth quirked to the side, looking up at him. "How do you do that?"
He regarded her seriously. "Do what?"
Kagome waved her hand. "You always seem so nice, such a good person. Don't you ever get upset, or frustrated, or just plain pissed?"
"Of course," he said, squeezing her arm. "I'm only human, I have my moments. Call Eri, I'm sure she'll give you a list."
Must be nice, she thought. Being only human, thinking that there's nothing more out there.
Houjou's hand had slipped from the crook of her arm to her palm, his fingers winding warmly around hers. It caught her attention, feeling somehow shy about pulling away. It had been a long time since anyone had taken her hand like that while she walked.
He looked down and caught her eye. "You know," Houjou said thoughtfully. "You're going to think I'm just flattering you, but it's the truth so I'm going to say it. You look just like you did in high school, you haven't changed at all."
Kagome just blinked at him. This was coming from where? "Oh stop," she told him, smiling half in embarrassment. "I've changed, we all change."
He stopped and put his hands on her shoulders, looking down at her very seriously. "Not you, you're still beautiful. I've missed you, Higurashi. Your husband must be the biggest idiot to have ever let you get away."
"Houjou," she said, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. "I swear it wasn't his fault. I'm...I'm just not cut out to be a wife."
He pulled her against him, leaning down brush his lips across hers. Kagome's eyes went wide, disbelief washing over her. She pushed him back, glaring. "Have you lost your mind?"
He blushed. "Maybe. I'm sorry, Kagome. I shouldn't have done that. You just...just looked so sad." His hand brushed her hair back. "Actually, I really do feel badly for your husband. I've never forgiven myself for letting you get away. Guess that makes me an idiot too, right?"
She didn't say anything when he leaned close again, this time brushing his lips over her cheekbone. His mouth wandered close to hers and still she didn't say anything. Houjou's hands were moving from her shoulders to her hips, pressing her back as he kissed her. It was strange, she found herself enjoying it.
She needed it, some kind of validation, something to remind her that she didn't belong here among their ghosts. She was a professional, a successful lawyer. But less than twenty-four hours in her mother's home and she already felt her hard earned confidence wanting to slide away, disappear like a mist under the morning sun.
It wasn't going to happen that way for her, she wasn't giving up what she'd fought to take back.
Houjou gasped as she drew him to her, demanding and intense. Kagome called to him, wordless and needing, burying her hands in his hair. Her mouth opened under his, the tip of her tongue finding his. He moved her backwards, bracing her against the nearest tree and then sliding his hands under her baggy shirt.
Kagome kissed him hard, willing him to move his hands where he wanted, urgent to have him touching her. His mouth slid down her jaw as she rocked against him, one leg shamelessly drawing his thighs against hers. Houjou lavished her throat with passionate kisses, teasing her skin and whispering in her ear.
It felt good, she thought dizzily, way too good. She sighed against him, tipping back her chin to stare up at the branches of the tree. They were familiar; she felt like she had mapped the pattern of those branches on the insides of her eyelids, she knew them that well. Houjou was trying to find some way to work her heavy sweatshirt over her head, but Kagome wasn't being very cooperative, lost in thought as she looked at the tree.
It wasn't funny. She had joked about the universe having it in for her, but this was ironic in a way that made her stomach sink like lead, a strange bitterness made her shoulders lock and her back stiffen. This was the Goshinboku, the god-tree, and the most sacred place in her family's shrine.
For fifty years, a hanyou boy had hung on this tree, sealed asleep and dreaming. She'd never forget, it was burned into her heart like a brand. She saw everything about her life in terms of before and after that moment.
Houjou's kisses were still urgent against her lips but Kagome had never felt less like continuing a passionate interlude. She pushed him away. "No, this isn't right." She felt hideously guilty, remembering that Eri was her friend.
His face was flushed and Houjou tenderly cupped her cheek in his palm. "It's fine," he said softly, looking into her eyes. "You don't know how often I've dreamed about doing this."
"What...what about Eri?" she whispered as he moved back to kissing her neck. It still felt good, still felt...necessary. But icy guilt was starting to creep up her backbone as she looked up into the Goshinboku's unforgiving branches. How many times have I stood beneath this tree, she wondered as Houjou's hands cupped her breasts and he sighed into her ear.
"Don't worry about Eri," he said thickly. "What she doesn't know won't hurt her."
But it can still hurt me, she thought angrily and pulled his hands away. "I said stop it, Houjou! I'm not some damn slut you can whore around with."
He looked shocked, slowly pulling away from her. "I'm sorry," he said contritely, looking uncomfortable. "I thought you were enjoying it."
"I'm just not ready," she said lamely, as if her divorce would stop her from doing what she'd done while she was married. How many times had she used those words with a lover?
What Scott doesn't know won't hurt him.
She felt a little queasy and wondered when her morals had become so degraded that she'd screw an old friend's husband just because she was bored and needed a little boost to her self esteem.
"Houjou, I'm sorry too," she said and meant it. "I did enjoy it, honestly, I did." He reached for her and she pressed her back against the god-tree and begged it for strength. "It's not just Eri, I'm just dealing with being here after not being here for so long. A lot of old memories I should have kept buried."
"It's about him, isn't it?" Houjou said quietly.
She stared at him. "I don't know who you mean."
"Damn it, Kagome." Houjou ran a distracted hand over his hair and smiled, but his smile no longer touched his eyes. "It's still about him even after ten years. You were thinking about that old boyfriend of yours even when I was kissing you."
That was a lot closer to the truth than she wanted to admit and silently dug her bare toe into the soft earth surrounding the tree roots. "No," she said at last, keeping her voice steady. "I haven't thought about him in years. I'm long since over it."
"Prove it," he whispered, leaning close again. "Kiss me and just think about me, don't think about him at all."
She almost did it, almost reached for Houjou like she had something to prove, as if Inuyasha would ever know or even care that she put him out of her mind for a minute. But if she kissed Houjou now, she'd fall so deep that reason and good choices would be nothing more than a shadow of a memory. She'd let him do whatever he wanted as long as it kept the darkness at bay and let her lose herself in the physical response of sex, banishing the things she didn't want to remember.
Kagome shook her head. "I think maybe you should go, I couldn't live with myself if I did this to Eri."
She saw a scowl briefly cross Houjou's face; it must have been her imagination because she really didn't think he'd ever look angry or frustrated, no matter what he said.
Her eyes went wide and round when he turned and walked quickly away, his mouth clamped and hard. "Whatever you say, Higurashi," he muttered, just loud enough for her to hear. "That's how it always is between us, whatever you say."