InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Nine ( Chapter 9 )

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

Possession 09
Present Day
“So what do you want to do?” Shippou asked.
Kagome looked up at him. “Hell if I know,” she muttered. She stamped her feet again and then leaned her forehead against the wall in despair. It was no use. There was nothing else she could think of to do. She was so angry about it she was nearly in tears. Resolutely, she shook off the depression that wanted to overwhelm her.
“Do you want me to help you out of there?” Shippou said, looking anxious as he peered inside the well. He wasn't so sure it wouldn't open up suddenly, suck Kagome back to her world without warning. He couldn't count how many times he'd stood beside this well or inside it and wondered about what had happened to her. He'd hoped she was safe, he'd hoped she was happy.
She didn't look happy now, he decided and swung his legs over the side and dropped down beside her. “Come on,” he said cheerily, trying to make her smile. “Just grab onto me and I'll jump out.”
Just like Inuyasha used to do, she thought to herself as she wrapped her arms around the kitsune's strong shoulders. “Be careful,” she admonished. “I swear, if you drop me...”
“I won't,” he said happily and leaped into the air. Kagome had a heart stopping moment just before Shippou's claws caught the side of the well and hauled them out. “Nothing to it,” he said with a wicked grin.
She tried to smile at him, she honestly did. Somehow she couldn't summon it, couldn't force it to her lips. The well wouldn't open; she was stuck in the Sengoku Jidai. Maybe for the rest of her life.
“Are you okay?” Shippou asked, concern coloring his voice. She glanced up at him, thinking again how strong and handsome he'd grown. His coppery hair was the color of sunset and his eyes looked especially green against his tanned skin. She was so glad that he'd managed to survive on his own.
“What am I going to do, Shippou?” she asked, trying to keep the despondence out of her tone. “I'm never going to get home.”
“Don't say that,” he chided gently, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. “The Kagome I knew never gave up so easily. There's got to be a way to make it take you back.”
She didn't want to give up; she really didn't want to resign herself to a life in the past. What kind of place was there for her here? She missed the comforts of home already, the warm beds and soft sheets. Clothes that fit her perfectly. Her hair felt grimy and Kagome thought wistfully of the expensive shampoo that was waiting for her back at her mother's house.
Too bad she couldn't have packed a bag the way she used to. All she had left of her real life was the silk nightgown that she was wearing under her faded and ragged yukata.
Shippou had scrounged a pair of sandals for her at least. The soles of her feet had tiny cuts all over them from her headlong run through the forest. Her hands were scratched as well and she had skinned both of her knees when she'd flung herself to the ground to avoid that snake demon. Life was hard in this era; just the work of keeping herself alive was more than she wanted to think about.
When did you become such a whiner, she scolded herself. Kagome forced herself to pull her shoulders straighter and bring her chin up. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, even if you're stuck here for now, you will find a way home. There's got to be a way home.
And she wasn't alone. She had a friend, a good friend, to depend on. Shippou's smile lightened her heart and she grinned back at him as she tucked her hand in his.
His eyes twinkled merrily. “I don't know about you,” he said slyly, “but I'm hungry. How about if I catch us some fish for dinner?”
Kagome squeezed his hand gratefully. “What would I do without you?” She saw his blush and Shippou ducked away from her as if she'd embarrassed him.
“Don't worry, Kagome,” he said, not quite meeting her eyes. “I'm here for you now. There's nothing to be afraid of.”
He gave her a quick boyish hug when they returned to the village and then bounded off towards the river. Kagome found herself grinning rather stupidly. He'd grown up so much, grown so confident. She remembered how timid he'd been when she'd first met him. Always pretending to be bold and brave, but such a scared little boy all the same.
Kagome sighed as she entered Kaede's hut and picked up a stick to stir the fire. Hopefully Shippou knew something about cooking, she couldn't remember the last time she'd had to prepare a real meal from scratch. And there wouldn't be much to work with either, just whatever Shippou brought back from the river.
She knelt next to the bucket of water that Shippou had brought her when they'd returned to the hut and carefully washed her hands and face. She stared into the water and watched her own reflection wavering back at her. Her face looked pale against the darkness of her hair, her eyes seemed to be dark and bottomless pits of sorrow.
“Snap out of it, girl,” she told herself sternly. Now was no time to fall apart. She had to be practical, think about how she'd get herself out of this mess. Damn the well anyway, why did it open for her in the first place? She didn't have any jewel shards; there wasn't even a bloody jewel anymore. It had exploded, shimmered in the air like thousand tiny suns. She could still remember the way it had dazzled her, blinded her, just before it had turned him into a demon and destroyed every single dream she had.
And he was still out there somewhere. Shippou said he didn't know where he was now, but he hadn't been able to look her in the eye when he told her that. She knew what he was thinking. He didn't want Inuyasha to find out that she had returned.
Kagome shivered and rubbed her arms. What would Inuyasha do if he did find out that she had come back to this era? Would he hunt her down and kill her for leaving him? Or would it be much worse than that? Over the years, she had tormented herself with these questions, never dreaming that her fears would become reality.
Maybe his anger had dimmed with the passage of time. Perhaps he had even found someone else to take her place. It was irrational, but she felt the sudden burn of jealousy at the idea of Inuyasha happy and content with another woman, demon or human, while she had suffered from the trauma of having her heart torn out.
Did he have children, she wondered angrily, finding that she was grinding her teeth. The miscarriage had damn near killed her; in so many ways she really had died that day. The part of her that had struggled to remain Kagome after she'd escaped had finally disappeared, washed away as a crimson stain on the floor of a high school bathroom.
After that, she'd wrapped a shell around herself, a protective layer that let her forget about him enough to concentrate on her life. Kagome reminded herself that she'd already done the impossible. Defeated an evil monster, survived a lover that had become an even more horrifying demon. Survived the loss of her baby, not even having known that she was pregnant. Then driven herself with an almost fanatical determination towards her world's idea of success.
Surely even finding a way to open a portal through time couldn't be that much of a challenge?
“That was delicious,” Kagome said, wiping the last bits of grilled fish from her chin.
He laughed at her. “It was nothing special,” the kitsune grinned. “You were just extra hungry, that's why you think it tasted so good.”
Kagome blinked at him, affecting an innocent look. “I don't remember you being so modest, Shippou.”
That made him laugh again and he leaned over on his side, one fist propping his head up as he regarded her. “I told you, I'm not so much of a brat anymore. I had to learn to behave or get the snot beat out of me if I didn't.”
“Who would do that?” she asked, curious. She watched him carefully, wanting to know how he'd grown up, who had taken care of him. “Shippou, what happened after I left? It was Inuyasha that destroyed the village, wasn't it?”
The kitsune's face grew dark, old anger coloring his cheeks. “Yeah, it was him. I didn't see it happen, Kagome. After he hit me, I think I must have been unconscious for a day or more. When I woke up, I could hardly move. Somehow, I managed to crawl out of the forest to the village, but it was gone.”
“He killed them,” she whispered, horrified.
Shippou shook his head. “Not all of them.” The kitsune's voice grew soft with grief. “I think most of the villagers survived, I...I didn't find very many bodies. Only a couple of the men. They died with weapons in their hands so I think they tried to fight him. But none of the women or children were there and it looked like they'd grabbed whatever they could carry before they ran away.”
He sighed and met her eyes, one hand reaching for her and settling on her knee. “Kaede-sama wasn't one of the bodies I found. I think she got away with the others.”
Kagome felt almost weak with relief. Inuyasha might have destroyed the village, but he hadn't slaughtered the inhabitants. It was little enough to cling to, but she was grateful. And she felt a desperate sort of happiness that Kaede hadn't been killed. She'd felt sure Inuyasha would know who'd helped her seal the well and would have inflicted a terrible revenge on the kindly old woman.
“Anyway,” Shippou continued, his voice light again. “I didn't try to follow them. I thought maybe a demon brat like me wouldn't be particularly welcome after what Inuyasha did to the village.”
“Kaede wouldn't have turned you away,” Kagome said quickly. The old priestess had been very fond of the young fox, doting on him whenever they stayed at the village. She couldn't see Kaede turning bitter and rejecting Shippou for what was not his fault.
“She might not have had a choice,” Shippou said quietly. “In any case, I think I was better off without them. It wouldn't have been right for a bunch of humans to take care of a youkai like me. I was better off with my own kind.”
Kagome stared at him. “Your own kind? You found other kitsune to live with?” That surprised her. Shippou had never indicated that he knew of other fox demons, how strange that when he was on his own that they would be the ones to take him in.
Shippou grinned at her, his eyes sparkling with humor. He was going to enjoy surprising her. “Not kitsune, Kagome. Wolves.”
Her eyes grew wide. “Kouga,” she breathed. “Kouga took care of you?”
He nodded. “He came looking for you, but it was me that he found. He was so angry when he found out about what Inuyasha had done, the way he'd turned into a full demon and attacked the villagers. I...I told him everything.”
“After that, he went after Inuyasha. He said he wanted to kill him with his own hands. And he took me with him, said he didn't want to leave a runt like me alone to starve in the wilderness. Said you would want him to look after me until I was old enough to take care of myself.”
Tears were springing to her eyes. “Oh Shippou,” she said. “What happened after that? Did Kouga ever find him?”
The young fox demon looked thoughtful. “No. We looked for weeks, but he just vanished after he destroyed the village. There was no trail, no rumors. We went all over the countryside, asked everyone we could about him. For a long time, I thought he was dead. I wished for it to be so.”
“You said he was still alive,” Kagome reminded him.
“Do you want him to be alive?” Shippou asked almost wistfully. “He hurt you so badly, Kagome. He deserves to be dead for what he's done.”
She flushed and couldn't look at him. “I'm not sure what I wanted,” Kagome said in a low, shameful voice. “I learned to make myself hate him. It felt better, hating him for what he did.”
She'd had to hate him; otherwise she couldn't live with herself. Everything he had ever done or said for her had been a lie. He'd used her to get to the jewel, made her think that he really cared about her and the others. She still couldn't believe how completely he had deceived her. That was, in fact, the most horrible thing of all.
Losing Sango and Miroku had been terrible, for years she'd still been wracked with grief stricken nightmares over their deaths. Thinking Shippou and Kaede dead for her sake had turned her inside out. But it was Inuyasha's betrayal that had devastated her heart. He had never loved her, never cared for her, seen her only as a means to his end, his goal of becoming full demon. That shook her to her core. How had she ever been so wrong about him?
And after that, in the ultimate betrayal of everything that she had held dear, she had still loved him anyway. She just couldn't stop, couldn't turn her heart away even when she'd seen him for what he truly was. What kind of worthless creature would still love such a monster? Would let him fuck her senseless night after night, would stay passive and weak while he abused her friends and threatened her family? While he violated her to her very core and destroyed everything inside of her that told her that she was good and worthy of love?
Something touched her face and Kagome opened her eyes. She was crying and hadn't even realized it until Shippou wiped away the tears. “Don't cry over him,” he whispered. “Please Kagome, don't cry. Not for him.”
She wasn't crying for Inuyasha. She was crying for herself and all the damage that had been done. It seemed like she'd never be whole again, everything she'd achieved for herself had been because of him. The ruthless way she'd pursued her career, how she had used her body like a tool, like she had no spirit to protect and nurture. It was all the means to an end. She was no different than Inuyasha in that respect.
She was still in shock or maybe it was just simple exhaustion, but Kagome fell asleep not long after supper. Quietly, so as not to wake her, Shippou laid down at her side and curled his body around hers, holding her much as she used to hold him when they'd snuggle together under he sleeping bag and count the stars.
Ten Years Earlier
The village was a smoking ruin, but he detected very little scent of human blood amid the debris. Sesshomaru's lip curled with contempt. Filthy humans, living like animals in squalor and swimming in their own waste. But it wasn't humans that had destroyed this village, that much he could tell. This was the work of an angry, uncontrollable demon.
He'd heard the rumors whispered in the forest, the gossip that trees told each other in the night. Animals had deserted the surrounding area out of fear and he'd found enough remains of lower youkai and oni that even a demon lord with little respect for life wanted to cringe. Somewhat warily, Sesshomaru decided to follow the bloody trail of death to see where it led, see for himself the monster that was ravaging the countryside.
A pure youkai had little use for humans, but he forced himself to listen to their chatter as they passed him, unseen, as he ventured through the forest. The tales said that a bloodthirsty monster was on a rampage, slaughtering humans and demons alike with no cause and no provocation. The peasants were in fear for their lives.
Sesshomaru snorted to himself, disgusted with the wanton destruction. “So, little brother,” he murmured aloud. “It has come to this.”
His brother's altered scent filled the area; he might as well have left Sesshomaru a map to his location. The smell was...strange. Sesshomaru well remembered the scent of his brother's blood when he had briefly transformed into a full demon. At that time, Inuyasha had been mindless, craving only death and destruction, blood beneath his claws. From the remains of the village and the unlucky creatures that had crossed his path, Sesshomaru might have assumed such a transformation had occurred once again.
This was something different. Sesshomaru puzzled over the strangeness as he tracked his brother's scent across the fields. Before his scent had been full demon, pure youkai and it had been his brother's hanyou body that couldn't handle the strain of power. Imperfect hanyou were unable to control the demon blood that raged to life within them. They were helpless in the tides of instinct that ruled youkai, unable to control themselves and reduced to bestial behavior.
But this was not that scent, not that scent of a hanyou turned full demon and in the grip of his youkai blood. There was something corrupt about the smell, something horrifying. Like a slow seeping poison, like a cancerous growth. All his instincts were screaming at him to find the source of that scent and eradicate it from the earth. An abomination, a darkness that defiled the otherwise clean smell of pure youkai bloodline.
His bloodline.
Sesshomaru stopped, finding that his nose had led him to a cave that was nearly hidden by the long grass of the meadow. It chilled him somehow and Sesshomaru was not one to give in to childish fears or petty apprehension. Still, something about the aura that was clinging to the mouth of that cave made the hackles on the back of his neck rise and the demon lord found himself growling softly in the back of his throat.
Abomination. When had he scented such a thing before? It played at the back of his mind with a madding familiarity. It was definitely Inuyasha he detected, he recognized the scent even if there was no longer any trace of humanity about it. Had the half-breed found a way to permanently turn himself into a full demon?
Had he lost his mind?
Sesshomaru found himself frowning, a faint, vexed line appearing between his brows. Either way, mad or lucid, his brother was in that cave. Slowly, moving with a care and precision that was as much a part of him as his silver hair and poison claws, he drew Toukijin from his sash and prepared to enter the cave.
Present Day
She still dreamed about him sometimes.
It seemed unfair that even inside her own head she had to be conflicted. Nightmares were still the occasional bedmate, her waking to soaked sheets, perspiration making the hollow between her breasts feel sticky and clammy. Kagome refused to give in, refused to fight or struggle against them when they came. Instead, she'd become an expert at making herself forget about things. If she'd rather not dwell on it, then she didn't. What else was self-discipline for? She didn't have to suffer the darkness during her waking hours.
The other dreams were far more difficult to endure. Far more devastating overall. They were the dreams that she couldn't make herself forget. Couldn't because she didn't want to, couldn't force herself to give them up. And if they also made her sweat, made her wake up more tired than when she'd gone to sleep, then she'd spend the morning lashing out at herself in her own mind for being so weak as to want to keep him with her.
And she didn't fight those dreams either.
In the dreams, he was gentle with her. Tender almost, completely at odds with what he'd become. It was as if some tiny part of him came to the surface during the sex. Some haunted and twisted visage of the person she'd fallen in love with. Either that or her body betrayed her so ultimately that Kagome could no longer tell what was real.
It was sheer manipulation, utter denial. It was violation right down to her soul and twice as painful because she was a willing participant in her own destruction. She became the wanton, she handed him over everything that she should have kept for herself.
Soft lips touched hers, brushing against the skin like a delicate whisper. The last fragile token from an already banished heart. She'd inhale; taste his spice, licking her lips for the last hint of sweet control. And he'd kiss her again, still soft, still wistful, this time the tip of his tongue came searching for hers. Hesitant at first, cautious of the flame, it intruded and invited at the same time. Unconsciously or wantonly, her jaw dropped open, beckoning to him with a whisper soft siren's call.
And he tasted her, growing bolder as she accepted him. His mouth suckling gently at her own, the hint of fangs behind the lips that seemed too soft, too full to belong to a wild creature. She searched and hinted and gave herself away to his kiss. That was why she stayed, that was why she left so much of herself behind. Because without this she became incomplete, some necessary bearing lost. Kagome cast herself wide in the winds of her loss.
Her hands came up and cupped his face, her eyes so tightly closed as his hair slide between her fingers. She felt him answer her, timeless, age old answering. His fingertips traced her jaw line, ran the column of her neck. The slight prickle of his claws against the silky expanse of her skin, gently easing aside her clothing to find her breast. Her back arched to press her flesh against his palm, the exquisite sensation of a calloused thumb rubbing over the nipple.
Sometimes it felt so real, the way his mouth dragged down across her throat, kissing her, sucking the flesh against his lips and licking. Kagome cried out when the tip of her breast was pulled into his mouth by hot, eager lips. His tongue tasted her nipple relentlessly, bruising it in his urgency as his hands moved down her hips.
“Kagome,” she heard her name whispered in reverent affection. How she'd longed to hear her name said that way. With love, with longing and need so heavy in his tone that she could almost slide underneath it, wrap it around her like a thick comforter. A voice like that could keep out the cold, drive away the darkness and she'd never have to feel alone again.
Only problem with it wasn't Inuyasha's voice.
Kagome gasped and tried to sit up, shoving at him hard as she did so. Sudden fury replaced the desire that had been flooding her body and Kagome slapped him as hard as she could.
“What the hell are you doing, Shippou?”
The startled kitsune rubbed his face, his eyes wide. “I'm sorry,” he whispered.
She was breathing hard and it wasn't just from the shock. Kagome clutched her clothing to her body, pulling the oversized yukata around her like a barrier. She wasn't scared, not at all. Instead she was angry, she was furious with him. And underneath it all, she felt a sick pleasure about the way he'd been making her feel. If only it had been just a dream, she would have gladly surrendered.
But Kagome was no longer in the mood for surrender and she was no longer able to panic over her circumstances. She knew it was Shippou she was talking to, the lighthearted kitsune boy held a special place in her heart. She had loved him, worried for him, grieved over him and tormented herself over the possibility that she had caused his death. He had always been the most loyal of her friends, defending her selflessly and vocally, never backing down. She knew she could count on Shippou.
And she wanted to count on him now, which meant that she had to stop thinking of him as the adorable fox-child that had stolen her heart with the very first smile. She couldn't think of him as surrogate brother or adopted child any longer. She was dealing with a grown demon male now and one thing Kagome understood now was how males had to be dealt with. If she wasn't planning on seducing them, she had to take control.
“Explain yourself,” she snapped, harsh and biting.
Shippou's eyes widened and she reflected that he'd probably never heard her use quite that voice. He'd seen her angry before, but not when she could put venom into her words, steel behind her tone. This was a Kagome he'd never met before.
He took a deep breath, his cheeks slowly darkening with embarrassment. The dying fire cast shadows and sparks in the air, bits of ash floating in the air between them like the last remnants of a dying wish. Her heart was still pounding in her chest; she knew he could hear it. Knew he'd hear it just as he'd been able to smell her momentary arousal. Kagome wondered what he'd thought. Had he known she was only dreaming or had Shippou mistaken for a moment that she'd been responding to him as a lover? She watched the deep green of his eyes for answers and wondered about it herself.
She sat and waited for his answer, seeing the young man's struggle with his words. Finally, Shippou raised his head and met her gaze directly.
“I love you.”
She had to steel her heart now because she loved him too. Kagome bit back the caustic and cruel reply that wanted to flow from her lips. How many times had a man laid those words at her feet like an offering? And how many times had she flung them back in his face when she was done with him? Kagome thought it was ironic that she'd rejected those words so many times, passed them off as inconsequential or useless to her purposes. Love was game, a cruel and deceptive game sometimes, but one she played as a master.
She wasn't playing now and this wasn't something she could disregard. The young man in front of her was Shippou, not some careless lover or toy to be flung aside as something she had used and broken. It was Shippou, her Shippou, for all his child's face had sculpted into a young man's raw edged features. The eyes that had once been so full of mischief were dark now; the small hands that had clutched so trustingly in her arms were now a demon's claws. She had to be gentle, she had to be firm. It wasn't easy.
Kagome made her face relax into an expression less threatening and softened her gaze. “I love you too, Shippou,” she began.
His eyes lit up again. “Then you'll be my mate?” he asked.
Kagome blinked. “Your what?”
Shippou edged closer to her, anxious to show his sincerity. “I mean it,” he told her. “I want you to be my mate. I promise to take care of you always, protect you from anyone who tries to hurt you. I'm not a little kid anymore, Kagome. And I've always loved you.”
This was not happening. Kagome held back a groan of despair and rested her head in her hands. “Shippou, I can't be your mate.”
There it was, he looked crushed. Kagome wanted to kick herself for having to hurt him but the alternative was to agree to his...proposal. Her lips curved in a slight smile anyway, wondering what her mother would say if she managed to return home with a new kitsune husband in tow.
“Why not?” he asked, confused. The confusion was her fault; Kagome was willing to accept that guilt. As an adult now, he couldn't understand that she could only see him as the child she had loved. How to explain that her feelings hadn't changed, but that she couldn't see him as a husband or lover or whatever he wanted to be. Kagome had given up on trying to make herself what others wanted. She'd given up the idea of submission a long time ago when she'd thrown herself into the well for what she thought was the last time.
She'd never go back to being that weak person, the one who let her body be used and her soul be torn away because she wasn't strong enough to defend it.
Sighing, she moved closer and took his hands in hers. “I love you as much as I always have,” she said simply. “But I can't be that for you. It's not only that I can't look at you and not see the little child that you used to be, it's that I don't love you the way a woman loves a man she wants to be her mate.”
“I don't understand,” he said, squeezing her hands tightly. “I swear I'll protect you Kagome. I'll never let anyone hurt you or scare you. I can...”
“No,” she said, sharper than she intended.
Shippou scowled and pulled his hands from hers. “It's because of Inuyasha, isn't it?” he said. His voice was accusing, and she knew there was more to that statement than just the topic under discussion.
“Yes,” she admitted. Ten years later and he was still between them. The ghost of the love she'd felt for Inuyasha was still very much a part of them both. Everything in Shippou's eyes brought that to surface. The good memories and the horrible ones. The way they'd all defended each other, would have died for each other.
Miroku and Sango did die, Shippou's look told her. They died and you left me alone, even before you escaped from the demon their Inuyasha had become.
“You still love him.”
Kagome shook her head. “No, Shippou, that's not what this is about.”
“Yes it is!” Shippou jumped to his feet and paced around the small hut. Kagome suddenly felt very vulnerable, not afraid of Shippou, but vulnerable before him just the same. This was someone who knew exactly what she'd done, how she'd completely lost herself and barely been able to claw her way back to sanity. He'd almost died to give her the chance to recover herself, to go home to her family.
And what how had she repaid that sacrifice? She rejected him, implicitly choosing Inuyasha over him once again. Kagome dropped her eyes to the floor. She couldn't blame him for being angry with her. As much as he knew Inuyasha had kept her with him by force, there were a lot of things he hadn't forced from her. Her face flushed when she thought about what Shippou must have overheard in the nights in that forest, not to mention what he'd probably seen. The kitsune had never abandoned her, not even when she'd abandoned herself.
“Shippou,” she said softly, a pleading note creeping into her voice. “I know I hurt you...”
“You were his whore.”
She flinched, hearing Shippou's voice articulate her own guilt hurt more than she'd thought it would. Then a sudden anger filled Kagome, a righteous fury. Hadn't she also suffered? Hadn't he threatened her family, her life to force her to stay at his side? Never mind that she gave him everything he wanted, he still held that threat over her.
Shippou was also part of her capitulation. The demon Inuyasha had become had made it plain he wasn't above using her love of the kitsune child and old Kaede as a lever. He'd promised it to her, not in so many words but in actions she couldn't mistake. Shippou had no right, no right at all to make judgments over her.
Yes, she was a whore and worse, but it was still her right alone to decide in her own corruption.
“I see,” she said coldly. “I was his whore and now you want me to be yours. Is that it? Are you still competing with him, even so many years later, you still think that I'm just something for you bastards to fight over and claim like a fucking prize?”
Kagome got to her feet, backing the startled kitsune against the wall. Angrily, she ripped the yukata off her shoulders and stood before him in her silk nightgown, letting the firelight outline her body as she slowly turned to display herself.
“Is this what you want, Shippou?” she demanded, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Will that settle the score? Go on then, demon. Take what you want. I'm just a human woman; I can't fight you. I can barely defend myself as it is.”
He was shaking, his eyes wide as she confronted him. She should have stopped then, she'd made her point. But the anger was too strong, the hurt and betrayal too raw. Even ten years later it was still too raw. Slowly, Kagome reached for him, her hands running caressingly over his tanned arms until she found his wrists. She raised his hands to her breasts and squeezed them, making his claws dig into her soft flesh.
“You want to be Inuyasha?” she asked, her voice soft and heavy. “You want to be a strong demon too, is that it Shippou? I'm just a whore, remember? It doesn't matter that I don't want you; you're strong enough to take what you want from me. If you think I owe this to you, then take whatever you think you deserve!”
“No!” he shouted, tears in his eyes. “I'm not like him!”
Shippou tore his hands away from her and sank to the floor at her feet. He turned his face up to meet her eyes, his expression so raw and wounded that her heart wanted to break at the sight of it. This was the damage that had been done, this was what happened when she wasn't strong, didn't make the right decisions, let her heart rule her mind. This was the aftermath of Inuyasha's destruction; this was the raw and painful scar that was left behind.
She dropped to her knees and reached for him, taking his face gently in her palms. “I know you're not like him,” she said brokenly, holding back the sobs that wanted to pour from her.
“Do you understand now? Please don't hate me, Shippou. I hate myself enough for what happened. I just wasn't strong enough to fight him, protect you the way I should have. Can you ever forgive me?”
“I didn't mean to call you that,” he whispered. “I should be asking you to forgive me.”
Regret was plain in his face, his eyes. Slowly, he reached out and embraced her and there was nothing more than love and acceptance in his touch. “I just want to take care of you. Like you used to do for me.”
“I can take care of myself,” she said, hugging him tightly. “I need your help, but that doesn't make me helpless.”
Shippou started to laugh and it made her smile as it always had. “You've always been stronger than all of us,” he said, his grin infectious and irresistible. “Are we still friends?”
“Of course,” she answered, burying her face in his hair.