InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Eleven ( Chapter 11 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
"Do I know you?"
She felt like she'd been kicked in the gut.
Kagome stared at him, her mouth hanging slack and open. That he would dare pretend to have forgotten her took her breath away. For ten years she'd lived with what he'd done to her, his betrayal and systematic destruction of her heart. For all the times he'd treated her callously, laughed when he made her body betray her, threatened her life and the lives of those she'd cared about, nothing hurt as badly as the idea that he would have just forgotten her.
"You son of a bitch," she breathed.
Inuyasha's eyes narrowed dangerously. He didn't know this human bitch; she was covered in filth and blood and staring at him as if he'd just ripped her heart out. Hell, he'd just saved her weak ass from being killed by that monster and she was looking at him like he was the nightmare. His brother was right; humans weren't worth the trouble.
"Don't thank me or anything," he snarled at last. "I could have just let that thing kill you, woman. Don't you humans have any idea of how to be grateful when you're rescued?"
"Get away from her, you bastard!"
One of the youkai holding Shippou back snarled and punched the kitsune in the gut. "Keep a civil tongue in your mouth, brat. That's the brother of the lord of the West you're talking to."
"Let him go," Kagome cried, furious that Shippou was being hurt for trying to defend her. She didn't know what sick game Inuyasha thought he was playing, but she wasn't going to fall for it. Or let Shippou be hurt because of her, not ever again.
"Shut up, wench," Inuyasha barked.
"Don't tell me to shut up, Inuyasha," she said, saying his name like a curse.
He glanced back down at her, his lip curled in contempt. She glared back at him without a trace of fear, her eyes sending sparks of fury into the air. Mouthy bitch, he decided. Humans had every reason to fear youkai, he could understand this. What he couldn't understand was why this one thought she knew him. Granted, his memory had been damaged, his brother was fond of telling him repeatedly that he would have died if he hadn't been healed by their father's sword.
"How do you know me?" he asked, keeping his voice even.
"How do I know you?" she hissed. "I'm Kagome, remember? I'm Kagome."
"That's a stupid name," he sneered lightly. She seemed damn proud of it too. Her name meant nothing to him, neither did her attitude. You'd think someone wearing muddy blood all over her body would be more polite to the ones who'd rescued her from a gruesome death. He sniffed the air thoughtfully.
"You stink too," he said, turning his back on her. He heard the woman gasp in anger and grinned to himself. That should put her in her place. He didn't have Sesshomaru's ability to insult someone just by looking at them, but not even humans liked being told they smelled bad.
"You, brat," he said, returning to business and walking over the young kitsune that hadn't stopped struggling even when Shiou punched him. "You're that kitsune rat of Kouga's, aren't you? You'd better have a good excuse for trespassing on my brother's lands."
Shippou glared at him. "This isn't part of your territory," he growled.
Inuyasha smiled unpleasantly. "It is if I say it is. My brother has been tolerant of that damn wolf, but even his patience is at an end. If you were just heading for home, then say so. I'll let you go when you apologize for running your mouth."
The kitsune straightened, holding his head up and looking the inuyoukai in the eye. "I will never apologize to you," he said softly. "Not for anything, not ever."
Shiou cuffed the young fox demon and laughed. "You want us to teach him some respect, Inuyasha-sama?"
"Waste of fucking time," Inuyasha muttered, running his hand over his head to where his hair was held back in a long topknot. "Kitsune are stupid by nature. This one's got a human for his woman, means he probably couldn't even get with a youkai female."
"I'm not his woman!" Kagome shouted. She darted forward and grabbed Inuyasha by his arm, noticing for the first time that she'd never seen him not wearing his red fire rat clothing. Instead he was wearing a dark colored yukata, with black leather and metal armor over it. The two men with him were dressed the same, although their clothing and armor wasn't of such a fine quality.
He didn't look like the hanyou she'd known or act like him. This Inuyasha carried himself with authority, seemed to be used to being spoken to with respect. So he'd changed, made up with Sesshomaru from the sounds of it. Maybe that was why he was pretending not to know her. He couldn't have forgotten her, she refused to believe it.
"You know who I am," she hissed at him. "Don't fucking lie to me, I've heard enough of your lies. I've spent the last ten years trying to forget your fucking face. Don't you pretend you don't know me."
"Are you crazy?" Inuyasha snapped, yanking his arm away from her. He didn't even want her touching him, not in her filthy and ragged state. From the line of her body, she might not be half bad looking when she was cleaned up, but he'd be damned if he was going to let some human run her mouth and accuse him of something he couldn't even remember.
"I'm Kagome!" she shouted, her fists clenched in fury. She wanted to hit him; she wanted to beat that smug look off his face. All the terror she'd felt over the years had poisoned her with hatred, he'd destroyed her life, nearly taken it. Murdered innocent people and fucked her while still covered in their blood.
"I said to shut your hole, bitch," he said angrily, raising his hand as if he wanted to strike her for her insolence. "I don't fucking know you!"
Shippou gave an inarticulate cry and broke away from the startled guards. "I'll kill you," he screamed. "Don't you touch her!"
Inuyasha spun around and met the furious kitsune's attack with a hard fist to Shippou's face. Actually he was holding back, he didn't have any intention of killing the rat, but he wasn't going to just stand there and let himself be assaulted either.
The kitsune dropped to the ground, stunned by the force of the blow and blood streaming from his nose. Kagome ran forward, shoving past Inuyasha to drop to her friend's side. "Shippou," she called, shaking his shoulders until he opened his eyes and looked at her.
"Pathetic," Inuyasha muttered. This was exactly why he hated border patrol, he ran into far too much trash. Lower youkai and oni that just begged to be killed on his claws, humans that didn't have the sense to run away and attacked him with their little spears and arrows. He'd rather be back at the fortress among his own kind. His people hated outsiders and guarded their borders zealously. The scum that wanted to seep in had to be controlled.
The woman was still patting the fox's face, trying to make him come around. Maybe he'd hit the brat harder than he'd meant to. Damn it all.
"I ain't got time for this shit," he pronounced in irritation. They were overdue for their return as it was. Sesshomaru wouldn't like that a fox rat and his human bitch held him up. His older brother might not be the warmest man, but he had expressed concern when Inuyasha was away for longer than necessary.
He said it was because Tenseiga's influence wasn't all-powerful. Push himself too long and Inuyasha would experience terrible headaches, fevers and nightmares. He felt one coming on now and the slightly queasy feeling that told him he'd been away from his brother for too long.
"Look," he said, turning to the pathetic couple on the ground. "I'm gonna be nice. I've got every right to kill you for trespassing and you both know it. The treaty they made says exactly where the borders are supposed to be and Kouga can't change shit just because he likes it or we won't be helping him defend his lands. Tell that damned wolf to keep his trash inside his own borders and I won't be mentioning this to my brother."
"Don't do me any favors," Shippou said heavily, blood still dripping down his face. He shrugged away Haru's hand when the guard tried to help him to his feet. "Kouga's not afraid of you or Sesshomaru. We look after our own and don't want your fucking protection. The wolf youkai tribe is strong enough to defend their own lands, we don't need you to pretend to be nice about letting us go."
"Stupid git," the inuyoukai snapped. Haru cracked his knuckles threateningly for Shippou's insolence, but Inuyasha waved him away. "Don't get your hands dirty, these two aren't even worth our time."
When he turned away from them dismissively, Kagome couldn't stand it. He was just going to leave as he never knew either of them. The bastard wouldn't even acknowledge her, didn't even claim to know Shippou. He spoke of Kouga as if he'd never flown into a jealous rage just because the wolf had touched her hands.
She stood up and planted herself in front of him. He looked annoyed.
"I am Kagome," she said again, watching his face for the barest flicker of emotion. "I'm the one who pulled the arrow out your chest when you were sealed to the tree. I'm the one who fought at your side against Naraku. You know me."
He was baffled, confused. "I don't know who Naraku is," he said at last. Maybe she did know him, but she damn sure hadn't unsealed him from that tree. He'd remember that, he could still remember everything about how it had happened. How when he'd been a young and stupid hanyou he'd made the mistake of trusting in a priestess. How she'd betrayed him and then coldly murdered him by sealing him with a sacred arrow.
But it had been his older brother that had saved him. He didn't know how he'd broken the seal on his own or become a full demon, Sesshomaru couldn't answer that. But it had been his brother that had found him wandering delirious with fever and healed him of the madness that had threatened to destroy him utterly.
"I don't know you," he said flatly. He did not know this Kagome.
"You do know her, Inuyasha-sama," a quiet voice said from the forest.
Kagome's eyes were drawn to a delicate young woman that stepped from where she'd been hiding in the trees. She had dark hair pulled back neatly from her face and wore a short kimono, scandalously short in such times, and carried a long bow in her hands. A quiver of arrows was slung over her shoulder as well.
Inuyasha scowled. "Does Sesshomaru know that you left home?" he demanded. "I've told you to stop following me around, kid."
The girl stopped in front of her and gave her a sober look. "Are you really Kagome?" she asked quietly.
"I think I know my own name," she glowered back.
"Then you are the same priestess who fought to restore the sacred jewel."
"Of course," Kagome exploded. She glared at the young woman, noticing that an angry look had appeared in her dark eyes. "Who the hell are you?"
Maybe she should have been expecting it, maybe she should have been paying attention, but she was too angry, too lost at the unbelievable hurt of Inuyasha having forgotten her name. She didn't think he was lying now; she had started to believe that he wasn't playing a game. She had meant so little to him that he'd forgotten her; she was probably just another faceless victim to the demon he had become. Kagome still didn't expect what happened next.
The girl stepped forward, moving delicately as a young doe, and struck her hard across the face with the flat of her palm. Kagome staggered, but didn't fall as the young woman fisted her hands in Kagome's filthy yukata.
"What the hell..." she gasped out, raising one hand to her burning cheek.
"You're the same priestess that tried to destroy him," the girl ground out, her eyes sparkling with hatred. "Go back to where you came from, he doesn't need you anymore!"
"Rin," Inuyasha snapped, reaching out to pull the girl away from Kagome. "I told you I don't know her. She's not a damn priestess, that was Kikyou who betrayed me. And she's not fucking Kikyou!"
Mention of the dead woman's name drove Kagome to forget about Rin's slap or the reasons behind it. He remembered Kikyou, but not her. He remembered the woman he had loved, but not her, not Kagome. Not the one who'd fought and cried over him, saved him and loved him with all of a young girl's open and trusting heart.
She had meant absolutely nothing to him.
Kagome felt numb, her body freezing to where she stood. She couldn't move hardly move from the power of the overwhelming pain and anger that was flooding her heart. As if the slap she'd received had never happened, she forced herself to approach him, staring solemnly into his golden eyes.
"You really don't remember me, do you, Inuyasha?"
"No," he sneered. "You finally believe me, bitch?"
Kagome swallowed, feeling remarkably calm and safe within the shell of anger that surrounded her. It surrounded her body like a sacred aura, made her invulnerable. This was how she'd forced herself to live after escaping him.
Her voice was very quiet. "I see. But you do remember Kikyou."
"Of course I remember Kikyou," he said hotly, looking away from her. "I was in love with her, but I don't know you at all."
She didn't plan it, she'd dreamed of it. On the nights where her very soul had shook in grief and fear, on the nights when the guilt had overwhelmed her and made her shudder. When she'd grown so disgusted that she couldn't look in a mirror, when she'd drunk herself unconscious to dull the pain. When she'd taken another faceless lover to make her body forget, she'd still dreamed of seeing him again, dreamed of reaching him with some idea of what he'd done to her.
She'd dreamed of what she'd say, what she'd do, how she'd tell him that she survived, that he didn't manage to break her forever. So many times she'd dreamed of spitting at him, cursing him, hating him to his face and letting him know that by God, she was free of him.
Now he'd stolen even that satisfaction from her by refusing to remember her face. But he still remembered that he had loved Kikyou.
As if it wasn't suicide, as if she'd planned it all along, Kagome smiled quietly. Then drew back her leg for momentum and kicked Inuyasha right in the balls. His eyes bugged from their sockets, both hands going automatically to cup his injured testicles even as he gasped and fell to his knees in agony.
"That's for remembering Kikyou," she hissed, a triumphant gleam in her eyes as a smile peeled back her lips. She'd dreamed of seeing him grovel in pain before her, it was worth almost getting killed by Scott and falling through a cursed well just to see him on his fucking knees.
She heard a curse and Shippou cried out a warning as Kagome turned away, barely catching a glimpse of Rin's enraged face before the girl brought her bow across Kagome's temple like a cudgel and sent her into cold unconsciousness.
Ten Years Ago
Sesshomaru stood looking down at his brother's fevered body with no expression. It mildly surprised him that Tenseiga hadn't managed to completely cure him. The young demon twisted restlessly in his sleep; sweat caking his hair to his face. And still Sesshomaru had no answers.
A soft noise drew his attention and he turned to look at the woman standing in the doorway. "May I enter, Sesshomaru-sama?"
"Yes, Makiko." The woman moved quietly past him, kneeling at Inuyasha's side as she set the bowl of scented water on the floor. Carefully, she mopped the fevered face and wiped away the perspiration. Inuyasha moaned, turning away from her touch.
"Kagome," he muttered, not opening his eyes.
"Hush," the woman whispered. The herbs had a calming effect, quieting fevers in youkai. As the soothing scent reached him, Inuyasha stopped struggling against the nightmares and fell into a deep slumber. Makiko pressed her hand against his forehead before glancing up at her lord.
"He seems to be improving, my lord," she said softly. "His fever has dropped some since you first brought him here and he seems to rest easier."
"Indeed." Sesshomaru made no further comment but allowed Makiko to continue her ministrations and start to bathe his brother's body. He eyed the gouges and scars dispassionately. Even with a youkai's superior healing abilities, he estimated it would take much time for those marks to fade. It annoyed him that his katana had only been able to save Inuyasha's life, but not restore him completely.
What happened to you, Inuyasha, he asked his brother silently. He was fairly certain that his fool of brother had used the completed Shikon no Tama to cause this transformation. But something had gone terribly wrong; he could still recall the fevered madness in Inuyasha's eyes when he'd attacked him.
And he continued to call out for his absent companions. Over the past few weeks, Sesshomaru had made inquiries regarding the final battle with Naraku, asking his men to search out the facts of the evil hanyou's demise. He had determined that some of Inuyasha's companions had been killed, but was unable to reveal the actual details. At least Inuyasha hadn't killed them himself.
Or had he? Sesshomaru had uncovered rumors of the young priestess who had been his brother's constant companion. She had survived the final battle that had destroyed Naraku, returning to the now destroyed village. What happened after that, he could not entirely be sure of and Sesshomaru despised a mystery.
That was when he'd called in one of his most loyal vassals, a clanlord by the name of Barou. They were cousins, related by blood through his mother's line. Barou was unusual among inuyoukai that he had the ability to perceive the minds of others. Determined to have the facts for once and for all, he'd asked Barou to look into his brother's mind.
"I'm not sure, my lord," Barou had said with a faint expression of distaste. "His mind is in utter chaos, I doubt he even recalls his own name."
"That is not my concern," Sesshomaru answered softly. "I merely wish to know what happened to him to bring him to such a state."
"It has something to do with a human woman." Barou looked disgusted. The memories that had flowed into his mind were vile. He could not see specifics, but the horror and cruelty of the young hanyou turned full demon were distasteful.
But his lord was waiting for him to make some kind of answer and Sesshomaru did not like to be kept waiting. "I believe the priestess may have turned against him. Perhaps it was her curse that has left him in such a pitiful state."
A curse? Sesshomaru pondered that, trying to imagine what could have brought the girl to the extreme of attacking his brother. "What else?" he asked.
Barou's lip curled in disgust. "From what I can sense, he most likely deserved what he got. The images are indistinct, but I know he hurt her."
That made no sense; Inuyasha had been fanatically protective of the girl as a hanyou. As a full youkai, that protective instinct could have only sharpened. An inuyoukai would never harm his mate, even if that mate were only a human. He well remembered his father's desire to protect the hanyou's mother, even at the cost of his own life.
"I have seen the image of the same girl, dressed in the garb of priestess as she fired an arrow at him," Barou said at last. He looked troubled, his expression pensive as he tried to find the words to describe the memories to Sesshomaru. "And then I see her again, dressed differently. He took her by force, making her scream. His emotions were conflicted, as if he desired to make her stay with him against her will, but still took her for sex like she was nothing to him."
So, his brother had raped the priestess and the priestess had retaliated by cursing him. That made much more sense now. "Did you see her death?" he asked.
"I saw her injured, bleeding as she collapsed upon the ground. But his memories don't indicate that he killed her. Perhaps she escaped from him."
Barou stood, a sickened expression on his face as he rubbed his forehead, trying to dispel the unpleasant images. "My lord, I can't see why you wish to preserve his life. As a member of your bloodline, it would be in your interest to destroy him. I cannot say if his mind will recover and your father would have been angry to see his son reduced to such a beast."
Sesshomaru considered that, standing over his brother as Makiko continued to tend him. Inuyasha had become a demon, a full demon. There was no taint of human blood in him now. He glanced over at the sword that lay in the corner and smiled faintly. His father's fang had failed to seal the demon blood, failed because his brother was weak enough to turn to a cursed jewel instead of accepting his low status as a mere hanyou. Although he no longer coveted the blade, he could feel its power lying dormant.
At his own hip, Tenseiga rebelled when he thought of killing Inuyasha. He could not deny the power of the sword he had once considered useless. He was bound to it and it to him; that ghost of their father's power never leaving him. Toukijin, on the other hand, still urged him to slay, to ram the vicious katana into his brother's heart and let it drink of his blood.
"I will be a slave to neither," he said softly.
"My lord?" Makiko had stood, looking at him curiously. He didn't realize he had spoken aloud and waved his hand to dismiss her.
"Continue to tend him," he ordered, turning and sweeping out the door. "I expect you to do your best, Makiko. My brother will die only if I will it and not before."
Kagome came awake slowly, her head aching and her body bouncing uncomfortably over someone's shoulder. As the memories returned, she struggled in blind panic, not knowing who was holding her or why she was being carried. And her head ached so badly that she wanted to vomit.
A fuzzy tail brushed against her face and Kagome reached out to clutch it with both hands. They stopped suddenly, the unbearable movement stilled and her stomach roiled in uncomfortable protest.
"She's awake," Shippou's voice murmured. She found herself being swung down as Shippou's hands trying to guide her carefully and set her back on her feet. She felt almost painfully dizzy and had no embarrassment whatsoever about clinging to him helplessly.
"Where are we?" she whispered against his chest. One of Shippou's hands stroked her hair, trying to comfort her.
"About a day's journey inside the Western lands," a voice answered coldly. Kagome jerked, pressing her palms against the kitsune's chest to keep herself steady as she looked around wildly. She about choked on her own tongue when she met Inuyasha's angry eyes and shuddered.
"Why?" she asked Shippou, wondering why he was still here, why she was being carried deeper into his territory. Had they been taken prisoner?
Shippou's arms went around her protectively, cradling her against his chest. "Don't be scared," he said into her hair. "I swear I won't let him hurt you."
"I don't think you can stop me from doing anything I want," Inuyasha muttered.
The two guards laughed at that, making Kagome's skin crawl. She wasn't going to let him ever see that she was afraid of him, no matter how much of a bastard he wanted to be. The days when she would give him fear had long passed. She would do what she had to in order to survive, but if he laid a finger on her she was going to do everything in her power to make him pay.
He'd already done his worst to her; she wouldn't be such an easy mark this time.
Deliberately, she pushed herself away from Shippou so she could face down the demon. "Fuck you," Kagome said, her voice hard and as cold as a block of ice. "You don't scare me, Inuyasha."
He reached out swiftly and grabbed her arm, drawing her forward with a rough yank. Kagome's already throbbing head rocked back on her neck and she winced but didn't let her gaze soften or plead for mercy. She knew him better than that.
"I should kill you, bitch," he said, his voice heavy with anger. His balls were sore and throbbing and the humiliation of letting a human take him by surprise wasn't making it feel any better.
"Go on," she goaded him. "What's stopping you, demon? Want to see me beg for mercy, plead for my life? Fuck you."
His hand closed around her throat and Inuyasha looked right into her eyes. "I said I should kill you," he said softly, squeezing her neck to make his point. "But I'm not going to do it. As much as I'd like to punish you for that kick, I don't murder women."
Her knees went weak when he let her go, shoving her roughly back into Shippou's arms. Kagome rubbed her face, wincing as she encountered bruises. Her head was aching even worse now and she needed to think, needed to concentrate on getting herself out of this.
"What are you going to do with us then?" she asked, closing her eyes as Shippou's hands steadied her on her feet. She would have sagged without his support; his warm hands on her shoulders were almost her lifeline. She refused to feel terror or show weakness, but she was grateful to lean into the kitsune's solid warmth.
"I'm taking you to my brother," he answered. "Let him figure out what to do with you, I don't really give a damn."
The woman knew something about him, he could sense it now. Not that he was going to forgive her for kicking him in the balls like that, oh hell no. But Sesshomaru wouldn't be happy with him if he let them go either. Something was strange about her, something beyond how she loathed him, how she refused to show any fear.
Did she really know him? It made him sick to think about it, what if she had a damn good reason for hating him like that? And what did she mean when she said that's for remembering Kikyou? What did this woman know about her, had she been a friend of the priestess? No, she was far too young. Sesshomaru had told him that he'd been sealed to the tree for at least fifty years. If she had known Kikyou, she'd be an old hag herself.
His treacherous memory didn't even recall if Kikyou was dead or alive. She'd attacked him, but she'd been hurt when she shot him. And the jewel, he remembered the jewel. The way it had caught the sunlight as it flew out of his hands. His gaze hardened, remembering the feeling of death creeping up on him, sending him into a slow spiral of nothingness.
Yeah, he remembered Kikyou.
"Start walking," he said curtly. "I want to be home before sundown." He was starting to regret that he'd ordered Rin off after she'd struck the woman unconscious. That two-headed dragon she rode would have been a more efficient way of transporting these two back to the fortress.
But he'd been angry, livid with the kick to his balls and every bit as furious with Rin. Damn it, she could have cracked the human's skull open, then he would have been the one having to explain to Sesshomaru how he'd lost control of the situation. Rin was notorious for getting her own way, but even her sometimes too lenient guardian would have been furious at her for killing another human in cold blood.
Not that Sesshomaru seemed to give a damn about humans one way or another, but he was very protective of his young ward. Overprotective was more the case and somewhat blind when it came to her behavior.
The kitsune was walking slowly, trying to hold the woman steady. He didn't know Shippou personally, but there couldn't be that many fox youkai that would have known him by name or been heading for Kouga's territory. Shiou and Haru were both good men, but they'd had to beat hell out of the kitsune. Shippou had gone wild when Rin had struck the woman, trying to fling himself at the girl and tear her apart with his bare claws. As he'd been too preoccupied with his damaged testicles to do anything about it, the two inuyoukai guards had just done what they thought they had to.
Kagome had noticed that Shippou's face was a mass of bruises and that he clutched at his side as he walked, hitching his breath in pain now and then. She couldn't look much better herself. They were both exhausted and she felt awful that Shippou had been forced to carry her dead weight for so long.
Couldn't that bastard have waited until they recovered more? Or better yet, just left them alone.
"Why are you taking us to Sesshomaru?" she asked, making her voice sharp to find him like an arrow. Inuyasha turned to look back at her, his long topknot of hair swinging over his shoulder as his eyes narrowed in dislike.
"You know something about me, bitch. My brother will want to talk to you. And he'll want to talk to you as well, fox."
Kagome went cold at the thought, at the cruel undertone in his voice. She didn't like the idea of being held against her will by these demons. She had to think of a way out of this, but there seemed to be no escape. Where could she go that they wouldn't hunt her down? And with both her and Shippou injured she knew there was no chance of them being able to get away. She had to think of some way to distract them.
"I thought you hated your brother," she blurted out. "Why are you working for him now?"
Inuyasha stopped, turning to face her again. "What makes you think I ever hated Sesshomaru?" He looked even more suspicious now, annoyed even.
Kagome shrugged like it never mattered to her. "Your mother was human, that was reason enough for him to despise you. I suppose you can't remember all those times he tried to kill you over Tessaiga?"
His laugh was a sharp bark of disbelief. "Over that piece of junk? My brother would never bother. Why attack me over a worthless sword that neither of us can use?"
That stopped her short, it was something that she'd never considered, even back in the days when he'd first become a demon. Of course he couldn't use Tessaiga, he was a full demon now, the katana would reject him.
"You used to be able to use it," she told him, her expression very serious and watching him closely. "When you were a hanyou."
He snorted, looking disgusted. "You don't know what you're talking about. I never had the sword before I was as I am right now. And I don't remember you, bitch. So how the hell did you know I was born a hanyou?"
Kagome stared at him, realization dawning in her mind. It wasn't just her that he'd forgotten her…he'd forgotten everything. Naraku, Sango, Miroku...even Shippou was a stranger to him. He remembered Kikyou, but he'd known Kikyou before he'd been sealed to the tree.
"What's the last thing you remember, Inuyasha?" she asked.
His ears flattened in annoyance. "What do you mean, last thing I remember? You got a lot of nerve, bitch, claiming that you know me and that you know Sesshomaru."
"Tell me!" she shouted, making him stop and stare at him.
"Kagome, don't," Shippou said urgently. "It doesn't matter anymore, it's the past. He doesn't give a damn about what happened."
She still stood holding him with her gaze and Inuyasha felt forced to tell her. The woman had kicked him in the balls, insulted and screamed at him. Even after he'd saved her worthless hide. And still he felt compelled by her voice. He wanted to answer her questions; something about her made him stop and think. It was strange, but he'd never thought that he'd have to listen to a human woman for anything.
And she knew. Somehow, she knew what had happened to him.
"Ten years ago, my brother found me wandering alone, half dead from fever and so sick I couldn't even remember my own name. It took me years to recover, but I eventually got my strength back."
"And before that?" Kagome demanded. He glared at her; already he could tell he was going to hate the sound of her voice, that hard edge of contempt. Thinly, visibly trying to hold back his annoyance and his desire to slap the bitch like Rin had done, he answered her.
"The last thing I remember before that is when Kikyou shot me. When I woke up, I was in my brother's home, I'd been turned into a full demon, and I'd never even heard of Tessaiga before my brother told me about it. You got any more questions?"
She smiled, surprising him. Her face was dirty, streaked with mud and old blood, her hair matted to her scalp and plastered on her face. She looked like a wandering, homeless wretch, a woman that had lost her mind and her dignity. But she smiled at him for the first time and Inuyasha felt a flicker of doubt. Who was she that she could smile at him like that, who was she to him? Why did he want to see her smile again and what did it mean that he knew the sound of her laugh?
Kagome started to laugh, but it wasn't what he expected. He'd wanted her laugh to sound like music, he'd wanted it to be the kind of laughter that lifted his heart and made him want to smile in return. But that wasn't how the woman sounded; instead the laughter was harsh, bitter. Inuyasha stared at her as she held both hands to her belly and laughed harsh and mocking over them. Was she insane?
Shippou seemed to be equally concerned, trying to put his arm around the laughing woman when she stumbled in her unhappy mirth. "Kagome, please," he said urgently. "Are you okay?"
"You should have told me, Shippou," she wheezed, barely able to catch her breath. "You should have told me that he'd forgotten everything. It might not have hurt so much if you'd told me first."
"I'm sorry," the kitsune said, sounding ashamed. "I didn't know how to tell you." Kagome giggled and pushed him away. She felt dizzy, maybe from the head wound, maybe from the stress of the last few hours. Of course, it all made perfect sense. Inuyasha hadn't spent one minute regretting her because he couldn't remember anything.
There was no hanyou boy sealed to a tree. There was no girl to fall in love with him. There was never a demon slayer or a cursed monk. There was no demon named Naraku who ached for the power of a jewel and destroyed the lives that guarded it. There was no priestess named Kikyou to have a pathetic reincarnation, no weak willed child named Kagome. It had never happened at all in Inuyasha's mind.
Oh, but she could hate him for that too. As if she'd needed more reasons to hate him.
"You didn't tell me because you didn't want me to know," Kagome said, still laughing. "Shippou, you shit. You thought I might forgive him, didn't you?"
Shippou flinched away from the sound of her contempt. "I was going to let Kouga tell you," he said miserably.
"Bullshit," Kagome whispered, a strange light in her eyes. "You had your own reasons, don't lie to me. You knew from the minute you saw me in the forest, you could have told me then. But no, you wanted to protect me, comfort me. Poor Kagome…so scared of a monster that doesn't even remember her name."
Haru and Shiou exchanged confused glances, Inuyasha scratched at his ears. It was like she didn't even know they were there, something was going on between the woman and the kitsune. Something ugly that had everything to do with him, yet he knew nothing about it.
"I think she's nuts, Inuyasha-sama," Shiou said in a loud aside.
"Maybe," he answered gruffly. Stalking over to the tense confrontation, he glowered at them with all the intimidation he could manage. "Quit stalling. If you two don't move your asses I'm going to have you carried."
"Shut up," Kagome hissed, her eyes still glittering as they never left the kitsune. "I'm not going anywhere until I hear the truth."
It was Shippou that looked angry now, his hands clenched into fists. "What was I supposed to think?" he said accusingly. "You stayed with him even when he became a demon. You fucked him even when he treated you like shit. I thought if I told you about it, you'd do something stupid like want to find him."
She'd fucked him? Inuyasha stared at her narrowly. That meant they'd been close, how close? What had she meant to him, had she meant anything? Was this woman a lover that he couldn't remember? Did she have a reason to hate him this much?
"You should have told me!" Kagome screamed. "You should have fucking known better than that. You were just jealous like a little kid, you were so busy trying to get what you wanted," she sneered sarcastically, "that you didn't give a damn that I was terrified out of my mind because I thought he was going to come after me!"
"I'm sorry," Shippou repeated, looking ashamed.
"Sorry doesn't make it better," she rasped, tears in her eyes. Even Shippou wasn't trustworthy, she couldn't believe in anyone anymore. All she had left was herself to rely upon, just like she always had. It was no different now than it was on the other side of the well.
It clicked for her. She suddenly made the connection that had been eluding her. Of course, how ironic that he'd be the one. And since he didn't remember her, it was all too perfect. Too fateful and too hard to ignore. Yes, the universe really did have an abiding hatred of Kagome Higurashi.
She stumbled as she turned away from Shippou. Realizing the answer had taken the last of her strength, that and the residual effects of Rin's blow to her head. Really, she must have had her skull fractured to have not thought of this before. Kagome started to slide to the ground as her knees gave way and declared they'd done enough to support her this day.
Hard hands caught her shoulders and Kagome found herself looking up at him. Inuyasha looked completely baffled and his expression was angry as well. "Who are you?" he demanded, giving her shoulders a little shake. "What did you mean by what you just said, what should he have told you? Answer me or I'm going to beat the answers out of you!"
He could try; it was possible that she deserved it. Kagome just looked at him passively, stared at the one person who had ever been able to enter the well as she did. Without jewel shards, without a connection to that other world, he'd slipped between time with the ease of a mystic, never stopping to think of the consequences. All because of her, because he wouldn't let her go, because she had been too fucking important to him and time itself wouldn't get in Inuyasha's way.
How twisted that the person she'd sealed the well from was now the only person who could open it for her.
The woman straightened in his hands, and Inuyasha braced himself, wondering if she'd try to kick him again. "You want an answer?" she asked quietly. "You want to know the truth?"
"Yeah," he said, wishing she'd just stop confusing him and make her words plain. It was giving him a headache and he wished he were back at the fortress. Let Sesshomaru figure it out, let him wrap his brain about this mysterious woman and squeeze the truth from her. He just wanted to go home.
"The truth," Kagome said calmly, moving closer to him. She could see the confusion in his eyes, the wariness as she approached him. Kagome placed her hands on his chest and drew herself into his embrace.
"I need your help, Inuyasha. I need you to take me home."
Then she rose up on her toes and pressed a chaste kiss against his lips. Fate was laughing at her. Kagome Higurashi knew how to laugh back.