InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity Redux: Vivication ❯ Reunion ( Chapter 20 )
"Baka! Put that away before you hurt yourself, you ass."
"Keh! You're such a bastard! That old fucker wasn't about to let us in, and you, arguing with him, wasn't really doing a damn thing to help!"
"It's called diplomacy, worthless half-breed—something you, quite obviously, know nothing at all about. What if you'd endangered her more than she already is with your refusal to use the brain you have?"
"Oh, for kami's sake, both of you! Move!" Deliberately shoving the two silver haired beings apart, a beautiful, raven-haired youkai woman—a wind-youkai?—strode past them and leveled a closed fan at Fai's chest. "You. You're Fai-sama?" she demanded. The last part of it was spoken in English, and Fai had to wonder if he looked as confused as he felt, given that he hadn’t understood a word that was spoken before she’d addressed him.
He nodded once very slowly, ignoring, for the moment, the absolute wreckage that used to be his office. "And you are?"
The woman's magenta eyes narrowed slightly. "Where is Saori?"
"Saori?" Fai echoed, shaking his head. Something about these people struck him as different, but he didn't really have time to process it, either, given that the woman had yet to lower the fans that he had a feeling weren't merely for show. "She's in my custody for kidnapping me. She's not going anywhere."
The racket of two swords—one being drawn and leveled at him while the other just shifted trajectory—made his frown deepen, mostly because he was at a very real disadvantage, given that he was unarmed. The shorter man's sword was huge—ridiculously so—but it was the menace in the taller being's eyes—the rest of his expression was completely blanked—that set off warning bells somewhere in Fai's mind.
"Hand her over, bastard, or you die," the shorter one snarled in English, having obviously realized that Fai didn’t understand whatever language they were barking in, to start with.
"Is that a challenge?" Fai shot back mildly.
"It's a fucking promise!"
"I'd like to see you try, hanyou."
The other man rolled his eyes as the hanyou erupted in a menacing growl. "Perish the thought of you becoming the next Asian tai-youkai, baka," he said before narrowing his gaze slightly on Fai. "Perhaps I ought to introduce myself since I only met your father before you. I am Sesshoumaru, and you will return Saori. Now."
‘Wait . . . Did he just say . . .?’
‘Sesshoumaru . . . Inutaisho . . . The Inu no Taisho . . .?’
‘Yeah, but why is he here . . .?’
Covering his surprise quickly enough, Fai didn't back down. "And just why would I do that? You understand the laws, Sesshoumaru. You're Inu no Taisho. You made most of them. Since when does the Inu no Taisho trouble himself about incidents that should be left to the discretion of the tai-youkai?"
A very cold, very calculated smile that was entirely frightening, surfaced on the Inu no Taisho's lips as those golden eyes narrowed, as he neatly stepped around the woman. "That is true, Faine. Ordinarily, I would not interfere. However, I'm not here as the Inu no Taisho. I'm here as Saori's grandfather—and you will return her to me. Now."
"Grandfather?" Fai choked out, positive that he had to have heard the man wrong. Her grandfather was the Inu no Taisho? How was that even possible? But . . . "You're her—?"
"Ojii-sama! Obaa-sama! Ji-chan . . . Did you do this?"
All heads except for Sesshoumaru's swung to stare at the missing girl—Saori, who skidded to a halt just inside the office, eyes wide as she took in the sight of her relatives—and the desecration that the hanyou had initiated. Then she squeaked out a little sound as the hotheaded ji-chan grabbed her into a tight, one-armed hug. He snapped something in what must have been Japanese at Saori, who sighed and slowly shook her head. When she tried to step away from him, however, her uncle held onto her, stubbornly refusing to let her anywhere near Fai, which only served to irritate Fai even more, and he stepped toward her. “What do you think you’re doing? Stop manhandling her, and let her go!” he growled.
“I’m all right,” she called, yanking against her uncle’s hold, to no avail, and he instantly felt a slight quelling of her emotions. She must have realized on some level that he was reacting to her, but he didn’t stop to think that over too long, given the situation. “Fai-sama—"
Reacting to the panic in her youki that she wasn’t able to mask from him, Fai started toward her again, only to stop abruptly when both swords started to rise once more. Then the woman snapped her wrist, a ridiculously fast whiz of an air blade, unleashed from one of the fans in her hand that zipped past him with a whistle of motion, passing dangerously close to his face, and, had he not stopped, he was positive that she would have sliced him deep. The wind blade hit the wall between the windows, causing the entire structure to groan as a rabble of stone broke free, clattering to the floor, leaving behind a healthy indent in the once-pristine edifice.
“Don’t move,” she warned, narrowing her gaze on Fai. "Saori!" she then gasped, carting around on her heel to throw her arms around Saori instead. They, too, had a rapid-fire discussion in Japanese before the woman planted herself stubbornly directly in front of Saori.
"They'll pay for the door," Saori called, trying in vain to lean around the woman—apparently her grandmother. "Ji-chan! Let go!"
"Not on your life, little girl," InuYasha growled. "Sesshoumaru, get her out of here. I'll deal with this . . ."
"The hell you will, baka," Sesshoumaru retorted mildly before shifting his gaze only to meet Fai’s glower. "I already told you, you’d make a terrible tai-youkai.” Then he turned to face Fai once more. “She'll be returning to Japan with her grandmother and me—and her idiot uncle."
"InuYasha, take her out to the car, please," the woman commanded.
‘InuYasha? As in . . . As in, the hanyou of legend . . .?’
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake! Is there anyone who she isn’t related to?’
‘You know that they call him the Angry Hanyou, right? Apparently, it’s for good reason . . .’
‘. . . Shut up.’
"Keh!" the hanyou growled, but he did escort a struggling Saori out of the room.
"Fai! I'm . . . I'm sorry!" Saori called back, her voice growing quieter as she was moved away.
Fai started around the desk, only to be brought up short when Sesshoumaru flicked the tip of his sword under Fai's chin. "If you value your life, you'll stay where you are," he warned. Then he dug into his pocket and tossed a wad of bills onto the floor. "That should be more than enough to cover my half-brother's damages."
"Wait!" Fai growled, starting after them as Sesshoumaru turned to leave. "At least let me say goodbye to her!"
"I think that the two of you have said more than enough to one another," Sesshoumaru replied. "Be glad that I am allowing you to live." He started away again, but stopped in the still-crumbling doorway, turning his head just far enough to pin Fai with a blank stare. “That child . . . She is our sun and our moon, you understand.”
"If that is not enough compensation for the damages, do contact me through the usual channels.”
Gritting his teeth as he stood by and watched their departure, he didn't realize he was growling until he heard the front door slam a minute later.
Settling back in the seat in the center of the office, Saori tried not to fidget as her father slumped back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, looking far more serious than he normally did outside of the boardroom. Rinji leaned against the floor-to-ceiling window behind the desk, hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his impossibly expensive, tailored dress pants, while Aiko stood behind her mate. She wasn't smiling, but she didn't look nearly as irritated as the men in the quiet room, and that, at least, offered Saori some measure of comfort.
It was late. They'd just gotten in from the airport, and for the entirety of that flight, Saori had to endure being lectured and yelled at, by turns: lecturing from her sweet and darling grandmother, and the yelling, courtesy of her uncle. Sesshoumaru, for the most part, hadn't said a whole lot, and that, in and of itself worried Saori a little more, given that the quieter he was, the more irritated he was likely to be . . .
But he still hadn't said much, even when they'd arrived at her parents' home. They'd all disappeared into the study while she had gone to her room to wait while they had their discussions about her but not including her. Then they’d sent Rinji up to fetch her, and now . . . Well, now, they were all sitting on the other side of the room and hadn't breathed a word since they'd called her into the office for the formal condemnation of her actions . . .
"Saori, can you explain to us, just why you thought it would be a good idea to kidnap the Asian tai-youkai?" her father asked, his tone, a measured calm that belied the irritation she could feel, radiating off of him.
"It wasn't exactly kidnapping," she muttered. "More like, I appropriated him—"
"Saori . . ."
She winced at the don't-goof-around tone in her father's voice. "Sorry, tou-san."
He raised two fingers to dismiss her apology. "Go on."
"Well, I mean, I didn't plan it . . . It's just that the van I had to drive was pretty old, and the hatch door wouldn't stay open without holding it, and I forgot for a moment and let go, so it . . . it hit him in the head and knocked him out."
Senkuro Seiji let out a deep breath, slowly shaking his head as he pondered her words. "Okay, I'll buy that," he said. "What I don't understand is how you made the leap from accidentally knocking him out to kidnapping him."
She grimaced. It sounded so much worse, the way he'd put it, didn't it? "I . . . I just thought that if he could . . . could see the orphanage—if he could meet the children, maybe spend some time with them—that he might change his mind about taking away the funding for it. That's all . . ."
Seiji let out a deep breath, and his expression softened just a little, even though he continued to look concerned. Then he shook his head. "You've got to start thinking things through, Saori," he told her, but not unkindly. "No matter what your intentions were, kidnapping, let alone, the Asian tai-youkai?" Gaze shifting away from her—past her—his brows drew together in a wizened scowl. "The international ramifications of this could potentially be catastrophic . . . Maybe she should have stayed there."
"And just what the hell does that mean?" InuYasha growled without preamble.
Seiji rubbed his forehead. "I mean, he had a right to order her confined, and, from what you all said, she wasn't being mistreated. She kidnapped him, and even though I don't want her to be locked up, you cannot say that he didn't have a legitimate complaint against her."
InuYasha snorted loudly. "You want we should take her back?" he snarled.
"No," Seiji said with a sigh, just before shifting his formidable scowl back to her once more. "I trust you've learned your lesson?" he went on, rather dubiously.
"Yes," she said, scuffing her toes against the rug-covered floor. "You're right. It was pretty . . . pretty dumb . . ."
"Come on," Aiko remarked, giving her husband a loving squeeze on the shoulder before stepping around the desk and waiting for Saori to follow.
She followed her mother out of her father's office in silence, eyes downcast as the stupidity of the whole situation hit her, hard. Why wasn't it that she couldn't seem to grasp these kinds of things until well after the fact? Time after time, she'd done ridiculous things—maybe not of this magnitude, but still—and she never, ever seemed to realize just how badly it could have turned out until afterward?
Aiko didn't say anything until she closed the door behind them, and then she hurried over, digging out a pair of pajamas from a zippered plastic bag tucked neatly in the dresser before pulling clean bedding from a plastic bag in the closet. "Tell me about the children," she prompted.
Saori pulled off the travel-rumpled clothes and reached for the bedclothes. "The children?”
“Yes, the children you were trying to protect,” she clarified. “That’s ultimately what you were trying to do, wasn’t it? Protect them?”
Even that didn’t make her feel any better, but Saori forced a wan smile, solely for her mother’s benefit. “I guess so . . . I mean, the children . . . They're all so sweet . . . I wish they had families of their own, but finding placements for them is so difficult there. It’s such a poor region, you know? Most families barely have the money for their own children, let alone asking them to take in someone else’s, and the ones who could afford it just aren’t interested. These kids fall through the cracks, and it isn’t fair . . . I had one little girl—Galinia—who was so precious . . . But Fai-sama promised to keep funding the orphanage, as long as they were able to cut some expenses, and he's a good man. He'll keep his word."
Aiko nodded slowly, her gentle smile quirking her lips as she carefully made up the bed. "He sounds very kind and from what they said, he seems to be more fair than he ought to be, maybe," she surmised, her golden gaze dropping to the bedding once more. "But he had you arrested, didn't he?"
"Well, kind of . . . I mean, it was my own fault, but even then, I was staying in one of his guest rooms, and he did take me on a tour of his vodka distillery . . . It wasn't really like I was being punished, actually . . ." she admitted.
Settling on the bed, she waited while Aiko stepped over to retrieve her hair brush off the dresser. It was something she always did, for as long as Saori could remember: every night, they'd talk, discuss everything that had happened that day—or since the last time they'd been together—and, all the while, her mother would slowly brush her hair . . .
"You spent a good amount of time with him, then," Aiko concluded, settling behind Saori as she started to gently pull the brush through her hair.
"It's just him and his brother," Saori continued, wrapping her arms around her bent knees and resting her cheek on them. "He's kind of quiet, like ojii-sama, but he is kind—just a little too pragmatic."
"I'd suppose that he needs to be pragmatic," Aiko allowed. "He's fairly young, isn't he?"
For some reason, her mother's question made her frown. Anywhere else in the world, in any kind of profession, being in his thirties would be old enough to be considered competent, and yet, in the position of tai-youkai . . . "He . . . He gets challenged a lot," she admitted quietly, unsure why, exactly, saying it out loud made it sound much more terrifying. "He was challenged while I was there—just got back from seeing it through the day before ojii-sama came."
Aiko was quiet for a long moment, and Saori had to blink and sit up a little straighter to keep herself from drifting off to sleep. "The idea of Fai-sama being challenged bothers you, it seems," Aiko finally remarked.
Biting her lip, Saori tried to shrug it off. Too bad that her mother was far more perceptive than just about any other being alive, with the only exception being her great-aunt, Kagome . . . "It's disturbing," she said, trying to measure her words carefully. "It's not fair . . . Being challenged, simply because he's young? Because they think he doesn't deserve to be handed the title of tai-youkai? But it's not his fault. I'm sure that, if he had his preference, his parents would still be alive, and he wouldn't have to be tai-youkai yet . . ."
Aiko chuckled, giving Saori's shoulders a quick squeeze before she resumed her task of brushing her daughter's hair again. "Seems like he made quite an impression on you."
Heaving a sigh, Saori let her chin drop on her knees. "I'm sure he's already forgotten me," she admitted, glad that her mother couldn't actually see the color, rising in her cheeks as unbidden memories of that one kiss shot to the fore in her mind. "He ought to, shouldn't he? I mean, I did . . . appropriate him . . ."
Aiko laughed, the sound of it, soothing and pleasant. "If that's the case, then I daresay he probably hasn't forgotten you, Saori. I don't think I'd ever forget someone who did that to me. Even so, he must not have been too upset by it, given that he didn't really throw you in jail, don't you think?"
"He did order me arrested," she grumbled, rubbing her face on her knees until her forehead rested where her chin had been. "I mean, if he didn't like it when I kissed him, he could have just told me so, but then, he ordered Yerik to arrest me instead, and—"
Aiko choked. "You . . . kissed . . . Fai-sama?"
Saori could have kicked herself for mentioning that. She hadn't meant to, and yet, there it was. She winced. "It wasn't . . . I mean, I didn't . . . I thought he was leaving—I thought I'd never see him again, and . . ." The wince shifted into an all-out grimace. "I . . . I shouldn't have done that, either . . ." she admitted in a near-whisper.
"So?" Aiko asked rather casually at length.
"So?" she echoed, her voice muffled by her legs.
Aiko giggled. "So, is Fai-sama a good kisser?"
Saori gasped, and the blood that had just disbursed from her cheeks shot right back to the fore again. "Kaa-chan!" she choked out.
Aiko's giggle escalated. "I take that to be a, 'yes', then," she concluded. "Well, if that's the case, daughter-of-mine, then I'm sure Fai-sama hasn't forgotten about you, at all." She scooted off the bed and set the brush back on the dresser once more. "Don't worry, Saori. Things have a way of working themselves out—things that are meant to be, that is."
Gnawing on her lip, Saori finally lifted her chin when her mother kissed her head. Watching for a moment as Aiko headed for the door, Saori cleared her throat. "Kaa-chan?"
She paused with her hand on the door handle. "Hmm?"
"Please don't tell tou-chan and nii-chan . . . It's . . . It's embarrassing."
“You know that I would never divulge a woman’s secrets, Saori,” she chided gently.
Saori sighed. “I . . . I know . . .”
Aiko smiled at her. "Anyway, I won't tell them a thing about it," she promised. "That's your business, Saori. However, if and when you see Fai-sama again, I have a bit of advice for you."
Her smile widened. "Make him work for you. After all, my daughter is most certainly worth the effort."
A curt knock on the door interrupted the moment, and Aiko paused long enough to give Saori’s shoulder’s a little squeeze before scooting off the bed.
Saori grimaced inwardly when her uncle stepped into the room, his expression unreadable, but he nodded at her. “Let me talk to the pup.”
Aiko smiled and kissed her uncle’s cheek before wiggling her fingers in farewell as she slipped out of the room.
“Where’s everyone else?” Saori final asked, watching without lifting her chin as InuYasha prowled around the room.
InuYasha grunted. “Keh! Where do you think? Down there, listening to that old windbag of a grandfather of yours.” Striding over to a shelf where Saori kept her childhood keepsakes, he kept moving. It was how he had always been. Even if he stood, stock-still, there was always a part of him that would move. Many times, it was his dog-ears. Those adorable little, furry triangles were constantly twitching, constantly monitoring the area. She’d always been enchanted by them, even if it was rare that he allowed anyone to touch them. Turned as he was, she couldn’t see his face, but those ears of his kept turning, twisting—listening. “So, uh . . .”
InuYasha pivoted on his heel, planting his hands on his hips, his jeans faded and rumpled, his crimson tee-shirt looking a little worse for wear since he hadn’t bothered to bring extra clothing with him on the impromptu rescue mission. He hadn’t gone home yet, either, but Saori figured that he was probably on his way out after he talked to her. Whatever it was that he wanted to say, she wasn’t sure.
“Is he tough?”
Blinking at the unexpected question, Saori slowly shook her head. “Tough?” she echoed. “He’s tai-youkai, and he’s been challenged quite a bit.”
InuYasha nodded. “Keh! Looked like some kind of citified pretty-boy,” he grumbled.
She shrugged. “Well, I did have to teach him how to fish,” she admitted. “I mean, he said he could fish with a rod and line, but we didn’t have those. The van broke down, so we ended up, having to travel the rest of the way on foot, and carrying around a pole just wasn’t really convenient . . .”
“That right? Can’t handle real fishing? What good is he?”
For the first time since she’d been rescued, Saori giggled just a little. “It’s not his fault . . . He was busy learning other things. Anyway, he got pretty good at fishing, and he’s a very good cook.”
InuYasha didn’t look impressed by her claim, but he nodded once. “He didn’t have time to learn how to fish by hand, but he took the time to learn how to stake a few fish and roast ‘em over a fire? Seems kind of backward, if you ask me.”
Rolling her eyes despite the smile on her face, she wrinkled her nose. “I assure you, he’s a very talented person, ji-chan.”
He grunted. “I’ll take your word for it,” he said. “Anyway, oba-chan is hollering that she missed me or some such. I just wanted to make sure you’re all right.”
She hugged him back when he strode over to give her a quick squeeze. “Give her my love.”
“Do that yourself,” he told her. “You got time, don’t you? Come by and see her.”
“All right,” she agreed as he strode over to the door. “Ji-chan?”
He stopped in the doorway.
She sighed. “Next time you rescue someone, maybe you should try not to tear down their home in the process.”
He narrowed his golden eyes at her and snorted indelicately. “Keh! Next time you kidnap some stupid baka, don’t get caught!” he shot back as he stomped out of her room and slammed the door behind himself, leaving a giggling Saori in his wake.
== == == == == == == == == ==
M ——— Silent Reader ——— Goldeninugoddess ——— xSerenityx020 ——— sutlesarcasm
Okmeamithinknow ——— minthegreen ——— WhisperingWolf ——— TheWonderfulShoe ——— NyteAngel ——— Monsterkittie
Nate Grey ——— lianned88 ——— cutechick18 ——— goldeninugoddess
Final Thought from Aiko:
… Interesting …
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Vivication): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.