InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Torrent ❯ Sesshoumaru ( Chapter 18 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]

~~Chapter 18~~
Kagome closed the door behind herself and headed for the huge staircase that led to the great room below. From up here, she could hear the merry crackle of a fire, the whispering sound of movement. Rin was resting; the fever had finally broken. Kagome had washed the girl so that she would sleep more soundly, applied some anti-itch cream to all the little red bumps that were breaking out on her fair skin, and had left her as quietly as she could. She thought perhaps InuYasha was in the hall below, but when she entered the room she didn't see him anywhere.
Sesshoumaru didn't turn when Kagome stepped off the staircase. He made no indication that he'd either heard or sensed her arrival. Staring pensively at the flames on the huge hearth, Kagome could almost feel the sadness in the aura surrounding the powerful youkai.
“Well, miko? Can you help her? Can you save her?” he asked, breaking the silence, his voice calm, cool, detached.
`Such an indifferent façade, a controlled demeanor. Does anything ever ruffle him?' With a soft sigh, Kagome braced her hands on the small of her back and stretched. “She'll be fine. She's got what we call chicken pox. Her fever is gone, and she'll be just like new in a day or so . . . well, except for scratching.”
Sesshoumaru didn't smile though she could see traces of relief lighting his eyes.
Not for the first time, Kagome wondered again what it was that compelled Sesshoumaru to keep a human so close when, by all accounts, he detested humans in general. She always thought before that it was a bit whimsical to think that he had chosen to keep Rin in his household, under his protection. Staring at the great and powerful Lord of the Western Lands, it struck Kagome again, how incredibly different two brothers really could be. InuYasha was always so fiery, so verbal about the things that he chose to care. Sesshoumaru rarely, if ever, showed any such emotion. Cold, reserved, and yet she could sense an underlying sense of loneliness. She frowned. Could he really be lonely?
His voice broke through her thoughts, his tone oddly amused even if his expression didn't change. “You wonder why I keep Rin, do you not, miko?”
Caught by her own curiosity, Kagome didn't disagree. “I thought you hated humans, so yeah, I've wondered before.”
Sesshoumaru finally turned to face her. Kagome stared at him, into his eyes, so similar to InuYasha . . . yet so wholly different. InuYasha had trouble hiding his emotions. They showed in his eyes. Anger, frustration, confusion, pain, happiness . . . she always knew because she could always see it. Sesshoumaru's eyes were blank, cold, measured. “I have never understood my father's fascination for humans. I thought it simply something my half-breed brother had inherited from him. Weak and pathetic creatures, you humans. So easy to bend, so easy to break . . .”
Kagome's chin rose proudly. “Humans don't bend or break nearly as easily as you'd like to think, Sesshoumaru. Humans adapt. Humans accept. Humans endure.”
“Is that what you call it, miko? Your reason for clinging to that fool of a brother of mine? He so clearly loves the other---the clay doll who resembles Kikyou---and still you remain . . . his mate.”
He was mocking her. She knew it. Still his words cut deep, digging at her soul with the callousness of a warrior. “He chose me.”
“His youkai chose you. InuYasha's youkai is completely separate from his heart, and that heart---that human thing---it chose Kikyou long ago.” He watched her for her reaction. Kagome tried not to give him the satisfaction of showing how deadly accurate his words were. She'd thought the same thing, more or less . . .
He considered her words for a moment. He nodded once at her assessment and went on, “Do you know what I desired, Miko? Inu no taisho. Strong. Powerful. I sought the power of the Tetsusaiga. I wanted to be as strong as my father.” He turned away, swept over to one of the many sliding rice paper covered windows. Drawing it open, he stared at the land.
Gooseflesh erupted on Kagome's arms from the chill breeze. “I don't understand,” she admitted softly, rubbing her hands over her arms to warm them. “Why are you telling me this?”
Sesshoumaru didn't notice the cold, and he ignored her softly uttered question. “I stand in the midst of the winter. I feel not the cold. It is dull, the mere shifting of the wind. I feel not the heat of summer. I care not for the changing of the seasons. I have seen enough of them to last a lifetime or better. Sentimentality is purely a human emotion. This is why my father loved humans. It is human nature to feel things, to express things. It is foreign to the youkai. InuYasha is the same. His human heart dictates emotions. His youkai tries to dull them. You, miko . . . you're caught between them, but the problem is . . . InuYasha knows this not.” Slowly, deliberately, Sesshoumaru closed the window, turning back to face Kagome, an odd smile lighting his expression. He walked toward her, his gaze fastened on her face, as though he'd never seen her before, as though she fascinated him. “Tell me, miko . . . do I frighten you?”
Wordlessly, Kagome shook her head. Something in his voice, in his movements entranced her.
Sesshoumaru chuckled. It wasn't an unpleasant sound. He leaned in close, his cheek brushing over hers as he dared to come closer. “InuYasha wa baka desu,” he whispered in her ear.
“That's not true. InuYasha---”
Slowly he straightened his back, lifted her chin to look at him once more. Her heart thundering in her ears, she wasn't sure if she was attracted to him or was repulsed by him. “He causes you pain and you still defend him? What is it about him that inspires such loyalty among women? First that miko who came before, and now you?”
She refused to answer that. Sesshoumaru's laughter, deep, husky, breathy, washed over her like a caress. She shivered, her eyes drifting closed. His lips hesitated over hers, not touching, not needing to touch. “Would you defend me, miko? Would you defend me with the fervor you show your hanyou?”
“I . . . no.”
“Are human hearts so easy to sway? Or has that baka misused yours so that you are willing to fall into another?”
She didn't think as her mind and body reacted. The slap she dealt him echoed through the room. She stepped back in surprise, wondering if he would try to retaliate at all. He didn't move. Slowly his head turned back to pin her with an amused smile. “So you do care for my brother. Very well, miko. You may go.”
`InuYasha, Kagome! He's your mate, and Sesshoumaru is his brother! What are you thinking?' She gasped softly as her mind intruded, and she backed away, her hands shaking, her skin flushed. “Where's . . . Tajiko?”
Sesshoumaru sighed almost dramatically and flicked his hand toward the stairs. “Your pup is upstairs with her sire. I trust you shall be joining them?”
Kagome didn't answer. She turned and fled up the stairs as quickly as she could go.
The sound of Tajiko's crying cut through her confusion. Kagome followed the sound to the end of the hallway and opened the door. InuYasha was trying to soothe the baby without much luck, it seemed. Kagome unbuttoned her blouse as she hurried over and took the child from him.
“How's Rin?” InuYasha asked as Tajiko immediately stopped crying and settled to nursing.
She could feel his eyes on her, probing her face as though he suspected something was wrong. “Rin? Sesshoumaru's human? The little girl? Is she going to be okay?”
“Oh, yeah, she is. It's just the chicken pox, nothing serious . . .”
“Kagome? Is something wrong?”
She flinched inwardly then forced a bright smile as she shoved the strained memories of Sesshoumaru's words and his strange caresses from her mind. “Wrong? Oh, no, everything's fine . . .”
He didn't believe her. She could see it in the depths of his gaze. For reasons she didn't want to dwell on, she couldn't return his look very long. He sank down on the floor before her, a serious expression on his face. “Kagome? I missed you.”
Tears stung her eyes at his soft words. “I missed you, too.”
He was silent for awhile. He cleared his throat before speaking again. “When you said you understood . . . what do you mean?”
“I understand,” she said slowly, unable to keep the hint of sadness out of her tone, “how you feel about Kikyou. You've never lied to me about that, and I . . . I don't like it, but I can't change it, either.”
“Kagome, it's not like that . . . Kikyou's a friend. You . . . you're my mate.”
“What's the difference?” she challenged softly.
He shook his head slowly, gaze serious, brow furrowed in thought. “I'd give anything to save a friend. I'd give my life to save you.”
He looked like he wanted to say something else. He leaned his head against her knees, as though he only wanted to touch her. Kagome reached over, stroking his hair, his ears. That odd sound of content rumbled in his throat again. “What is that sound?” she asked quietly.
It didn't stop but he did lift his chin to eye her. “I don't know,” he replied. The rumble stopped as he spoke. He looked as baffled as she was. He stared at the baby still nestled against Kagome's breast. She was asleep, and slowly Kagome lifted Tajiko to her shoulder. InuYasha reached over and pulled Kagome's blouse closed before he stood, kissing Kagome on the forehead and repeating the gesture on his daughter. “You amaze me, Kagome,” he whispered, his cheek against her ear.
Sesshoumaru's similar action flashed through her mind. Kagome swallowed hard and focused her attention on the sleepy infant. Why did he act that way? Why had she reacted to him? She didn't love him. She didn't even like him . . . she stared at Tajiko. Her little ears were twitching, listening. She grimaced. Had Sesshoumaru been testing her? Why? What would it matter to him, how she felt about InuYasha?
She dared a glance at InuYasha. Still settled against her, staring down at their sleeping daughter, InuYasha looked so content. Kagome opened her mouth to tell him but couldn't get the words to come.
The opulent chamber mocked her. Her conscience pricked her. `Coward! What are you afraid of? That you'll upset InuYasha or that InuYasha will blame you for Sesshoumaru's actions?'
She didn't know the answer to that.
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Japanese: "InuYasha wa baka desu."English: "InuYasha is a fool. (Original Translation by Riachu1457)
Literally speaking, “InuYasha has a foolish head” I believe…
I've encountered a lot of trouble with this one line. I believe, given the majority of those I know who are versed in Japanese, that this is the correct usage, here. Thanks to Sesshomaru1920, BakaBokken, and Twin Star of Suzaku for helping me figure this out!
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This is one of those chapters that pretty much wrote itself. That said, it did freak me out, a little, to see exactly where that was … because I had something completely different in mind here. Anyway, this was an interesting twist. Let's see what comes of it, shall we?
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Torrent): 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.