InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Torrent ❯ Listen ( Chapter 26 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Kagome stared into the Bone Eater's Well with unseeing eyes. Tajiko happily pushed herself around in the grass nearby. The familiar backpack leaned against the wooden wall.
She sighed, sinking onto her knees, hands resting on the ledge, chin dropping onto them. She was going to go home. She had every intention of doing that when she'd hurriedly thrown everything into the bag that she wanted to keep. She had even stopped by Sango and Miroku's hut to say goodbye, to wish them well. They had both tried to stop her while Shippou had cried.
Kikyou's barrier . . . InuYasha sleeping on her shoulder . . . Kagome's heart broke a little more.
“Do you mean to stay with him?”
Kagome stopped on the outskirts of the village. Sesshoumaru stared at her in the growing daylight. “What does it matter? Why do you care?”
He didn't answer right away, staring over her head, as though there was something he wanted to tell her but wasn't sure how. Finally he brought his gaze back to her, staring at her as though he could see into her mind. “I wish that you had not seen that, Miko. Will you base your conclusions on what your eyes have shown you? Or will you give the baka opportunity to explain himself?”
“If I knew what to do . . .”
He understood, she realized. Somehow Sesshoumaru understood her reluctance to leave that battled with her desire to stay. Afraid of the answers that InuYasha might provide, the idea of not being with him tore her apart. What sort of choice did she have? Was there even one to make?
“I leave you here, miko. Should you require my assistance, I'll find you.” Kagome watched as he nodded to her in parting. The youkai turned and walked away, leaving her more confused about him than before.
Kagome sighed as the memory faded. What would she do? She'd been set to run, to escape the pain.
`What are you thinking, Kagome? Running won't work. You've never been a coward, and even then, he'll come after you.'
“If I never saw him again, I wouldn't care,” she muttered stubbornly.
Tajiko whimpered. Kagome turned and retrieved the girl, pulling her into her arms as she sank down on the grass, leaning against the well. “You know Mama's lying, don't you?” she whispered to her daughter. She leaned to the side, staring at Tajiko's golden eyes. “What should we do, Taji?”
`Ask him, Kagome . . . You can tell when he lies to you. At least then you'll know.'
It wasn't just her. If it had been, then it would be easy to escape back to her time. It would be simple to run., but she had to consider Tajiko, too. Tajiko deserved better. Tajiko deserved a family. She deserved to have her papa there every day, and InuYasha . . . She made a face. InuYasha deserved a chance to make his daughter's life easier than his own had been. He loved Tajiko. Kagome knew this. To destroy that bond was something that she never wanted to do.
`Can you be happy with him?'
She shook her head slowly. That wasn't really the question. The actual question was, could she be happy without him, and to that, she knew in her heart that the answer was that no, she couldn't be. As much as anything pained her, the thought of being with him was enough to destroy her. `I don't need to be with him,' she realized with a sigh, a tear, `I want to be with him, because being without him . . . It isn't something I can do. I owe it to Tajiko . . . and maybe I owe it to me, too.'
Her back stiffened, her head turned slowly. InuYasha bounded out of the forest toward her. Even from the distance between them, she could sense his anxiety. Oddly, it calmed her. He dropped down beside her, staring at her as though he was trying to read her mind. “I'll follow you,” he said, his tone belligerent.
“And I'll make you listen, if I have to,” he went on.
“I mean, you can't run off before you let me explain!”
“You---“ he stopped short, his expression shifting from confrontational to confused. “You won't?”
Tajiko squirmed off of Kagome's lap. InuYasha scooped her up and kissed her cheek. Kagome sighed. “I saw you with her,” she said quietly. “You were sleeping . . . I was going to leave. I was going to go home. But I . . .” she trailed off and shrugged. “Can you explain what I saw?”
“I fell asleep,” he admitted quietly. “I had to find her. I had to know why she'd hurt you . . .”
He shook his head, eyes piercing through her whether she looked at him or not. “You said you'd listen,” he grumbled, his face reddening. “And this is hard for me.”
She remained quiet as she fumbled with the folds of her skirt.
“You weren't supposed to try to take those off,” he said as he touched the prayer beads around her neck. “No one can. The barrier on the necklace stops anyone from trying to remove them, and I guess that includes you. They protect you when I can't, and they'll bind us together forever, so I'll never be without you.”
“What do you mean, forever?”
“Keh! What does forever mean to you, wench?”
“Really?” she asked, unable to keep the hint of wonder out of her tone.
“Really . . . if you want to be with me forever, that is. They were Kikyou's gift, and I wanted to tell you, but . . . I was scared. You had almost lost Tajiko, and . . . You were upset, and I thought . . .” he trailed off with a sigh and shook his head, disgusted at his own actions. “I should have told you then, that Kikyou made them.”
Avoiding his gaze and concentrating instead on the little girl in his arms, Kagome nodded slowly. “To see you sleeping there, with her . . . it hurt.”
He stubbornly shook his head, dragging Kagome forward, into his arms, into his embrace. “I wanted to come back last night, to explain this to you. I wanted . . . when I turned human, I was so tired . . . pathetic human form,” he growled, frustration etched in his expression.
Kagome pulled back far enough to cast him an ironic stare. “I'm one of those pathetic humans,” she pointed out.
His eyes sparkled as he shifted his gaze down. He didn't move his head, and he almost smiled. “I like it when you're pathetic,” he remarked. “You let me protect you.”
“Baka.” She sighed quietly, reaching out to smooth Tajiko's hair out of her face. Tajiko leaned away and grabbed Kagome's fingers instead. “I know you love her. You've never hidden that from me. I chose to be with you, knowing that I'd always come second. I just never knew it would be this hard to do.”
He snorted. “Keh! Now who's the baka? You've never come second. You've never been second. There's never been a choice.” He sat Tajiko down, letting the girl have her freedom. She squealed with laughter as she swatted at InuYasha's hand. “I'll always care about Kikyou. I can't help it, but that doesn't mean . . . Kagome . . . don't you know?”
“No. I don't know things you don't tell me.”
He looked away, his face reddening as her words soaked in. “There's one more thing you need to know.” He flinched when he felt her stiffen in his arms, her body reacting to the sadness in his voice. “Kikyou's gone. When I woke up this morning, she wasn't there, and she left you one more thing.”
Kagome leaned away and wiped a tear from her cheek. InuYasha pulled a small clay pot out of his haori and held it out to her. “What is this?” she asked, hesitantly accepting the jar.
InuYasha shrugged. “I don't know. It was sitting where she had been. I just had a feeling it was for you.”
She stared at it for a few moments then slowly uncorked the top. A silvery wisp of smoke wrapped in a shimmering pink aura rose. As though sucked in by a hidden force, the smoke absorbed into Kagome's chest as the clay pot crumbled to dust. “ . . . My soul,” she whispered, her hand lifting to settle over her heart. “She really is gone.”
He smiled sadly, watching the dust as the wind picked it up and carried it away. Finally, his gaze fell on Kagome again. She was staring up at the sky, her eyebrows drawn together in a thoughtful frown. “I'm sorry I'm not better with words,” he said softly.
She shook her head. “I'm sorry I'm not better with listening.” He sighed. Tajiko crawled onto Kagome's lap.
She offered him a rueful smile and stared at him. The breeze whipped his hair into his face, the startling clarity in his eyes beckoned her. He willed her to understand what he hadn't spoken. “Sometimes it's the words you don't say that I have a harder time hearing.”
Taking her hand, placing it over his heart, he gazed at her. Kagome closed her eyes and sighed letting her head fall against him. Tajiko laughed softly, and Kagome let contentment wash through her, settle over her. It was enough to stay like this. It was enough for her to know that he was there with her because he wanted to be.
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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.