InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Torrent ❯ Hanyou-Miko ( Chapter 36 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
InuYasha heard voices. They were jumbled together, impossible to discern. `Mate . . . .'
The gentle splash of water followed by a harsher rush. The cold cloth on his forehead. He tried to turn his thumping head, to moan softly. He couldn't do either. `Kagome . . . .'
Warmth, softness against his cheek. Kagome's hand? He tried to breathe her in. He groaned as two things came very clear. Smelling much of anything brought on more pain in his head, and because of that, he couldn't scent a thing.
He let another soft moan escape him. Though she'd said his name softly enough, it had seemed much louder and had hurt, too. Almost afraid to open his eyes, he dared to crack one, relieved to find that the light, at least, didn't seem to bother him nearly as much as the other things. “What happened?” he whispered.
Her soft sigh made him flinch, ripping through him like storm winds through the trees. Why was sound so magnified? Her hand gently stroked his cheek. “You passed out or something . . . you fell out of the tree.”
He thought it had been something like that. The last thing he remembered was feeling sick, nauseous, and he had heard Kagome scream. “I think it was the noise, the smells . . . . I can't smell anything right now, for that matter.”
“But you've been here lots of times. You've gone with me too many times to count. Why is it suddenly so bad? Why can't you smell anything?”
With a deep breath and stubborn resolve alone, InuYasha forced himself to sit up, immediately collapsing back against the headboard. A small cry escaped her, and she leaned forward in time to cradle his head with her hands before it struck the solid surface. “I don't know. It's nothing, I'm sure. I'm fine,” he assured her. She didn't look as though she believed him, and with good reason. He'd barely managed a whisper, and he felt so weak, as though he couldn't possibly hold himself up.
She slowly pulled her hands out from behind his head. He managed a small smile of thanks. “I'm going to get you some pain reliever, all right?” He grunted. “No arguments. I know you don't like taking them, but I think you may need them now.”
He made a face. She'd only managed to get him to take her modern medicine once before. He had to admit that the tiny white pills had worked to dull his pain at the time. But he wasn't weak. He could deal with pain. It wasn't a big deal. He was what he was, and he'd lived his life knowing what pain was. He didn't want to rely on Kagome's pills in order to deal with his injuries. This time, though . . . .
The warmth on the bed beside him wiggled, and he turned his head enough to look down. Tajiko was curled up next to him. He smiled then winced. If his senses were this overwhelmed, what about hers? Hers were at least as good as his. Yet she seemed unaffected.
The memory of his daughter, holding onto the prayer bead necklace flashed back to him. What had it meant? Kagome didn't know, either, and the two people who could have answered the questions were both dead now. Kikyou would have known. She's the one who made the necklace. Kaede would have, too, he didn't doubt. She seemed to have known just about everything. He sighed. Maybe Miroku would have some ideas. As much as InuYasha hated to admit it---and never to Miroku's face---the lecher did possess spiritual powers in abundance, even though he no longer was a true monk.
`Maybe,' he thought, `if the pills work, maybe I'll feel strong enough to get to the well and back to the village.' With any luck at all, Miroku would have some sort of idea as to just what was happening to him.
Kagome hurried back into the room with a bottle of water and something held in her fist. The pills. He grimaced but opened his mouth obediently so she could drop them in. Making a face as he washed them down with a few big swallows of water, he had to control his gag-reflex. She said that the pills were `coated' to help him swallow them and to mask the bitter taste of them. Maybe humans, with their weaker senses, couldn't taste them. InuYasha could. He swallowed hard a few more times, trying to force that taste out of his mouth.
She sank down on the edge of her bed, idly reaching out to stroke his bangs back off his forehead, her expression concerned as she stared at him. “I hope those help.” Her hand dropped away, and she sighed, eyes falling to stare at the hands she folded on her lap. “Why didn't you tell me this before?”
“Would it have mattered?”
“Of course it would have.”
He shook his head slowly. “The only thing it would have done was kept you from coming back here so often. Your family's here.”
“Still,” she said. She cautiously leaned toward him, resting her head against his chest. “Am I hurting you?”
“Feh!” he managed. “You can't hurt me, remember?”
She leaned up, staring into his eyes. He couldn't read her expression. She seemed almost frightened? Worried? Almost guilty? A frown drew her eyebrows together. He moved his leaden arm to smooth the lines away with his finger. “When you're feeling stronger, we'll go back. Maybe that will help you,” she offered at last.
Resting her temple against his chest again, InuYasha stared down at her raven hair with a frown of his own. He had a feeling that wasn't what she had wanted to say.
“That is most unusual,” Miroku agreed. They sat around the fire pit in their friends' hut in the village. Miroku had his eyes closed, pondering all that Kagome and InuYasha had explained to him. Tajiko sat near Sango, staring at young Kiyoshi, who was nestled in his mother's arms. Kiyoshi sucked his fist and stared at Taji with avid interest. Every so often, the boy would swing his hand toward Tajiko's silvery hair. Taji, luckily, was just out of range.
Shippou sat beside Tajiko with an ever-watchful eye on the girl. He adored her, and Tajiko loved him, too.
InuYasha leaned against the wall behind Kagome, which wasn't considered odd, thank goodness. He seemed fine to everyone else. To her, though, she could feel his fatigue as if it was her own. She'd wanted him to rest awhile before they came to see their friends. True to his stubborn nature, though, he had adamantly refused.
He had allowed Kagome to do most of the talking in explaining what had happened, both with Tajiko and the prayer beads as well as the ineffectual `osuwari' and InuYasha's overwhelmed senses. Though he hadn't said anything about it, she knew that he had worried about his inability to smell anything when he'd awoken after falling out of Goshinboku. As the medicine had numbed his pain, his phenomenal senses had returned to normal, as well.
Miroku opened his eyes and straightened his posture, drawing Kagome back from her reverie. “From what you've both said, it'd be my guess that Tajiko somehow removed the curse on the beads, rendering the `word' ineffectual. I wouldn't wonder, too, if there had been some sort of side effect from the original incantation that had somehow protected InuYasha from having his senses so easily overwhelmed, Kagome.” He stared into the fire for a few moments before going on. “If that is the case, then InuYasha will simply have to become more accustomed to the differences if he wishes to travel to your home with you.”
“Feh! I'm right here, Monk!” InuYasha snarled. “Stop talking about me like I'm invisible, all right?”
Miroku bowed slightly, his hand before his face in typical monk fashion. “My apologies, InuYasha. You've had your eyes closed for so long, though, that I had started to think you slept.”
“So Tajiko has inherited hanyou from InuYasha as well as miko powers from Kagome?” Sango asked slowly, pulling her son back a little further when he nearly captured a fistful of Tajiko's hair. “Remarkable! I didn't realize such a thing was possible.”
Her husband nodded. “And if Tajiko has spiritual powers enough to remove the incantation at six months old, what sort of power will she possess later?”
Kagome sighed. She had wondered that, herself. InuYasha leaned away from the wall and stared at his daughter thoughtfully. “Can you put the incantation back on the necklace?”
Certain that she hadn't heard him correctly, Kagome turned to stare over her shoulder at her mate. He was still eyeing Tajiko and didn't seem to notice Kagome's incredulous look. “What?”
Finally intercepting the look, InuYasha made a face. “Oh, come on, Kagome! I don't like the subjugation curse. But if putting it back on the necklace keeps me from being overwhelmed in your time, then what's the big deal?”
“Even then . . . if Tajiko broke the curse the first time, who's to say she won't simply do it again?” Sango asked slowly.
Miroku nodded. “Another thing . . . it may not be wise, letting her run around with that much power, especially since she is so young and cannot control it.”
“I don't know if I like where you're headed with this,” InuYasha growled, narrowing his gaze on the ex-monk.
Miroku ignored InuYasha's implied menace. “Strange, really. As you pointed out, youkai are considered impure beings, while mikos are considered the holiest. Even Kagome has the ability to purify youkai, even if she rarely uses it. How can two contradictory things exist in your daughter?”
Kagome nodded, recalling InuYasha's amusement over that very thing. “How can we control her powers until she's older?”
Miroku shook his head. “That I don't know. Let me think on it. I doubt any harm would come from it for now. Miko powers aren't normally given to destroy as much as they are to protect. Perhaps if you, as her mother, made her a necklace with a seal on it, it may contain Tajiko's powers until such time that she is old enough to control them, herself.”
InuYasha was strangely quiet. Kagome figured he'd leap on the monk at the very idea of using yet another necklace to suppress his daughter. She turned her head again to look at him. He was frowning thoughtfully, staring at Kagome's necklace. “I think you should do it, Kagome,” he finally said without moving his gaze. “Try it, anyway.”
Miroku sighed, drawing Kagome's attention once more. He looked as though it all made sense to him now. She waited for him to explain what she didn't understand. “You're afraid that if Tajiko really did remove the curse on your beads that she can undo the protection on Kagome's?”
Pulling her closer to him, Kagome felt him nod in answer.
“I can try,” Kagome agreed. “But I'm not putting another subjugation on yours,” she added, stabbing InuYasha with a pointed look.
He snorted. She knew that answer. He was going to argue with her about it later. She sighed inwardly. It was touching that he cared enough to want to be able to stay with her when she went home to visit. Somehow, though, she didn't think that it would be right, to instill that sort of restriction on him again. `Stubborn hanyou.'
“I'll make the prayer beads for Tajiko. Give me a couple of days,” Miroku offered.
Staring at her little girl, who was content to play with some of Shippou's kitsune trick toys, Kagome smiled. She'd always thought that Tajiko was a remarkable baby. She simply hadn't realized exactly how remarkable she was . . . .
The subject moved off of Tajiko when Miroku remembered hearing mention of some new youkai that had recently been sighted by the locals.
Tajiko crawled across the floor and pushed herself into Kagome's lap. InuYasha absently reached around to include his daughter in the circle of his arms. Tajiko sighed happily and leaned against Kagome, her small hand rising to twirl her hair as she turned just enough to push against her mother. Kagome took the hint and stood up with her child. “Tajiko's hungry and tired, InuYasha. I'm going to take her home. Are you going to stay here and talk awhile longer?”
He stood up noticeably slower than normal. “We can finish this later.”
They said their goodbyes and headed down the path to their home. InuYasha took Tajiko from Kagome, and they walked in silence.
“Do you need more pain relievers?” she asked as they stepped into their hut. He handed Tajiko to her and moved off to start a fire.
“Feh!” he snorted. In the darkness of the house, Kagome couldn't see where he was. But his voice had come from close to the floor, so she had a pretty good idea that he was checking the kindling that had already been set out. “I'm fine.”
She sank down on the futon beside her and fumbled with her blouse. She had barely gotten the buttons open and the flap of her nursing bra dropped before Tajiko latched on, attesting to the fact that the girl, like her father, could see better in the dark than she could.
With a wan smile, Kagome settled back and watched as InuYasha used the flint, throwing sparks as his claws scratched over the rock. It hadn't occurred to him to use two of the stones, as others did. His claws worked just as well, maybe even a little better. The fire was burning within minutes, and he came to them and pulled them into his arms. “This is nice,” he breathed, letting his cheek rest against Kagome's head.
She nodded and shifted Tajiko to her other breast. “Do you think this means that Taji won't ever transform to her full youkai state?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, stiffening. He sounded offended. Kagome turned to look at him. He was offended. Why?
“Hmph,” he answered, letting go and stomping over to Kagome's backpack. Fishing around, he dragged out a cup of ramen and then filled the water kettle to boil.
Kagome sighed, choosing not to say more until after she'd finished readying Tajiko for bed. InuYasha looked up from his task long enough to kiss his daughter's forehead before Kagome took her to her room.
“InuYasha,” she said after she came back. “What did I say that bothered you?”
“It wasn't what you said, wench. It's what you implied.”
“And what did I imply?” she asked, careful to keep her tone neutral.
“You implied that I'd fail to protect my daughter.”
“I did not!”
“You did! The only time a hanyou transforms is when their lives are in mortal danger. You know that. So saying that there ever would be a time that Taji would transform . . .” he trailed off, scowling as he glowered at her.
“That's not what I meant,” she countered softly. “I know you would protect her, just as you protect me. I was just thinking that maybe her spiritual powers alone would be enough to counteract such a thing from ever happening to start with.”
“Then say what you mean,” he growled though the hurt look had waned.
“I'm sorry, I said it wrong,” she apologized.
“Kagome . . .”
She was staring at her hands, wondering why it was that she never seemed to be able to say things in such a way that he understood her lately. “Yes?”
He sighed. “It's been a fucking rotten day.”
`Yeah,' she thought. `It has been. All day I've been trying to find a way to tell you what happened with Sesshoumaru, but I . . . .'
“I can think of something that might save today from being a complete loss.”
Her gaze slowly lifted to meet his. The burn in his eyes stilled her tongue, squelched her confessions as he reached for her.
`I'll tell him,' she consoled her conscience. `Soon . . . .'
Then his mouth fell over hers, and she stopped thinking altogether.
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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.