DISCLAIMER: I don't own Inuyasha. If those rights belonged to me Kagome would be sore and Inuyasha would be exhausted…
In the Blood
By: Lara Winner
Chapter 11: Walking the Razor's Edge
Kagome sat on the edge of the bed, her legs dangling with feet inches above the hard wood floor. They kicked back and forth rhythmically thumping against the wood bed frame. The soft knocking noise was the only sound in the lavish bedroom she'd come to consider her pleasantly decorated prison cell. She loathed it. All of it.
Her dark hair was still damp and it bled into the back of her shirt making the wet material cold against her hot skin. She shivered and cast the balcony doors a longing look. Kagura had said to sit tight and wait for her return but Kagome was tired of waiting. She was ready for something, anything as long as it got her out of the hated room and far away from Naraku.
A feeling, vice-like and gnawing, bloomed in her stomach. She would be a liar to say she wasn't afraid. Actually, she was terrified. There was no guarantee this was going to work and a snide voice in her mind whispered that she didn't want to know what Naraku would do to her should manage to get his hands on her again. It wouldn't be a picnic, that was for sure.
And he would find her. Somehow she knew that.
She could run to the ends of the earth and hide in its farthest corners and she just knew, with that cryptic kind of certainty that hits a person sometimes, that he would eventually sniff her out. Naraku had the money and he had the resources. By running she was consciously planning on fighting a battle she could never win. It was really all pointless and those bleak thoughts filled her with an awful sense dread. And yet a spark of life still remained, buried but flickering like a beacon of hope, and because of its fragile existence the inevitability of her fate also angered her.
Why should she make it easy? She didn't have to be Naraku's complaint slave. Let him chase her. Let him do his worst because she was going to give him a hell of a time first. And when their game of cat and mouse was all over… Kagome would die before she let him invade her soul like that again.
Maybe, just maybe, he'd be the one to do the dying.
She sighed, the sound bordering on a groan. Where as Kagura? It couldn't take that long to get Inuyasha. What if she couldn't get him? She hadn't really allowed herself to dwell on that set back, but it was quite possible. What would she do then? She was depending on his brutish strength to muscle through any problems they might face getting across the northern border. She wouldn't get far on her own.
"Please," she muttered under her breath, "please let something go right for a change." Again the whispered voice in her head snickered that things were never that simple.
Life wasn't fair. That was the way of things. The god's couldn't have a worse sense of humor.
Or so she thought.
Kagura tapped her fan against her chin as she stared at the stretch limousine thoughtfully. Her plan was simple enough in theory but apparently it was proving a bit more difficult to put in practice. She'd never tried to manipulate a corpse to drive a car before and so far it was proving unsuccessful.
The easiest way to get the girl and the hanyou off her husband's property would be by automobile. The guards would not question her leaving the premises, but driving the damn limo herself… that she would rather not explain. And there was no way she was putting that hanyou in her precious sports car. He probably had fleas. Being left with so few options, what was a demon to do?
Perhaps it was time to improvise.
It was weird to see woman, wind youkai or not, hovering just past the railing of the balcony.
Kagome opened the glass paneled door and stepped out into the cool night to get a closer look. When she saw the large feather on which Kagura sat demurely, she grinned. "How nifty."
The wind witch gave her a tolerant look as the feather rose over the balustrade and came to hover a few inches above the slate flooring. "Quit gawking and get on."
Kagome did as told, surprised to find the feather was far sturdier than she would have imagined. The soft texture tickled her shins as she settles down as comfortably as she could. Now was probably not a good time to mention that she wasn't fond of heights…
As the feather lifted into the air Kagome's "eep" was cut short by a withering look from Kagura and she settled for clutching the soft down as they descended with impressive speed, for a really big feather.
It took only seconds to go from the balcony to the rear garage. For a moment her breath had caught as they passed above two armed guards making rounds but in their vigilant scouting of the surrounding darkness they never thought to look above them. Silent and without a ripple of air to betray them, the feather glided out of sight and just beyond the hedge of privacy shrubs that decorated the garage front.
As they reached the ground the feather disappeared with a near silent poof and Kagome fell the few inches to the ground with a barely stifled gasp. She landed on her bottom intending to hiss a few heated curses at the chuckling wind demon but that was when she noticed the corpse literally hanging limply out of the driver's seat of the limousine not five feet away. She wasn't sure what sickened her more, the blood that pooled in a garish puddle on the cement or her own sense of detached curiosity to keep staring.
Purposely Kagome looked away.
"I'll tend to that mess when I return." Kagura said with a dismissive shrug, "You'll get in the SUV."
It wasn't until it was mentioned that Kagome paid the second vehicle any attention. Sleek, black, etched in chrome with windows tinted darker than the night sky and just sporty enough to pass by as a woman's ride, Kagome sneered, "Are you going to be my chauffer? I feel so honored."
"Shut up and get in!" Kagura snapped pointing to the back seat.
Kagome didn't dare push her luck further, just in case Kagura decided to fuck her over. Getting up with a few muttered curses, she climbed into the back seat softly closing the door behind her. She wasn't alone. Slumped against the opposite door, unconscious but clearly alive and breathing, was Inuyasha. Hope blossomed within her spreading like a wildfire.
"You managed to get him… how?" she asked as Kagura started the vehicle.
"Kid you ask too many damn questions. Don't worry about it. He's here and he's all yours. Just stay down so no one sees you. I'm not risking this to get caught by my husband's goons."
The ride off the grounds was tense. They lapsed into silence and Kagome held her breath as Kagura identified herself to the guards at the main gate. But they dismissed her quickly without bothering to glance into the SUV. It wasn't until they were on the main road that wove along the sea that she dared to lift her head. It was with an honest feeling of elation that Kagome watched the mansion fade into the darkened distance.
"How far are you taking us?" she asked.
Kagura sighed exasperatedly. "There is a town twelve miles ahead. It caters to the wealthy in this area. I'll take you a few miles past there and then you're on your own. That's as far as I'm willing to chance. From there if you head northwest you will eventually reach the border." She paused purposely catching Kagome's eye in the rearview mirror as she warned, "Stay away from the main roads. Better yet stick to the trees. You never know who might recognize you around here."
Kagome supposed it was better than nothing. Still she didn't know the land. It was more imperative now than ever to keep away from anyone who may take note of them. It was only logical to simply avoid people all together. But how far could they make it if they traveled into the woods alone, with no provisions?
Kagome worried her lip absently as she contemplated their predicament. She had made it this far by stealing, hitching rides and blending in with the crowd when able. It was a far cry from taking to the wilderness with not much more than the clothes on her back.
"We'll need to stop for food and few other things." She told Kagura, decision made.
Kagura blinked. "What do you mean stop?"
"In that town you mentioned. You know, get supplies and stuff."
"I think not. You're not local. They would know that in a heart beat and you can bet it would gat back to Naraku before youd could reach the Northern border. Then all this would be for nothing. Forget it!" she snapped.
"That's why you're going to get the stuff for us."
"No I'm not. I'm dropping you off on the side of the road and that is that."
"But... we don't have anything..." Kagome sighed, trying to keep hold of her temper. "How are we going to survive without food, huh?"
Kagura glanced back at her through the mirror. "You'll be traveling with a hanyou. I'm sure he's resourceful enough to hunt down something. If not, well that's not my problem now is it?"
No its not, Kagome thought with a sour pout twisting her lips. But really, did she have to be such a bitch about it? Well then fine. She'd make do. Inuyasha would be easy to handle, at least she didn't have that to worry about.
As if prompted by her thoughts, the SUV jerked as it rumbled over an uneven patch in the road. Inuyasha's form shifted a bit away from the window and then he fell toward her, slumping against her. He was heavy, a lot heavier than he looked and she winced as he squashed her against the door.
Apparently he wasn't quite as "unconscious" as she thought because the boy sort of snuggled into her with a faint whine. Then he sniffed and sighed something that sounded like her name. It caught her off guard and was kind of sweet… but he was really crushing her so Kagome shoved hard at his noodle-like form and he slipped farther down curling himself onto the seat with his head against her stomach and an arm flung across her lap.
Too bemused to struggle more, Kagome let a slight smile tug at her lips. Moonlight spilled in through the window allowing her to see his features. It struck Kagome just how childish he looked when he was unguarded and asleep. She felt a pang deep in her chest, not understanding why she'd taken such a fancy to him but feeling that strange pull all the same. And it wasn't a comfortable feeling.
It had been a long time since she'd actually been close enough to anyone to really care about them, not since before the orphanage. She hadn't realized she was so accustomed to being alone. This meant she'd have to take care of him now too. Great. Just great.
Pushing aside her vulnerability toward the boy in her lap, she tried to wake him instead. Lifting up his limp wrist, she held it and dropped it. Nothing. She poked him a couple of times. Nothing.
He couldn't possibly be comfortable twisted up like a pretzel as he was but he wasn't close to waking up either. Maybe she should be worried...
"What did you do to him? He's going to wake up right?" she asked trying not to sound too anxious.
"Yeah, in a few hours."
Gently, Kagome began to run her fingers through his hair. It was thick, more like the texture of fur, she mused with a slight smile. Her fingers moved to his ear and stroked it lightly. She giggled when it twitched but her humor was short lived. There was a lot depending on this next step. It was sink or swim. If they didn't make it to the border…
She cut that thought short and entertained an equally perplexing one instead. Even if they did make it, Inuyasha would be far easier to identify. It would hard to hide his hanyou features, if possible at all. She hadn't thought of that earlier but now it stared her in the face. Plus he didn't know much of the world outside his cage. She could only teach him so much. What if he couldn't find a way to blend in? Maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew.
Inuyasha what am I going to with you?
Kagome had half a mind to think that Kagura would make good her word and leave them exactly on the side of the road as she had said, but once again the wind youkai surprised her. She hadn't seen the dirt road nestled in the trees, not surprising with her pathetic human vision, and she'd almost cried out in surprise when Kagura veered off the highway and into the inky darkness. They followed the worn path for a short time and then finally the SUV rumbled to a stop.
Working her way from under Inuyasha's dead weight, Kagome exited the vehicle and looked around uneasily. She couldn't see much beyond her own hand in front of her face. But she could hear and the racket of night insects was enough to send a shiver of revulsion down her spine.
"So this is where you're going to dump us?" She asked warily.
Kagura looked around and then shrugged. "It is as good a place as any."
"Yes, well you can actually see."
"Here." Kagura held out a flashlight and compass with a sneering smile. "I figured you might need these. Once he wakes up he'll be able to see for the both of you. For now I would settle in until morning."
Panic curled in Kagome's stomach. "But……"
Kagura ignored her protest and produced her feather with a flourish. She motioned for Kagome to get on once more. "Suck it up kid. You didn't really think this would be easy, did you?"
Feeling chastised and more than a bit naïve, Kagome got on the feather. Then her eyes widened as Kagura lifted Inuyasha as if he weighed nothing and placed him beside her. Then the wind youkai joined suit and into the night air they went.
The flight was short and silent. There was hardly time for the wind to sting her eyes before they were descending once again. Kagura deftly maneuvered them through the trees, this time landing beside a stream that Kagome could hear but couldn't see until she turned on her flashlight.
"This would be the best place to camp for tonight. As soon as the sun rises I suggest you get moving. Youkai do roam this forest at times but it is still your best chance to remain anonymous." Almost as an afterthought, she grasped Kagome's hand and placed a slip of paper inside it. "I'd do my best not to loose this if I were you."
"What is it?"
Waspish glee oozed in her voice as Kagura replied, "Information the hanyou may find useful. When you've reach the Northern Province give it to him. I'm sure he'll know what to do with it."
"Come on kid, I don't have all night."
Kagome managed to roll Inuyasha off the feather. Feeling the darkness press in around her, she watched helplessly as Kagura once again took to the air with a cheeky wave. Then she was alone. In the dark forest with nothing but a comatose hanyou, a flashlight and compass. Flopping down onto the damp grass, Kagome fought the urge to cry.
It could be worse, she reasoned. I could be completely alone… or with Naraku right this very moment.
She closed her eyes and sucked in a calming breath. Remembering the paper in her hand, she unfolded it curiously. It was only a name. No address, no number. Just a single name scribbled in flowing script across the small paper.
He was wallowing in something thick, black as pitch and damn heavy. At least that's what it felt like to Inuyasha. It wasn't like being asleep. There were no dreams, no sense of separation. He was very much awake except it felt as if everything else were a world away.
He could smell but it was faint, almost filtered. He was sure he could see but his eye lids were simply too heavy to lift. He could hear but the words were jumbled and not making much sense. He could feel but each sensation bled into another to where it became one solid feeling that seemed to tingle through his whole body. Even his thoughts were a bit sluggish.
Still he remembered the wind youkai. He remembered the horrid smelling powder she'd blown in his face. He remembered the corpse with her, the one that moved like it was alive. There should have been a sense of urgency, of palpable fear of what was going to happen to him now that he was rendered immobile, but even that was diluted to a mere passing concern that he couldn't seem to hold on to.
There was no way to tell how long he stayed that way, all Inuyasha could do was wait as the disorienting daze began to slowly ebb.
The more things became clearer the more his senses seemed almost hyper sensitive. His head was pounding with each beat of his heart and he blamed it on the loud buzzing noises in his ears. His skin pricked with pins and needles as he realized he was lying on cushy grass and not the rough straw that usually lined his cage. His eyes burned right through his eyes lids as if someone had turned a thousand bright lights right in his face. And his stomach turned as the sickly sweet combination of trees, flowers and woman assailed him.
It wasn't the same woman. She'd smelled of the master. This was different.
Inuyasha's eyes shot open but he was forced to close them just as quickly as light, golden and brighter than any light he could remember seeing nearly scorched them. He rolled onto his side and his stomach turned once more. "Fuck!" he groaned.
He wasn't prepared as the soft voice triggered his blood. In the rush of power and adrenaline the lingering effects for the drug were swept away. Irrational anger replaced his confusion as he recalled a name and a face. A different sort of clarity took hold and he opened his crimson eyes to look into the face of a girl who should have been dead.
…her fault…her fault…her fault…her fault…her fault…
She'd caused this. All of it. And at that moment he was angry enough to kill.
She tried to scoot away but it was too late. The boy was no more. Feeding off the fear that filled her scent he lunged forward and grasped her by the throat. Pinning her to the ground he bared his lengthened teeth as he snarled.
The demon wanted blood and it wouldn't be denied.
A.N. – Okay, I am really sorry this chapter took so damn long. I've been dealing with a lot of RL problems the last few months and it's been nothing short of hell. I also work in retail and with the holiday seasons coming up, I can't promise I'll have the next chapter up before the new year. Please be patient and I do swear I will finish this story.
In the meantime, things aren't looking so good for Kagome. And Inuyasha does need to vent… you'll just have to see what's going to happen next.
Till next time thanks for reading.