Chapter 10: Trust
Inuyasha sighed loudly to himself, glad that Kagome was finally asleep. He could hear her heart beating evenly, and relished the sound of the slow breathing that accompanied an un-weighted sleep. After he had blown up at her the night before, they hadn't said very much to each other, and it mad him squirm in guilt every time he thought about it.
After all, Kagome hadn't meant to hurt him at all. She wouldn't have realized what a tender subject Kikyo was…and he, like always, couldn't prevent his temper from rising to the surface. He looked down at his claws, flexing his fingers for a moment. He had actually pushed her away with these hands. He had been violent towards Kagome, who he would have never dared to hurt. No wonder she hadn't been speaking to him. He wondered in his mind if it was out of fear or just anger.
It was not just guilt that was bothering him, though. Having Kagome prod him into his admission about Kikyo had just stirred up a bunch of old thoughts that he had been trying to drive away. It was making sleep impossible. Every time he tried to clear his mind of all thought, he saw an image of Kikyo, bloody and trembling on the hard ground. He hadn't been the one to save her- nobody had been there to save her. All he had done was watch as it happened.
He shook his head violently. He wouldn't think about that now.
It was almost a relief to be able to just sit and think like this, in the cool night air. In their cell, they had a lot of opportunity for sitting and thinking, but when Kagome was awake, Inuyasha seemed to always find half of his attention trained to her….what she was doing, what she was thinking, if she was looking at him. It was almost continuous self-consciousness, which Inuyasha wasn't used to.
The shadows played on the curves of his face, as he closed his eyes. He had so much to sort out in his mind. For one- the soldier, Miroku, who had visited them a few nights before. Inuyasha just couldn't get his head around it. The Commissioner had seemed so believable in the way that he had asked them for help. But, Inuyasha was naturally suspicious. It was the way he had been raised, and it was the way that he would continue to be.
The offer certainly sounded tempting, and what had he said…?
"I am your last and only hope. Who knows when Naraku will decide to kill you. You have absolutely nothing to lose at this point by trusting me."
Inuyasha knew that what the soldier had said was right. Even if Miroku were to be the one to deliver them to the gallows himself, Inuyasha and Kagome would suffer the same fate they would have if they had not trusted him. Naraku placing them in this dungeon was a death sentence, not a slap on the wrist. He and Kagome had no choice but to rely on Miroku's trustworthiness.
He once again damned the fact that he was here. If he were out of this cage, he would be far out of the country. He would track Sesshomaru down and kill the bastard once and for all….He would make sure that Kagome was never hurt.
The restlessness of the girl startled him. She was moving in her sleep, shivering pitifully in the cold air. His eyes softened when he looked at her, regretfully noticing her thinning body, and the unflattering way in which her clothing now hung off her limbs. When she had first arrived, the now dirt-caked priestess robes had been pure white, and her cheeks and been round and rosy. She had been sick a lot lately, the damp air and often rotten food wreaking havoc on her entire body. A lot had changed in the span of six months.
He scooted forward, moving closer to Kagome. He couldn't get her out of here just yet, nor could he give her the nourishment that she needed. But he at least could provide for her immediate safety. He wasn't sure what came over him in that moment, but he found his body almost moving of its own accord. He lay on the hard, cold ground behind Kagome, and his arms found their way around her torso. They held firmly around her, soothing her back into a peaceful sleep, and warming her.
He remembered another thing that Miroku had told him, and now it rang true more than ever.
"I think you, spending so much time with this lovely lady here, would have such knowledge. I am protecting her from the things that I can't control."
Inuyasha understood it perfectly. Even if Miroku was a foul bastard that was in cahoots with Naraku, Inuyasha thanked him for that one remark.
"Are you sure it's the right time, Miroku?"
Miroku looked down at Sango, trying to keep the cool mask of reassurance plastered on. It wasn't working very well, because Sango was looking as frightened as he felt inside. "Sango, we can't wait any longer."
She nodded, her bangs falling over her eyes as her head tilted towards the ground. "I know… but, it feels so wrong for us to split up at such a crucial moment. I'm afraid something is going to go wrong with the plan!" Her soft brown eyes made him want to collapse her body in a hug and tell her that everything would happen perfectly. But he knew he couldn't make promises that he might not be able to keep.
"I know…I hate it too. But, it's important that there is someone to block the way from the other guards, in case anybody gets suspicious. It won't work any other way. Who else can I trust besides my lady with the large boomerang?" He forced a grin, brushing a piece of hair out of her face tenderly.
Sango blushed furiously. "I'll do my best protecting you." Miroku's hand fell from her cheek, and they both fixed their eyes on their shoes, not wanting to leave the room. It would mean that death could be just one step closer. "What is Naraku planning for the prisoners?"
Miroku's face hardened in memory of it, an involuntary shudder threatening to course through him. "He told me that he was going to hang Inuyasha publicly- it was going to be an example to the other soldiers." His voice was steely now. "He smiled when he said it."
"We'll wipe the smile off his face."
"Yes, we will."
So far, the plan had not yet fallen through. Miroku had found Kagura, the most direct link to Naraku, and had spoken to her of a meeting between the highest-ranking soldiers about battle strategy. She had given him a piercing look, which was made even more unsettling by the unnatural redness of her demon eyes, and had nodded her agreement to inform Naraku of it.
And, now he was just waiting for the opportunity for his revenge to come. The War Room, as it was so fondly called by the soldiers, was darkened. The ancient stone dais in the center of the room was smooth and shadowed, and Miroku felt some comfort in the large piece of furniture near him. As if it were some kind of shield. Sango was outside somewhere in the corridors, making herself sparse, but waiting for a time in which she might have to come to his rescue.
Miroku lifted a hand to run his fingers through his bangs, and realized that they were shaking. His palms felt clammy and cold, and he gently placed one on the hilt of his sword as he turned to pace near the dais. Could such a simple and easy plan really do them any good? Could crafty Naraku really allow himself to fall into such a trap? He blew out air between his lips. He would find out soon enough.
Out of the echoing abyss of the corridors outside, the footsteps rang. They were frighteningly patient, and, between each fall of the booted foot, Miroku felt his own being twisted apart. As what he supposed was Naraku, drew nearer to the steel-plated door, Miroku backed slowly into the shadows by the arras at the farthest end of the room.
The door creaked menacingly open, and as the shadowed figure stepped through, it slammed again, the sound of steel against concrete reverberating in Miroku's ears.
"Hello?" The calm wash of Naraku's deep voice spread through the hall, as he looked around. It was as if he had no care in the world. Could Naraku seriously not expect a trap? Was he that self-confident, or just dimwitted?
The boots clicked again as he took a few steps forward. Miroku could not see the ruler, but could imagine the firm and calculating look on his face, his arms crossed behind his back casually. It was the kind of steely arrogance that was in everything he did. Miroku felt another bout of cold sweat prickle on his brow. Soon he would be able to move. He held his breath.
As soon as he heard Naraku turn and head back towards the door, Miroku's muscles screamed into action. Clutching his small dagger in a tight fist, he lunged out at the dark-haired man, his movement swift and deliberate. With the entire weight of Miroku's body suddenly flung upon him, Naraku was shoved up against the stone dais, suddenly finding the sharp edge of a dagger on his throat.
Miroku was not surprised to see that the man's somewhat reddish eyes were not fearful. His face was blank. Miroku's face twisted in bitter hatred, he wrenched his fingers through Naraku's collar, and held him down against the table with all the force of his strong-muscled body.
"You're going to die tonight, Naraku!" He hissed, not caring that he was shoving his face into Naraku's. It didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was that this man felt the same suffering he had inflicted on his kingdom and all of his subjects… countless innocents that had died at his manipulative hands.
Naraku's eyes grew harder, and he frowned. "What is it you expect to do to me?"
Miroku lifted slightly, and then slammed the wiry body back into the rough stone, the point of the dagger edging even more dangerously towards the veins in his throat. "I'm going to show you the same kind of pain you gave to my father… to Sango's village… to us." His voice was lowered venomously, and the thought flickered through his mind that he was glad Sango was not here to see this. She had seen so many ugly things, but he didn't want her to see him like this. He was even frightening himself, at the incredible rage he was feeling.
Naraku opened up his mouth, almost nonchalantly, to speak, but Miroku growled. "SHUT UP!" he screamed fiercely. "Your guards are not here. No one will come, and no one will hear you scream!" With two brutally quick flicks of his wrist, he sliced identical gashes into Naraku's pale white cheeks. The wounds welled up with the blood, seemingly black in the shadows, and the blood oozed down in deathly rivulets.
Naraku hadn't flinched yet, which made Miroku's blood boil even further. He briefly considered why the man wasn't struggling or trying to break the hold, something that could have been feasible for him, but he took it as his pure arrogance. Not even sparing another second, the dagger tip had moved its way to bury into Naraku's stomach, the sharp edge driving itself close to vital organs. Miroku didn't even feel mercy. The blood on his hand was nothing to him. It only mattered that this blow had caused the monarch to cough in surprise.
Another animal yell tearing from his mouth, Miroku swiftly kneed Naraku in the groin, watching emotionlessly as the man crumpled to the stone ground with a muffled groan.
"How does that FEEL!" He spit out the words. Naraku said nothing, and Miroku dug the heel of his boot into his chest with undeterred force. "I said: how does that feel?"
The silence between them, the horrible physical tension and rage that was wringing ever muscle of Miroku's body was so tangible and suffocating. Naraku heaved a little at the heavy crunch of the soldier's boot against his ribs, and Miroku knew he couldn't let up now. He had never known himself to lose control… and now, here he was in the moment that he and Sango had been waiting for, and his hurt and bitterness were all pouring out of him.
He tightened the blood-slicked dagger once again in his fist, as he knelt down to straddle the prostrate Naraku. He readied it slowly, allowing his eyes to burn into Naraku's cold, beady pupils. He wanted to watch as all of the evil man's arrogance disappeared from those eyes; until he felt the fear that Sango's brother had felt. That Miroku had seen in his own dying father's eyes.
But, suddenly, the plunge of the blade was stopped by something resistant, yet not at all hard.
Miroku shuddered involuntarily, as he felt the frighteningly cold, slimy substance wrest it's way around his wrists, his ankles, and then quickly up his back to slide around his neck. Miroku froze in alarm, the shocking cold and strength of the unknown tentacles making him choke silently. He wildly flailed his arms, flexing and rotating to lift the growing pressure.
Suddenly, he lay his eyes on the face of Naraku, below him, and his everything that had happened so far fell into place.
"You….you are….?" He managed to whisper.
The growing tentacles were sprouting their way from Naraku's limbs, breaking free and ripping his dark clothing, spreading effortlessly around Miroku's body. He could see now that Naraku's eyes were a piercing red, and, even through the black blood on his pale face, his features were shining in joy. Naraku was a half demon, and nobody else knew.
Miroku coughed as he felt his windpipe being crushed slowly. Naraku chuckled in a deep, cruel laugh.
"I've only been playing with you, Commissioner. Did you really think you could defeat me so easily? You and your little wife have just been puppets this whole time, without even realizing it."
The red pupils were intense. "And now nobody will hear you scream."
Miroku couldn't hide the terror on his face. How could he not have known? Most of all, how could he have been so stupid as to find himself in a trap like this. Unless he did something fast, he and Sango, along with Inuyasha, would be dead.
With a roar, and one last final burst of strength, Miroku somehow managed to toss the heavy dagger in his hand, to skid on the floor. It slid for a few feet before connecting solidly with the heavy door at the entrance to the War Room.
Naraku scoffed. "Fool! You've just given up your last weapon! Have you so quickly chosen death? You are more of a coward than I gave you credit for."
The struggle continued, as Miroku tried helplessly to fend off the spreading numbness in his limbs. His circulation would soon be all cut off.
And then, he was suddenly rewarded with the safety in their plan.
A soft knock sounded on the large door, and the sounds of a group of guards clattered through to them.
It was Sango, her voice loud and demanding.
"Miroku? Lord Naraku? Are you in there?"
A/N: So, what'd you guys think? Were you surprised by Naraku, or was that twist expected? I wonder…. Well, leave me a review!