Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Inu-Yasha characters.
Chapter Three: Kagome's Judgment
Shippo looked up in surprise as he saw a tall figure down the road. Immediately he released his mouth from his imprisoning candy. "Kagome!" he chirped, tugging on her school uniform. "Look! Someone's coming towards us!"
The school girl looked up from her math book and squinted at the figure. She didn't like getting interrupted like this, especially when there was some major studying to be done. Then again, going back to Inu-Yasha's time is a whole distraction itself. Kagome gave up and put her textbook back into her bag.
"Inu-Yasha," she said, tugging at his hair, "did you hear Shippo? Someone's coming down the road." The dog demon snorted as he himself looked up from his cup of ramen, cursing under his breath. Damn. Just when he was finishing up his lunch. He tossed his cup over his shoulder and on the road, sniffing the air.
His ears twitched when he recognized the scent. And, just like the dog he was, Inu-Yasha growled and settled one hand on his Tetsusaiga.
"Who is it? Is it Naraku?" Miroku asked, gripping his staff tighter. Sango's eyes lowered as she gripped her own boomerang in suspense.
"No," Inu-Yasha answered simply, "it's Sessho-Maru." At first, Inu-Yasha admitted to himself that he was rather surprised by his reaction towards his brother. Usually he would come raging at the spiteful demon with everything he had. But now, things are different. This time…
"Inu-Yasha, you aren't thinking…" Sango said slowly, her eyes never leaving Sessho-Maru's growing figure.
"That's right." The half demon grinned in spite of himself. "I'm going to use the Bakuryu-Ha -- the 'Crushing Stream'!" Kagome stared at her demon companion, somewhat weary of the situation. Of course, she wanted to offer her opinion on the situation at hand, but who was she to judge? Sessho-Maru was after them since the very beginning; it would be easier if he was gone. But then again, Sessho-Maru is Inu-Yasha's brother. Can he really bring himself to kill his brother? Kagome wasn't sure.
Fortunately, Miroku held a hand in his friend's way. "Wait," Miroku said slowly, staring at Sessho-Maru. "Something isn't right here." Inu-Yasha snorted; nothing is ever right. But, seeing that Miroku wasn't usually the one to falter in these types of situations, he released his grip on his mighty sword.
"I agree with the lord monk," Sango said. "I know I have not much experience with this demon as you do, Inu-Yasha, but I could tell from our last encounters that his appearances are always for a reason. He must be here for something, and I do not believe that his reason is to fight."
"Why do you say that?" Kagome asked, already knowing the answer.
Miroku answered instead. "His approach is that of a friendly one." Inu-Yasha blinked as he noticed his brother just a few feet away, waiting patiently. God, how his brother annoyed him, sneering at the demon. He also noticed Jaken, his disgusting servant, by him. Sessho-Maru made no move towards his weapons. Once again, his pestering friends were right. He hated that.
"Don't worry, Inu-Yasha," Kagome reassured, holding his shoulder lightly. "He may actually have something good he can share with us." Her friend wasn't sure about that. Inu-Yasha sighed and stood with his head high, as he and his friends walked to his brother cautiously.
They were all sitting under the comfortable shade of several trees, away from the sun's heat and overhearing passer-bys. Sessho-Maru and Jaken sat beside a nice tall one, sitting across from Inu-Yasha and his companions like a man on trial. A slight breeze swayed loose items and clothing, and, had not for Sessho-Maru's question, would have been a wonderfully beautiful day for Inu-Yasha.
Apparently, Kagome's hypothesis was wrong.
"What!" Inu-Yasha screeched, his claws twitching and his eyes bloodshot. "You're asking me to give you one of my shards? My shards? Why in the seven hells would I do that!" Kagome was rather surprised by his request as well; Sessho-Maru was never interested in the shards before.
Sessho-Maru was closing his eyes, rather annoyed by his brother's childish behavior. "Like I have said before, it will only be for a short while. I need the shard to help preserve a friend of mine." He opened his eyes when Rin crossed his mind.
"Well, why don't you get your own shard! Just go find one; it's not that hard!" Inu-Yasha snapped, Shippo choking at his lollypop just at what he said. Inu-Yasha looked sourly at the kitsune; alright, so it is hard.
"You know yourself that the shards have to be purified in order for it to actually work correctly. And, seeing that I do not have a reincarnated shamaness by my side, that would be rather difficult for a demon in my situation," Sessho-Maru stated, his mind now wandering to Kikyo. Yes, although it did cross his mind that she, indeed, has the power to purify the jewel herself, he did not trust her. It was obvious in their conversation before that she did not reveal all her motives to him. Of course, his opinion was so, thinking that she was much like himself.
"Why don't you use your Tenseiga then, Sessho-Maru? If I do recall, it has the power to revive a hundred people with a single swing," Miroku asked, liking to see that particular sword in action himself. Sessho-Maru didn't respond at first; he turned and nodded at Jaken as he released his bundle to the ground between the groups.
Kagome gasped as she saw the Tenseiga in several pieces.
"As you can see," Sessho-Maru continued, seeing his filthy brother fingering a piece of his sword, "Tenseiga is of no use to me -- at the moment. I need the Shikon shard to preserve my friend's body long enough to have Tenseiga repaired. Then, when the time has come, I shall bring my friend back to life, and return your precious shard to you."
Sango took the piece Inu-Yasha held, studying the strange smoothness of the places where the piece broke off of. "This looks like the work of poison vapors," Sango concluded, her demon extermination skills in work. She looked up at the demon lord. "Did Naraku break your sword?" Kirara crowed at the shattered blade.
Sessho-Maru was silent and held no expression. "Yes," he replied. "In fact… He was the murderer at hand." His face suddenly grew sad, Kagome saw, all but for a quick second. The face went by so quickly Kagome believed that only she saw the changing expression. So before Kagome could make any note of it, Sessho-Maru grew as comforting as a gargoyle once more, and continued, "Tenseiga can destroy the messengers of hell, the stealers of souls. If I do not preserve my companion's body before the messengers arrive, it will already be too late."
"Then who cares?" Inu-Yasha pouted. "So another person dies, big deal. This is the warring eras, Sessho-Maru; death is frequent in these parts. Besides, you never cared for anyone or the Shikon shards before. What different now?" Inu-Yasha folded his hands into his long red sleeves and waited for his answer.
The answer was simple. Sessho-Maru didn't even hesitate when he said, "This person saved my life, in one way or another. I wish to repay that deed… And like I said before, a friend is a friend. Even demons have allies, but of course I didn't expect you to know that." Inu-Yasha restrained himself of killing him right at that moment.
Shippo stared at Sessho-Maru lightly. "Why should we trust you?" he asked. He surprised his companions, as Kagome and Sango stared curiously at the small fox demon. He paid no attention however; he sucked on his lollypop as he awaited his reply.
Sessho-Maru glanced at Shippo, saying, "You can't."
"That's it!" Inu-Yasha yelled, standing up and walking away. "Kagome, come on -- we're leaving this pile of dog waste."
The demon lord was silent as Jaken propped up to his feet, saying, "You flea bitten half breed! Don't you dare leave Lord Sessho-Maru's presence without a proper request, you one-eyed, cursed little mong--!"
Surprisingly, Miroku was the one who stopped him. "Wait Inu-Yasha," he asked, still sitting, "I don't believe that this is your decision to make."
"What!" Inu-Yasha snapped, getting more and more outraged by the minute. "What do you mean not my decision? These are my shards, my property! Of course it's my decision to make!"
"Yet you are not holding the shards now," Sango agreed, looking rather peaceful in her spot. "I agree with the lord monk's statement. I believe it should be Kagome who decides whether or not Sessho-Maru can receive the shard." All eyes turned to the reincarnation of Kikyo as she sat, hands on knees, with a thoughtful expression. Sango smiled at Kagome. "Well? What do you think, Kagome?"
Kagome nodded and turned to Sessho-Maru, looking very determined indeed. Silently the demon lord recalled Kikyo's advice to him.
Kagome will listen to you, if you say the right words.
"You are going to return the shard after you save your friend, right? You won't use it for any other purposes?" she inquired with a raised eyebrow, doubt slithering through every fiber of her being.
Sessho-Maru stared disgustedly at her. "Of course. Only a lowly demon -- as my brother here -- would use such a disgraceful item to power their own self esteem." Miroku and Sango held Inu-Yasha from blowing several fists at him.
Kagome frowned. "And you won't use the shard for anything else except for saving your friend in the process?"
Sessho-Maru sighed. "Yes."
"Will you show us where your friend is?" Kagome asked.
Kagome frowned again. This is hard. For all they know, Sessho-Maru could be lying to them, and it would turn out that he was only pulling strings for Naraku. But he hates Naraku now, doesn't he? Still, that doesn't get rid of the fact that Sessho-Maru tried many times before to kill Inu-Yasha; this may just be a plan to try and kill Inu-Yasha again. She knew that there was one more factor in play, however. The demon lord never enjoyed the Tenseiga, yet he always kept it by his side. And now he wants to repair it? Tenseiga did choose Sessho-Maru as its wielder… Doesn't that mean that there's some good in his heart?
"Sessho-Maru," she started, staring at him cautiously, "are you telling the truth?"
Sessho-Maru stared at the human girl with a blank face. "Yes."
Kagome took in a big breath, then sighed. She couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe that she was actually doing this. But, if her gut feeling was right, then it might mean that they would be able to save one more life, and maybe even understand even further of the demons Naraku and Sessho-Maru…
She took one Shikon shard from her small glass jar, and carefully set it in Sessho-Maru's hand.
"Kagome!" Inu-Yasha cried out, as Sessho-Maru grasped the shard in his hand. "What the hell did you do!"
"I gave him the shard," Kagome said, sighing to herself. "I did what I thought was right." The demon lord stood as he ordered Jaken to watch over his Tenseiga as he disappeared into the wilderness.
"Great!" Inu-Yasha said, slapping his hand to his forehead. "Now we're one Shikon shard poorer! And now that Sessho-Maru has a part of the jewel… He can come after us at anytime, with his powers increased!" He collapsed to the ground beside Kagome, groaning into his feet.
"I don't think Sessho-Maru would have used the shard against us, anyway, Inu-Yasha," Miroku thought, raising one hand to his chin. "If he did what you thought he could do, he would have destroyed us the moment Kagome handed him the shard. Only he didn't. I believe that Kagome made the right decision… As usual." He gave a slow thumbs up to Kagome, still quite uncomfortable with the gesture.
Inu-Yasha wrinkled his nose in frustration. "Grr… Fine! But if he starts to go and destroy villages and crap, don't blame me!" He turned away and crossed his arms together, pouting and closing his eyes.
"Lord Sessho-Maru isn't the type to do that, you insolent dog," Jaken said, picking up the bundle, "and you know it." The half breed opened one eye to stare at the toady servant. He knew Jaken was right. And he hated it.
Sessho-Maru handed the shard to Kikyo as she placed it inside Rin's shield. For a normal human, they wouldn't be able to see the ferocious changes and intense magical burst within the shield. But the demon lord could smell it. The Shikon shard really could increase magic ten fold.
Kikyo stood up and stared at the shield with a blank expression. "Now the girl's body shall be preserved for as long as you desire, Lord Sessho-Maru," Kikyo announced, bowing to the lord. "Have a safe journey."
Sessho-Maru frowned at the priestess. "If any harms befalls on Rin…" he started, releasing Tokijin from its scabbard. "It will be your blood stained on my blade." He raised it to Kikyo's neck, but, with no surprise, she was not threatened.
"Hmm, strange fellow, you are," she said, smirking, "to grow suspicious after a woman has given help…"
"This is a warning to you," Sessho-Maru murmured, flipping Tokijin back into its scabbard, "don't forget it." Once again the demon lord turned and left the shield with no other words to the priestess, his only thought to return Tenseiga to its original state, to arrive back before any harm could befall Rin…
And save her life.
To Be Continued…
Kagome is such a sweetie. :) I never understood pairings with Kagome that had anyone other and Inu-Yasha and Koga. It never made sense to me. I don't know why. And why is it that Miroku and Sango always seems to be on the same brain wave? Strange… O.o
Thanks for the reviews and alerts. Made me really happy. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give a review. This chapter was kind of fast, in my opinion.