DISCLAIMER:All Inuyasha characters are the creation of, and © to Rumiko Takahashi, and subsequent parties. Full Circle is the creation of my demented mind, and © to Shun'u Hanashiro 2000-2003.
Author's Notes:Italicized text (or //) can indicate private/unvoiced thoughts – or – flashback sequences. Colons [::] indicate insinuated thoughts by another character into one's subconscious. Be forewarned that all of the events prior to tankouban 14 of the manga are up for grabs in this story.
F U L L • C I R C L E
An Inuyasha Fanfiction
By Shun'u Hanashiro
Part 11: Surely, You Jest
•|• Epilogue •|•
A couple of months had passed since that eventful day. The day when Kyosuke, Miroku's thought-to-be-dead father, had saved their lives at the sacrifice of his own – no one knew whether or not Kyosuke had somehow managed to survive the Air Rip and the Gray Dimension. Kagome sighed as she remembered landing in the shallow riverbank near Kaede's village.
"Son of a bitch!"
Kagome shoved tendrils of sopping wet hair out of her eyes to see Inuyasha swearing a blue streak and flapping his soaking sleeves as he angrily raised a fist to the heavens. Torn between affectionate scolding and laughter, Kagome opted instead to rise from the shallow and chilly water.
"You might want to reconsider that," said a sardonic voice from her right.
Kagome blinked at Sesshoumaru incomprehensibly for a brief moment before following his gaze. Much to her horror, she discovered that the silky white dress had been transformed by the water from elegant to… to… her mind completely blanked out. Either it refused to provide the appropriate word or there simply was no way to describe how the fabric had become indecently sheer and… clingy…
"Eeek! Hentai!" Kagome dropped back into the water.
Sesshoumaru flinched from the volume of her scream and hastily covered the highly sensitive ear nearest to her.
"What're you screaming about now, wench?!" Inuyasha demanded. He had both ears flattened protectively against his head and was scowling at her.
"Don't yell at me, Inuyasha," Kagome warned irritably.
"What the hell's your problem?" Inuyasha jumped and landed right in front of her. He crouched down. "Why's your face all red? And how come you're still sitting in the water? What are ya, stupid or something? Get up already before you get sick and I have to carry you all over the place. "
With each word Inuyasha threw at her, Kagome felt her patience wither until finally it reached its limit.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome smiled sweetly. Inuyasha sputtered to a halt.
Inuyasha landed face first in the water.
Sesshoumaru sighed and rubbed his aching temples. "Idiot."
Then he looked at the girl who was the primary cause of Inuyasha's idiocy. Thoroughly drenched but unwilling to chance her modesty, Kagome sat in the waist deep water with arms crossed protectively over her chest and continued to glare at his half-brother. A rare smile threatened to overcome his self-control, but Sesshoumaru somehow managed to defeat it. He shook his head and realized that he really didn't have any other options.
Kagome squeaked indignantly when a damp cloth was dropped unceremoniously on her head. Pulling off the offending material, Kagome turned to glare at whomever had tossed it at her when she paused to look at the cloth. She instantly recognized the dove-gray of Sesshoumaru's shirt.
Hmm… if the shirt's in my hand… then…
In the space of two seconds Kagome's face turned about six different shades of red. She quickly averted her flaming face from what was certain to be a shirtless youkai.
Ack! What's wrong with me?!Kagome patted her overly warm cheeks, more than a little desperate for them to return to their usual color lest one of the dog-demon brothers notice her dilemma. Snap out of it Kagome! It's not like you haven't seen Inuyasha half-naked before. There's no difference now with his brother. So stop blushing already!
"Oi, Kagome," Inuyasha, now recovered, said gruffly. "What're you doing?"
Kagome bit her lip. "Nothing, nothing." Her conscience decided to remind her that she had just "sat" him in the cold riverbank "Um… I'm sorry for doing that to you in the water." Kagome looked over her shoulder at him guiltily. "Are you okay, Inuyasha?"
A tinge of pink colored Inuyasha's cheeks. "I'm fine." He met her concerned blue eyes for a brief second before quickly looking away. Inuyasha coughed. "Where's Sesshoumaru?"
She whipped about. Indeed, the Lord of the Western Lands was nowhere to be seen. Kagome absently slipped the gray shirt on and wrapped it about her torso as she would a kimono since what fit Sesshoumaru was many sizes too large for her.
"He's gone…" Disappointed beyond her understanding, Kagome fought not to frown. She reasoned to herself that she had wanted to thank Sesshoumaru for his help. Yes, that was the reason for the disappointment that was surging through her veins.
"Feh," Inuyasha said. "Good riddance. I'm surprised the bastard didn't demand Tetsusaiga from me again. It's about time he accepts that Father left that sword for me."
Kagome willed her tongue to stay silent. It simply was not her place to intercede in the brothers' relationship. Sesshoumaru would most likely be more angered by her perceived interference than thankful anyhow.
Kagome turned to greet the man approaching her on silent feet. "Miroku-sama. How are you doing?"
"Very well." Miroku sat on an adjacent stone and joined her in stargazing. The night was bright. All of the stars were competing to outshine one another. "And yourself?"
Kagome barely stifled a telltale sigh. "I'm fine."
Miroku watched for a moment, noticing how she would visibly suppress a wistful smile here, a longing sigh there. It bothered him very much, this sweet yearning of hers for something out of reach. She hid it well. Miroku highly doubted that anyone else had noticed just how much Kagome had changed. From an innocent girl to a young woman in the span of a week… What happened during that time? I wonder.
"You've been out here for a while, Kagome-sama. It's getting late."
"Are the others…?"
"They've all turned in for the night," Miroku confirmed. The golden rings on his staff jingled as he shifted to a more comfortable position. "Except for Inuyasha, of course. He's sitting in a tree somewhere, I'm sure." Miroku thought of what a pretty picture she made when she almost pouted at hearing what Inuyasha was presently doing.
"Well." Kagome rose and dusted off the skirt of her school uniform. "We should get some rest as well, shouldn't we? Tomorrow's going to be a busy day."
Miroku smiled and tilted his head in the direction of the village. "You go ahead, Kagome-sama. I think I'll keep the stars company for a little while longer."
"Un. Don't be long." Kagome bowed slightly. "Good night, Miroku-sama."
The smile stayed in place until Kagome was out of sight. Only then did Miroku allow his concern to show. "What happened to you, Kagome? What did he do that makes you behave like a woman in love?"
"Aniki…" Inuyasha instinctively tightened his grip on Tetsusaiga.
"No need for that, Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru leapt from his place high in the trees to land on silent feet next to Inuyasha and the Old God Tree. "I have come with a warning."
Inuyasha glared at his brother and uttered an angry growl. He saw Sesshoumaru narrow his amber eyes into near slits in reaction but did not feel any threat from the older demon.
"Not a challenge, idiot, a warning." Sesshoumaru arched his brow patronizingly. "You do know the difference, do you not?"
"Fuck you, bastard!"
The Western Lord smirked. "I'm not the illegitimate one, brother dear."
Inuyasha hissed in irritation. I have a damned cold fish for a brother. What the hell does it take to get to him?! "Just tell me what the hell you want and leave, Sesshoumaru."
The blink of an eye and Sesshoumaru's countenance did a complete one-eighty. The condescension disappeared and solemnity took its place.
"Naraku is trying to court me into being his ally."
Inuyasha snorted and folded his arms. "He's already over his grudge? Thought he said that he'd never forgive you for helping me, or some sorta shit."
"The bastard's fickle," Sesshoumaru said flatly, "and he's manipulative."
"So what did you tell him?" Inuyasha asked bluntly, not bothering to disguise the suspicion in his tone.
Sesshoumaru leveled a frosty, expressionless stare at Inuyasha that made his younger brother shift uncomfortably.
"Sheesh. It was just a question!"
"An unwarranted question."
"The hell, you say!" Inuyasha glared accusingly. "You've helped him before, Sesshoumaru."
"I used the resources available to me. I have never helped that creature."
"Cutting it a little close, aren't we, Aniki?" Inuyasha taunted.
Although the day had been hot and humid, and that moist heat still lingered over the earth, the temperature in the forest dropped as it stilled. Inuyasha felt his canines vibrate in response to the wintry youki as it surged in waves against the leash of Sesshoumaru's control.
"Fuck," Inuyasha whispered.
"Have you finished?" Sesshoumaru deftly re-absorbed the youki he had briefly allowed to ride freely in the night air.
Inuyasha gasped at the suddenness of the youki's disappearance. He could suddenly breathe again. A single thought rang clearly in his mind. He's been holding back. All of this time, he's been holding back.
"I came to warn you not only of Naraku, but also of that witch you pine after."
Inuyasha started to protest, but was stopped by Sesshoumaru's impatient cutting gesture. "You would be a fool to not recognize the threat that she poses to you. Do not let your feelings cloud your judgment, Inuyasha."
Sesshoumaru waited for his words to work their way into Inuyasha's mind. He could not fully explain to Inuyasha how important it was for him to be wary of the witch – going into any further detail risked telling Inuyasha of Kagome's near death at Kikyou's hands. And he had promised his silence in the matter. Perhaps one day would come when he would throw honor to the winds, but that day had not yet come.
Seeing the caution in Inuyasha's eyes, Sesshoumaru made to leave, only to be halted by a single, secretly cherished word.
Sesshoumaru glanced back over his left shoulder in waiting silence.
"If…" Inuyasha clenched and unclenched his clawed fingers. He did not like being indebted to anyone and what he was about to ask would put him forever in his brother's debt.
"If anything were to happen to me…" Inuyasha drew a heartening breath and rushed the rest of his request, "pleasetakecareofher."
Both of Sesshoumaru's eyebrows shot skyward in astonishment. Inuyasha continued as if his brother hadn't understood him perfectly the first time.
"If I die, please watch over Kagome and," Inuyasha turned his head, "and make sure that she gets home safe. Make sure that nothing happens to her."
The silence dredged on. Worse than a funeral or the quiet of impending doom, worse than the stillness of a corpse.
"Surely, you jest."
Inuyasha growled impatiently. "I'm not joking!"
Sesshoumaru let his fingertips graze Tenseiga's hilt where it rested comfortably against his left hip, but otherwise did a fair imitation of a white marble statue.
"Don't pretend that you don't care, Aniki." Inuyasha narrowed his eyes accusingly. "I saw how protective you were of Kagome back then, in the air rip dimension. You can't deny it."
Sesshoumaru, by this time, was vexed.
"Do not presume to tell me, Sesshoumaru, what I can and cannot do. You my be my blood kin, Inuyasha, but that does not give you any special rights or privileges other than what I grant you."
Inuyasha was nearly stunned into a stupor. "You pompous ass! Do you ever stop to listen to yourself? All I'm asking is that you help Kagome if I can't. There's no reason to get all huffy with me, you stuck up son-of-a-bitch."
Sesshoumaru bit back a snarl and forcibly uncurled his fisted hand.
"Fine. I will take care of the girl, since it is pitifully obvious that you are incapable of doing the simple task competently."
"What did you just say?!"
•|• End Full Circle •|•
• Sengoku Jidai:Japan's "Era of the Warring States", this was a feudal period in which clans across Japan battled for domination and land.
• Youki:demonic energy
• Shikon no Tama:"Jewel of Four Souls" Breaking down the Japanese words, this is literally [FOUR SOUL(s) (particle indicating possession) JEWEL/SPHERE/BEAD], however one must use a lot of context clues when translating Japanese. =P
• Houshi:wandering monk? … I have to look this up. (Gomen ^^;)
Aah… The End! At last! ^_^ You're probably all shaking your heads and grumbling, "about time…" aren't you. Can't blame you. I just don't have the leisure to write like I used to. Miss it, but there's no helping for real life taking up all of my time and attention. Thank you for reading the story and taking the time to email or review. It's been great reading all of your comments. They've been really encouraging and helped me along whenever writer's block struck. Sorry I can't respond to everyone's reviews individually. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate each and every one of them.