Zettai Yabureru Nai - Never Tear Us Apart
The sequel to Shinjite Ai No Tsuzuki
By Aoikami Sarah
Soft morning light
filtered in through the windows in the kitchen. Kagome sipped her tea
and breathed a sigh. It was quiet, for just a moment. Her mother
shuffled in, her slippers scraping against the floor and echoing a
little in the stillness.
Kagome poured her some tea. Both women looked sadly to the clock on the microwave as it changed to 6:30 and closed their eyes.
What sounded like a heard of wild elephants came
rumbling down the stairs, bustling and chattering as it
"Where's my book bag?"
"Aw, crap! I forgot to make my lunch!"
"Can I bring in Buyo for show and tell?"
Kagome smoothly navigated her way around the flailing limbs and questions. She managed to feed all three of them, strap on a backpack, hand them all their lunches and take the aging cat up into her arms in plenty of time.
"But Kaasan..." the little girl whined.
"No, I'm sorry Mi-chan, Buyo is too old to go to school with you."
The girl pouted, but didn't press the matter further.
"Wow, I have a lot of work to do today!" the man of the house made a face and munched thoughtfully on his toast. "I may have to stay late."
"Yes," Kagome nodded. Their eyes met and shared a secret signal. "And I have a funeral today. I think it might go late. You kids come straight home. Your gram'ma will be here."
"Ok," Mi-chan agreed sadly.
The boy said nothing.
All three of them streamed out of the house and again it was still.
her mother giggled lightly.
"So, Inuyasha will be back at lunch?"
"Yes, he got the afternoon off. The roof they're working on is almost done anyway."
"Do you think Yousuke has any clue about the surprise party?" The grandmother started clearing away the breakfast dishes.
Kagome shook her head. "I think he might even be a little sad that we forgot! It's hard to tell these days, he's such a moody teenager."
"Mmmm..." Mrs. Higurashi nodded. "Reminds me of Souta. I can't wait till he comes back from California. Maybe he can impart some wisdom on Yousuke."
"Ugh!" Kagome rolled her eyes. "What? Tell him to move thousands of miles away from home?"
"No... I mean he seemed to shape up eventually, maybe he could be a good influence on him."
"But Souta is a monk, Yousuke is a warrior."
"You say that like he's fighting a war!" Mrs. Higurashi laughed.
"He is, Kaasan, the war of High School. It's way harder for boys, especially if they're from a shrine family, happen to be excellent in martial arts and have shockingly white hair!"
"Sou ka." Mrs. Higurashi sighed. "I see."
The day passed
uneventfully. After school, Yousuke walked home with his hands
stuffed into his pockets and a sore expression on his face. The other
children kept their distance, not wanting to get in the way of the
strong, often fierce boy who was known as "White Lightning"
for his speed and skill at defeating his enemies on the school yard.
"Shiro Inazuma..." he heard a group of boys whisper as he passed. They watched him till he was out of sight.
"Che, weaklings," he scoffed and continued to sulk his way home.
"Youuuuusukeeeeeee!" a high-pitched voice called from behind him. "Maaaaatteeeeee!"
Yousuke rolled his eyes, but kept walking at the same pace. The young girl caught up to him and panted. She smiled up at him. He kept looking forward. Her hands came into his view.
"Happy birthday, Aniisan!" She beamed as she held a large, glittery card out for him. "I made it at school today!"
Reluctantly, he took it from her. In loose, loopy hiragana she had spelled out 'Happy Birthday Yousuke' and even drawn a little stick figure with a bokken which he assumed was supposed to be him. "They glue is still wet, Misora," he monotoned, rubbing the sticky substance from his hands. He handed the card back to her and kept walking.
Misora frowned for a moment and looked like she was going to cry, but instead clutched the card and jogged to catch up with him again.
Youske's 15th birthday, and his parents hadn't said one word about it
all week. He couldn't believe that they had forgotten, but maybe it
didn't mean that much to them. 'Maybe they're scared...' he thought
with a grin and as he walked up the steps to the shine complex, he
veered right and made for the little building which housed the
"Aniisan!" Misora squealed behind him. "Kaasan and Tousan said not to go in there, ever!"
"Bah!" he scoffed. "I'm 15. I'm going in."
Terrified, Misora stopped. Her 10 year old mind whirled. Should she go and tell her grandmother that her brother was being bad? But he hated it when she tattled on him, even though she was only making sure he didn't get hurt... like when he took the sword down from the living room wall, and when he broke into the supply house and started messing around with the artifacts. Misora sniffled at the idea of her brother being angry at her again. She dropped her books and hurried after him.
Yousuke was pushing against the planks which were nailed over the opening of the well. One of them gave way with a groan and toppled to the floor.
"Aniisan! Please don't do that!"
"Why not? Think I'll get sucked in like mom did when she turned 15? I bet that's what they're so scared of." His face was twisted with delight. "I bet some gross centipede monster is gonna pop outta this thing and drag me off into the past!"
Misora whined in fear. "Aniisan..." she started to cry.
"Oh would you grow up?!" he yelled. "Nothing bad is gonna happen! I just wanna see it..." he tried to shoot her a cock-sure grin, but both of their faces fell as a strange sound like leather being twisted emanated from the well. Misora cried out and backed away.
"Don't worry..." he assured her, his voice only trembling a bit. "It's probly like the story... It's probly just Buyo..."
Suddenly, the vines which grew from the bottom of the sunless well pulsed and began to glow. Misora's screams were stifled as she became so frightened that she lost the ability to speak. Yousuke backed up and panicked. Before his brain could work fast enough to figure out what to do, the vines became thick, green and very much alive. They lashed out towards them. Much to his surprise, they passed him by.
He watched as if in slow motion as the vines located their target. Misora found her voice and let a piercing scream ring out. She was lifted into the air as the vines wrapped around her and unceremoniously dragged her into the well. Just as suddenly, her screams stopped.
Yousuke panted and clung to the banister. It took him a few moments to process what had happened.
"What the...? It took HER, not ME?!" he cried. "Wait. It took her. Oh my God it took Misora!" He looked to the top of the stairs and decided quickly against going for help. "This is my fault. If I hadn't come in here, she wouldn't have been taken. I've got to get her back!" Without another thought, Yousuke grabbed his book bag and leapt down the well.
For a moment he wondered when he would hit the bottom. Then, as if he was sinking in water, gently, his feet touched solid ground and bright sunlight poured in through the opening above.
"I did it..." he whispered. The ground on the bottom of the well was turned as if something had been uprooted. "That vine-thing!" he cried and began the slow climb out of the well.
Topside, the countryside was quiet, almost pleasant, but that didn't help him. The vine monster was long gone and so was his only sister.
loud laughter echoed through the house.
"Sshhhh!!!" Kagome hissed with a smile that just about wrapped around her head. "They'll be here any minute! I don't want you ruining the surprise!"
"Sorry," Inuyasha whispered, looking to his mother-in-law and chuckling softly. "That's what you get for sucking on that helium, Kagome. That was damn funny."
"It won't happen again," she assured him and tied up the rest of the balloons. The living room was festively decorated for Yousuke's surprise birthday party. Finally, the adults sat down and waited for the children to come home from school.
"I hope he
doesn't get moody on us," Kagome sighed.
"Why would he do that? This is great! I would have loved to have had this kind of attention when I was a kid!"
Kagome raised a brow at her husband. "Well, he's a little more... wow. He's a lot more moody than you ever were, and for NO REASON!"
Her mother clicked her tongue. "Weren't you saying this morning that Yousuke was fighting the War of High School?"
"The War of What?" Inuyasha asked skeptically. His wife was staring out the window at the shrine complex. "Kagome?"
"What time is it?"
Inuyasha looked at his watch. "Just past four." His brows came together. "They usually come straight home, ne?" he asked.
"Mm..." she asserted. Kagome got up and nervously wandered outside. Her husband followed. "Inuyasha," she rubbed her upper arms against the early spring chill, "I don't like this..."
his ears and his nose towards the sounds of people and the smell of
wood smoke. Soon, the little village came into view, surrounded by
fields, brown and waiting for the warmer weather. He jogged into the
heart of it just as the sun was setting. Villagers coming home from
preparing the fields all whispered to each other and kept their
distance from the white haired stranger.
"Could it be...?
"He's so young!"
"Okaasan, is that a youkai...?"
'Che,' Yousuke thought. 'Even here I get the same crap I get at school.' He was about to go into a heavy sulk when he remembered where he was. "Holy crap! They think I'm...!" He ran to the closest man. "Hey, Mister! Did you know my dad?"
The man stuttered and tried to back away.
"It's ok, I'm human. My dad is Inuyasha, did you know him?"
"Inuyasha..." the villagers all whispered. "Remember?" "That was nigh two score years gone..." A tallish middle-aged man stepped forward.
"Yes, I remember Inuyasha. He terrorized this village many years ago," Yousuke swallowed hard as the man paused, "but he then turned and saved us more times that I can count. He also defeated the vile evil which plagued us all. You are truly his son, I can see the resemblance." He bowed politely.
Yousuke blushed a bit. "Nah, come on, I'm just a kid. You don't need to bow to me like that..."
"Come! You must do us the honor of taking super with us!" The farmer smiled and clapped his large, meaty hand against the boy's backpack, nearly knocking him over.
Kagome surveyed the
complex, looking intently at the steps which lead up from the street
to the plateau the shrines and her house stood on. She frowned
heavily and was about to turn to go back in when Inuyasha
Kagome saw the books on the ground and ran over to them. "Misora...?" she asked softly, as if she was already aware that the girl would not answer.
"Kagome..." Inuyasha jogged over to the well's shrine. "Better come over here."
The boards which had been nailed shut over the lid of the well shortly after she and Inuyasha had come home to stay were shattered and lying all over the ground. There was no trace of her children. Kagome let out a devastated gasp and leaned against her husband for support. "No... both?" she whispered.
Inuyasha sniffed the air lightly. "Yes."
"I don't sense... how could... how could this happen!?" she cried. "We told them to never go in here, right?!" Kagome asked her husband, as if perhaps she had neglected to stress to her children how important a rule this was.
He nodded, staring at the open well. One of the boards had been broken from the outside, the rest, from the inside, but there wasn't youkai scent on anything; just a musky, earthen smell coming from the well itself. Suddenly Kagome pulled away from him and, like the old days, vaulted into the opening.
There was a dull thud. "Ahh!" she cried.
"Kagome! You ok!?"
"Ahhhhhhh my knee..." she sobbed.
"Hold on!" Inuyasha ran out to get some rope.
"How did this happen?" she asked herself. "Why has something taken my children? Why is this happening?" She remained in a state of semi-shock long after Inuyasha brought her up into the house.
In the morning, Yousuke ate only a small portion of the farmer's meal: a pile of smoked fish and some rice were a drastic change to the Frosted Flakes he had eaten nearly every morning of his life. Still a little tired and experiencing a bit of sugar withdrawal, he asked the people if they had seen a monster come out of his father's forest the day before.
"Oh, do you mean the land-octopus we saw yesterday?"
Yousuke's eyes popped at the farmer's wife's dead-pan delivery. "Maybe. All I saw was vines. Maybe they were tentacles…?"
"Mm yes, vines I should say. Like a vegetable octopus. It was moving pretty quickly, up along the tree-line yonder." The stout woman pointed. "We were a might scared, not having a Miko in this town for the better part of ten winters and all."
"My mom's a Miko…" Yousuke whispered. "Hey, wait. Isn't Kaede the Miko here?"
The farmer sighed. "She left this word, friend. I'm sorry."
"I never knew her," Yousuke admitted. "She was friends with my parents." He straightened up and looked at the slowly brightening horizon. "Which way did you say that… veg-octopus went?"
Just after dawn, Misora woke up, cold and stiff; two conditions she was not at all accustomed to. She whimpered and took in her surroundings. The room was stark, uninviting, un-lived-in. A thin futon separated her from the wooden floor-boards, but there were no other amenities in sight. "Mama… Baachan?" she whispered. "Papa…" Her tiny voice echoed back faintly. "Aniisan?"
"No one's here, girl," a voice hissed to her right. She squeaked and scrambled away from it.
"Who… who are you?" she asked, her voice trembling with fear.
The tall, dark, scraggily haired man dressed in a loose kimono seemed to not have full control of his body. He lurched forward a step and smiled sickly. An overwhelming mildew scent assaulted Misora. She held her hands to her face and tried to crawl further away without taking her eyes off of him. "You have it something I want..." He extended a hand, horribly twisted as if it had been broken and reset all wrong.
Misora screamed. "No! Stay away from me!!!"
From under the excessive folds of the kimono, several dark green vines slithered towards her. "The Shikon no Tama…Give it to me!"
Misora pressed herself into the corner and buried her face in her hands as the vines closed in. The scent soon became too much and she slumped to the floor, unconscious.
To be continued…