Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this oneshot… especially for the monk who tried his darndest to steal the show. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess.
Author's Note: Yes, it is yet another drabble and oneshot collection. This makes four now. Incorrigible is for Mir/Kag mischief. Tolerable is for Mir/Sess buddy!fics. Imperceptible is for Sess/Kag development. And this (tada!) is Inevitable, for Inu/Kag explorations. Forthright keeps a tidy house, yes she does!
Dedication: For the redheaded minx and her sozzle of plot!bunnies. You make canon bearable… no, more like… palatable… no, that's not it either. ׃׃searches for words׃׃ Unobjectionable? Respectable? Desirable? Laudable? Keh. Your canon booms, baby!
This oneshot was originally posted to Live Journal on May 14, 2007.
Quiet conversation faltered when the sound of shuffling steps and off-key humming came from just outside the door. The jangle of metal rings left no doubt as to who was approaching. "Ka-go-me-sama," called out Miroku cheerfully. "There's someone here to see you!"
Inside Kaede's hut, Kagome exchanged curious glances with Sango before following her towards the door. Ducking past the woven screen, the miko found herself face-to-face with Miroku, who was leaning heavily on his shakujou. Violet eyes blinked slowly, fighting to focus in the semi-darkness. "Miroku-sama?" she ventured hesitantly.
"Oh good!" he beamed with satisfaction. "It is you. That's good. Good, good, good," he trailed off in an odd sing-songy voice.
Sango eyed the teetering monk with a practiced eye. "Houshi-sama, you're drunk," she pronounced with authority.
"Ah, my dear Sango, how good of you to notice," effused Miroku, turning to gaze at her in unabashed adoration. "I may have helped our dear friend and neighbor Keiji sample his latest procurement of sake." The monk described an unlikely quantity with his thumb and forefinger. "Juss a little bit," he slurred earnestly.
Sango crossed her arms over her chest. "You don't say."
"Oh, but I do… did…" Miroku blinked in confusion. "What were we talking about?"
"We weren't really talking about anything yet, Miroku-sama," Kagome interjected helpfully. "You just got here."
"Ooooh," the monk replied, nodding enthusiastically. "That explains it."
"I think Houshi-sama needs a quick side-trip to the river before he comes in," Sango said decidedly.
The monk's eyes widened eagerly. "You wish to bathe with me, my beautiful Sango?"
"I wish to throw you in," corrected the taijiya crisply. "It always sobered up Uncle Haku, and I suspect it'll do you some good as well."
As she moved to take Miroku's elbow, he leaned away from her slightly, holding up a hand. "Wait," he said, eyes narrowing in concentration. "I'm forgetting something."
Kagome gave Sango a look that communicated, can you believe this? quite clearly, and Sango just rolled her eyes in complete agreement. Miroku had composed himself, eyes closed meditatively and brows arched in a semblance of pious innocence. The effect would have been much more convincing if the strong smell of sake wasn't wafting from his person. "Ah!" he suddenly exclaimed with obvious pleasure. "I remember!"
With shuffling steps, Miroku slowly pivoted in place, turning to reveal the sagging form of Inuyasha dozing against his back. The hanyou's hands were fisted into the monk's kesu, which appeared to be the only thing keeping him off the ground. "Inuyasha!" declared Miroku in the tone of a showman introducing the next act. "He's been asking for Kagome-sama," the monk explained.
"Oh dear," murmured Kagome in concern, moving to help disentangle Inuyasha from Miroku.
"He doesn't hold his liquor very well," Miroku whispered conspiratorially.
"You don't say," Kagome remarked dryly.
"Oh, but I do… did…" Miroku frowned. "That sounds familiar."
Sango snorted and stepped forward to take charge of the staggering monk, addressing Kagome as she did so. "Inuyasha will need to sleep it off, Kagome-chan. I'll be back after I toss Houshi-sama into the river. Can you manage?"
"I think so," Kagome answered, as she freed one of Inuyasha's hands and pulled it around her shoulder. Leveraging herself under his arm, she coaxed the hanyou's other hand away from Miroku so that she was supporting the bulk of his weight.
"We'll be back shortly," Sango assured her as she led Miroku away.
"All right. Be careful," Kagome called after the pair, then winced as a slap rang out in the deepening darkness. Amorous monk, amorous drunk. "Come on, Inuyasha. Let's get you inside." She jostled him slightly with her hip, hoping to get him to move his feet. He groaned, but cooperated. With a combination of lifting and tugging and encouraging words, Kagome urged the hanyou's shambling steps towards the empty hut.
Getting through the door proved to be a challenge. Kagome hadn't realized what a hazard bamboo door mats could be until she'd become entangled in Kaede's. The act of pushing the screen aside and ducking beneath should have been second nature—she'd certainly never given it a thought before. The minute she let go of Inuyasha to hold the screen aside, he lost his balance, which threw hers off as well. She tried to nudge him in the right direction, but with a fumbled step, a wobbling lunge, and an undignified whoop, they hit the ground with all the natural grace of an albatross.
Ouch. Kagome saw stars, and raised a hand to touch the tender patch on the back of her head where it had connected with the floor. It took a minute for her to take stock of her surroundings. She was flat on her back, with Inuyasha sprawled at an angle across her upper body.
The collision seemed to have shaken Inuyasha out of his stupor, because he shifted, grunting softly. His chin was on her shoulder, and after a moment, she felt him snuffle softly against her neck. Lifting his head, he stared down at her blankly for a few moments. Kagome held her breath, arrested by the proximity of Inuyasha's golden eyes. He leaned closer, eyes crossing slightly. "Oi," he mumbled softly. "I know you."
"Yes, you do," Kagome replied quietly. At least I hope you do.
Relief washed across the hanyou's face and he closed his eyes, touching his forehead to hers. "I was lookin' for you. Thought I lost you, K'gome."
Kagome's eyes softened at the sound of her own name. "Well, I'm right here, Inuyasha," she assured him, placing a hand on his shoulder and pushing. "Let me up now."
Inuyasha planted both hands on the floor and pushed himself off Kagome, though he stayed beside her as she righted herself. It took a bit to unwind the door mat, which they'd torn down in their tumble. "I hope Kaede's not too upset," Kagome remarked as she gathered up the crumpled mat. "Maybe it's still useable." Tossing the lot towards the corner, she turned her attention back to Inuyasha and started when she once again found herself nose-to-nose with the hanyou.
Leaning away, she gave him an uncertain smile before crawling over to her usual place and kneeling on her doubled-over sleeping bag. "I can't believe you're drunk Inuyasha," she chided gently. "You should know better than to let Miroku talk you into drinking with him. You remember what happened the last time you had too much sake."
Inuyasha's ears drooped, and he scooted awkwardly across the floor, determined to stay nearby. "It wasn't my fault this time," the hanyou said with surprising lucidity. "Stupid monk—always twisting my words. I lost a bet… or was it a dare?" he added fuzzily. "I always lose stuff."
Kagome frowned at the sadness that had crept into Inuyasha's voice, and was even more concerned by the tears which quickly sprang into his eyes. This isn't like him. It's probably the sake talking.
"I keep losing them," Inuyasha confessed, crouching close beside the wide-eyed young woman and plucking at her sleeve.
"What do you keep losing, Inuyasha?"
"People," he whimpered.
What in the world? Kagome didn't even hesitate. With a sympathetic exclamation, she threw her arms around Inuyasha, offering him the comfort of her embrace. The hanyou curled into her, burying his face into her shoulder with a shuddering sigh. "There, there," she cooed softly, smiling faintly when she felt the soft flicker of an ear against her cheek.
"I lose everyone who gets close to me," he repeated sadly.
"I'm still here," Kagome pointed out softly.
"I know," Inuyasha said, butting his head up under her chin and trying to crawl onto her lap, "but I'll prob'ly end up losing you, too."
Kagome began threading her fingers through the length of Inuyasha's hair, reinforcing the fact of her presence with her touch. "Why would you think that, Inuyasha? I'm not going anywhere," she assured him.
"You could get sick like my mother did," he told her worriedly.
"I don't think so," Kagome soothed. "Despite what my Grandpa says, I'm really quite healthy," she added with a chuckle.
"Naraku could hurt you like he did Kikyo," he said tremulously, tightening his arms reflexively.
"No, that won't happen," returned Kagome confidently, leaning back to look into Inuyasha's upturned face. "I have you to protect me, so I'm always safe."
The hanyou blinked in surprise, then smirked. "Keh. That's true." The customary cockiness faded almost immediately though. "I'll still lose you, though."
"Nonsense," Kagome countered brusquely. "Now you need to lie down and get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning, or at least more like yourself."
"M'kay," he murmured, stretching himself out and lowering his head onto her lap. To Kagome's chagrin, he didn't release his hold on her, merely adjusted it until his arms were wrapped firmly around her waist, his nose burrowing into the fabric of her shirt. "I wanna keep her," Inuyasha sighed. "I wanna keep K'gome, but I'll lose her too," he repeated miserably to himself.
The young woman's heart beat a bit faster at this staggering piece of news. "I'm right here, Inuyasha," she reminded him again. Hoping to distract him from his melancholy, Kagome began running her fingers lightly around the base of Inuyasha's ears. "You're not alone."
"It's just a matter of time," he replied with a twisting smile. "Time will take her away from me. She'll go home, and I'll be alone again."
Using rhythmic motions, Kagome petted Inuyasha's ears, tracing their sensitive edges and circling the pads of her thumbs inside each cupped peak. Inuyasha relaxed under her ministrations, humming quietly. "Maybe if you told her you wanted her to stay, she would," Kagome suggested casually.
A jaw-popping, fang-baring yawn prevented Inuyasha from answering immediately, though he did once he'd nestled back in. "She has the future. Why would she choose me?" he mumbled sleepily.
Kagome shook her head in disbelief. How long would it take Inuyasha to accept what was right in front of his nose—quite literally? "Maybe she doesn't want to lose you either," she whispered.
The only reply was a soft snore.
End Note: Yup… 'thet thar' was a rare bit of canon fluff from Forthy. When In Vino Veritas swept the polls at iyfic(underscore)contest as the popular choice for Week 96's drabble theme, I teasingly asked my beta, Fenikkusuken, who I should get drunk. She came back with a plot!bunny, puppy-dog eyes, and a firm poke. This is the result. (The things I'll do for a friend!) For the uninitiated, in vino veritas is Latin and can be literally translated, "truth in wine." It refers to the tendency of inebriated individuals to speak the truth while 'under the influence' because their inhibitions have been lowered. 1,694 words.
If you love canon (that would be Inu/Kag, Mir/San, and Sess/Rin, folks) and you've not encountered the writings of Fenikkusuken yet, you're in for a rare treat. Seek her out. You'll be glad you did. –forthright