Chapter 79 – Escape
He let out a snarl of frustration as he plucked feather after feather out of the sap that covered his hair, chest, shoulders, and arms… even his tail! The sap was going to be hell to get off, and the feathers weren't a walk in the park either. To the right of where he sat was an ever-growing pile of the annoyingly fluffy white things. Once he decided that he'd removed as many as he was going to get, Kouga followed his ears, since his nose could smell nothing but tree sap, to the nearby bubbling hot spring. He pulled off his chest plate and firs and laid them to the side. Once he got some of this sticky crap out of his hair then he would try to get them clean as well. He slid into the steaming hot water and leaned back to that his hair could soak. If it didn't come out of his hair, if he had to cut it, someone was going to pay big time.
There was no way this was a coincidence or an accident. Someone set it up, like a trap, and he'd walked right into it. What he couldn't figure out was the who and why. He was certain that the hanyou wasn't bright enough to pull something like that off, and if Inuyasha had come anywhere near his camp he would have known about it. He could smell his dog breath a mile away. Plus there was the invisible wall thing. There was absolutely no way Inuyasha or any of his companions would be able to do something like that, especially without him sensing them. It was driving him crazy! If it wasn't the half-breed then who hated him enough to go to such trouble? Who did he know that was even capable of such things? No answers were forthcoming, but he was bound and determined to find them somehow. He would figure out who was behind it all and then they would pay.
He was rather pleased with himself. The witch had explained that the spelled shard would only work on one he desired. Sure, it wasn't the perfect outcome, having to wait and see who used it, but he'd sent his Saimyosho to keep watch and let him know if the shards were distributed amongst the panthers yet. Once they were he would have to make an appearance and make sure that Shinya didn't end up dying of the poison. It was a long and painful death, his favorite kind, so he had time to save her if he needed to. Sure, she would be in some pain for a while until he got there, but then she was going to be in a great deal of pain for the majority of her stay with him until he got tired of her and needed a new toy.
The witch had spoken for Kagura, claiming that the wind demoness was not at fault for the delay, that she'd been called to another who had need of her services, but he'd decided that he didn't care. He was still harboring a great deal of frustration over the whole thing. He hated it when things didn't go his way, and that was something that happened quite often. And so he'd decided to punish her anyway, just for the fun of it. Once she'd returned the witch to her mountain cave he'd had his other servants, mostly humans he'd enslaved to take care of the menial tasks of being a villain, chain her to the wall in his throne room.
For a while he'd just let her hang there glaring at him as he lounged comfortably in the large padded chair and gorged himself on whatever delicacy he'd procured from the latest villages he'd had raided. Really, it was so hard to find good help. His human servants just didn't last long enough, and the demon ones always fought him. Now the few hanyou that he'd managed to wrap his tentacles around, they were hardy enough to survive ill treatment but neither powerful enough nor motivated enough to escape him. They came in handy, at least with the cooking and some of the simpler errands. They weren't good for too much more, stupid creatures that they were.
When he grew bored with looking at her trying to kill him with dirty looks, he'd moved on to some of the more entertaining options. For a while he threw things at her. Childish maybe, but so wonderfully rewarding. He'd thrown grapes at her for a while, just to irritate her. He'd moved on to larger fruit because it would hurt when he hit his target. The tomatoes were his favorite. They were old and squishy and some were even growing things. Those splattered when they connected, almost like water balloons. If they'd had water balloons in the feudal era he would have no doubt used them. The tomatoes were better though because they smelled horrible. When Naraku finally grew bored with his target practice he just got up and walked away, off to bed for the night. He left her hanging there, bruised, slimy, smelly, and attracting flies. He could hear her screaming at him all the way in his chambers and it was like a lullaby as he drifted off to sleep.
Sometime in the middle of the night, Inuyasha, Miroku, and the boys crept away from camp in complete silence. Yuudai was carrying the small packet of powder that Sango had prepared for them, while everyone else had one thing or another to carry to complete their next prank. This one had to be Inuyasha's absolute favorite. Akihiro shielded Yuudai as he approached the still semi-sticky and snoring wolf. Once he was within range he tossed the packet like he was told, watching as a rain of white powder settled all around Kouga. He then crept back to the others and they waited until they were sure it had taken effect.
Finally he just couldn't wait anymore and Inuyasha walked slowly towards one of the largest annoyances in his life. When he'd made it all the way to where Kouga lay without the wolf stirring a bit the hanyou nudged him with his foot several times, just for good measure, before motioning for the others to join him. They all knelt around their unconscious victim and set to work. This was going to be great. When they'd finished and made sure to gather all their supplies so nothing was left behind to point to them, Miroku snapped a plethora of pictures, getting the wolf from all angles. They were rather impressed with their work, though Shippo said it was because they'd been having so much fun coloring in the books Kagome'd brought them.
They returned to camp quietly, not wanting to wake Rin and Sango, though Kirara and Kazue knew they'd returned as they could see their eyes flashing as they caught the soft moonlight. Supplies stashed away, everyone returned to their respective bedding and drifted off to sleep, each eagerly awaiting the morning when their latest prank was discovered.
Sesshoumaru chuckled when the sunlight hit Kagome closed eyes and she rolled over with a groan, burying her face in his chest. "Your mother has already started breakfast," he murmured in her ear. "You should get up."
"I don't wanna," was her muffled reply. She was just too comfortable. She didn't want to get up. She didn't want to move at all. He was so nice and warm and she felt safe and secure in his arms. Getting out of bed would ruin all of it.
He raised a brow at her and her rather childish tone before he grabbed the top of the sheet that covered them and ripped it off her, tossing it to the floor with a victorious smirk.
"That was just mean," she said before she rearranged herself so she was lying on his chest and straddling his hips. Not only did she get to share more of his warmth, but she was banking on the hope that he would enjoy the position enough to leave her be for a while longer.
"I would think that after all the time you've spent with my impatient little brother you would be used to waking early."
"I am. It's not that it's too early. You're too comfy."
He smiled at her honesty. It was nice to know she wished to stay in bed with him rather than get up and face the day. "While I appreciate that, you need to eat breakfast before you go to school for your exams. You do not want me to make you get up."
"Oh really? And just what do you think you're gonna do to…" her words were forgotten as she squealed and squirmed in a desperate attempt to escape. She had never expected Sesshoumaru to tickle her! "Okay! Okay! I give! I'll get up!" She let out a sigh of relief as his clawed fingertips ended their torment before sliding off of her demon/pillow and standing in the middle of her room. She stretched, arching her back and lifting her arms high over her head, not noticing the hungry look the silent taiyoukai was giving her. Kagome walked across the room, digging through her dresser for a bra and panties before reaching around the door and grabbing the uniform her mother had washed the evening prior and hung on her doorknob.
Sesshoumaru sat up against the head of the bed and simply watched her. He very much doubted that she even realized the show she was giving him, walking around completely naked, stretching and bending; if he wasn't a demon of legendary control she'd already be back in the bed, or maybe pinned to the floor under his also naked form.
Kagome glanced up at him and saw the small smile on his face. "Okay you! You don't just get to sit there and watch me get dressed! You need to get dressed too!" To make sure he got the point she walked to the end of the bed where his clothes were piled and started tossing things at him.
Finally, when they were both dressed and Sesshoumaru could hear Kagome's stomach rumbling, they headed downstairs for breakfast. Hiromi smiled at them both as she continued to prepare the morning meal, as well as lunches for Kagome and Souta, while she listened to the morning news. Both miko and taiyoukai were ignoring the sound as the anchorman droned on and on about something incredibly boring. Their attention was captured when the topic turned to the 'mall incident'.
"Several days have passed since a teenaged boy ran through the crowded food court of the mall with what appeared to be a bloody knife. The police have finally released the name of the perpetrator, Hiroshi Hojo, a junior at the local high school. Our source has told us that during the interrogation the boy was nearly hysterical and apparently suffering from hallucinations as well as an unhealthy obsession with a female classmate. He was immediately sent for a mental evaluation, having to be taken by force after assaulting an orderly from the hospital…"
"Did I tell you about that? One of the girls in my class yesterday was talking about Hojo. Her father is one of the detectives on the case. I feel kinda bad for him. I mean, he did really see a demon after all."
"The boy was ill before this Sesshoumaru ever met him."
"Yeah, I think so too, but he's in the nut ward right now," she laughed as Sesshoumaru quirked a brow, "I mean he's in the hospital in a special wing for the mentally ill. He's telling them about you and they think he's hallucinating. The whole thing made whatever was wrong with him before worse. But what I wanted to tell you… she said that Hojo bit one of the orderlies!"
"I always thought he was such a sweet boy, a bit dense but still sweet. I should have seen it," Hiromi said, feeling rather guilty that she'd put her daughter at risk so many times by telling Hojo where she was or encouraging his pursuit of Kagome by accepting the multitude of gifts.
"Of course you think that now, looking back. I didn't see it either Mama. I had no idea he was so obsessed with me! Kinda creepy…"
Their attention returned to the television once more as the reporter finished talking about the mall incident, Hojo's arrest, and his relocation to the psych ward. "We've been able to gain some insight into the mind of the obviously mentally ill teen thanks to the results of the tests done on the bloody knife."
Kagome's eyes got wide as she listened. They had her blood on the knife! Then they would know that at least some part of Hojo's story was true and would be asking a lot of questions about why she didn't come forward and report the assault. To top that off they'd definitely be interested in how she'd managed to heal so quickly.
"Apparently the technicians ran the test several times because of the odd results, but each test result was the same. The blood on the knife that had been assumed to have come from some unknown victim was not human, but rather canine. The results were narrowed further to that of an Akita. No owner has come forward to report any injury to their pet and a search of animal hospitals has also come up empty. It is unknown whether the dog was mortally wounded. If you have any information about the mystery dog, officers are asking that you call the tip line. The number is on the bottom of the screen."
"Dog… blood?" Kagome mumbled while staring at the screen wide-eyed. "I have… dog blood?" The shocked miko turned and looked up into golden eyes. "How could I have dog blood?"
"You share blood with this Sesshoumaru."
"Yeah, but you're not a dog! A dog demon, sure, but I should at least have some human, mostly human even! That's just weird."
"At present, the police have no further leads and with no complaining victim Hiroshi Hojo will likely be committed until he is found to no longer be a danger to himself or others. It is unlikely that he would be found capable to stand trial for the charges associated with the mall incident. His parents declined to comment and the detectives handling the case refuse to release the identity of the young woman that Hojo is said to be obsessed with, claiming that she has nothing to do with the case and thus did not need to be involved, especially during final exams. You heard it here first and we will keep you updated throughout…"
Hiromi clicked the television off and turned to look at her daughter, who looked like she was off in a world all her own as she tried to figure out the odd results, and Sesshoumaru who had a small smile on his face. "Kagome dear, don't worry about it. Driving yourself crazy trying to figure it out is only going to give you a headache and make you fail your exams. And you… I take it you are not bothered by the idea of the changes in my daughter?"
Kagome looked up at him and saw the smile. She smacked his arm while giving him a death glare. "You would. I thought you didn't care if I was human."
His eyes softened and smile drooped. "This Sesshoumaru will love you whether you are human, demon, or anywhere in-between. There is a benefit to your changes, Kagome. The more you transform the more likely it will be for your lifespan to extend to match my own."
Kagome smiled, knowing that he meant every word. "Okay, I guess," she said playfully. "Shit!" she yelled as she caught sight of the time. "No time for breakfast. Gotta go!" Sesshoumaru smirked and followed her outside, intent on walking beside her whether she was in a hurry or not.
At first light, when everyone was feeling a little more… sober… the wolves gathered what remained of the sake, the meat having long ago been eaten, leaving many tummy aches behind as they'd overstuffed themselves so that it would not go to waste. They figured the wood wasn't something that needed to be transported, as they could gather some closer to their camp. When everyone was ready the small pack set out in the direction Kouga's yell had come from the night before. No one was looking forward to reaching him. He'd sounded absolutely furious and they had no idea why he'd never returned. Chances were good that whatever the reason it wasn't a positive one.
They walked for several hours, purposely taking their time, dragging their feet to postpone their reuniting with Kouga. There was little conversation which made it seem even longer. Finally they could see smoke from the huts in the little village near where they'd camped and they knew they were close. They were all expecting Kouga to show up in his funnel cloud of dust and dirt like always, but he didn't. Ginta looked over a Hakaku with a worried look in his eyes.
"He should know we're close. Why isn't he coming?"
"I don't know, but we should hurry and find him," Hakaku answered. Everyone nodded their agreement and they were moving once more, this time at a much less casual pace. When they entered the clearing where they'd camped a few days earlier, Kouga was laying on his side, his back to them, and if it wasn't for the gentle wagging of his tail they would have thought he was dead. He didn't move a muscle and didn't seem to notice their presence, which wasn't normal at all. No one could ever sneak up on Kouga.
Ginta and Hakaku knelt on either side of him, rolling the wolf to his back. All the worry they'd been filled with drained away when they saw him, and laughter took over. Kouga woke to the hysterical laughter of his previously 'missing' pack. He would have jumped up and demanded to know where they'd been except that he was still quite drowsy and he could already feel the growing headache behind his eyes. Eventually he couldn't take it anymore.
"Would you idiots shut the fuck up?" he screamed, and they all fell silent in an instant. "Now, where the hell have you been and what the fuck is so goddamned funny?"
Ginta was the first to catch his breath and gave Kouga a confused look. "Where were we? We were where you left us, where you told us to stay while you went to go get our 'guest of honor'. Except you never came back. We did what you ordered! We stayed right where we were supposed to." He'd started out with a straight face but the longer he talked the harder it was, and when he finished he dropped to his knees to continue laughing his ass off.
"I didn't take you guys anywhere! I didn't tell you to stay somewhere. Why would I do that? I told you we were waiting by the well for Kagome! And what the hell is so funny???"
Hakaku held his sides, his ribs aching from laughing so hard. "You… you've got a little something… on your face."
Kouga's hand came up and wiped at his cheek, feeling something rubbing off. When he looked at his hand his fingertips where white. "What the hell?" he said in confusion. "What is this shit?"
"It's… it's ladies face paint! Kouga, you… you're painted up like a geisha!"
"Tell me you're kidding," the wolf prince said in a low, dangerous tone.
"Umm… well, I… I can't," Ginta said, twitching back in anticipation of some kind of retaliation from his alpha. "How could… how did someone get close enough to do that to you… and you not notice? At the very least you should have woken up when they touched you. It's almost like you were…"
"Drugged," Kouga growled. "And this wasn't the first time."
In the bushes, Inuyasha, Miroku, and the boys listened as Kouga began to recount all the odd things that had happened since they'd somehow been separated. After a while they snuck back to their camp and talked, deciding that since Kouga was suspicious and no longer alone they would lie low for a while. They needed to work on their holy powers with Kaede anyway. Their lessons and training were more important than silly, incredibly fun but still silly, pranks.
Naraku was enjoying Kagura's discomfort, but he was getting rather bored with his target practice. A bored Naraku never bode well for her and she knew something unpleasant was coming when he'd ordered the human servants to unchain her from the wall only to then have her hands shackled behind her back. Oh how she hated him and that hatred grew more and more each day, each moment even. She glared at her creator and her tormenter as she was forced to her knees before him as if she were worshipping him while cursing him silently.
"You know Kagura; it's been far too long since we've played." He looked down at her with a dark smirk on his face and his red eyes glowed like embers in poorly lit room. "I've so missed our special time together. Haven't you?" Kagura simply glared harder, wishing she could ignite him with the fire in her eyes. "Now, now, my dear. You haven't forgotten, have you?" He held out his hand, showing her the glowing red orb that he used to control her. She could never escape him without her heart. He closed his hand around it and she grimaced, fighting the need to scream in pain. She didn't want to give him that. It was what he wanted and she refused to be his plaything. She wouldn't give him what he wanted, she wouldn't cry out or scream or beg no matter what he did.
He frowned and squeezed tighter, hating her strong will. 'Oh well. That will just make this all the more enjoyable. I do rather like it when she fights me.' He smirked again and locked eyes with her before he dropped his pants to the floor, leaving her face to face with the evidence of the evil hanyou's arousal. "Open up, love," he ordered. When Kagura didn't move to obey but instead pinched her lips tightly closed he laughed his dark, something bad is going to happen and you're not going to like it laugh. Then he tightened his hand around her heart harder than before, so much so that she had to gasp for breath from the intensity of the pain. He caught three fingers in her open mouth and slowly eased up on the pressure on her heart until she could focus on him again.
"You will do what I want either way. It is up to you how much pain I am forced to inflict to get what I want." She glared at him but he knew he'd won when her mouth fell open lifelessly. It didn't matter though. She didn't need to do much. He rather preferred it when she tried to pull away, making choking and gagging noises as he slid his cock in and out of her throat forcefully. He looked down at her and smirked, one hand fisted in her hair, keeping her just where he wanted her while the other still held her heart as a warning to her. Her eyes were welling up with tears and she looked utterly defeated, the look of despair enough to make him thrust harder and faster, so close to his end.
Kagura looked up at him carefully and took in the sight of his head thrown back and eyes closed. The light sparked back to life in her eyes and she waited. It was almost time. She'd allowed her mind to float away to somewhere else for most of it, but now she had to focus. If she didn't want to die she had to time it just right. She could feel his disgusting dick begin to twitch and she waited. When he let out a moan of pleasure as he began to climax Kagura took her chance and sank her fangs into him as hard as she could, almost gagging at the taste of his blood in her mouth. It had happened just like she knew it would. His hand loosened in her hair and the other hung limp at his side, barely holding on to the one thing she really needed to be free of him.
When he felt her teeth sink in he nearly blacked out from the pain. He didn't even notice as she slipped out of his grasp or how she'd knocked her heart from his hand with her shoulder. He didn't see that her hands weren't chained behind her as tightly as he'd thought when she slid her wrists out of the shackles, picked up her hear, and ran. He didn't notice anything other than the fact that the bitch had just tried to bite his dick off!
Kagura was still spitting while she ran, but she felt wonderful. She had her heart in her hand and once she made it outside and took to the air she took the time to look at it. It was then she realized that she had absolutely no idea how to get the thing in her chest where it belonged! She decided that she needed to find a place to hide, to lay low for a while, because Naraku was sure to want her dead. He was lucky he had demon characteristics, even if he wasn't actually born a half demon. The damage she'd inflicted would be healed rather quickly, but the memory of the pain, and hopefully humiliation too, would stay with him for a long time to come.
I know a lot of you aren't going to be happy about it but 79 is going to be the last chapter I post for a couple weeks, maybe a month. I've been having trouble with the flow and need a break from it for a while. If I force it, then it's going to end up being crap and I refuse to post crap. I'm going to take some of the time to reread the whole thing, reacquaint myself with the older stuff.
I've been working on it nearly every day since mid September, so I definitely feel that I deserve a break. Not including this chapter, I have written 397,637 words in six months, nearly 700 pages. Yes it will be continued, yes, I will finish it. I just need some time off from it. Trust me, you'd much rather wait a while for the next update rather than read what I forced out. (why this chapter is so short to begin with. I just can't write it, no matter how much I want to.)
I'm going to continue working on Syndrome and the sequel to What Your Eyes Can Do because they are both flowing well. I might do a few more oneshots, and I've started doing the drabble challenges on the various LJ communities.
I think that focusing on something new for a while will really help when I go back to SWtPF. I know a lot of you will be disappointed with the wait, but it was either that or lousy chapters which I really don't wanna do. Hopefully you'll enjoy the new stuff.
There's another reason too, that I need a break. I'm rescheduling my entire life. Destiny is ready for a more structured day and real schooling, and since I'm home schooling I will be busier. It's gonna take me a while to get used to it, so I wanted to have less pressure on me to get things done during that time. Otherwise I'd be tearing my hair out and an unhappy miko makes for an unhappy just about everyone else. Even the characters suffer when I'm overstressed.
To those of you who are ready to complain, please don't. Try to remember that I'm not getting paid for this, that I write when I could and should be sleeping, and that I have lots of other things I could be doing with the hours a single chapter of this story takes. I don't have to write this. I don't have to post it. I do it because I want to, but if I get a lot of insulting or complaining reviews then maybe I won't want to anymore. Just a warning, because I know that some of my readers won't understand and will have some not nice things to say. I just don't wanna have to listen to (or read) it.
I shall return!
Oh! I almost forgot, 2 more things. First, Lazy Jenny (brainshake, I have no idea which to call you anymore!) drew another fanart for this story and 2 other readers have too! The links are below.
http://kirsui. links won't show for FF users, so check out the deviant art account of kirsui, lazyjenny, and lilangelchr to see the pics.
And I want to say that you to the reader who nominated The Syndrome for two categories for this Quarter at the Feudal Association. I'm thrilled and honored.
They have open membership, and anything that hasn't already won before can be nominated, something I think is really cool and makes that award group unique. Everyone should go and join the group and nominate all your favorite authors and artists. I still haven't made my picks but I'm working on it! If you want to join go FF users, the link is on my LJ.