Chapter Eight: Beaten into Sin
Eventually, they would have to return to the Order so within mere days of staying at the slayers community Kagome decided it was time to return to Aigo. The covenant had been her home for so long and she refused to let what Bankotsu said get to her. Shikonism was her life. Shikonism was right. Shikonism was her future.
That, at least, was what she continued to remind herself of while her and Inuyasha made their silent journey back. Oh… how awkward that had been. He had been right, she was confused when she kissed him. Confused about how she felt, confused about shikonism, confused as to what to do…
With thought and prayer she realized it was wrong. It went against all she had learned. She was never meant to have feelings for the opposite sex. Father Taiko could only be her instructor and mentor, nothing more—ever.
She supposed his silence meant he felt the same way. It wasn't out of some sort of affection that he saved her, just dedication to the right way… but then again, shikonism was supposed to be the right but the elders didn't want him to go save her—oh, how it hurt her head to think.
So, she did what she had since she was taken from her family as a child and stopped thinking. She allowed shikon scripture to lead her thoughts. She had a good life at Aigo. Though the food was amazing elsewhere and she had seen what fine living was like there was no advantage to them.
At Aigo, she was part of something greater than herself. With shikonism, she could help others. Under the elder's guidance, she could achieve inner peace.
And that was what she so desperately wanted.
"Here we go," Inuyasha muttered to snap her back into the moment. Just in front of them was their covenant, there were even brave souls tending to the garden yet again… as soon as they noticed her and her mentor they all stopped what they were doing to watch with wide eyes as they entered the covenant.
"Are you going to get into trouble, Father Taiko?"
"Yep," he chimed, much to her surprise. It wasn't the answer, she already knew that, but the nonchalant way in which he said it. As if he was used to it… which, if she stopped to think about it, he must have been. There were plenty of rumors running around Aigo about him.
Father Inuyasha Taiko, the one who worked best alone yet out of punishment was assigned to train a sec of sisters. Though, what he did no one knew. The fact that the elders refused to speak of it made it seem like it was something awfully bad… but, at the same time, it wasn't something bad enough to get b
"Father Taiko," a stern voice summoned their attention. The elder flashed a smile to Kagome before saying, "it is good to see you, Sister Higurashi."
"Thank you, sir," she replied with a bow of her head.
"I am sure you have been through a great deal," he said as he motioned his head down the hall, "I suggest you retire to get your rest. Father Taiko, come with me."
Worry was written across her hazel gaze as she looked up to her mentor before she forced herself to smile at the elder, nod her head, and walk away. There was nothing she could do to help him… though, she wanted to. He was only in trouble for disobeying their order not to rescue her.
Without him… she couldn't imagine what would have become of her.
Punishment of some kind was going to befall him, he knew that the moment he left Aigo in order to find Kagome. So when time came to receive it he wasn't upset or fearful, just accepting. He made his case, that he couldn't just forsake those that he was responsible for, and the elders rejected it as acceptable.
Since, he couldn't have done it out of the goodness of his heart. No, no one ever disobeyed the elders because they were wrong. They never were.
"You once confessed to me," one of the elders began, "that you were developing feelings for sister Chiyushu Eri. Can you say with absolute certainty that that wasn't the reason why you went after those taken?"
"I can," he earnestly admitted since he never really had feelings for her. Though, the elder had a point. If not for the forbidden feelings he possessed for Kagome then… he would never have disobeyed the elders.
"Taiko," one said with a sigh, "we must punish you for what you have done."
"I accept that," he answered.
A whipping was what followed. He had a few scars from passed experiences and after that night he surely would have more. But… to save Kagome, it was worth it. No bit of him regretted that.
The tales of what had happened spread swiftly through Aigo that night. Out of the four taken, two were dead and one was turned. Sister Chiyushu was forsaken for that. How could a member of the Order allow themselves to be turned? There was nothing more disgusting than that.
Yet, somehow, there was a light. Sister Higurashi Kagome had managed to survive. And even though Father Taiko had broken the rules to go save her, no one was upset with him after hearing he had received a proper punishment from the elders. Secretly, there were a few that admired him more for what he did.
Everyone within the covenant was close to someone. So close that if that person was taken they would disobey the elders to go save them. It was just a part of being human. All were surprised to find out that Father Taiko held such a connection. He was probably the least social of them all.
None of that mattered to sister Higurashi Kagome. Once she heard his punishment for saving her was a series of lashes she had to see him. So she waited until well into the night when everyone should be asleep. Almost everyone shared a room but she knew Father Taiko didn't.
And… she didn't anymore, either, since Eri was gone.
She sheepishly knocked on his door, hoping all the while that she wasn't waking him. She could hear someone stir inside to open the door ever so slightly.
"Father Taiko?" she whispered.
When he recognized it was her, he opened the door enough for her to walk in. Red rushed to her cheeks as her eyes fell to the floor once she saw he was shirtless.
"What?" Inuyasha asked.
"I," she stammered before taking a breath in. "I heard… what the elders did. I'm sorry."
"It's fine," he assured her. It was hardly her fault. "Is that all?"
"I brought some herbs for your wounds," she countered while she forced herself to look up. "I'm sure you got hurt after that…"
"Alright," he supposed that could only help so he motioned her over as he sat down on his bed. Reluctantly, she followed him to sit down right behind him. Oh, how her mind had been tainted because just being on the same bed as him made her cheeks flare again with color.
"This is going to sting," she warned as she dipped her hand into the herbal ointment then rubbed it upon the lash marks across his back. Just seeing them made her heart ache. There were the news that were only there because of her and even a couple scars.
He cringed when she first touched them. Cautiously she questioned, "can… I ask you something?"
"I heard… you only were assigned to become a teacher as some sort of punishment," she slowly began, "is that true?"
"Yes," very, very true. He would never have volunteered for that.
"What did you do?" she whispered.
Silence followed her meek words. Perhaps she shouldn't have asked… but she couldn't imagine he had done anything that bad. Finally, he spoke, "I'd rather not talk about that, if you don't mind."
"That's fine," she quickly assured him. She even smiled to make sure he knew that, even though he wasn't facing her. "Thank you so much, Father Taiko, for coming to save me."
"It's no problem," he replied. He had been hurt far worse in his days than what he had received at the hands of an elder man who could barely put all his weight behind the lashes.
"I owe you so much for doing that," she said in such a hush that he almost didn't hear it. With a lifted brow he turned to look at her. "I… I would have been turned if you didn't come when you did."
"It's alright," he repeated, "really, don't worry about it."
"But you got hurt because of it," she mumbled back while her eyes fell to the floor.
"No," he countered as he grabbed her chin to force her to look at him again, "I got lashes because of the elder's choices. Not yours. It is not your fault."
Her eyes locked with his auburn eyes and for a moment the world seemed to mean nothing. For whatever reason… she made a mistake. She leaned forward to press her lips to his yet again.
Later, he would blame exhaustion on top of physical pain for what he did. Inuyasha shut his eyes and kissed her back. At first, it was innocent—just lips to lips. Then, slowly, it became something more. Her lips meshed with his while she placed her hands upon his shoulders to pull him closer.
Sango's words returned to him then. They could love each other. It could be a pure type, were neither of them had to break their vows… but that was what they were doing right then. And if he allowed himself to continue to feel so strongly for her then wouldn't that be the eventual end?
Their vows would be broken.
They would… commit a sin.
He couldn't let that happened. He couldn't taint her. So he pulled away and stood up to say, "this is wrong. You should leave."
"I'm sorry," she sped to say before she rushed out.
What… was wrong with her? Why did she continue to do that? Yes, Father Taiko had always had a special spot in her heart for all he had done for her. But why did she suddenly have to continuous challenge his commitment to the right path?
There was something severely wrong with her… her goodness had been broken. Guilt swelled up within her chest as she returned to her room to sit on her bed. She had to be as committed as Father Taiko. She had to get back onto the right path.
Most importantly, though, she had to banish her feelings away forever.
A/N:Please go to my profile and take the poll. If I make another story in the future (probably far future) it'll be one of those. Tell me which you'd prefer. Thanks.
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