Categories > Anime/Manga > Inuyasha > This Can't Be Good

(19) Flesh and Blood

by Ithilwen 0 reviews

Not even Mr. Perfect can be perfect. Now that they've caught up with the serpent demons, how will Inuyasha keep Hojo from becoming snake food? ...and will he want to?

Category: Inuyasha - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Other - Published: 2005-11-22 - Updated: 2005-11-23 - 2409 words

(Bows to nekobaka.)

KURAMA: (On cellphone) Hello. Yes. Do you have any cab drivers who are not legally insane? Okay, any who are on low-sugar diets? Great. I'll be right here.

Going back so soon?

KURAMA: Yes. It would never work: I'm a convicted felon fox demon remanifested into the body of a human youth, and you're annoying and insane.

Not legally.


There was a sound of shouting several yards off to the left. Inuyasha had managed to get to his feet and was calling out at Shippo-no, at Hojo. He wanted him to-

The kitsune cub was all but carved into the rocks behind him, with the last and strongest of the serpent youkai closing in, to afraid to move. Inuyasha was poised to bring down the wind scar, and the only other person close enough to help...

"No," Hojo told him. Shippo didn't even seem to hear.

This is my fault.

"What the fuck do you mean, 'no'? Just do it!"

I should have said something, warned them not to trust Hojo around Shippo. This is my doing.

Miroku felt all the blood drain from his face. His hands grew still on his staff for half a heartbeat before the dying demon at his feet gave a flinch. He brought the weapon down one more time, looking up again to see Hojo worry his lip between his teeth.

Miroku couldn't help a smirk. Hojo might have a high spook-resistance to an Inuyasha growling in the dark, but an Inuyasha streaked with blood and anger and brandishing a fully-transformed Tetsusaiga was having more of an effect. Hojo's moment of steadiness passed, and he all but quailed back from him. Miroku had a fleeting thought that had something to do with dogs and packs and Hojo backing down...

And now that he'd backed down, he was going to cover his ass.

"Listen close, boy," the old monk's voice echoed over the din in his mind, "sometimes a lie may be the expedient path. When you want to pull a whopper on someone, here's what not to do..."

"I... I have another idea," the boy managed. Last-Beat Stall, Miroku realized. His fingers rustled on his bow, The Betraying Hands. His feet shifted on the rock, Lost Man's Dance.

Hojo's thumb slipped under the thong at his neck. "Let me!" he cried. "The amulet protected me from you. Kagome and I were fine. Let me try to-"

"Just because a man is a guileless natural with women doesn't mean you can trust him. Deep down, they're flesh and blood and meanness like the rest of us. Make them desperate, make them afraid, and you make them mortal."

"Miroku and Sango got fried!" Inuyasha hissed back.

The human bit his lip. "Oh I... forgot."

"Of course, being able to lie doesn't make anyone good at it."

"It doesn't protect humans, just you! You'll roast Shippo and that human kid."


"Die, you useless worm!" roared the dog demon.

For a second, Miroku thought that Inuyasha had turned Tetsusaiga on Hojo, but Shippo let out a yelp as the serpent youkai dodged Inuyasha's strike, and in the same motion, made a grab for the fox demon. Shippo barely jumped clear, losing a thick chunk of fur as the snake struck. His small eyes scrambled across the rock face as the demon recoiled. Shippo still had no way to get away from it, or from the wind scar.

"Kagome!" Miroku cried. "An arrow! It doesn't have to hit; just give Shippo an opening so he can run." The kitsune looked up. At least there was that: a chance was no good unless the child was ready to take it.

Kagome's answer was little more than a sound in the back of her throat as she raised the bow.

At this range it was predictable: the arrow hit the ground beside the serpent's thick tail, scalding it enough to divert its attention. Shippo became a red-brown blur, and Inuyasha's smirk returned.

"Tetsusaiga!" Miroku braced as the force of the demon blade cracked the air and left it bleeding. The serpent demon's flesh flaked and tore, leaving behind a clinking jewel shard, and a huddled lump that almost looked like-

"He moved!" Hojo leaped forward. "I think he can breathe! Does anyone have any water, he's covered in..." The monk looked away from Hojo's babble. Sango had managed a few cuts, and he was close to sure she'd caught a tail blow across the stomach, but she and Kirara seemed otherwise unharmed. Shippo was holding tightly to Kagome with all four limbs, her bow on the rocks by her knee. Miroku couldn't see her face through the shade of bangs, but she was whispering swaying back and forth stroking the back of his head with one hand.

Inuyasha was breathing hard as he resheathed Tetsusaiga. Miroku followed the dog demon's eyes to Shippo and the human girl.

"Kagome, I did everything wrong! Father told me never to do that. Father told me not to be like the rabbit with the eyes and I was I got so scared I couldn't move!"

Miroku felt his breath leave. For all that Shippo let the girls coddle him, he never acted like this.

A loud gasp brought his attention back to the dead serpent youkai. Despite several minutes in a snake demon's gut, the little boy couldn't have been too hurt, because he began to wail loudly the minute he opened his eyes. Hojo laughed and patted the kid on the back. Miroku closed his eyes and made a calming gesture. Obviously, he thought, I am not the only one relieved that Mrs. Mura's grandson seems to be all right, but... He remembered the shrillness of Hojo's voice.

And Shippo, staring.

It is selfish of me, but Miroku couldn't make himself believe it. I am more glad for Shippo.

"Runt! Brat! Moron!" Inuyasha fumed. Miroku looked up, expecting to have to prevent Hojo's clawed demise - though at the moment he couldn't quite remember why.

"Shippo! Brat, I'm talking to you," one leap and Inuyasha was crouched beside Kagome, one tight hand an inch from the cub's tail. "Why didn't you run when I told you to, you-hey!"

Without a word, Kagome had twisted so that she was facing the other way.

"Don't turn your back on me, bitch! Someone has to have words with the stupid little-!"

"Sit." Kagome's voice was soft. Inuyasha's was not.

"Bitch! It's for his own good!"

"I think the boy is alright, Houshi-sama," he turned to see Sango calling to him from Hojo's side, "but we should take him home now, he's very frightened."

Miroku nodded his answer, and began to turn away. He stalled, watching from the corner of his eye as Hojo pointed to something bright on the ground and began to reach for it. Sango stopped him with a hand on his wrist, shaking her head.

"Kagome," the monk said calmly. The girl rose to her feet, shifting her hold on Shippo as she walked toward him. Inuyasha, he noticed, was still trying to get up. "The shards," he went on, "perhaps now would be a good time to gather-" he cut off as a rattled young kitsune was pushed into his arms.

"Just hold him for a minute."

Some part of the quiet in her voice made him very nervous as she turned on her heel and bore down on Hojo.

Shippo wiped at his eyes with one hand craning his neck as if to follow her.

"Higurashi!" Hojo's voice was bright, "Miss Sango says the Mrs. Mura's grandson is okay! Can we-"

Kagome drew back her hand and slapped him full in the face.


"Kagome-chan?" Sango protested. Kagome didn't care.

"You scared me!" she shouted, "I told you to stay out of the way, but you jumped right in."

"I'm sorry, Higurashi," Hojo looked up from where he was holding the villiage child upright, "I had to. Mrs. Mura's grandson-"

"You could have gotten killed! You could have gotten Shippo killed! I would have had to go back and tell your mother you were dead!" And after talking with him, teaching him, all that work to keep him safe. "I told you to stay out of the way. Inuyasha told you to stay out of the way. Why didn't you listen?"

There was a scrambling sound behind them. Inuyasha had finally made it to his feet. Other than that, though, he didn't make a sound

Hojo's face was stricken. Good! "But I meant to-"

"I don't care what fancy idea you had!" Trying to play the hero! Shippo could have died. "We don't know how this stupid thing works yet!" she shoved him hard, so that the fire amulet dug what she hoped was painfully into his collarbone. Her eyes fell on the bow she'd lent him back in Kaede's villiage. "I'm taking this back," she said simply, picking it up. "Sometimes giving people weapons makes them stupid!"

Kagome turned to move away, but then caught sight of hiraikotsu slung across Sango's back. Giving the bow a quick heft, she slammed it down on Hojo's head.


It didn't feel nearly as good as she'd hoped it would. A tear leaked from the modern boy's eye. "Higurashi?" Hojo's voice reminded her oddly of a deflating parade balloon. Kagome turned away, blinking back the moisture in her eyes. A shard. This demon had had a shard, hadn't it? Three altogether. Time to stop worrying about stupid boys and get ready to leave.

Before five minutes had passed, Sango had set Mrs. Mura's grandson on Kirara's back, and the serpent youkai's shards clinked with the others in the vial around Kagome's flushed neck. There was little argument against walking. Inuyasha seemed sullenly distant, and Kagome didn't think it wise to ask him for a ride, and there was no way that Kirara could carry her, Sango, the baby and Hojo.

Oooooh, Hojo! How dare he scare her like that? And after she'd told him not to go crazy and jump into trouble! She'd even roped Inuyasha into helping, and this was what he did! At least when Inuyasha took stupid, reckless, boneheaded risks, he had the experience to back them up, not to mention that overgrown eyetooth at his belt. Hojo hadn't even known about the amulet's powers until Inuyasha had triggered them, and his eagerness to use it could have gotten Shippo killed!

It had been so nice to think that there was one boy in the sengoku or any era who wasn't a moron. Some illusions were hard-lost. And here Hojo was, relying on two days' practice with a bow, and some souped-up piece of glass! Even Inuyasha was smarter than that! Even Miroku had more restraint! Even Shippo, who couldn't fight much, knew how to stay out of harm's way.

...or at least he usually did. Kagome stole a look at Inuyasha. Had he realized? He was the only other one who'd seen for himself.

Of the five snake demons, three had swallowed shards of the Shikon jewel. The two that relied on their own powers and nothing more had moved like snakes: Graceful, quick on the strike, and slow otherwise. The three with shards had moved like shadows in a bonfire, like they only touched the ground out of habit.

They moved, in other words, just like Hiten.

Her eyes fell back to Shippo, perched on Kirara behind the little boy. Did Shippo even know why he'd been so scared? Had she been the only one to notice?

Before she could answer the thought, Hojo stepped right into her line of vision.

"Higurashi-san?" he asked with big, sad eyes, "Can we talk for a minute?"

Kagome looked at the ground and kept walking, "About what?"

"About the little guy..." at her confused look, his voice dropped until he was almost whispering. "Shippo," he said.

The little kid I take care of, the one who almost got eaten while you were trying to be brave?

"What about him?" she asked.

"Well..." he trailed, "Miss Sango said that you basically just found him out on the road."

Kagome smiled a bit at the memory. Inuyasha with both hands stuck under a statue. Ah! "More like he found us, really," she said, feeling a little better.

The trouble on Hojo's face thickened, "Did he?" he said carefully, then seemed to come back to himself. "Were you looking for someone?"

Kagome frowned, "No," she said. "Inuyasha and I were looking for the shards. We didn't know about Naraku yet."

"But I mean... no one was..." he struggled in the blankness of her answer, "...missing?"

Kagome blinked, "Like who?"

"Anyone, maybe a kid. From Kaede's villiage?"

Her frown deepened. "No..."

"Well that's something, I guess," Hojo looked a bit relieved. "Miss Sango tells me that he hasn't grown much since then."

"I guess not," Kagome said. "He's a youkai, though. Maybe kitsune children don't grow as fast as human ones."

Hojo gave a little shrug, "I guess that could be it... But you have been feeding him a lot, right?"

"He eats his share," Kagome smiled. Did he ever!

"And he sure seems to..." Hojo's hands searched the air, "make demands on your time," he said. "I'm always seeing him ask you to pick him up or pay him attention."

"Yeah," Kagome gave a confused nod, "he does that."

Hojo stopped walking. Kagome, by necessity, did as well.

"And that doesn't remind you of anything?" he asked, almost pleadingly.

"Like what?" she demanded. "Why are you so interested in Shippo?"

"Higurashi, I think you may be in danger."

That got her attention. "What do you mean, in danger?" she asked.

"I mean that-"

Hojo cut off as a beaded hand clapped down on his shoulder.

"If you would forgive me, Kagome," Miroku said calmly, "I think Hojo and I need to have a talk."


I hope everyone picked up the moral of this story arc.

KURAMA: Moral? You forged a change in my contract - badly - stole three pairs of my underwear, and got one of my coworkers sent to intensive care.

How's he doing?

KURAMA: He should be well enough to come after your blood any day now.

The moral is that when silver - gold adversity showers your parade, put on your best brownie and walk up to the next door to respect yourself and others.

KURAMA: . . ?

No, wait. That's Girl Scouts.
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