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

(20) Another Rock

by Ithilwen 0 reviews

Sometimes, keeping a temper is harder than keeping a promise.

Category: Inuyasha - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Other - Published: 2005-11-22 - Updated: 2005-11-23 - 2363 words

As I was saying, I hope everyone has picked up on the moral of this story arc.

KURAMA: As I was saying, "What moral?" If anything, your actions have been the epitome of amoral.

But not immoral.

KURAMA: My cab should be here soon. Please don't follow me.


"About what?" Hojo asked brightly.

For some reason, the innocence of the question made him angry. Miroku took a breath, holding a calming prayer in his mind.

"About what happened back there, Hojo," he answered in a level tone.

"He was stupid, that's what happened," muttered Kagome.

Miroku looked him right in those calf-brown eyes, "I think it may have been more than that."

"Kagome!" Miroku looked up to see Sango calling. "Kagome, would you help me with-ugh!"

The monk craned his neck, but couldn't quite make out what had happened. Kirara, though did not look pleased.

"It's okay, I got him, Sango," Shippo chirped. "I think I -eww."

More crying, probably from Mrs. Mura's grandson. With a glare that would have made Inuyasha blink, he gave Hojo a motion to stay put and followed Kagome back toward Sango. The taijiya was urging Kirara to hold still, but the poor firecat didn't want any of it. Miroku nodded in sympathy. Even with so few people to carry, she was probably hungry and footsore, and knew that there was rest to be had back at the human settlement. Sango was standing with her body toward Kirara, steadying the three-year-old with both hands, a smooth, delicious curve from the backs of her legs to her waist and shoulders and the side of her bright face. Kagome stepped up beside her to get a closer look at the child.

"What did-" Miroku saw her wince. "Oh... poor thing." Kagome soothed. "We should just take him home," she said softly, and then, "You'll feel better when you're back with your mom and dad, won't you, little guy?" The child sniffled and kept wailing.

Now what did the boy have to cry about? Miroku wondered, giving the bandage on his left arm a scratch. True, he'd nearly been used as a chaser by a giant snake with a sliver of the Shikon in its gut, but he was on his way home, and being tended by two solidly lovely young girls. Surely even a small child could appreciate beauty, even if he knew nothing of their more... womanly charms.

"He has been through a lot, Shippo," Sango murmured, stepping in beside Kagome

By mercy itself, she looked good in that armor. From this angle, with her body turned away from him, he could see the sleek lines of her back, all the way down to - well, all the way down. Just about the only thing he couldn't see was...

And with the two of them distracted...

"Kagome," Shippo whined, "he was sitting right in front of me-"

Yup, there went ol' lefty. That thing had a mind of its own, really. In a second, he'd be reeling from a new bump on his head, but for the half-second before that he'd have a handful of-

What the...?

"-and he threw up all over Sango's chest!" Shippo finished his protest.

"Eww," murmured Miroku, staring at his hand.


With her arms busy supporting the three-year old, Sango settled for jabbing her heel in his stomach.

"Sango, please!" he choked, "Hasn't the child seen enough violence today?" Miroku wiped his hand on a rock and tried not to gag. It was moments like these that made him rethink his wish to father an heir. Nor for very long, of course; he had a duty to his family line, after all.

Kagome folded her arms, "Like you're such a great person to decide what children shouldn't see!" she seethed. Miroku composed himself, inwardly relieved that at least Inuyasha wasn't around. His scoldings tended to get physical. At least the dog demon had picked an apt time to scout ahead...

Now, how to exit this?

"If you will pardon me, ladies," he said with as much dignity as he could salvage. "I believe I have something to get back to..."

He could practically feel the glares boring into the back of his head, but still he turned and moved back toward Hojo.

"What happened back there?" the boy asked.

"Nothing of importance."

"You weren't fresh with Miss Sango again, were you?" Hojo asked darkly.

It was times like this that made Miroku envy Inuyasha's ability to growl. It was so expressive, and right now, it would be so satisfying. "I am a monk," he replied. "And we have something to discuss. Let's hang back a bit," Miroku's eyes lifted to where Sango had coaxed Kirara into walking again. "As much as I regret not speaking sooner," the boy's face creased in confusion. Miroku found himself strangely without pity, "I wish to be certain of what I saw before I alarm the others." He gave Hojo a minute to absorb this as the firecat padded further and further ahead. "I mean to ask you about your plan to kill the serpent youkai yourself. Even for an on-the-spot lie, it's not very good.."

"Lie?" the boy flustered. "Miroku, I know it was stupid of me to think that I could have stopped that monster, but I really-"

"You haven't taken your eyes off Shippo since you arrived, have you?" the monk asked coldly. "Inuyasha you mistook for a plaything, but Shippo frightens you..."

"Frightens? No, I-"

"Boy," Miroku's gaze bored into the Hojo's skull, "I guarantee that both Kagome and Inuyasha both believed your little story. If they had not, Inuyasha would have left you dead in the serpents' den, and Kagome would have let him."

"No! I mean-I didn't! I..." Hojo's face went gray. His voice was very, very small. "...she wouldn't."

Miroku fixed on the boy's eyes, smirking inwardly. Inuyasha wasn't the only one who could stare people down.

"Kagome likes you very much," he said simply, "but the care she devotes to Shippo is surely akin to what she gives her own young brother. Tell me," he asked, "what would you expect of Kagome if it had been Souta?"

"I-" the boy's face went grayer, and he looked off into the brush. His smooth hands began to shake.

Miroku looked away as well. "I'm not going to tell her."

Hojo looked up. The monk would not have thought it, given Hojo's decided dearth of wit, but he actually looked suspicious of him.

"Perhaps she would not have let Inuyasha kill you," the monk admitted, "perhaps Kagome would have done no more than send you away." Miroku stung the boy's eyes again. This was the important part, and it wouldn't help if the stupid fuck weren't paying attention. "The result would be the same. You would be dead, and on my conscience."

Hojo gulped. "It's not-" he rasped, then swallowed again. "It's not like that."

"So you think that you could survive here without our aid - which we give you because Kagome insists upon it?" Miroku asked. "Well some do prefer to bet on the underdog, but you would be a long shot even for a man like me." He glared, "I will not allow you to harm Shippo."


"Why?" the monk demanded.

"I think he's a changeling."

A what?

"Go on," Miroku kept his voice dark.

Hojo bit his lower lip, scratching violently at the back of his head, "I was talking with Sango about it, back at Lady Kaede's... I know it sounds stupid! My grandmother thought they were made-up too, useless old stories, but she met one, right before she decided to move to Japan. I always used to ask how she could tell a changeling from a real baby, and she always said she just knew, and I saw the little guy, and I know. He is one, Miroku."

As much as it galled him to ask, "And what is a changeling, Hojo?"

"I guess I'm using the wrong word," Hojo fretted. "A changeling is a kind of a demon that disguises itself as a human child; sometimes it even kidnaps one so that it can take its place. No matter how much it eats, it never grows, so the people it's duping keep feeding it more. No matter how much it's soothed, it always cries and begs attention. My grandmother said that the women in her - I guess her village - just kept taking care of it until they were worn away." There was an odd sincerity in the boy's eyes, "Miroku, it's no accident that we all thought Higurashi was sick. She's so tired all the time..."

Hojo believes that Shippo is an adult demon disguised as a baby? He paused. In all honesty, he'd half-seriously suspected as much himself, and he had heard of some kitsune who could live off of a human's strength, but that left telltale signs, which Kagome didn't show. The monk's throat didn't seem to work. There was no true malice in that child. And in all the battles the kitsune had seen, not the least of which the one today... Surely if Shippo had more power than he pretended to, he would have used it by now. Whatever else, he could not make himself believe that Shippo would ever hurt Kagome.

"I don't think that the reason Kagome is tired," Miroku's formed one word at a time, "has much to do with Shippo."

Hojo shook his head, "No. I'm know it's him. I get this chill in my heart. Higurashi should send him away before it's too late. Or you do it. Could you do it, Miroku?" he pleaded. "I know you don't think much of me, but I don't want anything bad to happen to her. I-"

For a moment, Miroku thought that the boy was trying to figure out what to say next. "Go on," he urged. Hojo swallowed hard, raised a hand, and pointed. Miroku pulled in a breath and turned. How could he have let something sneak up behind them? The nest of serpent youkai had probably driven off most of the other large demons in their range, but the echoes of their death would bring scavengers. How could he have allowed himself to become so bewitched by Sango and infuriated by Hojo that he'd drop his guard? How could he have forgotten-


For all the racket that he usually brought with him, this time the dog demon hadn't made a sound. There was a quiet snarl and a rush of air, and then four thick welts of blood seeped out onto the shoulder of Hojo's rumpled and sweat-marked shirt.

The monk looked first at the rigid boy, then to the claws digging into his shoulder.

"You were listening?"

Inuyasha gave a shove, and Hojo tumbled to the ground. He turned quickly, rising up to a sitting position, "Inuyasha," the boy held up both hands, "I hope you don't think that-"

The dog demon made a slashing motion an inch from Hojo's neck. "Get out of my sight," he hissed.

Miroku's heart went cold.

"Get out of my fucking sight!"



"Take him back to the others, priest," he seethed. "Get him out of my sight before I break a promise I don't want to break."

"Inuyasha," Hojo protested, "I only want to-"

"Shut up!" he roared, grabbing Hojo by the collar. "Don't you know by now that I protect Kagome? The only reason you're still alive is because she wants you to stay that way. The only one!" He threw him to the ground again. "Go back with the others. If you so much as breathe at Shippo, there won't be enough of you left in one place for the flies to find."

Inuyasha turned and stalked off into the woods. He couldn't look at them right now; he couldn't.

"I think he's upset," he heard Hojo murmur to Miroku.

Miroku! Standing there, keeping his temper. He hadn't seen it. He hadn't seen it. Miroku hadn't been with them when he and Kagome had found Shippo, after his father died.

Inuyasha slashed at a branch and kept stalking. Away, just away. The leaves, the small scents, the lingering reek of serpent youkai on Tetsusaiga. He'd have to clean the damn tooth again...

Behind the bravado and demands, beyond the tricks and the thieving, beyond every tiny tick in a brave face...

The way the scrubby kit froze in front of Manten, how could Miroku know?

But damn! Hadn't the stupid pervert gotten some idea of why he'd never driven the brat away?

He had no idea how hard it was, how hard not to tear Hojo's wretched tongue from his mouth, his eyes from his head, his-


What is it? Don't let it near the baby.

Inuyasha grabbed a boulder from the ground, and heaved.

It's a hanyou! Half-bred filth!

What? You were feeding it? Just send it away. With claws like those, surely it can take care of itself.

It shifted loose, shedding clods of earth and grass, tearing roots and shelter from the soft, blind things that lived beneath.

I think I hit it that time! Gimme another rock.

He heaved it as far as he could, leaning his spirit on the splinter and the crash.

The next thing he knew, he was on his hands and knees, breathing hard. Inuyasha let his shoulders drop, palm hugged tight against the blade's rough hilt, as he pulled in the scent of the world, the woods, the torn ground, everything around him into himself.

At last, his breathing calmed and he muttered into the loam. "For once, I'm glad you're here."

The other demon gave a snort. "What's gotten into you, Inu-koro?"

Inuyasha snarled evilly and attacked.


KURAMA: Any final words before I try to resume my life?

If any of you enjoyed the Kurama arc, perhaps you would also like my original piece, "Deconstruction," available on mediaminer. The style is quite similar.

KURAMA: What?!


KURAMA: All this was a plug?!

No, all this was for self-amusement. I didn't think of the plug part 'til later.
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