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

(47) The Best Tool

by Ithilwen 0 reviews

"Just put your shirt back on. We need to talk." "Okay."

Category: Inuyasha - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Other - Published: 2005-11-23 - Updated: 2005-11-23 - 2944 words



Oh let him.

KURAMA: (sighs) Very well.

HIEI: You're hopless.

KUWABARA: I've always wanted to say this! (clears throat) We interrupt your regularly scheduled Kurama arc to bring you this important announcement.

Until changes, clarifies or otherwise improves its deletion policies, new chapters by Ithilwen will appear on sphere of silence and on mediaminer at least twenty-four hours before they appear on

KUWABARA: Desperate times.

Desperate measures.

YUSUKE: But don't just take our word for it.

HIEI: Examine the situation for yourselves, and then email the administrators with your assessment of the situation.

KURAMA: And remember, polite letters are less likely to be discarded.

Thanks for your time and thanks for reading.

KUWABARA: The Kurama arc resumes at the end of this chapter! (Pause) How'd I do?

HIEI: Terrible.


"It seems that your trip was quite eventful."

"Save it, hag. Just tell me what you learned about that chunk of glass the runt's got tied to his head."

"Is that what's kept him here?" Kouga asked. The wolf prince gave a snort. "I would have yanked it off his neck and been done with it."

"Great idea, wolf turd. Why don't you go try?"

"Alright, I will!" Kouga turned to go, then stopped mid-motion. "Wait..." he trailed suspiciously.

"Inuyasha, quit joking around," Sango interjected sourly. Inuyasha and Kouga's distaste for Hojo had become so visible that it was no wonder Kaede saw fit to comment. The very fact that they'd stood within ten feet of each other without any punches thrown spoke to that. ...and after finding out what the stupid boy had done, Sango wasn't in quite as much a mood to criticize as she had been two days before.

Sango fought down the flush on her cheeks. She hadn't believed it at first, not of a kind person like Hojo, but she knew that Kagome would never act on something so extreme unless she were sure. Inuyasha might have exaggerated. The monk might have exaggerated. Kagome might have been mistaken, but all three of them together would not.

I should have known the day it happened! /Thoughts identical to the last five thousand seethed like acid in Sango's brain. I am a trained fighter. I should have recognized the pattern of the battle, I should have seen what he was going to do! /

Her strong fingers cracked against hiraikotsu's hand grips. She just had to... She had to...

"Well?" the dog demon demanded of Kaede, Kouga close on his heels.

She had to hit something.

The morning after Hojo had spent the night alone in the woods had been uneventful, all things considered. The kitsune cub knew that something strange had happened, but his frequent - and unanswered - demands for information had faded once he'd figured out that Kagome wasn't in the least disinclined to let him ride on her shoulder, trot at her ankle, stay blissfully close to her the whole time. Still convinced that Hojo wanted to take Kagome away, the small demon took complete advantage of his new, very stretchy limits.

Shippo was not the only one to demand the miko's attention, however. Kouga had returned to the camp shortly after dawn, and, with a sweeping courtliness that belied his lack of other graces, asked Kagome if all was forgiven. Things might have gone better if he hadn't tacked a, "Where is the human runt anyway?" onto the end of that.

Hojo, to what Sango suspected was Inuyasha and Kouga's bitter disappointment, had made it back to camp under his own power, and in a much simpler and infinitely more sincere gesture, had touched his head to the ground and asked for Kagome's help getting home. After a long moment, Kagome had told him to get up.

Sango had barely been able to look at him after that. She admired Kagome's forgiving spirit, she truly did, but she did not share it.

"I am sorry, Inuyasha," Kaede shook her head. "I had hoped that some answer would come to me in the time it took for you to slay the serpent demons, but I still have no help to give you in regards to the power that holds the boy in this time."

"God damn-" Miroku caught himself. "I mean..." He re-collected his words as Sango and Kagome shook their heads. "Surely, Lade Kaede, there is something you could tell us, however small."

The old woman nodded, frowning. "Yes, there was some familiar essence to the stone..." Kaede trailed off as Inuyasha, Miroku and Kouga all leaned just a tiny bit forward. "...but I could not place the feel of it."

"Thank you anyway, Kaede," Kagome answered with sad warmth.

"Well so much for that," Sango breathed. "Does anyone have any ideas?"

"Chuck him down the well and see what happens," Inuyasha answered immediately.

"Head first," added Kouga.

Sango felt her eyes narrow. The air swished around her healing arm as she brought hiraikotsu down on each stupid canine head in turn. "I meant any useful ideas," she hissed. "Houshi-sama," she turned to the monk in exasperation, "can you suggest something more constructive? "

"No," Miroku answered in a sullen monotone. "I want that fucking moron asshole gone."



"One thing is certain," came Kaede's much-needed interjection. "We must discover more about this talisman before we attempt to send the boy back through the well. Who knows what effect its unknown magic might have had on it?

"Hojo did not respond well when I asked him about it," the priestess went on. "He was far too polite to divulge anything of meaning. Someone must pry from him the entire story of the strange device." She fixed her archer's eyes on Inuyasha and Kouga, "someone whom we can expect him to trust."

Sango gave a quiet sigh. "That probably counts me out. When Kagome told me what he did, I..."

"I know!" said Kouga, nodding appreciatively. "He's going to be feeling that one for-"


"Ack!" Kouga ducked. Sango slid hiraikotsu back into place on her shoulder.

"I don't think I'll be able to talk to him either," Kagome answered.

There was a long silence.

Miroku hadn't budged from where hiraikotsu had sprawled him face-down on the turf.

"Everyone's looking at me, aren't they?" came the holy man's muffled query. No one answered. A sigh as heavy as a dead boulder slunk into the air. "Alright," he said, waving one hand as he got to his feet. "I'm going."


He found the boy splitting firewood. He was doing an ass-poor job, using a dull axe, holding the handle in the wrong place, and placing his feet far too close together. The way he was going, he'd probably chop off his damn foot right before whoever owned the ax showed up to pulverize whoever was wearing out his tools without permission. The boy wouldn't even be able to run away properly.

Despite everything, Mushin had had a sense of monkly discipline. Anything worth doing, he'd impressed upon his fool apprentice, was worth doing right, whether it was the search for enlightenment, the charming of a beautiful woman, or simply getting enough wood to cook dinner. All the tools, physical and otherwise, had to be kept sharp and treated with respect.

...and considering that he'd assigned wood-chopping as punishment for almost every offense, Miroku had much more respect for the process than he would have liked.

Hojo understood all that, Miroku could see. The kid knew how to be tactful and meticulous. He just...

Miroku shook his head. He has no idea. An image of the past night seeped back into his brain. And I have been blaming him for that. The monk took a breath and a step forward, moving up behind Hojo as he worked.

Then he noticed that Hojo had put his shirt aside - impeccably folded - to keep it clean.

But he hadn't removed the talisman.

The monk found his eyes drawn to the glinting gem. The stone was clear, and if it was anything but perfectly round he couldn't see from here. In fact, Miroku's brow creased as he realized, he couldn't figure out how Hojo had managed to get it to stick to the cord. There was, as he had noticed before, some unsteady gleam coming from its glassy core. The monk shook his head. He still couldn't place the sight.

Hojo brought his arms down in another clumsy chop.

Miroku blinked. Did it just...

The boy repeated the motion, and again, the quiet glow from the talisman flared a tiny bit, matching his movements.

"What does it mean?" the monk whispered to himself.

"Miroku!" Hojo replied, startling to a stop in mid-swing. He carefully set the ax aside. "I didn't see you there." He turned around.

The monk was suddenly very glad that they hadn't sent Sango. She, he was sure, would have found other things to think about than his earlier offenses.

"Just put your shirt back on. We need to talk."


Hojo picked up his shirt and dabbed carefully at his face with the inside cuff, where it wouldn't show. ...or wouldn't have if the garment hadn't already been rumpled and dirty from the past four days. Hojo buttoned the shirt from top to bottom, and tucked it in. "I'm sorry if I upset you last night," he said, dipping his head in admission. When he didn't get an answer, he continued. "Look, I know I was upset myself, but I shouldn't have taken it out on you and I'm sorry."

Miroku opened his mouth, then closed it again, unsure of how to respond. Hojo hadn't known what he was doing, but he'd still done it. The boy had hit a very large, throbbing, exposed nerve.

And Miroku wasn't about to explain it to him. The thought of telling Hojo - confiding in /Hojo - his situation.... There were many things Miroku could allow this foolish young man to take, many things he could teach him, many illusions he could gently lift away for the boy's betterment, but not this one. The kaza ana did not belong to Hojo. /

"All you ever did was help me, Miroku," the boy continued his ramblings, "and I shouldn't have spoken to you so harshly."

But for the moment, it seemed that Hojo felt like groveling, and Miroku was not about to discourage him.

"...but I still think you need to change the way you look at the world. Higurashi and Miss Sango deserve better from you than what you've been giving them."

Still, he'd been sent here for a reason. He pulled in a breath, unsure of how to begin.

Hojo beat him to it, drawing his musings to a close. "I've been thinking," he volunteered.

"Yes?" asked the monk. "About what?" Whatever it was, it would be as good a place to begin as any.

"About Miss Kikyo, and Higurashi, and ...souls," The boy looked over his shoulder, toward the woods, "and about that well I came through. Sometimes things happen for a reason, you know? I think I must have fallen through the well for a reason," Hojo explained, shallow crinkles forming on his smudged forehead. "Higurashi must have met Inuyasha for a reason."

Miroku nodded, not sure where he was going.

"...but it's not always a big reason."

The monk blinked. "Hojo," he began, "I really came here to talk to you about-"

"Miroku," Hojo spread his hands, "when you told me about how Miss Kikyo died," Hojo took a step forward, both hands stretched out like a prayer, "and how that Naraku person tricked her into sealing Inuyasha, even though she loved him," he shook his head, "and how her spirit can't rest. No one deserves that. No one deserves to be trapped in their last, darkest moment for all time."

"Kikyo's situation is a cause for great sorrow," Miroku answered simply. "She does deserve more compassion than she gets, but I don't see what you mean by all of this."

"I mean..." Hojo trailed off. "Inuyasha was trapped too, wasn't he? And he would have stayed trapped if Higurashi hadn't come back."

"Yes," said Miroku. "She broke Kikyo's seal."

Hojo shook his head. "That's not what I mean. I mean that Inuyasha got sealed still thinking that Kikyo had never cared about him, and he would have thought that forever."

The monk allowed himself a smile.

Hojo nodded, also beginning to smile. "What I'm thinking is that, maybe, the jewel wasn't supposed to break. Maybe she was sent back in time just to give him closure or something."

"Closure?" asked Miroku, thoughts swirling to a stop.

"Oh, that's when..." Hojo trailed off, counting on his fingers. "To give him a chance to say what he needed to say to her, so that he could have a real goodbye. You know how... sometimes you can't really leave a place until you've had one last look? It's the same with leaving people. It's why we have funerals for people once they die: To let their friends let them go. Closure."

The monk found himself staring quietly into the pieces coming together behind Hojo's eyes, and he didn't like the shape they took. "You think that Kagome was not meant to stay here," he probed.

Hojo nodded. "I know it's selfish of me to think of it this way..." he trailed off again. "But Inuyasha had his chance. Kikyo dying wasn't his fault, but it still happened, and-"

Miroku didn't think, he didn't even feel his hand move. He just slapped him full in the face.

Hojo blinked heavily, fingering the bead-studded mark on his face.

The monk flexed his hand./ Hm. Righteous anger... Aching wrist... So that's what if feels like to be on the other end./

"What did I say?" Hojo demanded.

"Listen and listen closely, boy," Miroku pulled his height into himself, drew every last bit of darkness into his voice, "there was more to the hole in Inuyasha's heart than Kikyo's arrow. There is more to Kagome's work here than healing it. If you in any way try to make her leave here before that work is done, I will see to it that you do not draw another breath."

Miroku could practically see the adrenal-fear seeping into the threaded blood vessels of Hojo's eyes. "What-"

"Kagome is more important here than you can imagine," Miroku hammered the words into the boy's heart. "Her task here is more important than me, more important than 'closure,' and far more important than your stupid infatuation."

The boy shook, but stood, "She has duties back home too, and if she keeps neglecting them," he swallowed, "she won't have much of a future to come back to."

"I know little of that world," Miroku admitted. "You may be right." He fixed both eyes on the boy's impossible hope, "But she will always have us. Don't get in the way."

Hojo pulled back, "What is this?" he asked carefully. "I could understand it when Inuyasha says things like this," he shook his head, "but not you. You're not in love with Kagome."

"Perhaps not," Miroku couldn't stop his right hand from flexing hard, "but I still need her."

"Did you ever think," Hojo asked slowly, "that maybe my world needs heroes too?"

"I don't doubt that it does," Miroku told him. "But here and now, we need Kagome."

Hojo shook his head, "But shouldn't she get to decide?" he asked. "Have you or Inuyasha or Kouga or even Miss Sango asked if this," he stretched his arms out to the sky, the trees, the dull huts of Kaede's village, "is what she wants for her future?"

"Have you?"

Hojo fell silent.

"If the 'duties' you mention are her 'tests,'" Miroku's voice regained some gentleness, "then she knows the risks. She is always worried about something called an 'entrance exam.'"

The boy looked away, shaking his head. "I can't believe that she'd choose this." He looked up again. "This place amazes me," he allowed. "There are things of such wonder, but it's not where Higurashi belongs."

Miroku found his breath again, and it flowed easily. He held back a quiet smile, "The best tools you'll ever own are stuck to the sides of your head, boy," /he could hear Mushin's voice clearly. "But you must know how to use them. Sometimes people lie, sometimes people say what they mean, and sometimes-"/

The monk calmed his anger.

"-sometimes people say what they think they mean."

"Not where Kagome belongs," Miroku asked, "or not where you do?"


This time it was Miroku who interrupted. "Hojo, if you wish to return to your homeland, we must know more about how you came to be here in the first place, and," he let his eyes trail meaningfully to the talisman hidden in the collar of his shirt, "about how that artifact came to be in your possession."

"I already told you," Hojo answered, placing one palm on top of the clear stone.

"Tell me again," he said calmly.


So how did it go?

YUSUKE: Eh. We've done worse.

KURAMA: We have indeed.

KUWABARA: Here's what happened...


KURAMA: Alright, deletion guys! I am Kurama and I will hurt you a lot with my cool rose whippy thing.

YUSUKE: And I will hurt you more than that with my spirit gun!

KUWABARA: And I will hurt you most of all, because I am cooler and meaner and so very impressive!

OBSERVERS: Ooooooooooo...

HIEI: He'll do it. He's crazy.


Were they scared?

HIEI: That is not how it happened.

KUWABARA: I'm telling the story!

KURAMA: Not any more you're not.
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