Continuing Tales


A InuYasha Story
by Elementary Magpie

Part 6 of 10

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Kagome woke to pain, as usual, her regular midnight restlessness. What wasn't unusual lately was that she was alone. She remembered again with dismay that Miroku had recently taken to sleeping outside in the shrine courtyard, far beyond the reach of her voice. When asked, he had smiled that he liked looking at the stars as he was falling asleep. And sometimes she thought that was a little odd, given the dishonest lengths he'd gone to in order to get them indoor lodgings during their travels. But somehow she always got distracted before she remembered to ask him why he'd changed his mind.

What was also unusual this particular night was that she was waking up to sounds. The sounds of stumbling steps on the stairway and along the hall. Incredibly, the sound of her grandfather's high, quavering voice singing...a hymn to Uzume?...slurred, and a little off key. The sound of Miroku's husky baritone murmuring in answer, also a little slurred. What in the world were they doing?

She listened hard, and thought she could decipher the creak of Grandpa's bedroom door opening, the voices fading as they disappeared within. A little later, she heard the door close again, and erratic footsteps in the hallway.

"Miroku?" she called softly.

Her door opened slightly and he leaned his head in, eyes sleepy, mouth relaxed. "I'm so very sorry, Kagome, did we wake you?"

"No, I was up. Will you...? No. I'm sorry, you must be tired. Good night."

He blinked at her for a moment, eyes straying to the clock by her bedside, and his face grew a little more focused. "Ah, would you mind if I sat with you for a while to clear my head before I go outside?" he asked lightly. "Otherwise I fear that in my current state I might wander oblivious out of the shrine grounds entirely."

She giggled gratefully. "I can't believe you got drunk with my grandfather. Mama is going to kill you."

"I can't believe that your grandfather makes such potent sake. I'm not sure I would have accepted his invitation to sample the results of his 'hobby' had I known."

"You actually drank that stuff? No one with any sense does that."

He laughed, a low, fluid chuckle that unexpectedly touched something deep inside her belly. "Yes, so I see."

He wandered a little unsteadily into the room, bringing the odors of sake and storehouse and an indefinable pleasant muskiness in along with him. But he settled on the floor in his usual place, with his left shoulder resting against her bed, back against her bedside table. For the first time, she noticed that the handles on the bedtable drawers must be digging into his back.

"Isn't that uncomfortable? You should sit against the bed instead."

He gave her a curious smile. "Ah, but that way I wouldn't be able to see your face as easily."

Kagome suddenly realized that, although he had lied and flirted shamelessly in front of them for months, Miroku had always chosen to practice his serious vices away from their little group. She had never seen him drunk before.

He was...different. It was as if the sake had loosened some possibility, some...force in him, unnerving and fascinating at the same time. It was weird. All he was doing was just sitting quietly by her bed as he had so many times before, but she kept finding herself mesmerized by the curve of his neck, the line of his shoulders. As if some waiting withheld energy would become visible if only she looked just a little bit harder. As if by reaching out her hand she could merge that terrible relaxed tension with the trembling field of her own....

Rattled, she asked him about the first thing that came to mind. "Is everything OK? With you and Inuyasha, I mean? You didn't come back during the movie, and I wondered..."

His lips curved slightly and suddenly she wanted very much to touch his mouth. But he glanced at her briefly and away again and said in a reassuring voice, "Everything is fine, Kagome. We were just having a little disagreement. Hardly avoidable when dealing with Inuyasha." When she giggled ruefully at that, he continued, "I had paused to admire the fineness of the night when your grandfather waylaid me. Please forgive me for leaving your company so rudely."

"Oh, that's all right," said Kagome, slightly flustered. "And I guess if you feel guilty then you can consider Grandpa's sake my revenge."

His mouth curved again in that slight smile, and she found herself having to look away, confused.

There was a silence. For the millionth time, Kagome wanted to thank him, for Grandpa and Inuyasha and bringing her through the Well, and she still didn't know how to do it. Tentatively, she tried. "I'm sorry about Sango. Do you miss her very much?" Oh, how stupid. Of course he did.

His answer shocked her. "Sometimes. And sometimes it doesn't seem real, like a figure painted on a scroll you saw one time and can't ever quite remember."

"I thought you loved her!"

"I did love her, Kagome, very much. Such an amazingly strong girl. So very sad. And I wanted to make her laugh. I wanted to--" He stopped, sighed, let his head fall back, staring up at the ceiling. And then rambled on, almost seeming to forget her presence. "But I wonder sometimes if I ever actually believed that I would get that chance, that we would be together. Or if she did, either. Looking back now, it seems more like a tale we told one another for comfort than a real romance. A ritual we performed together to keep the night away."

"Oh, Miroku."

He focused his eyes on her again. "I'm sorry if that horrifies you."

"No. I understand." But she didn't, not really. To be so detached. To have so little confidence in, well, in hope. Is this how he managed his life of cheerful, easy lies? Her heart wrung. And so she tried again: "It wasn't all pretend, you know. She really was looking forward to having your children--she told me so."

"I don't want any children," he said fiercely, surprising her again.

"Miroku! But you've always said--"

"It doesn't matter. I've been thinking about this." He straightened up, turned his head to look at her fully, drunkenly emphatic. "Fathers should love and protect every child they bring into the world. But how can you love a child of yours and doom it to this, this...void? I won't."


"Miroku, I'm sure your father loved you."

"Did he? Or did he simply want me to exist so that he could feel as if he was something more than a kazaana?"

Oh gods. "You are more than a kazaana, Miroku."

"Of course," he said, unbelieving.

"You can believe in the future, Miroku. I promise." The promise felt like predestination. She would see to it.

For a moment he looked at her with something so strong in his face it might have hurt. Then he gave a short laugh that sounded like a substitute for something else, got to his knees, leaned over the bed, and kissed her.

Kissed her, a long, gentle, desperate reply. Kissed her, eyes closed.

Somehow she couldn't move, didn't want to. After forever and no time at all, "Why does everything have to be so difficult?" he mourned, resting his forehead against hers.

"That wasn't difficult," she said in wonder, raising a hand to stroke his cheek.

He smiled and it looked like a substitute for something else. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"I am going to kiss you again."

"I will forgive you again."

"I know."

His lips, again, were gentle. This time, his eyes were open.


A InuYasha Story
by Elementary Magpie

Part 6 of 10

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