Zettai Yabureru Nai - Never Tear Us Apart
The sequel to Shinjite Ai No Tsuzuki
An Inuyasha Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Just as Yousuke had expected, Kagome left the back door unbolted. It was a terrible habit, especially in this day and age, even if the shrine complex was a safe place. He slipped in and let his eyes adjust, amazed at how much he could see in the pitch dark in a familiar setting. ‘If only I had these eyes last month when I tried to sneak out at three in the morning to break into the supply shed again!’ he thought to himself. He crept around the corner of the kitchen doorway and inched along the hall. As he looked into the living room, Yousuke’s heart sank.
The sword Tetsusaiga was there where he remembered it being, but sleeping just beneath it on the couch was its owner.
‘Kuso~’ he hissed internally. ‘I’d rather face Sorako again than this!’ Going to all fours, Yousuke crept around the couch and looked over the arm at his snoozing father, the TV remote still loosely in his hand. ‘There is NO way I’m gonna get that sword without…’
Before he could complete the thought, one of Inuyasha’s eyes shot open. The two stared at each other in stunned silence. Inuyasha’s mouth opened and Yousuke jumped him.
“Shhhhhhhhhhh! Tousan, don’t wake Kaasan!” Yousuke said as quietly but as forcefully as he could. Inuyasha grabbed him by the shoulders and quickly sat up.
“Did you find Misora already!?” he hissed back in the same tone.
“What?” Yousuke blinked, confused, but a look of utter confusion soon fell across his father’s face. He reached out with shaking hands and gasped the boy’s soft, white, furry ears.
“Y-yousuke?” Inuyasha stammered.
“It’s a long story…” Yousuke tried to wriggle free of his grip.
Inuyasha’s eyes darkened. “I have time…”
Yousuke shook his head and told him a little of the story, careful not to make him worry too much. His father explained their meeting with Hideko earlier that same day.
“Yousuke, if you haven’t found Misora yet, why are you here?” Inuyasha whispered.
“Well, now that I’m a hanyou, sort of… I came to get… etou… to borrow Tetsusaiga.”
Inuyasha raised a brow. “Borrow?”
“Well yeah, I was gonna bring it back when I’m done with it…” Yousuke looked up, pleadingly. “Can I? There’s this youkai whose butt I need to kick in order to get at where Misora is.”
“Shippou’s with you, right?”
Inuyasha stood up and lifted the sheathed sword from its place of honor on the wall. “Have him teach you how to use it before you go swinging it around.”
Yousuke blinked in disbelief. “R-really?!”
“Shhhhhh…” Inuyasha pressed his finger to his lips. “Your mom’s finally getting a good night’s sleep.” He grinned and handed the legendary sword to his only son. “I know you’re going to be ok, but take care.”
Yousuke beamed. He noticed a basket of laundry sitting on the table. “Hey, Tousan, can you find me a pair of my gi-pants? These suckers are shredded.” He picked at the numerous holes in his school uniform.
Inuyasha laughed quietly. “I got a better idea.” They went into the kitchen. His father took a key from the ‘stuff’ drawer Kagome was always telling him to sort out. “In the supply shed there’s a present for you.”
Yousuke’s eyes lit up. “Arigatou, Tousan!”
“Make me proud. And don’t tell your mother I let you do this! Oh! And tell everyone we said ‘hi!’”
Yousuke saluted and bolted out the back door with the sword in hand. He knew what he was looking for (since he had broken into the thing a couple of times before) as he swung the supply shed door open.
The fire rat kimono top was still several sizes too big to be of any use, but the voluminous pants fit alright. He pulled them up high under his white tee shirt and put his uniform jacket back on. “Yosh’!” he cheered and patted the sword. “Now I’m ready. You better look out, Sorako. Kawano Yousuke is coming to get his sister back!”
As dawn broke, Kagura pouted. ‘Another night gone…’ she thought, and rested her chin in her palm. As she stared at the fading stars, the wind shifted around her just slightly. “What do you want?” she asked the silence.
Sorako approached her from behind, walking gingerly over the abandoned palace’s tiled roof. To Kagura’s surprise, the creature seated herself next to her and stared out at the horizon. The wind-user blinked, pouted again and replaced her chin.
“Tell me, Sorako. What do you want?”
“The sun is coming…” she said in her creepy monotone.
“No, Idiot,” Kagura spat. “What do you want… in general? All of Naraku’s offspring have had their own aspirations. What’s yours?”
“What’s yours?” she mimicked.
“I asked you first!” Kagura barked back. Sorako blinked once.
“I don’t have any.”
“Of course you do!” Kagura moaned, getting frustrated. “Do you want power, prestige, money…?” Sorako shook her head slowly. Kagura grinned thinly and leaned in. “Do you want to show your little brother who’s boss? That’s what you told Naraku when he made you, you know.”
“I don’t have a little brother.”
“Sure you do…” Kagura started to explain, but stopped herself. ‘She isn’t aware of her desire!’ she thought suddenly. ‘It’s like that Kohaku kid Naraku used to keep around! He was quite the tool, that one. He had no feelings and no ambition of his own. Naraku must mean to duplicate his success with Kokahu with this Shikon no Tama girl!’ She grinned wider. ‘Ooh! And the best part is big brother has come looking for little sister and neither of them knows the truth! Oooooh! And even better! Naraku doesn’t know big brother has the other half!’ Kagura had all she could do to keep from laughing out loud. “You’re right, Sorako-chan. Sorry.” she raised her fan. “You don’t have anyone, anyone at all.” With that she whirled away with the breeze, leaving Sorako sitting, watching the dawn break.
Kagura hummed to herself as she walked the dusty halls of the palace. ‘This is very interesting,’ she mused. At the end of the hall, she stopped and looked into a room lit by a single oil lamp. The little girl’s body lay on a mat in the far corner, inert and silent. Kagura grinned and left the palace.
Kirara got to her feet when she heard Yousuke leap back out of the well.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Kirara,” he patted her shoulder and hopped on for the ride back.
The campfire had only just died down and Nanaka and Shippou were dozing peacefully when Yousuke returned. He let them sleep and walked a ways into the woods to practice. The sword was old and rusted, but he knew from the stories what would happen. Yousuke unsheathed it and thinking only of his lost sister grit his teeth and pointed it at the heavens. The fang sprouted from the hilt, weighing no more than it did before. He cut the air a few times and grinned a satisfied grin.
“Yokatta,” Shippou sighed, leaning against a nearby tree. “I’m glad you were able to get it.”
“Lookit!” he cheered and spun around. “I can work it!”
“Whoa! Don’t point that thing at me, kid!” Shippou laughed. “You can make it come to life, but now you have to learn how see it.”
“The Kaze no Kizu: the Wound of the Wind.”
Yousuke nodded, remembering the stories. “Can you show me first?”
“If I could even hold that sword, sure. It doesn’t like youkai very much, only people with human blood.”
“Right.” He blushed and switched hands. He tested its feel in his left hand then decided he should use his right. “So what do I do?”
Shippou jogged a few yards away. “Feel out for my ki and try to visualize what it looks like, swirling around my body. There’s a point at which the aura clashes with the air, the point where my ki tears at the atmosphere. That’s the Wound of the Wind. Aim the sword at that and bring it down.”
“You WILL hop out of the way, right?!” Yousuke asked, getting nervous.
“No, Baka, I want you to kill me. OF COURSE I’LL JUMP OUT OF THE WAY!” Laughter from behind him made Shippou jump prematurely.
“Shippou-kun, you’re still a lousy teacher,” Nanaka chided him.
He closed his eyes and ignored her. ‘Who am I protecting again?’ he thought, annoyed. Nanaka watched in awe as the two boys practiced. The legendary sword she read about in the Sengoku O Togi Zoushi her parents wrote was more amazing than she had imagined.
The session didn’t last long. A strong gust of wind, so tight and forced by youki that it was visible cut through one of Yousuke’s Kaze no Kizu attacks.
“Kagura!” Shippou shouted as he saw the wind user descend on her huge feather. Nanaka hovered her hand over the kunai under her breastplate.
“Relax. I’m not here to kill you, yet.” She jumped down delicately and tapped her shoulder with her fan. “He can’t see me this far away.”
Shippou gnashed his teeth. ‘So Naraku is behind this!’ he thought angrily. ‘But how!?’
“Where’s Misora!?” Yousuke shouted, pointing Tetsusaiga at her.
She blinked a few times. Her eyes wandered from the sword to the ears on top of his head. “Ohohoho!” she cackled. “This gets better and better!”
“Kagura!” Shippou growled, “Quit fucking around!”
She totally ignored him. “I’d like to invite you to our cozy castle. If you want your precious sister back, follow me!” She extended the fan and took off on the wind. Nanaka and Yousuke mounted Kirara and Shippou transformed and they chased after her.
The vines coiled and slithered sickeningly in anticipation. “I can feel it. It’s coming,” Naraku whispered his voice ragged like a broom sweeping a stone floor. “I must have it soon, Sorako. You won’t disappoint me, will you?”
The white haired young woman bowed lightly and left the room.
As the sky lightened they could see the clearing ahead. “Whooo,” Nanaka frowned. “The jaki coming from that place…”
Shippou nodded his huge head. “Mm. He’s in there all right.”
“He?” Nanaka asked but Shippou raced ahead and returned to his humanoid form.
“Nanaka, you read the Togi Zoushi, right?” Yousuke asked as they dismounted in front of the castle.
“Of course,” she answered snobbishly, “My family WROTE it, remember?”
Yousuke ignored her attitude. “You remember who Kagura worked for: the man who could see what she was up to, who used to hide out in castles surrounded by an evil aura?” He stared at the seemingly abandoned palace.
“Well, well, well, it seems we have company, Sorako-chan,” Kagura called down from the roof. Below her the white haired girl slid a door open and walked out as if this meeting were truly a social call. She pulled Toukijin out of a sheath on her back and prepared to fight. It was clear she had only one target.
“You guys look for Misora. I’ll take out Sorako.”
Shippou and Nanaka nodded. They sprang up onto the roof and confronted Kagura.
“You won’t get off so easy now.” Kagura smirked. “I’ve got to put on a good show.”
“How did he survive!?” Shippou barked. “I saw Inuyasha kill him. Miroku’s Kaazana healed and everything!”
Kagura shuddered. “How can you possibly kill something that evil?” she asked back. “There’s not much left of him and he’s taken to vegetable matter over youkai parts this time around, but with big brother’s half of the Shikon no Tama he’ll have all he needs to make a comeback,” she scoffed. “It’s my job, guys. I have to make sure you don’t get in the way.” Kagura raised her fan and their fight began.
Yousuke squinted at Sorako and unsheathed Tetsusaiga. “I can feel her. My sister’s in there. If you don’t let me through, I will kill you.” His voice was steely in its conviction. His hands did not tremble. ‘Dad, Mom,’ he thought. ‘I’m going to win. I’m going to bring Misora home.’ The boy called White Lightning raised his father’s and grandfather’s fang and charged his opponent.
Shippou pulled a handful of leaves from a pocket inside his kimono. With amazing skill he sent each flying at Kagura. She prepared to simply wave them away, but Nanaka was on top of it. When the wind user moved to open her fan she was aggravated to find it was tied shut. Nanaka smirked and pulled the wires, stretching Kagura’s arm out towards her. The leaves burst into blue flames as they reached her.
“Kuso!” she wailed in pain. “Do you think that’s all I have?!” Kagura pulled one of her earrings off and threw it at the wire. It snapped it, forcing Nanaka to jump back. Kagura conjured up a whirlwind and set it on Shippou. He tried to fake left, but it swallowed him up. Kirara snarled and leapt at Kagura, who laughed and with one flick of her fan sent her tumbling over the roof, knocking the wind out of her.
“Shippou, Kirara!” Nanaka shouted and whipped her kunai at Kagura. Without batting an eye she flicked the blades away and drew three needles from her hair.
“I have a present for you, little shinobi girl!”
Nanaka snickered as she dodged the needles. “I told you before, Kagura. Poison doesn’t affect me!” One of them grazed her cheek.
Kagura laughed from behind her fan. “Oh? I though it was poison from the islands that you were immune to. This little gem is from the main land, dear.”
Nanaka clenched her teeth but decided to call Kagura’s bluff. She raced in and withdrew her katana. Her vision blurred and she lost her footing. Kagura’s laugh echoed off the rooftop. She raised her fan and blew Nanaka off the roof.
“Nanaka!” Shippou cried from within the whirlwind. ‘I gotta get outta here!’ he thought wildly as he was chewed up by the sharp winds. ‘Nanaka…’ He could see Sango and Miroku’s faces if he had to tell them he couldn’t save their daughter. ‘No…’ Shippou put all his cards on the table. ‘I won’t let that happen!’ He transformed, breaking the whirlwind but rending his flesh in the process. He jumped off the roof and changed back. His clothes were tattered and bloody. “Nanaka?” he called and ran around the building to where she had fallen.
Yousuke cringed as the force of Toukijin came down on Tetsusaiga. It was such an evil sword it almost smelled bad. He could see the waves of jaki coming off of it, but strangely nothing from the girl attacking him. “What the hell are you?” he asked, astounded. “Are you a bourei or something? You don’t stink like the dead, but you don’t give off any ki energy…”
Sorako ignored him and pressed harder. Her hollow eyes were creeping him out. Yousuke pushed her away and prepared for another attack.
“Yousuke!” Shippou shouted. “Nanaka’s been hurt!”
He looked to his friend out of the corner of his eye. “Shippou!” he cried when he saw the shape he was in.
Kagura cackled from the rooftops. “Come on, Sorako-chan, hurry up. I’m bored of this.”
“Shippou, get Nanaka out of here! I’ll follow when I finish up with this little nuisance.” He turned his attention back to Sorako, ending discussion on the subject. Confident in him, Shippou scooped Nanaka up, put her on Kirara’s back and they flew away from the palace.
“Sorako-chan, I’m bored too,” Yousuke growled and cracked the knuckles of his left hand. “This ends now.” He hefted the sword up with one hand and watched Toukijin’s jaki clash with the air. “Kaze no Kizu!”
Kagura hopped out of the way just as the attack slammed into the building. “Damn it,” she hissed. “I forgot about that. I wonder if Sorako made it...”
Sorako’s legs stuck out from under some of the destroyed wall. Yousuke made sure that Sorako wasn’t waiting for him to let his guard down and rushed into through the huge hole he had made in the wall. “Misora!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. The jaki inside was a hundred times worse than out. He covered his face with his sleeve and raced through the building. “Why do I get the feeling she’s down where the stink is coming from?!” he groaned.
Sure enough in the last and only lit chamber, his sister lay on the floor on a thin futon. He was relieved, but a slight movement from the corner turned his blood to ice. Sheer horror overcame him. Even in the near darkness, he could see a huge, bulbous and writhing thing. On top of the evil aura that assaulted his nose it smelled like a compost heap in late august. “Omae wa… Naraku,” he whispered, becoming nauseous.
“So it’s true,” Naraku hissed in his sandpaper voice. “You are the son of the man who killed me…”
“I’ll kill you again,” Yousuke faltered, his senses getting overloaded.
“Not today, little boy. Go ahead. Take her. She’s what you came for, isn’t she?”
Not one to argue with the powers of darkness, Yousuke gathered her up into his arms and run as fast as his feet would carry him out of the palace and into the night.
Kagura watched from the opposite side entrance. “You let him go?”
Naraku made a sound that could be construed as a laugh. “He’ll be back.”
Dashing over rocks and around trees, Yousuke followed the scent of Shippou’s blood. The kitsune had been pretty heavily wounded by Kagura’s cyclone attack, but he was a youkai; Yousuke wasn’t worried about him. It was the cold, unmoving girl in his arms he was starting to panic about.
Just a couple hundred yards from the entrance to a cave Shippou’s scent was coming from, Yousuke stopped and put his hand to his sister’s neck. Her skin was cold and dry and no noticeable pulse fluttered under his fingers. She was also not breathing.
“Misora…?” he whispered and touched her face.
Nanaka was sweating profusely as the poison worked its way through her system. Shippou wiped her face with a shred of his shirt and whispered to her. ‘What am I going to do?!’ he thought. ‘I can’t help her at all…’ “Nanaka, hang in there. You can fight this. I know you can,” he lied. Kirara mewed pitifully at her side. Shippou lowered his head. “I’m scared too, Kirara.”
“Shi… Shippou-kun…” the shinobi breathed.
“I’m right here,” he said and took her hand. She squeezed back.
“I’m sorry, I never…”
“Shhh… Save your strength.”
“But I want to tell you…”
“I know,” he smiled and smoothed her damp hair away from her face. “Me too.” A few moments later, she slipped into unconsciousness. Before Shippou had time to panic, Yousuke appeared at the entrance to the cave. He dumped something Shippou couldn’t make out in the early morning light on the ground and collapsed on the opposite side.
“Is Nanaka all right?”
“…” The kitsune didn’t bother to hide the tears in his eyes. “No. She’s got a fever and I don’t think she’s going to live…”
Yousuke’s eyes widened. He grabbed his backpack and rummaged through it. Sure enough, his mother had packed him a small bottle of aspirin. “Give her three of these!” he shouted and scrambled over to her with a half empty bottle of water he had in his bag. It wasn’t easy, but they managed to feed her the pills.
“Will it help?” Shippou asked, still clutching the girl’s hand.
“It’ll bring the fever down. The rest is up to her. She’s immune to poison, isn’t she?”
Shippou nodded. “Most poisons.” He looked to the cave entrance and finally made out what Yousuke had dropped on his way in. “Ah! Did you find your sister?” he asked, hopefully.
“Yeah.” Yousuke replied, not meeting his friend’s eyes. He leaned against the cave wall again. “She’s dead.”
The color went out of Shippou’s face. “It can’t be…” Yousuke didn’t respond. “I’m so sorry, Yousuke.”
The boy hugged his knees and wept silently into his torn and dirty uniform pants. ‘What am I gonna do…?’ he thought. ‘Mom and Dad…’ Naraku’s sense-memory flooded him suddenly and he shuddered. Anger and hatred boiled through his blood. ‘I’m going to kill you for sure.’ He stared at the still form of his sister’s body. ‘For once and for all.’