InuYasha and Kagome share a moment, Teijo has a discussion with a red stone, Jomei begins to walk in someone else's shoes
The Evil in Men's Hearts
Chapter 12: Midnight Trysts
How easy it is to see
the failings of others,
How hard it is to see
the failings of one's own heart.
One can winnow the faults of others
like chaff blown on a breeze.
One conceals one's own faults
Like a hunter who conceals himself in a blind,
camoflaging with sticks and leaves
---from the Dhammapada (adapted slightly)
"You don't know how glad I am to get out of that room!" she said. as they entered the bed chamber Hazuko offered them for the night. "I kept expecting Sesshoumaru to challenge Teijo to a duel, and Hakuzo to hit everybody with fox fire. What a horrid dinner. I kept expecting the jyaki enough to bring the house down. I have no idea how Rin managed to fall asleep."
InuYasha grinned. "It's sure an odd group to be trying to work together. I mean I know my brother can be an arrogant ass, but did you notice Teijo? I didn't know that type of behavior was a family trait."
"Speak for yourself, InuYasha. There are times when you get angry you can look just like Sesshoumaru." Kagome said.
"I do not look ever look like that baka," he said, giving her a look very similar to Sesshoumaru's.
She surpressed a giggle while changing out of her day clothes into something to sleep in.
"So tell me. Why were you in Hakuzo's house so long before Teijo came?"
"After we had looked at everything, we just started talking." He said, shrugging off his haori. "Sesshoumaru wanted to know if we'd been having any problems, I think. It's amazing, but ever since that bout with Magatsuhi, I think that cold heart of his finally realized that I'm the only family he's got. He told me he would help us is we ever needed it."
"So, Little Brother, I see you continue doing things the difficult way," Sesshoumaru said, as they left the library, filled with scrolls and papers scattered across the floor.
"And what is that supposed to mean. Baka?" InuYasha said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"Let's see. Not only did you choose to mate with a human, you chose a miko. Did you not find this made your life more...complicated?"
"Keh." InuYasha said. "Not much more than it was before. People had been talking and whispering about us since the beginning. Once they assumed. Now, it's just the reality they expected.
"It's not so bad in our home village. We were married publically, in the ningen way. We are accepted. Other places, well, it varies. It wasn't until this last trip out that we had any more than bad looks and gossip."
"Mated to a hanyou and still has her miko powers?" asked Matsuo, who had trailed behind them..
"That bothers some people. Fucking bastards," InuYasha said. "Tough. Her heart is still purer than anybody else's I've ever met. We faced down Naraku. We can face any thing those little bastards want to do. And that includes Jomei."
"You could come here," Matsuo suggested.
"What, and have to put up with all those Inu Youkai stuffed shirts looking down their noses at me as not fit to live, and at Kagome for being ningen and a miko?" InuYasha shook his head. "No, we'll stay in Kaede's village."
"I will stand by you if you need me," Sesshoumaru said.
"Wow," said Kagome. "I'm impressed."
She slipped into the bed, wearing a light blue sleeping yukata while waiting for InuYasha to finish getting ready. As he undressed she watched his hair cascade down his back in a white river, the silver of it accented with warmth from the lamplight.
Kagome lay on her side on the futon, watching him through half shut eyes, not wanting him to see her stare at him as he stood there and maybe make a fuss. But there were times, like now, where she was overwhelmed with how beautiful he was, how otherworldly, masculine, strong, with a sleekly controlled power that always bordered on feral wildness. His ears, twitching idly, as he picked up on sounds of Hakuzo's house settling down for the night, just enhanced the sense of wildness.
It was perfect, the way his skin glowed and the muscles rolled when he moved, making her catch her breath at his grace as he prepared for bed.. The lamplight merely added to the effect, highlighting his form. She didn't think she'd ever get enough of watching him.
"Oi, Woman, don't pretend you're asleep." he said, sitting down on the bed. "I can tell, you know."
'I wasn't pretending. I was watching you." she said rolling over on her back.
"You like what you see?" he said, smirking while he slid under the covers.
"Oh yes, very much." She turned towards him, let him wrap his arms around her while she rested her head against his shoulder.
He buried his face in her hair, surrounding her with the sweet smelll, soap and spice and Kagome, found his hand sliding up along her side, cupping her breast. Her hand reached up towards his ear, rubbing the sort triangle in just that right way.
"Don't start something you can't finish, woman." he said, huskily, as the sensation that touch created washed over him from ear to groin..
"Who says I can't finish it?" she teased.
Jomei slept uneasily beneath the full moon.
As he tossed and turned, a white fox, looking gray and silver in the moonlight, lay near his head, its forepaws crossed, as its eyes glowed watching him.
His breathing grew more agitated as he slipped back into a dream:
His sister's voice echoed out on the street, yelling for help. He and his mother ran outside, and saw the village elders standing before his sister. Her clothes had been ripped and torn, and she bore bruises that were already visible. A streak of blood trickled down her forehead. Cast to the ground, a young man pinned her there with his foot. She wept with great heaving sobs.
"Mareo-kun!" she screamed. "Mother! Help me!"
"We found her with this youkai!" the young man with his foot pinning her yelled. "She was pleasuring him in the forest!"
"Mareo-kun! Save yourself!" she sobbed, daring a glance at the youki..
"Hoshiko!" the boy Jomei yelled, struggling in his mother's arms.
His father, stern faced, in the first flush of his reaction, pushed his way through the crowd. He saw the girl lying on the ground, beaten, wounded, sobbing.His face was incredibly angry.
"Run off and become a demon's whore? My flesh did this?" he yelled. He lifted up his axe and....
Jomei found himself in a different location.
He found himself unable to move. He felt heavy, frozen, as if his limbs were made out of concrete. It did not stop the heart pounding in his ears, or the bile rising to his lips. He struggled invisibly, though the enitre time, ever since the men had burst into the meadow where he and his beloved Hoshiko had laid there together. He had been so caught up in the magic of her smile, her smell, her voice, that he had not realized they were near. They had slapped the ofuda on him before he had had a chance to react.
Rough hands pulled him away from his beloved, dragged him across the ground, bound him with ropes.
"Mareo-kun!" she cried. "Help me!"
He was raging inside, ripped apart. Immobilized, he could not even turn his head. They forced him to watch as they grabbed her by her beautiful raven hair, hit her perfect skin with their fists and feet, made her crawl. He watched in horror as they used her. He couldn't even yell, for they had sealed his lips.
"Cover yourself up, whore," one of them ordered her when they were done. "You have shamed our whole village."
Jomei snapped awake. He had been dreaming. He had been dreaming he was a youkai? The youkai who had gotten his sister killed? Sitting up, he saw the fox slink off into the trees, turning once to look directly at him, then disapearing into the shadows.
He found himself praying.
"All things change, and are without self,
No more real than the moon on water,
No more lasting than lightning,
No more substantial than shadow,
No morer permanent than dew.
Thus I prostrate myself before Amida Buddha.
"No words of evil are in his land;
No fear of evil doers, nor evil paths;
With sincere heart all beings worship him.
Thus I prostrate myself before Amida Buddha.
"I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha
"Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu,Namo Amida Butsu"
He didn't think he'd get back to sleep.
Teigo walked through the forest, surrounded by the darkness, needing to be away from the others.
Choosing a spot, a place where the moonlight cascaded down, he sat, and took out the red stone that he guarded. Holding the small stone in his hands, he could feel the energy from the stone cascade around him, gentle in its touch but fierce in its demand that he acknowledge it. It glowed with a red light beyond any reflection from the moonlight that touched it. As it gathered strength, the light cascading off the stone pulsed, throbbing like a heartbeat.
As it pulsed, wrapped around him, touching the shadowed silver of his hair with red light. The stone gave off a soft sound, almost a sigh. As the aura from the stone deepened, strengthened, Teijo could feel soft breath against his ear, tickling him. He could smell an essence that spoke of running through the woods, of moonlight, of water falling in the spring runoff, of jasmine. He closed his eyes.
He felt a warm hand enclose his, enterwining soft, graceful women's fingers around his calloused fingers.
"Nyoko..." he whispered. He knew if he opened his eyes to look, he would see nothing, the spell would be shattered. Yet he could hear the rustling of silk as she moved closer, the warmth of her, the contour of her shape, She leaned against him
"Teijo," she said, in a voice just above a whisper, like the sigh of the wind in the pines. "You have been busy, Guardian."
"Not me. Benzaiten, maybe. She moves us like stones on a go board," he replied.
"You, then are often her hand." Nyoko said.
"Perhaps. But you hold the gameboard."
"Perhaps," she said. "The Summoning has been made. The Journey begins. Next, then comes the Testing."
He shuddered, feeling her aura begin to fade."Nyoko--" he said
"Prepare," she whispered.
The stone in his hand pulsed one last time, then she was gone.