The prodigal Lynx has returned.
Just so yah know, guys, my computer hates me. I've formated/reinstalled four times since the last chapter I posted. So...yeah. Ah well, my muse is back, and I hope to finish this story out by the end of the year (haha, a girl can dream).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Chapter Twenty-One – TiesThe doors were locked.
Inuyasha growled deep in his throat, eyeing the staff table with barely contained fury. When Naraku had said that no one could leave until midnight, he certainly hadn’t been kidding. He broke his glare at the man in question to glance down at Kagome’s limp form, lying across his lap with his haori draped over her frail form. Only then did his expression soften, running a claw gently along the curve of her chin. Even in her sleep – and the obvious pain she must be experiencing – she was beautiful. How he wished he could enter her dreamscape and defend her from the voices and the pains…
A shadow fell over her form, and Inuyasha’s head snapped to the source, his lips pulled back into a fierce snarl as his arms tightened around the girl. His anger faded as he recognized the scents coming from the two covered forms, though his arms didn’t release Kagome.
Caligo knelt gingerly beside the hanyou, her bright red eyes worried behind the ornate Egyptian mask she wore. “I saw what happened, Inu. Is she…?”
Not trusting himself to speak, Inuyasha simply nodded, returning his eyes to the staff table. The Headmaster was sitting calmly in his chair, simply watching the milling students with a half-smile on his face. If he had seen Kagome’s condition, he gave no indication.
Cali stood and turned to look across the ballroom as well, her eyes narrowing. Kallos stood silently behind her, motionless and still weakened, but giving the impression of strength. Inu had the distinct impression that the show was for Caligo’s sake.
“Odd, though…” Cali muttered, so softly that Inuyasha had to twist an ear in the neko’s direction to insure that he heard what she thought was strange. “No one else seems to have noticed what happened. I just happened to glance over when I saw Kagome fall, but no one else has come over.” She tilted her head, her arms coming up to cross at her waist. “Almost like…if they didn’t actually watch it happen, they don’t know anything’s wrong.”
Inuyasha frowned, considering the girl’s words. It had annoyed him as well, that none of the others had come over. After a few minutes, he had tried to blow it off as them respecting his space, but that theory simply felt wrong. Kouga had absolutely no respect for personal boundaries…
Inuyasha grunted once, shifting Kagome into a better position on his lap. “It’s possible, cat, but that makes it even worse.” He muttered back, his gaze moving to scan the crowd. They all danced and talked and laughed, as if nothing was wrong, as if nothing strange had happened in their midst, as if…As if they had their entire lives ahead of them.
Inuyasha’s heart plummeted as the room went dark.
It was a few moments before the screams of the other students suddenly silenced, leaving the little group of four alone in the silence and darkness. Struggling with the awkward bulkiness of Kagome’s dress, Inuyasha clamored to his feet and turned to Kallos. “Oi, cat. You strong enough to hold her?” His only answer was a grunt of affirmation, and a pair of bandaged arms accepting the load from the hanyou’s arms.
“Thanks, ca- I mean, Kallos.” He grumbled, turning away to stand near Caligo, his hand moving down to grasp Tetsusaiga’s hilt. “You ready?” Cali glanced at him and smiled slightly behind her mask, her nod barely visible in the dim light from the stained glass window at the far end of the room. Heavy clouds seemed to have covered the sky, leaving only the faintest of glows from the full moon.
A faint shifting rang though the stillness that had settled over the room, drawing the trio’s eyes to the area in front of the window, where a shadow lay crouched on the floor. Inuyasha took a step forward, but a sudden hiss of anger to his right made him stop and turn.
Cali crouched down into an attack position, her hands up and gleaming claws extended. Her snarl was muted by the full mask she wore, but it was still obvious that the cat was beyond angry.
“Get up, you traitor!” She screeched, suddenly darting forward at the crouched figure, Inuyasha fast in her wake. Their intended target seemed to move in slow motion, moving into a standing position with it’s back to the light as they rushed it. It looked male from the stance and the lack of a dress that had been the standard of the evening; both the figure’s legs were clearly defined. Still, if it was male, he was very small and slender…
As Cali reached the figure, her claws swiped through air. The shadow had disappeared without even a whisper of sound. Inuyasha pulled up before running into Caligo, who had skidded to a stop on all fours, looking even more like a cat than normal. Her head flashed from side to side before she straightened again and turned, her head lifting slightly to test the air.
A hoarse laugh rang through the empty room, followed by a light thump. A shriek of pain and anger caught Inuyasha’s attention, and he turned to Cali, only to find her standing stiff, a gleaming set of claws pressed against her throat. Even this didn’t stop her furious hissing, but it was obvious she couldn’t move without risking her own life.
The same slight figure stood behind Cali, a dark hood covering it’s head. The voice that came from the hood was bone chilling, but still somewhere between genders. “You have much to worry about, hanyou, but this cat should be the least of your worries. The other students…” The figure paused to drag a ragged breath through the material of it’s hood. “…the others have been moved from this room. They deserve your worry, but…” Another ragged breath from the darkness as Inuyasha’s hand twitched on the hilt of Tetsusaiga. “…you should worry most about the frail one.”
For the second time that night, Inuyasha’s heart dropped. A single glance to Caligo’s vibrant eyes was the only encouragement he needed, and he spun, rushing back across the hall towards where he left Kallos and Kagome. Cali silently watched him go, her hands opening and closing on air, instead of around her attacker’s neck where she wanted them to be. Once his form had melded with the shadows, she dared to speak.
“How did you do it?” She whispered through gritted teeth, her eyes shifting over to try and see the figure around her mask without moving her neck. A faint chuckle issued from the hood as the claws pressed even closer. Cali winced as she felt her skin break around the needle-like point of the figure’s middle finger, and watched with morbid fascination as a thin trickle of blood ran down the claw, only to be absorbed into the glove that hid the figure’s hand.
“It’s…not what you think, cat, and it certainly wasn’t easy. Still, being demon-like is awfully fun, don’t you agree?”
Cliffy, yes. And no, that's not the third spirit. This is an interlude of sorts, as well as a bit of foreshadowing. My muse is goofy like that sometimes. *pets muse, who is now chained to her desk*