You Lose Not By Loving, But Holding Back
'Kill the girl.' Naraku's voice echoed in Kohaku's mind. Kohaku twitched, and his grip tightened on his kusarigama. Kohaku stood and turned around to face Sesshoumaru.
"Oh-ho…" Sesshoumaru said. He dropped Katsumi. She hit the ground with a thud, but she didn't even flinch. She was out cold. "You plan to oppose me, huh…" Sesshoumaru said, flexing his claws. Kohaku raised his weapon and inched forward.
"Kohaku! What're you doing, bastard!" Inuyasha yelled as he rushed forward and punched Kohaku aside before things took a turn for the worse. Kohaku landed a few feet away, with a thud. Sesshoumaru stayed where he was, gauging the situation.
"Ah…" Kagome said as she ran up and checked on Rin. "It's okay, she's… just fainted, that's all…!" Kagome said as she looked up at Sesshoumaru. She noticed Katsumi was lying on the ground beside him, unconscious. 'Eh…? Katsumi-chan… What happened to her?' Kagome thought. Kagome glanced down at the small girl she was holding. 'Katsumi-chan told me before that she had someone she needed to protect… could it be this girl…?'
'We made it, huh…' Inuyasha thought with relief.
"You heard what she said, Sesshoumaru. So don't touch Kohaku!" Inuyasha said.
"…" Sesshoumaru said as he glanced at Rin and then Kohaku. "You're wasting your time, Inuyasha. Even if you protect him… It seems that kid wants to be caught by my claws, no matter what."
"!" Inuyasha said when Kohaku stood back up, ready to fight. Kohaku inched forwards again. 'Ugh. This is Naraku's suggestion too, huh… to provoke Sesshoumaru, and die by his hand…' Inuyasha thought.
Kohaku hurled the Scythe at Sesshoumaru.
"Damn!" Inuyasha said as he blocked the scythe. He didn't need Kohaku to give Sesshoumaru another reason to attack him. "!" Inuyasha said in surprise when Sesshoumaru suddenly appeared in front of him, holding Kohaku up by his neck.
"To fend off the kid's weapon… I didn't know you thought so well of me." Sesshoumaru said to Inuyasha.
"What the fuck are you gibbering on about. Let go of him, or I'll rip you apart, you bastard!" Inuyasha yelled as he pointed Tessaiga at Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru tightened his grip on Kohaku's neck.
"Don't do it, Sesshoumaru!" Kagome pleaded.
'This kid… is showing neither pain, nor fear. It's unsatisfying, this expression of his…' Sesshoumaru thought as he stared into Kohaku's vacant eyes. Sesshoumaru loosened his grip on Kohaku and let the boy drop to the ground.
"…" Inuyasha said, slightly stunned that Sesshoumaru had actually done as they asked.
"Uh…" Rin groaned as she started to regain consciousness.
"Ah… you're awake!" Kagome said.
"Ah… Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin shouted happily when she saw that he had come for her. Rin heard rustling, and she noticed that Kohaku was sitting on the ground in front of Sesshoumaru. "!" Rin said in surprise. "Kohaku…" Rin said sadly when she remembered what had happened. Kohaku stood up and ran away.
'… Not going after him, huh…' Inuyasha thought as he kept an eye on Sesshoumaru, who was silently watching Kohaku leave. "!" Inuyasha said when a strong gust of wind blew. Kagura flew up from behind the trees on her feather. Kohaku was with her.
"Kagura…" Inuyasha said. He hadn't noticed her scent. Rin noticed something was lying on the ground a few feet away… it was Katsumi. Her black kimono had made it harder to see her in the dark.
"Ah! Katsumi-nee!" Rin cried as she ran to her. "Are you alright, Katsumi-nee!?" Rin tried to shake Katsumi awake, but Katsumi looked dead to the world.
"Keh, she probably just used up too much energy when she made that kekkai earlier… She'll wake-up on her own, once she's slept it off." Inuyasha said.
"Ah, here… if you're worried, wave this under her nose, it's the only thing that'll snap her out of it." Kagome said as she pulled a small chocolate candy out of her skirt's pocket and handed it to Rin. "She's going to be really hungry, once she wakes up."
"Thank you!" Rin said as she took the candy from Kagome. She was glad to know her Katsumi-nee would be all right. Sesshoumaru watched as Rin crouched down beside Katsumi and unwrapped the chocolate.
'What a curious smell… is that a type of medicine?' Sesshoumaru thought when the chocolaty scent wafted in his direction. Sesshoumaru had never smelled anything like it before. Katsumi's nose twitched when Rin held the chocolate out to her.
"Chocolate…!?" Katsumi yelled as she immediately shot into an upright sitting position, her eyes wide. She glanced around the clearing to see that Rin was the one holding the chocolate, and she looked incredibly happy and relieved. Sesshoumaru was watching her with an aloof expression on his face, Kagome was smiling at her, and Inuyasha was shaking his head at her.
"You're alright!" Rin said happily. Katsumi smiled at Rin.
"I'm sorry, Rin. I didn't mean to worry you. I'm just really tired, I'll need to rest again once we get back." Katsumi said as she hugged Rin.
"That nice Onee-san said to give you this." Rin said as she handed Katsumi the chocolate. Katsumi took the candy and squealed in delight. She gave Kagome a look that expressed her gratitude with the intensity of a thousand suns. There were practically sparkles floating around her. It reminded Kagome of the same look a puppy, that belonged to one of her friends, had given her when she gave it a treat. It was quite cute.
"You know how much I love you, right Kagome?" Katsumi said. Sesshoumaru's eyebrow twitched.
"Keh. I don't get how you can like that stuff so much. It makes me sick." Inuyasha said.
"That's because dogs are allergic to chocolate." Katsumi said as she popped the candy into her mouth. A vein popped on Inuyasha's forehead.
"Stop treating me like a dog!" Inuyasha yelled. "Besides, you're just as much of a dog as I am!"
"… Huh… That's true. Now I really don't get why you don't like it." Katsumi said.
"Um… thank you… for forgiving Kohaku-kun…" Kagome said to Sesshoumaru.
"Kohaku-kun…?" Katsumi asked. Thanks to her little nap, she had missed all the action.
"That kid, was trying to make me kill him." Sesshoumaru said. He found this whole affair distasteful. Naraku had a lot of guts to try to manipulate him so.
"Sesshoumaru, you… noticed, huh." Inuyasha said.
"It's only that I didn't want to fulfill Naraku's stupid expectation." Sesshoumaru said as he started to walk away. Rin immediately ran after him, pulling Katsumi along with her.
"Ah…" Kagome said, slightly surprised.
"Goodbye!" Rin yelled.
"See you, around!" Katsumi said, waving goodbye with her free hand.
"She's really going with him…" Kagome said as she and Inuyasha watched them leave, slightly stunned.
"Katsumi-nee… Why wouldn't you wake up?" Rin asked as they walked.
"Well… it seems that when I use too much energy up, I fall into a deep sleep... I think it's some kind of built-in defense mechanism." Katsumi explained. "It's happened a few times before… Though, in the past it was because I had to heal others or myself…" 'I don't know how I managed to make that barrier, or why it drained me like that…' Katsumi thought.
"It's a good thing that Onee-san had that medicine!" Rin said. Katsumi laughed.
"That wasn't medicine, Rin. It was a sweet, a type of dessert from my homeland." Katsumi explained. "I'm kind of addicted to it." Katsumi said, smiling wryly. It wasn't really a joke. Katsumi was a serious chocoholic.
"Oh… well, I'm glad you're alright!" Rin said. Katsumi smiled at Rin.
"Me too, Rin. Thanks for worrying about me." Katsumi said. She felt her eyelids growing heavier. "Darn, it looks like I've just about used up the energy I got from that chocolate… Don't be scared if I suddenly fall asleep, Rin. I'll wake up once I've recharged."
"Okay, I won't be scared this time." Rin promised, smiling. Sesshoumaru stopped walking and looked up to the sky. Ah-Un came flying towards them and landed on the ground in front of Sesshoumaru.
"Get on." He told Katsumi. Katsumi nodded, too tired to form words now, as she climbed onto Ah-Un's back and drifted off to sleep.
Katsumi slowly opened her eyes, and squinted against the brightness of the sun. She was laying on soft grass in a meadow. Some birds were chirping as they flew overhead. Katsumi lifted herself up into a sitting position and stretched.
"Katsumi-nee's awake!" Rin yelled excitedly as she dropped the flowers she'd been collecting and ran over to her. "Are you better now, Katsumi-nee? You slept for two whole days!" Katsumi's eyes widened.
"… Two days…?" Katsumi asked, stunned. She'd never slept that long before. Rin nodded.
"Jaken-sama didn't think you would wake up again, but I knew you would!" Rin said brightly. Katsumi smiled at Rin and laughed.
"Yep, you were right, Rin. Where are Sesshoumaru-sama and Jaken? Have you eaten yet?" Katsumi asked.
"Rin doesn't know where Sesshoumaru-sama and Jaken-sama went, and I was just starting to get hungry, so I haven't eaten yet." Rin said.
"Okay, then. How about we both go get some food, then. I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse!" Katsumi said. Rin giggled at how dramatic her Katsumi-nee was.
Rin stared at Katsumi in amazement. She had thought Katsumi had been exaggerating her hunger, but she had just finished her second whole wild boar, and was working on the third. Rin had finished eating long ago, and was now entertaining herself by watching Katsumi eat the huge amount of food she had gathered for herself. Just then, Sesshoumaru and Jaken returned from wherever they had gone.
"Ah, Sesshoumaru-sama! Katsumi-nee woke up!" Rin informed him cheerfully.
"Hmph… I thought for sure we'd be holding your funeral soon." Jaken huffed at Katsumi.
"Hey, don't kill me off so easily! I'm too stubborn to die." Katsumi said, whacking the imp on the head.
"You—!" Jaken yelled indignantly.
"Katsumi." Sesshoumaru said.
"Yes…?" Katsumi asked hesitantly. Sesshoumaru's tone sounded extra serious.
"Come. Jaken, stay here and watch Rin." Sesshoumaru said, and he turned around and left again. Katsumi got up and followed Sesshoumaru, curious about what he wanted to talk to her about. Once Sesshoumaru thought they had gone far enough away to give them sufficient privacy, he stopped, and turned around to face Katsumi.
"I heard." Sesshoumaru said simply. Katsumi stared at him in confusion, not understanding what he meant.
"Heard what…?" Katsumi asked.
"When you told Naraku how you felt about me." Sesshoumaru clarified. Katsumi looked like a deer caught in the headlights. She felt like one too. "You should know, I cannot return your feelings."
'… Well, that was painfully blunt…' Katsumi thought. She had known how impossible it was that Sesshoumaru would return her feelings, but it still hurt to actually hear his rejection. Her heart was going to need a lot of duct-tape to keep it from shattering to pieces. Sesshoumaru wasn't sure what to make of Katsumi's silence. The happy and energetic girl had never been so quiet before. Sesshoumaru didn't want Katsumi to act so foolishly as to almost get herself killed again, so he had decided to confront her about it. Sesshoumaru knew that he had crossed a line, and they could never go back now… but it hadn't occurred to him until just now, when he saw how crushed she was, that Katsumi might not even want to follow him anymore… This was not the first time he had rejected someone, however, he had grown too accustomed to her presence to think that she would ever leave, but now…
"You are free to leave, if that is what you desire…" Sesshoumaru said. He felt an unfamiliar emotion surface once he said those words. Sesshoumaru didn't know what it was, but he felt conflicted about the thought of her leaving. Katsumi's head snapped up and she stared at him in shock. She felt a tear stream down her face.
"Wha…?" Katsumi said numbly. She didn't think he'd actually tell her to leave.
"I do not expect you to stay with someone who has hurt you." Sesshoumaru said. "No doubt… my rejection will make you come to… hate me." Katsumi shook her head and wiped her eyes.
"I don't hate you…" Katsumi said. "… I don't think I ever really could… It hurts that you don't love me back, and to you, I may be little better than a hanyou, but for me… these feelings will never change. So, please, let me stay by your side… It's all right if you cannot return my feelings. You can't help who you fall in love with." Katsumi said as she put on a brave face and smiled softly at him. It was a sad and gentle smile, filled with her love for him.
"…" Sesshoumaru said as he stared back at her. Sesshoumaru looked away, and began walking back to where he left the others, leaving Katsumi standing by herself. Katsumi closed her eyes tightly and tried to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. He was leaving her. "You are free to follow me, if that is what you choose…" Sesshoumaru said, not looking back. Katsumi spun around and stared at him, eyes wide in astonishment. Sesshoumaru had never hesitated to leave any of them behind before. Katsumi shook her head, snapping herself out of it as she ran after him.
"Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Katsumi said happily, relieved she could still be beside her beloved.
Heheh, this would be a good place to end the story, huh? Don't worry, I'm not that evil. There will be a new chap soon. I intend to go all the way through to the end of the manga.
This is basically the outlook Katsumi has taken for her love for Sesshoumaru:
"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be." (author unknown)