Introduction: Welcome to Bunny Rabbit Pajamas. I started this story a long time ago, in 2004, and decided to rewrite it in 2014. Upon a critical re-read, I realize that some of these earlier chapters are a bit clumsy, and I do return from time to time to tidy them. If you notice an inconsitency in the writing style, please know that I am always developing and trying to improve. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. I don't own any of the characters of Inuyasha. They belong to the wonderful and talented Rumiko Takahashi.
Chapter 1 | Ginjiro
Slender fingers caressed the curved back of a delicately engraved brush. Lavender, peppermint and sour body oils filled Ginjiro's nose upon inhaling the bristles. He held the back to the flame; the blue and white enamel landscape was perfectly detailed. There was a small gold plaque at the bottom of the scene, with neat, evenly spaced letters.
In the flickering light, his olive-tinted eyes drank in the beautiful object as he read the inscription.
"To Kagome." He whispered, turning the item in his hands.
"Ginjiro," another voice remarked from the dark, "Can you use this?"
The snake youkai purposefully ignored the ominous silver baboon, doing his very best to keep up his tough, mysterious facade. He plucked several strands from the brush and wrapped them around his index finger.
'From Souta,' the inscription read. He tilted the gilded letters against the firelight in wonder. How had someone achieved such fine crafstmanship?
"Hey, snake!" The wind demoness called. Ginjiro looked up, startled by Kagura's rough tone.
"Can you use that thing or what?"
"Oh," he paused for effect, "I believe I can."
Kagome Higurashi allowed a deep sigh erupt from within her and surrendered her full weight over to gravity as she plopped on to the soft grass. A groan, originating from a very deep and very tired place surfaced to her lips.
"Kagome, are you well?" Sango's face appeared in the schoolgirl's field of vision.
"You look beat," Shippou offered helpfully.
"I suffer from dog-demon-itis," The girl quipped, gazing at the sky.
"Don't we all?" Sango queried dryly.
"Actually," Kagome said, finding the strength to sit up. "I'm just really glad to be back here in the village. We must have walked 50 miles! My body aches."
Sango moved closer, taking a good look at the substitute priestess' face. "Kagome, you do look a little pale. Are you feeling sick?"
Kagome put the back of her hand on her forehead. "Huh. Maybe a little. There is something I'm a little worried about, though." She leaned in closer to Sango. "I have to go back home for two weeks this time."
A surprised look passed over Sango's face. "Two weeks! Inuyasha is not going to be happy to hear that."
"Trust me, if I could skip studying for exams, I would." Kagome sighed, pushing her bangs off her sweaty forehead.
"I give Inuyasha two and a half days until he jumps through that well to come get you." Shippou chirped from behind the girls.
Kagome turned around to face the little fox. "I was going to ask you two about that. I desparately need this time to study, otherwise I am really gonna fail," Kagome said miserably.
"So what?" Shippou asked. "Then, you can stop going to your school thing, and be with us all the time."
"I know this is impossible to believe, but I do have a life on the other side of that well." Kagome stated flatly.
Sango lightly asked, "Surely your modern friends are not nearly as clever as we?"
"Don't fish for compliments," Kagome admonished playfully, before growing serious again. "Seriously though. Distract Inuyasha."
Sango looked skeptical. "He doesn't like to leave the village when you're gone. He needs to be in sight of the well at all times."
"You've got to at least try. I'll owe you a favor. Lifetime's supply of ramen." The miko held her hand up in a solemn pledge.
Shippo jumped into her arms. "Don't go! I'll miss you too much!"
"Well, I'll certainly give it my best," Sango said, smiling as she watched Kagome give Shippou a squeeze of love.
Later, Kagome wandered in search of the hanyou, finally locating him in a tall spruce. With a whooshing gust of wind, he was beside her.
"What?" He demanded.
"I have to go back," Kagome said carefully.
She began firmly. "I'm going back for two weeks this time. I have exams to study for, and lots of things to catch up on! I'm very busy, and I definitely don't want you following me to the other side! You should stay here. I'm sure you can find something to do."
Well, that had come out way more forcefully than she had intended.
His ears twitched, and his golden eyes narrowed for a second.
"You're not mad?" Kagome asked, perplexed.
The hanyou looked away. "I don't live my life around you, you know."
"What? You don't indeed," she replied with a scoff.
"Oi, What are you trying to say?"
"Whenever I come back to the past you're always waiting there in the grove next to the well like a little pup waiting for his master!"
"Am not! You're the one always coming back to me for protection."
"Don't even lie and say you don't care, because I know better. And if you say one word more, I'll just pretend i didn't hear it." Kagome glared at Inuyasha, but it was all in jest. He turned away to return to his tree, but cast her a long sidelong glance over his shoulder first. Her first true friend in the feudal era had awakened so many sides of her she never knew existed, and she wondered how she could bear being away from him for two weeks.
When Kagome's scent disappeared, Inuyasha jumped down from the tree quickly and started east, towards the rocky Flame Thrower's Ridge.
Kikyou. She was near. That sick smell, like an orchid on the brink of death. Slightly rotten, overripe. It simultaneously appalled and attracted him. Kagome was different. Her smell was more akin to a budding flower. It was honest, pure. He didn't feel right touching her. He had done so much wrong in his life. How could he corrupt such a beautiful thing?
The sky was threatening rain, a large storm, if his nose was serving him right. He quickened his pace.
It had been difficult for him to play off Kagome's departure. He felt impossibly jealous of her modern-era life, with its "homework" and "exams." He didn't see why such simple schooling was more important than finding the Shikon no Tama. Normally he would have thrown a more convincing fit, but Kikyou's smell was maddening him. He knew he was strong, but as far as this matter went, he was at the dead priestess' mercy.
He slipped by the huts in the village swiftly. He could sense his travel companions nearby, but he altered his course to make a wide arc around them. He lurched into the growing dark, following Kikyou's sick sweetness like a fly to putrid fruit.
One long cheerful greeting from her brother and mother, one awkward session in which her grandfather tried to force strange talismans upon her, one change of clothes, and one bath later, Kagome let gravity take over again and flopped on her bed.
The softness of her futon always managed to startle her after spending cool nights on the rough forest floor in the Sengoku Jidai. She turned over, reaching for her pillow and accidentally grabbing her cat's fat behind instead.
"Buyo Buyo!" She exclaimed. "Squishy Squishy, come here, why don't you be my pillow instead!"
The cat gave her a look that she assumed was the feline version of incredulous and annoyed all tied up in one before it removed itself from the bed.
Without distractions, Kagome sat up and gazed disdainfully at her books. "I really am feeling a bit sick today," she reasoned to no one, "I shouldn't exert myself too much by cracking the books quite yet, right?"
She leaned back and stared up at the ceiling. Images of the feudal era played in front of her. Her thoughts turned to a single pair of golden eyes, hot like fire, always burning with anger, or excitement, or maybe love. She couldn't understand Inuyasha, and often wondered what drove his desire to become a full demon. Come to think of it, they never discussed that anymore. What would he be like as a full demon? Wild, she concluded. A wild dog, fickle and ruthless.
Strangely, as her thoughts wound away into sleep, she dreamed of Kikyou aglow in violet light.
Shippou perked up his adorable little ears under Sango's petting.
"Ahhhhh, Sango. That really hits the spot."
She whacked the kitsune. "Don't say things that sound like they could come out of a certain Monk's mouth."
"Eww," he giggled and snapped his tail in response. Rolling up to get a better view of Sango, he adopted a more serious tone. "How do you think we should divert Inuyasha? "
Sango ran a finger along her eyebrow, stopping to massage her temples. "I have been thinking about this, Shippou. This is a difficult task Kagome has put upon us."
"We could hide the stash of instant ramen that Kagome left him," Shippou suggested.
"With his nose? Even better than yours. He would find it right away," she countered. "Hmm. What about making up a tale about a nearby village with a demon infestation? I mean, we could walk a day in any direction and probably find any old village with a common demon problem."
Shippou laughed. "Without Kagome acting as moral compass or rumors of jewel shards, do you think he's really gonna give a rat's ass about some village?"
Sango wacked him on the head again. "Little kitsune shouldn't use such harsh language."
Shippou rubbed his lumpy noggin, about to propose another idea, when Miroku burst into the tent, grabbing his miasma-inhabited hand. His stormy eyes were serious, intent.
One word from the monk was uttered, but it was all they needed to hear.
Kagome awoke to the sound of a strange stirring in the hallway outside her bedroom. The girl glanced at the clock and noticed that it was far too late for anyone to be up. Peeking into the hallway, she squinted into the dark.
"Souta-kun?" She called softly.
Her brother's hair was tousled, his shoulders were slumped. He didn't turn when she called.
She followed him outside on to the pavilion.
"Souta!" The harsh whisper did not seem to get his attention. He trudged on, heading away from his warm bed.
"Hey!" She said a bit louder. Where was he going? What was wrong with him? Was he sleepwalking?
She ran to catch up to him inside the dark well house and saw that he was no longer there.
The well?! Had he jumped down there? How on earth?
"You good for nothing well!" She exclaimed, running to the side. "Letting people in and out as you please!? Don't you have any sense?!" She launched herself down the dark chasm and felt the nauseating lurch that propelled her backwards in time.
Wet ground met her feet. Flashes of light permeated her vision as she felt around in the pitch black. Having groped around in such darkness before, was skilled at finding the vine ladder with her fingertips. It was raining here in the Sengoku Jidai, but Kagome was so cold with fear that she hardly seemed to notice.
A soaked head of raven hair appeared at the crest of the well a few minutes later, sticking to a face that was beginning to look frantic.
"Souta!" She called, and tried to listen to an answer over the din of the falling rain.
"Inuyasha?" She called, breaking into a run towards the village. "Sango! Shippou? Miro-" A glimpse of silver fur and a sudden blow on her left shoulder made her bank hard to the left, losing her command over gravity for the third time that day.
A few seconds of mud later, Kagome regained her equilibrium and whirled around to face the man with the baboon pelt.
"Naraku," she rasped, feeling the dread creep into her face.
The baboon man stood calmly at the edge of the clearing.
Kagome was barely able to see through the rain. It was definitely Naraku, she could feel his evil miasma all around her. But there was someone with him, a small figure. Surely it could not be...
"SOUTA!" She screamed, lurching towards the pair.
Naraku retreated into the woods, and she followed desperately. The falling rain amplified his laughter all around her.
"No! SOUTA!" She screamed, scrambling through brush and mud and puddles and sticks to reach them. Her heart was pounding; her lungs screamed. Her feet felt raw and bloody, and her eyes were stinging from the rain. Where was everybody? Where was Inuyasha!?
All she saw was red blood vessels pounding on the corners of her vision, and Naraku gliding backwards impossibly fast, too fast for her.
There was a sudden and alarming sense of free fall, as if she were in a dream and the floor dropped out beneath her suddenly.
Slippery leaves licked at her arms, twigs tore at her clothing, and then, there was only the swift impact of blackness.