Title: The Broken Portal Saiyuki Version
Author: Tsubasa Kya
Disclaimer: This fan fiction is dedicated to feathergriffin who asked me to write it.
Full Metal Alchemist—Don't own
YuYu Hakusho—Don't own
Excel Saga—Don't own
Ghost Hunt—Don't own
NOTE: Sorry it took so long to get this chapter out, guys. Thanks for waiting so patiently. I've been dreading writing this chapter, but finally it is out! FMA version next chapter is partially written, and GH version is being thought about... ES version gives me nightmares, and YYH version makes me want to scream... Oi, what a mess I've made! Hope you enjoy part nine of SSR version! - TK
When she woke up, she was in a soft bed, though she didn't know where. It was very comfortable in comparison to anything she'd slept in for the past month. As she sat up, heavenly sheets made of satin slid down to her waist. A quick glance allowed her a sigh of relief as she was still fully clothed, though those beads were (as usual) slightly uncomfortable to lie on.
A glance around showed her promising signs of being back in her time. An alarm clock was plugged into a wall behind a western-style night stand, reading, "9:32 AM," in bright neon green lights. Beside the standing digital clock was a two-foot tall table lamp, also plugged in to an electrical outlet. She guessed it was one of those three-setting lamps, or else it just had a really weak light bulb because it was on but wasn't giving off much more than a night-light glow.
Across the room were more tell-tale signs of the modern era. She looked gratefully at them, reveling in the fact that she just might have made it home. She was pointedly ignoring the fact that she didn't have the Shikon no Tama (she sort of needed that in order to protect it, right?).
A tall, important looking desk was home to a particularly tidy looking computer that didn't appear to need to be plugged into the wall and definitely looked more portable than the clunky desktop computer her brother gave her as a present three years earlier. Naru had offered to give her something newer to occupy her during her 'sick days' but she had declined the offer. She really didn't use the first one he gave her and wouldn't feel right taking a new one.
The desk was as tidy as the computer seemed to be, not a drawer out of place and the rolling computer chair was pushed neatly into place. A dresser made of polished mahogany (like all the other wood furniture was made of) was placed carefully out of the way beside a locking file cabinet. The bed she was lying in was a western-style four-poster bed, pushed neatly into the corner of the room for ample floor space.
A closet was marked with double mirror-doors. One of the doors was open to reveal neatly hung clothing (ironed clothing, by the look of their well-kempt state). Space-saver drawers were lined along the bottom of the closet, and a shoe-closet hung on the rail beside the clothes.
She pushed back the white satin sheets, pleased to find she wasn't tied up and gagged. She'd woken up to find herself kidnapped enough times to realize that being tied up and gagged was a tell-tale sign of "Situation: Not Good". The bag the old man had given her was lying on the floor beside the bedside table. She and the bag were pretty much the only things out of place in the room.
It did seem like a slightly sad room to be in. The white walls held no pictures or hangings. It seemed like a very professional person lived there, one who cared nothing of personal items. But on the other hand, it was a slightly sad, very professional room that seemed to belong in the modern era! And she wasn't tied up, gagged, and other than a strange marking on her right wrist that looked almost like a black flame licking up her arm in a vine-like pattern, she wasn't any different than she'd been a month ago.
Actually, that was inaccurate… a month ago, she had been preparing for a major battle with Naraku, so she really was in a sort of different position now.
She grabbed her satchel and pulled it over her shoulder, the beads of the strange gypsy-like clothes clicking a bit as she moved. The clothes had once been on the cuter side, at least until they became dirt stained and slightly bloody (young Goku's blood, for the most part was on the skirt).
If she was home, she could finally take a real bath, eat some of her mother's wonderful oden, and maybe, just maybe she could happily go shopping, do a bit of gossiping, and pry into the love-lives of her two younger brothers (especially Naru's! It was so fun to torment the seventeen-year-old!).
She went to the door that she assumed led out of the bedroom and tested the doorknob (a modern door that swung instead of slid, oh sweet doors). It wasn't locked—further proof that she must not be kidnapped. She carefully opened the door and poked her head into the room beyond, stretching her senses out for the presence of anyone else. Someone was in a room beyond the next one, but other than that, no one else seemed to be present.
As she entered what looked to be a living room, she noticed a very impressive, thin television mounted on the wall, a wide, leather couch that looked like it had never been sat on before, many electrical standing lamps, a neat stereo system, and many more modern objects of a carefully chosen nature. This room also looked very professional, but there was a single portrait hanging on the wall that she chose to indulge in viewing.
She crossed the room and found herself pleasantly surprised to be looking at a picture of herself with a few others, and she recognized all the other faces too! She stood in the middle of the picture, a proud seventeen year old wearing the school uniform as always. Her younger brother Naru stood (only fifteen, of course) beside her, not smiling as was normal for him not to do. Her baby brother Souta was clearly the youngest in the photo, hanging off the back of a tall man who was older than Kagome by four years, making him six years older than Naru.
Kagome nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard a soft voice somewhere close by. There hadn't been anyone in the room earlier, that was for certain! A quick spread of her miko senses told her she definitely was alone in the room. No spirits, no invisible kidnapping demons, no humans…just her. So where was the voice coming from? It was too quiet to discern the words, but just loud enough to be an annoying murmur.
The door on the other side of the room was half-open. She tiptoed across the room and leaned against the wall. The closer she got, the easier it was to hear the other person and soon words could be picked out. She thought she ought to remember the voice, but she'd met so many people in her short nineteen years that she just couldn't recall it, and the person it belonged to couldn't be seen in the space of the open doorway.
"—showed up, of all places, on the roof. If I had not been in the office, I wouldn't even know. As it was, I had an experiment up on the roof that needed to be checked, and found her there." The person paused, and Kagome thought they might be talking on a phone or something. "Yes," they said and paused again. "No, it wouldn't be a problem. I can talk to her about it when she wakes up." The person was talking about her? Uh-oh, maybe she ought to just leave… but then again, she probably knew them judging by the photo on the wall with her, her brothers, and her brother's closest friend from college.
"Yes, I will. Goodbye," the person said and there was a BEEP noise, like a phone being turned off. She heard soft shuffling and knew there was no way to avoid her presence being found out, so she did the best thing she could think of and pushed the door open.
Kagome was both pleased and relieved to find out she knew the person walking toward the door. A smile lit her face. "Lin," she chirped, "of all the people!" Lin smiled one of those tiny smiles she knew was rare for the Chinese man. His straight black hair had grown a bit since the last time they saw each other two years ago, and she didn't find it surprising that she didn't recognize his voice. Two years was a long time, especially for her. She'd met more people in two years than most people did in their lives.
"Miss Kagome," he said, his hair falling to cover his right eye. He never seemed to fix that, or at least she'd never known him to fix it, however every so often it somehow ended up behind his ear only to fall in his face again. She had a faint suspicion it was magic, jokingly of course. "I am pleased to see you awake. Are you feeling alright?"
She recalled the phone conversation from the previous moment and knew it was going to be difficult to create a cover story as to why she was on a roof—unconscious most likely since the last thing she recalled was falling onto a skyscraper and nothing else. She couldn't exactly claim Alzheimer's like her grandfather could. "I am," she nodded. "Who were you talking to?" she questioned, hoping to get away from the 'health' questions before she ended up making up some insane story that successfully landed her in a mental ward.
"I just called Naru," he tilted his head slightly. "He is most interested to know why his delicate sister seems to have escaped from the hospital to be found unconscious on his company's rooftop. Your health worries him, Miss Kagome."
Kagome almost made good use of that pretty little vocabulary that Inuyasha was so fond of right then and there. She managed to hold that in and slapped an apologetic smile on her face, even as she thought of wicked things to do to her grandfather. 'I can just picture it! Grandfather probably went telling Naru I was in some hospital somewhere and now Naru probably thinks I am some escape artist or something as well as being a walking miracle!' she raged mentally.
"Sorry, Lin, I don't mean to be so troublesome," she apologized. It was on her mother's orders that they not tell Naru about her time-traveling days, especially since he was their main bread-winner for the most part with his computer company. Naru was practically a child prodigy, had graduated high school at a ridiculously young age, gone through college, and then with the help of some others like Lin, had gone into the computer business. He was in college already when Kagome was first pulled into the well, and her mother didn't want Naru worrying so they decided to hide it.
Unfortunately, that meant that Naru thought his big sister was frail and had impossible diseases. That also meant that his friends (like Lin) would think that as well. She hadn't seen Naru since the day she met Lin, either, so he would have grown up a lot from when the picture on Lin's wall was taken.
She felt like magically teleporting to her grandfather's side and whacking him with a rolled up newspaper, but sadly she didn't have any secret teleportation spells or devices (yet, but she was definitely thinking of investing!) on hand.
"Naru went home this week to spend time with you," Lin added, "but was informed rather belatedly that you were hospitalized. He said if he had known sooner, he would have come to the hospital to see you, as his inner-city apartment is not that far from the hospital you've been at," oh it wasn't, was it?
Kagome threw her lip out in a pout. She did wish she could go home and spend some time with him, but Lin probably was going to pack her up in a corndog roll and take her right back to the hospital she was 'supposedly' staying at. "I feel fine," she said. "Really, Lin, I'm a big girl you know. They said I was well enough to check myself out and so I did." If he never asked about how she ended up on a rooftop, so be it, she wouldn't offer the answer.
Again, Lin offered her a rare smile. "If you feel up to it, I can drive you back home."
She squealed and leapt towards him, hugging the tall, well-dressed man. She always knew there was a reason to like Lin. He didn't seem to ask too many questions! "Thank you, Lin! And when we get home, I'll make sure you get some of my mama's oden too!"
He laughed softly. "Just give me a few minutes and we'll take my van."
He left her in the room and she checked her bag to make sure all the things she'd had were still present. They were, but if Lin had checked her bag she was sure he would have asked why a hospital patient had a dagger of all things. (She was mental, she just refused to admit it.) Since he didn't ask, she figured he hadn't looked in the bag.
She smiled and waited patiently. The room she was in was Lin's kitchen and dining room. Like the rest of his apartment, it was nothing short of professional looking, with no knife or napkin out of place. A few minutes later and they were on the road. She remembered trips taking the subway to the inner city of Tokyo from the small rural-like community she lived in took almost all day, but with Lin driving a direct route that didn't snake all over the city before heading out to her transit stop, the drive was much shorter and they were there well before lunch.
She dragged Lin into the house, happy to be home. "Mama! Souta, Grandpa! I'm home!" she said, throwing the bag on the floor by the front door as Lin removed his shoes and placed them neatly by the front door.
Squealing was followed immediately by rushed feet and then a young figure practically bowled Kagome into the neighbors (talented…) but she managed to steady Souta before they could get hurt (or actually leave the house). "Big sister!" Souta laughed. "I knew it, I knew you were okay!"
Kagome winked at him, a silent sign that the boy wasn't to talk about the tiny ability she had to travel through time to some strange era where demons and half-breeds were rampant. "Nothing can keep me down!" she told him seriously.
"Naru's home, Kagome!" Souta giggled. "And," his voice became conspiratorial, "he brought his girlfriend!"
Kagome sighed happily. "Ah, sweet music to my ears," she said. Souta took a step back, noticed Lin, and squealed happily again before going to attack Lin. The tall man was prepared to catch the boy—Lin could probably remember the last time he was unprepared and he and Souta went flying down the shrine staircase!
"Darling?" her mother asked curiously, exiting the kitchen with a towel in her hands, wiping them dry. "Ah, Lin," she smiled at the man, "you're welcome to stay for lunch if you like. It's almost ready."
"Thank you, ma'am," he then shook his head, "is Naru available?"
"No, not at the moment. I sent him to town to pick up a few groceries," she glanced at Kagome, "and Grandpa is pretending to clean out the attic. He keeps saying there are spirits up there. Maybe you could convince him to come down?"
Kagome giggled. "Well, I can try," she promised. "After that, I hope you don't mind, but I need a bath before lunch!" Her mother agreed that would be a good idea. Before Kagome disappeared up the stairs, she caught a glimpse of Souta dragging Lin into the living room for some one-on-one with some random console game.
It was good being home, really it was. Kagome hadn't been home in so long that she could immediately tell what things had been changed and what remained as it always used to be. The stairs and upper hallway had been carpeted since her last time home. The upper hallway used to have a flower-print wallpaper, but the wallpaper had since been removed and the natural wood walls were all that remained, a light brown color and more friendly than she ever felt with the insincere wallpaper.
The old coo-coo clock that used to hang on the door to the attic wasn't there anymore, instead there was a serene painting of a bubbling brook. Souta's bedroom door was plastered with posters of his favorite cartoon characters and console games. Her bedroom door still had that single pressed daffodil bloom tacked to it, but nothing else. Naru's bedroom door had no adornments as usual, but he was way too serious for anything like that. The guest bedroom's door had an embroidery of the word "GUEST" in a simple rectangle frame on it.
She got a slight chill as she passed the guest bedroom, however, and that caused her to pause and stare at the closed door. She shook the feeling when she heard her grandpa's chanting drifting down to her from the attic through the slightly ajar attic stairwell door.
Kagome approached the attic door, calling up the stairwell. It was never good to sneak up on the man—unless of course it was a fun idea to have glue stuck in her hair (not a fun idea). "Grandpa, hey, come down!" she called.
"Oh, Kagome!" her grandpa's voice wafted down to her, sounding pleasantly surprised. "You should come up here. We could bond while we eradicate the spirits out of this attic."
Kagome giggled at her senile grandpa's words as she climbed up the steep stairs and into the drafty attic. Her grandpa, as usual, never changed. His outfit, consisting of the usual Shinto priest's attire, was slightly gray from the years of dust he was collecting in the attic. He had a kerchief tied to his face and a handful of paper scraps. Beside him was a bucket of his rather evil glue.
"Spirits huh, grandpa?" she asked him. He nodded solemnly. "Well, how about we use a very special spell then, and get rid of all the spirits once and for all?" she asked him. His eyes lit up, and she knew that was why her mother sent her up there. She could do what none of the others could.
"Definitely," he nodded, "I would love for you and I to bond over the downfall of the evil spirits!"
She reached out her hands to her grandfather and he obediently put the scraps of paper down and took her hands. She stretched her senses out, grasping a sliver of her energy—frowning when her Sight showed the web still contained most of it—and prodded one of his slips of paper with the sliver. The piece of paper glowed bright pink and she could already sense the power of it spreading throughout the house. Ordinary people wouldn't ever feel that power—ordinary being her grandfather—but she'd used enough that the paper would remain glowing. By nightfall, the power would reach the basement and spirits and demons would feel quite discomforted, not that any would likely go into her shrine, of course!
"Ah!" her grandfather cheered and slapped the special piece of paper where he felt it would do best. It wouldn't really matter where he put it. After he'd secured the ofuda (at least he knew the proper writings even if he had no power), he slapped a few others in random places, 'for safety's sake,' and they were able to leave the dusty attic.
"Thank you, Kagome! You shall yet make a fine shrine maiden," he assured her, though she was definitely already a better priestess than he'd ever know. If she could just get rid of that damn webbing that surrounded her power! Just using that tiny bit of power cost her. She was sweating a bit, and the webbing felt like it was constricting her breathing. She didn't show it though.
"Thanks grandpa! I just got back, and Naru's friend Lin is here with Souta in the living room, though. I already checked him for spirits, and banished them all, so you won't have to."
Her grandpa nodded solemnly. "Yes, yes, you are catching on, and so quickly. Well, I'm sure you want to take a bath, mm?" She nodded. "I won't keep you, but beware! I saw a spirit in the sink drain and haven't had a chance to banish it yet."
Kagome bit back the temptation to roll her eyes. "Don't worry, grandpa, I'll banish it," she assured him. "I wouldn't want any perverted spirits watching me bathe, after all!" He nodded yet again and bade her happy bathing before moving down the hall and to the first floor. Kagome made her way to the upstairs bathroom, again feeling a chill as she passed the guest room. It made her frown, but she ignored it knowing there was an air conditioner in that room. Perhaps the air conditioner was on, and the cool air was seeping out?
Either way, it was now bath time.
The bath was very relaxing and among the first time in a long time that she'd really gotten to reflect on everything that had happened since she'd last been home. Kaede had passed away, the big battle with Naraku had destroyed the well in the past (was it still there in her time? She hadn't thought to look), they all got sucked into the black fire and transported to another world, she'd met a lot of people and accidentally got involved in another 'evil guy trying to rule the world' plot, found out that somehow the black fire was inside her, and made it home though that part was as-yet unknown as to how she managed it.
It wasn't a world-class vacation by any means. She'd been searching for Rin and Sesshoumaru and a way home. Now that she thought more about it, she felt herself frowning. She had left Rin in that strange world, and who knew where Rin was or what danger she could be in? Sesshoumaru she couldn't give a damn about, he could stay stuck in a crazy world he didn't belong in for all she cared. But Rin was just a little girl, and besides that, Rin should have the Shikon no Tama.
That, of course, meant that Rin would attract trouble. Ouni, one of Naraku's eviler incarnations, was there. She'd seen Ouni herself, and poor young Goku had been nailed with Ouni's poisons! She needed to get rid of that webbing around her powers so she could do something, like go help Goku and find Rin.
Aside from all that, the Shikon no Tama really was her responsibility. She sighed and ran more hot water. How long had she been soaking already? The once-hot water had grown really cold.
First thing was the troublesome webbing around her miko power. She turned her Sight inward to view the web. It seemed almost as if the web was being built around her miko power like a fly being wrapped by a spider for dinner. She sighed. Kaede had taught Kagome all she knew, but Kaede hadn't exactly been an expert. Kaede's teacher, Kikyou, had died young therefore Kaede's knowledge had been rather limited.
Again she sighed when she realized she was wrinkling like a prune and hadn't yet really washed up. She pulled the plug and decided to just shower instead. As the tub drained, she turned on the overhead and stood under the spray, eventually slathering her hair and body with soap.
If she did manage to get rid of that webbing, how would she return to the place Rin was? The world of the black fire, where there were all those paths, had so many different paths leading everywhere, and she didn't really use the foresight to mark which one she'd come from. And if she did get back, how would she find Rin? The world was a big place, not to mention that itty-bitty fact that there was some crazy guy named Sanzo who had youkai pets and who made all the youkai go insane in some diabolical plot to probably take over the world.
Gesh, how many evil, diabolical people would she meet in her life who wanted to rule the world? It was bad enough in Inuyasha's world, where every bad guy they met wanted the jewel so they could take over. Now, her life was just complicated enough that not only was it insane, but it was filled with a literal place where she had many paths to choose from (maybe she could mark each path with paint?).
Finally clean, she got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. After brushing her hair and wrapping it in a towel, she made her way to her room where she would be able to dress. Finally, nice and regular clothes. She was happy for them. She pulled on a navy blue skirt and a yellow blouse, liking the way the colors seemed to go so nicely together. White knee-high stockings finished off the outfit and after brushing her still-damp hair one more time, she was able to go down for lunch.
By the time she got downstairs, she found that Lin had left. Apparently she'd spent longer in the bath than she'd meant to and it was early afternoon. She never got to tell him thanks, at least not really. Come to think of it, he really was cute. Hojou didn't have a peg on the board compared to Lin (who was cute, intelligent, a gentleman, and kind, though he was under the impression that Kagome was a walking miracle so that sort sucked).
Kagome would have to get Lin's phone number from Naru. After all, who said the savior of the world couldn't have a boyfriend on the side? Maybe if they got close enough, Kagome could tell Lin about the whole time-travel business she had going on and he wouldn't think she was crazy… yeah, and chickens were migratory birds…
Naru had come home during the time it took to take her bath. She could hear him talking quietly with her mother in the kitchen. Souta was playing a racing game in the living room, and grandpa could be seen out the window in the front door sweeping the steps. As Kagome entered the kitchen, she noticed someone she figured she should have expected to see after Souta boldly proclaimed Naru having a girlfriend.
A young, pretty looking girl sat at the table, her eyes somewhat marveling at the kitchen even though Kagome couldn't tell what was so great about it. She wore a beige tee-shirt that was just a little ragged and somewhat baggy, ripped jeans. Her dark-brown hair was cropped around her head, and if it weren't for the fact that her face looked soft and hairless, her eyebrows were thin, and her eyelashes were long and curled, Kagome might have actually mistaken her for a boy.
The strangest thing was that Kagome would never have thought this girl could possibly be Naru's type of girl. For one thing, she already appeared everything the opposite of Naru with her rip-knee jeans and all. She didn't look like she was a tough gang-type of girl, but the clothes simply looked old.
What stunned Kagome most, though, was how this girl's eyes resembled Sango's so much, such a rich, chocolate brown. Kagome had never in her whole life (and she'd met many people with many different colors of eyes) seen that shade on anyone except Sango. Not even Sango's brother had the same shade, as his was more of a black-brown than anything. Even the shape, wide, yet delicately shaped, was like Sango's.
Her mother looked up from her tea and smiled at Kagome. "Ah, darling, how was the bath?" she asked. Naru turned his head to glance at her and as he turned, Kagome caught the moment when his eyes met his female companion's. Something unspoken seemed to pass the two of them though what it was, Kagome had no idea.
"It was good," Kagome said, not admitting that she had so much trouble just washing up. Usually she could spend bath time practically meditating, but that time she wasn't able to. "Hey, Naru," she moved over to her brother, watching him stand with a fluid-like grace—oh, he could be the reincarnation of Sesshoumaru for all she knew!—and embraced him. "It's been a while since I've seen my baby brother," she teased him, looking up at his unfortunately taller-than-her self.
"How are you feeling?" he asked her, and the question irked her though she tried not to show it. He didn't know of her time-traveling. Being a boy-genius and child-prodigy, he had enough on his plate so her mother had decided to keep it a secret from him. The alternate option was to pretend she was deathly ill, and keep that illusion up around him!
As with all the Higurashi's, Naru was no different with the raven colored hair and striking midnight blue eyes. The only reason Souta had brown eyes was because he took after their mother (previously a member of the Tojuya family). His hair was kept cropped short, and a large clump of it hung over his forehead. Unlike the Higurashi's, Naru's skin was much paler, which wasn't easily explained since both their parents had tan skin like Kagome and Souta. However, when Naru was younger, he had gotten deathly sick (making it easier for people to believe Kagome could be sick all the time), and spent a lot of time in a hospital. Since then, he'd always had curiously pale skin.
Of course, her fashion-lost brother deemed to wear all black, all the time, making him look even paler. Even now, he wore a black dress-shirt and black slacks. She supposed since he was the bread-winner of the family, richer than she ever would be, she couldn't exactly argue with his sense of fashion.
"Narcissus Higurashi," she teased him while rolling her eyes at him, and as always he unconsciously flinched at the use of his full name, "I'm fine. Now, tell me about your trip to France." The last she'd heard of him almost a month ago (or maybe longer than that) was that he had a business trip to France.
Soft giggles stole her attention and she looked at Naru's companion. The girl was trying to shove her fist in her mouth and not laugh. Kagome realized she had yet to be introduced to the girl, and Naru glared at Kagome and then the girl and back again.
Finally the girl couldn't take it and she burst out laughing. When she was able to calm down enough to say what was so funny, she said, "Narcissus? As in the youth in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection? Oh, it suits you!"
Naru glared harder at the girl. "Is there a problem with my name, Mai Taniyama?" he demanded.
Kagome smirked. "I see she's well acquainted with your personality, Naru," she told her brother, taking a seat at the table. The two were a cute pair, indeed. Kagome's mother hid a smile behind her tea-cup.
╝╝╝This chapter will coincide with Chapter 3 of TBP: Ghost Hunt. Hopefully I can get that chapter out soon, too. Please review!