A/N: A group to thank for reviews: Rukia's Reflection, xxdarienchibaloverxx, LadyGeri, ShahzysAngelette, Esha Napoleon, Anonymoose13, and Nocturna Mae. And thank you to anyone who put this or its author on their lists.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
A Little Vacation
Kaede lifted the lid to the ancient chest, pulling out a box that contained what she was looking for. Decades ago a traveler had handed it to her on the way to the coast, telling her that one day she would need its contents. At the time she hadn't really believed the stranger but green eyes had stared her down until she had acquiesced and taken the box, sealed with a sutra she'd never seen before or since. The only thing the traveler had said in regards to the contents was a cryptic remark she hadn't understood.
"Someday, when heroes sleep before their task is done, use these and renew their strength."
"Well, let's see if I'm right," the old priestess murmured. Opening the box, a note fell out of the top. Picking it up, she read it, her brow furrowed briefly in confusion. "A spell to send the wearer through time… It is what I thought. But how did the stranger know?"
Gingerly, she picked up the rosaries, noticing that even though years had gone by; they were just as new looking as the day she'd gotten them. Counting them out, she found that they totaled the exact number she needed. "Hmm, it seems that this war was foretold in many places. I wonder if that stranger is still watching."
Saying a brief prayer in thanks, the elderly miko returned to her hut. She'd gotten Higurashi-san's response that morning when she'd woken up. She just hoped the other woman was ready for what was about to descend on her. She might be used to a half dog demon eating her out of house and home but she'd never had all of the inutachi.
Sometimes she thought they were a horde of locusts.
Souta and his grandfather found the kitchen empty when they went down to breakfast that morning. Every surface seemed to have been washed to within a centimeter of its life, the younger Higurashi even seeing his reflection in the floor. Several lists were out on the table, peaking the elder's curiosity. The amount of food on it would have fed an army. Or just four hungry teens, he mused a moment later seeing the letter from Lady Kaede.
"What in the world happened?" his grandson asked. His stomach was growling and there was no food in sight.
"Well, it seems that we are to have some guests, my boy. Best forget about having breakfast at home today. I'll give you some pocket change to grab a rice ball on your way to school."
"Since when?" he asked, trying to remember if his mother had said anything to them last night about visitors.
"If I'm reading this right, it seems your sister and her friends have gotten themselves into a bit of a jam and need some time to rest away from the Feudal Era."
Souta blinked, the information taking a moment to sink in. "Really? Inu-no-niichan is really coming?"
"Yes, and Miroku-sama, Sango-san, little Shippou, and Sango-san's cat Kirara."
"Oh, cool! Sis says that Kirara can change into this big saber toothed cat. I can't wait!" Excited now and having completely forgotten that he wasn't getting any breakfast from his mother, the younger Higurashi turned to run back upstairs to get dressed. Pausing on the first step, he turned back to his grandfather. "Uh-Oh," he murmured.
"Huh? Did you say something, Souta? I'm old, you know, you have to speak up." The old priest put a hand to his ear, indicating that he hadn't heard what the other male had said.
Souta bit his lip, wondering if he should repeat the thought that he'd just had. "I just thought of something…"
"Nii-chan's not going to like taking a vacation…" Before his grandfather could respond, he ran upstairs.
Remembering the temper of the dog demon, the remaining member of the Higurashi family winced. Turning to put the kettle on, Higurashi went to get a cup out of the cupboard. After a cup of tea he'd have to go review his insurance policy.
Just to make sure they were up-to-date.
"No, absolutely not!" The last was said on a high note, Inuyasha's voice breaking on his denial. "We don't have time to waste in the future. We can take a couple of days here and rest." He made the last concession so that they wouldn't think he was ignoring their plight.
The dog demon's friends stared at him in concert, their gazes clearly telling him that that wasn't good enough. "Inuyasha…" the younger miko said, drawing out his name in that way she had that indicated he would soon be making a crater the shape of his body.
"Kagome…" he tried, hoping that he was wrong in this instance.
"No deal!" she started before going on a long rant about why this was the perfect opportunity to get rest and their best option for regaining their lost strength. With a large, indrawn breath she ended with "And that's final!"
"What's final?" he asked blankly, having tuned her out about the time she threatened to cut off his ramen rations.
"We're going! I can catch up on my school work, maybe even get ahead. That would mean I could leave my school books at home." Less weight to her bag meant faster travelling, something he was always all for. "Oh, and sit!" she finished before dropping onto the edge of Kaede's floor, the lecture having tired her out.
"Oi, wench, what was that for?"
"For not listening to me the first time," she returned, pulling Shippou into her arms and squeezing tighter than necessary. The fox child wheezed but didn't protest, figuring that he'd get worse if he tried to get out of her embrace.
"Keh," he scoffed but kept his thoughts to himself. It was probably best that she didn't know it wasn't the first time he'd stopped listening to her long winded speeches.
"I'm in agreement with Kagome," Sango seconded, thinking that if they could cross the time barrier, it was their best chance for getting a decent recovery. She sat next to her friend, patting her back with one hand and gently prying the kitsune cub out of the miko's arms with the other.
Shippou saw the opportunity and scrambled away, alighting on Miroku's shoulder. The monk was gazing thoughtfully into the distance and the half demon was hesitant to ask what was running through the other man's mind. "It would be a nice idea. However, how are we to accomplish that feat? All of us have at one time or another tried to pass through the well, and it hasn't worked once for anyone except Kagome and Inuyasha."
"That is what these are for," the elderly priestess answered, finally getting the chance to put her opinion forth. Inuyasha had immediately protested the suggestion of going to the future for a week or two so she hadn't been able to do anything but give her solution to their dilemma.
All eyes turned to the box in her lap and she'd brought back from the shrine. Within it still lay the rosaries she'd discovered earlier along with the spell that would activate them. "Che, more rosaries. You got one on me, babaa, you aren't getting another."
"Do not be foolish, you can already pass through the Bone Eater's Well. These are for the others. They have been held in trust until such a time." Lifting one out of its container, she spread it out so that they could see the fine work. Gemstones worked into round beads made a chain that could be easily slipped on and off. The white and gold stones glittered in the sunlight coming through the window, making rainbows on the wall.
Kirara came over to study them, gazing briefly at the rainbows before swatting gently at the beads. They swung back and forth, moving the rainbows but otherwise didn't do anything. She repeated the process several times before tiring of the game and jumping into her taijiya's arms.
"As you see, they're nothing but pretty ornaments by themselves, but with this spell, they should allow the wearer to go once through to the future, in this case Kagome's time, and once back here." Kaede held out the spell, letting Miroku take the paper.
"I don't recognize this language."
"Let me see," Kagome said, shifting her position to take it from her friend. "This looks almost like English, or at least it uses the same kinds of letters to make up the words. This word looks like quiet and this other one…" She closed her eyes, trying to figure out what it could mean. "Oh, pugilism. It's a type of fighting. So it must mean to rest and to fight." Proud of herself, she beamed, glancing up at the others.
They stared back at her, confusion their only expression. "Ah, Kagome…" Sango shook her head, indicating that everything she'd said went over their heads.
"Sorry. Okay, English is another language that uses letters, not characters like Japanese." Briefly she wrote out the English alphabet, showing the difference. When they nodded, she went on. "So this word," she said, pointing to the third in the sentence. "Looks like the word for quiet, and you need quiet to rest, right? Then we have the last word, which as I said looks like the English word for a type of fighting. Pugilists or boxers use their fists to fight. Souta likes to watch some of the area high school students do it. I figure that if it refers to fighting, then this spell must be for sending you to the future to rest, and bringing you back to finish fighting Naraku."
"Keh, so you do have some brains in that head of yours," Inuyasha said. "I guess that schooling isn't a complete waste." His backhanded compliment was met with a renewed meeting with the dirt floor, erasing the twenty six letters Kagome had written out for her demonstration.
"So the spell is in English," Kaede mused, wondering when such a foreigner had arrived to their shores.
"No, it only looks like English. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Latin. Doctors and lawyers use it in my time but otherwise, it's pretty much a dead language. Although, a lot of stories about magic had spells and stuff that are supposed to be in Latin. Maybe I should run home and see if the nearby library has a dictionary that could tell us how to pronounce this correctly. I wouldn't want anyone to be sent farther back in time or ahead of time than mine. That would make things difficult," the school girl mused.
"That would be wise," Kaede nodded, not wanting to harm the children. "You can see if your mother is prepared for the six of you in the meantime."
"Great, well, I'll be back in a little while," Kagome said, scribbling down the words from the spell. She'd leave the original here just in case. Shoving her feet into her shoes, she started for the door. Inuyasha followed her out, walking with her to the well.
"Why do you think it's this 'Latin' or whatever?"
Delicate lips pursed in thought and he had to drag his eyes away from the sight. "Gramps has been looking up all these weird diseases to excuse me from school while I'm here. I saw one of the books he'd borrowed the last time I was home. It had these kinds of endings. I could be wrong…"
"I don't think so. Spells always come from dead and ancient languages. It makes them tougher to learn and harder to use. The old guys really liked keeping secrets."
"I'd like to know who gave this to Kaede-sama. Latin is an old Western language. There are no foreigners that would use magic that will be coming here for the next century, at least."
"Don't they use magic outside of Japan?" he questioned, coming to a stop at the dry well.
"Well, I suppose," she agreed hesitantly. "But from what I know of history, the people coming to Japan during this time believe magic is evil. They wouldn't touch it. Kaede-sama said she's had this for decades. Someone must have come to Japan a lot sooner than was recorded. Otherwise, how could this spell have gotten here?" she questioned absently, putting a knee onto the rim.
"Keh, don't think about it now, it'll only give you a headache. Just go see if you can get the right way to pronounce that. The last thing we need is for the others to wind up in a different time period unable to get back. Or worse, make them explode or some other crap. I do not want lecherous monk guts all over me."
Kagome frowned at her protector. "Thanks. I really didn't need that picture in my head."
"Just saying," he said before pushing her over the edge so she couldn't comment further. Or worse, make him sit. The last thing he wanted was to be sat again.
His back hurt enough from the last one.
Kagome hopped out of the well and raced down the shrine steps, throwing a wave at her grandfather as she sped passed him. Once on the sidewalk, she paused to catch her breath before continuing on, figuring that a middle school girl running down the road at this time of day would attract attention.
The entrance to the local library loomed before her shortly after her arrival in the Modern Era and she went in, hoping that people would think that she was here with the school's permission. No one looked at her for more than a moment and she was thankful that the librarians seemed to be too concerned with getting books back on the shelves to worry about a fifteen year old obviously skipping school. She probably should have changed her clothes first.
"Excuse me," she said quietly, the automatic instinct to drop into a whisper in the library overtaking her. The reference attendant looked up from her work, breaking out in a smile when she noticed the young miko.
"Can I help you, my dear? I didn't know they were letting students out during the middle of the day to do research."
"This is a special project and the school library didn't have what I needed," Kagome said, hoping the half lie wouldn't be caught. The school didn't have anything in Latin but her school definitely wouldn't have let her out. "I need help pronouncing this. I think it's in Latin but I'm not sure." She slid the paper across the wide desk, hoping the worker could just tell her. Librarians were smart, weren't they?
"Oh, my. It is Latin but I'm afraid I couldn't tell you. Hmm…" Dark brown eyes closed momentarily in thought. "I think I may know someone who could help you…" Moving away from her post, the reference librarian motioned her to follow. They wound between stacks of thick and slim books until Kagome was dizzy and pretty sure she was lost. "Ah, there he is. Professor Koto, a moment of your time, please?"
A tall man with black hair and violet eyes glanced up from his books, blinking several times to focus on the young woman. "Yes?" he said, his voice cultured and suave.
Oh, dear, another Miroku. Thinking that she'd have to be on her guard, she was surprised when he did nothing but look at her in inquiry. "Ano…"
"This is Professor Koto of Tokyo University. He's an expert on languages. Sir, could you help this student out? She's run across some Latin and doesn't know how to pronounce it."
"Of course, always happy to aid future scholars." He held out his hand and she noticed that he wore a wedding band. She handed him the slip of paper and he frowned briefly. "This is quite unique. It's pronounced, 'Eas in quietem, praeterita pugnare.' Simply put, it means 'The future to rest, the past to fight.'"
"I was right! Cool." Bowing, she thanked both adults and left the library after getting lost in the stacks twice more.
The librarian watched the student go, her eyes thoughtful. "You know, Professor, she reminds me of someone."
"I imagine she does," he answered, his voice lighter than when he'd spoken with Kagome.
"Oh, well. By the way, it's almost eleven. You told me to make sure you were out of here by then." She watched panic bloom in his eyes and chuckled when he packed up in a rush. Koto was a dear man and a delight to talk to. It was really too bad that he was married.
Kagome cheered silently in between running the pronunciation of the spell over and over so that she didn't forget it. She rather thought that she'd done a pretty good job translating a language that she'd never studied before. "Wait until I tell the others."
Higurashi-san was right where his granddaughter had left him, this time talking to a visitor. He waved to her again, not paying any attention to her answer. This was just as well as he wouldn't have gotten one.
Bursting into the house, she called to her mother, expecting her to be preparing to make lunch. "Mama, are you ready for us?"
"Kagome-chan? Is that you? Oh, please say that it's just you," she returned, her second cup of tea just being poured.
The young miko took a moment to stare at the immaculate kitchen before nodding. "Yeah, it's just me. I came to do a little research and ask if you were ready. I take it you're not?"
"I have to go get groceries, but otherwise, I'm as ready as I'm going to get." The matriarch smiled at her daughter who was scribbling something down on a piece of paper she had with her. "Thankfully, I called in an order and it'll be waiting for me soon."
"You stayed up all night cleaning again, didn't you?" Kagome questioned. Her mother had done that once before when they'd had a visiting priest from a shrine in Kyoto.
"These are special guests coming, dear. Of course I wanted everything in order. Now then, I have some clothes that the others can change into just in case. Your grandfather seems to think that there are going to be a lot of people coming and I would rather that no one look at the old well house too closely."
"Great idea. I'll just go change and bring them to the others. By the time we get ready on that side, you should be okay here, right?"
"Yes, most likely," her mother answer. "Kagome," she stalled her daughter, laying a hand on the younger woman's arm. "You've exhausted yourself. Please take it easy going back."
Kagome smiled and nodded. "I will, Mama. Don't worry, Inuyasha's waiting for me. He won't let anything happen to me." Mama watched her go upstairs and sighed. Demon protector or not, a mother would always worry about her child.
Taking one last sip of her tea, the elder female grabbed her purse and keys. Going outside, she stopped briefly to talk to her father-in-law before going on to the store. Maybe if she delayed long enough, she could get two strong, young men to carry the bags up the steps.
There was always hope.
A/N: The Latin translation was provided by Google Translator, so I apologize it any part of it is incorrect. Since Latin seems to be making a comeback in schools, feel free to give me a better translation, if you have one.