Author's Notes: This is an edited and corrected version of the story originally posted to Fanfiction.net January - March, 2004. The content is still essentially the same as the first version, but I fixed some consistency glitches, typos, and Japanese usage errors.
This story takes place after the second Inuyasha film, "Castle Beyond
the Looking Glass," (after Episode 74 in the series), and after the Buffy
series finale. Contains spoilers for events that happen in all seasons
of Buffy, through the beginning of the final season of Angel, Inuyasha
episodes 1-74, and the second Inuyasha film.
Tokyo, the present day
After dinner, the group dispersed. Koji and Grandpa Higurashi went out for a walk. Souta grabbed Inuyasha by the sleeve and practically dragged him into the living room. Buffy heard the TV turn on, followed by the familiar sounds of a video game.
Kagome and her mom shooed Buffy out of the kitchen when she tried to help with the dishes, so she took the opportunity to sit on the bottom step of the staircase, pull her cellphone out of her purse, and dial Giles's number in England.
"Yes?" A woman answered the phone in a husky voice that sounded like British-flavored caramel, and with a guilty start, Buffy realized that it was probably 4am in London.
"Hi, Olivia," she said quickly. "I am so sorry to call you at oh-dark-thirty, but Iím in Tokyo and something urgent has come up. Can I speak with Giles, please?"
"Slayer business?" Olivia yawned. "Just a moment."
A second later, Giles was on the phone, sounding just as groggy as his girlfriend. "Yes, Buffy?"
Buffy repeated her apology for waking him up, then gave Giles the TV Guide version of what had happened that afternoon. She finished with: "...and now it looks like Koji wants me to time-travel back to medieval Japan ASAP with the dog-demon-guy, and I just know my phrasebook is going to be even more useless than it is now!"
Giles laughed, sounding a little more awake now. "I wish I was coming with you, Buffy," he said, sounding like he really meant it. Knowing Giles, he probably did mean it. "In any case, I know of a Portal Key in Cambridge. I'll Fed-Ex it to you first thing in the morning. And I should probably include a language-induction charm as well, so that you will be able to understand the natives once you arrive at your destination."
"You mean I'll be able to speak Japanese? Hallelujah!" said Buffy. She had been worrying about that part of her planned mission. "Why didn't I get one of those before I hopped on the plane?"
"Because," answered Giles, in his usual dry tone. "They are rather...uncomfortable...to apply, and should only be used in the most urgent instances."
"Giles, you're the very best Watcher, ever!" said Buffy, fondly. "Though I have to tell you, that Koji is pretty hot. For a Watcher, I mean."
"Thank you, I really needed to know that," Giles said, but Buffy could tell he was smiling on the other end of the line. "Now, if there's nothing else...?"
"Nope. Sorry to wake you. Bye!"
"Take care, Buffy."
Koji and Grandpa Higurashi returned shortly, breathing heavily. They were lugging Buffy's large backpack between them, which they leaned against the side of the staircase.
At Buffy's puzzled look, Koji said, "The Higurashi family would very much like to have you as their guest. Would you mind changing your plans, and stay here for a few days instead of at the Hotel Osaka?"
"Sure," replied Buffy. "As long as I'm not imposing..."
"No, no worries." Koji turned to Grandpa Higurashi and spoke with him briefly.
"He insists that you are most welcome, and would you mind sharing Kagome's room?"
"Can you tell him I appreciate the offer? Uh, wait, I think I remember: Domo arigato, Higurashi-san."
Grandpa gave her a big smile, then bowed and left her alone with Koji.
"Good. I would really rather not have to carry your backpack down the hill again tonight," said Koji. The dimple reappeared briefly. He added: "And I shall feel better knowing that you are close by if something else happens here."
He handed her a slip of paper. "My home phone number and my mobile number. Please contact me as soon as Mr. Giles's package arrives."
"Sure thing," Buffy said, tucking the paper into the front pocket of her purse.
"Good night, then, Miss Summers." And with that, Koji departed, leaving
Buffy on her own with the Higurashi family...and the dog boy. Well, this
is certainly going to be a lot more interesting than staying at the hotel.
Filthy and jet-lagged, Buffy was ready to kiss Kagome's feet in gratitude when she offered to show Buffy how to take a hot bath, Japanese style.
Buffy carried her backpack upstairs and put it in Kagome's room, which was furnished with a twin bed, a desk, and a chair. It was very...pink. Pink bedspread. Pink ruffled pillow. Pale pink rug. Yep, definitely a very girly room.
She dug clean underwear and her pajamas out of her backpack, then followed the teen-ager across the landing to the bathroom.
The bathroom looked very different from Buffy was used to. There was an alcove with a sink--"For undressing," said Kagome--and a tiled part, which had a shower and a deep tub.
The tub was already filled and steaming gently. After eight hours on a plane, followed by a fight with giant bugs, the sight of soap and hot water made Buffy's toes curl in anticipation.
Kagome explained that Buffy should wash herself and shampoo her hair using the shower before climbing into the tub to soak. Then she left, leaving fluffy towels neatly folded on a low stool.
It was heavenly. Buffy stayed in the bath until her fingertips looked white and wrinkly, and the meat felt ready to fall off her bones. I'll turn into Buffy-soup if I stay her any longer, she thought, sleepily, gathering herself to stand up at last. But itíll be very happy Buffy-soup.
Clean at last, her knees pleasantly rubbery and the rest of her feeling utterly relaxed, Buffy got dressed, then went to find Kagome.
Inuyasha had already bedded down in the living room--though bedded down was maybe the wrong way to describe it. He was sitting on the couch, knees drawn up, chin resting on his chest, and one clawed hand wrapped around his sword--which looked much smaller and rattier than Buffy remembered from this afternoon's battle.
But he wasn't completely asleep despite his closed eyes: as the two girls tiptoed past, Buffy saw one doggy ear twitch, and realized that he was keeping watch in case Koji's seals didn't hold.
Maybe he isn't a complete jerk, after all.
Kagome was carrying more towels and what looked like a dressing robe over one arm. She stopped at the entrance to the living room and said something to Inuyasha in a quiet voice, holding out the robe.
He opened one golden eye, shook his head, and replied, pointing at the front door with his chin. Kagome didn't look happy at that.
To Buffy's amusement, she marched over to the couch, dropped the robe down next to him, then stood over him, her hands on her hips. Reaching down, she plucked at one stained red sleeve, her nose wrinkling. She was still speaking, and Buffy caught her name.
Inuyasha scowled in Buffy's direction, then heaved himself to his feet with a loud, long-suffering sigh. He snatched up the robe with a muttered "Keh!," and thrust his battered sword at Buffy, who took it.
Then he marched to the bathroom, still muttering under his breath.
Kagome was smiling as she watched him stomp out of the room.
"I hope it is okay," she said to Buffy. "To sit down and keep watch while Inuyasha is, ah, in the bath? Bathing?" she corrected herself.
Buffy seated herself. "Not a problem. He's, um, pretty dedicated, isn't he?"
Kagome nodded. "Yes. He protects me very well in the Sengoku-jidai, the..." she frowned, obviously trying to think of the right word. "Warring States era."
"Do you like it there?"
Kagome nodded. "It is a little strange, but I have many friends there. You will like them, I sincerely hope." She held up her hand, and ticked them off on her fingers: "Miroku-sama, Sango-chan, Kaede ba-chan, and," her smiled turned fond, "Shippo-chan. He is a baby kitsune...um, a fox youkai. Cute!"
"Is there really such a thing as a cute demon?" Buffy asked. She wondered whether Inuyasha had ever been cute, and thought, Maybe. Too bad he grew up to be such a grouch.
The conversation faltered after that. Kagome began to putter around a bit, unplugging the Nintendo unit from the TV, straightening up here and there.
Buffy stayed put on the couch, and felt herself fading. It had been a long day. She was practically propping her eyelids open by the time a rather rosy-looking Inuyasha returned, clad in a Hawaiian-print dressing gown, his red clothes a bulky package tucked under one arm. His hair was hanging in damp strands down his back.
Kagome firmly pulled the bundle of soiled clothing out of his grasp, and left the living room. Seeing that that Buffy was on the couch, Inuyasha plopped himself down on one of the floor cushions.
An uncomfortable silence ensued as they studied each other from the corners of their eyes. Buffy reached into the pocket of her pajamas and pulled out the phrase book, but nothing seemed appropriate for starting a conversation with a sulky demon.
Buffy heard the sounds of a washing machine start up from the other side of the house.
"I hope she uses cold water, or you might end up with a tiny, pink kimono-thingy," she said conversationally, even though she knew Inuyasha couldn't understand her.
He gave her a puzzled look from those amazing golden eyes, and she attempted a smile. He quickly turned away, and stared silently out of the window at the dark courtyard until Kagome returned, carrying a blow-dryer and a comb.
Seating herself next to Buffy, she asked Inuyasha something.
He didn't move for a long moment, then, almost reluctantly, he scooted around the low table, until his back was leaning against the couch between Kagome's knees. She gathered up the thick mass of his wet hair in one hand, letting it pile up on her lap, and gently tilted his head back.
His perpetual scowl relaxed a little as Kagome pulled the comb through his bangs and long forelocks.
When she finished with the top and front of his head, he bent forward obligingly so that she could begin to comb out sections of his thick, butt-length mane. Her fingers brushed against his cheeks and neck as she gathered up handfuls of his wet hair, and Buffy saw the corners of Inuyasha's mouth curve upward whenever she touched him like that.
His eyes began to droop as he rested his arms on the coffee table. Within minutes, he looked completely relaxed, his face buried in his crossed arms. Tenderness suffused Kagome's expression as she worked the comb through the thick mass of silver hair, and they both seemed to have completely forgotten Buffy's presence.
They're smitten, thought Buffy with a pang, remembering her own ill-fated bout of smit when she was Kagome's age. Too bad she's so nice and he's such a jerk. He's really going to put her through the wringer. Buffy knew this from bitter experience, being susceptible to the charms of a bad boy, herself.
Speaking of which, she wondered how her two favorite bad boys were getting along--in her last phone call to Angel, from the Youth Hostel in Bangkok, he had mentioned in an extremely irritated tone that Spike was currently haunting the offices of Wolfram and Hart.
She had been glad to hear that Spike wasn't...entirely...dead, but it was kind of weird to think of him as incorporeal. He had been the most physical person she had ever met.
Thinking of Spike made Buffy remember some of the less mentionable ways they had been physical, and she felt her face heat. She actually missed him, which felt kind of disloyal to Angel. Not that she and Angel were ever getting physical again, either. Buffy sighed. I should warn Kagome about the whole getting-involved-with-demons thing.
Meanwhile, Kagome had finished combing out Inuyasha's hair. She picked up the blow-dryer and wielded it vigorously until his mane lay shining over his back and shoulders.
Then, with a barely-suppressed giggle, she tickled Inuyasha's ears. They twitched once, twice, three times. Finally, he opened his eyes and growled something that Buffy mentally translated as "Hey, cut that out!"
Kagome patted him firmly on the head, which made his scowl return, then stood up. Recognizing her cue, Buffy dropped his sword on the coffee table next to his elbow, and followed Kagome out of the living room. Inuyasha didn't move as they left, and Buffy glanced over her should to see that his eyes had closed again.
"He is very tired," Kagome said, sliding the door shut behind her.
"I think we all are. It was a tough day," said Buffy "How are your fingers doing?"
Kagome wiggled her fingertips, showing off the colorful Band-Aids wrapped around each fingertip.
"They will heal soon," she said, as she opened a closet and dragged out a rolled-up futon, a pillow, and a folded quilt. A quick rummage through the closet shelves, and a set of sheets joined the rest of the bedding.
They piled everything on the futon, then the two of them, carrying the rolled-up mattress between them, staggered upstairs to her bedroom. Unfolding the bed and making it up only took a few minutes.
Then Buffy gratefully crawled under the quilt, and immediately fell
into a deep sleep.
Buffy spent most of the following day hanging out at the shrine, waiting for Giles's package to arrive. Things seemed a little tense--Inuyasha plopped himself down in front of the well, obviously not trusting the strength of the seals, Kagome's mom kept looking at Kagome with a worried expression, and Kagome herself chewed nervously on her nails.
The family struggled to make conversation with Buffy using their schoolbook English and Buffy struggled to make conversation with them using her phrase book. It was mostly a failure, but at least they all laughed a lot.
She even tried venturing out to the well around noontime, and using some of the phrases from the "Making Friends" chapter on Inuyasha.
He seemed to be in a bad mood again. Buffy wondered if part of the huge chip on his shoulder was the fact that she had intervened in his self-appointed mission to protect Kagome. Or maybe he was just jealous about not being the center of attention--especially Kagome's attention.
"Konnichi-wa," she ventured, dropping down to sit cross-legged next to him.
He acted like he hadn't heard her. She noticed he was wearing his red kimono-thingy again today, but it was noticeably cleaner.
Dammit. I'm going to make him at least say hi to me. She looked down at her book. "How are you today?" she asked, sounding out the Japanese syllables uncertainly. "Isn't the weather nice?"
He growled at her, and snatched the phrase book out of her hand. Flipping through it, he stopped at a page, poked at something with his clawed forefinger, and stalked away.
Buffy looked at the place where his claw had left a big indentation. "Leave me alone, please," she read, incredulously. Jerk. Not for the first time, she wondered what Kagome and her family saw in this guy.
Finally, the delivery man arrived, box in hand.
Buffy signed for the package, took it into the house, and eagerly opened it. Inside, she found a weird-looking jeweled sphere nestled in packing material, along with a note from Giles folded around a metal headband.
My dear Buffy, he wrote. I don't usually recommend using a language-induction charm, but I'm afraid you don't really have a choice in this instance. No one five hundred years in Japan's past is going to speak English, much less the mangled dialect that you're so fond of. So you are simply going to have to grit your teeth and go ahead with it. Put it on at least a day in advance of your journey, and speak the following words--a couple of lines of Latin mumbo-jumbo followed. As for the Portal Key...
Buffy skimmed over the rest of the note, which consisted of instructions for setting up and using the Key.
Godspeed, and do let me know when you've returned safely. Affectionately, Giles.
"Well, here goes nothing," Buffy said to Kagome. They were sitting on the living room couch. Inuyasha was still outside, probably sulking.
She picked up the language-induction charm and examined it. It looked like a headband made from braided silver, set with a single oval white gem. She carefully settled it over her hair, centering the gem on her forehead.
She unfolded Giles's note, and recited the phrases he had written out for her.
Almost immediately, Buffy felt like someone was driving nails into her skull. No wonder he didn't recommend using this, she thought, the pain intensifying with every second.
After five minutes, she thought her head was going to split open. In fact, she was sort of hoping it would, if only to relieve the terrible throbbing.
Buffy bit her lips until she could taste the saltiness of her own blood. Finally, she couldn't stay silent. A moan escaped her. Through the fog of agony, she saw that Kagome looked really scared.
"I'll--I'll be okay," she lied, and then everything went black.
She came back to consciousness slowly. Her first thought was that Inuyasha had a real potty mouth. "...why the fuck do we have to take that yellow-haired foreign bitch through the well with us? We already have a youkai-taijya. What the hell do we need another one for?"
Her second thought was amazement that she could understand him at all.
"Eh, she's awake now," Inuyasha said, in a disgusted tone.
"How are you feeling?" Kagome asked, anxiously. Buffy felt cool fingers touch her forehead.
She opened her eyes and groaned. She was on Kagome's pink bed, and the headache was still with her, like a really bad date who wouldn't take a hint. "Give me a bottle of aspirin and I might feel human again."
"Keh!" She looked over to see Inuyasha sitting on his haunches next to the bed. He was grinning evilly, his fangs sharp and white. "There is no aspirin in my era. Are you sure you still want to tag along, wimpy foreign slayer?"
"Fuck you, dog-boy," Buffy said, wearily, closing her eyes again.
Discuss books at Blogging about Books http://www.samizdat.com/blog/
Other book reviews by Richard Seltzer
Opus authors -- contemporary writers whose entire work is great
The Readers' Corner and Writers Showcase
This site is published by B&R Samizdat Express, 33 Gould St., West Roxbury, MA 02132-002. 617-469-2269 email@example.com
|Internet Business Showcase:|