AN- Alright, first off the concept of the Infinite Loops was started by Innortal and carried on by Saphroneth. I own nothing.
Loop mechanics- Yggdrasil is a bit broken- and in order to fix the damage the multiverse is looping. Time keeps resetting itself. Loopers are aware of this. Hilarity ensues.
Kagome barely supressed a shriek of glee as Inuyasha approached them, a scowl on his face. It had taken her more run-throughs than she wanted to admit to get this far in their journey- the Peach Man dead and the souls he'd imprisoned set free- but they were finally there.
It had taken her almost ten tries just to get to the first New Moon, so getting this far was an achievement she was stupidly proud of- most of the time, the quest ended with her death. One had ended with Inuyasha's- the world fading faster than he had. The fact they had all survived so far was excellent.
Even as she threw her arms around him, unable to voice her joy at their continued survival, she searched her memories for what came next. They'd survived the Lightning Brothers, the Noh Mask, the Tatarimokke and Mayu, Sesshomaru (twice!), and their first face to face confrontation with Naraku. Now that they'd also survived the Peach man, next up was…
Shoot. The Exterminator's Village. She'd have to forgo going home again- now that she knew Souta would survive without her, she had to ensure that Kohaku would survive. Hopefully they'd still be able to recruit Sango to their cause- and Kirara. She hadn't seen either of them since the loops started, and would prefer not to face them over a battlefield for their first reunion.
The life of a time traveller was never easy.
Kagome sighed. It was only the second time a run through had ended naturally- now she was certain that she could do it, boredom had begun to set in. She was doing well enough as a Miko, having spent years developing her skills, both on the road with Miroku and in Kaede's hut working on her spiritual skills.
She could still remember those first loops- one that had ended the night of her fifteenth birthday, after she had stayed away from the well house all day, the rest ending in various deaths. She'd always loved Inuyasha as a hanyou, and after that one loop where he'd succeeded in getting the entire jewel from her, she always would. It had taken years before she got used to flaring Yokai again, and even longer before she stopped flinching at Inuyasha's full Yokai form.
Her school work was a lot easier after all her runs- she could keep her place in the top 30 all the way through, even when she chose not to return to the modern era after the Tatarimokke and Mayu had been dealt with.
What else could she do?
Looking around her bedroom, her eyes alighted on her history textbook. Now there was an idea- perhaps she could try actually fitting in to the time period? Not this time- she'd never manage to learn enough to pull it off before the morning. But she had five years to learn, if everything went right, two of which would be in the era she would be studying. If she were careful, she might just pull it off.
"So, what do women in this time do that time of month?" Kagome asked Kaede. It was a question she knew she would never ask Inuyasha, and one of most important to believably pass. Her modern options were more difficult to dispose of.
Kaede looked at her askance. "You mean to say you haven't been told already?"
Kagome mused on how to explain modern feminine products to the elderly Miko, and simply smiled sheepishly.
"Mama, how do you think you'd make Oden on the other side of the Well?" She asked her mother. "I've been trying to look up what I'd need to cook in the forests, and I don't think any of the camping stoves would be light enough for me to carry."
Her mother looked around with a frown. "I don't think you'd be able to make Oden over a campfire, but I could look it up while you're gone."
Kagome nodded, looking over her math homework. Just enough mistakes to reassure her sensei that she wasn't cheating, excellent. That had been a really awkward homecoming, seeing her sensei as she came out of the Well house.
"You could always tell your friends I've taken an interest in historical re-enactment during my convalescence in the country." She suggested. "It's supposed to be quite popular in some places."
"That's a good idea darling." The elder Higurashi smiled. "And I'll be sure to get Souta to help. Perhaps learning the sorts of plants available in Japan back then would help too…"
"I'll get Inuyasha to help me with that." Kagome said. "Maybe I should get a book on edible plants too, to teach Shippo how to read. It might not be all the same characters, but it's better than nothing."
"True." Mrs Higurashi agreed, turning back to the soup. "Would you go fetch your brother? Dinner will be ready soon."
Kagome nodded, putting her supplies in her backpack as she slipped out of the room. Maybe she should also work on her cooking skills in the modern era? Camping cooking took priority of course; the only thing Inuyasha liked that she made was Ramen. The jerk.
"Have you ever met someone with spiritual powers who wasn't a Miko or Houshi?" She asked Miroku, genuinely curious this time. "Other than me of course."
Miroku frowned. "You certainly are a Miko Kagome. How else would you be able to fire your purifying arrows?"
"I'm the reincarnation of a Miko." Kagome reminded him. "I haven't had any training this lifetime. Souta's going to inherit the shrine, so there wasn't any need."
Miroku acknowledged the point, however reluctantly. "I've met untrained potentials, those who could access their spiritual gifts in time of great stress, but none like you speak of. Typically, those who can access their gifts can do so because of training."
"Which is given to future Priestesses and future Monks." Kagome realised. "Thanks Miroku."
Eventually, the loop was over. And she could now say that it had been three loops that had ended on their own. The last three years had been spent working on the skills she'd need to pass herself off as a local of the time period, seeking out recipes for "re-enactments". Memorizing them to the best of her ability, and hoping it would be enough.
Now, it was the day of truth. She'd slipped a Yukata into the bottom of her schoolbag, and a carefully sheathed knife she'd retrieved from the storage room. It was nowhere near as good as the bow she'd be given by Kaede- but still a damn sight better than the bow Shippo could transform into. And any weapon was better than none.
She felt bad that she was going to disappear on her family- but she was bored. And this could be interesting. She'd left a note on her desk in any case, on top of some homework. If she didn't go through, she'd just have to hide the knife and Yukata until she got home and destroyed the note. If she did- and sensing the magic carefully, she was fairly sure she would- then the note would work as a sort of explanation.
As much as a dream diary could. The story of falling through the well, through time, to restore and destroy the Shikon no Tama- with an addendum to herself saying not to listen to Grampa's stories before bed.
Hopefully it would be enough- if her mama found it, of course. Even as Mistress Centipede attacked, Kagome's hands began to glow- and she fell down into the well when the bug-woman released her abruptly.
She almost changed her mind about the plan when she heard Souta calling after her- perhaps she would come back after Yura was defeated? Just to let them know she was okay. And defeat the Noh mask. If she was lucky, she wouldn't be needed for Mayu- but best to seek her out rather than wait around for the Tatarimokke's eyes to open.
Going to hell once because she hadn't been quite convincing enough was quite enough for any number of lifetimes.
Kagome blinked her eyes open- and was shocked to see a ceiling, rather than the familiar sign in front of the Higurashi Shrine. Even as she sat, she felt a rush of vertigo that wasn't entirely due to the blood flow.
She remembered being a young girl, learning to look for food in the forests to help her mother. Learning to sew, when all she wanted to do was play. Being chosen to train as a Miko by a woman named Hanako-sama- much to her Grandfather's pride.
Dispatching a centipede demon who believed she had the infamous Shikon no Tama, which had been destroyed in the funeral pyre of its last guardian almost fifty years ago.
She had the memories of being a young Miko in the Sengoku Jidai. One born less than forty years after Kikyo's death.
If her surroundings and clothing were anything to go by, she was a Miko in the Sengoku Jidai.
Kagome felt the corners of her lips quirk, even as she stood from her bedroll and got ready for the day. She had been wanting to improve her Miko skills, and this was certainly faster than trying to find time to train with Kaede- and convincing the old woman of her existing skills each time.
She ate breakfast with her family, preparing for a long journey. They said goodbye at the gates of her village.
"We'll miss you Kagome." Her mother said, her face worn by hard times and her hair falling to her shoulders. Other than that, she was the same as she ever was- the same maternal smile, the same calm acceptance of duty.
"Be sure to pack plenty of our Ofuda, granddaughter." Her grandfather ordered, his gruff tone fooling no one. He'd probably been up most of the night drawing up extras for her to take with her- and unlike her grandfather in the base timeline, these ones would actually work.
Souta was a little thinner, his hair allowed to grow long enough to be tied back- but like their mother, he had the same smile. In this case, the bright grin he'd always worn when she was off on 'an adventure'. "Have fun destroying yokai dumb enough to attack you!" He cheered.
Kagome laughed, and she could hear her grandfather berating Souta on 'their sacred duty' and 'the dangers of the road' even as she walked away, waving cheerfully to her family before they split up to go their own ways- her mother to her garden, Grandfather and Souta to the local shrine, as Priest and future Priest and current errand boy respectively.
The road was long, and her good mood didn't last. However beautiful the Sengoku Jidai was, the scenery could get boring. It was much easier to appreciate the view from Inuyasha's back, even if it was blurred.
Eventually, the gentle ring of a Shakujo interrupted the quiet of her journey, and she looked over her shoulder to a welcome sight.
"Monk." She greeted, pretending the sight of Miroku wasn't the best thing to happen all morning.
"Miko." He responded. "I must confess to surprise, seeing such a beautiful woman walking alone in these troubled times."
She smiled at him. "The need is great enough- although I would not protest an escort, if the past few days are any indication."
He didn't even have time to question her statement, as she whipped around and put a purifying arrow through the wolf demon creeping towards her. She surveyed it critically as it burned- flat eyed, so no worries about Kouga's tribe coming down on her like a ton of stones.
Best not to linger though.
"I am headed to Musashi's domain to consult with a senior Priestess there." She explained, retrieving the thankfully still usable arrow. "And yourself?"
Miroku dragged his eyes away from the wolf demon- he'd sensed it coming, of course. He'd probably been planning to impress the apparently unaware Miko with his Kazaana.
"I seek those in need of my help, Priestess." He said, pulling a smile onto his face.
"I could use it." She said, bluntly. "I seek information on the Shikon no Tama, but it's a week's journey to the Village the Shikon Miko resided in, and another two to the Taijiya village."
She sighed. "I could manage it myself- but I would not turn away aid if it were offered."
Miroku's eyes stared at her- the way that meant he was weighing up everything said, unsaid, and the possibilities ahead of him. His face broke into a familiar smile. "I would never allow such a delightful woman such as yourself to travel so far alone!"
He gestured with his Shakujo that she should lead on. If it had been anyone else, she would have refused- even if she hadn't met so many false Monks and dark Miko, she knew better than to trust a stranger's intentions based on their profession.
But this was Miroku- he might leer at her, grope her and possibly try to con her out of her valuables. He might even try to rob her. But he wouldn't do anything that would endanger her.
If only because she had a pretty face.
So, she walked on ahead of him, and mused on Inuyasha's reaction to her clothes when she 'accidentally' woke him up. She was getting quite good at that at least, so it shouldn't take two trips.
She supressed a flinch- he'd always hated her in Miko garments. A woman who looked like Kikyo was bad enough, one who happened to have Miko powers was terrible- even half trained. A fully trained Miko? He was going to flip…
Kagome frowned in confusion, turning her head to the forest. Shippo would be attacking them from over there in a few minutes.
So, how did she know he was over there? She hadn't cast out her senses, and even with a dozen runs of learning from Kaede under her belt, it took some effort. He wasn't even close enough for Inuyasha to notice him yet, and the hanyou's senses were much better than hers.
She sighed deeply. There were times she'd give her left foot for someone who could explain what was going on.
It wasn't like Inuyasha wouldn't lug her around anyways.
Kagome was almost relieved to see the too familiar sign swim into view. The same sign that had made her question her grandfather's possible relation to Miroku dozens of times.
-Fortunes, Exorcisms, Amulets/Wards, Contact Gods.
She let out a small sigh as she picked up the fake Shikon Jewel keyring- it was nice to get back to normal. "So Gramps, what's the legend behind the marble?"
Her Grandfather blinked at her. The not-quite-fifteen year old smiled at him innocently, even as she turned to dangle the keyring for her cat Buyo to play with.
Even as Buyo batted at the marble, and her Grandfather began explaining the legend as he knew it, Kagome checked her memories. So far, it seemed to be a normal timeline- although she wouldn't be sure until the next day.
If it was a normal run through though… she had a plan to keep things interesting. She was getting better at being a Miko, certainly, and she didn't struggle for grades as much as she had that first time- but it was time to play things a bit differently.
Time to show what almost ninety loops with Inuyasha's bad attitude could do to a girl.
She smiled darkly, letting her hair fall forward to hide it. Inuyasha wouldn't know what had hit him.
1.1- An early loop. Kagome's having a bit of trouble with the whole not dying thing.
1.2- Still an early loop, but she's gotten better at not dying. To the point she can actually finish the loop naturally rather than dying early on.
1.3- Her first variant- Kagome as a Miko born in the Sengoku Jidai.
1.4- Set up.
1.5- Inuyasha is truly a terrible influence.