Mizutori (Waterbirds)

Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 copyright Rumiko Takahashi.

Note: This is a crossover between Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2. There are no particular spoilers that readers should watch out for; the story is gen (well, mostly) and ought to function as something like a filler or independent fic.

I started thinking about this story when I wasn't getting anywhere with "Out of Darkness." ^^; Though now I have some ideas on how to rewrite the latter, I didn't want to pass up on writing this story too. Besides, I don't think I'll ever get to write a standalone Ranma story, so this is the next best -- and more economical -- thing. XD

Fic archive: http://groups.yahoo.com/files/niaiserie

Draft: July 12, 2003

**********

Prologue.

She was thinking about her math exam and wondering what sort of illness her grandfather would be inventing this time to excuse her from having to take it. She was idly hoping it was not something gross and obscure like elephantitis -- Ojiichan had the oddest ideas -- when the demon struck.

She would have missed it if Inuyasha hadn't yelled out her name, sounding extremely agitated and furious.

"Kagome! Behind you!"

'Huh? What--'

She wheeled around, her heart pounding in her ears. She had an impression of two glowing red points of light hurtling straight towards her, like the lights of an onrushing train, before she jumped aside. Not fast enough -- something hard and rough brushed the left side of her body, grazing it painfully. Kagome felt as if she were being dragged against a line of barbed wire. She grimaced and stumbled, then fell to the ground; she instinctively felt the demon, whatever it was, turning round to come for her again.

"Kaze no Kizu!!"

The blast of Inuyasha's attack came sweeping across towards her like a tornado. Kagome ducked her head and squeezed her eyes shut as strong gusts of wind buffeted the air above her. She heard the demon scream, a loud piercing wail, before it slammed down on the ground with a large crash. Bits of rock and earth flew past Kagome's prone form.

"Kagome!"

Strong hands took hold of her shoulders, turning her round as Inuyasha lifted her into his arms. Dazed, she looked up into Inuyasha's worried gaze.

"Kagome, are you all right?"

She tried to smile at him. "Yeah... Yeah, I'm okay." She sat up, supporting herself on her arms, and winced. "Well, pretty much."

"Your arm's bleeding," said Inuyasha in a clipped voice. "How could you have been so careless, dammit?"

"Excuse me!" she shot back. "How was I to know the demon would suddenly appear like that? We've been looking for it for weeks and--"

"--and you should have known better than to let your guard down!" Inuyasha snapped. "What were you daydreaming about anyway?" Kagome opened her mouth for a stinging retort, but Inuyasha was not paying attention. He was bending over her injured arm. Kagome looked, too, and winced again. She *should* have worn her long-sleeved blouse.

"You've got several nasty scratches, but that's it," Inuyasha declared, relief in his voice.

Kagome gave an unladylike snort. "See? You were worried about nothing. I'll be fine." She tried to stand up and bit back a yell of pain.

"*And*, I forgot to mention," Inuyasha added with a narrow stare, "probably an ungodly number of bruises down your body as well. Getting sideswept by a rampaging demon is no joke, you stupid girl." Kagome returned his glare for a moment, then she subsided, muttering something under her breath. Inuyasha's eyes softened. "We'd better find Sango and the others and get you treated. But first..." He stood up and unsheathed Tetsusaiga, turning back to the demon with a grim look on his face.

Kagome turned her head and found herself staring at what seemed to be the body of a huge white snake. It lay coiled on the forest floor, its scales glittering whiter than a snowdrift. There were horns on its head, like branches of a tree. Its eyes were closed. Kagome shuddered a little, recoiling at the memory of those blazing red eyes. This was the first time she'd actually seen the demon; for weeks the only certain thing she knew -- sensed -- about it was that it contained a Shikon shard. She blinked at it now, somewhat disoriented. She had never seen a snake demon before...

"Kagome, where's the shard?" Inuyasha demanded impatiently. "Kagome?"

Kagome started. "Um... Right." She peered at the demon, concentrating hard. She could sense the presence of the Shikon shard very strongly now. Where was it?

The beast's head began to glow.

"Is that it?" said Inuyasha.

Kagome frowned. "I don't know..." The glow became brighter and brighter. Kagome grew alarmed. "Inuyasha!"

"What the fuck?" Inuyasha yelled. He sprang at the demon, Tetsusaiga raised, and the bright glow became a tremendous blinding flash of light that flooded the clearing. Kagome threw up a hand in front of her face. She heard Inuyasha cursing.

The light faded as suddenly as it had burst through. Kagome opened her eyes cautiously. Inuyasha stood with his back to her, staring down at the empty space where the demon's body had been resting.

"Inuyasha?" Kagome called out. "Are you okay?"

He didn't answer.

Kagome tried to stand up, supporting herself on the trunk of a nearby tree. "Inuyasha--" She moved to take a step forward.

Someone put a steadying arm around her shoulders. "Hey, settle down, Kagome-chan." Kagome looked up, startled. Sango stood beside her, breathing heavily, looking like she had run a great distance. Kirara mewled behind her, in monster form. They had all agreed to split up into two groups that morning to search for the demon, going off in opposite directions. Sango had gone with Miroku, Shippou and Kirara, while Inuyasha and Kagome searched this part of the forest.

"Sango-chan..."

"We tried to get to you guys as fast as we could after we saw the explosion from the Cutting Wind but it looks like we're too late."

Kagome saw Miroku dash rather wild-eyed from another section of the treeline towards where Inuyasha was standing, followed closely by Shippou.

Sango studied Kagome, her eyes narrowing. "You look pretty hurt."

"I'm okay," Kagome said, gingerly rotating her right arm. "Just a few scratches."

"Did the demon attack you?"

"Something like that," sighed Kagome. "I just turned around and it was there."

"Is it still here? Can you sense it?"

Kagome paused. "No." She frowned in frustration. "Strange. How could it disappear so *easily*?"

Sango shook her head wearily. "Well, we'll just have to look for it again. In the meantime, let me bandage that arm of yours, Kagome-chan."

Kagome spared another fleeting thought for her math exam. 'A snake bite *should* be better than elephantitis,' she thought wryly.

**********

"Hey, Inuyasha!" Miroku called out, coming up to his friend, gripping his staff tightly. "Where's the demon?"

"Gone," said Inuyasha flatly. "Again."

Miroku looked resigned.

"But you saw it, right?" Shippou demanded.

"Yeah," Inuyasha answered. "It's a snake demon. Or it looks like one."

"Snake?" Miroku repeated, his brow furrowing.

"And it fucking hurt Kagome," Inuyasha snarled.

Miroku grimaced. "You did manage to attack it, though. We saw the Cutting Wind. Well, the aftershock, at least," he amended.

"Thought I had it too," said Inuyasha grimly. He told Miroku of what had happened, before and after the demon appeared.

Miroku rubbed his chin. "And it was gone? Just like that? You couldn't smell it anymore?"

"Yeah." Inuyasha's hand tightened on the hilt of his sword. "I didn't even notice it was there the first time until it was almost upon Kagome."

"Hey, don't beat yourself up over it, Inuyasha," Shippou put in.

Inuyasha unwound enough to bop him on the head, expression shifting from murderous to annoyed. "Shut up, brat. Why the hell would I do that? But I *am* definitely getting that fucking demon the next time." He gritted his teeth. "And I'm making sure it stays dead if I have to kill it over and over again."

"Hmmm," Miroku murmured reflectively. "I suggest we head back to Kaede-obaasan's village first, Inuyasha."

"What are you talking about, Miroku?" Inuyasha demanded. "We gotta keep looking for it. It should be around here *somewhere*."

"I don't think so," said Miroku. "This demon seems *very* strange and that's saying a lot considering... I've never encountered anything like it before, and so have you, Inuyasha. Maybe Obaasan knows something. We should ask her." Inuyasha only glared at him. Miroku braced himself for an extended argument; Inuyasha didn't look happy and an unhappy Inuyasha didn't give up easily. Actually, Miroku corrected himself, he never gave up at all.

To his surprise though, Inuyasha stepped back, returning Tetsusaiga to its sheath. "Fine," he said curtly. "We'll do that."

Miroku blinked as Inuyasha strode away from him. "That's it?"

Shippou nudged him in the knee. Miroku looked down and Shippou inclined his head meaningfully towards Kagome. Sango was binding her arm with a long piece of gauze. Inuyasha was heading straight towards them without a backward glance.

Miroku smirked. "Oh. I knew that."

"Idiot," said Shippou.

"I just didn't want to use such unfair leverage," Miroku said, nose in the air. This time Shippou kicked him and muttered something about know-it-all perverted priests.

Miroku's smirk faded as he studied the place where the demon had fallen after Inuyasha's attack. There was no physical mark, not even the faintest trace of a magical presence. The leaves on the forest floor looked like they hadn't even been stirred by the slightest breath of wind, least of all a big and heavy demon.

'Very strange indeed,' thought Miroku.

End Prologue

Note: Um. Let me just say right now that the demon in question is *not* a cursed Jusenkyo figure ^^;;;

Next Part: The scene shifts to Nerima XD