NOTE: This story takes place roughly in the timeframe of episode 3 in the anime and chapter 7-8 in the manga.
She was used to the abnormal in her life.
It wasn't something that she talked about much. Her father-in-law, son and daughter commented at one time or another that they knew very little of Mama's past before she came as a bride to the pretty temple tucked away in the northeast corner of Tokyo. It wasn't even something she wished to thinking about much, but there were times she drew upon her past to help her bear the present.
Now was one of them.
"I still don't see where Kagome can be." She winced as her father-in-law's shrill voice pierced the otherwise serene early evening sky. She stopped stirring the miso soup and glanced through the sheer curtains to watch him pace the plaza in front of the steps leading down to the street. "She doesn't have a boyfriend and none of her friends have seen her."
"I keep telling you, ojii-chan, she fell down the well." That came from her son, Souta, who sat on the top step petting the family cat, Buyo. "Nee-chan was grabbed by these branches and sucked into the well"
"And I keep telling you that there's nothing in that well! You're delusional, both you and your mother." She winced slightly at that last sentence and watched as Higurashi Chioto marched into the house.
He kicked off his shoes and marched into the kitchen, prepared to do battle. "When are we going to call the police," he demanded. "It's been two days."
She put down her soup ladle and studied him thoughtfully. His advanced age stooped Chioto to the point where even Souta was close to towering over him. Still, his brown eyes were alert and saw what he needed to see. She felt them on her as she moved to the cutting board, picked up a knife and a carrot and began chopping the vegetable.
"She's fine, ojii-san," she replied, masking her annoyance with an overly cheerful, calm voice. "I don't think we should involve the police."
"When will it be time to involve the police? When she's dead? Get your head out of the clouds, Kasumi!"
Kasumi paused. Closed her eyes. She took slow, measured breaths. When she opened them, she resumed her chopping.
Chioto watched her, amazed yet annoyed at her calmness about the matter. She was, in his mind, the same, sweet, slightly naïve person she'd been when his son brought her home to meet him 16 years earlier. He remembered the day vividly, from his first glimpse of the pleasant girl with the long braid draped over one shoulder, to the subsequent proposal out by the Goshinboku.
Marriage quickly followed and Kagome's birth soon after. Six years later, Souta came along. Through it all, Kasumi remained sweet and placid - the perfect daughter-in-law and model Japanese wife. He'd only seen her shaken once in all of that time - when the police had arrived with word that his son, her husband, had been killed in a car accident, forcing the family to move from their small home to the Higurashi shrine.
"Sit down and have some tea," Kasumi urged, pushing aside her carrots. She reached for a tea cup and a bag of the hoji-cha that he favored.
"I will not sit down." He resisted the urge to stamp his foot like a child. "Why aren't you worried?"
Kasumi smiled and reached for the teakettle. "I have no reason to be." She filled the cup and turned. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing at the outraged look on Chioto's face. "You see," she said, handing him the cup. "I had a visitor last night."
She hated when she couldn't sleep. Kasumi sat up in bed and ran a hand through her short hair. She reached for a robe and pulled it on. Her day-to-day activities allowed her the chance to escape the thoughts that plagued her at night. Sleep took care of the rest. When it eluded her, the things she wanted to forget always had a way of catching up.
More than likely, she realized, what kept her up now was a sense of guilt. Logically, as soon as Kagome did not show up for dinner or had not gone to school, she should have called the police. Yet a voice inside her cautioned her. There was no need for the police. Her daughter was okay.
And a mother's instinct was never wrong.
Kasumi wandered outside, where the mid-April night air was still cool. She walked aimlessly, winding up before the ancient tree that was older than the shrine itself. She peered into its branches. Her hand absently reached out and brushed the hard bark that coated the tree.
Goshinboku, she thought. I've always felt peaceful here. One of my most cherished memories took place here, even though the events that happened afterwards... Still, it led to my children. That is something I will never regret. She closed her eyes and remember the moment she first held Kagome in her arms. A tear slipped and rolled down her cheek.
She barely heard the soft voice behind her. She turned, noticed the woman standing few feet away wearing a formal white kimono. Her hair, nearly the color of night itself, flowed loosely over her shoulders. Her body seemed to glow, surrounded by a halo of hazy white light.
She's dead, Kasumi realized. This woman before me is a ghost. She smiled. She had seen much stranger things before. "Yes?"
An answering smile appeared on the ghost's serene face. "My name is Izayoi. I wanted to tell you that your Kagome-chan is safe."
Relief made Kasumi's knees turn to water. She leaned against the tree for support and didn't bother to check the tears of relief that streamed down her cheeks. "Thank goodness" she said, wiping her eyes. "How is she? Where is she?"
"She's with my son.back in the era you call theSengoku Jidai."
Disbelief tore at her. "Sengoku Jidai? That was more than 500 years ago" Through the disbelief, Souta's words came back to her. The cries about his sister being dragged down by branches into the well. Yet when they checked, they couldn't find her.
Kasumi knew that the well was more than 500 years old.
"The well," she murmured. "She went there when she fell down the well."
Izayoinodded, confirming it. "Your daughter was snatched by a youkai seeking the Shikon no Tama, You recall that you married into a family with a legendary line of mikos."
"Kagome-chan carries within her the legendary Shikon no Tama. I notice that your father-in-law sells poorly-produced replicas here."
That made her smile.
"When the youkai took Kagome-chan into the past, she found my son. Fifty years ago, he was shot with an arrow and sealed against this tree you lean against." The ghost cast a disdainful look at Goshinboku. "My son had tried to obtain the Shikon no Tama from an ancestor of Kagome's, Kikyou."
Izayoi reached out and fingered one of the leaves hanging from a low- drooping branch, her hands slipping through the solid matter. "You see, Kasumi-san, my son is a hanyou."
"His father is.was a full-blooded demon. When I gave birth to my son, his father gave him him a name that he said would help remind him of his heritage. I was a princess and his father was thedaiyoukai of the Western lands." Her sad eyes met Kasumi's. "His name is Inuyasha."
Dog demon, Kasumi thought. Before she could think beyond that, the ghost spoke again.
"You do not recoil in fear, Kasumi-san."
Kasumi blinked with surprise, then laughed. A moment later, the laughter died and she pinnedIzayoi with a steely gaze. "Is your son protecting my daughter?"
"Then I have no reason to fear or hate him."
Izayoifell silent for a moment. Kasumi thought she would fade away, her mission completed. She was slightly surprised when she spoke up again. "You're dealing with this rather calmly, Kasumi-san."
Kasumi's answering laughter rang out into the night.
"So when is she coming home, Kasumi?
She sipped at her own tea, a blend of green tea, from a delicate china cup. "Inuyasha's mother said that the Shikon no Tama was ejected from Kagome's body. In one of the battles that ensued, Kagome accidentally shattered the jewel. She and Inuyasha must restore it before it falls into the wrong hands"
She waited, prayed that Chioto would accept the story. Looking back, she realized it would be a hard one to believe if it was told to her. But Souta's eyewitness account of Kagome being taken away also came into play. Finally, Chioto sighed, breaking Kasumi out of her thoughts.
"She'll be gone awhile" he said. "I'll have to think of something to tell the school."
"I know." Kasumi's eyes met his. "Do you believe me?"
"If I didn't, you wouldn't be here right now." Chioto rose to his feet. "It makes too much sense, with what's been passed down in the family. It's our Kagome's destiny. I'll go call the school."
He walked out of the room, a little stiffly Kasumi noted. She was grateful he took her at her word. She pulled a small object from her pocket, something that Izayoi had given her before she left. She supposed it was a vow that the ghost's words were the truth. And she was also holding it in safekeeping for Kagome - for eventually there would be a time when her daughter would need to claim it.
She held it between her fingers and studied the small fragment - a shard of the Shikon no Tama.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I first of all want to thank the editor for this fic, Stefanie. She is currently writing a wonderful "Inuyasha" fic "Separation." Please go read it!
This is my first "Inuyasha" fic. Normally, I don't like to write a fic in a new series until I've become very familiar with the characters. In fact, the last time I delved into a new series was two years ago with "Rurouni Kenshin." The neat thing about this fic is not only is it my first for "Inuyasha" but it also deals with several characters we do not get much insight into - Kagome's mother and grandfather and also Inuyasha's mother.
The hard thing for me to do was come up with a plausible reason behind Kagome's mother's actions - why she didn't go to the police when her daughter turned up missing. After weighing many possibilities, I finally nailed onto a specific reason - that her mother was used to those types of occurrences. Hence, why I chose the name and background for her that I did. Will it come into play in future fics? No, I am not interested in doing a crossover of those two series. Will the character as I portrayed her come back? Yes, absolutely. I like Higurashi Kasumi and I want to bring the characters back. The fic idea itself came from an unanswered question in the series - why does her family take everything so calmly? There's another unanswered question as well - what happened to Kagome's father? It's one I'd like to answer as well.