On the format of the story: I apologize in advance for the incorrect spacing. I have spaced it out more than is correct to do so, but I believe it will make reading it easier given the format of pages. For the names of items, techniques, titles, etc, I will be referring to them as they are referred to in the English version of the show(s) for the ease of those not fortunate enough (or simply unwilling) to view the episodes/manga issues in their original format. In other words, no use of "san", "sama", or "kun", no "rei-gan", and no "baka". If you're so much of a purist that this detracts from your reading experience, you are reminded that you do not need to read this fic.
Etc: The point on the YYH and Inuyasha timelines at which this is occurring should become clear enough in the fic. Feel free to criticize, bash on, or praise my work through reviews. Now, on to the fic!
One for the Ages
By Gan Xingba
If there was one thing Yusuke Urameshi had learned in all his years in school, it was this: school sucks. That was, of course, the very reason he was ditching it at the moment, choosing instead to spend his time doing more productive things like playing videogames and maintaining his reputation as "the much, much worser punk of Saryaski Junior High" by scaring the crap out of anyone who looked at him funny.
Yes, for Yusuke, this was the high life, and it was only so often that he got to live it. In fact, the last few weeks had been completely devoid of it. He had, after all, been on an island fighting for his life in the twisted demon-death-match that was the Dark Tournament. It seemed like his hard work had finally paid off though, as most of the prominent demons had either been killed in the Tournament or were hiding in fear of its new champion's wrath.
'It could be weeks, even months before I have to run errands for that stupid toddler again,' he thought jubilantly. 'I've finally got my life back!'
As it always seemed to work with Yusuke, though, the moment he thought this, the exact opposite happened.
"Skipping school can't be good for your future, you know."
Yusuke whirled around from the arcade machine he was currently playing to be greeted by a familiar blue haired, giggling girl - the grim reaper.
"Damn it, Botan, you made me lose my last life! Do you know how many quarters I poured into that thing?"
"It's bad for your eyes to play so long anyway," chided Botan mockingly. "And you would have had to stop anyways because I have a message from Koenma."
"Oh no! No way! I am not letting that toddler cut into my free-time again," declared Yusuke as he backed towards the arcade door, waving his hands in front of him in protest. "Besides, I've got a date with Keiko and she'll make Toguro look like a tame puppy if I stand her up again."
Botan smiled at that last remark. Yusuke's incredibly bad luck when it came to missions overlapping with dates had become somewhat of a running joke among the people in Koenma's office in Spirit World. There was always a pool on whether he'd have to stand Keiko up when he received a mission. Botan took the pot every time.
"Well, you don't have to worry because this mission won't take more than a few hours at the most, so you shouldn't be slapped anytime soon."
"I wouldn't go that far…" said Yusuke, smirking as he recalled his most recent 'offenses'. "But as long as it's short I suppose I could beat the daylights out of a few scumbags."
"Good. I've already told Kuwabara. He's waiting for us at his place."
"What took you guys so long?" greeted Kuwabara as Yusuke and Botan entered his room. "It's a good thing I'm so disciplined, otherwise I would've watched the message without ya'."
"Oh? And is that why I had to take it away from you earlier then, little brother?" Shizuru retorted as she waved Koenma's tape in her hand from the doorway.
Kuwabara muttered something unintelligible and crossed his arms in irritation. Shizuru popped the tape in the VCR and reclined on the floor to watch. After all, there was no reason to try and hide any messages from her anymore since she'd figured out the boys' rather unique job back when they had been sent to rescue Yukina.
"You'd think Koenma would've switched to DVDs by now," commented Yusuke as the tape went through Koenma's usual melodramatic intro.
"Are you kidding? He's only just figured out that they aren't CD's," replied Botan, giggling at her own joke as the tape finally moved on to the actual message.
"Since I doubt your attention span has improved since our last meeting, Yusuke, I'll make this as brief as possible."
An image of a purple glass-like fragment replaced Koenma on the screen, and Koenma's voice could again be heard.
"This is a shard of the Shikon Jewel, also known as the Sacred Jewel or the Jewel of Four Souls. It used to be whole, but it was broken and scattered itself all over Japan. When whole, it has unimaginable power, but even a single shard like you see here can increase a demon's strength several fold."
The image shifted back to Koenma, who for some reason was suddenly wearing a trench coat and leaning against a lamp post.
'I guess TV corrupts Spirit World's youth too,' thought Yusuke smugly.
The message continued, "Obviously, this makes it extremely dangerous, and it is considered contraband by Spirit World. Normally, something like this would be a top priority, but since there was that incident with the Dark Tournament we've only recently been able to get some solid intelligence on the jewel shards."
Again, the image on the screen shifted, but this time to a girl in her mid to late teens.
"This is Kagome Higurashi, she is currently in possession of three jewel shards. Apparently, she has found a way to transport herself to the feudal era where she has returned with a varying number of shards over time. She seems to have a strong spiritual aura, but from our reports she should be able to see reason, so I doubt you'll need to fight her. This next fellow is quite another story, however."
A picture of a silver haired youth garbed in red appeared on the screen. He might have passed as fairly normal to Yusuke, if it weren't for the ears.
"Hey! That guy's ears look just like some kinda' dog's!" Exclaimed Kuwabara before receiving a lump on the back of his head courtesy of Shizuru's fist.
"This is Inuyasha, a half-demon from the feudal era that has somehow managed to find a way to travel to this time. Apparently, he's a companion of Kagome's and if he's with her, you should expect a fight. Kagome's address is on the back of case the video was in. This message will self destruct in five seconds."
"Don't pay any attention to that last bit," Botan amended. "He doesn't know how to make it do that."
"Well, let's get this over with," said Yusuke, rising to his feet. "I am not going to get slapped again today."
It wasn't often that Kagome got the chance to shop in the feudal era, especially in Kaede's village. It was even less often that she actually found something she liked. Unfortunately for her, she always seemed to lack the sense not to ask Inuyasha for his opinion.
"Oh! This is absolutely gorgeous!" she'd said as she examined green and white dress with glee. "Isn't it amazing, Inuyasha?"
"What are you blabbing about? It's ugly as hell!"
The impact of Inuyasha's face onto the ground had caused dust to get all over the kimono, but at that point the dress had hardly mattered to her.
'He's just such a jerk sometimes,' reflected Kagome from her new designated pouting spot in the large garden behind her family's shrine. 'Honestly, would it really be so hard just to act mature once in a while?'
She continued on this train of thought for several minutes, going through various scenarios similar to the one yesterday, and each one ending with Inuyasha's face getting better acquainted with the ground.
When Kagome and Inuyasha had a fight, there were several paths that led from the face-plant. Sometimes, if it was something small, she would just wander off for a while and be over it within a few hours. When it was something larger, or she simply needed an excuse to go home for a little while as the case was now, she took the well outside Kaede's village back to her own time, and from there, it was a standoff. Either she would give in, and return back to the feudal era herself, or…
"Uh…Kagome…what are you doing back here?"
Kagome smiled as she turned around to face Inuyasha. Lately, he had been coming to retrieve her more often, and to Kagome it seemed like a giant leap forward. To an outside observer, it might not seem like much, but for her, it seemed important.
"Just thinking," she replied, smiling as Inuyasha shuffled his feat and scratched the back of his head. He was clearly feeling awkward.
"I...I'm sorry about calling that thi-I mean dress, ugly yesterday,"
"Don't worry about it. I was just in a bad mood."
"Well good," he pronounced a clearly more confident. "Cause I only said it so you'd come back and find more jewel shards."
Kagome just chuckled as Inuyasha made a show of crossing his arms and looking away like he was too cool to really give a damn. By now, Kagome had learned that he really didn't mean it when he did things like that. It was all just to satisfy his image, even if nobody was around to see it. She made a mental note to get him to drop the act for about the billionth time and stood up.
"All right, just let me get my…" her voice trailed off when she saw that Inuyasha hadn't moved, and she followed his gaze to a boy clad in green standing at the entrance to the garden.
"Sorry folks, but there's a new toll for traveling to the feudal era," the boy announced, his mouth shifting into a smirk. "Three Sacred Jewel shards. Make the check out to Yusuke Urameshi."