*WHAT* INSERTION?
by Curtis Wildcat

PROLOGUE
Part A

"He said, 'It seemed to be a good idea at the time'."

/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/

Location: The Warring States Era, Earth
Time: Two hours after sunrise

The paths that universes take to diverge from the main road are wide and varied. Some stay rather close to their point of origin, with little if any impact on the final outcome. Others branch out far and wide, becoming major roads in themselves due to how many changes were brought about.

On one main road, Inuyasha and Kagome Higurashi removed Naraku and the Shikon Jewel from the equation following a climatic battle near the village where it all began. Kagome was returned to her era, where she finished her education before finally making that one final trip back to where she knew she belonged.

One of the many diverging paths had things go about... a little bit differently. Certain key figures did not cease to exist. Naraku's plots did not always go the way he expected them to. As a result of these, when the time came to put him away for good, Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru had more than enough help to accomplish their task. In desperation, Naraku turned to the Shikon Jewel- - -which was still absent several fragments, one of which was in Koga's leg- - -and used it to empower himself, sparking a battle that lasted for more than two hours and nearly ended with Kaede's village being flattened.

Ultimately, he could not stand against their combined force. The ever-rebellious Kagura and Kanna, both of whom Sesshoumaru had taken the time to release from Naraku's control, gleefully (or as close to gleeful as Kanna was capable of expressing) ditched the plant from which they had been offshoots. Koga bounded about, assisting Miroku, Sango and Shippou in any way he could. Those allies of the group that were close enough to help did much the same, giving Kagome, Kikyo, and the two brothers just enough time to put Naraku down permanently.

The final fragments of the jewel were eventually gathered, and it was made whole and purified once more. A day or so passed by, and Kagome entrusted the protection of the jewel to Inuyasha. After everyone except Sesshoumaru and Kikyo said their individual farewells to her and reminesced a little, Kagome returned back to her rightful era- - -this time for good. With Kagome gone, Koga decided he didn't have any reason to stick around; everyone else decided to stay and see what Inuyasha was going to do with the jewel.

It was Shippou who heard the quiet words coming from Inuyasha's mouth: "Without Kagome around, what am I supposed to do- - -spend the centuries sitting around, waiting for the chance to see her again? Letting boredom overwhelm me... that's just not my style. I need an adventure, something to keep me occupied until the time comes. I want to go someplace where I am needed, someplace where my actions can have an impact. That's where I wish to go..." A smirk. "Good-bye, everyone. Don't get into too much trouble without me around, you understand?"

There was a pulse of power, a loud rushing noise as the air where Inuyasha had been standing collapsed on itself, and a burst of flame as the jewel... the very jewel that so much damage and pain had been inflicted over... disintegrated completely.

At the time, Sesshoumaru and Kikyo didn't believe that it would be the last they'd see of Inuyasha for a very long while. It wasn't until some years later that they understood the extent of Inuyasha's wish: he'd been whisked away from this universe altogether.

/-/-/-/-/

Location: Southeastern Michigan, USA
Time: 1:47a.m., sometime in January 2005

An overweight young man sat in the silence of his bedroom, glaring at his computer screen. I would love to know how those other guys do this, he thought, mildly annoyed at his lack of progress. Trying to write a crossover with yourself as one of the characters is not an easy thing to write.

Taking a moment to tear his eyes from the screen, he looked down at his alarm clock: 1:48a.m. He blinked a few times wearily. Wow, that long already? Funny how quickly time passes; I wonder how that episode of Sanford and Son turned out. I'll try this again tomorrow after class. After closing the file and shutting down the computer, he got into bed and fell asleep almost immediately.

Some people see dreams as a surreal escape from reality, a way to experience their oddities in a vaguely detached sort of way. What the man wasn't aware of was that reality itself was about to become the dream in a most unusual fashion.

/-/-/-/-/

Location: The world of Ceiphied and Shabranigdu
Time: Late morning

A small dark-haired boy sat halfway up a tree, humming to himself thoughtfully. If his planning had gone the way he'd expected it to, then Lina Inverse ought to be passing by a nearby meadow in just a few short hours. By the time he was done the entire world, not just that insignificant meadow, would be chaos and destruction incarnate. The blame would be placed squarely on Inverse's shoulders, and the boy would have the last laugh as everything crumbled to nothing.

Reaching up, he yanked an apple off a nearby branch and chewed it quietly. He didn't really need to eat anything, but he decided to have something to take his mind off the strange headache he'd been having for the last minute or so...

Wait a minute. Headache? That doesn't make sense, Phibrizzo mused. Unless inflicted by Rah Tilt or Elmekia Flame, mazoku don't get headaches. Maybe everything I've been thinking about has been giving me the closest equivalent. It shouldn't surprise me; Ive been planning this for the better part of a year. He turned his thoughts inward to see if his suspicions were correct...

...and jerked upwards from his sitting position in shock at what he saw. Inside the deepest recesses of his mind were two large, cubic chambers, each of them connected by a small corridor. How those chambers got there, he had no idea; so, he tried to get rid of them by collapsing that part of his mind. No chance; the walls refused to budge. This isn't good.

As the two unknown figures entered his mental line of sight, his eyes narrowed and he groaned audibly. Intruders inside MY mind? I can imagine my sister Dolphin's mind, but mine? Better nip this one in the bud.

/-/-/-/-/-/

Inuyasha wasn't too happy, of course. Being stuck in a large, strange room with only a passageway leading to another room was not how he wanted that wish to be granted! "I'd expected to be stuck somewhere in the middle of one of those foreign lands that Kagome used to go on about," he growled, "not confined someplace that a map maker couldn't find his way out of." He forced himself to calm down before he lost his temper.

Now that he was a bit calmer, he took the time to study the place that he found himself in. At least I got myself a room with a view, Inuyasha thought as he looked directly in front of him. At the very front of the room was a scene full of leaves and tree branches; he'd already tried to exit that way, but found his escape route mysteriously blocked. The chamber itself was about sixty feet wide, the same distance long, and about fifteen feet high; the walls, ceiling and floor were covered with a metallic sheen that seemed to give off its own light. Along one wall were a series of odd devices and buttons that he didn't dare tamper with; he'd had enough problems with Kagome's "technology" to know that something usually went wrong when that happened. In one corner was a glass pillar filled with a strange green liquid.

Finally, there was a door at the back of the room that led into a small corridor. Investigating it, he found that it connected to another room of similar design; the difference was that there were numerous items that he recognized only from the occasional trips he'd made to Kagome's house. Most of those items were situated on a massive "entertainment center" that rested on one side of the chamber. In the center of the room was a chair that was permenantly attached to the ground. Other than a large rug here at the back of the room, the room was also covered with metal and weird "technology".

"Huh," Inuyasha muttered aloud. "Whoever made these rooms didn't have much of a decorative sense."

"You're telling me," someone nearby replied, the source of the voice coming from the chair. Startling him, the chair spun around to face him and gave him a good view of who just spoke to him. "It's as if all the artists of the world hated their paintings simultaneously."

"Who are you?" Inuyasha growled, keeping one hand near Tessaiga.

"Would you relax already? I don't carry weapons with me," the person answered. "Name's Curtis, and you're... Inuyasha, aren't you? Strange..."

Inuyasha glared at him suspiciously. "And how do you know that?"

"Let's just say that your name's pretty popular back home and leave it at that," Curtis said, turning back around in his chair. "What I can't figure out is how I got here. Last thing I remember is falling asleep in bed..." Thinking about it but giving up after a few seconds, he got up from the chair and approached Inuyasha. "Oh, well. As long as I'm here, I might as well just..."

While Curtis was talking, Inuyasha was eyeing a device- - -a loudspeaker, if he remembered correctly- - -in an upper corner of the room. A small yellow light kept flicking on and off repeatedly, then flashed red. That was all the warning the hanyou received before it happened...

"Whether you know what's good for you or not, get out of my head!"

/-/-/-/-/

Phibrizzo was pleased to see that both of the intruders were shocked right out of their conversation when they heard his mental scream. His eyes unfocused, he continued to mentally concentrate on the scene within his head. It took only a few seconds for the first intruder to react, unsheathing his sword (How'd he get that huge sword in there?, he wondered) and immediately raising his guard. He looked human yet canine at the same time, not at all unusual but not as common as such creatures were centuries ago. The other intruder just looked around him, confused. Typical human. Looks like he swallowed a pillow.

"Who are you?" the dog/human snarled, his eyes narrowed.

"My name doesn't matter," Phibrizzo said quietly. Slowly raising his voice, he continued: "What does matter is that I don't want you in here, so get out!"

Although he couldn't collapse the chambers, the mazoku could force the two of them out. Deciding on what approach to take, he decided that a heavy wind would do the trick; they didn't look like much, despite the huge sword. Mentally bracing himself, he blasted the two of them with as powerful a force as he could manage.

He waited about twenty seconds into the typhoon, then examined the intruders. The overweight human had somehow wrapped his arms and legs around the chair before being blown away, although his grip was slowly weakening. The dog/human had jammed his sword into the ground and was facing the wind thoughtfully. "Just leave, you fools!" Phibrizzo shouted, his voice echoing. "Im not going to tell you again!"

The canine intruder=s eyes turned menacing. No longer caring about the typhoon, he pulled his sword free and readied himself for battle. "I'm not going anywhere, kid!" he shouted back. "I don't like your wind, so sorry if I throw it out! Wind Scar!" With that, he slammed his sword into the ground just as the human lost his grip on the chair and was blown past him...

Phibrizzo hadn't thought that the "Wind Scar", as the intruder had called it, would do anything to him. In those moments, though, he'd forgotten one crucial fact: those that are invulnerable from without could be besieged from within.

...A powerful jolt broke his concentration, increasing the intensity of the "headache" that the mazoku was having earlier. Even though it wasn't physical, the mental shock made him feel as if he'd just gotten blasted by a triple-powered Rah Tilt. Trying his best not to scream, Phibrizzo instead threw both hands onto his head and whimpered as loud as he could, his mind racing. Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid!

/-/-/-/

Inuyasha watched as the Wind Scar tore its way through the typhoon, scattering it but somehow leaving the floor undamaged. Instead, his attack left four long, glowing lines that jutted out at different angles on the floor. These faded after several seconds...

The view outside abruptly changed, tilting downwards towards the base of a tree. Very loud whimpering noises emanated from the speaker.

It occurred to him at this point what the kid had said earlier: 'Get out of my head!' "Now I get what the jewel did," Inuyasha muttered aloud. "It must've created these rooms in the kid's mind and tossed me in here. Wonder what he's in here for, though."

"I'm supposed to be asleep," Curtis told him, stumbling a little and making his way back to the chair. "Maybe I've been asleep for a few hours and this is some sort of dream, or something. Yeah, that's it. Maybe I'm just dreaming this," he mumbled, sitting down in the chair and staring at the view outside.

"Believe what you want, kid," Inuyasha growled, sheathing Tessaiga. "Now that I know we're inside some demented kid's head, I'm going to head back and see what all those things in there are for. See ya."

/-/-/-/

As Inuyasha exited the chamber, Curtis took another look around. His mind registered the fact that the chair rotated in whatever direction he turned his head; ignoring the whimpering noises that were slowly ceasing, he turned towards the television. "I'm dreaming," he murmured again. "This is... this is really weird." A few beats. "...Well, might as well make the most of it. Now, how does that television work..."

The television flicked itself on, and a remote control materialized in Curtis's hand. His eyebrows shot up. "Cool. I wonder..."

Following the path of the remote control, a cup holder appeared and attached to the chair's left armrest. A large cup of strawberry soda followed suit, followed by Curtis's grin. "If this is a dream, I'll give my alarm clock to someone else," he said aloud, flicking through the television channels until he reached a basketball game.

After several minutes it occurred to him that their host had stopped whimpering and was now groaning something. The view outside had gone back to leaves and branches, although the direction was a bit off; Curtis noted this, but he was wondering something else now. "You okay out there?"

/-/-/-/

I feel like my head's on fire, and he asks if I'm okay. Stupid jerk. "No, I'm not," Phibrizzo growled irritably, one hand still on his head and one eye locked in a mental staredown. "Why are you doing this? What do you two have to gain by rummaging around in my very essence?"

"You tell me," the fat human said, taking a sip of... whatever that stuff was. "A little while ago, I was sleeping in my room. Next thing I know, I'm in here."

"I don't believe you," Phibrizzo snarled. "You're up to something. No one gets into my head on accident, and those little rooms weren't there yesterday."

"You'd better believe it," the human told him, taking another drink. "I ain't saying anything else on that subject." He set the drink down and held up a small device, then did something with it that stopped the strange background noise. "My name's Curtis. Since I can't see your face from here, you'll have to tell me: who did I wind up with?"

Phibrizzo removed his hand from his head as the Wind Scar-induced headache finally subsided. Thinking fast, he figured he'd respond to his question and judge from his reaction whether the human- - -Curtis- - -was telling the truth. "Very well, then; I'll play along for now. Do you recognize the name Hellmaster Phibrizzo?"

Curtis's eyes widened, and his mouth fell open slightly. An involuntary shudder played "Chopsticks" on his spine. "Now I know I'm dreaming," he deadpanned. "Crud."

/-/-/-/

To be continued