Author's Note: This was one of a number of challenge fics that I did with a friend. Requirements were the word of the day on dictionary dot com, a song of your choice, and other requirements chosen differently for each story.
Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable from Inuyasha or the Simpsons.
Song: Replaced by two different Simpson references.
Other Requirements: Weasels and a story inside a story.
"Do you never stop to look at your surroundings?" Bhuhmi asked. "You go into the mountains and rush down me to your mother; then she sends you up into the clouds and you stay there only briefly before falling onto me and collecting in the mountains again."
"Of course not," Nadhi replied. "I see the world in many different ways, and I am never bored. I would believe that you get bored, always motionless in the same place. When you move, you do so slowly, taking centuries to move the same distance that I move in seconds."
"I do not get bored," Bhuhmi replied. "I see many things; and as I remain in place, I see how events progress. There are so many beings that dwell upon me, and I love to watch them. I watch love stories play out; I laugh with the delight of beings; I watch people lament and comfort them in their sorrow; I give beings my praise when they make decisions that were difficult for them; I lament as humans kill for no reason comprehensible to me. Things are never dull. For example…"
"Inuyasha, what are you doing?" Kagome demanded angrily from the foot of the God Tree. "Why are you in my time? I told you, I need three more days!" Inuyasha did not move, staring straight ahead. But his ears had twitched at her voice, and she knew that he had heard her. Her anger faded slightly, and Kagome wondered if he was even there to get her. "Inuyasha!" she tried calling again. But again, he did not reply. She knew that he knew that she could hear, and she detected no anger or annoyance in his expression. "Fine! I have homework to do, so I'm leaving!"
Kagome walked a few steps away, then looked back to see if Inuyasha was affected. He had not moved. She began to feel slightly concerned—could something be wrong?—but decided to leave him alone for the time being. She had a mountain load of work to catch up on, as always. Resuming her steps, she hastened to her room with the decision to get as much work done as was possible before Inuyasha came back to his senses.
But she had not been working for five minutes when she heard a commotion beneath her window. For a moment, she considered ignoring it with a queenly disregard, but the loud voices amplified to shouts, she found that it was simply impossible to ignore them. She slammed the window open angrily, just in time to hear Souta shout.
"Get in there and defend my honor!" he was shouting. Kagome looked down in time to see that he was shouting to a frog. He and his friends had apparently caught frogs, and were trying to get them to fight. Why were little boys so robustious?
"Souta!" Kagome growled down at her younger brother. He looked up, and his friends did so as well. "I'm studying! Keep it down!" She closed the window and returned to her desk.
But Kagome only got another five minutes of studying before the window was opened quietly from the outside. She knew who it was without looking up.
"Is something wrong, Inuyasha?" she asked. There was a silence, and she went back to her work, thinking that he wasn't going to reply. But after a few moments, she heard his voice.
"You always need to come back to study," he said suddenly. Kagome looked around in surprise at the serious tone of his voice. Turning around her revolving chair to look at him more closely, she saw the seriousness in his eyes as well.
"Well…yes," Kagome said, unsure of what it was that he wanted to say.
"You said it's because you need to study hard to get into high school," Inuyasha continued.
"That's right," Kagome said, though it was not a question. Actually, she had already passed her exam by some miracle, and was to start in a few days—it was spring break.
"But then you'll need to study hard again once you get into high school."
Kagome faltered. Now that she thought about it, he was right. In fact, she would probably have to study harder.
"Why do you need to go to high school?" Inuyasha finally asked, raising his eyes to meet hers.
Kagome stared for a moment. Why did she need to go to high school? The law only required that she go up to middle school. Most people went to high school because it would get them a good job to go through high school and college. But now that she thought about it, it would only get harder and harder to lead a double life as she got older—in high school, then college, and then a job…
Other people went for the knowledge. But what need had she of modern knowledge? Most of her life was in Inuyasha's time—five hundred years in the past. All the modern knowledge she needed was medical, but she had a relatively good grasp on modern medicine, and was learning more and more from Kaede in the past. Until then, she had simply been focusing on high school because that was the way that things were to live in the modern world.
"I suppose…" she answered slowly. "It's because that's the way things are here. That's how you get a job and live in my world."
"But you spend most of your time in our world now," Inuyasha said. "You're a good healer there."
Our world, he had said. Somehow, over the course of the months, his world had stopped being 'his world'. It was now her world, too—she had a best friend, a love interest, a son-like figure, a mentor, and a large number of friends and acquaintances, all in the past. When she thought about it, she had come to feel more at home there than with her mother, brother and grandfather. Sure, they were her family, but of a different sort. She had grown from teenager to adult in the feudal era—she now led her own life in that other world, and even handled caring for others as well as herself. She only came back once in a while, to study or to visit.
To visit, she thought. What had once been her home was now her hometown; her birthplace. But it was no longer her home. Her home was five hundred years ago, in the feudal era. So why didn't she live there permanently? That was easy: she stood out. Sure, she could change her everyday clothing from her uniform to a kimono, but still, she was not one of the people there. She was a mother-like figure to a demon, and constantly in the company of a half demon, and that alone put her apart from ordinary people there. In addition, she was no farmer, for they were born, lived and died in the same village and she had very little knowledge of farming; she had priestess powers, but had little control of them, and was therefore no priestess; and she had knowledge of healing, but where would she settle to become a healer?
"That's true," she told Inuyasha. "But I stand out there. I'm not part of that world, so I need to keep my place in mine." She began to turn back to her desk.
"That's all?" Inuyasha's tone was harsh, and she froze, staring at him. "That's ridiculous! Kagome, you travel with a half demon, a demon slayer who ought to be married and settled down by now by her age, a cursed monk, and an orphaned fox demon! None of us have a normal place in that world!" His eyes were boring into hers. "But you brought all of us together—Shippo followed because of you; Miroku followed because of you; you were the one who convinced Sango into staying with us, too!" Kagome stared for a moment, and then averted her eyes and shook her head.
"Miroku-sama and Sango-chan will be married soon," Kagome pointed out. "They've already decided to settle down in Kaede-baachan's village. Then we won't need to travel anymore. We only do it now out of habit. Once two out of five settle down, why should the remaining three continue? The shikon jewel is whole; Naraku is gone. After Sango-chan and Miroku-sama get married, my life is going to return to normal in this world. Of course, I'll visit, but there won't be any reason for me to stay anymore."
Inuyasha openly scoffed at that. Kagome glared and opened her mouth, but Inuyasha was faster.
"Stop acting as though no one in our world cares about you. You have a life there, too—it's more important than the one here, you know. I was going to wait until after Miroku wedded Sango, but seeing as how you're wallowing in self-pity, I'll say it now. I want to wed you. I want you to stay in our world and live there with me. Heck, I'd even put up with Shippo living with us!"
Kagome stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, the pen dropping from her hand. Inuyasha's cheeks were tinged pink, and he was looking everywhere but at her.
Then she suddenly gave a loud squeal of delight and threw herself at Inuyasha. He was knocked backwards onto the bed behind him, too startled to catch her. She barely noticed that she landed with her shoulder digging into his neck, and his chokes met deaf ears.
Inuyasha was saved when the door opened.
"Kagome, have you seen-" Kagome's mother stopped abruptly, staring at the heap on the bed that was Kagome and Inuyasha. Kagome got up, blushing only slightly, and Inuyasha sat up as well, coughing.
"God, Kagome," he coughed. "You don't have to suffocate me!"
"Sorry," Kagome said (though she didn't sound very sorry, due to the delight in her voice and her face that shone with joy) as Inuyasha's coughs ceased, and then turned to her mother. "Mama, Inuyasha and I are getting married!" Her mother stared for a moment.
"I know you are. But now? Aren't you a bit young?" Her mother was glancing between Kagome and Inuyasha.
"Not there. I'm sixteen, Mama—perfectly old enough to wed there." At Kagome's reply, her mother sighed.
"And I suppose that it's decided that you'd live there?" she asked.
"Well, yes," Kagome said apologetically. "But Mama, it won't be that different from my moving out—not much is going to change, because I'll still come and visit."
"If you're sure, dear," Mrs. Higurashi said. In truth, she had anticipated this for months, and was not very surprised or upset. It was a disappointment that Kagome was going to move away so soon, but she had been practically living away from home for the past year or so. "I look forward to the grandchildren!" she added the last comment as she left the room and shut the door.
Kagome turned pale and Inuyasha was thrown into another choking fit.
"You told Mother about them five centuries ago, did you not?" asked Nadhi. "She has told me that you said that there was a pair that kept disappearing and reappearing, but they were nowhere on you when they disappeared."
"Yes," replied Bhuhmi. She was smiling. "But I have discovered that it was I who was sending them back and forth. I knew what was to happen when the girl that was named Kagome was born, so I assisted them that things should turn out the way they were meant to."
"What happened to them?" Nadhi asked curiously. She was young and flighty, but still very interested in such stories.
"The girl started out as a healer, and took over as priestess as well when the body of the priestess they called Kaede was returned to me. The boy protected the village. They had three sons and a daughter—the middle son and the daughter were half-demons, and the eldest and youngest sons were human."
"They were not all quarter demons, then?" Nadhi inquired.
"No," replied Bhuhmi, and her trees shook their leaves. "A half demon is half its mother and half its father. When a human and a half demon mate, the resulting child gets the part of the mother or father of the half demon, and the part of the mother or father of the human. It can only be human or half-demon."
"You know a lot about living beings," Nadhi commented.
"Of course," Bhuhmi replied, and her grass rustled her laughter. "They live upon me; they are my dear children. My oaks, my weasels, my crows, my clovers… I love them all equally."
"Mother has said something similar about her fish and coral," Nadhi said thoughtfully. "I suppose that I shall understand someday."
"I suppose you shall," Bhuhmi said. "Now run along child—your Mother awaits you."