Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha series or any of the characters.

Summary: Who knew modern Tokyo could be so dangerous? A disaster shatters the city. Inuyasha and the Higurashi family come together to wait for some reprieve. One Shot.


Tremble

"Are you sure you're quite alright, dear?"

Inuyasha grunted an affirmative to Higurashi-san and continued to poke restlessly at the remainder of his supper. There was nothing wrong with him. Nothing specific, anyway. He'd been on edge most of the day. His attention seemed to dart from one thing to the next, his big appetite suddenly vanished midway through the meal, and Kagome's house (which normally felt like such a safe haven to him) was making him feel strangely trapped and stifled.

Higurashi-san was still eyeing him worriedly. "Well, if you're sure. It's just that you've seemed so quiet and distracted today. And you've hardly touched your meal. Was it too spicy?"

"It's fine," he replied, and forced himself to take a few more bites in case she didn't believe him. Then he got distracted again and glanced around the room. He felt a strong urge to keep an eye on the exits.

"Would you stop twitching like that?" Kagome said, sounding slightly frustrated. He couldn't blame her. She'd been patient all day, and he was even annoying himself. "You're making me anxious. What's the matter with you?"

"I don't know what's wrong," he said tetchily, dropping his hashi and pushing his bowl away. "Something's just… not right."

"Are you sick?" Kagome asked, looking a little worried now. "You usually don't act so jumpy except during the New Moon, and I've already checked the calendar."

"It's not that," Inuyasha struggled to voice his feelings. "I… I dunno."

"Mrrrow!

Souta got up to let Buyo outside. "Buyo's been acting strange today, too," the boy said. "I must have let him in and out at least a dozen times. He can't seem to make up his mind."

"He's probably just nervous because of how Inuyasha is acting," Higurashi-jijii opined. "Animals are very sensitive to the world around them, you know."

Kagome got up and began to clear off the table, but her mother stopped her. "I'll do that, dear. Why don't you and Inuyasha-kun go into the livingroom? Maybe you could watch some television or play a game to take his mind off whatever's bothering him."

"Thanks, Mama," Kagome replied, and dragged Inuyasha along after her into the livingroom. Souta joined them.

"We could play one of my video games, Inu-no-nii-chan," the kid enthused. "I've got a new one. You'll like it."

"It's not like that last one with the little man in the funny hat, is it?" Inuyasha asked.

"No, this one's a fighting game," Souta said, digging through his basket of games. "I'll even let you pick your character first. Darn, I must have left it upstairs in my room. I'll be right back."

Souta raced up to the second floor, his feet pounding on the stairs. Inuyasha listened as he crossed over to the window and looked out at the darkened sky, his ears turning themselves to track Souta's movements, Kagome's breathing, and the sounds of Higurashi-san washing dishes while Higurashi-jijii discussed the things he was reading in his paper. He was feeling increasingly skittish. Something was very wrong.

Inuyasha jumped as the floor seemed to shiver briefly beneath his feet. Then there was a few seconds of stillness, during which time Inuyasha realized exactly why he'd been on edge all day.

The next wave of vibration was strong enough to make him stagger. Kagome cried out in surprise and fear, and he could hear similar exclamations coming from the kitchen.

"The doorway, Inuyasha!" Kagome called out, trying unsteadily to make her way there. "There's nothing to fall on us there."

An even stronger jolt sent her to her knees, and she gasped as the furniture in the room rattled or overturned, sending items bouncing across the floor. Inuyasha could hear the glass in the window crack behind him as he fought his way across the rippling floor to Kagome and dragged her with him into the relative safety of the doorframe. He braced himself against the sturdy wood.

"Are you alright?" shouted Higurashi-san from the direction of the kitchen. Inuyasha could hear pots clattering and glass breaking.

"I'm okay, Mama!"

"Where's Souta?"

Another violent wave rocked the house. There was a terrified shriek from upstairs, and the sound of something heavy falling.

"Stay here, Kagome," Inuyasha ordered. As he stepped into the hall, he could see where Higurashi-san and Higurashi-jijii were crouched in the doorway outside the kitchen. Higurashi-san appeared to be in the act of rising to her feet. "Stay there," he shouted over the sound of rattling furniture and falling items. "I'll get him."

Inuyasha strained to keep his feet under him as he headed for the stairs. The floor bucked and shuddered wildly under his feet, never where he expected it to be from one footfall to the next. He had been in many earthquakes before, of course. He had no knowledge of any way to measure their strength except his own experience. In the 150 years of his life (because he didn't count the 50 years on the tree), he had felt thousands of quakes that were weaker than this, perhaps four or five this strong, and only one that had felt more violent. Normally he would just find an open area and sit still until it was over. Not much could happen to him on a grassy hilltop. He'd never been inside a building during a strong earthquake, and the experience had him breaking out in a cold sweat. Things were breaking and sliding and falling all around him, and his grip on the walls and doorframes did not seem to be enough for him to keep his balance. Souta was still crying out, sounding panicked, and Inuyasha tried to hurry.

Halfway up the stairs, there was another particularly hard tremor, and Inuyasha flung out his hands, clinging to the railing with one and sinking his claws into the wall with the other. Nearly panicking, he jumped the rest of the way up the stairs and landed crookedly, almost falling on his face. As he was getting his bearings, all the lights in the house went out, plunging it into darkness. His eyes adjusted quickly, but for a moment it was just him, alone in the claustrophobic darkness while the house felt and sounded like it was going to come down on his head.

Inuyasha got a hold of himself and staggered to Souta's bedroom door, which was closed. He turned the knob and pushed, encountering resistance right away.

"What's blocking the door, Souta?"

"The bookcase," Souta replied through the door, sounding slightly hysterical. "It fell over and I can't move it." Something else fell to the floor, and Souta yelped in alarm. "Hurry!"

"Move back."

He got the door open, and Souta fairly threw himself through the crack at Inuyasha, who caught him and transferred the kid to Kagome's usual spot on his back so that his arms would be free. Souta clung with all four limbs, shaking nearly as hard as the ground was. Inuyasha made his way through the dark back to the stairs and down to the ground floor, accidentally putting a few more claw-gouges in Higurashi-san's walls as he went. The trip was harder in the dark and with Souta's weight on his back, but finally they reached the doorway where Inuyasha had left Kagome.

"I've got him, he's alright!" he shouted down the hall to Higurashi-san.

Inuyasha pulled Souta off of his back and sat down in the doorway where Kagome was crouched, bracing his back against the frame and stretching out one leg to meet the other side of the doorway, wedging himself into place. He set Souta down in front of him, and the boy resumed clinging to his suikan. Kagome was grasping at his sleeve from his other side, her eyes wide and searching blindly. For humans, this would be almost total darkness; the lights were not working within the house, and there wasn't a single light from outside, either. The moon hadn't even risen yet. At least Inuyasha could still see; Kagome must be terrified, although she was trying not to show it. He felt her flinch hard as something else fell and broke nearby. He got his arm around her, pulling her in against his side, and just held on.

It seemed like an eternity before the shaking diminished, and then stopped. For a moment, everyone held their breaths, as though afraid that any little movement or sound would spark another tremor.

"Is everyone alright?"

"We're okay, Mama. Are you and Jii-chan okay?"

"Where's the flashlight?"

"What about Buyo? He's outside."

"Animals are good at surviving. Buyo will have found a safe place."

Inuyasha dumped Souta into Kagome's lap and went to get the flameless torch out of her back pack before handing it over to Higurashi-san and helping her and Higurashi-jijii pick their way through the overturned furniture and broken glass to where he had left Kagome and Souta. Souta went to his mother's arms, and they gathered around the torch and a "radio", listening to the continuous announcements of the damage to the city. They didn't dare light any candles, for fear that they might get overturned and start a fire, and after a while they turned the flameless torch off to save its power, and sat in the dark, hardly speaking.

Inuyasha felt exhausted. The others looked like they felt the same. He pulled Kagome, unresisting, back into his arms, too drained and distressed to care if anyone noticed or said anything. There was no sleep that night. In the dark, they waited out the aftershocks, listening to reports of fires, collapsed buildings, cracked roads, accidents, and rising numbers of casualties. In the dark, huddled together, they waited for dawn.

::Owari::


Note:

I've never seen a single earthquake fanfiction posted (not even in that well-loved cousin of the blanket-fic, the trapped-in-a-cave-fic). This struck me as odd, since they are in Japan. Tokyo experiences minor earthquakes just about every week. Tokyo is overdue for a major earthquake measuring 7 or higher on the Richter scale. Devastating earthquakes tend to strike Tokyo every 70 years or so, and the last one was in 1923 (7.8 or 7.9, claiming 100,000-142,000 lives). Even with modern buildings and safety precautions, the 1995 quake in the city of Kobe killed 5,500-6,400 people (magnitude 7.2), and Tokyo has 8 times the population size that Kobe has. The scenario I've written is not far-fetched. By all accounts, it's not a matter of if, but when. (source National Geographic and Wikipedia)

Translations:

Hashi – chopsticks

Jijii – rude word for old man/grandfather

Inu-no-nii-chan – older dog brother

Suikan – Inuyasha's fire rat jacket

Jii-chan – grandfather (affectionate term)