Pairing: Kagome X Miroku
Disclaimer: I hold no ownership of Inuyasha
The lights around her weren't right.
Every time Kagome jumped into the well and crossed either into the past or into her present, a symphony of ethereal blue surrounded her. There was no point of origin of the light, no shadows cast. Magic in a simple form.
This time, however, when she jumped white encased her.
There was a sense of nothingness around her, as though she was in a cavernous area, but Kagome felt boxed in by the lack of definition of perspective. As quickly as it has come, the stark white emptiness vanished and Kagome was standing at the bottom of the well, the clear blue sky above her.
Right away, she noticed that the heavy creeper vines that lined most of the well's interior was much shorter, the lowest bit of vegetation too high for her to reach.
"What's Inuyasha been up to this time?" Kagome set down her pack to ease the strain on her shoulders and raised her hands to her mouth. "Inuyasha, get down here and help me up! This isn't funny!" The sound of wind rustling through the trees was all the met her ears. A few birdcalls echoed in the clearing. Kagome huffed and shouted louder. "Inuyasha, if you don't get here right now, I'm going to say it!" A few minutes passed and there wasn't even a hint of annoyed grumbling in the distance. Kagome braced herself for the onslaught of cursing that was sure to follow her actions and screamed at the top of her lungs. "SIT!"
None of her friends peeked over the edge of the well, smiles on their faces for a well-played trick, or stony-faced after a serious battle that she missed. Kagome didn't allow herself to worry. After all, it wasn't the first time that the rest of the group had been unable to get to the well when she was due back. She stared up at the lip of the well, at a loss of what to do. If the vines had been a bit lower, she'd have been able to climb her way out, but Inuyasha needed to lift her heavy pack. As it was, Kagome didn't even have rope that she could hope to use to get out.
As she sat on the hard-packed bottom of the well, deep in thought, a slight shifting in the light above her caught her attention. She looked up to see Kaede, a very welcome face at this point, looking over the edge. The one-eyed miko looked puzzled to see her, but Kagome wrote it off as surprise that she was still down here.
"Kaede! Boy, am I glad to see you! Can you believe Inuyasha cut all the vines? Doesn't that idiot know I can't jump out of the well like he can?"
"How do you know my name, demon? If you hope to trick villagers into your well for your next meal, you will not succeed. We will seal the well before you can take any of us!"
Kagome's heart stopped. "Kaede, what are you talking about? I'm not a demon; I'm a miko like you. Granted, I'm really untrained and clumsy, and I tend to make situations worse before they get better, but I'm not a demon!"
Kaede didn't look moved. "You say you are a miko, but what are you doing inside the Bone Eaters Well? I think you are a demon who managed to survive the magic of the well and are trying to trick me into freeing you."
"No! Really, Kaede, I'm not a demon! I'm from five hundred years in the future. When I jump into the well in my time, I cross into the past. I'm on a mission with Inuyasha, Sango, Shippo, and Miroku to collect the shards of the Shikon Jewel!"
The miko's face hardened. "What you speak is obviously false. The half-demon Inuyasha lives in the Western Lands with his full-blooded brother Sesshomaru. He would not be traveling with a miko, if that is what you really are. I know not who Sango and Shippo are, but I know who Miroku is, and it also unlikely that you are traveling with him. He is sealed to the Goshinboku Tree, sentenced to an eternal sleep for stealing the hearts of young women. He met his match when he tried to take on my sister, Kikyo. A monk such as he did not stand a chance against a miko as powerful as Kikyo."
Kagome's jaw dropped. Without really thinking, she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. "You sealed him to a tree for being a flirt?!"
"Nay, he was stealing the hearts of young maidens quite literally. The monk is a wolf in sheep's clothing." Kaede studied her for a moment. "How do you know of the Shikon Jewel, demon? My sister carried it with her into the afterlife when she was cremated. Kikyo guarded the jewel her entire life and decided, in her old age, that she would continue the responsibility in her death."
Kagome's hands shook as she pulled out the small vial that held the shards of the jewel that the group had managed to collect. Any other time, she'd be met with the sight of the pearl pink jewel glinting at her, eerily glowing in her grasp.
This time however, it was empty.
Kagome knew as soon as she came to that she passed out. There was the smell of smoke on the air, a familiar scent to her nose and when she opened her eyes she saw that she was indeed inside Kaede's hut. The wood crackled in the flames and shot sparks into the dirt around the fire pit. The old miko sat across the hut, mixing something in a large wooden bowl.
The older woman didn't turn around, keeping her attention on the task in front of her. "I see that you are awake. I'll need to check your head in just a moment. You hit it pretty hard on the side of the well when you fainted." Here, the miko turned with the bowl in hand and crossed the space between them. "Against my better judgment, I had the village's strongest men lift you and your bag out of the well and to my hut. I no longer believe you to be a demon."
Kagome blinked. "Why did you change your- Ouch! What's in that stuff? It stings!"
"It is a poultice that will keep the swelling down in your head and keep evil spirits from infecting the wound you have. Like I said, you knocked against the side of the well when you fainted. There must have been a sharp rock in the wall. Sit still."
Kagome clasped her fingers together to keep them from fidgeting and finished her question. "What made you change your mind about me?"
"When a demon is trying to lure a human into a trap, they'll do just about anything to trick them. However, even the most simple-minded of demons know better than to pass out in front of humans. It leaves them vulnerable. When then men set you down in my hut, I checked over your spiritual energy and found no demonic presence."
"Oh." Kagome grimaced as Kaede wrapped a length of cloth around her head. "Kaede, what I said is true. I really did come from the future. I'm the one responsible for breaking the Shikon Jewel and I really am traveling with Inuyasha and Miroku. I don't know what happened, but somehow I ended up here, in this alternate past."
"It is perplexing. I have never heard stories of the Bone Eater's Well transporting someone through time, but I suppose it may not be entirely impossible. There are many things we do not know about the well. It has been dry since before my grandmother was born and has always been used to dispose of demon carcasses. Using the well's magic to cross into the past, or it seems in your case, into another timeline altogether, is a first." Kaede gathered up her bowl and cloths and set them aside. "Take your time to recover, dear child. I am needed elsewhere in the village right now, but I should be back by dusk. I have some stew from the previous night sitting in that pot over there. Just set it in the fire to warm when you get hungry." Kaede quickly shuffled around her hut, picking up various herbs and bottles, cloths and bowls, and headed out the door. Kagome realized it was still daytime, probably around noon.
'Is Miroku really evil here? He was never very good as a monk, but his lecherous tendencies never really hurt anyone before. I just can't imagine him ripping out a young woman's heart. That's just gross.'
Kagome carefully picked herself off the floor and peeked outside. Kaede's hut was situated on the same plot of land, just at the base of the steps that led to the well. Seeing no one around, Kagome trotted up the stairs, back to the well's clearing. Off to the right, hidden by younger trees, was the trunk of the Goshinboku. Its crown towered over the rest of the forest, regal in its age.
Against the trunk, wrapped in creeper vines, was Miroku, long ofudas plastered against him. The characters were complicated, ancient, and unknown to Kagome. She'd never seen her Miroku use them before.
Of course her Miroku had never sealed a human before.
His dark hair was the same as it always was, any growth halted by the power in the seals. His face was slack, peaceful. There was no glove on his right hand that suggested that Naraku had gained power here. As Kagome approached, one hand twitched.
She remembered what happened when she woke Inuyasha on the tree and halted, hesitant to face this unknown friend. "Miroku?"
The hand twitch again and with it, his head. Violet eyes met hers when he woke, confusion lightening their color. Miroku looked around in a daze, taking in the forest that had thrived while he was asleep. His eyes caught hers again and they hardened, a cold glint darkening them. "So, you're here to gloat then. It seems your power is lacking if I'm awake after only a few days, Kikyo." The monk took in Kagome's school uniform. "Or perhaps it's been a few years. Have you decided to forget your calling as a miko and take up the life of a common whore?"
Kagome's hand slapped against his cheek before she was even aware that she had moved.
"How dare you! I'm not Kikyo, Miroku, and I'm definitely not a whore!" Kagome was surprised at how mad she was at him, but figured it was only natural. When she had first met Miroku, he'd thought that she was some sort of loose woman, but had expressed that perception in much more subtle ways until he'd gotten to know who she was. To hear him blatantly say such a thing to her made her realize that this really wasn't her Miroku.
"I see that now. You may look like her, but you bite harder. Kikyo would have never used physical violence to get her point across like some sort of savage." Miroku's grin was hungry.
Kagome couldn't believe it. Even when it was Miroku sealed to the tree, she was being compared to her ancestor.
Kagome left Miroku against the tree (against his very vocal objections) and returned to the well. She wanted to try jumping in, to see if she could get back home, but the chance that it wouldn't work scared her. She didn't fancy spending hours at the bottom again.
'It always comes back to this well. My problems started here, when Mistress Centipede pulled me into the past.' Kagome brushed against the scar on her side, reminded of the day she first met Inuyasha. 'He was just as rude as Miroku is now, but at least he wasn't a pervert.'
She stayed at the well until the sun started to disappear into the tree line before heading back down to Kaede's hut. The old woman was inside already, the pot of stew on the fire.
"There you are, child. I was afraid you had left on your own. You are still injured and would have surely been eaten by a demon had you traveled alone." The two mikos ate in silence, one contemplating and the other just tired. "When you first came through the well, you knew my name, but I fear I do not know what to call you."
Kagome could've shot herself in embarrassment. "I'm so sorry! I didn't even realize that how rude I've been! Here I am, calling you by your name and you don't even know who I am!" Kagome bowed in her seated position. "My name is Higurashi Kagome."
"Two names? That is very unusual. Your family must be very important."
"No, not really. Everyone in my time has two names. It's too hard to keep track of families otherwise. There are over six billion people in the world in my time, after all."
"Six billion? I'm afraid I am not familiar with that number."
Kagome bit her lip for a moment. "Japan would have to be filled with people, shoulder to shoulder, to get even a small fraction of the world's population."
The old woman's eyebrow climbed into her hair. "That's incredible! To think that there are that many humans. There must be twice as many demons, then."
"No, as far as I know there aren't any demons at all. There was this Noh mask that was possessed by a demon, but that's about it."
Kaede didn't know what to say to that.
"Kaede, would it be possible for a rope to be set up in the well? I'd like to see if I can get back home, but I don't want to be stuck if it doesn't work."
"Of course, Kagome. I'll have some of the men get a rope at first light. We'll stick around to make sure you don't injure yourself."
"Thank you, Kaede."
"Son of a bitch!"
"Why do you speak of a pup of a dog, Kagome? Is that a saying from your time?"
Kagome looked up at Kaede's confused face. "Yes. It's usually an insult toward people, but we use it on objects as well."
"To be the son of a bitch is a bad thing, then?"
"Yeah. It implies that your father had…um…that is to say, your father was involved with a dog."
Kagome pulled herself out of the well, grunting with the effort. One of the village men helped her over the lip and she nodded at him gratefully. "The well won't open for me. I think it's because I don't have any jewel shards on me anymore."
"If the power of the jewel activated the well, then I fear that you are stuck here until Kikyo's soul is reincarnated."
"Actually, I'm Kikyo's reincarnation. When I was pulled into the well the first time, a demon bit it out of me." Kagome lifted her shirt to show Kaede the scar and the village men politely averted their eyes. "I'm assuming that since I don't have any shards, but I still have this scar, I'm not Kikyo's reincarnation in this timeline. I can't imagine who else could be, though."
Kaede opened her mouth to reply when a loud roar echoed in the clearing. A bear demon, angry and hungry looking, lumbered into view. One of the villagers was caught in his jaw, teeth punctured into the thick calf muscle.
"Men, get your weapons! The demon's got Yasuo!" The village head pulled out his sword, a rusted heirloom from his father. As one the villagers attacked the bear demon, hacking at the tough skin with no visible progress. They only managed to make the demon angrier.
Kagome picked up one of the bows the villagers hadn't taken, along with a few arrows and dashed around to a vantage point that wouldn't hit one of the villagers accidentally. She shouted a warning before she let an arrow loose, the string twanging loudly from the force. She missed her mark, the unfamiliar bow uncooperative in her hands, but she managed to nick the demon's leg enough to make it drop its prey.
She wished she hadn't missed when the bear demon turned its attention on her.
"Shit!" Kagome dashed into the trees, branches scratching her arms. With her head bowed down to protect her face, Kagome ran straight into a wall of warm muscle. The wall grunted and began to yell at her.
"Watch where you're going, Kikyo. I can't exactly move out of the way, you know!"
Kagome's heart leapt into her throat. It was Miroku, he didn't have the wind tunnel anymore, but surely he could still throw ofudas and beat the crap out of the bear demon with his staff, right?
"Miroku, if I let you free, will you help me? There's a bear demon right on my tail!"
As soon as she said this, there was a crashing in the undergrowth and the demon was running full tilt at her. Kagome screamed and climbed further up the tree, attaching to Miroku's chest like a baby monkey. The man grunted again and bit one of her fingers when she shoved a hand in his face.
"Ow, Miroku! What was that for?!"
"I don't think now is the time to pick my nose, is it?"
Kagome blushed a bit. "Oh, sorry. So? Will you help if I let you free?"
"I don't really have a choice, do I? If you don't move that demon's going to claw me to get to you. Break the ofuda chain so I can move."
Kagome reached for the paper, ignoring the sound of Kaede's voice pleading for her to stop. 'I didn't listen to you when I freed Inuyasha. What makes you think I'll listen this time?' Her finger curled and pulled sharply, ripping the ofuda and freeing Miroku. The monk yanked his staff out of the mess of paper, laughing loudly.
The bear demon's claws dug into the bark of the tree, inches from where Kagome and Miroku had been second before. Miroku jumped away, carrying Kagome over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He threw her to the ground, ignoring her indignant screech and attacked the demon, staff spinning in a blur.
Kaede had made it to the clearing now, the villagers behind her. The old woman helped Kagome up, her expression scared and a little sad. "You should not have freed him, Kagome. He is not a good man and he'll wreak havoc on the village until we can seal him again."
"Kaede, when I freed Inuyasha in my own timeline, you had a bead necklace of subjugation. Couldn't that work on Miroku?"
"Nay. The beads of subjugation only work on demon blood. Miroku may not act like it, but he does have holy blood within his veins." Kaede seemed to ponder something. "My sister left a second ofuda behind, in case he ever got free. Perhaps if we can subdue him long enough, we can get the ofuda on him. It would have to go over his heart, where the darkness within him has taken residence."
"What made him so….mean?"
"It is a long story, one that we do not have time for right now, but I will tell you if this plan succeeds."
Miroku's staff cut into the skull of the bear demon for the fourth time, killing it. He wiped the blood from the gold carelessly, his own blood pumping madly in his body. It felt so good to be free again. He didn't know how long he'd been out, but he hoped that Kikyo, for that other woman was clearly not her, was still alive so he could finally kill her.
He turned toward the villagers, a smirk ready on his face. Before he could turn all the way around a heavy weight threw itself against him, throwing him off balance and to the ground. "Oof!"
"Quickly, Kagome! Place the ofuda over his heart!"
Hands scrabbled at his clothes, pushing aside the heavy cloth. He realized just what was happening and grabbed the small hand that reached forward to put the seal on him. "Nice try, little girl. You'll have to be smarter than that!" He twisted her wrist sharply, making the woman on top of him scream in pain. He grinned and squeezed his fingers together. "I'm not some dog who falls for the same trick twic-mmph!"
Soft lips, not quite recovered from the cold winter, clamped onto his, teeth nibbling his bottom lip. He pushed back, tongue forcing its way into the warm mouth above him, his imagination thinking about what else could be in that warmth.
A shock ran through his body and he curled up, arms automatically going down to cradle his injury. The little minx had kneed him in the groin! Small, wheezing moans crawled out of his mouth, unable to be silenced.
"Now who's smart, pervert?"
Kagome slapped the ofuda on Miroku's chest, a little bit of her energy gluing it to the skin. Miroku screamed as the characters on the paper began to glow blue, burning into the muscle underneath. The paper charred and was whisked away by a soft breeze, leaving the characters branded into the monk's chest.
Miroku lifted his head to look at the injury, the pain between his legs forgotten when realization hit. His eyes, nearly black with angry, pierced into her.
"You bitch!" He made to move, but one of the villagers hit him over the head with his own staff, knocking him unconscious.
Kagome's heart still hurt from the hate Miroku had shown her.