DOWN THE WELL
An Inu-Yasha Short Story
By Sentinel 28A
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wow, been awhile since I was in the Inu-Yasha section here on FFN.
Things have been entirely too serious lately. With the Snowbirds fighting for their lives in The Race of the Snowbirds and Evangelion Evolution stalled, it's time to go back to the Bone Eater's Well and have some fun. And inspired by the ending of the Inu-Yasha manga (which was pretty good—Rumiko Takahashi impressed me with that one) and catching up on the old Love Hina and Oh My Goddess! manga, I've decided to fool around a little bit. Why Love Hina and Oh My Goddess? You'll find out…
Also, thanks to the "That Time Again?" club on Deviant Art for inspiring this fanfic too. I had originally come up with this idea for their May contest, but as usual, a "short" story turns into a novella.
SCROLL ONE: OOPS (OR, WHAT A WAY TO START A FIC)
Kagome Higurashi closed her eyes and withstood the verbal gale. The source of that gale stood in front of her, hands balled into fists. "Inuyasha…" Kagome began patiently.
"You had one of these 'tests' last week!" Inuyasha railed. "Every time the weather turns good and it's time to find the Shikon shards, you all of a sudden have to go take a 'test.' Well, this time you're not gonna!"
That does it, Kagome thought. "Inuyasha…" This time it was said in a certain icy tone that Inuyasha knew only too well. He took a step back and tensed up, knowing he was seconds from analyzing the soil density and water table in Kaede's village.
Kagome sighed. "…never mind." While the thought of seeing if Inuyasha could dig to China was tempting, she decided that she'd made her point. He couldn't stop her if she so desired, and the hanyou knew it. "I'm going home, Inuyasha. End of argument." She turned her back on him and stalked off to Kaede's hut.
"Damn women." Inuyasha blew out his breath, glad he wasn't about to get sat. Why, he thought morosely, do I always end up with women who can make my life a misery? At least Kikyo only shot me once. Then, knowing his pride was going to take another hit, he raised his voice. "I'm going with you, Kagome!" He winced even as he said it. Kami, I'm like her dog. I might as well chase sticks and beg for puppy treats.
"Fine!" she called back.
"Fine!" he yelled, determined to have the last word. Kagome ignored him.
"By the Buddha, you're whipped." Shippo sauntered up to Inuyasha, with the full intention of pouring gasoline on the fire. However, the little kitsune had a tendency to forget that Inuyasha had three feet and several dozen pounds on him, and tact was not in Shippo's vocabulary. He soon realized his mistake when Inuyasha turned and delivered a savage kick to the kitsune that sent him screaming through the air. Inuyasha threw both hands in the air when Shippo cleared the torii shrine gate; he had seen some guy in black-and-white stripes do the same thing on Kagome's picture box thingy back in her world. He quickly looked around to see if Kagome had seen him, but she was in Kaede's hut, so he'd gotten away with reminding Shippo just who the alpha male was around here.
Miroku shaded his eyes against the sun as he came up next to Inuyasha. "You cleared the torii this time. Good job."
"Thanks." Inuyasha was oafishly proud of himself.
"Going back to her time?" Miroku thumbed towards Kagome's general location.
"Yes," Inuyasha said, souring. "Another one of those test things."
"And you're going with her."
"Yeah." He gave Miroku a dangerous look, seeing that the monk was about to say something. "And if you say I'm whipped, I'll tell Sango that you were sniffing her yukata the other day while she was bathing."
Miroku looked horrified. "I did no such thing!"
"She doesn't know that."
It was times like this that Miroku was seriously tempted to let the hanyou have it with one of his magical ofuda wards. Or at least his staff. Centering himself and asking for Buddha's peace, he let the threat pass. "That was uncalled for, Inuyasha. You go because you care about her." Inuyasha made a noise and looked away, but he was blushing. "And I'll stay and take care of Sango."
"Like hell." Sango's voice made both men jump. "You can't even take care of yourself, houshi-sama." She walked past Miroku, spared him a withering glance, and continued on to Kaede's hut. Miroku had rubbed her bottom earlier, as was his custom, and Sango had slapped him—only to find that he was back at it five minutes later. She wondered if he was becoming immune to her slaps, and had decided that next time she would try to break his jaw.
"Kagome-chan, are you going back home?" Sango asked as she stuck her head into Kaede's hut.
"Yes!" Kagome snapped, then got control of herself. "Sorry, Sango-chan…I'm just on edge today."
"Your…test?" Sango knew the word: taijiya demon hunters had to take tests as well, though she was sure that, in Kagome's world, her tests were more mundane. Though Kagome had often told their little band some of the strange things that were common in her world, Sango had not understood them and did not attempt to try. They were simply beyond her comphrension.
Kagome nodded. "Yes. It's going to be a tough one." She shouldered her battered backpack and stood.
Sango gave her friend a hug. "Well, good luck." She hesitated. "Kagome…would you mind bringing back…some of your shampoo?" She stumbled over the unfamiliar word.
Kagome smiled. "Sure. I'll bring back a toy for Kirara too."
"She'd like that."
Kagome walked out of the hut. "Hey, Inuyasha! You coming or not?"
"Yeah, yeah." He shuffled along behind her in a completely transparent act of reluctance. Miroku and Sango shared a smile at that.
By the time they reached the Bone Eater's Well, Kagome's anger at Inuyasha had faded. It was a beautiful summer day, and a recent rainstorm had broken the strength-sapping heat, if not the humidity. She wondered how Inuyasha could handle it, stuck in his thick fire-rat fur robe. She turned to him as she sat on the lip of the well. "Inuyasha, do you think you could carry me?" Kagome said it casually, even though her heart began to pound. There was no reason for him to carry her; she just enjoyed being close to him.
"Huh? Oh. Um, sure." In fact, Inuyasha had been working up the courage to ask her. It always mystified him how he would wade into battle against a thousand demons without batting an eye, but expressing his feelings to Kagome—or even Kikyo for that matter—made him wish he was fighting a thousand demons. He was tempted to say something off the cuff like "if you insist," but a Miroku-like voice told him not to screw up the mood. So he merely scooped her up in his arms, his hands accidentally sliding up her thighs under the short skirt for a moment. He looked at Kagome, half-expecting to be sat instantly, but she gave a lovely shudder, noticed him looking at her, and blushed.
Before he made a fool of himself any further, Inuyasha jumped—only to land with a bone-jarring thud at the dirt bottom of the well. "Ow!" both he and Kagome exclaimed, but before they could do anything else, suddenly the familiar feeling of falling through time enveloped them. Almost as soon as they realized that, they were on the other side—in Kagome's time. Inuyasha's sensitive nose instantly knew that, as the alien smells of her city hit his nostrils. "That was weird," she said, getting down out of his arms. "It was almost like the well didn't want to let us through."
"Yeah," Inuyasha agreed. It was strange. The only time the well ever closed off was when it was blocked from the other side—and there was nothing in Kagome's time to cause that. "Sure hope it lets us back in. I don't want to be stuck here."
Kagome once more almost snapped at him, asking him why being stuck with her, in her time, was so odious. Then she caught herself, knowing that Tokyo could frighten even the normally steel-nerved Inuyasha, with all the fantastic and scary devices, noises, and smells the city had to offer. She didn't know if she could ever stay permanently in the Sengoku Jidai, so it was unfair of her to expect Inuyasha to stay in her world. That was a problem they would have to solve someday…but not today. Kagome led the way up the ladder, with Inuyasha carefully looking straight ahead. He didn't think Kagome would notice if he looked up, and therefore up her dress, but after all, he wasn't Miroku.
Something else wafted across his nostrils as they reached the top of the ladder: rice and miso soup. His stomach rumbled, and he grinned. Well, at least Kagome's mom is a good feeder.
The next day, Miroku walked into the clearing that surrounded the Bone Eater's Well. "Sango? What are you doing out here?" It was a fair distance from the village, and Kirara wasn't with Sango, but playing with the village children along with Shippo. Miroku wondered if Sango was still upset at him about yesterday. He had resolved to control himself better, and even taken a purifying bath in a freezing waterfall a few miles north of the village.
"It's not because of you, houshi-sama." Sango leaned against the well and polished her hiraikotsu boomerang. It was a daily ritual when she had time: keeping it clean kept it aerodynamic, increasing its range. She had already sharpened its leading edge. The boomerang killed more by sheer impact, but it also cut. "It's cooler out here in the forest, and frankly the village was just getting too smelly." Miroku couldn't argue with that: the villagers were mostly rice farmers, and it was time to fertilize the fields. Since Japan lacked cattle, human fertilizer had to be used out of necessity. The stench was enough to knock one down.
"Do you mind if I sit down?"
"As long as you keep your hands in sight, no."
Miroku sat across from her, lying in the grass. He wanted to strike up a conversation with Sango, but wasn't sure what to talk about. She wasn't the world's greatest conversationalist in any case. The only things he could think about talking about was the hunt for Naraku and the shards—but they always talked about that, and it would bring painful memories of her brother Kohaku, enslaved to the archdemon. They could talk about their future, but neither knew if they had a future, and though Sango had promised to marry him if they defeated Naraku and survived, that seemed kind of awkward at the moment. Miroku laughed at himself silently: his relationships to this point had not needed much in the way of talking, and now that he was more or less in a relationship that did, he didn't know what to say.
To his surprise, Sango spoke. "Do you ever wonder, houshi-sama, if Kagome's stories are true?"
That seemed safe enough to talk about. "I think they're true, Sango. Kagome doesn't have any guile in her. I don't think she knows how to lie."
"They're so fantastic. Flying machines? Rockets that go to the stars? Horseless carriages? No war?" Sango laughed. In her seventeen years of life, she had never known a time when there wasn't war somewhere in Japan, and even Kaede, well over fifty, had never known peace. "It just seems so incredible." She got up, looked over the side of the well, and sighed. "I know it's impossible, but just once I would like to see Kagome's world."
Miroku had got up as well, but stopped. Sango was wearing her yukata and kimono, but had hiked it up around her knees and shuffled off her sandals to cool off. The sight of her calves and dainty feet had sent his thoughts heading bedward again; Miroku didn't have a foot fetish, but just regarded every part of Sango's body desirable. As she leaned over further, his eyes focused on the part he found eminently desirable. Before he knew it, his hands were reaching forward. No! he shouted at himself. Stop! You can't do this! But Miroku's hands were twitching, actually aching to seize or at least touch those wonderful, supple buttocks, feel the muscles beneath clench so enticingly when she realized where his hands were, for Sango to give that adorably cute squeak or gasp she always gave…
Sango, however, in the months she had known Miroku, had slowly developed a sixth sense about those hands. She felt Miroku's eyes boring into her rear; she could sense the hands coming towards her; she thought she could even smell the testosterone. She gritted her teeth and balled her fists: this time the bastard of a so-called monk was going to rue the day he'd ever set sight on her butt.
And so, both made a terrible, fateful mistake. Sango whipped around with demon-like speed in a murderous roundhouse that would probably knock Miroku's teeth out, but she guessed wrong where his head would be. Miroku was actually bent over, reaching with both hands, and so her punch hit empty air. She spun in place, overbalanced, screamed, and started to fall into the well.
Her scream broke the trance blind lust had put Miroku into, and he saw what was happening. "Sango!" He reached forward and grabbed her kimono—unfortunately, seizing a double handful of cloth that fell open, exposing her wrapped breasts, which left little to the imagination. Sango turned beet red and twisted around to punch him again, shouting, "You son of a bitch!" Her squirming only exacerbated the situation: instead of Miroku having the purchase to pull her back from the brink, Sango only ensured both of them were going into the well. Her curses turned into another scream as they fell into the abyss.
Both of them expected a very painful sudden stop at the bottom of the well, but instead, time itself seemed to stop. The world around them turned purplish, and stars floated around them, close enough to touch. It was not at all frightening, but actually rather peaceful. Slowly, they seemed to accelerate, but before either could truly realize it, they felt solid dirt beneath their bodies again.
Neither Sango nor Miroku said anything for a long moment, until Sango realized that Miroku had ended up with his face buried in her chest. She let him have it, which sent him caroming into the side of the well. He rubbed his face, wondering if she'd cracked his cheekbone. "That was uncalled for, Sango."
"Bad enough you grab my butt, but you had to knock us into the well!" Sango got up and dusted off her yukata. "I can't believe it! I literally can't turn my back to you for a second!"
"I couldn't help myself." He held up a hand to ward off another punch. "Please, Sango, let's just get out of this well and find out where we are."
"Where the hell else would we be?"
He pointed. Sango's hands went to her mouth in shock. In her time, the well was overgrown with moss and vines. This well, however, lacked any sort of plant life, and even had steps set into it. Above them was darkness, but it was light enough to tell that it wasn't night, but rather a roof over their heads. Miroku took the initiative and went up first, Sango following more slowly—she was barefoot and didn't want to risk getting a splinter.
Once they were out of the well itself, it was obvious that they were no longer in the Sengoku Jidai. The wood around them was well-hewn and aged. Miroku reached out and slowly opened the doors. Outside was as sunny and warm as it had been before, but instead of the familiar buzz of cicadas and sounds of a forest, instead there were strange, almost metallic sounds. The cicadas were still there, but their comforting noise was drowned out by the howls of strange animals. Hesitantly, he took a step outside, Sango following just as slowly, actually gripping the monk's shoulder in apphrension.
They stood stock still in shock. Both had somehow expected to see the thick forest that surrounded the well, but there was only the thick trunk of the Goshimboku, the holy tree that Inuyasha had once been pinned to, and a thin line of trees. Nothing else was familiar, nothing at all. Before them stretched row upon row of houses, disappearing into the distance. Something like mountains rose in the far distance, but they were too symmetrical for that; both realized that they had to be man-made. A haze spread across the city, and the air smelled strange: not at all that of a forest, but something that made them cough.
Without warning, a distant hum swelled to a roar. Sango and Miroku reacted instinctively, Miroku seizing the prayer beads on his cursed right hand and bringing them up, while Sango rolled behind a large rock, the nearest available cover. Her hands went for her hiraikotsu, then realized she had left it behind. She pulled a knife from a hidden sheath, the only weapon she had. Their eyes widened as they saw the monster bearing down on them: it was humpbacked like a whale, with a tall tail surmounting a large body. Wings that rivaled the largest dragon seemed to stretch to blot out the sky, while claws hung down from them and smaller claws from the body. Miroku had just pulled the beads taut, ready to unleash the kazaana, the wind tunnel in his hand, when he saw writing on the body. He couldn't make out the words, but then the sun caught it and he realized it was metal. He hesitated for a moment, and then the thing was past, flying off into the distance, no threat at all. Sango slowly stood and came to Miroku's side. "What was that?"
"I think…it was one of Kagome's flying machines." He shook his head in wonder.
"Then…we're in Kagome's world." Sango's voice was a whisper.
"You wished to see it."
"I take it back." She put the knife away. "Now what do we do? Go back down the well?"
Miroku smiled. "Actually, since we're here, why not look around a little?" His curiousity was peaked. Miroku had become a wandering monk not just because he needed to find an heir, but because he was interested in what lay over the next hill. Suddenly he had a whole world to explore. For a moment, he wondered if somehow his wind tunnel had disappeared, but just a quick flex of his hand told him it was still there. Somewhere, at some time, Naraku still existed.
"I don't know if that's such a good idea, houshi-sama," Sango said, but she followed him nonetheless, almost clinging to Miroku despite herself. She had heard of great cities in her own time, like Osaka, but had never seen anything larger than a fair-sized town. Sango adapted quickly to new situations, but this was threatening to overwhelm her.
Miroku walked to the front door of the house in front of him, deducing logically that this had to be Kagome's home, and it stood to reason that she would there. The windows in the upper floor of the house were open, though to Miroku's surprise they were not shutters, but some sort of strange clear material. He knocked on the door gently. He heard movement inside, some shuffling around, a muttered curse that he instantly recognized, and then the door opened just a fraction. "What?" Inuyasha asked gruffly, sticking his head around just enough to be seen; the rest of his body was hidden behind the door. Miroku almost laughed; some sort of strange hat was crushed over Inuyasha's head, hiding his ears. What was even funnier, however, was the stupefied look on the hanyou's face: he actually turned pale and looked as if he was going to faint.
Miroku played it insufferably cool. "Hello, Inuyasha," he said smoothly. "Sango and I were in the area, and thought we would drop by."