Disclaimer: InuYasha and its characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.
I had this 3/4 finished on my computer for... a long time. And then I went out and bought a new scientific calculator and it made me think of this and I just had to go back and finish it.
Sorry it's not a chapter of Shockwaves. I've got some of that sitting on my computer, too, though.. ;O
"Let's see. I've got my books, my food, my clothes, my medicine, my personal stuff, candy for Shippou, random junk, homework... what am I missing?"
Kagome cast a cursory glance around her happily pink room, eyes peeled for anything she might have forgotten. They lit upon her calculator, sitting in the sun on her desk.
"Erk. Don't want to forget this," she chided herself, stuffing it into the top of her over-stuffed backpack, "Trigonometry is hard enough without it."
Going over her mental checklist once again, Kagome sprinted past her mother, out the door, down the steps, past the Goshinboku, into the well house and down the well. No sooner had the magic caught than she was snagged by her arm and hauled up the other side.
"Keh, lazy wench. I was just getting ready to fetch you."
A mental image of InuYasha playing 'fetch' with a package of ramen popped up in her head, distracting her just long enough to be tackled to the ground by a flying orange fuzzball.
"Kagomeeeee! InuYasha was being mean to me again!" Shippou whined, putting on his best 'kicked puppy' look in hopes of garnering some sympathy. Preferably chocolate flavored.
"Oi! I was not! You better not take his side, Kagome!"
Closing her eyes and sighing, Kagome fought off her approaching headache.
"Shippou, if you want candy, say so. Don't accuse InuYasha of things he hasn't done."
InuYasha folded his arms across his chest and stared smugly at the cowering kitsune.
"InuYasha, don't be a jerk to Shippou or me. It's not earning you any Brownie points."
Shippou glanced upwards and stuck his tongue out at a disgruntled InuYasha, never pausing in his rummage for candy in Kagome's backpack.
Kagome briefly wondered if "keh" was in the dictionary. She could imagine the entry now, right next to a shiny photograph of InuYasha's standard "I'm being difficult! Ha!" pose.
She blinked rapidly to clear her thoughts, not that it particularly helped.
That was twice in the span of 4 minutes that she'd imagined InuYasha in a very disturbing way. Maybe she needed more sleep. Or fewer dog-hanyou. Or more vitamins.
Or maybe a break. A break sounded nice.
Oh, yeah. She was a master of language.
"You wanna get up now?"
And she was so aware of her surroundings, too!
"E-heh. Yeah. Um."
And she dusted herself off, hyperaware of the dissecting, intense stares coming from two demons. Or half demons. Oh, heck with it.
"I need a break from life," Kagome mumbled under her breath, hoping against hope that demons couldn't hear that well.
"Uh-uh. No freakin' way, wench. We're not taking any more breaks for you wimpy humans!"
Too much to ask for, she supposed. And if even that was too much to ask for, dreams of a break from life could go jump off a cliff, if they didn't mind.
"Let's just go, okay?"
Sesshoumaru valiantly kept his nose from wrinkling in disgust as Jaken's grating voice called up to him.
"Sesshoumaru-sama, the brat has escaped and hidden herself from your loyal servant!"
Fighting off the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose to ward off the headache induced by his retainer's voice, Sesshoumaru replied, "Retrieve her."
"B-but Sesshoumaru-sama! She has hidden herself!"
Which was really code for 'I tried and I'm too stupid to find her'.
The taiyoukai sighed unnoticeably and tested the wind. Rin was nearby, close to the old well in his half-brother's forest. He had hoped he wouldn't have to actually enter the hanyou's holdings, as pitiable as they were, but apparently the kami had deemed it otherwise.
For the thousandth time, he wondered why he didn't just kill the girl. Or drop her off at some human village. Or something.
Bah. He must be getting soft in his old age.
...Kami, how many centuries had he wandered his lands, now? He would have to see about procuring some new amusement soon. He was entitled to a few extravagances.
But first, Rin.
"Sesshoumaru-sama! Look at what Rin found!"
Ah, which would it be this time? A poisonous flower (albeit a very pretty one)? An injured forest animal? A particularly large mound of dung?
...A strange-smelling, flat, grey rectangular object that appeared to have a series of depressible knobs?
"Ne, ne, Sesshoumaru-sama, what is it? Rin has never seen one before!"
He wasn't about to admit that he hadn't, either.
"Where was this located?"
"Rin found it next to the old well!"
He inspected the object from all angles, pressing random knobs with his claws.
It didn't seem lethal. Since it had been next to the well, it was likely that it belonged to one of his half-brother's pack members. The miko's scent was always thick around the old wooden structure.
"Rin. Cease your movement."
"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama. But..."
He removed his gaze from the object in his hand reluctantly, instead looking at his ward.
"...Rin would like to know what it is, too."
"Rin thinks Kagome-sama might know. Kagome-sama knows lots of interesting things."
Really. He would have to keep better watch over his ward in the future to prevent such remarks.
His ego wouldn't allow for someone else to be regarded better than he in Rin's eyes.
"This Sesshoumaru will interrogate the miko."
Maybe he could even inflict some pain and terror while he was at it.
"May Rin come with you?"
Oh yes, that would go over very well. 'You will inform this Sesshoumaru of the functions of this object or he will remove your vital organs in the most painful manner possible, thereby emotionally scarring this young girl.'
And out came the puppy-eyes.
Why hadn't he killed this girl yet?
"...Behave yourself while we are in her company."
And Sesshoumaru ventured towards his half-brother's pack in the name of science.
"Aww, snaps! Where did it go? I know I packed it! It was right on top!"
Sango looked up from polishing her boomerang to cast a sympathetic glance at her comrade. "Maybe it was jostled around and fell to the bottom of the pack, after our travels today?" she suggested, resuming her task.
Kagome sighed. "No, I've taken everything out of my backpack and shaken it all out and put it all back in and it's not here. It must have fallen out somewhere." With one final look at the now neatly-packed backpack, Kagome secured the flap and resigned herself to trigonometry sans calculator.
Kagome hadn't expected InuYasha to jump down from his perch and start growling at nothing in particular.
"Oi! What are you doin' here, bastard?" he barked out, feet apart and clawed hand poised over Tetsusaiga's hilt.
The reason for his distress became apparent when Sesshoumaru stalked through the trees as though he owned them.
"How very appropriate. The largest words in your vocabulary are obscenities," he sneered, nose turned up and fingertips glowing green. A dark-haired disturbance peeked out from behind his hakama, bright eyes searching the campsite.
"Ah! Kagome-sama!" the disturbance chirped, darting towards her target.
"Rin! What a pleasant surprise!" Kagome said brightly, holding her arms open in perfect hug-receiving position. Just as small girls are wont to do, Rin took full advantage of the spread arms, reaching around the larger girl with some (ignored) difficulty.
"Ne, ne, Kagome-sama!" Rin started, "Rin and Sesshoumaru-sama found something weird today, and Rin was wondering if you knew what it was!"
InuYasha curled his lip.
Giggling nervously, Kagome attempted to pacify all parties involved. "Well, ah, I suppose I could at least have a look at it. It's not likely that I would know more than Sesshoumaru-sama, of course!" she added hastily, sparing a darting glance upwards before returning her attention to Rin, who was attempting to present Kagome with her findings.
"Oh! Where did you find this?" Kagome exclaimed, plucking the calculator from Rin's hands eagerly.
"Rin found it near the old well! Ne, ne, Kagome-sama, do you know what it is? Neeee?"
"Oh, yes, this is my calculator! I thought I'd lost it forever! Thanks so much for finding it, Rin!" Kagome said, squeezing the girl to her in gratitude.
"What is calcalalar for?" Rin asked, staring fixedly at the unknown item.
"Ah, right! It's for math, see. The buttons have different numbers on them, and you just press the numbers you want and what you want them to do to each other and the calculator tells you how those numbers interact. Like, see, you have 10 fingers, right?" Rin counted them quickly, just to make certain, "And you have two ears. So if you want to find out how many ears and fingers you have together, you could enter in the number 10, and then press this button – it means to add numbers together, see – and then enter in a 2, for your ears, and then press enter and – see? It says that you have 12 ears and fingers combined! Isn't that interesting?"
Rin's eyes were shining.
"Kagome-sama has such amazing magic! Can the calalacar tell Rin how many flowers are in the world?" Rin asked, excited at her new-found abilities, "Or how old Sesshoumaru-sama is? Or how many leaves are on a tree? Or-"
Two sets of wide eyes turned towards Sesshoumaru simultaneously. Sniffing aristocratically, he tilted his head backwards. "Go find Jaken, Rin."
Flashing a grin at Kagome, Rin skipped off in the direction she had come from, in search of Jaken. Maybe he knew how old Sesshoumaru-sama was, and she wouldn't need to consult the clacalalar!
Once Rin had scampered away, Sesshoumaru turned the full force of his stare on the seated miko, puffing up slightly when she cowered in a very gratifying way. Ignoring InuYasha's sputtered protests, he strode towards his prey, intent on extracting answers that were not watered down for a small girl.
"Miko. This 'caltulacor' – explain its functions," he demanded imperiously. Anxiously peeking around him at a furious InuYasha, Kagome bit back her nervous giggles and attempted to force the uneasy smile from her face.
"Ah, well, it's as I told Rin, except it can do more than just add numbers together. It also has buttons for subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and more complex things, too," she trailed off, hoping he wouldn't ask her to explain I and logarithms.
"Um. This is a square root button, and that... divides the number by itself, I think? And this is the power button, which squares the number – that means it multiplies it by itself, and if you want to raise it to a higher power than two, you have to press the carat button first and then type in the power you want to raise it to."
A clawed hand moved towards Kagome, startling her. Sesshoumaru pointed to a row of buttons. "These have odd symbols on them. Explain their use."
"Those are the hypotenuse, sine, cosine, and tangent buttons. They're for finding the measurements of triangles."
"For grouping sets of actions together."
"These at the top."
"They trigger different modes in the calculator, and a lot of them give the other keys different uses. Like this 'shift' button makes the orange words above the buttons true. See, if I press 'shift' and then 'AC' it turns off, because the orange word 'off' is above the 'AC' button."
"Hn. You will relinquish this 'cal-'"
"It's called a 'calculator,'" Kagome said, cutting him off.
"...This 'calculator' to me," he continued, overlooking her interjection in favor of securing her cooperation.
She was worrying her bottom lip. "Well, I do kind of need it to finish my trigonometry homework today..."
Sesshoumaru's formerly complacent hand prickled the skin of her wrist in silent warning.
"...I can always go back through the well and get another one."
"Hn," Sesshoumaru articulated, extracting the calculator from Kagome's suddenly limp grasp. He tucked the strange object into his wide sleeve for later perusal.
Rising to his full height, Sesshoumaru turned from the now-cowering girl, hair tossing as he began walking from their camp.
"Hey, asshole! You can't just take Kagome's crapulator and lea-"
InuYasha's rant was interrupted by an absent punch to the face as Sesshoumaru breezed past.
Yes, he could.
Sitting back with a contented sigh, Sesshoumaru closed his eyes in satisfaction. After several hours of fiddling with the 'calculator,' he had finally coaxed an answer from the magical object.
Seven hundred twenty three years.
Rin had been right – it had been able to tell how old he was.
Not that he planned on sharing the information with her.
Perhaps with the miko. As thanks.