Alright people, here it is. Another Inuyasha fiction of mine. Another what-if based fic. A multi-chapter this time. Hope you enjoy and have as much fun reading as I had writing it all :3
DISCLAIMER: I hereby disclaim all rights to the manga and anime series Inuyasha. Takahashi-sensei is the owner, not me. I also disclaim all rights to all canon-references that will be in this story out of necessity. The only thing I own is the general idea for the story, but some of the details of the goin-ons aren't mine either and I disclaim them all, except for the details that truly are mine. Please note that this is the first and last time I take up space with this disclaimer, I will not repeat myself again in any other chapter.
SUMMARY: Kagome always wondered... what if she had been the hanyō, and Inuyasha the human? What would be the same? What would be different? She never thought she'd find out, and yet her and Inuyasha 'travel' to an alternate 1997 Tokyo, where in a Shinto shrine, a normal boy lives with his mother. He doesn't believe in legends and despises them with all his might. But then, one day, he's pulled down a magical well and discovers that certain legends are more than they seem - like the legend of the Shikon no Tama, or the legend of the Inuyasha, a demonic protector of the weak - and that he himself is more than just a normal teenager.
What-if story featuring a role-reversal between Inuyasha and Kagome. Written as challenge to self to prove it can be done right.
Awarded 3rd Best Alternate Reality Fiction March 2010 and 1st Best Alternate Reality March 2013 by the Feudal Association! :D
Part I summary: He never believed in legends. They were stories to scare little kids so they would be obedient, or to bribe them into it. That's what Inuyasha thought until his fifteenth birthday, when he fell down the well in his shrine and landed in a magical world five hundred years in the past, in which said legends are, for the most part, reality. Problem? He wants to have nothing to do with this world, while it, in turn, is unwilling to let him go. And so begins an adventurous journey to find the only thing that can allow Inuyasha to return home: someone who can replace him as the Guardian of the Shikon. Aiding him is a very strange 'hanyō' girl named Kagome, who quickly becomes more than just Inuyasha's self-proclaimed protector.
Have fun reading :]
Special Thanks to Kanna37 for doing an awesome job beta-ing this. Love you, Amber!
Soundtrack for this chapter:
Final Fantasy X OST: To Zanarkand
XxX: change of scene
[T] and [/T]: beginning/end of soundtrack
If the Roles Were Reversed
PART I: THE SEARCH
Kagome stared with wide eyes at her little brother, the package of Ramen she was about to put in her backpack forgotten as her hand froze midway to said bag.
"What did you just ask?" she asked in a disbelieving voice. Sure, her brother was little and had crazy thoughts sometimes (quite often, in fact) but the idea he had gotten in his head now was surprising even for Kagome. The young boy sighed in exasperation.
"I asked if you ever thought about what it would be like to be like Inu Onii-san," he repeated patiently. Kagome's eyebrows went even higher as it was proved correct that she had indeed heard him right.
"Where did that question come from?" she asked, avoiding the answer. Hell would freeze over before she told him the truth on that topic, lest he told Inuyasha about her musings. Then again, what was wrong in wondering about things that could never happen, the so-called what-ifs, right?
She had to bite back the sigh that almost escaped her throat. Of course, for normal people, wondering about the what-ifs of life was nothing new, since they never got an answer to those questions anyway. Only she had the great luck of not being normal, even when it came to what-if-thinking.
Souta shrugged. The thought of being like Inuyasha had popped quite randomly into his head and he couldn't help but ask his older sister about it. After all, she knew Inu Onii-san better than him. So she'd know more about what it would be like to be like him.
"So, did you ever think about it?" he asked again and it was all Kagome could do not to sigh and give in. He'd been asking that for the last three days she had been home and it never ceased to amaze her that the question still kept popping up.
"Why do you want to know?" she finally relented and Souta beamed at the indirect submission. His sister was finally going to talk! For the last three days, she had always told him it was none of his business, so her asking why he wanted to know had to be a progress.
"I just want to know what it feels like to be so strong. I mean, Inu Onii-san protects you over there, right? So he must be strong. I bet there's no one who could ever beat him. But it's one thing to know someone's strong and another to know what it feels like to be strong. Do you know how he feels about it? Have you ever thought what it would be like to lead the life he did? Come on, sis, tell me," once he started talking, there was no stopping him. Kagome sighed as she heard the onslaught of questions. Once he finally calmed down enough for her to take a word in, her answer was court and simple… but didn't answer any of Souta's questions straight out.
"Being strong comes with the required price," she said sadly, thinking about Inuyasha's past or what little she knew about it anyway. But she knew enough to know one thing: Inuyasha wasn't strong because he had always wanted to be. He first became strong because he had no other choice. And sometimes, Kagome had the feeling he hated that strength even though he would never admit it. Not that he wished to be weak… but she could tell he sometimes wished he could have become strong of his own free will not, out of necessity.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Souta asked her, but Kagome shook her head.
"Just what I said. Now forget that topic and don't you dare mention it again," there was something in her voice that told Souta to obey without fail, but he couldn't help but ask one more question.
"He's coming," was all Kagome said and true to her word, ten minutes later the hanyō they'd been talking about had come to pick her up. And while Souta certainly didn't understand why the topic was not to be mentioned around Inuyasha, he knew better than to not do what he was told when his sister sounded quite like that.
Lost in his own thoughts, Souta didn't notice when Inuyasha and his sister left towards the well house.
Try as she might, Kagome couldn't get Souta's question out of her mind. Well, not the question as he asked it, but her own question that was tied to his.
'What would it be like if I were the hanyō… and he the human? What if our roles were reversed? Would he still have had such a hard life, even in this time? And would he have ever met me if I were the one to be born in the Feudal Era?' she thought as she jumped down the well, not hearing what the hanyō next to her was saying. Probably complaining that she took so long to finally go back with him. That was all he ever talked about when they went back.
But as soon as she jumped down the well, Kagome knew she should have banned her thoughts from her head as instead of the familiar violet light of time travel surrounding them, they fell into a pitch black void and started to float around it aimlessly. Kagome fought the urge to swear, a habit she seemed to start to be picking up from Inuyasha. The half-demon wasn't holding back though.
"What the Hell?" he said in bewilderment as Kagome sighed.
"Sorry," she said quietly and he looked at her.
"What are you apologizing for?" he asked and she hung her head.
"Guess I lost control… again."
She didn't need to say more. Inuyasha understood what she meant. Her new ability had gotten out of control again. He was about to ask her if at least she knew where they were going this time, but before he could voice the question, he saw her start falling while he himself was pulled upwards. This startled him. It wasn't the first time they'd 'traveled'. But never had they been separated before.
"Kagome!" he yelled after her as she vanished from his sight and then complete and utter darkness surrounded him and his eyelids slipped closed despite his efforts to stay awake.
Just a small explanation, that dark void at the end was Kagome's newly acquired power of 'alternate reality travel'. Explanation how she acquired it is to find in the one-shot called If You Were in Her Place. If interested and wishing to know more, please go there.
And no, this is not the end of the beginning, though it is the end of the prologue. I just figure it's too short to really capture your attention and to be posted as the beginning of the new fic. Plus, it doesn't really show anything of the alternate reality yet. So now that the explanation how the story started is over and done with… on to chapter 1 and the real deal, what do you say?
Chapter 1: Down the well
The loud ringing of the alarm clock forced a young boy out of his sleep. He turned on his bed and slammed a hand carelessly on the offending device, not caring if he broke it or not. The thing survived being thrown against the wall multiple times already anyway, so one more hit surely wouldn't kill it.
One violet eye opened groggily to peek at the now quiet clock and the boy on the bed groaned as he saw what time it was. Seven AM. Getting up for school at such an ungodly hour was going to kill him someday.
Groaning again, the boy forced himself to move out of bed, his long black hair hiding his face from view as he hung his head tiredly and rubbed his eyes again. How he wished he could sleep a little longer. Alas, that was not to be. Vacation had been over for a good month now and whether he liked it or not, he had to get up for school.
"Good morning, Inuyasha," his mother greeted him twenty minutes later once he had showered and put on his uniform. Despite his fatigue, the boy managed to smile a warm smile at the woman in front of him.
"Morning," he replied as he sat down at the table where breakfast was already waiting for him. After a quick thanks, he attacked said breakfast and five minutes later, nothing of the Ramen was left in the bowl. His mother chuckled under her breath, her long black hair falling in waves behind her as her body shook with suppressed giggles.
"Someone's in a hurry to school today," she teased with a smile on her face. Her son turned and gave her a half-hearted scowl.
"Ha ha, very funny, haha-ue(1)," he muttered sarcastically before standing and bringing his bowl to the sink. He was definitely not a morning person.
Inuyasha's mother smiled at him as she ruffled his hair without a word, a gesture he huffed at as he gently swatted her hand away with a less than half-hearted 'stop it'. Her smile widened. This was her Inuyasha, trying to act all grown up and still being her small little boy inside. Not that she would complain. The longer he stayed her little boy at least somewhere inside, the longer she could enjoy the happiness that was motherhood. She was well aware how quickly kids grow up these days. It wouldn't be long before her Inuyasha found a girl and decided he needed to live on his own. But that was fine with her, too. The boy had his own life to live, after all, and his mother couldn't always be in it.
"Shit, I'm gonna be late," Inuyasha's voice brought her out of her musings and Izayoi, for that was her name, sighed.
"Language, Inuyasha," she said out of pure habit, but her son didn't hear her. He was at the exit already preparing for the ten-minutes run to school in order to avoid being late on the first day.
"I'm off," he called as he exited the house. His mother smiled and called for him to have a nice day. He smiled in response before he ran out of the house. He didn't get far, however, as a weird sight caught his attention.
'Since when is the well house door open?' he thought to himself as he walked towards said building. The well house was the only building on the shrine grounds neither he nor his mother ever entered. He didn't really know why. It was just a well house after all. What else could there be other than a well? Then again, his mother mentioned something about a legend that explained it once… but he hadn't paid attention to it in the least.
Inuyasha opened the door slightly wider and peeked inside. If neither he nor his mother ever entered the well house in his fifteen years of life, then the door should have been closed. Yet it was open, so someone had obviously gone inside. All that was left to find out was who it was.
Frowning, for as far as he knew no one beside his mother and himself should even be on the shrine grounds, Inuyasha entered the well house and slowly descended the small stairs. Just as he expected, there was nothing there except a well. A sealed well, in fact. Sealed so carefully like there was something dangerous hidden inside. Something that should never see the light of day again.
Shaking his head of these ridiculous thoughts, Inuyasha glanced around once more. The well house was somewhat creepy, he couldn't deny it. The atmosphere was so foreboding that he almost jumped when something furry brushed against his leg. Looking down, he saw the culprit that dared trespass on the shrine grounds: a stray cat. Sighing, Inuyasha bent down to pick the animal up and carry it out of the shrine, but the cat only hissed at him before jumping away from him, up the stairs and out of the well house. Oh well, as long as it was out. He wasn't a huge fan of cats anyway.
With another sigh, Inuyasha started walking back up the stairs again. He had lost enough time as it was. Now he could only pray he'd be on time even if he ran as fast as he could…
Suddenly, a weird sound behind him made him stop in his tracks as he glanced back at the well over his shoulder. Did he just imagine it… or did something truly move in there?
The sudden ringing of his wrist watch reminded him of the time and the black haired boy swore loudly as he darted out of the well house, careful to close the door behind him just to be sure, and ran to the Shinto gate leading out of the shrine. He would have to sprint to get to school on time, and even then it wasn't sure he'd make it.
What a wonderful start to the day…
"Today class, we will start on the legends of the Sengoku Era," the teacher said and Inuyasha almost groaned. It was the last class of the afternoon, the morning having passed uneventfully except the sprint in record-time to school. How he still had managed to be on time was beyond him but at least he avoided detention.
With almost the whole day over, Inuyasha couldn't help but curse his bad luck. Out of all the classes, he hated legends the most. He had heard his share of legends, especially those dating from the Feudal Era, from his grandfather when he was still alive, and he had heard them so often back then he still couldn't stomach any other legend. What would he ever need them for, anyway? Legends were just that: legends. They weren't true history, they were fantasy-stories made up by people from the ancient times. Why did he have to learn about them? It wasn't like they'd ever be useful for anything.
"One particularly famous is the Legend of the Shikon no Tama which was…" Inuyasha had stopped listening at that point. Thanks to his grandfather - may he rest in peace – he had developed a kind of immunity to legend-talk: he just zoned out the moment one such talk began and focused anew once it was over. Of course, this meant rather poor grades in that particular class, but it wasn't like he cared so long as his other grades were OK.
When after forty agonizing minutes the bell finally rang signaling the end of the lesson, Inuyasha was one of the first to get up and leave. The halls were still quite empty so he hurried out before all the other students, who stayed behind waiting for their friends, began to flood them and make any passage next to impossible.
Sighing in the fresh air as he exited the school, or as fresh as it got in Tokyo, anyway, Inuyasha started to walk back the way he'd come that morning in an easy stride. There was no one to call for him to wait or walk home with them, but he didn't really care. So he didn't have friends thanks to his reputation as a delinquent which he got after he beat once or twice a few people that pissed him off into bloody pulps, big deal.
It wasn't like deep down he felt lonely or anything. He didn't need anyone. He was just fine on his own, living only with his mother. He didn't need any friends.
At least that's what he kept telling himself.
Before he knew it, he had arrived at the steps leading to the Hinoiri(2) Shrine, the shrine he and his mother called home. It wasn't long before he was entering the house, calling his usual 'I'm home'. His mother had greeted him readily with that warm smile of hers and he couldn't help but smile back at her.
"How was school?" Izayoi asked out of habit. She had an idea what he would answer, but it was like a ritual between the two of them. He would come home and greet her, she'd greet him and then ask how his day had been. Inuyasha just shrugged.
"Same as always," he replied as he took off his shoes and grabbed his backpack again. "I'm gonna go do my homework," he added as he ran up the stairs to his room. He didn't know why, but even though the day had started like any other, he had a feeling something special would happen. 'Maybe my life will somehow get less boring suddenly,' he thought to himself as he sat down at his desk and forced himself to concentrate on the math problems in front of him.
He didn't know it yet, but he couldn't have been more right.
Later that night, he was lying on his bed tossing and turning in a futile attempt to fall asleep. For some reason, though, he just couldn't. It was like there was an outside force virtually forcing his eyes open each time he tried to close them.
'I need some fresh air,' Inuyasha thought as he threw the blankets off and got out of bed. He went over to his closet and picked up the first T-shirt and pants that he reached as to not walk out outside in only his boxers and after swiftly changing, he silently stepped out of his room, down the stairs and out of the house onto the shrine grounds, careful not to wake his mother.
Once he was outside, he opted for walking around the Shrine grounds. A short walk had always helped him if he was restless, so there was no reason it shouldn't work now, right? But then his eyes fell on the well house and he couldn't help but remember the noise he'd thought he'd heard in the well that morning. It had been in his head the whole day and he couldn't help but wonder if it had really just been his imagination. Well, he had a chance to find out now…
Glancing back towards the house to make sure his mother hadn't woken up for some weird reason, and confirming she was indeed probably still asleep or at least not watching him through her window, Inuyasha walked over to the small building that housed the wooden well and slowly opened the door, quickly closing it behind him once he entered.
Curiosity killed the cat, but Inuyasha couldn't help himself as he walked down the steps and approached the sealed well warily. He put a hand on one of the boards that sealed the well. And there it was again, that scratching and rattling as if something was closed inside and wanted desperately to get out. There was no more doubt: it had not been his imagination.
More curious than ever, Inuyasha slowly grabbed one of the boards from the down-side, intent on trying and pulling it off. But before he could even start, he jumped back in surprise as something broke right through the wood that sealed the well. Something that looked suspiciously like human arms, only… there were six of them.
"The Hell?!" Inuyasha yelped in surprise as the arms all lunged for him and before he could react, he was grabbed by the shoulders and arms and dragged down the well. That was how he found out what it was he had heard trying to come out.
It was a woman, or rather it had the upper body of a woman, while the lower part reminded him more of an extremely overgrown centipede. The human part of her body was naked, giving him a full display of rather large breasts, but that minor fact was ignored when it suddenly clicked in his brain that not only did this thing have six arms, it had half a body of a bug as well. To say he wasn't freaked out in the least would be a complete lie, but given the situation, he doubted anyone would be able to take it like everyday bread.
"Such joy! I can feel my strength returning!" he heard the woman, if he really could call the thing in front of him a woman, say. "My body is coming to life again!" This quickly proved to be true as the bug-part of her body slowly got longer and longer as bones rearranged themselves and were surrounded by flesh again. The whole sight was rather disgusting, but again in the face of what was happening to him – and he didn't really know what was happening - Inuyasha didn't seem to notice.
"You have it, don't you?" the thing spoke to him now, and only in this moment did he really seem to realize what was going on and started to struggle out of her grasp. He had to give her credit though, she had much more strength in those thin arms of hers than he'd ever have thought. "Don't you?" slowly getting closer, the weird half-woman half-bug slowly stuck her tongue out and made a move as if to lick his face. Inuyasha couldn't help but grimace in disgust.
"The Hell? Let me go, damn it! Get off!" he said as he renewed his struggles with double force. It was when he felt her wet tongue on his cheek that he really snapped though. "I said get the fuck off!" he yelled as he finally managed to free one of his arms and he immediately used that same arm to forcefully shove her away. Almost immediately upon contact, a sudden bolt of light blue lightning shot out of his hand, striking the woman-bug straight in the chest. Inuyasha's eyes widened in surprise as he saw one of the woman's arms detach itself from her body as she suddenly let him go and fell away from him.
"You little…" he heard her say in what he could easily guess was anger as she fell down while he seemed to float in mid air. "You won't escape me, Shikon no Tama!" was the last thing he hear her yell as she vanished from his sight, swallowed by the blue-violet light that he only now noticed was surrounding him. He narrowed his eyes.
"Shikon no… Tama?" he thought as he felt himself descent slowly before the light suddenly vanished. Surprised by the sudden flash and then lack of light, he staggered backwards, which seeing as he hadn't quite finished landing yet, had ended with him landing flat on his back. He stayed still for a while breathing heavily. 'I'm inside the well' he noted before mentally snorting at himself. What a way to state the obvious. He had fallen into the well after all, hadn't he? So how could he be somewhere else than the bottom of said well?
Still, the images of what had just transpired continued to flash in front of his eyes and he couldn't help but shudder slightly, be it in disgust or mild fright, he wasn't sure. Given what the thing had looked like, he figured both were acceptable.
'Was that a dream?' he thought as he slowly sat up. Gazing to his right, he saw a single, pale arm lying not too far away from him, the same arm he still had the lingering feeling was holding him by the shoulder. Subconsciously, he reached up his other hand and rubbed the offended area. His eyebrows furrowed. 'Doesn't look like it, unless I'm still sleeping. But I have a feeling that's not the case,' he thought as he sighed. 'I gotta get out.' He glanced up the well to judge how much of a climb was ahead of him, if there was anything he could climb out on that is. The sight that met his eyes was dark, star filled sky and he couldn't help but stare at it for a while. He had never seen start so clearly before.
His thoughts came to a screeching halt as he all but jumped to his feet. Star filled sky? The Hell? He should be gazing up towards the roof of the well house, not the open sky, damn it. 'What is going on here?'
Noticing a rather thick wall of vines hanging down the walls of the well, he grabbed the lowest ones and started to pull himself out of the damned well. The climb was a bit longer and only a slight bit more difficult than he expected, but he still made it to the top rather quickly. Leaning on his arms so that the upper part of his body was sticking out of the well, he took a few deep breaths before he slowly climbed out completely and stood next to the wooden structure. He then turned around to where he knew the exit of the well house should be, but the sight before him made him take half a step backwards and sit down on the edge of the well, just barely stopping himself from falling back down.
He was surrounded by trees on every side. It was obviously a clearing in a forest… but since when was there a forest anywhere near the Shrine grounds, or anywhere in Tokyo for that matter?
"Where is this?" Inuyasha asked no one in particular as he gazed around. He didn't recognize the surroundings at all. But how could that be? "I know I fell into the well at the shrine, but… this definitely isn't my shrine."
Somewhat nervous now, Inuyasha bit his bottom lip as he stood up again and looked around. He tried to stay calm, but it was hard seeing as he had neither any idea where he was, nor how he got there and even less how to get home. So it was quite understandable that after about two minutes of aimless looking around, he started to freak out.
Shaking his head and taking a few deep breaths in order to calm down, Inuyasha started walking slowly in the direction he knew his house should normally be, had he been on the shrine grounds, of course. But if he just walked on, he would eventually get somewhere and from there he could get an answer as to where he was, right? Well, logic suggested it anyway.
He didn't go further than ten meters from the well when a sudden wave of relief hit him when he finally noticed something familiar. Without thinking, he started running towards it as fast as he could. 'Goshinboku!' he thought as he ran. 'What a relief! I'm close to home!'
However, once he reached the tree, he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing that it couldn't be the Goshinboku standing before him.
"A girl?" he whispered to himself as he stared at the trunk of the great tree. Indeed, there was a girl trapped by the roots to its trunk. But he was quite sure he would have known if someone was trapped to the tree at his shrine. And there should definitely be no girl sleeping like that by the tree at his home.
But then again, other than the trapped girl, the tree looked exactly the same. Sighing, Inuyasha decided that waking the girl from her slumber, though he couldn't understand how she could possibly be comfortable sleeping like that with the roots of the tree cradling her like a loving mother, was the best course of action for him. She was most likely from here, so she could probably tell him where he was and maybe how he could get home.
He didn't get nearer that two steps towards the tree however when he stopped again, staring at the girl by the tree, suddenly mesmerized by her looks. The sun had started to rise and the first rays of light shone right on the girl, giving her an air of indescribable beauty and mystery. The way the light reflected off her silver hair, the way it illuminated her peaceful face as she slept… she looked almost like an angel and he could hardly force himself to look away.
Once the sun rose some more however, the mystical spell broke and he shook his head to clear his thoughts as he walked purposefully towards the tree and slowly climbed up the roots to get closer to her.
"Oi, wake up," he said gruffly as he approached her. Up close, he could see that the only reason he thought of her as an incredible beauty was the light games the sun was playing with her. Up close, she didn't look any different from any other girl he ever laid eyes on. There was nothing special about her… well, maybe except the ears.
He stopped again as he noticed them. Those definitely weren't human ears. The pair of white, triangular appendages looked more like ears of a dog or a cat, though he believed them more to be dog-ears. He raised an eyebrow, silently wondering why she would wear dog-ears at her age, for she was quite obviously somewhere around fifteen, just like him (meaning much too old for such games), or why she would dress in such weird clothes; she was clad in a bright red hakama and jacket with somewhat loose sleeves - they weren't attached at the shoulders, allowing the girls white kosode to peek through.
When she didn't respond to his call he frowned and moved up a little closer. He stopped about two feet away from her staring straight into her sleeping face. Inuyasha tried to wake her again, but to no avail. Scowling in annoyance, he reached up one hand to shake her, but stopped midway as his hand traveled to one of the ears instead. Whatever compelled him to do it, he didn't know, but next thing he knew, he was examining one of the appendages with his palm. Not even a second later, he staggered backwards in shock, for they felt like natural dog-ears, with a soft fur and all. And something told him that fur was not fake, which in turn meant this was not some kind of costume she was wearing. He stared at her.
'She… she doesn't seem to be human,' Inuyasha thought but then shook his head. Whatever she was, she was the only one around as far as he knew, and thus she was the only one who could possibly help him return home. Which in turn meant he needed to wake her up.
Acknowledging the fact that she was sleeping too deeply for words to arouse her from her slumber Inuyasha raised his hand again to shake her awake. However, as he moved to touch her shoulder, his hand brushed against something like feathers. Giving the thing more attention than previously, his eyes widened when he saw it wasn't a twig or something like that coming out of the root holding the girl as he thought at first, but an arrow. Following the wood, he soon noticed that said arrow went slightly above the root of the tree and pierced the girl in the chest, right where her heart was.
Surprised, Inuyasha took several steps backwards and ended up falling off the root. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the peacefully sleeping girl. No wonder she didn't wake up when he tried to wake her. She couldn't wake up. Her sleep was eternal. She was dead.
Inuyasha frowned. 'If she's dead, why would anyone leave her like that? They should at least have buried her properly. Whoever she was, she doesn't deserve to be forgotten like that,' he thought with disgust. How could anyone leave her body just to rot like that? Not only was it disrespectful for her, it was also marring the scenery. Who would want to walk through a forest where a body of a girl pinned to a tree was slowly decaying?
He shuddered at the thought and finally tore his eyes from her still form. He turned around. He might be disgusted by the people who left her there like that, but Hell would freeze over before he touched a dead body that was God only knew how far into decaying already. After all, she must have been dead for quite a while for the roots to cradle her the way they did.
He was about to walk away when he stopped and looked in her direction again. He should just turn and leave, but his morals wouldn't allow him to. He couldn't just leave her there.
'I guess I can blame haha-ue for teaching me not to turn my back on people who need help if I can provide it,' he sighed in his thoughts as he climbed up the roots gain. He wouldn't do much. Certainly he wouldn't bury her all on his own. But he could at least remove the arrow on her chest and free her from the roots to lie on the ground as if she were really sleeping beneath the tree. Maybe cover her with some leaves as a make-shift grave? That would have to do.
He was in front of her again and was about to reach out a hand to remove the arrow when…
"You there! What are you up to?" he heard someone yell behind him and before he could even comprehend what was going on, a couple arrows got impaled in the tree's trunk, inches away from his body and even closer to the dead girl's head. Startled, he turned around to see a small group of men with bows in front of him. They approached him warily, and were it not for their facial expressions, he would have been glad to have found someone. As it was, however, he flexed his fingers before closing his fists preparing for a fight.
Those people didn't seem like the kind type to help you out in a pinch, he figured. He had an advantage though, for standing on the roots of the Sacred Tree, he was standing above them. That advantage was quickly rendered useless though, as seeing his readiness to fight, the men had raised their bows again and he soon had to jump down in order to avoid being hit by their arrows.
He quickly figured that since they had long range weapons, he was the stronger one in close combat so he quickly moved towards them in order to give them a piece of his fist. He didn't even get the first hit in however when a pink light caught his attention and next thing he knew, he was pinned by the clothes to the tree behind him only a little bit beneath the girl.
He didn't let it faze him though as he quickly grasped the arrow and freed himself. Not a second later he was on his feet again and ready to attack, as were the men before him. They raised their bows again, but lowered them when one voice rang strong among them.
"Wait," it said. It was a woman's voice, and a pretty old one's too. Inuyasha couldn't help but obey it too as he watched warily what was going on. An elder woman with an eye-patch on her right eye moved to the front of the group. She was wearing red hakama similar to the girl pinned to the tree, but her jacket was white instead of red. The sleeves were open at the shoulders, though this could be easily overlooked as the kosode she wore underneath was white as well. Her hair was grey and of middle length, tied in a low and loose ponytail. Looking at her more closely, Inuyasha realized that her eye-patch was actually an iron tsuba and her feet were covered with tabi(3) and rice straw sandals. There was a quiver filled with arrows on her one shoulder and she was holding a large bow in the opposite hand.
"Kaede-sama," the villagers said almost in union as she stepped forwards, regarding Inuyasha with a critical look which he shot straight back as he studied her apprehensively. But he knew right then that his hands were tied now. He could fight off the men, but he would never dare to strike a woman, much less an elder woman like the one before him.
"He is no yōkai. The boy is definitely human," the woman, Kaede, said after a good three minutes of stare down contest between Inuyasha and herself. But even as she spoke, neither let their eyes wander from the other's.
"Then could he be a foreign spy?" one of the villagers asked then and Kaede's eyes narrowed.
"Ay, but to spy on what? We can barely feed ourselves in our village," the elder woman seemed to be speaking to herself now more than to anyone else. Inuyasha huffed, not liking that they were talking about him like he wasn't even there.
"Besides, spies are supposed to blend in. How would he blend in with those weird clothes," Kaede continued, mentioning with her hand to him. Indeed, in their point of view it was Inuyasha's simple black button-up shirt and the wide, light blue jeans he was wearing that was the weird garment. For him however, it was the other way around. 'You're the weirdoes here,' he thought, but he didn't say it aloud.
"I'm not a spy. I just got lost and I'm trying to find my way home," he replied in his defense. The villagers were still eyeing him suspiciously, but Kaede's eyes softened somewhat. There was something in the way he said it that made her believe him. In truth, now that she took a really good look at him, the poor boy really did look lost, but one really had to look carefully to notice it. So either he was faking it extremely well, or he actually was lost and just covered it up just as well as he could be faking it. The elder woman sighed.
"Let us return to the village," she said as she turned around, giving Inuyasha a slight sign with her head to follow her. "Ye and I will talk there. The Inuyasha no Mori isn't a safe place to talk," she had looked over her shoulder at the girl pinned to the tree as she said that, then focused her gaze forwards again and started to walk away. The men and Inuyasha followed not far after her, the latter lost in thought.
'Inuyasha no Mori … Inuyasha's Forest(4)? I never knew there was a forest named after me,' he thought as he silently followed after Kaede.
(1) Haha-ue – a polite way to address one's mother in Japanese. I made Inuyasha address her respectfully, but not overly so because, if I remember correctly, that's the exact term he referred to her with in the manga/anime.
(2) Hinoiri means 'sunset' in Japanese. It's Inuyasha's family name, as well as the same of the shrine he lives at.
(3) tsuba – sword guard; tabi - socks with a split for the big toe
(4) Inuyasha means in Japanese literally 'gentle dog demon'. In my fic, some people will sometimes refer to Kagome this way. So in this case, a translation for 'Mori no Inuyasha' would be 'the Forest of the Gentle Dog Demon'. Inuyasha however, even if he may know the true meaning of the word, associates it always by habit with his name, thus the wrong translation. To avoid confusion, from now on, when I write 'Inuyasha' normally, it's Inuyasha's name, and when I write it in cursive (cursive and bold in thoughts and the like) it's in reference to the half-demon in the story: Kagome
Well, that's it for chapter one. To be quite frank, I was originally planning to let this chapter go on until the end of the centipede-problem, but the thing got too long, so I divided it into two.
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ:
You might have noticed (and if not then you definitely will next chapter) that some things were taken via copy/paste from the manga/anime, episode 1 in this case. Please, don't let this discourage you in future reading. I do not plan on making a re-write of canon with this. I admit, I will take some happenings from canon and let them happen again, in which case I will take most of the details from the anime/manga. I will however twist it here and there to make it at least a little bit 'mine' and I will definitely NOT write this chapter episode after episode. There will be things from canon that never took place in here and the will be things here that never happened in canon too. I'm planning for this to be my story, not a re-write of the original (though for comparison possibilities, some things just have to stay somewhat the same).
On another note, I don't know if I succeeded, but please note that despite the different lives both Inuyasha and Kagome lived in this fic, I still plan on keeping them as IC as possible (though of course sometimes there will be OOC-ness too). This comes from my theory that no matter where we are born and what we live through, our characteristics are mostly defined by our soul or something like that. As such, Kagome in this fic will not be bitter and cold because of the life she was forced to lead as a half-demon (though she will be marked by it naturally) and I will not turn Inuyasha into an always smiling, cheery, cute and always kind guy who's romantic up to the point of impossibility. If that's what you're expecting (though I truly have trouble believing that) then you've got the wrong address, go ask someone else to write a fic like that.
That being said, I really hope you enjoyed the story so far and that even though I have yet to get to the truly original part you're interested enough to keep reading. If you were so kind and left me a review, I might just update real soon… especially since chapter two is practically finished already LOL So it's up to you :]
Thanks again for reading (especially if you bothered to read this ridicoulously long A/N) and see you in the next installment of If the Roles Were Reversed.
Next Chapter: The Inuyasha
See you then!