Time Traveler Katsumi

Make New friends, But keep The Old

Previously:

"Yes, yes, now off with you! I've got angry inu-daiyoukai to outrun, and you should leave too." Totosai said as he climbed onto Momo, his flying cow… or was an ox…?

"Okay, take care of yourself, Totosai-ojii-san!" Katsumi said, waving as the old youkai flew off. '… I just realized… I don't have a map, and I have no idea how to find my way back to Kaede-obaa-san's village.' Katsumi thought sweat dropping. It was too late to ask Totosai since he was gone… "I guess I'll just go have my own little adventure, then!" Katsumi decided out loud.


{A few days later…}

Katsumi sighed in relief as she pulled off the straw hat and scarf she had her blond hair wrapped in, and watched the fish she had caught in a nearby river as they were roasted by her small campfire. It was about noon, so Katsumi had decided to stop for lunch. Since Katsumi was traveling on her own, she tried to avoid attracting too much unwanted attention by hiding her ears, hair, and stripes with the scarf, and keeping her eyes hidden in the shadow of her straw hat. It seemed to be working surprisingly well. It probably helped that she was short, so most people probably wouldn't take her as a serious threat, despite the sword hanging from her waist. Katsumi was in the woods now, so she didn't have to worry about being spotted right away, like she did on the open road, or in a village… at least that's what she thought until she heard a twig snap. She knew it wasn't a youkai because she'd gotten really good at being able to sense them. It was humans that worried her, because they tended to overreact, and she didn't want to kill them... even if it would be in self-defense, but she wouldn't just roll over and die either. It just so happened the source of the noise was a cute little human girl. She was peeking out at Katsumi from behind a tree. The girl looked more curious and nervous than scared. Katsumi smiled gently at the little girl. She liked kids.

"It's okay, I don't bite." Katsumi said jokingly, smiling warmly at the girl. Katsumi noticed the girl had a bruise on her wrist. It looked like someone had grabbed her too roughly. More than happy to give the girl a reason to delay going back to whoever hurt her, Katsumi deiced to offer the girl some lunch. "Are you hungry? I've got plenty of fish here." The girl hesitated for a moment before smiling and nodding her head. Katsumi patted the ground beside her and smiled when the girl plopped down beside her without any hesitation. "Hi, I'm Katsumi. What's your name?" Katsumi asked the girl. The girl's smile faltered slightly, and she looked away. The girl looked like she was feeling a little guilty, sad, and happy at the same time. "It's all right, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to." Katsumi said gently.

The girl shook her head as if to say, 'No, that's not it!'

"… Or maybe you can't…?" Katsumi asked.

Rin nodded and smiled, 'yes' she was saying.

'Is she mute?' Katsumi wondered. ' She doesn't look like there's anything physically wrong with her, other than that bruise… oh… I think I remember reading somewhere that people who have been through a really traumatizing experience sometimes lose their ability to see or speak because their mind was too damaged to deal, so the brain shut down one of the other senses because it would somehow protect their mind from totally breaking.' "Hey, how about we play a game?" Katsumi suggested.

The little girl smiled and nodded eagerly. Katsumi smiled back.

"How about this, I'll go stand by that chestnut tree, and ask questions. If the answer is yes, you take one step forward, and if the answer is no, you take one step back. We can play until you either reach the chestnut tree, or the fish is done cooking." Katsumi suggested. This way they could play and 'talk' at the same time.

The girl nodded excitedly. Katsumi smiled back at her and went to stand by the chestnut tree a few feet away.

"Ready? And… start!" Katsumi said, clapping to signal the start of the game. "First question! Do you like fish?" Katsumi asked playfully.

The girl giggled and took a step forward.

"Second question! Is the first syllable in your name 'Ai'?"Katsumi asked.

The girl took a step back.

"…is it 'Ha'?" Katsumi asked.

The girl took another step back, giggling as Katsumi made a face of exaggerated shock.

"I've been wrong twice? Gasp!" Katsumi said dramatically. "… Is it 'Ri'?"

The girl took a step forward. Katsumi smiled.

'So, her name starts with 'Ri'… what Japanese names do I know that start with that… Rika? No, that doesn't seem right… I've got it!' Katsumi thought. "Is your name 'Rin'?" Katsumi asked.

The girl's face lit up like a 1000watt bulb as she took a step forward.

'So her name is Rin...' Katsumi thought, smiling. "Have you always had trouble speaking, Rin?" Katsumi asked.

Rin took a step back.

"…Rin, did something happen that made you lose your voice? You don't have to answer, if you don't want to." Katsumi said.

Rin looked down at the ground for a moment, but then she took a step forward.

'So she did lose her voice because of trauma… poor thing.' "Did something happen to someone close to you?" Katsumi asked.

Rin didn't smile, but she took a step forward.

"…Was it your family?" Katsumi asked gently. She was dreading the answer, but she just couldn't stop herself from asking.

Rin took another step forward.

"Did someone hurt them?"

Rin took another step forward. Rin's eyes were starting to mist over with tears.

"… Are you alone now, Rin?" Katsumi asked. She could feel her own tears forming. This girl couldn't have been more than eight years old, but she had been through so much.

Rin took one last step forward. She was now only a few inches away from Katsumi. Rin was staring up into her eyes, and Katsumi could see the little girl's loneliness. Katsumi leaned down and gently pulled Rin into a hug. Rin froze for a moment, as though she wasn't used to being hugged like that, but then she relaxed and held onto Katsumi tightly.

"It's okay, it's going to be okay… You're not alone anymore. I'll stay with you, Rin." Katsumi said as she held Rin and let her cry her little eyes out until she was satisfied.

{Two days later…}

Katsumi was waiting in the woods for Rin since it was about the time Rin usually came to play. Rin didn't seem ready to leave the human village yet, so Katsumi was staying in the woods near the edge of the village, close to Rin's hut. Rin was a pretty independent child and used to fending for herself, so she really only ate with Katsumi once a day. They didn't want the villagers to get suspicious, and freak out because they thought Katsumi was there to eat them… Though Katsumi would gladly beat the person responsible for the bruise on Rin's wrist when they first met. Katsumi decided not to pester Rin for information on her abuser since no new bruises had popped up since they met, but the next time she sees one… whoever's responsible for it had better run as if the hounds of hell were chasing him, because they were going on Katsumi's hit list. A familiar scent hit Katsumi's nose.

'It couldn't be…' Katsumi thought, shocked. She smelled blood.

The leaves rustled softly as a gentle breeze blew through the forest. It did little to improve Sesshoumaru's mood. If it hadn't been for Tenseiga, he would have surely died from Inuyasha's last blow, when the hanyou managed to unleash the Kaze no kizu. At the last minute a light came from Tenseiga and enveloped Sesshoumaru, shielding him and carrying him here, to this forest… where the great Sesshoumaru-sama now lay on the forest floor, half-dead. The daiyoukai's breathing was labored, and he seemed to be at least momentarily paralyzed, unable to even close his eyes.

'I can't move…" Sesshoumaru thought. He heard rustling nearby. 'The scent of a human…' Sesshoumaru hissed threateningly when the human showed themselves, and she shrank back behind the tree. The little girl gulped and clutched her bamboo water container as she cautiously crept closer to him. 'A child…?' Sesshoumaru thought. He hadn't expected a human child to be so far into the woods by themselves. The little girl knelt down beside Sesshoumaru and dumped the water over his head, snapping him out of being temporarily stunned. Sesshoumaru blinked, finally able to at least freely open and close his eyes. A familiar scent was approaching them. 'What is she doing here…?" Sesshoumaru wondered as Katsumi stepped into view.

Katsumi's eyes widened in shock when she saw all the blood. She knew he had been bleeding since she could smell it before she even saw him, but to see such a powerful youkai wounded, was another thing entirely. She could smell Inuyasha's scent on him as well, so the two brothers must have fought again… but she couldn't believe Inuyasha could inflict so much damage on him…

"… Sesshoumaru-sama…?" Katsumi said as she knelt beside Rin. He stared at her, warning her not to try anything he would make her regret later. Katsumi took a closer look at his wounds, and realized Sesshoumaru probably couldn't move. Katsumi realized Rin must have dumped water on his face to wake him up or something when she noticed how drenched he was. "Good job, Rin." Katsumi said, patting Rin on the head. Rin smiled at her.

'They know each other?' Sesshoumaru thought. He found that while he had managed to growl at the human girl earlier, he didn't have enough energy to actually speak at the moment.

"Don't worry, Sesshoumaru-sama. I know you'd probably refuse our help if you had the energy to, but Rin and I are going to help you. I'm going to touch you now. I have to do it, so I can help you heal faster. I'm going to give you a little of my youki, so don't freak out, okay." Katsumi said.

She placed he hand on Sesshoumaru's chest and closed her eyes as she concentrated on healing him. Rin watched curiously. Sesshoumaru's eyes widened slightly in surprise when he felt her youki start to spread through his body and aid his own youki in healing his wounds. Katsumi carefully fed her youki into him for a little while longer before a bead of sweat rolled down her face, and she decided she was pushing herself a little too far.

"There, that'll give you a small head start, but I'm afraid I can't do anymore than that for now. Please, rest. I'll keep an eye out for you." Katsumi said soothingly. Rin laid her head in Katsumi's lap and fell asleep.

'They… intend to rescue me, huh…' Sesshoumaru thought as he was finally able to close his eyes and rest, a strange feeling of peace coming over him.

'How long has it been since it happened…?' Sesshoumaru wondered as he watched the tree branches sway in the breeze. He had been practically half-dead when he first came here. 'I'm gradually getting better… but I still can't move…' Though it hurt his pride, Katsumi and Rin had tended to him... and Sesshoumaru hated to admit it, but he felt more at ease when they were around. Katsumi came to share her youki with him every other day, but other than that, she tried to respect his personal space, which he appreciated. She was never far though, and he could hear Katsumi as she played with Rin a few yards away. He never heard the human girl's voice, but it sounded as though they were having a two-sided conversation. Sesshoumaru didn't know how Katsumi understood Rin so well. Sesshoumaru didn't really understand either of the two girls, to be completely honest. Katsumi was helping him, despite having fought him in the past, and Rin was just a human child, yet she didn't seem to be afraid of him. Sesshoumaru blamed that on Katsumi since it was probably her influence that made Rin feel so comfortable around youkai. The grass rustled and Rin appeared, holding water and food in her arms. Katsumi wasn't anywhere nearby. This was the first time he was alone with the human girl. 'She's back again…' Sesshoumaru thought. Rin knelt beside him, and held the food out to him. It was a cooked fish and mushrooms. Sesshoumaru stared at the food for a moment before whacking it to the side out of Rin's hands. He didn't hurt her, Sesshoumaru just wanted to scare Rin away. Instead of running away, Rin began trying to pick up the food. Sesshoumaru looked away. "… Mind your own business. I don't like human food." Sesshoumaru said. Rin glanced up at Sesshoumaru. She finished picking up the food and left. 'Where is Katsumi…?' Sesshoumaru wondered. He hadn't seen her since the previous afternoon. He thought he caught her scent once, before Rin appeared, but it was just the scent of a human that smelled like her.

Katsumi stood, waiting as Rin came back from checking on Sesshoumaru. She hugged Rin, who looked a little upset. 'He must have turned down the food.' Katsumi thought as she eyed the slightly dirty fish.

"Thanks for trying, Rin. He wasn't mean to you, was he?" Katsumi said.

Rin shook her head and smiled. Katsumi eyed her for a moment, making sure the smile was genuine. To her relief it was.

'Good, so Sesshoumaru's still being tolerant of us.' Katsumi thought. "Since he doesn't want this fish, is it alright with you if I have it? I don't want to go too deep into the woods to hunt while I'm only human." Katsumi said.

Rin smiled and nodded, happy that the food wasn't going to waste.

Katsumi smiled back and took the fish. It would be fine once she washed it off. Last night was the night of the new moon, and Katsumi couldn't believe it had already been a month since she parted with Totosai. She didn't think Sesshoumaru would attack her, but she preferred not to let too many people in on her little secret… although come to think of it… Inuyasha, Kagome, Shippo, Kaede, Miroku, Seigetsu, Totosai, her mother, and Rin all knew about it… that was actually quite a few people. Katsumi shook her head to clear her thoughts.

"Anyway, it's getting late, so you'd better get back to the village, Rin. Be careful, okay?" Katsumi said.

Rin smiled and waved goodbye before skipping back to the village.

"I know you're there. Show yourself." Katsumi heard Sesshoumaru say from where he was lying a few feet away. She sighed.

'I guess I might as well just tell him too…' Katsumi thought resignedly.

Sesshoumaru was growing irritated with the human presence he felt. It had been keeping close to him since Katsumi last showed herself, but it hadn't revealed itself to him yet. It smelled very similar to Katsumi… only human… He had heard half demons had a night when they turned completely human, but this was the second night in the row now…

'It couldn't really be Katsumi, could it?' Sesshoumaru wondered. "I know you're there. Show yourself." He said.

A few minutes later Katsumi stepped into view. Sesshoumaru's eyes widened slightly when he saw her. It was definitely Katsumi… but she smelled human, and her dog-ears had been replaced by human ears. The magenta stripes on her face were gone too. She looked human, yet her hair was still golden and her eyes were still that mysterious two-tone combination of emerald green with a ring of copper around the pupils of her eyes.

"Is something wrong?" Katsumi asked when she realized he was staring at her. Sesshoumaru snapped himself out of it before he could make an even bigger fool of himself.

"You're human… yet your hair and eye color are still that of a demon's." Sesshoumaru said. He was slightly taken aback when she frowned at him. 'Is she pouting…?' Sesshoumaru wondered.

"Geez, both future and feudal Japan… These hair and eye colors are normal where I'm from." Katsumi huffed. "This…" Katsumi said, holding a lock of her golden hair, "… is called blond, and my eyes are hazel. Lots of humans look like this in other countries."

'Those are common features for humans in other parts of the world? …How strange…' Sesshoumaru thought. "… I was not aware." He said. Katsumi visibly relaxed at that. She looked like she was feeling a little guilty.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to go off on you like that… it's just that when I first arrived in Japan, after leaving my home country, the people of future Japan did know that, and they were still whispering… unkind things about me… just because I was different, can you believe that?" Katsumi said.

"I've noticed that most humans are often afraid of what they do not understand." Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi thought about that for a moment.

"Yeah, that's true enough. I've been guilty of that a few times myself…" Katsumi conceded.

"Why are you still human? I had heard a hanyou's period of weakness lasts only one night." Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi nodded.

"Yes, it's supposed to, but I seem to be a special case. I turn human the night of the new moon and stay that way for three days after. I think it has something to do with the youkai genes I inherited from my dad." Katsumi said.

"Your father? What kind of youkai was he? You are three-fourths, so I am assuming he was a hanyou…" Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes, he is a hanyou, but according to my mother, not even he knows what kind of youkai his father was. His mother went on a trip to Ireland, part of the U.K., another country, and came back pregnant. She wouldn't say anything about his father, and then she died in childbirth. He was raised by his mother's brother, my adopted grandfather, Grandpa Joe. I think the 'mystery youkai' genes are also why I can heal other youkai. Seigetsu told me that was rare." Katsumi explained.

"It is." Sesshoumaru agreed. 'How curious… what kind of youkai could her biological grandfather have been to cause such strange side-effects…?' Sesshoumaru wondered.

Rin tied up her kimono and waded into the water of the village's fish preserve. Rin had decided to get another fish and try to give it to Sesshoumaru-sama one more time. She was worried since neither she nor Katsumi had seen him eat anything, and it was probably why he was healing so slowly. Katsumi had told Rin that youkai healed much faster than humans.

'Got it.' Rin thought when she caught the fish in her hands.

"Rin! So you're the culprit!" One of the villagers shouted. Rin looked up and saw a small group of men from the village standing there, staring at her angrily and holding torches. They pulled Rin out of the water and threw her onto the dirt road. They took turns kicking her.

"Greedy brat! Fucking taking from the fish pond as you please!" One man yelled. Another man grabbed Rin, and hauled her to her feet, slapping her.

"Because we felt sorry that you had no relatives, we raised you in the village, and this is the thanks we get!? Do it again, and we'll kill you." The man growled. He dropped Rin, and she picked herself up and limped away. "Sheesh, creepy brat. She didn't even cry once…"

"That's not surprising." One of the older men said. "Since her parents and siblings were killed right in front of her by thieves, she has stopped speaking."

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