Time Traveler Katsumi

On The Road Again

Previously:
"Foolish humans! As if the great Sesshoumaru-sama would want you as a follower." Jaken said harshly. A vein mark popped on Katsumi's head. Sure, what the toad said had some truth to it, but he didn't have to put it that way.

"Jaken." Sesshoumaru said. Jaken froze. Sesshoumaru didn't sound too happy with him.

"Y-Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Jaken said nervously. "They are free to do as they please." Sesshoumaru said, not even bother to look back. Jaken's jaw hit the ground.

'W-W-What! Is that really Sesshoumaru-sama!' Jaken thought, totally shocked by such out of character behavior. Rin smiled brightly.

"Come one, Katsumi-nee, we don't want to be left behind!" Rin said cheerfully.


{Later that night}

Rin was trying to start the campfire while Katsumi went hunting and foraging for food. Unfortunately, the wood was a little damp, so it wasn't holding a flame very well. Sesshoumaru was lounging against a tree in his usual fashion, with one knee bent and his arm resting on it. His eyes were closed, and he looked rather peaceful—the complete opposite of how his retainer was feeling.

'I don't know why Sesshoumaru-sama allowed the humans to follow us. We even had to stop so they could rest! Now the child can't even light a fire…' Jaken was getting irritated just watching. "Step aside, human! This Jaken-sama shall show you how it's done." Jaken said, acting self-important as he marched up to the fire. "Watch and be amazed, human!" Jaken said as he held his staff in front of him. "Nintoujou!" Flames shot out of the staff and lit the fire.

"Wow! Amazing, Jaken-sama!" Rin said, clapping.

"Hmph! Of course, I am the humble servant of the Sesshoumaru-sama, after all." Jaken said haughtily.

"Your kimono is on fire, oh humble servant." Katsumi said, as she appeared, carrying a wild boar. She had transformed back into her youkai form while she was in the woods, now that night had fallen, and her three days were up. The wound on her arm was almost healed now, thanks to her youkai super healing.

"You—!?" Jaken said, finally recognizing Katsumi now that she looked the same as the last time they met.

"Oh, no, Jaken-sama! You really are on fire!' Rin yelled. "Water, where's the water!?"

"Aaaah!" Jaken yelled as he ran around flailing his arms.

"Stop, you'll only make it worse!" Katsumi yelled as she tackled the imp. Katsumi hugged Jaken and rolled around on the ground until the flames went out. "Phew! That was close, we almost had frog legs for dinner." Katsumi joked. Jaken didn't think it was very funny.

"Listen here, you filthy hanyou…!" Jaken shouted.

"Wow, Katsumi-nee! How did you put out the fire without any water?" Rin asked curiously. Katsumi smiled at Rin, happy to have an alternative to listening to a grumpy toad rant at her. Katsumi pulled the hog over and began prepping it, getting it ready to roast by seasoning it with some herbs she had found.

"It's really very simple Rin, if you don't have anything to put a fire out with, like water, then you can smother it out. All you have to do is cover the fire with something so it can't 'breathe.' If the fire's source of oxygen is gone, the fire will go out. If it's a situation where a person is on fire, like Jaken, they can 'stop, drop, and roll,' like I had to force him to do. Rolling around like that smothers the flames, but it's actually safer if you wrap the other person in a blanket or something before tackling them. We wouldn't want you to get burned too." Katsumi explained.

"But what if there is no blanket?" Rin asked. Katsumi set up the hog, so that it was now roasting over the fire.

"Well, you can smother the fire using dirt, in fact, I'll show you how to do that later with this one when we don't need it anymore. I'll teach you how to stop, drop and roll too." Katsumi said. "I think it's actually kind of fun when you're not on fire."

Sesshoumaru watched as Katsumi and Rin interacted with each other. While he had overheard them when they were together before, they had usually been out of sight in an attempt to respect his personal space, so this was the first time he had actually seen them together like that. The two girls had obviously formed a deep bond, and Katsumi seemed to have good maternal instincts from the way she protected those around her, and how patient she was in teaching Rin.

"What? You mean you don't even know that much?" Jaken said mockingly, taking his earlier blunder out on Rin.

"But Rin has never been on fire before, and I always made sure I had water before starting a fire. There wasn't any water close by this time." Rin said.

"That's exactly what you're supposed to do, Rin. Don't worry about Jaken. He's just taking it out on you because he failed so epically earlier." Katsumi said very matter-of-factly as she carefully removed the roasted hog from over the fire and began dividing it up.

"Oh. You shouldn't do that Jaken-sama, Katsumi-nee told Rin before that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. If you face them instead of hiding them, you'll be able to move forward instead of making the same mistake twice." Rin said, smiling.

"I didn't make a mistake! It was that wench's fault for distracting me." Jaken sneered, referring to Katsumi… although he had actually caught himself on fire before Katsumi came and pointed it out.

"Oi, listen here, toad. I dislike being called that with great intensity, so be warned…" Katsumi said, then covered Rin's ears with her hands so she wouldn't hear the next part. "… Next time you call me that, I'm going to kick your ass." Katsumi was smiling at Jaken, but he could feel waves of a menacing aura rolling off of her. Jaken could practically see 'I'm going to kill you' written on her face, despite the smile. He gulped. She removed her hands from Rin's ears and smiled at the girl. "Here's your portion, Rin."

"Itadakimasu!" Rin said cheerfully and began eating. "It's yummy Katsumi-nee!"

"Thank you, Rin. Here, Jaken." Katsumi said, holding his portion out to him. Jaken hesitantly took it, wondering if she had poisoned it.

"… Itadakimasu…" Jaken mumbled as he too began eating. He was surprised at how good it tasted.

"Would you like some, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Katsumi asked. "I have already told you many times, I do not care for human food." Sesshoumaru said. If he were a lesser youkai, he would have rolled his eyes at her persistence. "I am over 900 years old, didn't Seigetsu tell you that the older and more powerful a youkai is, the less often they need to eat?" Jaken gaped at them as he listened to the conversation. He had never heard Sesshoumaru talk so much at one time before. The daiyoukai was usually a man of few words. Katsumi was gaping at Sesshoumaru too.

"You're over 900? But Seigetsu said you were only a few years older than him, and he told me he was about 500…" Katsumi said, stunned. And to think, a few months ago, she thought being sixteen made her an adult…her whole existence was probably as short as a blink of an eye to Sesshoumaru.

"Hn. Your half-brother is prone to exaggeration... Have you truly only lived for sixteen years?" Sesshoumaru said. He found it curious that she was aging at the rate of a human, when Inuyasha, who had less youkai blood than her, was aging at the appropriate rate for a demon. Katsumi nodded.

"Yes, I am only sixteen-years-old." Katsumi said. Jaken gaped at her now. She looked too old, for someone with youkai blood, to be that young. "My mom told me that she and my father had both been placed under a spell that made them both age and look like humans. She didn't tell me who did it or why, but it didn't affect me. So, she and my father decided to put a similar spell on me that would wear off eventually, so that they could raise me as a human, like them. My mom has visions, so she knew I would end up here, in this time, and she made the spell last just until I came here. That's why I told you I was human when we first met."

"Hn. How selfish, to cut the life of their child so short." Sesshoumaru said. He had always had the impression Tsukihime was a capricious person, but to force a youkai to cut their life short by speeding up their aging process was just irresponsible.

"I don't think so, we were all very happy together. I didn't even know youkai existed until I came here. I think most of them have probably learned to blend in, but I don't have that ability. They probably would have had to hide me my whole life because of my ears so that no one would try to use me as a science experiment. Also, if I couldn't live as a human, I would've had to watch them grow old without me, and I think it would've been lonely. I think they were just trying to protect me." Katsumi said, defending her parents. She had a good life, and she wouldn't let someone berate the people who gave it to her.

Sesshoumaru stared at Katsumi as he thought about what she said. He still couldn't agree with what they had done to her, but since Katsumi was so adamantly defending them, arguing his point would be more trouble than it was worth. She was obviously as stubborn as her mother and older brother. Sesshoumaru didn't want to deal with that headache. Still, he was slightly impressed at how mature Katsumi was for her age. Katsumi could see Sesshoumaru wasn't going to apologize, but he wasn't saying anything bad about them anymore either. Katsumi sighed.

"How about we just agree to disagree?" Katsumi suggested as a compromise.

{Shortly after Inuyasha defeated Goshinki}

The remains of defeated youkai lay on the ground in what had once been a human village. The dilapidated wooden structures combined with the gruesome remains and foggy air would have a very unsettling affect on any who saw at it. And yet… Two figures emerged from the fog, running towards the fallen youkai. They were Rin and Jaken. The two were running side by side, when Rin suddenly sprinted, pulling ahead of Jaken and winning by three feet.

"I won!" Rin shouted happily. The sleeves of the new kimono Sesshoumaru had provided for her swaying as she threw her arms up in victory.

"Fool! It's not a contest!" Jaken shouted back.

"Don't be such a sore loser." Katsumi chided the imp as she too emerged from the fog, walking casually as though she weren't strolling through a scene right out of a horror film. Being in a warring states era and seeing the gore that accompanies it tended to desensitize people.

"Wow! Look at this, Katsumi-nee, Jaken-sama. The oni really is dead. It's just as Sesshoumaru-sama said." Rin said in amazement. Sesshoumaru-sama was amazing.

"It looks like it's been ripped apart…" Katsumi observed.

"Yuck, it's in lots of bits!' Rin said, wrinkling her little nose and backing up to stand beside Katsumi.

"Who on earth did…" Jaken said, trailing off as he wondered who could have ripped apart such a huge oni.

"It smells like…" Katsumi said, sniffing the air around the corpse. Her sense of smell wasn't as strong as Sesshoumaru's so she couldn't smell anything until they had gotten closer.

"It was Inuyasha…" Sesshoumaru said, emerging from the fog. He managed to seem even more at ease in the creepy place than Katsumi had, and had taken his sweet time getting there.

"Sesshoumaru-sama…" Jaken said.

"However, it seems he did not escape uninjured." Sesshoumaru added.

"Inuyasha did this? I can definitely smell his and the others' scents, but this demon doesn't look like it was killed with a sword…" Katsumi said. Sesshoumaru reached out and lifted the huge youkai's head by one of its horns.

"Kyaah!" Rin screamed, her hands flying up to her face in fright at the sudden action. Katsumi knew Rin wasn't really scared though, just startled. Sesshoumaru stared at the lifeless head calculatingly.

'The smell… This oni's fangs are covered with Tessaiga's scent.' Sesshoumaru mentally observed. 'As I thought… These fangs bit apart Tessaiga…' "That's because it wasn't." Sesshoumaru said, answering Katsumi's question. He slung the youkai's head over his shoulder. "Let's go."

"Er… you're taking that!?" Jaken asked. Katsumi sweat dropped.

'… Lovely…' Katsumi thought. Now they had to smell the rotting corpse while Sesshoumaru carried it around. Katsumi didn't know what he was going to do with it, but she hoped he got rid of it soon.

"Kyaaah! Kyaaah!" Rin cried, still screaming.

"Be silent, Rin. You're making a racket." Sesshoumaru said calmly as he started to walk away.

"Yessir!" Rin said enthusiastically as she snapped to attention and immediately ceased her screaming. Katsumi smiled and shook her head at Rin's cute and silly behavior.

"Come on, Rin. We don't want to fall behind." Katsumi said as she took the girl's hand, and they followed Sesshoumaru. Jaken was not amused. They had been traveling together for a while now, and Jaken still couldn't understand why his lord tolerated the two strange females.

'Sheesh, This damn brat… She and that wench never shut up. It seems the girl couldn't even speak before she was revived by Tenseiga… Also, why doe Sesshoumaru-sama bring those two along…? It's past time they were gotten rid of.' Jaken thought, irritated. The imp sighed.

"Jaken-sama, you've been sighing a lot, haven't you." Rin observed innocently. A vein mark pulsed on the imp's head.

'It's because of you!' Jaken thought. Katsumi was deep in thought about what Sesshoumaru had said about Inuyasha.

"I need to ask Sesshoumaru-sama something, I'll be just up ahead, okay." Katsumi told Rin.

"Okay!" Rin said cheerfully and waved as Katsumi jogged ahead to catch up with Sesshoumaru.

'I can distinctly tell what happened here from the smells in the air.' Sesshoumaru thought. 'However… Just what was that…? The smell of Inuyasha's blood has changed…' Katsumi fell into step behind him.

"Ne, Sesshoumaru-sama... Something's been bothering me. Is it just me, or did Inuyasha's scent smell… different?" Katsumi asked. "I have a bad feeling about it… do you think it has something do with why the youkai was torn apart like that? Inuyasha would've normally used Tessaiga on a youkai like that." Sesshoumaru frowned slightly in irritation at hearing Inuyasha and Tessaiga's names in the same sentence.

"Hn." Sesshoumaru replied. 'It is odd that Inuyasha didn't use Father's sword…' Sesshoumaru thought. 'That's it—It wasn't the smell of a hanyou's blood. It's the same as mine and Chichi-ue's…'

{Later that day…}

"No! Rin is going with you!" Rin yelled, determined not to be left behind. She didn't see why she was the only one that couldn't go.

"You slow-minded brat! From here on, if a mere human goes in, the noxious fumes in the air will kill them!" Jaken yelled back at her. "Can't you be a little nicer about it, Jaken?" Katsumi said.

"I'm sorry, Rin, but he's right… for once." Katsumi said.

"For once...!?" Jaken sputtered indignantly.

"It's too dangerous for you to come with us this time. You'll be safer if you stay here with Ah-Un." Sesshoumaru had summoned the dragon right before he told them they would be splitting up. Rin still looked pretty upset at the thought of being left behind. Rin knew Katsumi would come back for her, but Sesshoumaru wasn't the type to wait for others.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, you'll definitely come back for me, right?" Rin asked. She was using her puppy-dog pout. Katsumi suppressed the urge to squeal and glomp Rin for her cuteness. It would totally ruin the effect. Sesshoumaru stopped, but didn't look back.

"…" Sesshoumaru said. "… Let's go, Jaken, Katsumi." Sesshoumaru said and started walking away again. Katsumi leaned down, next to Rin to whisper in her ear. She knew Sesshoumaru could probably still hear her, but whatever.

"Don't worry, we'll definitely come back for you. Sesshoumaru-sama wouldn't have bothered summoning Ah-Un to stay with you if he wasn't. So, stay close to Ah-Un, all right? They'll protect you." Katsumi said as she handed the reigns of the two-headed dragon's bridle to the girl.

"Okay." Rin said, nodding, determined to do her best to wait. Katsumi waved and ran to catch up to Sesshoumaru and Jaken.

"Come baaack, okaaay!?" Rin called after them.


Author's note: 'Chichi-ue' is a very old and respectful way of referring to one's father.

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