The Moment We've All Been Waiting For
"Good luck, and be careful!" Katsumi said and waved goodbye as they escaped. Katsumi turned back to watch the wall of flames, waiting for them to die down. Hopefully Sesshoumaru wouldn't be pissed enough to kill her...
After a few minutes, the fire was blasted away by a huge wave of youki.
"Ah!" Katsumi said in surprise as she turned away and shielded her face.
The flames hadn't been blown onto her, but the gust of wind that hit her was really hot. Katsumi lowered her arms and turned to see Sesshoumaru staring at her. He glanced at the direction Inuyasha and the others had escaped in, but he made no room to follow them. Katsumi breathed a sigh of relief for her friends, but she wasn't sure where she stood on Sesshoumaru's hit list now…
"I'm the doghouse now, aren't I, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Katsumi said her hands were clasped behind her back, and she looked like a child that knew they were about to be scolded. She was hoping that maybe the modern phrase would distract Sesshoumaru long enough for him to forget he was in a bad mood. It worked.
"… What?" Sesshoumaru asked.
"Uh… it's just a saying from where I'm from. It means I'm in trouble… it's based on the idea of being punished like a dog who is forced to stay in a doghouse, a shelter used by a dog, away form people." Katsumi explained. Sesshoumaru stared at her for a moment. He could sense her apprehension, worry, and relief. Technically, Katsumi had kept her word, and she hadn't interfered with the actual fight. He decided he would allow her impertinence, just this once.
"What is that package you're holding?" Sesshoumaru asked. Katsumi sighed in relief again.
'Thank goodness.' She thought. "Kagome gave it to me. She said it was from my mother." Katsumi said.
"Hnn." Sesshoumaru hummed. "Why did she not simply bring it to you in person?" Katsumi started walking back to his side as she answered.
"Because this came from my mother who's in the future. Unlike me, Kagome is able to travel between the worlds. She's also become friends with Kagome's mother." Katsumi said. She pet Ah-Un's heads. "Thanks for waiting for us so patiently." Ah-Un rubbed its heads against her hands, and she scratched behind their ears for them.
"Sesshoumaru-sama!" They heard Jaken call out as he ran up to them. Katsumi raised an eyebrow at the imp.
"Where's Rin?" Katsumi asked. Jaken froze.
Katsumi, Sesshoumaru, and even Ah-un stared at him expectantly, as if to say, 'Well? Explain yourself.' Jaken sweat dropped. He had left Rin behind after getting fed up with watching her.
"W-W-Well… you were gone so long, I got worried—Not that I think anyone could defeat you, Sesshoumaru-sama— Ah! I see you're still as strong as ever, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken babbled. They all knew that translated to 'I selfishly left Rin behind—please don't kill me!' Ah-Un snorted in disbelief. Katsumi pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed in exasperation and irritation at the imp. Sesshoumaru internally seconded that emotion.
"Can I hit him?" Katsumi asked. Ah-Un snorted in agreement.
"…" Sesshoumaru said in reply. He was considering that himself. Jaken flinched when he realized just how much trouble he was in.
"Ah!... Um… After going through all that effort to track them down… Why did you not pursue them?" Jaken asked, panicking. He hoped his question would distract Sesshoumaru and redirect the daiyoukai's anger towards Inuyasha… or something…
"…" Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi almost face-palmed. It had obviously worked… again. Well, she could tell something had been troubling him since Inuyasha had left. She had a feeling it had to do with that strange pulse of demonic energy they had felt radiating from Inuyasha. She had been unnerved by it as well.
"Sesshoumaru-sama…?" Jaken said. He was relieved it had worked, but now he was curious about what Sesshoumaru was thinking about.
'To think, that just for an instant, it made I, Sesshoumaru, afraid...' Sesshoumaru thought. He had smelled Katsumi's fear when it happened, so he knew she had felt it as well, despite being in her human form. '… That time when Inuyasha…'
A gentle breeze blew, and a pair of birds sang as they flew peacefully through the air. Below them, Rin was sitting on the soft grass of the meadow where they had left her, playing. She was picking flowers to make a bouquet for Katsumi.
"Sigh. Sesshoumaru-sama and Katsumi-nee sure are late…" Rin said. She heard the sound of Ah-Un's feet stomping on the ground. "Ah!" She said excitedly, realizing they must be back. She turned and saw them all approaching her. "Sesshoumaru-sama! Katsumi-nee!" Rin shouted happily as she ran to them.
"We're back, Rin!" Katsumi said, smiling as she walked faster to meet Rin half way. Sesshoumaru stopped, and Jaken almost bumped into him.
"Rin, Katsumi, Don't move." Sesshoumaru ordered. Sensing how serious he was, Rin and Katsumi immediately went rigid, their bodies frozen mid-step. Sesshoumaru leaped over them, and swung Tokijin, slicing through the trees on the edge of the forest line.
"A woman, huh…" Sesshoumaru said when the trees fell away to reveal a female youkai holding a fan. "I remember the smell. It's the same as that charlatan… Naraku or something… that tried to entrap me before."
'Eh? Entrap… Wasn't Naraku helping him…?' Katsumi wondered.
"Hmmm, so you're Inuyasha's elder brother, Sesshoumaru, huh? You've got a fine face." The female youkai said. Katsumi felt her eye twitch.
'Uh-oh… did I just feel… Jealous?' Katsumi wondered, paling slightly at the thought. She suddenly remembered the reason why her mother had told her she was in feudal Japan in the first place. '…Don't tell me my soul-mate is Sesshoumaru…!? He might kill me for even suggesting it! He's not as cruel as I first thought he was, but that pride of his would never allow him to entertain the thought of loving someone of mixed blood… Well, there's no point in worrying about it now… You can't always help who you fall in love with… What will be, will be.' Katsumi decided.
"I am Kagura, the wind user. I'm an offspring of Naraku, you see." The female youkai said.
"Offspring?" Sesshoumaru said.
"Indeed… and… that sword of yours you had made from a guy called Goshinki is also an offspring of Naraku, like me, you see." Kagura said.
"What of it. Did you come because Naraku is in tears, begging to have it back?" Sesshoumaru said coolly.
"Hmph, that jerk Naraku doesn't have any attachment to a dead oni. I just came on a whim to make certain of Goshinki's fate…" Kagura said.
"Say… you're strong, aren't you? Maybe you could possibly be strong enough to kill Naraku."
'She wants Naraku dead…? Isn't she his offspring?' Katsumi thought in confusion. Kagura drew a feather from her hair and jumped on it as it grew larger. She flew up into the sky with a strong gust of wind.
"That sword is yours." Kagura yelled as she left. Katsumi relaxed from the position she had been frozen in the whole time. Rin stayed as she was.
'She probably won't move again until Sesshoumaru-sama says she can…' Katsumi thought, smiling at how cute Rin was.
"A suspicious looking woman, wasn't she." Jaken said.
"So, what… did she come all this way just to flirt and run?" Katsumi said, still feeling a little jealous. Since it was lasting this long, Katsumi realized she couldn't deny that she had feelings for Sesshoumaru, or she wouldn't have been jealous at all.
"…" Sesshoumaru said as he stared after Kagura.
"…" Rin said from where she was still standing, rigidly frozen in place. Sesshoumaru glanced back at her.
"Rin, you can move now." Sesshoumaru said.
"Ah, sure." Rin said, sighing in relief as she finally relaxed. Katsumi smiled at her.
"Good job, Rin. You lasted longer than I did." Katsumi praised her. Rin smiled happily at her little victory.
'Even if that woman hadn't said anything, if that measly Naraku comes wandering around near me again, I will leave his corpse for the crows.' Sesshoumaru thought.
"Say, Sesshoumaru, has Naraku wronged you somehow?" Katsumi asked. "I thought he was only after Inuyasha and friends. He tricked Rouyakan into attacking us right after our fight with you. It was a real nuisance. I still can't believe I nearly died…" Katsumi said, mumbling the last sentence. Sesshoumaru still heard it, and he felt his blood begin to boil, but he calmed himself down. He should not have been so upset over the thought of her dying, and didn't know why he was affected so. Sesshoumaru decided not to dwell on it.
"The jewel shard embedded in the arm he gave me threatened to consume me, but I ripped it off before that could happen." Sesshoumaru said.
"What a creep." Katsumi said, shaking her head. "Oh, that's right. I don't know if this will interest you or not, but apparently Naraku can change his appearance. I don't think Kagura was actually him tough… She didn't give off the same 'jerk' vibe he did. He also has a scar on his back in the shape of a spider that looks like a burn."
'That is certainly good to know…' Sesshoumaru thought. 'However, what interests me right now, is why the scent of Inuyasha's blood changed… and just what was that strange demonic energy coming from him?'
"What's in that package you're holding, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked curiously. Katsumi glanced down at the package in her arms. She had almost forgotten she was even holding it… Which was strange considering how bulky it was.
"I don't know, Rin. It's something from my mother. Would you like to help me open it?" Katsumi said. Rin nodded enthusiastically. Eager to see what it could be. Sesshoumaru sat down and leaned against a tree in his fashion, and watched as the two girls unwrapped the bundle. Jaken didn't want to admit it, but he too was curious about the package.
"Oh! I can't believe I forgot!" Katsumi said when she saw the card lying on top of everything. It was a birthday card.
"Forgot what?" Rin asked.
"It's my birthday today!" Katsumi said, smiling brightly. "I just turned seventeen-years old."
"Wow! Happy birthday, Katsumi-nee!" Rin gushed.
"Hmph. Only seventeen?" Jaken sneered. "That's nothing."
"For humans, especially in this time, that would make me close to being an adult. I'd be considered old enough to marry." Katsumi pointed out as she read the card. "… Wow!" Katsumi said suddenly as she put the card down and started digging through the package for something.
"What is it, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked.
"My mom wrote in the card that one of my presents is my grandmother's, my father's mother, diary that they recently found, and my father told her to give it to me because She wrote about my biological grandfather in it. I'll finally know what my missing piece of the puzzle is!" Katsumi said excitedly. That caught Sesshoumaru's attention. He was curious about that as well. "Here it is!" Katsumi said excitedly as she pulled the small book out and began scanning the pages as she flipped through it. "It looks like my grandmother was quite the wild child. She ran away from home when she was about my age, and snuck onto a boat she thought was headed to France. It was a complete accident that she ended up in Ireland. She met my grandfather when she was lost in the woods near the home of the family that was letting her stay with them in exchange for helping them with their farm. They started seeing eachother, and they eventually fell in love. She knew what he really was…" Katsumi stopped flipping through the pages and fell silent when she got to a certain part. She was now wearing an expression of sadness and sympathy.
"Your mother explained all of that in the note? Why didn't she just write what you were, and be done with it?" Jaken huffed.
"…No, it wasn't in the card. I read it in this diary just now. I have an eidetic memory, so I can almost instantly remember and understand whatever I read. It usually only takes thirty seconds of looking at the image…" Katsumi said.
'How useful.' Sesshoumaru thought.
"Why did you stop reading, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked. Katsumi smiled sadly.
"…I just… It's just so… tragic…" Katsumi said. "They were so in love, but… he died. The son of the old couple who owned the farm liked my mother, and he apparently followed her one night to see who she was meeting. They were talking about how she was pregnant with my father, and the son overheard. In a fit of rage and jealousy, he tried to attack my grandmother with an old pocketknife he had on him. My grandfather shielded her, and was stabbed in her place. He scared the son off, but it was too late for him. It turns out that he was a faerie, and the blade of the pocketknife was iron. Iron is like poison to his kind, and too much of it had entered into his bloodstream. He died."
"Eh…" Rin said, she looked like she was going to cry. She was sad that someone had hurt Katsumi's family. Katsumi put the diary down and hugged Rin.
"Thank you for crying for them, Rin, but it's alright… They're together in heaven now." Katsumi said, hoping it was true. Sesshoumaru stared off into the distance. The situation of Katsumi's grandparents was too similar to his own father's. He too had died protecting a human woman and their half-breed child.
"What are these strange markings?" Jaken asked as he stared at a page of the still open diary.
"That's English, it's the language from my native country. It's what I grew up speaking, reading, and writing." Katsumi explained.
"Wow, it's so different from Japanese!" Rin said in awe. Can you read part of it as it's supposed to sound?" Rin asked.
"Sure, Rin. I'll tell you a poem that was in there that my grandfather recited form my mother." Katsumi said. "O' dear child of the fair fae, fear not the thought of flight. Shed your veil of mortal skin. Unfurl your wings of graceful mien. Sing now this song so that you may— dance and play on feet so light, and soar so high above the green, come dear child to your place among your kin."
"Wow, I don't know what that means, but it sounds so pretty…" Rin said.
"Well, I can say it again in Ja—!" Katsumi said, but then Katsumi's eyes suddenly rolled into the back of her head. She fell onto the ground, convulsing, like she was having a seizure.
"Katsumi-nee!" Rin yelled, frightened by the sudden change. Rin moved to try to touch her.
"Don't touch her, Rin." Sesshoumaru said as he approached them.
Rin stopped, like he asked, but she was near tears at the sight of her Katsumi-nee acting in such a scary way. Rin didn't understand what was happening. Neither did Jaken, but he could sense the strange power that was now pulsing through Katsumi, and he kept his distance. Sesshoumaru sensed it too, of course. It was that same as that whisper of 'green' energy he had sensed about her when he was still healing from his wounds near Rin's village. It was much stranger now. It didn't seem dangerous, but without knowing its effects, he thought it would be best if they didn't get to close. Katsumi wasn't dead yet, and there was no indication she was going to be, despite how unsettling seeing her convulsing body was. They watched as Katsumi's human ears grew pointed. Her back suddenly arched, forcing her up into a sitting position, as swirls of emerald green and teal energy flowed from her back. The energy was flowing out in two steady streams, burning through her kimono. They looked like wings. The wings fluttered once, and then—as suddenly as it had started—it was over. The wings faded away, and Katsumi fell back onto the ground. They all stared at her now completely still body, lying prone on the grassy ground.
"K-Katsumi-nee?" Rin said nervously, tears in her eyes. Katsumi's eyes slowly fluttered open. Katsumi realized she was staring up at the sky, and the sun was setting. The last thing she remembered was talking to Rin.
"Uh… What happened?" Katsumi asked, sitting up and blinking in confusion. Rin glanced at Sesshoumaru, silently asking if it was safe now. Sesshoumaru nodded, and Rin ran forward, glomping Katsumi.
"Katsumi-nee! Rin was so scared! I thought you were dying!" Rin cried, tears of relief streaming down her face. Katsumi held Rin, rubbing her small back in a soothing manner. She didn't know what had just happened, but she knew it was pretty serious from Rin's reaction.
"I'm sorry, Rin… I didn't mean to scare you…" Katsumi said. She looked at Sesshoumaru. "What happened?"
It was night now, and Rin had finally fallen into a peaceful sleep after being reassured that Katsumi wasn't going to have another episode. Jaken was asleep too… snoring. Sesshoumaru had told her what happened, and that her 'dragonfly' mark had disappeared from her neck, and was replaced by a set of green and teal stylized butterfly wings on her back—which they could all see, thanks to part of the back of her kimono being burned off. Katsumi had been relived to find that new clothes had been included in her little care package. She was now wearing a black kosode with a bamboo pattern that alternated between shades of green and with hints of gold here and there. The obi was mostly red with simple, but elegant gold embroidery. She had a thin, golden sash tied around her waist, kind of like Sesshoumaru's, so that she could wear her sword at her kimono ended a few inches below her knees, and the top had been altered so that it was sleeveless, and part of the upper-back of the kimono had been cut away, revealing her new wings mark, and allowing room for her 'wings' to come out without burning her clothes again. Katsumi also had a black haori that had the exact same mark that was on her back, embroidered on its back, to wear over her outfit, since showing that much skin wouldn't be considered proper. Her mother had included black leggings so that she wouldn't have to worry about flashing people when she fought. She kept her lace up leather boots that she had worn with her previous outfit, and she used the geisha-style hair ornaments her mother had included to arrange her hair in a style similar to a geisha's, only she left her bangs down, and two strands of longer hair hung down to frame the sides of her face. It was a sassy, but elegant hairstyle, as contradictory as that may sound. It was a shame about her other kimono, but this one was actually something she might have picked out for herself. Katsumi was now flipping through her grandmother's diary at a much slower pace to see if she could find out what reading that poem had done to her. It probably wasn't anything too harmful, since her mother had obviously anticipated this, as shown by the custom clothing she had prepared, but it was past time for her dog-ears to return, and her ears were still pointy like a full-blooded youkai's… or a faerie's… That's when Katsumi noticed it. The page the poem was on, was stuck to the next page, and what ever her grandmother had written after the poem had been hidden by this.
'No wonder I didn't see it...' Katsumi thought. Katsumi used the claw on her index finger to very carefully separate the pages. Once she did, she read what her grandmother had written, and saw the small note that had been tucked in between the glued together pages… and smacked herself in the head with the book.
"…What are you doing…?" Sesshoumaru asked, not entirely sure he wanted to know the answer. Katsumi glanced at him, one of her eyes was twitching.
"My loving mother left me a note in between the pages she glued together so that I would read the poem, without knowing what would happen. According to the diary, it wasn't just a poem—It was a spell. It turns out my grandparents had decided to put a seal on my dad while he was still in the womb, the one I told you about that made him human. My mother had always made it sound like they had the same curse, but it turns out they just ended up with under similar spells cast by different people." Katsumi explained.
'Why did he place a seal on his own child's powers?' Sesshoumaru wondered. Katsumi, seeing his slightly curious expression, decided to explain further.
"They thought it would be better if he was able to grow up human, and have a place he could belong, instead of being stuck between two worlds. They would have let my dad choose whether he wanted to remain human or not once he was old enough to decide for himself, but then they both died before they could tell him. When I recited that poem, I was actually reciting the spell to break the seal. In my mother's note, she explains that I didn't inherit her curse, but it looks like I inherited my dad's seal. It was just weaker because I had more youkai blood in me. That's why the 'dragonfly' mark, that turns out to be a stylized faerie, appeared when I wasn't in youkai form. She says faeries are a type of western youkai, but they have certain qualities that Japanese youkai don't. She said that now the rest of my youkai blood has been unsealed, my ears will stay pointy like this, and I won't get dog ears again… I'm kinda going to miss them… My magenta stripes, claws, and other Inu-youkai traits will still remain though, and they'll be stronger now that my youki has increased in power. She said I won't be human for three days anymore, in fact, she says I shouldn't turn human at all. I'll also be able to heal others and myself even better than before, and the 'wings' on my back can actually turn into real wings if I condense my youki to form them... So, I think that means I can fly too now!" Katsumi said, smiling at the thought of being able to soar through the sky. She'd always wanted to fly like superman.
'I see… so she's grown in power. That may prove to be useful in the future…' Sesshoumaru thought. It also explained why she looked and smelled like a hanyou when they first met. Her current appearance and scent was hardly any different from a full youkai, but there was one more thing he was curious about.
"Why did Tsukihime glue the pages together?" Sesshoumaru asked. Katsumi pouted, like a petulant child.
"It's April Fool's day." Katsumi said.