Time Traveler Katsumi

Cats Vs Dogs, The Ageold Struggle

It was the night of the new moon. True to Boukuseno's prediction, Katsumi did not turn human again this time. Katsumi felt a little lonely somehow to think that she would never be human again, like she had been for her entire existence before she wound up in feudal Japan, but she was also relieved because it meant she wouldn't be a liability anymore. Katsumi would be able to protect Rin better, now that she didn't need protection for herself. They were all walking under the starry sky as Sesshoumaru led the way, and Rin slept on Ah-Un's back. A familiar scent pervaded the air, and Katsumi turned her head to look in the direction from which it came. She saw that Sesshoumaru was staring in that direction too.
"This scent… isn't it Naraku…?" Katsumi asked.

"Naraku… you say. Isn't he that charlatan who was disrespectful against you previously, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Jaken said.

"…It's his smell." Sesshoumaru said.

"Then, is he nearby?" Jaken asked.

"…" Sesshoumaru said. A sudden and incredibly strong gust of wind blew, blowing back Jaken, and knocking the sleeping Rin off of Ah-Un. Katsumi managed to catch Rin before she hit the ground, and Katsumi decided it would be safer for Rin if she just held her.

"Yeek!" Jaken squeaked in surprise.

"Yo." Kagura said as she landed on the ground.

"You're…!" Jaken said, surprised. Rin held onto Katsumi as she woke up and blinked in confusion.

"Sesshoumaru… you also caught wind of Naraku's smell and came?" Kagura asked, smirking.

"Se… Sesshoumaru-sama, this woman is Naraku's offspring…" Jaken said nervously, glancing between Kagura and Sesshoumaru.

'It's that flirt and run woman...' Katsumi thought.

"…" Sesshoumaru said. He placed his hand over Tokijin's hilt. "Kagura the wind-user… you called yourself." Sesshoumaru said.

"Heh… I'm glad. So, you remembered me, huh?" Kagura said. "Take your hand off your sword. I didn't come here to fight." Sesshoumaru made no move to release his hold on Tokijin.

"Why did you come here, then?" Katsumi asked.

"Sesshoumaru… will you bargain with me?" Kagura asked, as though Katsumi weren't even there.

'What am I? Chopped liver?' Katsumi thought, annoyed.

"Bargain…?" Sesshoumaru said.

"You know what these are, don't you? These Shikon no tama fragments… I'll give them to you. In return… you kill Naraku and release me from him." Kagura said determinedly.

'She really does want him dead, doesn't she?' Katsumi thought.

"Wha…" Jaken said.

"You're betraying Naraku, then." Sesshoumaru said.

"Hmph, it's not like I obeyed him because I liked to in the first place." Kagura said. "How about it, Sesshoumaru? I think it's to your advantage to partner with me."

"Unfortunately for you… I have no interest in the Shikon no tama." Sesshoumaru said coolly.

'What…!?' Kagura thought in surprise. Every other demon she ever came across desired the jewel shards…

"If you want to be free, go ahead and use those fragments yourself to defeat Naraku." Sesshoumaru said.

"Are you scared of Naraku?" Kagura accused.

"I have no obligation to save you. If you aren't prepared to do it by yourself, then you can't consider betraying him." Sesshoumaru said, unfazed.

"You coward! You call yourself a man!?" Kagura yelled angrily. Katsumi raised her eyebrows at the outburst.

"My." Rin gasped.

"Hmph, I misjudged you." Kagura huffed. She plucked a feather from her hair, and jumped onto it when it enlarged itself. She left them in a huge gust of wind. 'Damn Jerk…' Kagura thought as she flew away sulking.

"That woman… I wonder if she was seriously thinking of becoming Sesshoumaru-sama's supporter." Jaken said.

"Sesshoumaru-sama is plenty strong, isn't he." Rin said.

"True strength can't be gained through shortcuts like that. It's no better than professional athletes who take steroids, and it's not like what Sesshoumaru-sama said was wrong…" Katsumi said. 'Besides… if Sesshoumaru got any stronger the world would be doomed…' She thought.

"Katsumi-nee, what are 'professional athletes' and 'steroids'?" Rin asked curiously.

"Alright, I'll tell you, but then you need to get back to sleep, okay Rin?" Katsumi said.

"I don't have to sleep." Rin said.

"Yes, you do. Sleep is really important for growing children. Humans do most of their growing while they're asleep." Katsumi told her. "Now, professional athletes are people who play sports, games, for a living to entertain others. The whole point is for them to compete with each other using their natural talents, and improving themselves through hard work and training. However, some people don't want to do that, or they're afraid they aren't strong enough to win using their own strength. So, they take steroids, a kind of drug that can make people stronger, but it isn't natural because the drug only gives them artificial strength by forcing their muscles to build themselves up. Steroids can also have harmful side-affects, and they're sometimes dangerous, so it's also against the rules for athletes to take them." Katsumi explained.

"… But if they're so bad, why do people take them?" Rin asked. Katsumi smiled sadly at Rin.

"Because they aren't strong enough to say 'no.'" Katsumi said as she put Rin back onto Ah-Un's back. Sesshoumaru watched as she helped Rin settle down for the night… again. Hopefully they wouldn't have anymore unwanted visitors. After hearing Katsumi's description of 'steroids' he too thought they had a lot in common with the Shikon no tama. Just like steroids, the jewel shards could make a youkai stronger, but it would sometimes drive them insane with power. It was also true that the power gained from the shards could not be considered their own. He knew from experience, when he had used a shard to attach a human arm to himself, that no matter how much it might've seemed like the arm was his own, in the end, it was simply a poor substitute.

"The stars sure are beautiful tonight." Katsumi said as they continued on their way. Rin, despite saying she wasn't tired, had fallen asleep as soon as her head had hit the pillow on Ah-Un's saddle.

"They look no different than they do any other night." Jaken said.

"… You're not very popular with the ladies, are you Jaken?" Katsumi deadpanned.

"W-Wha…" Jaken squeaked indignantly. 'How did she know I'm not popular with the ladies!?' Jaken screamed internally.

"Still, they are beautiful. Where I come from, you can't see the stars this clearly because there are too many lights in the city, and it's too bright. The milky way, I mean ginga, looks like a small trickle, rather than a great river of light, like it does now." Katsumi said. "Up until I started pre-school, I seriously thought there were only three stars in the sky." Katsumi laughed.

"…" Sesshoumaru said. He could definitely picture Tsukihime encouraging that misconception and then having a good laugh about it when her daughter discovered otherwise.

"Of course there's more, can't you count." Jaken said sarcastically.

"Don't you have ears? I already said that's all I could see because of how cities are in the future, and for your information, I could count to ten when I was only three. I could read before I started kindergarten too."

"Kindergarten?" Sesshoumaru asked. Katsumi nodded.

"Yes, it's the first level of education in schools where I'm from. It's based on the idea that children should be able to get prepared for going to school and working hard, by first being introduced to a friendlier environment. Children are taught to develop basic skills and knowledge through creative play and social interaction, as well as sometimes formal lessons. It's basically a trap to trick kids into thinking they want to go to school." Katsumi explained.

"A trap, you say…" Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes. It's definitely a trap, because you're only five-years-old and don't know any better. You think school is just another place you can play, but then the next year, when you move up a level, the playtime is over. It's all work after that, and it's too late by then because you're already in the system." Katsumi explained. In truth, Katsumi knew it probably wasn't as bad as she was making it sound, but she hadn't had a good experience with her school's kindergarten. Sesshoumaru figured Katsumi was just being overly dramatic.

"Hmph, and I suppose you fell for it completely." Jaken said haughtily.

"Well, actually, I didn't. I hated kindergarten for the first half of the year, because of my teacher. She seriously hated me, and to this day, I still don't know what I did. She started putting me down the moment she saw me. My mom said it was because she thought I was trying to pull a fast one over on her." Katsumi said.

"…How so?" Sesshoumaru asked. Katsumi didn't strike him as a manipulative person. Katsumi scoffed.

"Well, I already mentioned that I could read before I started school, right? One of the things they're supposed to teach us is the letters of the alphabet, characters that are used to form words in English. Well, she didn't believe that I could read without knowing the names of the letters in the words—which I didn't. You really don't need to know the individual names of each letter in a word to read because of how the English language works. I didn't know the names because I was self-taught, and I just sounded the words out based on how I knew they were pronounced. My mom tried to explain that to her, but the woman just wouldn't have it. Honestly, she should never have been around small children to begin with because she suffered from chronic headaches, and she'd take it out on us. I got in trouble for sharing! My parents finally put their foot down when I came home with a bruise because the teacher stepped on me during naptime. She said I was 'in the way'—I was in freaking corner, way out of the way. After that my mom threatened to sue, and they moved me out of that crazy lady's class." Katsumi said ending her rant. "Sorry, I was emotionally scarred by the whole thing, so I tend to rant and ramble about it."

"What became of the teacher?" Sesshoumaru asked. 'And why wasn't something done sooner…?' Sesshoumaru wondered. They should have moved Katsumi from under that woman's tutelage before she was hurt. Katsumi sighed.

"I wish I could say she was fired for child abuse, but she wasn't. So, my parents had me transferred to another school after that." Katsumi said.

"Hmph. I don't believe it. I think you made that up. If you were clever enough to teach yourself how to read, then why don't you act like the genius you're supposed to be?" Jaken said. Katsumi frowned at the imp.

"I'm not lying. I have an eidetic memory, remember. It helps me figure stuff out faster than most people. Besides, I've always been more 'book smart' than 'common sense smart'. I also have the emotional and physical scarring to prove it. There's a crescent-shaped scar on my left calf from where she stepped on me in her heels." Katsumi said. Sesshoumaru felt his eyes narrow. The teacher had actually scarred a child, and they let her get away with it.

"Well, whatever. What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." Katsumi said, shrugging.

{A few weeks later…}

Rouyakan was sleeping peacefully in his cave, snoring away, when he was awakened by the sound of trampling. He awoke with a start and stared outside his cave, he could see a large group of figures running on the horizon.

"W-Wha—!" Rouyakan said in surprise as he scrambled out of his cave to get a better look. "It couldn't be them!"

They had stopped by a river so that Rin could catch fish for her lunch. Katsumi's appetite had started gradually changing to match that of a youkai's, at least in that she didn't get hungry as often. She only needed to eat once a day now. She still helped Rin by hunting for her, but Sesshoumaru had thought it would be better for Rin to start learning to be more independent, and Katsumi agreed. So Katsumi was teaching Rin survival skills in addition to the usual school subjects, but right now she was taking a small break from teaching, so Jaken was helping Rin catch fish. Sesshoumaru relaxed in the shade of a tree near the river. Katsumi was grooming Ah-Un, and the dragon was enjoying the attention as he lay down beside the riverbank. It was a very peaceful and beautiful day.

"Keep at it, Jaken-sama!" Rin cheered as she jumped up and down in the shallow river to scare the fish towards Jaken. Jaken was trying to grab the fish, but they were too quick and slippery for him.

"No, further up!" Rin said. "To the right! To the left! In front of you!" Jaken was splashing about, trying his best to catch a fish. Sesshoumaru was watching them, after all.

"Back?" Jaken asked.

"In front!" Rin said. "Ah! Over there!" Sesshoumaru stood up and started waking further upstream. He smelled it, the scent of cats.

'Hmm? I wonder where he's going…' Katsumi thought. She too had picked up on the scent, but she didn't know its significance. She brushed Ah-Un's mane one more time, then she put the brush away and followed Sesshoumaru. Rin would be safe with Ah-Un and Jaken watching her.

"Got it!" Jaken yelled triumphantly as he grabbed the fish and held it proudly above his head. "Did you see me!?"

"Amazing, Jaken-sama!" Rin cheered.

"Say it again!" Jaken said gleefully.

"Such a great one!" Rin said, referring to the fish.

"Yes I am!" Jaken said, his ego swelling.

"What is it?" Katsumi asked when she caught up to Sesshoumaru. He didn't answer her, but he didn't tell her to go back either, so Katsumi continued to follow him. As they walked, a strange creaking sound was heard. Katsumi's eyes widened in amazement as she watched the river rapidly freeze over. The rapid freezing process had caused a mist to hang in the air 'The river's freezing… during this season…?' Katsumi thought. 'It must be a youkai we smelled earlier, then…'

"… Toran, huh?" Sesshoumaru said when he saw the ice.

"Eh… An acquaintance of yours…?" Katsumi asked. A figure emerged from the mist, slowly stalking towards them. 'Like a cat…' Katsumi thought, observing the female youkai's graceful posture.

"It's been a long time, Sesshoumaru. Is that your mate behind you?" Toran said. Katsumi couldn't help the faint blush that covered her face. She was grateful Sesshoumaru couldn't see it.

"So, you're still alive?" Sesshoumaru said.

"What a way to greet someone." Toran said, laughing. "I intend to settle things this time."

"We settled things along time ago." Sesshoumaru said. "But if you insist, it won't be like fifty years ago."

'Eh…? Settled what…?' Katsumi wondered. She could feel that the woman was dangerous.

"You're still as boorish as ever. However, I agree that it won't be like fifty years ago. Our Oyakata-sama is waiting for you." Toran said.

"Oyakata-sama?" Sesshoumaru asked. He thought their 'Oyakata-sama' had been defeated long ago.

"Yes, our Commander-in-Chief. Your old man is dead and gone, but our Oyakata-sama is going to be resurrected. At long last." Toran said smugly.

'Resurrected… Did Inu-Papa kill him…?' Katsumi wondered. Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed.

"… Resurrected… for what?" Sesshoumaru asked.

"To attack the lands in the east once again, and… I guess you could call it revenge. Against you and your kind." Toran said. Katsumi managed to hold back a laugh. She knew it was a serious situation, but come on… were they really going to do the whole cats vs. dogs thing?

"Then… this time I'll squeeze the breath out of him permanently." Sesshoumaru said.

"I'm glad to hear that you're willing to fight." Toran said, laughing. Sesshoumaru grabbed Tokijin's hilt.

"Hold it… Don't be so hasty." Toran said, shaking a finger at him. "Not here. Come to our castle." Toran said, spreading her arms. The wind picked up speed and began swirling around them as the frozen river buckled and formed a wall between her and them, sending hail-like projections at them. Sesshoumaru stood resolutely, not even flinching as they flew past him, and then, just as suddenly as she had come, Toran was gone. The ice was washed away downstream, leaving no evidence of her visit behind.

"…You know, for what you lack in friends, you certainly seem to make up for in enemies…" Katsumi said. Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at her.

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Katsumi-nee!" Rin called cheerfully as she ran up to them, holding a bunch of fish on a line. "Look! We caught so many!" Ah-Un was playfully running beside Rin.

"Don't leave me behind!" Jaken yelled.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, Katsumi-nee, look!" Rin said happily as she stopped in front of them and held the fish up to show them. Sesshoumaru and Katsumi turned to look.

"Oh, there's so many! Good job, Rin!" Katsumi praised her. Rin smiled back happily.

"Jaken." Sesshoumaru said.

"…Yes…Sesshoumaru-sama…." Jaken said, panting, trying to catch his breath from chasing after Rin. Jaken had short legs, after all.

"The Panther-Demon tribe has appeared." Sesshoumaru said.

"Eh!? Not them again!?" Jaken yelled in surprise.

"Rin." Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes?" Rin said.

"Wait here with Ah-Un." Sesshoumaru told her.

"Alright, I will." Rin said obediently.

"Katsumi." Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes?" Katsumi asked.

"Come." Sesshoumaru said, and turned on his heel, walking away.

"Huh?" Jaken said.

"Alright, be good and stay close to Ah-Un, Rin. We'll see you later." Katsumi said, hugging Rin before running to catch up to Sesshoumaru.

"Please wait, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken cried as he ran after them.

"Don't forget to come back for me!" Rin called after them cheerfully, waving. "It's a promise!"

The three of them continued walking along the river, Sesshoumaru leading the way of course. A familiar scent hit Katsumi's nose.

'Eh? What is that guy doing here…?' Katsumi wondered. She knew Sesshoumaru had smelled him too, but since he wasn't reacting, she decided to wait and see what would happen.

'Sesshoumaru-sama doesn't intend to take them on alone, does he?' Jaken wondered as he jogged after them. "No, that's much too dangerous… Even Sesshoumaru-sama couldn't..." Jaken thought out loud.

'Does he realize he's thinking out loud…?' Katsumi wondered.

"What? Isn't that…" Jaken said when Rouyakan came into view. Up ahead, on the side of the road, was Rouyakan. He was kneeling, and had apparently been waiting patiently for his chance.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rouyakan said, bowing deeply as a sign of submission. "I, Rouyakan, will assist you once again." Sesshoumaru just kept walking, as though he wasn't even there. Katsumi decided to follow suit. She didn't really hold a grudge against Rouyakan, despite the fact that he nearly killed her last time they met because she knew that he had been manipulated by Naraku, but she wasn't going to go out of her way to be nice to him either, because manipulated or not, he still tried to kill her and her friends. Rouyakan didn't seem to recognize her.

"Not necessary." Sesshoumaru said.

"Sesshoumaru-dono!" Rouyakan cried in dismay. Katsumi couldn't help but feel a teensy bit sorry for him. Right now, he looked more like a sad little hamster than the 'Wolf of Hell' he had proclaimed himself to be when they first met… and Katsumi liked hamsters. They were cute.

"W-Wait for me!" Jaken cried, running past Rouyakan. Sesshoumaru stopped.

"Rouyakan." Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes?" Rouyakan asked, happily anticipating what he hoped was a favorable answer.

'Oh, now he's a happy hamster…' Katsumi observed in amusement.

"Leave before you die." Sesshoumaru said.

"Eeeeee!?" Rouyakan said in confusion and fear, a shiver went down his spin. Katsumi's eyebrows flew up in surprise at what Sesshoumaru had said.

'Wow… That was so cold, I think the temperature just dropped a few degrees…' Katsumi thought. Rouyakan was a frozen hamster now.

"S-Sesshoumaru-sama… it's an offer of help." Jaken said. He couldn't understand why Sesshoumaru would turn down a willing ally.

"Yeah, and I'm totally over the fact that he tried to kill me, now." Katsumi added.

"Eeeeh…!?" Rouyakan yelled, shocked. 'That girl… now that I think about it, she smells similar to that hanyou girl I attacked when Naraku tricked me into going after Inuyasha…' Rouyakan realized. "Ah! Please, forgive me, I didn't know she was one of Sesshoumaru-dono's companions!" Rouyakan said, panicking.

"Uh… well, technically, I wasn't at the time… but shouldn't you apologize to the person you actually attacked…?" Katsumi said, sweat dropping.

"Sesshoumaru-sama, you must accept his help!" Jaken said. Katsumi wanted to face-palm.

'Jaken! Don't you know by now that telling Sesshoumaru-sama he 'must' or 'has to' do something is the quickest way to get him to say 'NO' by now?' Katsumi thought, exasperated.

"Not necessary." Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi could tell he was getting irritated now by the slight crease in his brow.

"Then at least get Inuyasha this time…" Jaken pleaded.

'Are you trying to piss him off, Jaken?' Katsumi wondered.

"Jaken…" Sesshoumaru said.

"Yes?" Jaken said. A river of tears was flowing down Rouyakan's face now. He was a crushed hamster.

"Only you and Katsumi need accompany me." Sesshoumaru said.

"Huh?" Jaken said, stunned.

'Wow, he's really placing a lot of trust in us… I can't let him down.' Katsumi thought with determination.

He started walking forward again, and Katsumi didn't hesitate to follow.

'Huh…?' Jaken thought, starting to tear up. 'Se…Sesshoumaru-sama…' Jaken thought, truly, deeply touched. 'I shall follow you to the ends of the earth! Sesshoumaru-sama' Jaken thought as he ran after them. Jaken suddenly stopped. 'Eh… but this means that I may end up dying…' Jaken thought, sweat dropping.


Author's note:

I know I said that I was going to follow the manga, but I just noticed that the panther demon arc isn't in it, and I wanted to write that part because it'll help my character development, so it will be the manga plus some anime… Sorry about that. (^_^;)

I found out that the milk way is called ginga in Japan, so I thought I'd go ahead and use it.

And the kindergarten teacher from hell story… it's actually a true story, but the school wanted to do something about her, they just couldn't because of the teacher's tenure. They moved the unfortunate child to another class instead of transferring to another school, and it was a happy ending because the new teacher was like Mother Teresa, even next to a normal person, and she never had a bad teacher after that.

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