Time Traveler Katsumi

The Scream

"Very well." Naraku conceded. He only needed Katsumi anyway.

"Rin, listen… I want you to go get Ah-Un and take him for a long walk. Understand?" Katsumi said meaningfully in a tone that left no room for argument. No matter what, she needed to get Rin as far away from Naraku as possible.

"But… I…!" Rin didn't want to leave her Katsumi-nee all alone with such a dangerous enemy, but seeing the look in her eyes, Rin knew what Katsumi wanted. She knew what she had to do. Rin clenched her fists as she turned and ran. 'Don't worry, Katsumi-nee!' Rin thought anxiously as she searched for the two-headed dragon. 'Rin's going to get help! I'll get Sesshoumaru-sama!'

It felt like forever to Katsumi as she stood there, staring down their nemesis, while she waited for Rin's and Ah-Un's scents to fade away until they had fled to a safe enough distance. Only then did she finally allow herself to relax enough to lower her sword.

"So, what exactly did you want to know?" Katsumi asked, wondering what on earth Naraku could possibly want to pick her brain for.

"Hmph. Straight to point, I see." Naraku said, smirking. Well, at least she wasn't going to waste any more of his valuable time. "I have it on good authority that there's something I want in the border between worlds."

"The border between worlds…?" Katsumi asked, blinking. Which worlds? He couldn't have found out about the well, could he…?

"Yes. The border between this world and the next, between life and the afterlife." Naraku explained.

"O–kaay…?" Katsumi said skeptically, almost wondering if Naraku hadn't been snacking on one or two of those questionable 'shrooms in the previous chapter. "Well, I don't know what that has to do with me, but if you're looking for someone to dispatch you, then I have no problem with sending you there. It'll be a one-way trip though." She added, beaming up at him with a brilliant shit-eating grin plastered on her face.

"Ku-ku-ku… I must admit, at first I was at a loss as to how to proceed…" Naraku said, chuckling darkly. This girl certainly had a lot of guts to be mouthing off to him like that. "But then I remembered something… You died up on Mt. Hakurei, didn't you?" He asked shrewdly, smirking when her grin faltered slightly.

"Ah, I take it your saimyōshō told you, huh? What does my little near death experience at the hands of your zombie henchmen have to do with anything?" Katsumi asked, wishing Naraku would just get to the point. She probably could have figured out what he was trying to say, but right now she'd rather keep her powers of concentration focused on watching Naraku so she could be ready to go at the slightest hint of movement from him, if and when he decided to attack.

"Why, isn't is obvious, Katsumi-chan? I want to know what you saw when you crossed the border." Naraku said, moving closer. Now that he really had time to look at her, he was starting to realize just how attractive this girl was.

Katsumi's eyes widened slightly in surprise as she took a step back, trying to maintain the space between them.

"Dude, not so close... I have a thing about spiders. They make my make me wanna hurl." She told him, covering her mouth as if she were going to be sick. Naraku seemed to have lost his sense of humor, judging by harsh glare he was now shooting at her. He must still be sensitive about the whole Onigumo-spider-scar thing, even after discarding his heart.

"You said you would talk, now talk! Tell me what I want to know now." Naraku demanded darkly as he raised the tentacles protruding from his back, arching them like snakes, waiting to strike their prey. Katsumi stood her ground, eyes burning with defiance like two smoldering embers of copper and emerald. Even if she was hopelessly outmatched, she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction seeing her tremble.

"Yeah, about that… I may have lied." Katsumi stated coolly. The look on Naraku's face was indescribably priceless.

"What?" Naraku practically growled. This little bitch dared…!

"Oh, what? You think you're the only one who can lie?" Katsumi asked saucily, raising an eyebrow at him as she put her hands on her hips. "I said I'd 'talk', but I never said anything about giving answers. Do you seriously think I'm gonna tell you anything after all the crap you've put us through, huh!?"

"Oh, you'll tell me. You will tell me exactly what I want to know. Even if it's the last you ever do." Naraku stated ominously as he closed in on her.

—∞—|—∞—

{Meanwhile, several miles away…}

Inuyasha stopped so suddenly, that Kagome nearly bumped into him.

"What is it, Inuyasha?" She asked. The others stopped too when they heard her question, and turned around to see Inuyasha was sniffing the air. He must have caught a scent.

"This smell… I'm sure of it… It's definitely Naraku's saimyōshō!" Inuyasha declared, glancing up in the direction of the approaching scent just in time to see the poisonous insects come into view. He smirked as he drew Tessaiga. "Ha! Couldn't ask for better luck!"

"Wait, Inuyasha!" Miroku said quickly, before he did anything rash. "Kagome-sama… do you sense any Shikon shards nearby?"

"No… not nearby." Kagome said, shaking her head.

"Then perhaps those saimyōshō are heading back to Naraku." Miroku suggested, glancing up as they flew right past them.

"If we follow them instead of killing them…" Sango said thoughtfully.

"Then, we'll discover Naraku's whereabouts!" Inuyasha finished. He sheathed his sword. Now they were really getting somewhere! He still owed Naraku some serious payback for what he had done to Kikyo…

However, it seemed like they had only just begun to follow the insects when both of them suddenly and inexplicably began to drop dead of their own accord.

"Hey, they're falling!" Shippo cried out with dismay.

"What!?" Inuyasha shouted incredulously as they all ran up to inspect the fallen insects. This had to be some kind of sick joke. "Why did they just…?" Inuyasha whipped his head around when he caught wind of another familiar and dangerous scent. A bright, blue orb of light whizzed past them and briefly hovered in place by the fallen insects before fazing out to reveal Sesshoumaru.

"Sesshoumaru!" Kagome said, surprised. "… Eh? Where's Katsumi-chan?" She asked curiously, wondering why their friend hadn't tagged along with him today. The daiyoukai didn't even look at her, and he didn't bother to glance down at the insects on the ground. He didn't need to look to know that both saimyōshō were now definitively deceased. He just stared straight at Inuyasha, fixing him with a steely gaze.

"Did you kill them… the saimyōshō?" Sesshoumaru demanded calmly. "You're so short-sighted. Now I've lost my lead to Naraku."

"Woah, lemme make one thing clear—these bugs dropped dead on their own! We never even touched them!"

"I'm becoming quite tired of your excuses." Sesshoumaru stated coldly, drawing Tokijin. He was already in a bad mood, and encountering Inuyasha had only mad it worse.

"Who'd make excuses to you! I'm telling the truth!" Inuyasha retorted hotly.

"That's right! Why would we lie?" Kagome added.

"Stay outta this, Kagome! He doesn't understand words!" Inuyasha barked, drawing Tessaiga so he'd be ready. He didn't want to give Sesshoumaru a reason to target her, too.

"Inuyasha… I'm not feeling very magnanimous today." Sesshoumaru cautioned him. "I won't go easy on you as I did before."

"Cut the crap!" Inuyasha snapped. Since when had this jerk ever gone easy on him? "Don't come cryin' to me when you lose!" Inuyasha growled as they both leapt into action, clashing their swords together.

"Oh, come on! Stop it, both of you!" Kagome shouted, trying to scold them.

"It's useless, Kagome." Shippo said, shaking his head.

"They're always at odds with each other." Miroku added.

"I'll say." Sango agreed as they watched the two brothers continue to exchange blows.

—∞—

"Ah! There's Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin told Ah-Un when she spotted the fighting brothers and the rest of the Inu-tachi. "Sesshoumaru-samaaa! Rin's so glad she found you!" Rin called out to him as Ah-Un began his descent to join his master.

"Wha—!?" Inuyasha said, dumbfounded at the sight of a little human girl riding on the back of his brother's dragon, like a boss. And that brief moment of distraction was all it took for Sesshoumaru to send the confused mutt flying.

THUD.

Inuyasha hit the ground a few yards away, hard.

"Umfh!" Inuyasha grunted in pain, momentarily stunned from the impact.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried, rushing over to check on him, followed closely behind by the others. He was a little roughed up, but other than that he seemed to be okay. Inuyasha shook his head, snapping out of his daze.

"Hey!" Inuyasha shouted indignantly at his older brother. "What d'yo—"

"What is it, Rin?" Sesshoumaru asked, completely ignoring his younger half-brother's existence. He could smell Rin's fear, and it was strange Katsumi wasn't with her.

"Sesshoumaru-sama… hic… Katsumi-nee…. Naraku came after Katsumi-nee!" Rin cried, unable to hold back her tears any longer now that she had finally managed to find him. Sesshoumaru's eyes widened slightly in shock.

No.

"What!?" Inu-tachi shouted.

"Why would Naraku—!?" Inuyasha began, but he and Sesshoumaru both froze when a hauntingly heart-wrenching scream filled with nothing but pure agony pierced their ears sensitive ears. Before the others even had a chance to ask, Sesshoumaru was gone, racing towards the scream like a man possessed.

"Wh-What just happened…?" Sango asked. Inuyasha glanced back at them, clearly unnerved and deeply disturbed by whatever he had just sensed. A bead of cold sweat rolled down the hanyou's face as he glanced back at his friends. Judging by the puzzled looks on their faces, aside from him and Sesshoumaru, no one else seemed to have heard that terrible scream at all. They had no idea how lucky they were. Inuyasha gulped, swallowing the lump that had started to form in his throat.

"I think… I think… Katsumi just… screamed…" Inuyasha said.

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