Title: Present Time: The Re-Write 5/?
Author: animealam (a.k.a. alandrem)
Rating: This chapter is R
Warnings: AU, Some characters may be a bit OOC. Violence, the mention of drug use, attempted rape, and bad language. The characters are OOC. This story will live up to the M rating as I plan to add a bit more violence and/or gory details. I believe the original version was a bit mild in that respect. I knew that later on there would be some rather gory scenes as telosphilos and I originally planned, so I decided that adding a bit more description to certain scenes would only enhance the story. This warning will be in every chapter to avoid problems even though not all have violence or gory scenes.
Summary: Inuyasha discovers the present is more dangerous than he was led to believe.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. Although IÃ¢Â€Â™ll probably add a couple more characters of my own imagination.
Author’s Note: From the start I believed this chapter was not really complete, I felt it needed more police interaction, and more background for the police characters. But I was not really inclined then to modify what I already had because it would probably change some things later on. Now though, with the rewrite, I have the opportunity to do since I’m already doing modifications to the story. I hope you like how this chapter turned out. I personally like it much better.
I did a bit of research on the web, and I found some information about ranks in Tokyo Metropolitan Police. But the information was not clear enough for me to use them, so I’m going to keep the system I originally used. It’s an Americanized version, and for that I apologize. I really would have loved to introduce into the story some actual facts of about the Japanese police system. It would have added some more realism.
The original chapter was 5,594 words. This chapter is 8,710. I’m not counting the author notes.
The phone would not stop ringing no matter how he tried to ignore it. The damn thing just wouldn’t let him go on sleeping. Finally awake, detective Seijuro Nomura picked the infernal thing and answered with an annoyed grunt. He pulled a very late night going over the files from the ‘The Park Killer’s’ case once again. He was missing something, he could feel it in his gut, but for the love of God he could not tell what it was. His gaze drifted to the clock on the night table, it read: 6:00 AM. He had just gotten to bed a couple of hours ago! There was definitely no justice on the world.
“Seijuro there was another attack from ‘The Park Killer’ tonight.”Â The grim voice of Kojiro Watanabe announced. The young man was more a friend than just his co-worker, although for all official purposes he was indeed his partner.
“WHAT?” He exclaimed almost deafening the younger man. If he had not been completely awake before, he was now. The detective sat on the bed.
“Four more bodies were found just a few minutes ago in an alley in downtown Tokyo. They are recent. In fact, they were murdered tonight”
“Four? But… He’s never gone for more than one at a time, and we have never found a recent kill from him. Â We’ve established that the bastard likes to take his time with his victims.” He sighed. This case was driving him insane; they had been after the bastard for two years since the first bodies began appearing. “Where are you now Kojiro?”Â He stood up and began gathering something to wear.
“Just arriving to the crime scene, as a matter of fact this is just a few blocks from your apartment.”
“How come central did not inform me first?” He asked suspiciously, as he hopped around the room trying to get on his pants; dressing while speaking on the phone had become a habit for this Tokyo Metropolitan Police detective. He was also the senior detective in charge of the investigation, so logically he was to be the one they contacted first.
“They tried, but you didn’t answer either the cell or your apartment’s phone. They finally located me, as I was taking a nap at the office,” Kojiro explained patiently. Unlike his partner he had decided not to drive home after they went over the case files, and remained in their cramped office. The sofa there was rather comfortable, if a bit small.
He knew Nomura tended to forget this kind of thing when his mind was overloaded. It had been for at least a couple of months now, so he had learned not to pay much attention to it. They both were in dire need of a break, but neither wanted to risk not being available in case something like this happened. They hoped that this find would bring them the clues needed to put a stop to this deranged murderer, but then, this was their hope with each murdered young woman they found. So far ‘The Park Killer’ had not made a mistake, but he would. Sooner or later he would, and then Seijuro and he would be there to catch him. Too many girls had already died by his hands.
The younger man had been speaking on his cell phone, managed to park his car with one hand in the small space available -a rather impressive feat- and now walked into the still darkened alley. The street officers cordoning the area looked grim, and too pale for Kojiro’s liking. It was not a good sign. They nodded at him and let him pass to the area. The bodies were not covered yet as the guys from the coroner’s office were late as always, but forensics was already there. The officers on site had done a decent job of lighting the scene without disturbing the contents of the alley. He could tell that even with day light the place would be too dark to search for and document evidence properly.
The sight that greeted the detective was gruesome. This was probably the worst he had seen on this case yet. It was not the type of finding he had come to expect from ‘The Park Killer’. This was something taken out of a horror movie, blood everywhere, the battered and torn body of what appeared to be a young woman lay inert only a few paces from the street blank eyes wide open, one arm outstretched in front as if hoping to find help on the lighted street.
“By God!” He breathed on the phone, as his gaze moved towards the end of the alley where the other victims lied.
The whole place was a bloody nightmare. After a signaled inquiry to the officer in charge, he was pointed to one of the younger officers that retched in a corner. Probably just graduated, poor kid, to be the first officer at this scene was unsettling to say it mildly. Beside him was a young man in the same condition, he was probably the employee from the dinner next door that did the finding and called the patrolling officer. The service door from the dinner opened into the back of the alley, and there were bags of trash on the floor close to one of the bodies. He hoped they had not contaminated the evidence.
“What’s happening Kojiro?” Nomura became worried. This young man was not perturbed by much. He could withstand a whole autopsy after having lunch, and sometimes even shared a snack with those psychos in there. He shuddered at the thought; Seijuro’s stomach could not handle that.
“You better hurry; this is no picnic Nomura-san.” The voice was deadly calm and for Watanabe to use his last name and an honorific could only mean this was really serious. It also meant there were potential witnesses within earshot. “I’ll try to get some sense from the newbie that was called to the scene, and the kid that discovered the bodies. Both kids’ are a mess, not that I blame them.”
“I’m on my way.” He just got the address and left as fast as he could. Seijuro decided to walk instead of taking his car, as the place was indeed only three blocks away. He did not like that that the crime scene was so close to his home. Did this mean something to the killer?
Seijuro made it before the coroners. Not that he minded; it would give him the opportunity to go over the crime scene while the victims were still there. But he could not help but wonder what was delaying those guys. The sun was already up, but the alley was between two tall buildings and there would still have been too many dark corners. He was glad someone had the presence of mind to bring lights to the scene. As his eyes scanned the area, he understood now why his partner was upset. Carnage was the only word that could apply, and for a moment he was bewildered. Such blind fury, this was so unlike the others.
The killer was methodical, took his time torturing his victims before killing them. As far as they could tell, he took days with each girl he murdered, and they had yet to find the area where he killed his victims, as he had not killed on site before… No, that was not true. The first two victims they located two years ago were killed on site, at the Sakura Park. Could this be a copy cat? They had had more than a couple of those since the case started. He looked again at the female victims. Almost all of the patterns of the previous murders were repeated in this one, even to the point where both girls had long legs, dark long curly or wavy hair, big brown eyes, and appeared to have been under 18. But this was not done for pleasure, no; this was some kind of statement. This was not planned.
“So last night’s report of a possible victim that escaped seems plausible,” he muttered. He had been informed of an attack at the Sakura Park where the young victim had managed to escape. Unfortunately she had not pressed charges. They did not know who she was. “You were pissed off bastard, and you wanted to prove to us you still have the power.”
‘Damn! We need to get a hold of that girl. She could be our only witness, and the clue to solve this case.’ That case was not under his jurisdiction though, and he was not sure he could do anything to get it assigned to Kojiro and him.
“If last night park attack is related to this… carnage, then I’d have to say it’s not just one bastard Nomura-kun.” The man who spoke was shorter and much older than the homicide detective. He had silently walked to stand beside him as both critically observed the crime scene.
“Captain, I was not expecting you to come,” Nomura said without turning, his eyes glued to a single partial foot print just beside one of the boys. He hunkered to observe it better. The other man noticed and did the same. “I was not informed that there were two of them involved in last night’s attack, and neither was it on the news.”
“Saitoh did not think it prudent, and I for once agreed with him, although he had orders to inform you and Watanabe-kun. He also does not think that case is ‘The Park Killer’s’ doing,” the older man informed him.
“But you do not agree with his beliefs in that case,” Seijuro stated as his eyes took every detail of the area where the body was. He noted that the boy did not seem to have been tortured. In fact, if he was to determine the method of his death, he would have to say a katana was employed. The guys from the coroners would have to confirm it though.
“No I do not,” the captain confirmed. “If anything, what happened here makes me believe the events are indeed related. They lost one potential victim, they lost control…”
“And this,” he signaled the whole carnage, “is their way to tell us… me in particular, that they are still in charge,” Seijuro deducted. Profiling murderers was something he did for the department. He had received special training by the American FBI, and had a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology before he joined the force. That was why he received the case, he was among the best prepared in the force.
“I do believe that was their intent.” Experience with similar cases told him this was so. “It is no secret that you’re in charge of the investigation, you live close by, you frequent the dinner next door, and this is probably the only area in the neighborhood where something like this could happen,” the Captain expressed his theory.
“Aa, you’re correct. Tamiko-san, the dinner’s owner, constantly complains about having to shoo young couples from the alley. While this place is hardly romantic, it is not unusual to find a couple here during the weekends. It gives them privacy that they probably can’t get anywhere else. These kids are from the area.” He did not recognize them, but he had little spare time and did not socialize with his neighbors.
“This case is getting too messy and long for me not to get involved Nomura-kun. The public opinion is being spurred by the media and they want this case solved.”
“So the politicians are breathing down your ass now,” he commented and then raised his eyes searching for one of the forensic technicians. “Ito! Move your ass over here!” A tall woman in her late 20’s or perhaps early 30’s turned sharply in his direction. She had a camera as well as a large case with wheels.
“Nomura-kun! Can’t you at least pretend to be polite?” She told him sharply, yet moved to where he was.
“Ah Ito, if I did you’d miss my charming personality,” He said and smirked. “Get some prints out of this. I’ve got the feeling it might turn out to be important.”
“Hmphg you said that for the finger print they discovered on the third body and we found out it was her boyfriend’s.” The woman complained as she prepared the scene for her photographs. She used a special ruler to give the right perspective to the size of the foot print. She took several angles of it. “Now if you don’t mind I still have to map this whole place,” She said and left them.
“You’re right Nomura-kun. The politicians are starting to stir; this looks bad on them especially since election time is not that far away. It is also gaining the interests of some of the international press. They do not like being seen as incompetent by foreigners. How long since we began with this case?”
“Almost two years Captain, and we have nothing.” He sighed exasperated. “Not a single valid clue as to who is this guy is and why is he doing this, except that he probably enjoys it and likes to take his time. This might change tonight, and hopefully the victim that escaped can give us some clues. I think we finally have enough here to support the theory that there are two of them. Kojiro has believed that from the start, but we never found any evidence that he was correct.”
“You better find the girl from the attack last night,” the older man told him.
“Assault is not my department chief, and you know those guys. Saitoh is like a dog with a bone, he won’t relinquish the case, and he’ll complain I’m invading his jurisdiction. It hasn’t been the first time you know.” He and Iwao Saitoh had a long history of not getting along. The other detective did not like that Seijuro had gotten a post in Homicide after only being in the force a short time. He had not studied at the Tokyo Police Academy like most of them, and it galled the man. It did not matter to him that Seijuro had not only been trained in America, he had also worked with the FBI several years as well.
“I think she was to be the 15th victim…” The Captain said apparently ignoring his detective’s comment.
“14 young women killed, and now this. I wonder what the media would say if they really knew there are that many.”
“Do not remind me of it, they’d probably demand my head on a silver tray!” The older man exclaimed. “Anyway this girl at the park escaped, which is a miracle. We now have a potential witness. As of right now I’m assigning you and Kojiro that case too. You should have the file in your desk later today. If Saitoh-kun has not relinquished it, send me a report, I will see that he follows orders,” He said and without further words left the crime scene. He did not notice the smile that spread on the detective’s face. Finally there was a small glimmer of hope that this case could be solved.
She was finally home. It was a little before nine o’clock and she fervently hoped Kagome was at the Sengoku Jidai with Inuyasha and her friends. That was the plan her daughter had. The news last night had been disturbing, another attack by ‘The Park killer’. This time the victim managed to escape, but no one knew who she was, or even in what condition, as the girl had kept running until she got lost among the evening crowds. Normally she would not worry; Kagome would have been down the well by that time. But yesterday her daughter asked permission to go to a movie with her friends before leaving. If she read the situation right, she had not informed her impatient dog-demon friend. A short-cut through the park would have been in order, to avoid further delay, and that put her at the Sakura Park about the time the attack happened.
Asami Higurashi went into the house through the kitchen door and froze at the sight that greeted her. Kagome’s humongous backpack was still on the table, just as she left it before going to the movies. The woman’s heart skipped a beat, but she had always been an optimistic person. Perhaps her daughter had argued with Inuyasha for being late and decided to stay. It would not be the first time, and those two argued constantly, which usually resulted in the young demon being slammed into the ground when she ‘sat’ him for being rude. This time though, Inuyasha was probably within his rights to complain, as Kagome was being late on purpose.
The house was eerily quiet as she made her way upstairs. As she walked down the hall, the bathroom caught her attention. The door was open, and it was a complete mess. Clothes and towels strewn on the floor, the first aid kit was on the sink, and bloodied gauzes peeked out of the waste basket.
‘Dear God! Kagome!’ She thought turning to rush to her room.
Inuyasha stood outside Kagome’s room, sheathed sword in hand a tired look on his face. It took her only a moment to notice he was not wearing his typical red outfit, but one of her husband’s pajamas. They hung loosely on his slender frame. Seeing him in something other than his red clothes surprised her enough to make her pause at the bathroom’s door. Turning to look at the floor she realized that the clothes scattered there were his, they were bloodied too. The worried woman was about to speak when he placed a finger on his lips indicating that she should remain quiet, then limped toward the stairs using his sword as a cane.
‘He’s hurt, perhaps that blood is all his, and Kagome is all right. After all, she says he always protects her.’ She allowed herself to feel some relief. But Asami did not really like that he had been injured. She had come to care for the gruff young half-demon.
Going down the stairs was a real trial for the young dog-demon. His leg not only hurt like hell, it was also stiff as a board, and he could barely go down each step. He had to bite his lips to keep from letting out an undignified whimper. It should not be that painful. Mentally Inuyasha cursed the ‘bullet’. Kagome said that was the name of the thing that hit him, and he cursed the one that shot it for his terrible aim. What was it doing going up a tree when the fight was at ground level? The hanyou also cursed himself for his ignorance about the dangers of this time. This last was his doing. He could not blame Kagome. She had tried more than a few times to teach him about modern stuff. But being his normal ‘I’m-never-wrong’, and ‘I-know-everything’ self he refused to show the curiosity he really felt, believing it would make him look weak.
The kitchen was not far, but by the time he reached it his leg felt like it was about to give in. Ignoring it, he went to the cabinet where the glasses were stored, took one and filled it with water from the tap. The first time he stayed he had just tried to drink straight from the contraption, once he finally figured out what it was for. But he got scolded by Kagome’s ofukuro. So he now used a glass to drink water like ‘civilized people’ did. After he drank the contents he turned to face her mother.
“Kagome…” She began saying, and noticed that he seemed to be in pain. It reinforced her belief that he had protected her daughter, but she still needed to hear the confirmation of that.
“She’s fine, only needs a little sleep,” he interrupted her, his voice harsh as always. She looked immediately relieved. Why was she so worried? It was not like she could know what almost happened to her daughter last night
“What happened Inuyasha?” Asami asked looking at him straight in the eye. He could not hold her gaze and turned away, the boy moved to the table, and sat stiffly instead. That worried her, from what Kagome told her it was unlike him to back down. She could see that for a moment he was at a loss of words, apparently debating whether he should say something or not. Then he clearly made up his mind, and resolutely looked at her.
“A couple of thugs attacked her last night…” Inuyasha began, a bit of uncertainty reflected in his voice. This… reporting was something he had never had to do, what happened to his group was their business and no one else’s. But this woman was Kagome’s ofukuro. The attack happened in their time, and he suspected that as her hahaue she had a right to know what happened to her child.
“Oh my God! So it was her!” Asami exclaimed as her hands flew to her mouth in anguish. Inuyasha looked at her puzzled, how did she know? “I heard it on the ten o’clock news last night,” the woman explained, assuming he understood what she was talking about. Of course he did not, and it only made him feel more frustrated than he already was by his ignorance. “She said she was going to the movies with her friends.” There it was that word again. He really needed to know what it was. He growled low in his throat, but she did not notice. “I just knew Kagome would take the short-cut through the park! I’ve got to see how she is!” She turned to leave.
“Wait!” Inuyasha said his voice commanding and stern. The worried mother turned to him in surprise. The hanyou had stood, and was ready to go after her, and would most certainly catch her, limp and all. “I said she is fine,” he stressed his words.
Kagome was sleeping so soundly now after the couple of nightmares that had woken both of them. He had had a hard time calming her. She had told him what she had seen in her dreams, and it was extremely disturbing, even to him. Now that she was finally resting, there was no way he was going to let anyone perturb Kagome, not even her own ofukuro.
“Let her sleep, she needs it.” He sat back with a pained grunt once he saw that her mother was not going to go and wake her. “Kagome had a bad night. She has a few bruises,” he admitted, “and they look awful, but she is not badly hurt. How did you know?”
“It was on the news last night,” she explained, and at his puzzled expression she was reminded that he knew almost nothing about this time. She would have to explain a lot so he could understand, and decided some coffee was in order for such a long conversation. “I’ll explain, but first let me brew some coffee.”
“Coffee? What’s a coffee?” He asked looking if possible, even more puzzled.
“Don’t tell me Kagome has never given some to you? It’s a very popular drink nowadays.” He shook his head. “Well then, as soon as it’s ready try it, and tell me what you think of it, Ok?” He nodded and then remembering his manners said.
Preparing the beverage took her almost no time, and he noticed the strong and pleasant aroma that came out of a container. It was some kind of very fine dark brown powder, she took several spoonfuls of it and placed them in an odd machine to which she had already poured water. He watched with interest. If this thing was popular probably this process was common, so he had better start learning. He had a good memory, so learning should not be a problem, what was a problem for him was that he still debated about asking questions. The woman solved his problem by telling him what it was.
“This machine is a coffee maker. It can also be used to heat water for tea or ramen, and that’s about all you can do with it. Coffee is drink that comes from another continent. The continent was already there in your time, but Japan had not really made much contact with the outside world then.” She sat opposite him while she waited for the coffee. He nodded storing the information, from her comment it seemed the world was much larger than he thought.
Shippo considered him dumb, the others did too, but he really was not. Being on his own for such a long time, he had stopped using his brain for more than learning how to survive, and think ways of becoming stronger. That was his sole priority before he met Kikyo and heard of the Shikon no Tama. When he was little his ofukuro, Hitomi obaa-chan, and even some of the ladies that attended his mother had remarked on his ability to observe, analyze, and memorize things fast. He had been a small pup then, and his ofukuro had been very proud of this ability of his. It was time he finally put those abilities back in use again.
“You were hurt protecting Kagome,” Asami stated to start the conversation moving in the way she wanted. A guilty expression appeared on the young hanyou’s face, and he looked away from her.
“I didn’t protect her this time.” His voice was low filled with guilt and anger. There was also a low growl in his throat that expressed his feeling of impotence. The woman started at the sound of it. He had never growled in her presence before. It was so much like a dog’s angry growl. “She protected herself, and escaped on her own… I…” he hesitated as admitting this made him feel inadequate and that it was his fault that she was attacked in the first place. “I was here waiting for her like she wants me to do.” He did not add he had been sulking because Kagome was late, but he suspected the woman could guess. She had seen him doing the same on several occasions.
“Then how did you get injured?” She asked surprised that he was allowing her to see more than his gruff attitude, he must feel really bad. From what she had been able to deduct Inuyasha kept himself well hidden behind a mask of indifference, or used his rudeness to keep people away. They had not interacted much, but she was used to observing body language, and to listen to what young people didn’t say but their tones and expressions did. She had counseled troubled teens for several years.
“I went hunting for the thugs that attacked her after I learned what happened.” He decided to be truthful to her, although he was not sure why. It might be that this woman had not shunned him, and even invited him into her home. That was something that had never happened in his experience before. “Kagome says something called a ‘stray bullet’ hit me. The trail led me to the center of the park, I was observing those there when some kind of war at the park between the young humans started.”
Asami’s eyes opened wide when he mentioned hunting. It, along with the strange glint in his eyes, made him look like a dangerous predator. But then, he was a dog-demon so he probably was one. Although her daughter often referred to him as being worse than an immature junior high kid. That was not the image she was seeing now. This young… man was feeling responsible for Kagome’s safety, and had done something about it, or at least tried to.
As the aroma of coffee permeated the kitchen Inuyasha became more eager to taste it. Whatever it was smelled delicious. His stomach growled demanding attention then. Too worried about Kagome he had forgotten about how hungry he was yesterday. He had not eaten for two days. He missed her, but was never going to admit it – not even under the threat of being ‘sat’ until his back broke. The young hanyou had hoped to get large amounts of ramen upon her return, which never materialized. His stomach growled again. Kagome’s ofukuro stood up, took a few things from the cabinets, and a brick like thingy from the ‘re-fri-ge-ra-tor’. Before he could ask, a bowl filled with some very small brown thingies floating in what appeared to be slightly brown milk was placed in front of him.
“Try this. It’s called cereal,” she told him. “Cocoa Chrispis to be exact and its Sota’s favorite.”
He had a slightly mistrustful expression as he sniffed it. There was the smell of rice, milk -he was not really fond of the stuff- something sweet, and… chocolate! He loved chocolate! Sweet foods too, but chocolate was his favorite treat. That convinced him to give it a try using that odd thingy called a spoon. He took a tentative taste, and a guarded smile spread on his face as he went for a spoonful.
“This is delicious!” He said mouth full of Cocoa Chrispis. “Kagome never told me there was something like this here!” He was eating as fast as he could.
‘Shippo would kill for something like this!’ He thought blissfully, forgetting for a moment all his worries and regrets. Certain foods tended to lighten his mood; this one had just been added to the list. ‘Better take the brat some…’ The thought crossed his mind, and then an interesting idea appeared. ‘Yes, let him taste it once, and then I won’t let Kagome take more back. Heh, heh, heh.‘ He mischievously laughed in his mind; a smile appeared reflecting the change of mood. ‘The little twerp will go nuts! But… he’ll also drive us crazy begging for more feh! Still… it might be fun.’
“No talking with your mouth full,” for a moment she reminded him of his ofukuro, “and take it easy or you’ll choke.” Asami said that with a smile. He was behaving like a mixture of a small child, and a puppy. She suspected this was not something he allowed many to see. “Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from if you want.” The coffee was ready; she served two mugs, and left hers black. To his she added two teaspoons of sugar, she remembered Kagome complained every once in a while about having to deal with two demons with a mile wide sweet tooth. “Now try this, careful, it’s hot.”
Inuyasha repeated the same antics of smelling and carefully tasting what was offered. Asami realized he was one of those mistrustful kids. Clear sign of a troubled childhood along with other things she had noticed during his visits. The young man had stayed with them enough times to have developed a certain amount of trust, but this attitude told her it was not as much as she originally thought. On those occasions he dined with them, she had never seen him do this quite so obviously; he sniffed his food in a more discrete manner. But he had been human then, and she suspected his sense of smell was not as keen then, yet he had still smelled his food before eating. The small smile was back and he took a big gulp of coffee. He obviously liked it.
“You were going to tell me how you knew about the attack.” Inuyasha reminded her. His bowl was empty, and he looked at it with a forlorn expression that clearly said he wanted more. She filled it again while she thought how best to explain concepts that were centuries away from the time he lived in.
“You know we have a lot of machines on this time that make things easier for us,” she began and he nodded. “One of such machines is called a television, TV for short.” There it was the TV thingy again. He was finally going to learn what it was. “I’m not sure but I think you’ve seen Sota and Jii-chan watching it before.”
“Watching?” He mussed aloud, as he thought back to the times he had come before. He had seen them go into one of the rooms and sit in front of a box. He never stayed to see why they did it, instead he would go to the guest room, or outside to the Go-Shimboku. “The big black box?” He inquired.
“Yes, that ‘box’ shows us images. Like paintings, but with movement and sound.” He looked quite perplexed, but how could she explain about TV to someone who did not know what air waves or photos were? Perhaps she should just show the thing to him. “You’ll understand better when you see it working. But anyway on the TV we can watch things to entertain, inform, or teach us… Do you know what Kabuki or the theater is?”
“Kabuki? Yes it’s some men representing a story with music.”
“Well you can see stories represented on the TV. But it will also tell you the latest things that happen in the city, the country, or even the world. We call that the News and they get transmitted at certain hours of the day. So people know at what time to turn the TV on to learn what’s happening. Sometimes you get to know about accidents, and earthquakes, or any important event, moments after they happen, or even as they are happening!”
“Wow!” He could not help exclaiming. This thingy sounded awesome. “So this TV thing found out about Kagome’s attack, and told you?” He asked amazed.
“Well yes, in a manner of speaking. But it wasn’t just me; it informed the whole of Japan that something happened at the Sakura Park.”
“But how did it know? Kagome did not see anyone else, and neither did I later… and if it did find out then why did it not help her?”
“It’s actually people that go around Tokyo gathering this information to tell the public Inuyasha. They were not there at the moment -although sometimes they get lucky and are right there when something happens. They did not know it was Kagome specifically, just that a girl with her description was attacked, according to eyewitnesses.” He looked thoughtful assimilating what she told him. “You say she’s fine?” Her mother instincts took over for a moment, Inuyasha nodded.
“She was scared, and she is bruised up, but it is nothing serious.” He reassured the woman again.
“I was worried because lately there have been a couple of murders on that park. The media -the people that work on TV- have been calling the murderer ‘The Park Killer’. Kagome spends too much time down the well Inuyasha. She hasn’t had the chance to catch up with the information that now the park is dangerous at night.”
Inuyasha was in silence for a while digesting the information. In this time that TV thing served several purposes: to entertain, teach, and inform the people. He found that last part interesting, a way to tell villagers what was happening fast instead of having to wait for a runner or a horseman to bring news of far away places. The entertaining part, well… he never liked Kabuki. A few street performances when he was a pup but not the real thing. The teaching thing really caught his attention, perhaps he could learn more about this time with it… he would probably have to ask Kagome’s mother how to make it teach him. Her last words also made him feel even guiltier. By always taking her away he had not allowed her to find out there was danger near her home. Â Somehow his feelings managed to reflect on his face.
“I didn’t mean this is your fault Inuyasha,” Asami said when she noticed his regretful expression.
“But it is,” he contradicted her. “I told her I would protect her, but I didn’t, and… I take her away so I kept her from knowing where danger lay in her time.” Asami sighed. He could not be allowed to blame himself; it really was not his fault. This could have happened to anybody, it had happened to others who had not been as lucky as Kagome was. His daughter was alive, the other girls were not.
“You don’t know this time Inuyasha,” Asami told him in a firm tone of voice. “How were you to know it is as dangerous if not more that your own? I bet Kagome never tells you the bad things about this place, does she? And believe me, as wonderful as this time may seem, there are as many bad things here as there are in your time, or probably even more. I don’t think human nature has changed at all since then.”
“It is true I don’t know this time, and she’s always saying how wonderful this time is… But is this place more dangerous that living in a time where demons run wild?” He was frankly disbelieving.
“We have created our own demons Inuyasha, and believe it or not, they can be worse than the real ones. Now if you have finished, let’s go, I’ll show you the TV.”
He left his dishes in the sink like he had been taught, and followed her to the TV room. He sat on one of the big couches there. She sat on the one beside it, and told him to lie back, and then the thing moved! The lower part raised his legs, and the back rest reclined. He jumped off it in a hurry forgetting, for a moment, the stiffness and the pain on his leg. Asami could not help but chuckle at his reaction. He had the reflexes of a cat… well Buyo being the exception. That was one lazy cat. The young hanyou eyed the couch wearily, and growled menacingly at it.
“Sorry about that, I should have warned you. It’s a recliner seat, something to make sitting in front of the TV more comfortable. Your leg’s hurt so I thought you’d feel better with it raised.” She patted the seat and added. “Come on sit on it, you’ll find it really nice for resting.”
He sat back and cautiously reclined as she did. Now that he new the thing was not going to attack him he could enjoy the feeling, better than being propped on his favorite branch at the Go-Shimboku. He definitely liked it, almost like a bed. She warned him that she was turning the on TV, and not to be surprised about the noise and the images that would appear. Had she not warned him about them he would have yelped, jumped off of the couch again, and used Tetsusaiga to smash the demon possessed thing. As it was he only stared at the lifelike images that appeared, singing some silly thing about the goodness of ramen… something. The certainly had it right, ramen was very good. Two humans were actually eating some of the ramen in a place that looked similar to the house’s kitchen, and he recognized the cup as one of those Kagome usually brought back in her pack. He sniffed but there was no smell.
“How did they get in there?” He finally managed to ask. “How come the ramen doesn’t smell?”
Asami began explaining the commercials and what they were about. For a moment she was certain this was too much for his comprehension, it certainly was not a concept used in the past. But he got it quite fast, which made her think there was much more to him than he let everyone see. She had suspected it, but this was proof of it. Inuyasha was puzzled by the concept of advertising but realized that in a way people in his time did something of the sort in markets, stores, and even inns. Showing their best goods, or having other humans tell everyone how good, or clean the place was, how low the prices, etc.
He began analyzing Miroku’s tactics to get them shelter for the night. Most of the times rumors about them had already reached the village or castle; they were effective demon exterminators. The bouzu used those rumors to get hired, or convince the local chief he needed an exorcism. He complained about helping people most of the times, but anyway they always ended killing the demon that usually had a Shikon no Tama shard; which was what they were really after. They got food, shelter for the night, and next morning the lecher always got money, or some goods out of it. So these rumors as well as the comments from their satisfied costumers were like the commercials of his time.
Asami flipped through the channels trying to find something interesting that would also help Inuyasha learn more about modern times, when she found a news update. This was how she had learned about the attack so she decided to leave it and explain it to him.
“This is a channel 4 news update. I’m Toshiro Takani.” The man was saying, and Inuyasha paid close attention. This was how she found out about the attack, perhaps they had something interesting to say. “We bring you an update on ‘The Park Killer’ case. It appears this mysterious individual attacked again after the supposed escape of a young woman at Sakura Park last night. The police have yet to issue any official comments with regards to this attack.”
“The bodies of four teenagers were discovered brutally murdered early this morning in one of the alleys in downtown Tokyo.”
The scene on the TV showed the outside of the alley, and some of the interior. There were no bodies, but the place was full of oddly attired humans moving about. That strange looking yellow cord kept everyone outside. It was too flimsy to be the one restraining the curious people, so he supposed that the yellow stuff meant you could go no further.
“Two of last night victims were girls that, as our sources inform us, follow the description of the other murdered girls. Brown eyes, dark long curly hair, long legs, and all less than 18 years of age.”
“Unofficial Police sources commented that this is the worst murder yet. Not only because of the brutality, but because two teenage boys were also found dead. There is not yet an official forensics report about the cause of death for the boys but as one police officer said, they appeared to have died instantly by the blow of some extremely sharp object. As for the girls the pattern seems to have been repeated for both them. We tried to get some comments from Detective Seijuro Nomura who, as you know, has been in charge of this investigation since the first murder was reported, but he declined any interviews.” The camera focused on one man. He was foreign looking even if his name was Japanese. He had sandy blond hair, and an extremely white complexion. He was clearly taller, and bigger than most of those around him. He had light blue eyes, and the shadow of a beard on his chin. There were also dark lines under his eyes. He clearly had not been sleeping well.
“There is no information yet about the identity of the young woman that escaped and the possibility that she might be considered a material witness by the police. We will keep you informed of any new developments on this case.Â Please stay tuned and thanks for your attention. This has been a channel 4 news update, now back to our regular programming.”
“I have to go there,” Inuyasha said to himself aloud. Asami turned to look at him, his eyes were unfocused and he appeared to be thinking about something.
“Why?” She asked puzzled.
“Why do you have to go there?”
“To find if the killers are the same men that attacked Kagome.” He did not realize he had spoken aloud his desire to see that place. His eyes were still trained on the TV, even though the images were not there anymore. He did not need to see them again as he had already memorized them. The only problem he saw was to find the right alley; this city was so big.
“The police don’t know that Inuyasha. Besides, they say it’s only one man. How would you know if these people are the same that attacked Kagome? There were no witnesses here.” He tapped his nose, and she regarded him with a puzzled expression.
“The ones that attacked Kagome were two, she told me. But I also found the scent of two different men. I have a better sense of smell than humans, probably as good as a dog’s. I now know how those two smell, it is engraved on my memory. If these men were the ones that killed those teens then I would know,” he explained. This was not something he was used to tell, but all the members of his group understood it, and expected it to be so; and Kagome had learned about it because she had seen it as they travelled.
“This means you were not successful on your hunt?” She had expected him to have found the thugs. The mere thought that her daughter had been the victim of the ‘Park Killer’ was enough to freeze her heart with fear. It would put her in so much danger.
“No… I was not able to locate them. Their scent got lost on the street, there were too many people. I traced it back to the area where the war started, but it was older. They attacked Kagome after being there.” Inuyasha did not like admitting defeat, but he did not want to lie to Kagome’s mother. The woman had been good to him, and was explaining the things he needed to know and understand.
He was quiet for a few moments, thinking. After Kagome awakened from that last nightmare he had stopped trying to sleep. Instead he began pondering on the possible ways of action he had on this time to keep her safe. He reached the conclusion that he needed to learn about her time, even to the point were he could mingle with the people without drawing attention to himself. This was the first time in his life where his clothes hindered him, not to mention his whole appearance, but not in the way he was used to. While before he had been shunned, feared, or reviled, this time people had admired his looks. Inuyasha learned the meaning of self-consciousness, and he did not like it.
The hanyou also realized finding those men was not going to be as easy as he originally thought. There were just too many people on this city, more than he had ever seen at any given city in his time. With that many scents around, pinpointing a couple would be no easy task. Also what little he had seen of the city, he had come to realize it was huge. Still he was confident that in the end he would catch them, only not as fast as he thought. Their search for the Shikon no Tama might be affected with this other search, but hopefully not too much. At least Naraku was lying low, which should give them a respite on their hunt. Also autumn was starting, it was a time when many demons began preparing for winter, and dedicated less time to warring, or causing mayhem. The cold season was a time when few but the snow demons were really active, some even hibernated.
Much as he was loath to admit, Inuyasha needed some help, someone to teach him about this strange time, just as Kagome’s ofukuro had today. He did not see a way of understanding this place, its people, and strange things on his own. The young hanyou also needed to find adequate clothes, and even money. From what Kagome told them, Sengoku Jidai coins had no value here, at least not in their markets. She did say some people called collectors might be interested in the coins. He had a lot of those stashed away in a cave along with some other stuff; those things were mostly mementos from his mother. In his time he was not poor, but he had never really used all the riches he inherited. Now he might need some of those things, but he was not sure if they had any value in this time. Finally reaching a conclusion, he decided to ask Kagome’s ofukuro for help, only to find himself wondering how to call her.
‘How come it’s the small things that suddenly become a problem?’ He groaned mentally, after deliberating a few seconds more, he settled for calling her Higurashi-sama.
In his time only the Daimyos and nobility had last names, but it seemed that in Kagome’s time everyone had one. She had explained that a while back when Shippo asked. For once the twerp had been useful, as he too was curious about it. As a pup he had used honorifics, but this would be the first time he ever called someone like that since his hahaue died. He had become quite irreverent and downright rude with everyone else, but he had learned that this woman was kind and friendly, just like Kagome was. She could have stopped her daughter’s visits down the well or refuse to have a dog-demon in the house, yet she had welcomed him. He felt safe enough in her house to sleep lying down on a bed at his most vulnerable time, even though he still slept with Tetsusaiga close at hand. Inuyasha guessed he could trust this woman, nothing bad had happened to him while at her house. Besides, Kagome’s safety was in her best interest too.
“Higurashi-sama…” She turned to look at him rather surprised to hear the young hanyou calling her that, it sounded so strange coming from him. From what Kagome had told her they young man had never showed respect to anyone, so she refrained from commenting, it had been his choice to use the honorific. “I want to find these men before they get a chance to hurt Kagome, but as you pointed out I don’t know anything about this time and its customs… and I… I…” It was so hard for him to ask for help. Especially when he thought it was a signal of weakness and he had a hard time admitting it.
“You need help?” He nodded and she could see he was feeling relieved at not actually having to say the words. This gave her more insights about who Inuyasha, the hanyou was. “I’ll help you the best that I can Inuyasha.” She paused. Â “But you know? Asking for help is not a weakness. It shows that you’re strong enough to admit you have limitations, like everybody else.” She smiled and it reminded him of Kagome’s smile. Â “Do not be ashamed of asking for assistance.”
Inuyasha turned to look at her surprised that she knew why it was hard for him to ask. He could not allow any sign of weakness to show, for his enemies would use them against him. He had survived to reach his age -which was not very old yet- since he was a small pup because he avoided being seen as weak. It had been a hard lesson to learn. Her words echoed in his mind. He had never seen it in that light before. He knew he had limitations that he tried to hide, but since Kagome and the others were with him it was not easy to do so. They did not seem to mind, and they had helped him more times than he could count. Thanks to their help they had been able to overcome their foes and retrieve the Shikon no Kakera that the demons had. He liked the way it sounded, and perhaps it was true.