A collision of two of my favorite series and three of my favorite characters [InuYasha x Mo No No Ke] Set in the 1930/40's; two strangers share a moment of magic amidst the mundane. [Sesshoma...
It had been an odd morning from the outset for him.
The opening of the new railway line had not gone unannounced. All other departures had been rerouted to work around the new schedule, and he was not the only one left to mill aimlessly around the station with time to spare on his hands. But for some reason he couldn't pinpoint for the life of him, he simply could not shake the feeling of being thoroughly ill at ease as he wandered through the throng, no matter what his outward demeanour might have said to the contrary. There was the strangest, lingering feeling of being watched by unseen eyes, and the constant, niggling urge to look over his shoulder. He gave in to the instinct, though once or twice only, under the pretext of checking the clock above the platform, or brushing imaginary dust from the shoulder of his crisp dark overcoat, stealing discreet glances behind him from underneath his eyelashes, but there was nothing out of the ordinary at all he could see.
And yet somehow the spaces in the crowd made him uneasy, as though they were not nearly as empty as they seemed. At one point, he could have sworn he heard a cat yowling nearby, long and loud and hard. The fine hair on the back of his neck stood on end, but when he looked around there was nothing. Nothing. Neither hide nor hair of anything remotely feline in the vicinity, no old lady with a pet-carrier waiting for the train to the veterinarian's office in the next town over, no child with a kitten wrapped up in their coat. Feeling distinctly uncomfortable, and more than a little put upon, he turned on his heel and walked briskly away to the newsstand to purchase a paper, where he took a seat on the nearest bench and forcedly immersed himself in the printed normality. More front page headlines for the mayor, again. Charity work, the opening of the new railway line of course . . . There wasn't a speck of anything remotely shady or underhand to mar that man's name. Personally, he felt it more than a little unconvincing.
His stocks had gone up. Scattered showers were predicted for later on in the week. That penthouse apartment on main street was still available. His horoscope was abysmally off the mark. A cheerful old man with a shiny bald pate, large glasses and a pointed nose loaned him a pen and he determinedly focused on the crossword puzzle, completing it save for one word he couldn't quite pinpoint what with that persistent tingle crawling up and down his spine.
All in all though, he was as perfectly composed as a man could be by the time his train hissed to a stop at the platform. The old man merrily waved him away when he tried to return the pen. Overcoat folded neatly over the arm of his suit jacket, newspaper folded and tucked neatly under the other, he joined the flow of passengers streaming through the doors. A long drawn whistle, and the train pulled away from the platform, impeccably punctual as ever regardless of schedule change.
The carriage was quite full. He gave up an overhead strap to a harried but grateful young office clerk, obviously thrown off schedule like the rest of them, and grasped a relaxed hold of the guide rail. His sense of balance had always been sharper than most. Unbeknownst as to why, he began to feel somewhat better at last as the train left the station by the wayside, picking up speed as it did so, and for the first time in hours he felt his shoulders un-tauten, his stomach muscles relax. He shifted into a more relaxed stance, releasing the bar for one second to fold an errant lock of hair behind his ear. Exhaling a quiet breath, he settled in for the ride.
One look out the window and it all came undone.
He was standing on the tracks.
Unconcerned, unafraid, the figure turned to look at the train as it hurtled out of the tunnel, watching with mild interest as it charged headlong towards him. A pleasant breath of wind stirred his pale hair and gently lifted the hem and flowing sleeves of a vibrant silk haori; sunlight glinted off the corner of an ornate wooden chest he carried easily on his back. His face, composed as it was remarkable, was one that would not fade from memory for a long time, if ever.
His knuckles were white around the bar.
The train's whistle pierced the morning air, though it seemed to come from strangely far away, and they didn't seem to be slowing at all. No, they weren't even trying.
All the blood in his veins drained away; abruptly refilled with ice water.
The youth lifted his head. Ageless eyes met him across a great divide, stilled his body and held his soul in place. Truth was unhidden. Form was apparent. Regret was acknowledged. A smile. A strange, sheathed sword, held aloft like a salute, or maybe even a greeting . . .
And then he wasn't there.
The second whistle was deafening. His teeth were locked together, all his nerves alight, and the train charged through the empty space as though it were eager to prove it had been empty all along. There was no bump, no sudden jolt, no piercing squeal of breaks, no headfirst pitch into the aisle, no screams of horrified women, no bellowing of appalled men. There was only laughter, and low conversation, and all his bones locked into place like iron that had been neatly soldered.
Centuries passed before his blood began to flow again; millennia before he could salvage the propensity to think. The train chugged on, regardless. He half-heartedly wondered if he'd fallen asleep on his feet for a second. The thought looked about itself a moment, mutely hopeful, before hiding its face in embarrassment.
The world seemed somehow different. His sight seemed clearer. His hearing slightly sharper. Even his sense of smell. He looked around with eyes like a hungry animal's. Talking people. Milling people. Dozing people. Untroubled people.
Hadn't anybody else seen tha-?!
Wide-eyed. Stiff-limbed. Silent as the grave. Thirteen years old or thereabouts, skinny and rather undersized under a shock a glossy black hair. Scuffed shoes and red coat; scraped knees and pleated skirt. Pretty in an impish way. White as a sheet.
He knew it the moment he saw her.
As though he'd called her by name, she turned her head and stared mutely at him across the carriage.
The train juddered.
She lost her breath, and dropped her books. He moved.
Two or three bent with sympathetic expressions. He waved them away, courteous as a young prince. The girl was kneeling, fumbling, trying to gather several loose leaves of handwritten paper escaped from a peach-coloured journal. He bent and joined her. They recovered the books. They did not look at each other.
'What did you see?' he said quietly.
Her hand shook.
'H-He was standing on the tracks.' She sounded like a recently plucked flower. 'He was standing on the tracks . . .' He handed her a loose page. 'I - He - He looked at me.' They carefully arranged their own respective stacks. 'H-his eyes were . . .'
They stood. They looked at each other. Her eyes were too big and the girl was too small. Then again, maybe he was too tall.
'D-d-did you see . . .?'
'You look pale,' he murmured. He carefully prised the books from her hands. Turning, he locked on a squat little man with large round glasses and strode across the aisle.
'This girl needs to sit down.' His voice sounded odd when it registered in his ears, but the little man blinked widely and almost eagerly complied, bowing enthusiastically despite the relative command. He even shooed several others in the general vicinity busily away. That done, he shoved himself firmly onto an already overcrowded seat on the other side of the carriage, deaf to the complaints and almost puffed up with pride.
Vaguely bemused, he turned back to the girl and reached for her shoulder, leading her to the seat. She didn't argue. He placed her books neatly on her lap. She placed her hands neatly on top of them.
'Where are you going?' he asked quietly.
She tried to remember. ' . . . To my grandpa . . . To my . . . grandfather's house. To see my grandpa.' She looked up at him, and blinked. 'Ten stops after the bridge,' she recited mechanically.
He nodded thoughtfully. 'I'll take you there.'
She didn't protest. He sat next to her and folded his overcoat across his knees. The newspaper was laid on top. She crossed her ankles.
They were quiet. Life carried on. An accountant asked a waitress for the time. A young man pushed his glasses up his nose. A secretary took out a small gold compact and re-applied her lipstick. A woman laughed. A baby cried. An old man snored. The train whistled.
He considered his reflection in the opposite window.
'Do you see things very often?' he asked thoughtfully.
She didn't answer the question.
'Do you?' she asked.
He said nothing. He looked at her.
She smiled. 'I'm Rin.'
'Takahashi,' he murmured automatically, looking back at the window, and then stilled as the desire to act on his often-repressed instincts lifted its head and howled, long and hard. ' . . . Takahashi Sesshomaru.'
He could see her smile in the glass.
The train whistled, and carried on.
Author's Note: This is, obviously enough, a reincarnation fic, and it's based on the concept that the past does indeed follow us all, making us the people we are in the present. And you cannot deny who you are, as evidenced by Sesshomaru's "transformation" if you will after glimpsing the Medicine Seller. Only then is he able to find Rin again.
If you're unfamiliar with the "apparition" they glimpsed on the tracks, he is known as Kusuriuri, or the Medicine Seller, and he is made of nothing less than WIN. He can be found in Ayakashi: The Bakeneko Arc and his own series Mo No No Ke.