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Sons of Heaven by Sp@ceMonkey

Chapter One: Kagome, Kagome

The sun was a searing red ember on the horizon, so low that it appeared to be laying on the rooftops of the lower bailey.

Kagome looked up at that red orb as often as she dared, mapping its slow but consistent slide down the shingles, ever closer to the horizon. The dramatic sense of a deadline approaching was added to by the fact that she didn’t chance a look too often lest she trip or worse, crash into one of the people regarding her with bemused exasperation as she flew past them. She supposed she was quite the spectacle (she usually was) hair flying, chest heaving and bare feet slapping against the cobblestones as she dashed through alleys and between houses.

The heavy, cylindrical furoshiki she had tied and strung over her shoulder slapped against her back and knees as she turned a corner and finally caught sight of the hill on which her family’s shrine was situated. Kagome hit the stone stairs at a dead run, taking them two at a time.

As she passed under the fading red torii at the top of the stairs the sun dipped below the horizon, casting the sky in a dozen shades of red and pink. The girl didn’t dare pause to admire it. Instead, she bolted for the wide porch of her family home, making it to the threshold seconds before the deep purple of evening stole over the clouds.

Kneeling, Kagome gripped the edge of the screen with nerveless fingers and pulled it back as quickly as she dared. Creeping silently into the tiny front room, the young girl tucked her bag close to her stomach and hastily wiped her dirty soles with the bucket of water and rag left in the genkan for that purpose.

Kagome almost crawled across the mats of the main family area. Holding her breath, she crept past the screens that blocked off her grandfather’s dark rooms… and then her mother’s… the screen of her mother’s room glowed gold, the light of a candle dancing on the paper and outlining the slender figure of the woman within. She hasn’t checked yet…There’s still time…

She was so close… just a few more feet and…

“Kagome, is that you?”

She froze. Like a mouse facing a falcon, the young girl didn’t move a muscle, sitting rigid with one hand reaching out in vain for the dark screen that lead to her room, and safety.

Her mother’s fan clicked closed audibly through the screen. She heard the older woman shift.

Defeat. “Yes, Mama.”

“Well, come here.” Her mother’s voice was mildly irritated.

Before she had even stepped foot in the room, Kagome was protesting “I’m not late Mama I—“ She stopped when she found the woman playing Go with Souta. The skinny boy regarded his sister over the game board with serious, dark eyes. He was a small boy for being nearly eight, and his back had a noticeable hunch to it which her father always had said was from reading too late into the night. Kagome’s fingers clenched convulsively on the strap over her shoulder as his eyes settled on her bag.

“She was doing it again, Mother.” He intoned drily. “I told you.”

Kagome winced. Knowing what was coming, she flushed and fidgeted as her mother whirled, turning wide eyes away from the game which Kagome could see she was only a few moves away from losing.

“Kagome!” Immediately going from mildly reproving to flushed and distressed, Junko Higurashi hurried to her daughter and fluttered about her, patting her cheeks and shoulders as if to check for injury. Kagome pushed her hands away. “Mama, I’m fine.”

“Kagome it is dangerous to be engaging in such things! Dangerous and quite unsuited for a young lady!” Junko snatched the furoshiki and waved it like evidence, which Kagome supposed it was. “Not to mention quite forbidden! If any soldier had seen you--!”

“No one did!” Hearing the slight thread of panic that was working its way into her mother’s voice, and realizing the state she would work herself into, Kagome spared a dirty look for her smug brother, who was staring at the Go board with a little smirk on his face, and grabbed her mother’s shoulders. “Mama! It’s OK, I’m OK—no one saw anything, I promise.”

“Kagome, you know that your position makes this sort of thing…”

I didn’t do anything wrong!” She shouldn’t have said it. As soon as the words left her lips Kagome wished she could take them back, but it was done. Her mother’s dark eyes shuttered abruptly, her whole face seemed to collapse into age lines, the animation abruptly gone.

“I know you didn’t. Nevertheless, you need to be smart. This,” the scrolls in the tube rattled as her mother shook the furoskiki for emphasis, “this is not smart.”

Mama was right. Most of Kagome didn’t really care, but she knew she ought to. If only she could be smart, like Souta.

“I know Mama. I’ll take them back in the morning. I promise.”

Mama’s eyes were stern. “You will take them back quietly.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

--

In her room Kagome lit a tallow candle, the sputtering amber light was harder to read by, but she wasn’t supposed to be reading.

The waxed tube was mocking her. She stared at it, biting her lip. She shouldn’t be reading.

The breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding wooshed out of her. She grabbed the tube. She’d already gotten in trouble for it anyway, she might as well get what she went through all the trouble for.

--

Kagome’s fingers trembled as she unrolled the dry, thin scroll. Time had faded the black ink some, but washi paper was fantastically stubborn when it came to holding on to ink: even in the poor light the words were legible.

The words written by the last miko. The last ones like her.

It was a page of prophecy’s. Kagome heart sored as she read the predictions from ages past. Some of them were still yet to be fulfilled! Most of them didn’t make sense, but a few she had learned about in school. She sighed, to be able to see the future! What must that be like? Maybe someday, if she could develop her miko powers a bit more…

At the bottom of one page a poem caught her eye. It wasn’t dated; there was a strange number in the place that was usually reserved for the year of the emperor’s reign that it was written in. 976… that can’t be right. A nine hundred year reign?

Two Stars in the hill  

Glowing brightly for the dark

Time is like the ocean

Keep watch on the sky

Mighty Child of the Valley

Will see stars again

Kagome stared at the lines, her hands slack on the paper. Stars, huh…?  Her eyes unfocused and she could feel a tingling spread down her spine. “Stars… stars glow… not the normal kind of glow…” the dull yellow light of the candle seemed weirdly distant all the sudden. Somewhere, it was dark. Not dark like her poorly lit room, but dark. Somewhere, there was a place where no light could ever get in, and yet, they can see…

“Loss was inevitable.” Souta’s voice was soft, but for Kagome it was earth-shattering. She jerked backwards so hard the scroll went flying. Who…? What…? Dazed, she cast around as her brother continued stoically informing her mother of how he had beaten her at their game.

She gathered everything up and put it away, twisting the top on the furoshiki with shaking fingers. That was ah… that was enough for tonight.

What was that?

--

Fin

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A/N- Hey all. If you are familiar with this story you may notice that some things have changed (Like the prophecy, which is now a Hakiu… sort of?) I am keeping the same theme—sort of dark/suspense/action with of course some romance, I am a sucker for the romance!

I would be interested in a beta, if you are in to that sort of thing. Let me know, maybe we can jive. 

Sons was always a story that I had some “wish I would have” or “I need to fix…” type thoughts about, but I never really sat down and dealt with those things. Basically, after a while I forgot how I was going to end this whole thing, and at this point I feel that my writing style has changed and matured enough over the past years that the most sensible thing to do is just overhaul this whole thing. Hope you enjoy!

Best,

-Sp@ce

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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