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Behind the Wisteria Curtain by NovemberDoll

Chapter 1

A/N:  An important note: this is Alternate Universe- Fantasy. Just like my first fic, there will be weird moments. I won’t hold back with the weirdness. Anyone who is expecting this to follow Canon and feudal era will be quite disappointed.  

I’m letting you know beforehand, so that you know what you’re walking into. So if you aren’t into the two being in a different universe and in a story following a totally different plot, then this one might not be for you. 

But if you’ll stick around, thanks. 

Intro only. Longer chapters ahead.  

-Behind the Wisteria Curtain- 

Chapter 1 

***** 

“They’re all here,” the little girl said, “Mama, let me go and greet them.”  

The girl reached out to the window, trying to blink away the fuzziness in her eyes. But no matter how hard she tried, everything seemed like a blur, every outline was obscured. She was trapped in a dense cloud of fog, just like the thick mist that covered the sleepy little town of Hazakura, every second evening in the month of April. 

The thick mist would usually signal rain, and the fireflies would emerge by the creek. The Cherry trees that lined the grounds of the shrine would blossom, bringing in people from all parts of the world. 

Indeed, Hazakura was a very special place, every second evening in the month of April. 

But it was not evening, and it was not April. 

It was a snowy afternoon in the month of November. 

“Kagome, daughter, there is no one outside.” An exhausted, albeit gentle voice, drifted into the quiet room. It was Mayuko, the child’s mother. Tired eyes from lack of sleep, sunken cheeks from self-neglect, the woman looked considerably fatigued. She had spent the whole night looking for her precious little girl, and the wee hours of dawn awake, watching over her as she slept. 

 

“No, they’re here.” the little girl could barely speak, her tongue slurring from the medications administered to her just a few minutes past. “The toad-man, the two-headed dragon… even my white inu …” she rambled, her eyes rolling to the back of her head, fighting the influence of heavy sedation her little body was subjected to. “Why is he here? it’s not even firefly season…” 

 

The girl’s mother shifted her teary-eyed gaze to the other corner of the room.  

A bespectacled man with graying hair and traditional Kimono observed silently, his austere face void of any emotion. It was a face he had mastered throughout the many years of field practice, to patients who did not quite fit into societal norms.  

“Has she taken her morning dose?” he asked, and the girl’s mother nodded. He studied them for a while, until he drew in a steady intake of breath.  “Mayuko, we might need to increase her dosage.” 

 

The woman shook her head. “Since you increased it last week, she could hardly talk.” She curled a protective hand around the little girl’s fingers, which were lethargic and barely responsive. “Doctor, we might be sedating her too much.” 

 

“Mayuko. Why did you call me here?” the doctor said, a hint of impatience leaking out of his voice. The weathered psychologist had traveled six hours from the city just to answer the woman’s distressed call.  

 

Mayuko hung her head and cried, unable to express her frustration. Just last night they had found the girl unconscious, yet again by the abandoned well house covered in wisteria vines. It was apparent that her daughter had been there the whole night, amidst the snow, her body temperature had dropped to the point of hypothermia. 

 

And when the little girl came to, the usual reasoning was that she had to visit her friends, she had to visit her white inu. 

“I don’t understand,” Mayuko shook her head, “No one in our family had a history of mental disorders,” 

 

“It could be a lot of factors, Mayuko. She might have suffered anoxia in utero, there might be some chemical imbalances in the brain, she might have just inherited a defective gene. Imaginary friends are typical, but to a certain point. Her hallucinations…  it’s crippling what’s supposed to be normal development.” He cast a solemn gaze at the shivering child, “And lately, it’s been endangering her life.” 

 

Little Kagome shifted and attempted to stand. “Mama, they’re calling me. They can’t see me in here, they can’t come in unless you invite them in…” 

 

The woman clenched her fists and weakly turned behind her, to the open shoji doors where the girl had been incessantly pointing to. The empty branches of the Cherry trees were overweighed with snow, its slender trunks looking like ghosts lined beside each other; ancient sentinels to the old shrine they were sheltered in.  

 

And the grounds were lonely… 

As lonely as the quiet snow, falling from the heavens, laying to rest on the slumbering earth.  

Lonely, as it was in all the months that were not April. 

“Kagome,” she repeated, “There is no one there.”  

The girl shook her head. “There is.” Kagome insisted, her hands clenched in frustration. “They have something to tell me.  He has something on his hand…” and the little girl gasped. “A sapling? The Kamis have granted us a sapling! I wonder… if it’s a girl or a boy,” she braced her hands to sit up. “I wanted a girl… I asked him if we could name her Rin if it’s a girl,” Her blue eyes suddenly flared with childish excitement. “Mama. I have to find out!” she pulled her hand away from her mother and shot up. 

 

“Kagome!” Mayuko cried out, holding her down. The old doctor rushed to the pair, and with firm hands he held the girl on the other side, pinning her back to the futon. Her mother could not hold her sobs. 

 

“Mama, why are you pushing me down?” tears started to streak from her trusting blue eyes, “I just need to talk to them, I just need to talk to him,” 

 

“She’s having a psychotic crisis.” The old doctor struggled with the girl’s abnormal strength, “Adrenalin is helping her body. We need to calm her down, or she’ll burn herself out.” 

 

“Let go of me,” Kagome started writhing, “What’s wrong with just going outside and talking to them? Let go of me!” 

“Kagome! No one is out there!” Her mother sobbed, as she watched the good doctor pull away and fumble through is medicine bag. He pulled out two vials, and started drawing up the liquid in a sterile syringe, “Kagome please,” Mayuko pleaded, “They’re not real, it’s all in your head… they’re not real…” 

 

“No… no!” the girl screamed, her inhibitions dragged down by the effects of the many medicines, and she ripped away from her mother and darted to the door. But the old doctor caught her, and her mother wrapped her in her arms, restricting her rabid movements, dragging her back to the floor.  

 

“Please, Kagome,” she cried, “My gentle little daughter,” she held the thrashing girl tight.  

 

“We will need to calm her down, or else she hurts herself.” He expelled the air out of the needle. 

 

And it was then that the girl realized what the doctor was holding. She drew back. “Not that,” her eyes darkened, “Please, not that…” 

 

“Kagome-chan,” the doctor said, “This is to help you calm down,” 

 

The girl shook her head, “It hurts! And it makes me dizzy… please no! Why are you giving that to me?” she crawled away, “Why?!” 

 

“Kagome-chan, we just want to help you get through this,” the doctor reassured, so very gently. But the little girl drew back, hiding inside herself, curling into the corner like a withering leaf at the dead of autumn. 

 

All the adults. 

And the children from school. Her neighbors, her family. 

She knew what their silent glances of pity were for. She was aware of the mocking laughter behind her back. The whispering, the way they talked to her as if she were slow to understand. 

Her mother’s tears,  

The faces of the many doctors that visited the shrine. 

“I’m not crazy!” she finally screamed, “I’m not crazy! They’re right outside, can’t you see them?!”  she flung her hands, but her mother and the doctor closed in on her. He grabbed her arm, all the while the little girl resisted. “Why don’t you just let me go to them!”  

 

Mayuko shook her head and looked away. She could not bear to look as the doctor stuck the needle in her daughter’s skin. The woman closed her eyes, trying to drown out her girl’s pained screams. And she tried to bring her thoughts elsewhere, to where it all began. 

It all started with the hallucinations, when Kagome was four. 

Imaginary friends- first it was a white dog with golden eyes. Then more were gradually added: a two-headed beast of burden, a toad-man… a giant cat, a wind nymph. Many others were mentioned. Everyone thought it was cute, everyone was impressed by her creative mind. 

But as the years passed by, Mayuko noticed how her usually bubbly daughter would come home from school all withdrawn and silent. She later found out that Kagome was being bullied because of her wild imaginations. 

At ten years old, it was not normal to be talking about imaginary friends as if they were real.  

It was not normal to insist on seeing or hearing things that a roomful of people could not see or hear. 

It was not normal to be smiling and waving at an unseen person, or muttering silent apologies, engaging in short conversations to nothing but air. 

And it was not normal to fall into severe catatonia… leaving the real world behind, and existing in an imaginary one, for hours…sometimes for days, deep in the confines of the individual mind. 

 

“Her disorder is getting worse.” The doctor said as the thrashing was finally receding, and the girl was merely whispering instead of screaming. Kagome’s eyes fluttered upward, the effect of the sedatives finally reaching her system. 

 

“She can’t live like this for the rest of her life,” her mother said, wiping the tears off her daughter’s cheeks. 

 

“Sesshomaru is waiting,” Kagome now whispered, “Mama… he does not like waiting… he’s a stubborn… little… puppy…” she smiled softly,  

“My stubborn… little puppy,” the girl finally closed her eyes. 

And her mother rested her weary head on Kagome’s form, relieved at the steady rise and fall of her little chest. “She can’t live like this for the rest of her life,” Mayuko absently repeated, stroking her daughter’s hair lovingly, very carefully, not wanting to break the child’s slumber. “Doctor… I don’t know what else to do.” 

 

“I’ll take her with me to Tokyo,” The old doctor said, “If you’re alright with the idea. She will receive advanced treatment there. We will arrange for daily psychotherapy with my top students,” 

 

“Are you saying my daughter will be your test subject-“ 

 

“I will take her under my wing.” The doctor clarified, and there was a curious glint of emotion that veiled over his eyes.  

 

Mayuko sat quietly still. She did not bother to ask for the man’s reasoning, because she already knew. The well-renowned Doctor Akitoki and his wife had recently lost their fourteen-year-old daughter from a narcotic overdose. She was diagnosed with another disorder, and the stigma had apparently affected her more than her psychiatrist parents had thought it had. 

It was too late for their daughter.  

Hopefully, it won’t be for hers. 

 

The doctor shifted, “We will care for her as if she were our own. Her treatment will be strictly regulated by me, and no one else. You can visit her anytime you want,” he said, “We’ll answer for her expenses. And my son Hojo is just about the same age as she. He can keep her company, so she won’t miss her little brother Souta while she is away.” 

 

In what seemed like long moments, the girl’s mother finally conceded. She nodded her head and kissed her daughter’s forehead. 

“Kagome, we’ll get through this.” 

 

And as they busied themselves to make their quiet preparations, the two adults failed to see: outside, at the quiet of the shrine grounds, a thick mist was slowly creeping on the white earth.  

The fireflies were shyly emerging from the frozen creek, and the cherry trees were starting to awaken with fragile little buds. 

And this would always happen to the sleepy little town of Hazakura, every second evening in the month of April. 

But it was not evening, and it was not April. 

It was a snowy afternoon in the month of November.  

***** 

 

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