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Han-Kichi: An Omijuki Epilogue by ironlotus

Act I, Part I: Prologue

AN: Aaaand we’re back! Belated as always because real life is a thing and being an adult is hard. But we’re back!

Just a heads up, duders. These chapters are long. I tried to make the story rich enough, and conversely pared down sufficiently so I wouldn’t overwhelm myself by making the story too complex, but, uh…

That said, I can’t say that I’ll be posting frequently but I do hope to be posting regularly. There will only be three of these suckers, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, but as they’re long and I’m trying to be realistic about my production schedule, I’m anticipating MONTHLY updates. I know that each chapter is divided into parts, and theoretically I could update with just one part each time, but, all of these parts are meant to be read together, so that’s not how it’s gonna go down. I hope you understand!

Anyway, enough from me! I’m happy to be posting again! Let me know what you think – I’ve missed you guys!

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Han-Kichi : An Omikuji Epilogue

Act One

In Five Parts

 

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I

Prologue

             

              May this be the year that brings happiness like no other!

              It was the same wish every time. After the year she had just had – her Great Curse – she really felt the need for a complete change in her luck. And this Omikuji fortune would deliver it.  Today, New Year’s Day, her new beginning was in her very hand.

              Sesshoumaru walked up to her and looked at her curiously, maybe noticing the suddenly anxious expression on her face. His eyes went to her fingers, as though anticipating the big reveal. But Kagome wasn’t quite ready to unfold the paper that would determine her fate. With a fortifying breath, and a reminder that ‘Whether in good or bad fortune, you should tenaciously do your best; You can carve out your own fortune’, as the posted placard to her left said, she braced herself.

              “Okay,” she uttered aloud, finally ready. Slowly – ever so slowly – she opened the parchment. She looked past the paper and into the air ahead of her until the fortune was completely unfolded. “Okay,” she said again, before letting out a long breath, which puffed into the cold winter air like a cloud of steam. For the briefest moment, she had the urge to crumple her fortune up, shove it into her pocket and never look at it again.

              But Sesshoumaru was having none of that. “What does it say?” His resonant voice beside her shattered her concentration.

              Heartened a little by his presence beside her, Kagome turned her gaze up to his perfect face. He was excruciatingly handsome, and his expression of unsatisfied curiosity was both charming and new. He moved closer to peer over her shoulder, eyes flicking around over the sheet in her hands. With a deep breath in, she reassured herself one last time. Then she too looked down.

              And gasped.

              But her sudden delight vanished when, vision refocusing, Kagome looked at both of the characters at the top, and not just the one that first caught her eye.

              Not just “吉” – Luck – which would have merited the gasp of excitement, but “半吉” – Half-blessing. Whatever remained of her good mood fizzled.

              After struggling through twelve months with the cloud of Dai-Kyou, Great Curse, over her head, she was barely gripping onto her tenuous hold on reality. She had been hoping for something that turned things around from the way they had been the year before; something definite. Smooth sailing – happiness like no other – is it really so much to wish for?

              But apparently it must be. Those two characters in bold print were a splash of lukewarm water that spoiled her mood. “Han-Kichi”. Half-blessing. Not all bad, but just uninspiring enough to make her throat tighten in anxiety.

              She skipped over the poem at the top to read through the different fortunes specified below. It was a mix of good and bad, as one would expect from a ‘half-blessing’. Progress in studies, which ominously included learning “that which you did not seek to know”. No marriage proposal, again, even though this time it was less inconceivable a prospect than it had been at the start of the previous year, considering the man beside her.

              What a mess of a fortune.  

              Frustrated, she turned her eyes back up to the poem at the top. Reading last year’s poem through again at the end of the year, just a few minutes ago, had kind of pulled everything together into a tidy lesson about life. Maybe reading it more carefully at the outset would help her to make sense of this half-boiled fortune in her hands.

              But no. Despite multiple re-readings, the pretty image of cherry blossoms falling and being swept up on the breeze gave her no further insight to the flip-flopping fortune written below it [1].

              Her hands trembled in the cold, and she folded the strip of paper up slowly, brow furrowed in thought.

              “What will you do with it?” he asked. “Will you tie up it as you did the previous?”

              Kagome shrugged, looking at the man whom she would challenge for love, and fail— who would not propose to her. She knew they were just silly words; that she didn't need to live her life by this little sheet of paper. But last year's fortune had been frighteningly accurate, and though she had come out of it for the better, having tenaciously done her best, she had a sinking feeling that she was in for a similar struggle this coming year.

              With a deep sigh, she reached her hand out for his and deposited the paper, now tidily folded once more, into his palm. “You decide,” she said, and his eyes widened minutely in surprise. “It was nice to read back on it at the end of the year,” she mused. “But I don't know that I want to have it on my mind for the next twelve months.”

              “You will not wonder?” His eyebrow quirked upward in disbelief.

              “I mean, I will. But only for a while. Life is too short for a long memory.”

              His lips squeezed together in a funny way, as though what she said unsettled him. “I will meet you by the steps,” he said finally, closing his fingers around the fortune. She nodded and turned away, the burden of deciding her fate now tidily passed off to his eminently capable hands.

.

半吉 

Han-Kichi : Half-Blessing

 

Not at all like snow

so ready to melt away—

these cherry blossoms,

fallen but then lifted again

by storm winds in the garden.

 

恋愛 Love: Your challenge will meet with failure.

病気 Illness: Prepare for a long illness.

学問 Studies: You will learn even what you did not desire to know.

争事 Competition: You will be your biggest competition.

願事  Your Wish: Your wish will be realized.

商い Business: Do not mix business and pleasure.

縁談 Marriage Proposal: It will not come.

待人 An Expected Visitor: They will arrive when you need them.

旅立ち Travel: Travel will prove fruitful.

失せ物  A Thing You Have Lost: You will find it if you search for it.

 

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Footnotes:

[1] This, and all the other waka in this fic, are English translations of 5-7-5-7-7 syllable poems by Tonna, which I am excerpting from the book Just Living: Poems and Prose by the Japanese Monk Tonna, by Steven D. Carter.

 

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