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The Princess In Waiting by Oki

Once Upon a time

~O~

The Princess in Waiting

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Once Upon a Time…

~O~

Enjoy!

“Rin, be careful!” Called Kagome from across the room. Rin grunted as she picked up an old dusty box and sat it on an antique table. She dusted the dingy box and wrinkled her nose at the hint of mildew that settled into it. She grasped the flaps and peeled them away carefully, opening the box to reveal neatly piled sets of books. Rin sighed through her nose in disappointment.

“Oh, it just books...boooorrriiinnnggg!” The young girl muttered boredly. 

“Books? Let me take a look, honey.” Kagome lifted from her crouching position poring over an old law document. She dusted off her Chanel tweed suit and carefully walked through the semi-cluttered attic to the old antique table where Rin had already begun her search of something else. Kagome glanced into the box and her blue eyes lit up like Christmas morning.

She gasped in glee while diving into the box. “Oh my God! My old books from childhood.” She picked up the tween books and marveled in amazement at the old titles of her favorite trash romance novels. “Rin look, this was one of my favorite books!” She showed Rin who seemed to fail at trying to care. Kagome rolled her eyes, she and Sesshomaru were definitely like father, like daughter. 

“Hm,” she said his signature line. “Rin doesn’t see the appeal of it.” She shrugged and turned away. Kagome nearly scoffed. 

“I’ll have you know Sunset was an excellent vampire series, despite what anyone has to say, it was quality literature!” Kagome huffed her rehearsed lines. She’s used this same series of arguments over time to defend her beloved book constantly and they have become common knowledge of her to know off-cuff.

“If you say so, mama…”

“What do you know..” She grumbled good-naturedly as she went through the rest. She passed one other book and landed her eyes on a familiar pink one. She picked it up and turned to Rin again who seemed equally interested in this one.

The Princess in Waiting, ~Tales to read until your Prince has Arrived~” Kagome read the title out loud and felt a jolt of energy pass through her. She chalked it up to the great nostalgia that came from holding her very first book of fairytales. “This book was given to me by a lady when I was your age...Urasue was her name I believe.” Urasue was a strange witch that owned a bookstore near Kagome’s childhood home. Eventually, she went out of business, and while walking home one day, Kagome had seen her giving away anything left of her store and the lady beckoned Kagome’s younger self to peruse. Kagome had spied the pink book and Urasue picked up on it as well and handed it to her. She spoke of how it will make her a princess and all dreams will come true, but only if she believed. Kagome, being as naive as any child, read the book cover-to-cover for years before she finally grew out of it. But now, as she held it- a woman married with two kids, it warmed her heart to think she still had it after so many years. 

“Hey Rin, would you like me to read you a story from this book tonight? I can read to you my favorite one!”

Rin looked at the cover and loved the cute silhouette of a strong prince and delicate princess embracing in a beautiful kiss. It was too cute.

“Yes, Rin would love to hear it!”

That night, after dinner, Kagome had tucked Shippo in before asking him if he wanted to hear the story- to which he exclaimed it was too girly for his taste. Then she went to her husband’s office where Sesshomaru typed away an email to a Museum that was interested in him curating an exhibit. She handed him a cup of coffee from his office’s Keurig maker and gave him a good smooch on the lips. Whispering “Good night honey,” in his ear prompted him to rope her into another passionate kiss before she finally settled on heading straight to Rin’s bedroom.

Rin was ready and tucked in bed as Kagome took a seat in a rocking chair and opened the cover of the book. Rin eagerly readied herself with her favorite stuffed toad youkai plush while waiting for her mother to settle in. Before Kagome began, she asked. "Mama, have you ever been a princess before?" 

Her words momentarily halted Kagome as she pondered them. She then smiled at Rin and leaned to run her gentle fingers through her daughter's bangs. "Unfortunately not, but that doesn't mean you can't be one." She kissed her forehead. This cause Rin to have a smile 50 yards wide as she beamed at the prospect of becoming royalty. 

The book seemed to hum energy that was barely under Kagome's Miko radar, but it was a low, vibration. One that caught her eye, nonetheless. She wondered if this book always had this strange energy. Had she noticed as a child? Nevertheless, it never harmed her before so she settled in and turned the pages to begin on her first and favorite story, “There once was a beautiful young girl named Cinderella…”

 

~O~

Kagome’s body felt stiff. Stiff and tired. More tired than she usually was. She groaned, reading to Rin in that awful chair was not an ideal thing to do to her body. As Kagome move to twitch an arm, she suddenly realized she was laying down. When she did she decide to lay down in bed? She scrunched her face and found it against something unyielding and hard. Since when have her pillows been made out of marble? 

Finally, she decided to open her eyes and the first thing she eyed was a strange wooden object, weathered and dampen from its extensive use. Kagome willed her tired bones to lift her as her mind slowly began to wake up. She wiped the remainder of sleep from her eyes and finally adjusted to where she was. 

She was in a hall. A beautiful hall made of sparkling white marble and fine blue wallpaper. 

She jerked her head back in bewilderment. 

‘Where the hell am I?’

She looked back down and found the object she first saw was actually a bucket. A bucket of sudsy water and a weathered out scrubber peaking from the rim. The ends of her peripheral caught the shreds of a garment on her lap and Kagome finally took note of the rags on her body. Her eyes grew the size of saucers as she gasped at the ratty dress and apron hanging from her body. Gone, was her immaculate Chanel tweed suit and formal pumps. 

‘Where the hell am I?!’

Kagome rose to her bare feet and winced in pain at her aching limbs. She pinched her dress and rose to examine her toes. Her once polished toenails were naked and chipped. Dirt outlined her toenails and coated around her feet and ankles. Kagome nearly fainted at the sight of herself. 

A voice flittered through the hall and Kagome raised her head at the familiar sound. “Kagome, where are you~?” The voice called in a sing-song manner. She padded her feet towards the voice and smiled at the sound.

“Kagura!” She called back, finally someone she knew who would explain what’s happening! Kagura emerged from the corridor and Kagome faltered mid-step. Though this woman has Kagura’s face, she sure didn’t look like her…

This Kagura’s eyes lit up at the sight of finding her and then proceeded to scowl darkly at her. The look in her eyes made Kagome inwardly jump back. This wasn’t the Kagura she knew.

“I’ve been looking for you this whole morning! Where have you been hiding?!” Kagome was too shocked to say anything. Kagura had never spoken like this to her before. In another world, she was her fiery hot friend, but now her tone was demanding, and her demeanor was haughty. She clearly saw herself as Kagome’s keeper of some kind. Sango snatched Kagome’s wrist and proceeded to drag her. That’s when Kagome snapped out of her trance and slapped Kagura’s hand away. She looked at her as if she grew three heads suddenly. 

“Excuse me? You dare lay a hand on me?”

“What the hell is wrong with you Kagura? You’re my friend, not my mom! Don’t boss me around like that!” Kagura further stared her down as if Kagome then proceeded to sprout arms and dance the watoosie. 

Friend?” She spat the word out like it was poison on her tongue. “You’re no friend of mine! You’re hardly a step-sister to me! And when I actually tell father  of your disobedience, you’re going to wish you hadn’t been so brazen!” With that, she turned with a flourish of her red dress and clicked her heels away. 

Kagome’s head reeled in confusion with her words. Step sister? Father? Why was Kagura treating her like some peasant? Everything just seemed so weird right now. She sunk low next to the bucket and stared at her reflection. She was a mess. She raised her hands and smoothed back her hair. Her strands were greasy and pulled back in a sloppy ponytail by a slip of a ripped rag. Her bangs were choppily cropped and clung to her sweaty forehead.

“I must be dreaming,” She whispered to her reflection. “I might just wake up if…” She reached into the water and before she could cup her hands, a thunderous march of heels clacked her way. It was enough to pull her attention away as three figures emerged through the corridor. Kagura had brought back with her, another young woman and a taller man who seemed to walk leisurely towards her. Her eyes widened at his towering figure. She knew this man.

She hated every fiber of his being too.

“Narak-” Before she could finish her words, a sharp slap sent her body reeling over the bucket, slipping its contents across the marble floor. Kagome landed in the sudsy water and released a pained cry as she touched her stinging cheek. 

“I hear you’ve lost your place here, Kagome.” His voice was smooth as silk as he spoke. The underlying danger of his words chilled Kagome’s bones and for the first time since she arrived in his crazy place, she was thoroughly scared. He stepped closer towards her, his boots landing in the puddles. “It would be in your best interest to not forget it again. It’d be a shame for Kikyou to lose not only a mother but a sister to your careless actions.” Kagome finally rose on her hands to meet the eyes of her attacker. Amusement drifted brightly in his crimson orbs as he then kicked the bucket towards her. 

“Clean your mess up and don’t let me catch you sleeping on the job again. You will get more than that next time.” With that, he turned away and walked past the two women. Kagome looked at Kagura as she smirked in triumph and flipped her hair over her shoulder. Her eyes finally landed on the pale woman who stared boredly at her. 

“Kikyou…” Kagome whispered. Kikyou closed her eyes momentarily and sighed.

“Please don’t make any more trouble for yourself.” She said. “It’s hard enough for me to convince him to keep you here. I can’t keep protecting you, Kagome.” Before Kagome could respond, Kikyou turned and walked away, leaving Kagome all alone in the hall once again. Kagome was horrified by the whole turn of events and pulled off her apron to sop the soapy water up. She grabbed the bucket and stuffed her wet apron in it as she rose to her feet. 

She tried to make reason out of this whole thing. “This is like a bad soap opera,” Kagome muttered. ‘So, I have a Naraku, who apparently is father, Kagura, who is my bitch of a step-sister and Kikyou, who is my real sister and we apparently share a mother?’

This sounded oddly like a book she knew…

It was on the tip of her tongue…

What was it?

Kagome found herself floating through the halls of what she could imagine, was a castle. It was tastefully decorated in every room and as she followed her intuition, the halls suddenly grew dull and unfinished. The once bright wallpaper swirling with designs disappeared as she descended further into the home and the walls became unfinished and left with splotches of color. It was then she finally met a plain wooden door that she realized she walked through the home as if she’s done it a hundred times. She shocked herself this time. She decided she needed a moment to sort through herself because if she was going to figure out where she was, she needed to first get out her wet clothes. She opened the door and revealed an equally unfinished and thought of bedroom, barely completed with furniture. She had no more energy to exert over the dull room and simply headed to a giant silver bucket over a rusted metal faucet and cranked it on to pour herself water. 

Kagome realized the water pouring out was frigid cold and looked for a solution for warmth.  But the faucet had one gear- so only one option. She hummed thoughtfully as she looked around the room and found wood piled up in a corner and grabbed a few logs. She then turned around and examined the bucket further and found it was propped high and sitting over a pit for the wood. She carefully positioned the logs and found some fluid in a pitcher and match and proceeded to create a fire. Soon, smoke billowed around the room and Kagome coughed in a frenzy. She looked around and found a window and opened it immediately, watching the smoke waft into the air. Kagome eventually turned off the faucet and waited for the tub to heat, adding another log for good measure. She wiped the dust on her hands from her window, onto her apron and found a chair next to a broken dresser to plop her tired bones in. Already, she was too over this. 

How did she get here? Why was she a peasant while her “family” lived in gowns and a more beautiful refined home? 

Why was this so familiar? 

Kagome swept her eyes around her humble abode and landed them on a pink book laying on her dresser. 

Her eyes widened as she read the swirling glitter penmanship, the book stating:

The Princess In Waiting, ~Tales to read until your Prince has Arrived~

She knew this book. Knew every page, every chapter. Corner-to-corner, edge-to-edge. She envisioned her younger self, absorbed in the mystical worlds this book brought to life in her dreams and suddenly, it began to dawn on her. 

As she opened the book and delicately turned the beginning pages, pass the publication date, pass the dedication, pass the preface and index and stopped firmly on Chapter 1.

Cinderella.

~O~

Thanks for reading and tell me whatcha’ think!

 

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