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discovering You-kai by idreamofinuyokai

in plain sight

Kagome looked through the window of her rainy Seattle apartment. The city was bustling with activity, and raindrops dripped from every overhang. The air was exceptionally clear that morning, and with a large breath in, she could be heard from three floors above and below yelling, “good morning, Seattle!” no one ever answered with positivity. 

“Shut up!” someone answered from above.

Shaking her head, she closed the window and set off to the final semester of classes before going home. It was an incredible experience. She had met so many people and gained so much perspective. With unbound freedom, she had explored great forests and mountains. With a rental car, she had seen every monument on the west coast of the United States, and she was overwhelmed with the mixture of cultures and people that lived here. “This is it kagome,” she told herself and walked out onto the busy streets and went to the bus station. Sitting quietly, she counted the busses until hers arrived, and then, stepping up onto the first step, she withdrew her cash and dropped it into the receiver. 

“Good morning, Miss Higurashi.” The bus driver was Japanese. She bowed to him with respect and then high-fived him as she found her seat. Chuckling, he closed the door behind her, and it whirred into motion.

The seats were empty on the 700 bus, but the 7:15 bus would be crowded. She had learned this trick after only a few crowded rides. It was thirteen stops before she would get to the university. Once there, she would be engulfed in the grand estate that the university of Washington possessed. Acres and acres of forests surround the old-style buildings. Everything was state of the art, polished, academics that cared about all of their students, whether local or abroad.

Entering the campus, she was always struck with its beauty and stepping onto cobbled stone walkways. She made her way to the anthropology department, where her doctoral classes were being held. This had been a gamble, the classes were small, and few made it past the master’s degree studies, but when she had made the cut, there was a sense of pride that she had never felt before. She was trailblazing the sense of local deities among the native tribes as resembling Japanese folklore. Still deep in the study, she could see overlaps in appearance but not much in anything else and wondered if she was asking the wrong questions. Thoughtfully she went down the hallway to the first course on her schedule. She had had this professor twice before, and she was nervous about his ambitious workload and expectations of them. It wasn’t a matter of passing the class. She was confident there. But it was the level of thought in her subject that he would challenge. Making cross-cultural connections was tricky, but she had been sure when she had written her proposal.

Thinking still about this, she stepped into the classroom without thinking and took a seat at the front of the class. “Miss Higurashi, you are early as usual.” the professor said happily. Nodding, she was used to the recognition, had worked for it even. With the coming exhibit on Japanese history in Washington coming to the museum, she was sure to be a candidate for an intern position.

“Ohayo, professor, I like to take the 7:00. It isn’t as crowded as the next one,” she said offhand, and he nodded.

“I was hoping you would get here early. I have an acquaintance that is interested in your proposal. He is a professor at the University of Tokyo and is here to guest lecture to introduce cultural examination in practice. Would you be willing to talk to him after class? I think it will help your dissertation to have another perspective, with this specialty.” he was kind, walking over and handing her the card he was given.

“Really? That will be very interesting,  sure.” she nodded and tucked the card into her jeans pocket before taking out her notebook and starting to copy the notes from the smartboard.

 Filing in one by one, her classmates joined her. Several of them were familiar. The last year and a half had been excellent with little if any aggravation between them. All thirty of her classmates were disciplined, determined, and looking forward to the classes as much as she was. 

“Hey Kagome!” a woman with dark brown curls sat down next to her, and with a familiar hug, she caught her up on her spring break affairs. Kagome laughed, enjoying the carefree state of her friend when the guest speaker entered the room. 

“Whoa, Kagome, look at him.” Rain elbowed her and gestured towards a man that looked as if he had come out of feudal Japan. He wasn't just wearing any Shinto robes, he wore a regal robe of silver and purple, and his eyes showed deep amber.

“What the-” Kagome began to stand up when the demon looked at her, and with a small look of recognition, he nodded, and as if no one else in the room saw him for what he was, he approached the professor and shook his hand.

“ it has been too long, Professor Taisho. We are happy to have you.” he smiled gratefully, and the demon seemed to take on that attitude as well.

“It has been quite a long time since I have been here in the pacific northwest. I am happy to be back,” he said with no further introduction. Professor Taisho walked to the smartboard and began to lecture. Kagome leaned to rain and, with a quiet voice, asked.

“What do you think of his clothes?” she asked, and Rain looked at her questioningly.

“ I'm not one for the business suit guy but, he's great looking if that's what you're asking.” she was honest. Behind her, she could see the demon smirk, letting the movement look natural as he moved from one point to another. Many people had questions, and with little hidden motive, the professor pointed kagome out to ask him a question.

“Seeing as she is earning her doctorate on cross-cultural influences, she must have some good questions for you.” he was grinning purely in his genius when kagome froze under the killer stare of a purebred dog demon. With the demonology background, she was sure that this man before her was indeed an ancient demon disguised.

“What do you think about the practices of animatism here in the USA as compared to the practice of local kami in our home of japan,” she asked, and with a growing smile, she could see his wheels turning at her question. 

“Yes, I see. I have seen many scholars working on demonology in a similar practice. Still, I would say that it was not the demons themselves that resemble the Japanese demons. It is the ritualistic practice that overlaps. I think if you look at the ritual, you will be fascinated by what you find there.” it was an honest answer, and, with the input, she bowed thanks and made a note of it in her journal.

The professor beamed, and with the rest of the class interested in the demons of japan, there was plenty of more discussion on them. Kagome felt the slight glances she earned from both professors and tried to stay neutral. She had some questions for the demon. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to uncover the truth of their power. 

The hour ended with chatter on all sides of her. Kagome was swept up in it too,  but as she began to exit the class, she was reminded that she was due a conversation. Rain smiled at her and made an obscene suggestion, which she ignored and turned back to the demon who disguised himself.

"I see that you are trying to make a demonic connection.” he joked, and kagome turned red. The professor behind him snickered and began packing his things. 

“ I hope you don't mind, but I have another class in 30 minuted, and I still have to go to my office.” he made his presence available if they wanted to go to his office, but the Japanese professor declined.

“I would be happy to discuss this over lunch if the student lounge is open?” he suggested, and the professor pointed and nodded.

“That's a good idea, miss Higurashi, don't forget to lock the classroom behind you,” he said as he closed the door behind him. Kagome began to call him back, and when the door closed behind him, she put the classroom space between them.

“You are a demon!” she said, and he smirked and nodded.

“Be careful what you say that to, Miss Higurashi, someone may confuse your enthusiasm for insanity. So no pretenses, I am the demon lord Sesshomaru, and you may call me Professor Taisho,” he said with superiority evident.

Feeling a sickening sinking in her guts, Kagome felt her legs give out, and she grabbed hold of the chair in front of her. “No! What did I do? I haven’t done anything wrong,” she said, and he shook his head.

“ I am here because I need you to return with me to Japan, Japan Kagome. You will continue your studies at Tokyo University, where we will uncover a great monument to our country,” he said, and she froze.

“What! What monument. I am not going back. I am close to a doctorate here in the United States, I am good at English, and most of all, I don't want to go back.” she argued with him, and with a sigh, he approached. Trying to dodge around the desks, she began for the door. He was in front of her instantly. She hadn't seen him move but cursed her stupidity in the running from him. Backing away slowly, she was caught like prey in his amber stare.

“Come, let's talk over lunch, there is much to discuss on the matter. When you hear the entire situation, I'm sure you will want to come home,” he said, and she sighed, not sure if she could get out of this.

“ if I refuse?” she asked.

He smirked and walking to the door, he opened it for her to run. “you may try, but I assure you I will make you help me in the end.” he swore.

“Why me?” she complained. She went to the door and walked out, moving quickly to the next hallway, but he was at her side the whole time. Classmates passed happily, some checking out the new professor and others ignoring them completely.

“ it's because of your grandfather. I owe him my life, and because of that. I will give you credit for the biggest discovery of japan. The citadel of worlds.” he said. She stopped.

“Your joking.” she snapped impatiently. “How do you know where the citadel is? No one knows where it is. That’s the point,” she argued, and he reached into his pocket and withdrew a coin. Putting it into her hand, he watched her face change into a mask of amazement and hope. Eyeing him, she still didn't trust him.

“I know my grandfather, what could he have possibly done to make you give us this honor?” she asked. They spoke in Japanese, letting the passers-by go on about their business. Some Japanese students paused hearing their dialect but passed in a hurry to their next classes.

Lord Sesshomaru was a formidable character from folklore. He was worshiped in various forms and was popularized in festivals for the guardian in the western prefecture. Wondering just how far that this would go, she wanted to say yes, but the expense of her tuition was too much to pack up and leave.

“What about we do this during the summer after I get my doctorate. You know I am incredibly busy.”

“We simply do not have the time. There is only one window, and it has presented itself,” he said, and she looked at him dubiously. Her stomach growled, and he let the opportunity guide them into a restaurant inside of the student recreational area. Students passed the ancient demon, thinking that the professors seemed to be adapting well to his guest lecturer role. A few asked if he would transfer universities, I Kagome watched his response with interest.

“I have some business here that I could use backing for. Perhaps it may be a good idea.” he looked at Kagome with a silent smirk, and she only ignored him in favor of her pizza slice.

“You're not eating?” she asked, and he shook his head.

“ I only eat fresh meat and human bones,” he said earnestly. She dropped her pizza, and he laughed. “Only a joke,” he said, and she swallowed her half-chewed bite and set her plate to the side.

 “We are talking about going back to Tokyo?” she said, getting to the point.

“ yes, I have a team of researchers looking for this site, the window is for the next five months, and with this time, we will be able to find and expose the secrets of the citadel,” he said, and she took in the project with little skepticism.

“Why do you need me again,” she asked, and he finally understood that she didn't realize.

“What do you see when you look at me, Kagome?” he asked with all seriousness.

"I see a silver-haired inu youkai. Feudal robes, and a great amount of power around you." She said.

Nodding, he answered, " so I am. But the skill to see through my transformation magic is only available to a powerful priestess. You are the last member of my team, and it at no small request. I have the support of the eldest of demon rulers to take on this task."

Kagome felt her head spin, and taking in the importance of the job, started to speak once more. He interrupted. " we will cover the costs of the tuition that you have already paid and be awarded a doctorate in demonology from Tokyo university upon completion.

She was tempted at this point. Kagome wanted the doctorate, and most of all, wanted it to be a subject where she would make a difference for her country on a global scale. Taking a breath, Kagome nodded before looking up at the handsome demon. I will do this. For Japan and my doctorate."

He nodded,  hiding his relief. She was going to be a handful, he could already tell,  but she had agreed, and that was the most critical part.

At the End of the school day, Kagome got back on the bus to go back to her apartment. The sky was dark, and the rain was threatening, but her thought was on humid nights and warm summer festivals. Sighing, she turned the knob of her apartment and, turning into the small space, she smelled the aroma of cooking meat and with alarm, ran to the kitchen, and found herself face to face with Lord Sesshomaru, once more.

“What are you doing here?” she asked with alarm. He shrugged.

“ I found it on the way to my hotel and canceled my reservation,”  he said.

“Why!” she nearly shouted.

“Because I wanted to see where you had been living while here in America,” he said simply.

“ and you decided to stay?” she was astounded at the nerve of this demon. He looked at her, confused.

“I thought you would be happy to have a countryman in your home,” he said and went to the table. Kagome looked at him for a second and then, sighing, put her keys on the side table and began to put her things away. “ you are welcome to the couch.” she said politely. He nodded and watched her walk around the apartment as if in ritual. She was prepping a small meal, turning on the television, and taking out her books that held page markers upon page markers. Her laptop was on the table, and opening it slowly, he unlocked the screen and began to look through her notes. The documents were haphazardly filed but had an absolute chronology that told him she had worked hard to get to this point when he found the proposal though he squinted at the thesis and shook his head.

“What are you doing?” she said, and he shrugged.

“You are off the mark,” he said, and she looked offended.

“ you-” she started and then looked at him with a new thought forming. She went to the laptop and took it from him before opening an original document.

“What are you doing now?” he asked, observing her.

“ I am writing a new proposal since I will be changing schools. I can explore a more locally supported thesis. I will get to the bottom of your plan if it's the last thing I do. Inuyoukai has always been in the western prefecture. Who are you really, and why do you want to find the citadel?” she said, continuing to type as she spoke. Sesshomaru looked at her with some alarm.

“ I am what I am,” he said, and she snorted.

“I'll just have to see.”

Sesshomaru mused at the near interrogation that he endured afterward. He told her what he wanted and then was silent. She noted all of the places he was quiet and began working from there. “What a nuisance she has become. “ he thought. Looking back at her through the artificial light in her apartment, he could see how diligently she explored the idea of his deviousness. He shook his head and retreated into meditation. Everything would work out. He was convinced that all she would need was the familiar steps of her past life to remember what she was, to him. “Soon, Kagome.” he sighed.

AN: Glad to be back. I thought I would try another story. I hope you all enjoy this one as well! please review and tell me what you think! thank you as always!

idreamofinuyoukai, out!

 

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