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It's A Man's World by Breezy

Gorge

Hi all, this is my first story in quite some time.  If you can't tell from my post history, I am bad at updating and completing stories. I'll do my best to stick with it.

This story is a reworking of a oneshot I posted years back.  It's also a bit of a thought experiment. What issues would Kagome, a modern woman, come up against if she decided to stick it out in Edo? 

Thanks for reading x.


Gorge


It was a man’s world after all.

Delicate fingers firmly held the chopsticks in her hands. She hated feasts, always had. For a time she was pushed to attend them, something about cementing herself as a leader to the court.

She’d hated the ceremony of it; the endless platitudes, machinations, and gossipers. She would rather sit in the gardens or write letters to her friends. Inuyasha visited frequently and brought her news of the village and letters from Sango and Miroku. 

So she was thrilled when she learned she’d put in her time and could finally start skipping them. “Busy with duties” was the word. And so her attendance had slowed to almost a complete stop. Rumors and gossip were quickly dealt with and eventually, for the most part, they’d stopped. She didn’t miss any part of it one bit.

Breathe in, breathe out. Head up. Steady.

No one pays much attention to her anymore but she can never slip, lest an errant drop or dribble garner attention. She’s worked too hard to lose it all.

The upper echelon might have grown to respect her strength and status but she was still a human. Despite the progress she’d made for interspecies relationships she was still just an exception. Humans were faulty, messy, and inelegant. An exception didn’t disprove the norm.

Sometimes she would forget. In the hunt for Naraku, that fact had nary been in the back of her head. Why would it? People might’ve been suspicious of her and the group she allied herself with but they’d respected her power and her station as a miko.

She hadn’t expected the world to change, per se. Or maybe deep down she did. A mixed species, mixed gender group on a sacred mission to stop the destruction of world? I guess one expects their actions to have some kind of impact.

Breathe in, breathe out. Head up.  Hands steady. Bring chopsticks to your mouth. A demure bite. Lips barely moving. Chew, chew, chew until mush. Swallow. Napkin to catch any stray crumb.

No one is important enough to pay attention to here, other than her lord. She sneaks a look at him from under heavy lashes. He’s bored. She knows his ticks enough to tell—the mindless rhythmic tapping of his fingers against the table. An anchor.

A miko and yet not a miko. Worthy of respect but nothing more than a kid in her time. All-knowing yet ignorant. It was the paradox of time travel. Was what she did fated and meant to happen or was she irrevocably changing the future? Would teaching the village children how to swim ruin some larger plan or maybe it didn’t matter what she did? Maybe the universe was diligently watching—she might mess up but somewhere down the line the universe would correct itself in some way and make it right. Or maybe she was meant to change the future and that’s why she was sent to the past? Maybe it was her fate to help demons survive into the modern era they seemed to be missing from?

In any case, she had no clues and no guidepath. So she did what felt right and tried not to make too big a slash when following her heart...

However, one does tend to make a splash gallivanting across the countryside in the search of sacred jewel shards.

Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip-

Long ivory fingers stop. If she didn’t know him like she knew her body she would’ve missed it—his back straightening almost imperceptibly and nostrils flaring, taking in new information. But no other tell. She scans the room.

Frankly, she didn’t know what she expected or what was expected of her. But again, her unique position granted her a far nicer experience of the feudal era than most women in this time.

She’d seen the farmers, the young mothers with hungry children and too little food, the drunkards, the women who saw economic and social mobility and did whatever they could to save themselves. She saw the misogyny and she knew there was violence, they were never far apart. But the ragtag group never lingered in one area too long. Kagome had been exposed to—but never truly immersed—in the culture. It was silly really. She knew it. She'd gone to the library and read up on it shortly after her 17th birthday. She knew the mentality of the time — across many a country and culture — was that women were often second-class citizens. Historians would say that women had their own power and mobility. It was true. She had seen it. She'd seen the matriarchs of the markets running an efficient operation. There were women who would join the ranks of royalty, some would secure their own fortunes, some would write texts that lived on or created works still studied in her time.  But to a modern woman, still living in an inequitable modern world, Edo was occasionally depressing.

She knew it but spent most of her time on the road, with a demon slayer tougher than most people, a monk, a half demon, and a fox demon who treated her like his mother. She was treated equally in those fireside chats, in battle, and in planning. And during those nights under the stars they’d discuss many things—their desire for normalcy, their insecurities, and the bigotry of their world.

But she couldn't ignore history that her textbooks detailed--the history that had yet to come. She didn't have to know all the details to know how the story so often played out. Those with power tend to threaten those without. And those with little power are possessive, unwilling to let it go, and eager to exercise it. 

Demons and high ranking humans controlled most of the wealth and power. And within each of those classes—men ran the ship.

I guess that was one similarity across the species. But wasn’t it like that even in her time? Science and thought leaders had pushed society forward but some dated ideals lingered in the air, like miasma.

She struggled to talk about it, even with Sango who didn’t quite fit the mold of the everyday Edo woman. And she struggled not to compare this era to her time—which for all of its progress still saw inequality that crushed people in its wake.

The occupants of the room hadn’t changed much and no one looked overly cheery or angry. Taking a sip of her wine, she used the cover to comb through the room. An airy laugh rings out and she finds the source. Golden girl. Beautiful, like most demonesses and draped in pale pink. Young. She saunters over to a jovial table—the Takeda clan—face lighting up as she lets loose a delicate smile and the table warmly welcomes her. 

Anyone would look. She meant that. To live among demons and occasionally run into a god or two required her to set aside her vanity and her self esteem issues. She could recognize beauty and not need to compare or destroy herself for it.

Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip tap. A tendril of energy, lightening fast, brushes playfully against her wrist. She smiles, returning the light caress, and returns to her dinner.

Hands steady. Head up. Bring chopsticks to your mouth. A demure bite. Chew, chew, chew until mush. Swallow. Napkin to clean up any stray crumb.

Ah, normalcy.

--

Hope you enjoyed. Let me know your thoughts. Until next time x

 

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