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A Modern Miko by Clio

A Rocky Beginning

Disclaimer (because they aren't mine) - The InuYasha canon and its characters belong toRumiko Takahashi.

Suzuki family (c) me

Originally Published: April 13, 2012

Dark clouds were never a good sign. Kagome couldn’t really think of once in her life when they’d heralded anything but trouble. Her earliest recollection of something weather related was the death of her father. He’d just gone out to get some groceries for dinner. On the way home, a car had careened out of control on the wet roads and hit him. Dark clouds always brought back dark memories for Kagome...

As she set out that Saturday morning, she couldn’t help but glance nervously up at the obvious weather front building quickly in the distance. If it decided to really come down, her umbrella wasn’t going to do her much good. Sighing, deciding there was nothing for it, she pushed on. Her job wasn’t very glamorous, but it put a bit of money in her pocket. The shrine was doing well, but not so well that she felt right asking for money to go buy a new dress or a pair of shoes.

The rain started just as she pushed open the back door of the flower shop where she worked. Even though she was running a few minutes late, she couldn’t help standing and staring out at it for a moment or two. Hearing the bell ring as a customer entered, she quickly shook off the spell she seemed to be under, snagged her apron off its hook, and hurried out into the front of the shop. A wolf youkai stood at the counter, his eyes locked on the owner’s daughter. Sachiko, who usually lived up to her name by being welcoming and cheerful, didn’t seem terribly thrilled with the attention. Her ears were flattened backwards in a way which most people knew meant NOT HAPPY, BACK AWAY. This particular customer, however, either didn’t notice the telltale sign or didn’t care. Seeing that he himself was obviously a youkai, what with the tail and facial markings, Kagome would have put money on the latter.

Not sure whether she should interrupt or go find Sachiko’s parents, she watched in growing concern as the man reached towards her friend. Taking firm hold of her chin, he said quite clearly, “You’re plenty old enough to take a mate, little hanyou...Why don’t you and I get to know one another a better?” His words were followed by a chuckle which made Kagome’s insides twist.

Having grown up in a world where youkai and humans had managed to coexist in relative harmony for several centuries, she could easily list a great number of youkai whom she would count trustworthy. This particular specimen, however, was never going to be among them. Something about him simply seemed...off. Deciding that getting the hanyou’s parents was the best option, she turned to leave the room, only to hear her friend’s rumbling growl turn into a yelp of pain.

Spinning back to face the two, Kagome was rather shocked to find her friend being held several feet off the ground, her neck in the powerful, claw-tipped hand of the smirking youkai.

Kagome was terrified. Her mind darted back and forth between “doing something” and “getting help”. Her decision was made for her however, when the youkai laughed nastily before tightening his grip on Sachiko’s neck even more. If the girl had been a human, it probably would have killed her. However, that didn’t mean she wasn’t in pain. Seeing the girl’s face begin to turn color, Kagome felt her fingers go numb. To her left was a shelf filled with decorative, inscribed stones and small statues. Reaching out she quickly picked up the a round rock which read: Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. Pulling her arm back she threw it as hard as she could at the menacing youkai.

However, instead of doing what most rocks do when thrown, this particular one lit up like a lightbulb and then exploded. It wasn’t a huge explosion...it wasn’t even a large explosion. However, it was an explosion, which no matter the size is not something you expect when you throw a rock.

With a howl of pain, the youkai dropped the hanyou before spinning and focusing on her rescuer. Backing up as far as she could go, Kagome watched as he drew himself up to attack. He didn’t get much farther than that, though. Sachiko’s father, who was also the owner of the shop, burst through the backdoor, snarling as he locked eyes with the “customer”. Within a matter of moments, the smaller wolf was dashing out the door, his tail, literally, tucked between his legs.

Haruna Suzuki, who had followed her husband into the room, was now kneeling next to her daughter, concern and anger flashing in her dark eyes. “Sachiko, are you alright?”

Nodding, the woman’s daughter continued to massage her neck. A handprint could barely be seen, and it continued to grow fainter as the seconds ticked by.

Kagome was still standing with her back against the wall, eyes wide as she tried to process what had just happened.

Sachiko’s father, himself a wolf youkai, slowly turned to face his daughter’s friend and fellow employee. “I think we would all like an explanation, Kagome.” His voice was neither accusatory nor entirely friendly.

Kagome, if she admitted it to herself, wasn’t really that surprised. Youkai and humans got on well, so long as their respective powers were kept discreetly out of the picture. Before she could do more than open her mouth and make a few inarticulate noises, Sachiko interrupted.

“Father! Kagome just saved me!”

“I’m well aware of that, Sachiko. That wasn’t what I asked.” Bending over just slightly, he looked Kagome directly in the eye and said again, “An explanation, Kagome.”

“I...I don’t know what happened...” She wasn’t sure what to tell him. Even though her family kept the local shrine, she had never, not even once, manifested any sort of spiritual power. Granted, her awareness of youkai was perhaps a bit stronger than most other humans her age, but she’d never expected anything like that surge of power she’d felt when she’d thrown the rock. Knowing he wanted more than that, however, she continued, “I came in from the back and he was bothering Sachi...I didn’t know what to do! I was going to run over and get one of you, but then he grabbed her by the neck...I felt my hand go numb and then when I looked at the rocks, I decided it couldn’t hurt to throw one. I honestly had no idea it was going to explode when it hit him!” Her voice had gone from unsure to pleading. What she was pleading for, she didn’t know. Mercy? Understanding? Nothing about the situation was making much sense to her.

Haruna, who had helped her daughter to stand, glanced over at the display which Kagome had pulled her weapon from. Sighing, she ran a hand through her hair and said, a little darkly, “Let’s just be glad you didn’t pick up any of the statues...I don’t know what would have happened if you’d thrown something pointed at him.”

Kagome’s eyes widened as she quickly turned to look at the objects on the shelf, as well. Sure enough, only a few inches farther down from where the rock had once sat, was a tapered statue of a young woman. If simply hitting him with something large and round had wounded him like that, what would have happened if the object had actually managed to pierce his skin?

“Mom!” Kagome was startled back to reality when her friend let out of small growl of displeasure. “She saved me! What does it matter if she hurt him? I’m glad she hurt him!”

“Not now, Sachiko,” came the deeper voice of her father, who was still watching Kagome closely, though now from a safe distance.

I’ve become something he was taught to fear as a child, Kagome thought to herself. Even though what she had done was merely to protect his youngest daughter, her actions still set off red flags somewhere in his head. She’d learned about all that from her grandfather, back when she was still too young for them to know if she possessed any true power. The kindly voice of her oldest living relative echoed in her mind, saying, “Youkai learned to fear, truly fear, only one type of human. A select few were granted the powers of purification. With a single touch, they could wipe out a youkai’s very existence.” She had been awed by the idea then, but now she felt sick. In a world where youkai and humans were no longer at odds, she had become one of the few things the former still feared and the latter still revered.

The moments ticked by after this, no one saying anything, while the rain continued to pour down outside. Kagome could tell that Sachiko really wanted to say something, so she spoke up, before that could happen, “I’ll...I’ll just go home.” As she inched closer to the back door, she added, “I’ll talk to you later, Sachi.” And with that, she was gone. Not thinking to stop and grab either her umbrella or her purse, she darted out into the sidestreet which the back of the story exited on to. Finally forced to slow after two or three blocks, she stopped to catch her breath as the full reality of everything which had taken place hit her. She wasn’t going back to her job. More than likely, she didn’t have a job to go back to. Even more than that, though, was the fact that her future possibilities had just narrowed down to nearly nothing. No business would want to hire someone who made all her coworkers nervous, albeit for different reasons. The youkai, and most of the hanyou, would stay far out of her way; this, in turn, would make the humans among them jumpy and unable to focus.

Walking numbly the rest of the way to the shrine, she climbed the tall stairway without counting the steps, as she usually did. Reaching the house, she walked in through the backdoor, startling her mother into nearly dropping her cup of tea.

“Kagome! What’s wrong?” Mrs. Higurashi was up and out her seat before her daughter could form an answer. “You’re soaking wet! Hurry upstairs and take a hot bath!”

Kagome, however, didn’t move, continuing to drip all over the kitchen floor. “Mama...” Her voice came out soft and so full of tears it was a wonder only rain wet her face.

“Are you hurt?”

“No...”

“Whatever is the matter?” Her voice was soft, but now she was even more concerned. Kagome had always been a very happy child. Seeing her like this was a rare occurrence, which was how her mother wanted it to stay.

“I...I...”

“Drink this, dear,” a hot cup of tea, probably the very one the woman had nearly spilled, was put into her daughter’s hands.

After a sip and a few moments of deep breaths, Kagome finally managed to say, “I manifested. I’m a miko.”

 

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