Dream A Dream
Chapter 1:
And So It Begins
Revised as of 4/24/05 - No more fangirl Japanese!
An Inuyasha Fanfiction
Azurite - azurite AT fanfiction DOT net


Well, with summer around the corner, everyone's writing fantastic fics! It's really good for the drought we've seemed to have on really good, long dramatic fics, ne? Well, my two absolute favorites (as of this moment) are Ookami-nee-chan's Turnabout is Fair Play, and Clara's School Daze.

Now, maybe I'm alone in this boat, but have any of you read a fic, loved it to bits, but wondered what would have happened if just a little something were different? Okay, maybe not. But in my case, I have. I was reading Clara's School Daze, and wondered—what would happen if the story WASN'T AU (Alternate Universe)?

Of course, the first thought running through my head was How would you pull that off! followed by You'd need Clara's permission, of course, and then But you're already working on an Inuyasha fic, stupid! But now, the idea won't get out of my head, and while I patiently wait for the next chapter of the OFFICIAL School Daze, I offer to you the School Daze—and YES, I have gotten Clara's permission.

I highly recommend that you read "School Daze" before or while reading this. It's not necessary, but it would probably help clarify some things. However, I'm taking a lot of liberties with Clara's idea—such as replacing the names of the schools, but keeping certain facts (again, read the fic to understand) intact. Read that, and this won't seem so strange. Don't flame me on this note here, either, because here I am, explaining the whole thing. P

Major differences between this fic and the Inuyasha series...
Souta is 12-years-old (give or take a few months) and in his first year of junior high (7th grade in Japan), rather than 9-10 years old and only in 3rd grade (elementary school). This means that he's only three-and-a-half years younger than Kagome in this fic, rather than five or six years younger.
On that note, Kagome is in 9th grade (age 15-16) at the start of the Inuyasha series. Since this is NOT an AU, and we can presume she and Inuyasha have been adventuring for some time now, she's 16 years old and has graduated to high school, or 10th grade (senior high, 1st year). But of course, the real details will be revealed as the story goes along...

Oh, and of course, go check out Clara's website hopefully she'll update SD there first
http/ size=1 width=100% noshade>Author's Notes (The official ones):

(1) I don't own Inuyasha, or the of this fic. I do own, however, the idea to take SD and make it a non-Alternate Universe.
(2) Yes, I asked permission to use Clara's ideas, but once again, I'm changing some things around to make it true that the story is still Inuyasha—and not AU.
(4) Finally, this fic will may alternate from 1st person (Kagome's perspective) to 3rd person (S/He said). A scene change without a change of POV is indicated by ONE horizontal rule. When I switch from 3rd person to Kagome's perspective, there will be TWO horizontal rules.

"like, this is speech"
and these are thoughts
and these words are EMPHASIZED!

The final note: Since this is supposed to be in Japan, I try to convert as much Japanese slang into English as possible. Therefore, the dialogue between "the guys" won't necessarily be grammatically correct, but it will be realistic.

"All that we see or seen
Is but a dream within a dream."
--Edgar Allan Poe
Kagome opened her eyes with a good deal of reluctance. The bright haze of the morning sun was filtering into her room through the bedroom window, the rays striking her face without second thought to how much Kagome wanted to stay in bed. It certainly wasn't a pleasant way to wake up in the morning—though even if had been raining outside, it was doubtful Kagome would have been any happier. She hadn't been looking forward to this day—in fact, she'd downright been protesting it all week.

In her heart of hearts, she knew she couldn't back away, not at the last minute. She knew where her loyalties lay, and what her duty called her to do. Today was the day she would leave her home and everything she had grown to love and depend on the past sixteen years. All for one boy

Tossing her legs over the fluffy mattress, Kagome stood on wobbly feet. She stumbled over to her vanity mirror, one of the last pieces of furniture in her room that spoke anything of her feminity. She raised clouded gray-blue eyes to the mirror, shaking her head at the tired reflection that stared back at her.

Fingering the ends of her once-long locks, now only reaching the nape of her neck, Kagome looked exactly as her grandfather expected her to.

Like a boy.

This was for Souta, Kagome reminded herself. All for her dear little brother, and though he could be a pain, he didn't deserve to be hurt at school. For the past seven years, he'd been attending an all-boy's private boarding school on the edge of town, rather than a co-ed public school. Kagome couldn't really remember why Souta went to Yumegaru Shiritsu Gakkou –with grades from elementary school all the way up to senior high, just for boys— but she guessed it had something to do with their father having gone there. Before he died, he'd had a great attachment to that school

In any case, whenever Souta came home –for the weekends, holidays, or just for a brief after school visit—he wasn't himself. The boy Kagome had always associated with and disappeared, and in his stead was a sad, withdrawn child, who, nowadays, seemed rather lonesome. Kagome's mother had told her that she'd caught Souta hiding a rather large bruise—and that when she'd asked him about it, he'd told her it was nothing. Yet with the way he kept getting skinnier, always seeming more and more depressed Kagome's mother and grandfather had urged her to do something about it and here she was.

Really, it was grandfather's harebrained idea mother hadn't even been totally supportive of it at first, but for the safety of her son

And so, Kagome Higurashi, her brother's keeper, became one fine spring day.

When Kagome arrived at the school, she promptly looked for the building in which her brother was supposed to be housed. She herself had yet to find out where she would be staying as a student, but Souta at least had a right to know that he was being looked out for. He probably wouldn't like the idea very much, but considering how much Kagome had given up, he'd have to understand. It wasn't so much that she was mad at him; she would have shaved her head bald if it meant her brother's well-being was looked out for, but it had all been very unexpected to have to do it at all.

The whole idea of making Kagome a boy had been shotgun, and her grandfather had barely given her time to protest before everything was said and done.

The sixteen-year-old spied her brother trudging in her direction, his eyes focused only on the floor in front of him. Though his face was downcast, it was plain to see the smudges of dirt and tears on his cheeks, the matted hair sticking to his brow, and how his uniform was in disarray. Souta's sorrow was almost visible, with the way it tumbled off his thin frame in waves. He was clutching his textbooks as if they were going to slip away from him, his knuckles quite obviously white from the stress he was placing on them. Souta scuffled his once-pristine shoes, dragging them along the tiles as if each foot bore the weight of the world on them.

But what surprised Kagome the most had to be the fact that they were entirely alone in the halls. There was not a single other person anywhere in sight. It made Kagome wonder to herself just how many friends Souta had in this school. No one deserved to be so alone. It was disheartening, to see anyone like this.

"Souta!" She called, her voice sounding an octave or so lower than was normal. It was odd, hearing a voice that both was and wasn't her own sounding from her lips. Judging by the way her brother froze in his tracks, Kagome knew he'd recognized the voice regardless. Slowly, disbelievingly, he turned around and looked at his elder sister with the most hopeful look she'd ever seen him give anyone.

"B-Big Sis?" he whispered hoarsely. Kagome nodded slowly. The disbelief in his eyes grew.
"What in God's name are you doing here?" Kagome gave him a feeble impression of her usual grin.
"Hey Souta, mom isn't the only one who's noticed the bruises on your arms and face or how downright skinny you've become."

His eyes widened in surprise. Kagome suppressed the urge to laugh-- what, the kid thought that she didn't notice him using her makeup to cover the discoloration on his cheeks? Then his brown eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Mom sent you to protect me?"
"Are you crazy?" Kagome asked, widening her eyes to prove her complete and total innocence. Some relief brightened the expression on his face, but it fell immediately when he heard her next words.
"Grandpa did!"

I suppose I should tell you where all this began-- I mean, when the family first started noticing that something was wrong with Souta. You know how people say "the little things add up"? Yeah, well, it's like that.

It was the little things that Mom, and Grandpa and I kept noticing. Like how whenever we were talking about baseball --one of Grandpa's past-times (or should I say "obsessions"?) and Grandpa or I pretended to swing-- Souta would flinch. Any sudden movement we made, and he'd shrink back, as if we were monsters. Then, when Souta and I were making rice cakes in the kitchen, and Souta rolled up his sleeves, I noticed a distinctly purple patch on the upper left side of his left arm. I asked him about it, and he quickly covered it up, trying not to make a fuss about it, but doing just that by avoiding my question.

As I said, the little things kept building up-- until one day, a little less than a month ago, in fact, when Mother walked in on Souta changing. She'd been bringing him his cleaned uniform, and saw him without his shirt on-- and noticed several bruises near Souta's ribs. She'd immediately demanded an explanation, of course, but Souta had neatly dodged around the subject, making the grandiose claim that he was twelve years old and a boy, and therefore could take care of himself.

Mother didn't know what to do. Grandpa, of course, had the immediate solution-- I, being Souta's older sister, and therefore his guardian, should watch over him. It was a perfectly good idea in and of itself, but neither I nor Grandpa was blind to the fact that Souta wouldn't appreciate being hovered over, and especially not transferred out of his school because we believed that he couldn't "take care of himself," as he'd claimed.

So therein lay our problem. Of course, the metaphorical light bulb soon shone above my Grandpa's head, and he suggested-- "Why, Kagome, you can go to Souta's school!" And despite it being ludicrous from the start, it had seemed like the only feasible solution at the time. Mother had called the school, hoping that the administration could do something about it, before Grandpa took these drastic measures...

Of course, they could find nothing wrong in their "well-bred" and "mature" young students. Bah. Of course not. The past week has been hell for me, mind you, since Grandpa decided to take me shopping for boy's clothes, and teach me "boy" things. It was stupid.

Being the end of March, the new school year was about to start soon. It would be my first year attending a school where I didn't know anyone-- anyone my age, that is. My friends had no idea that I was transferring.

Knowing Grandpa, he'd probably make up some excuse about me going to a foreign country, or contracting some rare and terminal disease... I was being selfish, I knew, but I couldn't help wonder-- just how was I going to help Souta, if he wouldn't help himself?

Three days before I was expected to show up at Yumegaru Shiritsu Gakkou, my grandfather cut my hair.

I had screamed so loudly afterwards, the neighbors woke up, and called us to make sure everything was okay. A totally false explanation was given, and no more was said. But I couldn't get over it-- my hair, her precious, silky black hair... cropped to the the back of my skull. There wasn't even enough hair to take my long bangs and make a ponytail. At least that would have allowed me to look somewhat like a girl when I needed to.

It mattered not. As long as I was in the school, and acted like a boy, then I would serve my purpose. Aside from my primary goal to protect Souta, and find out who was responsible for his beatings, I would also be learning-- going to the high school portion of YSG, in the 10th grade. I'd made lifelong friends in junior high, and many of them had attended the first year of high school with me as well, back when I was still a "she."

But now, I had to pretend...

After I spotted Souta, one of the faculty members found me-- and insisted Souta take me to the headmaster's room. I half-expected to see a large, rotund man with a harsh expression and unforgiving eyes sitting in that office. I also had a feeling I wouldn't like any of the teachers here. After all, who would teach at such a sexist, biased school? Wasn't that what all private, single-sex academies were, anyway?

To my surprise, the headmaster was a woman-- and a rather old one at that. Through her wrinkles, once could discern the air of wisdom about her, and her eyes, ever searching me even as I stood, rigid straight before her, sparkled. The brass nameplate on her immaculate desk simply read "Headmaster Kaede" there was no other clue indicating her personality or attitude. Not even a single picture decorated the walls; the room was as barren and clean as a hospital.

"I would like to formally welcome you to Yumegaru Shiritsu School for Boys," she began, nodding as Souta closed the door behind me. He left, and though I was worried about leaving him behind, I somehow felt more worried about what Headmaster Kaede would say to me. What if she saw right through my disguise? What if she didn't care that Souta was endangered by other students here at YSG, and simply sent me out?

I couldn't let that happen.

"Getting to the point, this place is a very prestigious school. We do not accept delinquency of any kind; your hair must be combed at all times, your shirt tucked in neatly, and your pants the proper size."

I gulped, tugging at my collar slightly. This place was strict. And I thought normal school was bad, making you wear a uniform every day, and preventing perms, contacts, jewelry, and electronics in class. What's more, we had to change shoes between every class... how did Souta stand it here, where things seemed ten times worse than public schools?

Of course, I guess it was because I'd gone to an all-girl's public high school before-- not private, and not boarding. Girls were just more well-mannered, I supposed, so rules weren't as strict.

"Finally, we do not accept slackers. It is a wonder that you have been accepted so quickly, but your grades and conduct from your previous school--" I paled. Did Grandpa forge my old school documents?

"...Indicate that you are very studious. Laze off, and not only will it count against your grade, but also on your citizenship grade." Headmaster Kaede gave me a look that said "Understand? Good" and nodded brusquely. She straightened some papers and slid them into a manila folder, glancing only slightly at the right of the top paper.

"You will be bunking with the honorable Hojo Hajemu." There was a moment of silence, and then, to my surprise, the stiff expression on her face melted away, to be replaced with a comforting smile.

"I'm sorry to be so strict and all, but it's mandatory. Formalities and policy, you know."

I nodded dumbly, too startled to say anything. She'd suddenly transformed from a hag into a grandmother. I blinked.

"Regardless, I'm glad that you selected Yumegaru Shiritsu as your high school of choice. I see your younger brother attends our junior high?"

"Y-Yes... he's a first year student." I managed. 'Right. Souta-- my brother. He's the reason I'm here. My little brother Souta, age twelve, in his first year of junior high... '

Headmaster Kaede nodded, doubtless already knowing this information, while I stood there, feeling all the stupider.

"On a more random note, Mr. Miroku Priest will be giving you a tour of the school. He's in your grade level, so you shouldn't worry about him acting condescending or anything. He's a very intelligent and pleasant young man... once you get past his odd eccentricities."

I gulped again. Eccentricities? The image of a shrunken little boy with coke-bottle glasses and an obsession with bugs came into my mind.

"W-What do you mean, odd eccentricities?" I dared to ask, turning as Headmaster Kaede stood, walking me to the door. She only smiled, a knowing, amused smile.

"You'll see." Sadly, that wasn't very comforting. I found myself swallowing deeply, praying to high heaven that my overactive imagination wasn't correct.

Headmaster Kaede pressed the button for the intercom. "Miss Shikyo, will you please send in Mr. Miroku?"

"Right away!" came the instantaneous and slightly anxious reply. Again, I was filled with the sense of utter dread and confusion. With my luck, this guy was probably some time of obnoxious jerk who was full of himself.

My thoughts were cut short when a the door opened, and a young man poked his head in the doorway. As my eyes met his, I felt a sudden sense of déjà vu, but if I'd ever seen someone with-- that was when my glance caught upon the small ponytail that hung at the nape of his neck. My own hand reached up to my now cropped hair, and I had that familiar urge to scream. My beautiful hair! My long, luxurious locks of black hair that I—

"Hi!" the boy chirped cheerfully. "My name is Miroku Priest."

"Kagome Higurashi," I answered curtly. Needless to say, my tone was much more restrained than his.

"Kagome?" he repeated, sounding faintly surprised. The name 'Kagome' was a girl's name, to be sure, but there were boys who had it. If he questioned it, I'd be sure to give him an earful.

I gave him a warning glance instead, trying to ignore the sweat gathering on my palms. This would be a bad time for him to figure out that I wasn't a boy... His face flashed with something I couldn't decipher, and I gulped for a moment. Surely, if Headmaster Kaede hadn't seen through my disguise, then Miroku wouldn't be able to...

Thankfully, he let it drop.

Miroku gave me a short and condensed tour of the school, and throughout it, my worries about him vanished. I still didn't know what his "odd eccentricities" were, and that curious thought kept nagging at the back of my mind, but it really didn't bother me that much. Whatever it was, it couldn't have been that bad. After all, the guy did seem pretty popular, with all the people he introduced

My hard-soled shoes clicked quietly on the tiled floor as I followed Miroku, nodding at the times it seemed appropriate to nod. My bags were starting to feel heavy. The shoes I was wearing were men's shoes-- two sizes larger than my normal shoes, but as close a fit as I could manage. The rest of my outfit, too, was tailored for boys, and I was unaccustomed to the strange creases and binding cloth that restricted my more 'feminine curves.'

Grandpa had the time of his life when he brought me to the department stores to buy clothing. Although I know loves me as I am, I also know that he had wanted me to be a boy.

My mother routinely told me that when Grandpa found out she was pregnant, he had bought several baseballs and gloves, and even two bats. One large one for him, and one pint sized one for me. When he found out I was a girl, he was so disappointed he pitched the balls and gloves and bats into the fire. Whenever I'm reminded of that, it nearly breaks my heart.

My grandfather got used to me being a girl a year after I was born. It took him a while to accept fate, though. In fact, he didn't talk to my mom for a complete month. Hah. As if she had the power to decide what gender I was going to be.

Grandpa was—is—crazy.

But even if he eventually got over me being female, he oftentimes still treated me like a boy. I found myself continually dragged along to several sporting events when I was younger. Grandpa had a soft spot for baseball, though. Sometimes, Mom would come home from work and would find Grandpa and I missing, but there were other times when she would be there to see us off. She would tell me that whenever she was home when we were on our way to one of our numerous "baseball stops", she would be near tears from laughing so hard. Why? Well, Grandpa was a rabid baseball fan, but he hated losing. Since it is nearly impossible to find a team that has a continuous winning streak, he almost always switched teams on a weekly basis.

He always expressed his "loyalty" to the teams by dressing me up completely in anything that has to do with baseball. Including those ridiculously huge hands that had one finger up and the "Number One Fan of insert team here" on it. I had about five of those when I was a kid, all for different and, quite often, opposing teams.

Don't get me wrong, though. As much as Grandpa spoiled me as a boy, he spoiled me ten times more as a girl. I remember one time with crystalline clarity walking back from a baseball game and seeing a popular doll in the store window. Grandpa didn't notice I wasn't walking by his side and had continued walking and talking about how our new team wasn't really our team anymore. When he noticed I wasn't enthusiastically answering him, he stopped and turned around. There I was, face pressed against the glass as if I could somehow walk through the wall blocking me from my desire. Grandpa smiled fondly, walked back to me, took my hand, then led me into the store. A few minutes later, we walked back out, still hand in hand. But this time we both were holding two dolls, me with an ecstatic look on my face, and Grandpa with a slightly resigned expression.

Grandpa and I did everything together.

Then, fatefully, three and a half years after I was born, my little brother Souta entered this world. When he came into the picture, it became Grandpa, Kagome, AND Souta.

Just because of that, I hated my little brother.

That didn't last long. After he stopped drooling and screaming all the time, and started to become more interested in baseball, I grew to love him just as much as I loved Grandpa and baseball. Speaking of which, due to grandpa's obsession with baseball, I also became obsessed. It became almost like a second nature to me. When I grew older and could hold a bat without taking off a person's head, let alone my own, I joined every league I could. T-ball, little league, softball, then good old regular baseball. It was hard for me to play good old regular baseball, though. There was always that awful stereotype that girls had to play softball and not baseball, and that essentially they were the same thing. This made me want to scream, since baseball and softball are completely different things. Baseball was my life. It wasn't until the end of this whole ordeal when I grew to hate it, but that's getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, at this point in time, I literally breathed, ate, and slept baseball. I'm exaggerating (just a little), but bear with me. You can probably imagine my great and utter joy at the surprise of finding out that this school had a baseball team. It might sound silly about being excited about something that is most likely guaranteed to be at a school (since most Japanese high schools usually have baseball), but I couldn't help it.

"Hey," Miroku said, sounding slightly nervous. I adjusted my bags. "I hope you like—"

"—Baseball!" I cut in, my face radiating excitement.

"...because it's rather important here," he finished, grinning slightly. "I'm taking it you enjoy baseball?"

"I live for it," was my answer.

"GREAT!" Heads turned to look at the pigtailed boy doing a touchdown dance in the middle of the hall. I frowned slightly. Would that be considered as unruly behavior, and would Headmaster Kaede give him a detention or something? I shrugged a little to myself, figuring that if they thought Miroku was apparently safe enough to allow giving tours around the school, then it wasn't bad that a guy was dancing in the middle of the hall.

"Akira left this school last year, and we're in desperate need of a GOOD baseball player," Miroku paused for a moment, thinking over his words. "Are you good?"

I gave him a dry look. "I've been playing since I could walk."

"I'm taking that that means you're good. GREAT!" He paused again, his look abruptly turning crestfallen. "But Inu's really strict."

"Inu?" My eyes clouded again. The name... well, the word, anyway... it sounded familiar. This was odd. I shook off the feeling, and turned towards Miroku again. This "Inu" person was named after a dog?

"Yeah, his complete name's Inuyasha. Don't tease him about that, though. He'll flatten you." Miroku gave me a grin. "The guy's scary when he wants to be. And he's like this year round, but he's worse when we're on season. Since we're off-season, you don't have to worry as much. He's more tolerable off-season, and even a pretty cool guy. Hey, I'll introduce you to him at lunch, 'kay? We don't have any classes yet, since it technically is still break..."

Miroku lead me into a large room filled with long tables all lined neatly in a row. "Cafeteria," was his curt explanation. There were several people sitting at these tables, either playing cards or talking or frantically finishing the new school year's work, stuff assigned during March, when Japanese students moved on from their previous grade. Having transferred schools, I had no such assignments-- quite a relief, actually.

"That's Eiji over there. He's our catcher. Inuyasha's our pitcher and team captain." Miroku's voice still had that excited tone to it.

"Hey, Eiji!"

One of the boys who was scribbling anxiously on a piece of paper at the table nearest to us held up his hand. He had an unruly mop of black hair (I wonder if Headmaster Kaede ever got on his case about that) and a pair of thick glasses, but a rather attractive face. I bit my tongue. This was NOT the place for me to be checking out boys! "I can't talk right now, Miroku. I've still got two pages to do!"

My tour guide shook his head. "Your loss, Eiji." He turned to me, smirking, "Come on, he doesn't need to know about you-- our new star player..." I sweatdropped, but kept silent, knowing how Miroku was playing his words.

But his words had the expected effect-- Eiji perked up immediately.

"Has he tried out yet? How good is he? Do you think we'll actually be able to WIN this time? Will..." Eiji shot out each question at a rapid fire pace, and his pencil snapped in his hands with how excited he was.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Miroku held up a hand. "Slow down there, buddy. Anyway, to answer your first question, no, he hasn't tried out. He won't until we start this season. You know that!"

Eiji sighed and nodded. "Well, I hope he is good enough..."

I shifted from foot to foot; adjusting my rather heavy bags again so they wouldn't cut off the circulation in my hands, then gave Miroku a half-hearted glare. He and Eiji were talking about me as if I wasn't there, and truthfully, I really wanted to set these bags down in my dorm. "Hey, Miroku... as interesting as this conversation is, and as much as I'd like to join your guys' team, these bags aren't feathers, you know..."

Miroku had the decency to blush. "Right, right. Sorry... I forgot. Who are you bunking with again?" He cleared his throat, and looked down at the papers I hadn't known he was holding. "HOJO!"

Eiji choked, then laughed. He tried to smother it with a cough, but failed miserably. "Don't mind Miroku, uh...what did you say your name was again?"

"Higurashi Kagome."

Eiji gave me an odd look, and I gave him the same warning glance I had given Miroku. "Ah, well, Inuyasha has a weird name, too. Anyway, why I'm saying you shouldn't mind Miroku is 'cause he and Hojo are long-time enemies. Though I'm not really sure if Hojo knows he and Miroku hate each other. The guy's... kinda absent-minded."

"Uh, why do they hate each other?"

"Eh, Priest is just a dumbass. You get used to it after awhile..."

Miroku muttered something inappropriate and grabbed one of the chairs, sitting down backwards on it. "Kagome's new here. He's a transfer student from some place, and has got a brother that goes here." He sounded rather bored, and I made a rude gesture with my hand in his general direction. My hand that was hidden by my thousand pound bag, that is. The guy already forgot about taking me to my dorm!

Completely ignoring me, Miroku struck up a conversation with Eiji about baseball and girls. Giving up, I sighed and dropped my bags, closing my eyes and ordering myself to take deep breaths.

'I can calm down, I WILL calm down...'

I gave up and dropped my three bags, then sat down on the largest one. I suppose if it weren't for my name or my general discomfort, one might notice that I pack "like a girl." Of my three bags, one of them was entirely full of "feminine products" -- stuff like pads, tampons, chapstick, brushes... although now that I thought about it, it was doubtful I'd ever need my brushes. With my short, cropped hair... I sighed.

While Miroku and Eiji chatted as if they hadn't seen each other for years, I looked around. I had to admit, this school was much nicer than my old schools had ever been. I snorted lightly. It was probably more advanced, too. While searching for Souta earlier, I'd passed by the shoe lockers-- and sulked for the brief moment I was there, noting how this school had freshly painted cubby holes, and each locker had a tiny brass plate on it with the students' names.

After a few moments of intense conversing, Miroku suddenly remembered that I existed. He jumped up, looking guilty. The abrupt motion startled me from my sleepy reverie, and through hazy eyes I noticed Miroku's apologetic smile.

"Sorry, sorry." He stumbled out of his chair, scratching the back of his head. "Bye, Eiji."

"Later, Miroku." He smiled brightly at me. "Bye, Kagome."

"Nice meeting you," I said politely around my yawn. I fumbled around for a moment, then stood up, swaying ever so slightly. Miroku gave me a curious glance, and I shrugged. "What can I say? I've been up since four-thirty this morning... I'm a bit tired."

"Damn. That must have sucked. Come on, I'll show you to your room." Miroku turned, and gestured towards me with his arm, while I rolled my eyes.

"You make it sound like a hotel..."

When I woke up to Miroku pounding on my door, it was already almost time for dinner. Hojo wasn't here yet, and I wasn't sure if I was pleased with that fact or not.

I rubbed my eyes sleepily and then opened the door.


Okay, so I wasn't quite coherent yet.

"Come on man, it's time for dinner!" Miroku so kindly grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me towards the cafeteria. I sort of shouted-slash-mumbled my protests, which fell completely on deaf ears.

The cafeteria was jam-packed with people, up to the point where some boys were sitting on the floor. I blinked a couple of times, partially because I was half-asleep, and partially because I thought I was seeing things. Damn. This place was crowded.

"Hey, Miroku! We're sitting outside, okay?"

I looked around to try and match a face with the voice that had called out, but to no avail. There were just too many people around, and if they weren't shoving food in their mouth, they were talking to the people next to them. The crowds were so thick, thronging around us, it was a wonder Miroku had heard whoever it was had called him at all.

"I already knew that, Kouga, you idiot! I already got some food for me and Kagome." Once again, I was dragged away from the cafeteria, this time to a door I hadn't noticed before. Miroku pushed it open, and shoved me out into the real world.

"Nnn! Bright!" I shielded my eyes with my hand, only to be shoved again, this times towards a group of silhouettes. Guessing they were the ones I was supposed to go to, I plunked by the nearest person, closing my eyes and letting out a slight snore. I was still sleepy.

"Hey guys! This is Kagome, the new kid I was talking about!"

"He doesn't look like much," a scathing voice answered. My eyes snapped open abruptly, and most of the sleepiness fled my body. I half-heartedly opened my eyes, but I was still close to falling asleep.

What suddenly filled my line of sight made me wish I had gotten those missed hours of sleep that I'd missed this morning packing-- and that I looked like a girl, and not a boy.

Sitting in front of me was a boy. Not surprising. But there was only one way to describe this boy, and that was gorgeous. Breathtakingly, amazingly gorgeous. Or at least very pretty. He hand long black hair and such deep violet eyes that they seemed to be looking into my very soul. I was suddenly very self-conscious, so I averted my gaze, pretending to be blinded by the sun-- which was still up, since it was spring, and sunset wouldn't be for a few hours now. Still, there was something else about this boy... something that I should know?

"Hey! Bear with me, I only got two hours of sleep last night," I grumbled, sulking to myself in an exaggerated fashion.

But... he had something I wanted.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean it in a perverted way. Sure, he had a nice body --from what I could see-- but what REALLY got me was his hair. Something that I now lacked, and he had so very much of. Miroku was one thing, with his sprout-like ponytail, but this boy...

...I was going to hurt Grandpa.

"Doesn't matter," the boy snapped. I glared balefully at him. As handsome as he was, his personality just stunk. And that's a major turn-off.

"Hey, Inuyasha, don't be too hard on him. The boy's new," a distinctly female voice admonished. My head swung around to look at the girl.


"Psst, Kagome. Don't worry about Sango, she goes to the school near here. We're allowed to have girls on campus on weekends and whatnot, but not during school days," Miroku grinned, then put an arm around Sango's shoulders. The pretty girl elbowed him in the ribs, and I blinked curiously.

"What school near here?"

Sango gave me a curious look. "You must be REALLY new here." Then she pointed over her shoulder.

Across the street was a school clearly labeled: Yumegaru Shiritsu Jyoshokou-- the girl's equivalent of this private school!

I changed my mind. I was going to KILL Grandpa.

I sighed out of resigned acceptance, I looked around the small group thoughtfully. I considered each person. There were two girls in the group whom I hadn't noticed at first, and three other boys besides Miroku and, well, me. I immediately recognized Eiji, and I already gathered that the pretty boy with long black hair was Inuyasha; the girl who Miroku had his arm around was Sango, but as for the others, I hadn't the faintest idea who they were.

Man, I must have made a really odd boy.

"Kagome," Miroku said to get my attention. He still had his arms around Sango, and Sango still did not look all too pleased with the arrangement, "Meet everyone. Everyone, meet Kagome."

In return to this brief introduction, Miroku received six deadpan looks.

"All right, all right..." He sighed in mock surrender, then pointed to Inuyasha. "Kagome, this is Inuyasha. I told you about him earlier." Inuyasha raised his eyebrow at Miroku, but the pigtailed boy shrugged. "Beside him is his girlfriend, Kikyou"

The raised eyebrow turned into an evil glare. "She is not my girlfriend." For a moment, Kinky's well-composed face fell, but then she straightened herself and had a distinctly determined look on her face.

I didn't know whether to feel relieved or not. That they were only friends, that is.

"Well, whatever. We'll get into that whole debate later. Anyway, you've already met Eiji, and this gorgeous and luminous young lady is Miss Sango Youtaijiya." Sango elbowed him again, and he yelped and released her, rubbing his tender ribs and pouting.

Sango shook her head. "Don't mind Miroku the Idiot," she smiled sweetly at Miroku, who shot a doleful look at her, "He's just a huge pervert."

So that's what Headmaster Kaede meant by 'odd eccentricities.'

"And last, but definitely not least," Miroku continued, straightening once more, "The boy sitting beside the lovely Miss Kikyou is Kouga. Don't expect anything nice to come out of this guy's mouth. He's as dense as they get, and has that permanent foot-in-the-mouth syndrome. But it's all just a mask to make himself look cool. He actually gets better grades than me!"

Kouga glared at Miroku but he had the decency not to retaliate.

I nodded at each of them in polite greeting, but my eyes never strayed far from them all-girl-school across the street. I could be there. I could still have my hair! I shot a discreet look at Inuyasha. Hell, I could still have my hair here! I reached up and fingered a lock of silky hair that hung at the base of my neck, and suppressed a grimace.

Oh, yeah. Grandpa was going to die.

My face twisted into a mask of displeasure. Trying to suppress my angry feelings, I glanced at the tray of food Miroku had gotten for me. My stomach growled at it, and I blushed.

"Bit hungry?" Sango laughed. I nodded meekly, and she pushed me the untouched tray of food and winked.

"T-thanks," I mumbled out, looking highly embarrassed. I did NOT like the look she was giving me. Grabbing the fork, I shifted uncomfortably at the scrutinizing gazes everyone was giving me. My stomach growled, louder this time, and I gave into its protests, digging in. The food was just like any other cafeteria food; too salty, too tangy, too sweet. But I was too hungry to care.

Hey, I hadn't eaten since yesterday.

"So, Kagome," Sango started conversationally.

I glanced at her, with my mouth still full of dry mashed potatoes. "Mmm?"

"What school did you go to before you came here?"

I swallowed, almost choking. How was I supposed to answer? I'd gone an all-girl's-school before I came here to YSG! Yeah, that'd really make a lasting impression with them. About here was where my dormant nervousness sprung to life again.

"I-I went to this school that no one's heard of... it was really, um, small..." Everyone's attention turned to me, expecting the name of the school. Great. "It was called... uh ...Shikon High." I finally blurted. I was half expecting all of them to start laughing at me, immediately knowing that I'd lied through my teeth. Something about the name 'Shikon' just gave me the creeps. Where have I heard that term before, anyway...?

Thankfully, the only dubious look I got was from Inuyasha. Or maybe that wasn't something to be thankful about. The guy made me nervous, as if he could easily see through my disguise. I gave him my most charming smile, and he frowned. Thank all the holy beings that's up there that he didn't push it, though.

"You're right, I haven't heard of it," Sango said. She was smiling at me, and my nervousness was now accompanied by a slight amount of fear. I really didn't like how Sango was looking at me.

Kikyou shrugged, idly examining her nails. She buffed them on her skirt, then shot me an indifferent look through her long eyelashes. "You must miss all of your friends." There was something about her tone that I really didn't like. She sounded too bored for my comfort.

"Well, yeah, of course I do. But I only moved here because it was easier for my mom to... uh... send Souta and me to the same school."

"Souta?" Kouga repeated. "Yo, I think I know him. Young kid, ain't he?"

I nodded quickly, hoping that everyone had bought my totally bogus story. Inuyasha was still staring at me with a skeptical expression, so, in return, I gave him my most innocent look. He snorted quietly and took an elegant bite from his soggy sandwich. Now that I think about it, Inuyasha is probably the only person in the world who can make eating a school sandwich look elegant. It drove me nuts then, and now... well, I'll get to that later.

"Yeah, he always got these nasty looking bruises on his face. Is he a problem child or something?"

I frowned at Kouga, but once Sango edged closer to me, my timid smile returned. I forced my attention to return to Kouga, and then I shook my head. "That's the thing. He really isn't a bad kid, but when he comes home, he's always bruised up."

I hunched slightly into myself. "I'm scared for him, kinda. There's someone who's really taking out their anger on him, and I know he doesn't eat much when he comes here. He's always got really bad bruises everywhere, and he's always so skinny..." I let out a deep sigh and stopped talking.

Then I blinked. Everyone was staring at me as if I'd just recited the Buddhist sutras, or some holy prediction.

"What!" I finally blurted, my hairs standing on end from the intense and almost disbelieving gazes they'd turned on me.

"Wow, you really care about your brother, don't you?" Sango asked. She had a slightly dreamy look in her eyes. I edged a little farther away from her, turning red in the cheeks. Miroku was giving me a strange look, too.

"Well," I cleared my throat, trying deepen my voice. I had the tendency to switch back to my "girl" voice, and if I wasn't careful, people were going to start noticing things. "Of course I do. I mean, he is my little brother and stuff..."

"Oh, that's so sweet!"

Blushing again, I quickly shoveled more food into my mouth in an excuse not to answer her. Miroku was giving me a look that could only be described as dirty. I had a feeling there was more between Sango and Miroku that he was willing to let on. I was going to have to ask him about that. I briefly wondered if I should tell them I liked boys... while I looked like a boy.

Oh, yeah, that'd really sit well with them. Homosexuality wasn't very well accepted in Japan, and even though I was a girl in reality, telling them that would definitely get me in a world of trouble. No, I had to maintain my "boyishness" so as to protect Souta. That was what I was here for, right?

At the moment, I kind of wanted to scream to the world that I was really a girl, and that I did not belong to an all-boy's school, and that I was really just here because my grandpa sent me here to protect my baby brother. Then what would I do, rip open my shirt to prove just how womanly I was?


"Hey, Kagome," Miroku said. He was still giving me this strange look, but it didn't exactly look spiteful, so I felt a little better. "We always hang out at this ice cream shop down the street. Wanna come with us today? We should be leaving in a bit..."

I nodded, glad to be distracted from Sango's gaze. "Sure, that sounds great!"

Well, if anything, this should be an interesting experience.

notes: Yes, I know, it's very much like Clara's first chapter. The truth is, I can't do much about the non-AU part until later chapters. I hinted slightly at it here, so whether or not you noticed it is up to you.

sango youtaijiya: unlike the play on miroku's name (miroku priest), this is a japanese name-- and not-canon, since sango never has a specified family name. clara used 'youkaitarashi' which means 'demon killer' (supposedly) in japanese. i decided to use 'youtaijiya' - 'you' from 'youkai' and 'taijiya' meaning exterminator, which is what sango really is.

yumegaru shiritsu gakkou: literally 'to have a dream private school'. it's sort of hinting at the title, and possibly at future events. the girls' equivalent is yumegaru shiritsu jyoshokou, which means 'to have a dream private girl's high school.' from this point on, the school Kagome, Inuyasha, Miroku, and Co. attend will be called YSG, while Sango, Kikyou, and any other female characters will attend YSJ.

See you next chapter! Azurite