Gathering Again

Disclaimer: I don't own Fushigi Yûgi; wish I did, but don't! You can't sue me now! HA! However, I do own Chihiro, and anyone else that is not from Yû Watase's show!


"How about this one, Chihiro?"

A girl with shoulder-length raven black hair, tied up in a high ponytail and dressed in a navy blue school uniform skirt and white flannel shirt, turned from where she was reaching through bars petting a chocolate Labrador. Her green eyes sparkled as she looked at the animal, a smile spreading across her face as she turned towards the fair skinned woman calling her. "Hai, Okaa-san?"

Chihiro and her parents had gone on the last day of school to the shelter to adopt a dog…or two.

The Sakamoto family was quite wealthy, residing in a big estate located in Kyoto, Japan. They had summer cabins scattered everywhere, on up in the mountains, one in the countryside... Least to say, their vacations were hardly ever a flop.

Mr. And Mrs. Sakamoto had driven into the city so as to get their daughter a friend to keep her from boredom and lonesomeness while they went on their summer business trip, usually lasting at least three-four weeks at the most.

Chihiro had been excited out of her mind to get a dog, despite her mother's wishes for her to buy a cat. According to her mother, felines were, "Cleaner and smarter" than a dog, but her daughter begged to differ. How could a cat so smart if they did not even know the meaning of the word, "stay?" Her father had enjoyed watching his wife and child have their debate from the sidelines, obviously finding their disagreements amusing. When asked about his opinion on the matter, he had very suavely refused to give a comment.

Purchasing a pet would be exactly what she needed to keep her life active while her parents were away, besides chatting small talk with the maids and butlers back at the mansion in the countryside. It would give her exercise, and teach her more about responsibility, which would be helpful when she came of dating age. The girl was still fifteen, and her parents had been very clear as to when they would allow her to start off in group settings. Not until sixteen, could she do this. One-on-one dating would have to wait until she was eighteen.

This did not bother Chihiro that much; there were currently no boys she was interested in, so what was the hurry to date, even as a group? The high school girl had always had problems making friends, let alone catching the eyes of boys at her school; all her schoolmates thought her to be nothing more than a rich snob, and avoided her. This was quite the contrary, however. While her family was well off, she was very generous. And compassionate. The other students just could not see that…

Chihiro turned from the mutt she had been studying, and walked over to the cage her mother pointed at, wherein contained a small Pomeranian. She wrinkled her nose. "Okaa-san, I don't want a measly little puff-ball like that!" Her oval-shaped eyes turned to the man standing beside her mother. "I thought you said there were big dogs here too, but all we have been looking at are small lapdogs, besides that one over there…" She indicated to the black lab with a wave of her hand.

Her father, a tall, broad shouldered man from whom she'd inherited her dark hair and eyes pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose and casually slid a hand into his gray business suit pocket. "Chihiro-chan," He spoke with great clarity, yet his voice was soft and gentle. "I know you would like a grown dog, but would it not be easier to start out with a puppy?"

"Yes, but I want a puppy that will grow up, and almost be able to look me in the eye if it were on its hind legs," She glanced down at the yelping puff of ivory-white that was leaning against the cage door yapping excitedly. "Not a little thing like this!"

Her mother sighed despairingly. "But it's so adorable…" She cooed. "Hello there, darling. Oh, you are such a sweety…!" The small dog licked the woman's hand. Chihiro groaned.

"Okaa-san, the dog is going to be mine, not yours." She reminded. "I want to get one that will listen to me, and one that I will like." She turned and strode down the hall. "I'm off to Kennel 5 to see what is there."


Anxiously looking left and right for puppies, Chihiro was able to find none. "Were they all adopted already?" Disappointment clouded her once anticipating eyes. "I thought for sure they would have lots of puppies…"

The depressing silence gave way to a small, yet boisterous howl that stole her attention. She clutched at her shirt, attempting to still her rapidly beating heart, as it had startled her. "W-where did it come from?"

She speed-walked down the row of empty cages, glancing in one empty pen from the next on both her left and right and was about to give up hope when she heard the sound of metal wire being leaned upon. Her head whirled around and she saw a small, gangly puppy shaking excitedly and whimpering, wagging its tail and looking up at her with big, pleading eyes.

Her heart melted immediately. Bending down next to the door, she timidly reached her fingers in; it licked them, imploring her with the biggest amber-brown eyes she had ever seen to take it home. It was small, probably only just old enough to be taken from its mother. The young canine had a long tail with pointed ears; its fiery coat shimmered like the sea, yet seemed to flicker like flames in their fireplace back home with each movement it made. It had big feet, and moved around before her in a rather clumsy manner, as it would trip over its own feet from time to time. Chihiro giggled.

Glancing at the door, she saw a clipboard, which read in semi-sloppy cursive kanji: 5 months, needs good home. Male. But it did not mention what type of breed it was.

"Oh well, you're a cutie anyways!" She announced to the doggie. "I so want to take you home with me, boy!" It yipped appreciatively.

She needed a four-legged companion that would stay with her no matter what the circumstance, one that would be friendly enough to return the love she was so willing to give. And this little guy looked to be a worthy candidate.

An employee passed by after having just left another kennel, stopping behind Chihiro. He smiled a down at the girl, widening when he saw which of their furry occupants she had obvious interest in. "That little one is cute, isn't it?"

Chihiro had heard a person coming, but had not expected to speak with him. The girl nearly fell over in surprise from her crouched position before the pen door. "Hm?"

Turning from the pup, she looked up and saw the man, tall with dark brown eyes and fair complexion. His narrow chin and delicate features made her blush. She did not bother to read the nametag pinned to his chest, as she was so mesmerized; his hair was a fiery red, and his smile kind. Quite handsome, actually.

She nodded in agreement, smiling. "Yes, he is indeed." Reaching her hand in again, the girl barely managed to contain the adoration welling within her for the almost babyish acts of the puppy as it peered out at her. It wagged its tail at her a few times, simply staring into her eyes. "I think I might want him!" Chihiro declared moments later.

A joyful expression spread across the man's face. "Wonderful! Shall I take him out, so that the two of you can get better acquainted with each other?" he offered.

"Yes, please do, if it's alright…" No sooner had she said those words, the door was unlocked and the puppy pounced on her playfully, licking her face and making her giggle with delight. She smiled; he still had that puppy smell that most puppies have for a short time after being born. It made her want to smother the darling creature with kisses.

The man smiled at them. "You stay here and have fun with your little friend, if you like; I'll go get your parents a while, miss."

Oh, but how would he know which couple to retrieve if he had never met her before? She looked up to ask him just this, and to ask if he possibly knew her parents only to find that he had already gone. "Eh?" The raven-haired teenager blinked in confusion, scratching her head lightly. 'Where did he go? He couldn't have been that fast, could he?'

The puppy whined, wanting his new friend's attention and in doing so drew her out of her thoughts. Her hands moved over his shiny body, rubbing his sides and scratching his neck. "Easy, boy! I don't want to get too attached in case Okaa-san says 'no'…" She couldn't help but laugh at what he began to do next. "Hey, cut that out!" she ordered. The puppy wouldn't take "no" for an answer, playfully nipping her sleeve and pulling on it. "You are a little deviller, you know that?"

It growled mischievously and, for just a brief moment, its little fangs showed beneath its doggie-lips. Her eyes widened slightly, holding back her laughter. "Fierce little thing, aren't you? You'll make a good guard dog…now leggo of my sleeve, please!"


The ex-freshman nearly fell over and the puppy gave a startled yelp, ducking behind her for safety. She whirled around to find her mother standing there with her father; her hands on her hips and she looked infuriated.

"We have been looking for you everywhere; now we find you here, and with…with that?" She evidently was not pleased with her daughter's selection.

"Now, dear…" Her father's voice was stark calm in comparison to that of his spouse. "She did tell us she would be here, in Kennel 5…"

"You, hush," she snapped, wagging her finger at her husband for silence though a hint of affection was hidden in there somewhere, making him smile and nod. Her high-heels clacked on the floor as she made her way over, Mr. Sakamoto remained where he was. "What are you doing with that mongrel? I thought we had agreed on getting a pure-breed for you…" She took an unsure step back as the pup growled at her, still allowing his self to be sheltered by his new friend.

Chihiro's father chuckled, casually making his way over and bent down, scratching its ears. The puppy leaned into his touch, obviously enjoying the rubbing. "But dear, it is pretty cute…"

"You're agreeing with our daughter? That…thing was attacking her!" The woman insisted.

The same bemused smile from just moments before flickered wider across his lips. "Dear, you are over-reacting. It was only playing with her the way puppies do. It meant no harm." His green eyes, similar to his only child's, rotated to stare into her own. "Chihiro-chan, you want this one, ne?"

"HAI!" She proclaimed, snatching the puppy off the floor and cuddling against her chest as it licked her face for the millionth time that hour.

"Alright, let's go to the desk and get going." He put an arm around his only child's shoulder and guided her out, his wife wisely staying to his other side and away from the "vicious" puppy, much to his amusement.

Mrs. Sakamoto sighed in defeat. So much for the cat idea. "Chihiro, darling, what are you going to call it?"

"It's a he, 'Kaa-san." She lightly corrected, saying so around another doggie kiss. "And as for a name, I'm not sure yet. Maybe something will come to me soon…. Boy, stop squirming around; I can't hold you that good!" It slicked her face, making her want to stop scolding him.


"Well, that pretty much does it," A female worker stated cheerfully to the most recent customers. "All that's needed now is a name. Do you know what you'd like to name your little friend here so I can get the license ready?"

"Ano…" Chihiro pivoted from one foot to the other trying to think of a suitable name for the puppy that was currently chewing at her stocking. She bent down, trying to gently pry him off without hurting his baby teeth. But when she did manage to separate him from her article of clothing, he gave an agitated howl; sounding much like that of a wolf. Chihiro's mother jumped, clutching at her husband's arm. Mr. Sakamoto and the desk person also gave a light start.

After the initial astonishment went away, she giggled, scratching him behind his ears affectionately; he closed his big round eyes as he relished the caresses. She had to come up with a name on the spot, and it had to be a good name. "Uhm…his name is…"

His pointed ears twitched as he looked up, waiting anxiously for his new identity.

"…Genrou." The name had come to her out of the blue. 'His name is Genrou; Phantom Wolf.' She thought. Chihiro gave an enthusiastic nod to the given name while Genrou barked his approval from the floor.

"Alright, 'Genrou' it is." The woman behind the counter top wrote in legible kanji the name "Genrou" on a pinkish sheet of paper, turning it around on the countertop to face them and handed the pen to the girl. "Here's the adoption certificate, miss. Just sign here…" Chihiro excitedly scribbled her name on the appropriate space. The worker smiled, turning to another worker behind her and took a silver tag with her pet's name engraved upon its surface on one side, her family's address and phone number on the flip side, should he ever get lost. "Enjoy your new friend."

Without even asking for the newly bought leash in her father's hand, Chihiro called for the puppy to follow. "Gen-chan, come here, boy! Come on!"

Playfully barking, he chased after her, out the doors of the shelter and over to their car in the small parking lot. Not once outside did it look like he contemplated leaving her side. Once they got to the car, he waited patiently by her feet for her parents to catch up, and was given a deserving scratch atop his head. Both grown-ups were stunned; he had such discipline for a 5-month-old puppy, and without any training!

"Can we go now?" Chihiro asked, also thinking that it was odd, but was too excited to let it bother her for long. Shaking his head from a daze, Mr. Sakamoto pressed the button that unlocked the car automatically and Chihiro opened the back door, patting on the seat and signaling for Genrou to get in—he was only too happy to comply—before getting in herself. The parents still stared at each other in bewilderment as they got in themselves, fastening their seatbelts and pulled off.


On the long drive home, Chihiro looked down at her lap to find Genrou sound asleep, his head resting on her knees. He looked so sweet, and she wanted to play with him, but was told earlier by her parents that if she did get a puppy, it would need a lot of rest; it was still growing. It was just like a baby, her baby. She stroked his small form lovingly, filled with so much joy at having a new friend.

She couldn't wait to get home and show him her room, and give him his puppy toys that she had bought for him a few days prior. 'Speaking of things I got him…' Reaching into her shirt pocket, she pulled out the metal license tag that had the name "Genrou" printed on it in fine Japanese characters. Taking a black collar out of a bag sitting at her feet, while being careful not to wake the dozing creature, the dark-haired girl secured the item onto its proper place from the woven material.

There, once he was awake and playful again, she would put it on him so that no one could take him away from her, in case he would ever get away. But she would not let that happen. Chihiro promised herself then and there to be very careful with her little friend, and see to his every need as he grew up, whether it be grooming his vibrant coat or simply playing with him, sowing out countless amounts of motherly love she had for this adorable creatures.

"My little Gen-chan…" she whispered, stroking his face lightly, making him let out a comforted sigh. She smiled. "You're mine forever, little Genrou. We shall have lots of times together this summer, won't we?"