Disclaimer: All characters pertaining to the show InuYasha are owned by Rumiko Takahashi. I am not making any money from this...the only thing that I am getting out of this story is the satisfaction of knowing that other people enjoy my writing. All original characters are my creation and belong to me...as does the plot and storyline.

A/N: I will warn you now that Sessh will be OOC in parts of this story... This is going to be the only warning of OOC-ness.

JOURNEY

Chapter 1

A patch of crimson spread across the horizon as if it was challenging the approaching darkness. The sky in the east was already dark, and the heat of the day was quickly fading away as a crisp breeze pushed its way across the reservation. A storm was brewing in the distance, and the wind carried the smell of rain and the sound of thunder. The date on the calendar read April 2nd.

Kagome had just finished folding all that she could carry into her backpack, when her friend Sango popped her head through the open bedroom window. Kagome smiled precariously at Sango, who was bursting with anticipation. Kagome leaned out of the window and tossed her pack to the ground. She reached over and turned off the lamp on the floor. Then she slipped out the window and met Sango outside. They took each other's hand and headed away from the trailer where Kagome's grandfather slept peacefully.

Kagome's grandfather, Raymond Gray-Eagle, was a wise man. But lately, his arthritis was catching up to him. He was a teacher at the grade school in Cameron. He was a good and honorable man. Constantly, he reminded her of the importance of her Japanese and Lakota heritage, the traditions of the Sioux as well as those of the Navaho. She had spent the last ten years of her life learning those traditions. Kagome knew most of them by heart, but that night, she didn't care about customs or traditions. She was leaving.

In the recent years, the reservation had become a living hell for the young people who lived there. A good amount of elders had passed over into the spirit world, and the ones, who remained, in Kagome's opinion, were senseless fools who clung to their traditional ways like helpless children and refused to give the modern world a chance. Kagome and Sango were tired of simply existing as an object of ridicule. They, as well as others their age, were also tired of being held in contempt by the white people. They were sick of being referred to as 'poor' or 'lazy red-skins' and 'drunks that live of welfare'. There was also a lot of crime on the reservation. Naturally, no one cared. There were murders and rapes nearly every week. Three guys from the reservation had raped one of their friends, and she was now four months pregnant. She was only fourteen years old, and now her life was ruined. Kagome and Sango were not going to wait around for it to happen to one of them. They had decided to leave the reservation and make a life for themselves in the real world, by themselves.

Kagome was eager to get started, for she knew that they had a long hike across the Arizona desert ahead of them, as well as the mountains in front of them. There was a storm blowing down front the mountains from which there would be little shelter. Also, she knew that the longer they lingered, they ran the risk of being caught by her grandfather, or worse. The three men who had terrified so many of the young girls on the reservation could catch them out alone.

Kagome had very few regrets about leaving. She had never really felt like she belonged there. Although she had lived there for a little over ten years, she had never quite fit in. She had endured a lot of teasing from others her age, because she was half Japanese. Her grandfather had always taught her to be proud of what she was. He always said that she was the best of both worlds, but Kagome didn't see it that way. But that night, none of that mattered. She was leaving it all behind her in the beat up trailer that used to be her home.

As they walked across the yards of their friends and neighbors, Kagome looked at Sango. Even in the quickly receding moonlight, she could see the bruises on Sango's arms and face. Underneath her shirt, Kagome knew that there were more. She knew that they had made the right decision in leaving. Sango's mother was a drunk, old whore who would spread her legs for any man who had twenty dollars in his pocket or a case of beer in the back of his truck. Sango's mother was bitter and full of hatred. She hated everyone, including herself, but especially her teenaged daughter who still had all of the beauty that she herself had once possessed, but had lost long ago to a life of drugs, alcohol and prostitution, Kagome had witnessed her cruelty on more than one occasion and at one time, in Sango's defense, she had even been the target of it.

Sango, like herself, was another one of the many children that had been conceived as a result of American citizens of Japanese descent being forced into custody after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Everyone that the government could find, if they even looked like they might have Asian heritage, was herded up like cattle and shipped off to be detained until the fighting was over. Eventually, they were all allowed to return. But some of children, like Sango's and Kagome's grandmothers, who had been orphaned during the war, were adopted by loving families on the reservations were they had been carted off to. Eventually, they had grown up and had children of their own, and so on.

Kagome had often wondered whether or not she would have even been born if Sango's mother had been her mother. Sometimes, Kagome wished that she hadn't been. It was a curse to be a half-breed, she thought, and she had blamed her own mother for that mistake for many years after she died and left Kagome to live with her grandfather. Kagome's eyes were a dead giveaway to her mixed heritage. Most of the time, they were a dark shade of green, but when she was angry or sad, they would change shades slightly. Her skin was lighter than her grandfather's, but still too dark to be white. Kagome's hair was also different from other Indians'. Kagome's hair was not the normal ebony of an Indians' hair. It had auburn highlights, so that it was obvious to all that she was not full blooded anything. She belonged nowhere.

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By the time they left the reservation, it had started to drizzle. The approaching storm had blown over the San Francisco Mountains and they were walking right into it. Lightning was flashing around them. Sango was scared, but they continued to walk towards Cameron, where they would head south on the highway.

It took them about an hour to reach the highway. The girls started heading for Flagstaff. They walked for what seemed like an eternity before they even saw a car heading in any direction. Very few people traveled down that stretch of I-89 at night. Finally a couple of guys in an old Camaro stopped to give them a ride. They were soaking wet and very tired when they crawled into the back seat.

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The girls got out when they reached the outskirts of Flagstaff. They were tired and hungry and ready to get some sleep. Between the two of them, they had saved almost a hundred dollars. It was more than enough to get a cheap motel for a couple of nights. So they went in search of a suitably inexpensive place to spend the night. The girls checked into the Dunes Motel. It was almost dawn when they fell asleep, and they slept well into the morning.

The girls got up at around ten o'clock. They changed clothes and went to get a bite to eat before looking for work. They walked down the street they were staying on as well as several others. Finally, they came upon a small diner. The breeze carried wonderful aromas from inside. The girls went in, grabbed a couple of menus and sat down.

"What can I get for you two?" a nice old woman asked as she picked up the menus from the table.

"We'll have a couple of cinnamon rolls," Sango answered. "They smell wonderful."

"Thank you very much. My name is Rose. Just call me if you need anything else."

Rose bustled off to the kitchen as quickly as her short little legs could carry her. She went into the kitchen and returned with a couple of cinnamon rolls. She sat them on the table and then scurried across the room to clean the other tables. But as Rose made her way back to the kitchen, her knee gave out and she fell to the floor amidst a clutter of trays. Kagome and Sango rushed to help her.

"Thank you so much," Rose said as they helped her to her feet. "I'm just not so young and agile as you two anymore. I have been looking for some help, but it's so hard to find anyone I can trust."

"Well, I'm sure you'll find someone soon," Sango said as she picked up the trays and carried them to the elderly man who was washing dishes in the kitchen.

"How would you two ladies like to work here?" Rose asked as her face lit up with hope.

"Well," Kagome said, "I don't know."

"Oh, come on," Rose bargained. "I'll give you two dollars an hour, each, plus two meals a day. You can't beat that anywhere in town except over at them strip bars downtown, but you two don't appear to be that type. And I'm not trying to be prejudiced or anything, but no one in this town, other than them strip bars, is going to hire two teenaged Indians. Now do we have a deal?"

"Oh, ok," Kagome said as she looked at Sango.

"Good," Rose said, overjoyed. "I make pretty decent tips, do you two should do ok. Now, let's go into the kitchen and I'll introduce you two to Ellis."

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Rose and Ellis Crawford had opened the café some fifteen years earlier. They had run the diner pretty much on their own since then. The fact that the girls were Indian made no difference to them. Rose and Ellis only saw two young girls who were eager to earn their pay. They also had a young white girl and a wimpy white guy who worked the evening shift.

Rose was right about the tips. By the end of the week, the girls had made enough to pay for an extra week at the motel. The girls talked it over and decided to keep working through the summer so that they could save up enough money to go up to South Dakota. They knew it would take several months before they could save enough money to live on once they got there.

TBC...

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