Yay! Okay, I'm going to tackle two stories at once here. So bear with me…also, if anyone likes Sesshomaru centered stories, I'm writing one right now as well. It's from before (and during and a after) Inuyasha was born…and I love it! Just incase anyone's interested.
A/N: Okay, since I know that most people will have forgotten her, Satsuki is not an OC. She is really in the manga (I'm near positive that she's in the anime too) and Shippo really does have a crush on her.
And yes, The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey in part, inspired this story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or any copyrighted products and/or ideas.
The Stamp Of Gold
"PERVERT!" The cry of outrage nearly shook the entire house. The loud SLAP sound that shortly followed only managed to break a couple of the more delicate glass animals that were nearby. A young man with golden eyes, long silver hair and dog ears jerked awake and shook his head as he listened to the screaming sounds of two of his more trusted servants fighting in the early morning hours. Well, actually it was about noon, but that was certainly early for Inuyasha Takahashi.
In the room below his dark one was a bright nursery where three children were playing. One boy and two girls. The boy was named Shippo and the girls were called Rin and Satsuki. Shippo and Rin had been passing the red ball that now rolled on the floor unnoticed to each other and Satsuki had been quietly reading her picture book when the fighting pair on the floor below them had jerked them from their happy world. Now they were all looking at one another, wide eyed, and each of them wondering how stupid Miroku could be.
"Now my dear Sango!" The man, Miroku, protested as he backed into a corner, away from the livid woman whose wrath he had just aroused. "No need to be violent!"
"Violent?" Sango, the woman, screeched. "Violent? I'll show you violent!" And with that she picked up a nearby chair and brought it down heavily on Miroku's head. The poor man was out faster then you could say, "Bob's your uncle".
Sango sniffed in disdain. Served him right too, groping her when he knew that she was stressed. Her old friend Kagome Higurashi was coming today to join the household and Sango couldn't be more worried for her.
Sango had always been protective of her younger friend, even when they were little. And this house…the house where Sango had worked for the past ten years, ten years since she had seen Kagome…this house wasn't the safest of places. But the master, Inuyasha, needed somebody with Kagome's skills. And that she happened to be Sango's best friend was, in the masters eyes, an added plus.
They needed someone who was good with kids; someone who was knew their lore, someone who knew the ancient languages and someone who wouldn't balk at the first sign of the abnormal. This description was Kagome all over…but still…Sango couldn't help but be worried. Kagome's upbringing may have been unconventional in the modern world, but Kagome was still a very modern girl.
Frustrated Sango twitched her long skirt and sat down to wait by the door, leaving the unconscious Miroku to wake up on his own in the drawing room three doors down from the main hall where Sango sat.
Kagome Higurashi looked up from the letter that she had been re-reading for the hundredth time and looked out the window. The world beyond was grassy…grassy…grassy…lots and lots of grass…grass, grass, grass…oh! And would you look at that! More grass! High grass, low grass, blue grass, green grass, dead grass and living grass, it didn't matter. There was lots and lots of grass. At least the rolling hills gave the landscape some variation and every now and again one would see sheep grazing peacefully and maybe a cow here and there but still! Kagome had never thought it possible for there to be so much grass at once. Kagome sighed again and went back to stare at the letter that she clutched, trying to ignore the way the train jostled and bumped her around in her seat.
Dear Ms. Higurashi
My name is Inuyasha Takahashi and I have been looking for quite some time now for a governess of your criteria to oversee the children currently staying in my household. Their needs are peculiar and as such I cannot send them off to a boarding school and when consulted my servant Sango Tajiya gave me your name. I understand that she is a friend of yours, I'm sure that she would be most delighted if you came to stay.
Kagome wasn't an idiot. She knew that last line was a foul underhanded trick to make her pity her friend and to soften her womanly heart. Kagome may have known that, but that didn't mean that it didn't work.
There are three children. A boy named Shippo and two girls named Rin and Satsuki. The girls are my half-brother's children and the boy is an orphan that I took in some years ago.
The word boy had been made darker then the other words, as if the writer had pressed down hard on the sheet and written the word with utmost concentration. The type of writing a person uses when they sincerely want to write something else.
They are all charming and I feel guilty that my servants and I are all too busy in our day-to-day lives to offer the children the company and the guidance that they so deserve.
Again with the darker writing…
I can understand perfectly if you're a little concerned with all of the finer details of my proposition. But we can discuss those as well as your contract when you arrive.
Sounded awfully confident that she would come, didn't he?
I trust that the salary that my valet has outlined below will be enough to comfort your worries. I trust that you will be able to start as soon as possible.
Kagome's eyes now drifted down once more to the second piece of paper that the valet had written. Apparently the man knew his master well enough to know that Mr. Takahashi did not have any practical knowledge when it came to requesting the service of a lady. The valet explained that her train ticket was already paid for, that this was all a request and not in fact an order, had told her where she was to be working and that meals and clothing and accommodations would all be arranged should she accept the proposition.
What Kagome didn't know was that it had taken hours for Miroku, the valet, to convince Inuyasha that Kagome wouldn't just show up out of no where once he decided that she should. It had then taken a couple days for him and Sango to convince Inuyasha that he couldn't just write:
You're hired. Get over here and get the brats to shut the hell up!
Maybe it was for the best that she didn't know that…
Kagome sighed again. When she had accepted the job it had seemed like a good idea. She had been looking for a position like this one for quite some time now and when the letter had arrived she had been in such a bad financial situation that even a third of the salary that the valet had mentioned would have been very, very tempting. As it was…she couldn't afford to refuse the job. Her family couldn't afford for her to refuse the job.
And there it was. The real reason she was on a train going to the middle of nowhere to serve as a governess for three most likely very bratty and spoiled children and no one that she knew except a friend who may or may not be there, a friend who she hadn't seen for ten years. Her family. Kagome's father had recently died of pneumonia and left her family in debt with no means. Her grandfather was to old and senile to work, her brother was too young to work…legally. Her mother was bound by the sexism that bound so many, and with a family to provide for the now Widow Higurashi couldn't go to work…and that left Kagome.
Kagome had to give up a college education and a future career in science to become a governess so that she could send money back to her family so that they could stay in the shrine that had been in their family for generations.
The train began to slow and the compartment door slid open as the conductor stepped in and all the passengers looked up at him.
"Miss…" he said, addressing Kagome. "This is your stop."
Kagome blinked and stole a glance out the window as she stood and pulled down her luggage. She saw nothing but the sun beginning to set, grass, and a long dusty dirt road that was little more then a path and seemed to stretch on forever, and even more grass. She had thought that there would have at least been someone waiting for her.
Within moments Kagome had been hurried off the train by overly attentive conductors (apparently her new employer was some sort of hot-shot on the rails) and found herself standing on the small wooden platform with her carpet bag in one hand and her letter of employment and her book in the other. The book was a copy of the Odyssey and Kagome, with another sigh, sat down to read it for a little while as the train pulled out of sight. Maybe if she waited for a little while someone would come. They couldn't honestly expect her to walk to a place she had never been and had no idea how to get to!
Kagome read up to the part where Poseidon sees Odysseus crossing the ocean in his raft when she finally got fed up and decided to walk down the road to see where it would take her. She didn't have much sunlight left and she'd be damned if she was going to be caught at a train station at night. She may not be considered very lady like, for example, she was no stranger to billiard parlors and clubs (she had quite often had to drag both her father and grandfather from such places) but that didn't mean she was completely without ladylike standards. Just because they didn't show, didn't mean they weren't there…
Well, that's what Kagome liked to think anyway.
Picking up her carpetbag and stuffing her copy of the Odyssey in it Kagome began to walk business-like down the dusty path-like road. Her footsteps made dust-clouds rise and settle on her light green travel suit, which made Kagome wince. She hoped that the valet had been honest when he said that her clothing would be provided, because this suit was all she had brought with her…there hadn't been enough room to bring anything else.
And if you had pointed out to Kagome that if she had packed less books there would have been room for clothes Kagome would have chased you down screaming unwomanly profanities and you would have suffered a concussion from being whacked one to many times over the head with a carpet bag stuffed to the brim with big fat and juicy books.
Kagome mounted a hill that had blocked her view from the platform and, resisting the urge to give herself a concussion with the carpet bag, growled obscenities as she walked slowly down to the large mansion that seemingly had sprung out of nowhere and was her new home.
"You idiot Kagome…" she told herself under her breath. "You didn't think to poke around before now? Sheesh…"
As Kagome passed under the wrought iron gates she looked up at the engraving. It said:
Kagome blinked. The valet had written that the mansion was called the Feudal Era…but the motto…
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" She wondered aloud. "Wicked people? But it's accusative…"
"We're not actually sure." Said a man's voice from in front of her. Kagome jumped and looked to see a tall handsome man with startling blue eyes and black hair long enough to be pulled back into a ponytail. "Personally I think that the engraver just had bad eyesight and bad hand writing." He smiled at her charmingly and held out his hand. Kagome looked him in the eyes for a moment, his smile didn't reach them. "My name is Koga, and you must be Miss Higurashi." He said warmly, though his eyes still glinted coldly. "We've been waiting for you."
"Please, call me Kagome." She said, taking his hand and shaking it, smiling kindly. She resisted the urge to smirk when she felt him try to overpower her hand in the shake and instead she forced his to the bottom of the shake. She savored the surprise and shock that washed through his eyes though he was careful to keep it from his face. Her father had taken great care in teaching her to shake hands like a man, and it was a way to protest sexism without going out and donning bloomers, as Kagome had learned in her years of academia.
"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting." She said, hoisting her carpetbag a little in her hand and staring pointedly into Koga's eyes. "It's just that this bag is so heavy." She said, resisting the urge to snicker. Koga had managed to get on her bad side immediately, after all…if he had been waiting at the gate for a long time (which was what it looked like from the half empty beer bottle she saw lying not to far away) then he should have thought to come and check up on her. So now, in regards to her private embarrassment, she would have her revenge!
And if you had pointed out to her that this was completely illogical then you would have ended up back in the hospital with another concussion and the nurses would, at this point, probably start making jokes at your expense.
After Kagome's comment Koga, who had to keep up the pretense of being a perfect gentleman, had no choice but to carry the incredibly heavy bag to the house as Kagome walked briskly in front of him. He glared after her, silently wondering how the woman had managed to carry the bag that far. It was very, very heavy. How heavy? Have you ever carried a true bookworms bag as she or he leaves the library? Those books are only for the week…imagine if that same bookworm had to get enough books to last them a year at least? Now imagine carrying the bag…
You just imagined waking up in the hospital with a broken back, didn't you?
"Look Miroku!" Sango was saying. "I don't care if Inuyasha wants her to start immediately! She's spent two days on a train! She'll need to rest and eat some decent food and mark my words her mind will be set on nothing but a decent bath! The kids can wait till morning!"
"But Sango!" Miroku whined. "What are we supposed to do with them? Kohaku let it slip that she was coming today and now they're bouncing off the walls and Inuyasha's threatening to throw them out!" Sango gaped at him.
"You mean they're still up!" She demanded, outraged. "You idiot! They were supposed to be in bed an hour ago!" And with that Sango took off running to the children's playroom, leaving her post by the door for the first time since that morning, leaving a baffled Miroku behind.
"But it's not even dark yet!" Miroku protested to the empty entrance hall on the children's behalf, unknowingly repeating what the little devils themselves were saying at that exact moment. Miroku merely shook his head. Women. He'd never understand them.
Miroku blinked and turned around, was that someone at the door?
Miroku's head jerked a little bit and he began to smile brilliantly. Could it be? Was it she? Dared he hope?
Miroku opened the door to find a cross young woman with delicate features, shoulder length ebony hair and liquid, expressive eyes the color of willow bark…eyes that currently flashed with annoyance.
"About time you opened up!" She snapped. "Now get this oaf to shut up!"
Miroku peered behind her and saw an offended looking Koga with an awkward carpetbag in his hands. He winced.
"He's not telling you about the time he won at horseshoes, is he?" Miroku asked hesitantly.
"How he managed to tell me five times in so many minutes I have no idea and I was the one trying not to listen." The young woman said curtly. Then she sighed. "I'm sorry, I'm not usually in such a foul mood."
"It's quite alright." Miroku said. "Most travelers are in a nasty temper by the time they reach their destination…and most travelers don't have to deal with Koga as soon as they arrive. Come in, you must be Miss Higurashi?"
"Yes, call me Kagome, please." She said, walking past him into the entrance hall. "I'm sorry, you would be?"
"Call me Miroku." He said, then took her hands and knelt down. "Kagome, it's rare to see a beauty such as yourself. Would you do me the honor of bearing my child?" He asked. And icy silence fell on the trio, and Koga smirked.
"Carpet bag, ma'am?" He asked, holding it out.
"Please." Kagome said, taking it with one hand and then bringing it down with a lovely THUMP noise on poor Miroku's head. Miroku slumped to the floor, only to be shouldered seconds later by Koga.
"I'd better take him to Kaede." Koga said with a shake of his head.
"Who?" Kagome asked curiously.
"I dare say you'll meet her in the morning." Koga said, before running away down the hall and up the grand marble staircase, passing Sango who was coming down on his way up.
"What happened to the pervert?" Sango asked.
"Your long-lost friend." Koga said, nodding back to the ground floor. Sango looked and gasped.
"Kagome!" She cried joyfully. Kagome looked up and gasped as well.
"Sango?" Kagome said. "Sango!"
The two women ran to each embraced, holding the other tight and crying tears of joy and laughing and talking and jumping up and down together, all at once. Koga, who was watching them, shook his head. Women. He'd never understand them.
Koga turned and proceeded onto Kaede's with Miroku. He'd trust Sango to settle Kagome in for the night…what he wanted to do was go back outside and finish that beer bottle and then get to his own bed for the night. It had been a very long day for Koga.
Well, I know that this isn't a very good ending spot, but the chapter was long enough as it was. Please remember to review and tell me what you thought! Or just say…I read the first chapter of The Stamp Of Gold.