A/N: Just a quick note here. For more detail on the background of the AU, history of shrine prostitution, or answers to questions in previous reviews, please check the A/N at end of chapter.
Here at long last, I am starting the continuation to Shrine Prostitute. Please bear with me as I finagle through gaping plot holes, etc. (Chapter 1 was the original one-shot, the rest is slapped together). Any story that was originally intended as a one-shot with not much background is going to have some interesting navigating to do…
Anyhow, here's the first chapter. Not as much action, but setting up the stage for our characters. I'm always willing to take on criticism and suggestions, though I can't promise to conform to any of them.
Overarching disclaimer: If I owned it this wouldn't be written in English with made up Japanese words.
Shrine Prostitute by FlameTwirler
Chapter 1: Naïveté
- absence of artificiality; natural or artless simplicity
- having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; having or expressing innocence and credulity; ingenuous
It was a by-word, heck it was a motto for her family. Otherwise why it be placed ahead of propriety? Otherwise why would she be where she was right at that very moment, preparing to face the most uncomfortable situation of her life?
Kagome only had one thought as she stood there with her lone suitcase on the train platform: My family must be crazy.
She still wasn't sure how the turn of events had led her to standing there, on her way to a secluded portion of inner Tokyo, heading to that shrine no less. She shook her head at how anything so archaic, so primal, could still be clung to under the guise of 'tradition' and still openly practiced, accepted, heck…even admired in today's society.
Taking in a deep breath she steeled herself and resigned herself to her destination: the Bacana Shrine and a month's time filled with worship.
The Bacana Shrine existed for two purposes only: medical care and sex. Only the latter was well known, but the strange combination typified all circumstances surrounding the place. The shrine proper housed around two to three hundred prostitutes at any given time (although that was the number from her mother's days so who knew what it was now?), who were there to aid in the worship of those who came seeking the good graces of the kami.
Granted, the men and women working there were different from street-walking prostitutes, and even had a different title, since they were known as Tetsudai – helpers to the spirits – but it was close enough that some people didn't see a difference.
Of course the family of one Higurashi Kagome was not included in that minority. They were of the group that saw it as an honor and an easy way to start scoring some much needed points with the kami. If pleased by the offering, the spirits were said to bestow blessings on not only those who worshiped there, but also their families, friends, businesses, and communities.
She led a strange life to not only be on her way, but pushed to do so by her family and friends no less. In any other household, in any other world, she may have had the opportunity to be the kind of girl who snuck around with her boyfriend when her parents weren't looking, or maybe even the kind that waited until she was married to do anything.
Looking at her lacking love-life so far, she mentally determined she'd more likely be the latter. Still, not like that was a choice anymore at this late point.
She had grown up a member of the powerful Higurashi Shrine, granddaughter to the shrine keeper, and a well-recognized miko in her own right. She adored her family, even if they were a bit odd, but the death of her father had made them all rely on each other more and on the shrine itself for their position in life, and they were all closer together for it.
She loved her mom, she really did, but when she had started talking to Kagome about her duty to one day visit the Bacana Shrine when she was still only 10 years old…
Kagome let out a sigh.
At least it was better than when her mom recalled her own visit to the place before she'd married Kagome's dad. That dreamy look in her eyes and those words were definitely not something she ever wanted to see and hear from her mother of all people. She got the willies just thinking about it!
But over the years it had been mentioned in such an off-hand manner so often that it just became natural to assume that one day she'd be heading off to The Shrine, just in the same way that she assumed she'd one day be heading off to college.
Sure, she didn't know which college but it was just the next natural step for her to take after high school, there was no question in her mind. She didn't really love school or anything but she did love medicine and helping people, so she felt silly to waste the opportunity and it became another thing that just melded into the background of her life.
Kagome smiled wryly and shook her head as she stepped onto the train. This whole school analogy was going way too far, she kidded herself, but at least it took some of the nerves out of her current situation.
Sure, it's scary to leave home and go to a school where you don't know anybody, or a shrine where you'll have sex with someone you don't know… Kagome took a deep breath, but it's not like it'll kill me or anything. Besides, if anyone knew Kagome they knew she was always down for a good adventure.
Who knows, it could be fun! she cheered herself on.
The dark haired miko smirked as she took her seat. She knew that her friend Ayumi would have shaken her head at the thought 'could be' instead of 'will be'.
She chuckled as she recalled how her friends had reacted when she told them for the first time about this particular shrine duty.
She'd gotten so used to hearing about it in her own home that when she off-handedly mentioned it one day when she was 15 she was momentarily at a loss for the reason every single person in the room was staring at her like she'd suddenly grown an arm out of the side of her head.
Her friends had had varied reactions: some were incredibly envious of her amazing 'opportunity', others harped on what a degrading situation it was for both her and the prostitute, while some were simply scandalized.
Yuka, the one ever ready to share tales of her own sexual exploits, at first exploded at the idea of having to pay someone for sex. However once Kagome shared that not only would her family would be paying for it but that it was supposed to bring blessings, Yuka was sold on the idea and continually ribbed her friend about it through the rest of high school.
In fact, she was so taken with the idea she kept asking how to sign up herself.
Kagome loved her friends, she really did, but she swore they were going to be the death of her. Any opportunity they got they were giving her 'advice' or sneaking 'how to' books into her bag.
Oi! She got a headache thinking about it. That had turned out really well the time she'd forgotten her bag at school and the teacher was looking through it in order to determine the owner and return it.
She'd gotten hell from her teacher but what was even worse was her mother's reaction. Not only did she give her daughter's sensei an odd view of her family by laughing at the news and brushing it off as no big deal, but the woman actually found the idea to be particularly brilliant and started planting things herself.
After that Kagome was convinced her mother really was crazy.
Unfortunately for Kagome this lack of 'motherliness' (a.k.a. strictness) was not spread to other areas of life and she still got in trouble for staying out late, hanging with the wrong people, boys her mom didn't like, doing poorly on tests, etc.
But anytime this subject came up her mother got that look in her eye that made her skin do the crawly thingy again. Thankfully her mother never gave detail on her own escapades but she urged that as long as her daughter was going anyhow that she'd sure better enjoy herself.
Kagome prayed to any spirit listening that she wouldn't have to give details upon her return home.
Then had come her 18th birthday. She had finally become a legal adult, shedding her minor status and enabling her to finally make the trek to the Bacana Shrine.
She didn't think she'd ever seen her grandfather look so happy, so in addition to the obligatory perverted gifts from all her friends, the old man had bought her a nice traveling case for the occasion. A little out-dated, but nice.
The speakers on the train crackled to life, breaking into Kagome's reverie, announcing that her destination was a mere ten minutes away. Suddenly her nerves sprang to life full force and she cursed her hands as they trembled in her attempt to open her water bottle and relieve her suddenly parched mouth.
To calm herself she started going through all the last-minute advice from her well-wishers.
Her friends, from conservative Eri to liberal Yuka, all giggled and told her to have fun. Her mother gave her the outfit she was to wear on her first visit but refused to explain its purpose, simply saying it was the best outfit for the occasion and she wasn't to open it until she reached the Shrine. Souta hugged her and just laughed nervously, feeling awkward at sending his sister off on what he termed her 'crazy sex-worship adventure'.
Thanks for that boost, Souta, she had grumbled under her breath.
Her grandfather, oddly enough, had been her biggest support through it all. Though they didn't always get along well, just with the generation gap and the difference in values and ideas it brought, he seemed to best understand her reticence and nervousness.
Of course he tried to allay all her fears as quickly as possible since he was also the biggest proponent of her going, but at least he acknowledged her right to be timid while facing this kind of situation.
He understood the complexities of so much more than she gave him credit for. Today was three weeks to the day after her 18th birthday. She'd packed up right after her party and waved goodbye to her family to take a drastic step into adulthood.
The original plan had been for her to go when she was older, early to mid twenties depending on circumstances, but things happen. Kagome shrugged.
The train came to a halt and she found herself wandering the lighted streets of the district. It was still only early afternoon but the buildings were tall enough and close enough together that the strung lamps were lit even in the daytime.
It gave a cheery, almost festival atmosphere to the streets and Kagome found herself smiling sunnily as she continued on her way. Swinging her suitcase with each step she closed her eyes for a moment and felt like a care-free child with the thrill of adventure coursing through her veins.
Slowly turning the corner she stopped suddenly and did a double take at the magnificent structure in front of her, feeling her jaw drop. Dragging her eyes from the base of the building up to its highest point she slowly took in the adorned features and sheer size.
It was massive! She compared it to the last concert hall she'd been to when she saw the latest raging pop-band. Gradually her eyes rested on the large sign above the archway entrance that simply read "Bacana Shrine".
There were three main parts of the structure that was each topped in a spire, decorated excessively in charms. Each of the many windows below were also sporting at least three distinct charms, the numbers increasing the higher the window. Kagome stopped trying to count the number of windows once she reached fifty.
The traditional shrine appearance had been somewhat modified by combining elements of traditional Japanese palace and Greco-Roman art. The wood roof and red siding was off-set by rising gold scrolling up the planes of each corner; the yard was set with both bamboo and plaster fountains, along with bronze, plaster, and granite statues. She could only guess at half the figures therein.
Finally deciding that closing her gaping mouth would help prevent having insects for dinner, Kagome tried to make her feet move, however the darned things had chosen that exact moment to stop taking her commands. Stupid feet, who needs em anyhow, eh?
She took a deep breath as she waited for her body to calm enough to do what she wanted. Chancing a glance at the building again she chided herself. See, it's not that bad, right?
Just because the scary looking gargoyle type thingies look like they want to eat me doesn't mean I should be scared, right? Just because there's a ridiculous amount of rooms in this place meaning lots of prostitutes and lots of experienced people visiting these prostitutes … oh my gosh I'm going to lose my virginity to someone I don't know – to a prostitute no less!
"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness…" Kagome willed herself to not hyperventilate at that thought. Of course they're going to send the one person in the family who wouldn't jump for joy at mindless, nameless sex. I suppose I am the only one the right age, she admitted silently. Unless she wanted to send her mom…and that was just wrong…
Well, not that it won't be fun, but am I the only one who still thinks this is kind of weird?!
As she finally got her legs to obey her and carry her toward the front doors of what she immediately termed 'the palace,' she continued her pep-talk. Come on, there's bound to be some absolute hotties in there, and then you'll have some bragging rights over Yuka and won't have to listen to her horrid stories all the time and maybe my friends will stop trying to set me up with weirdos.
Kagome gasped as she entered and saw the throng of people milling about. She'd had no idea this many people would be here. She started when her arm was suddenly jerked and she whirled to face a panicked looking young woman.
"Are you one of the shrine maidens?" she screeched out, staring at Kagome's wardrobe.
With a confused expression she answered. "No, I'm sorry, I'm not from this shrine – " she started to explain, but gave up when the young girl ran away as quickly as she had come. What on earth was that about? she wondered.
Only now that it had been brought to her attention did Kagome notice how much she stood out clad in the miko garb of her heritage. Her mother and grandfather had insisted on it to the point where her mother had come to dress her this morning. Not only that, she was almost positive that the outfit her mother had given her for this evening incorporated at least some portion of shrine attire into it.
It wasn't just that she stood out; she was even getting snickers from some of the less modestly clad women standing around. Guess it's not their first time here, huh? she brooded sulkily.
Holding her head up high, determined to show the pride of her family line, she flung her hair and started toward the front of the room where she assumed she was to pay and make an appointment.
The squat little man she found squinting at the pages behind the pedestal, one almost as tall as he himself was, caught Kagome by surprise. It wasn't that he was such an odd looking man, it was just odd to find him here working administration and such.
Kagome fought the urge to giggle as she hid her smile behind her hand, but still couldn't help but beam at him when he finally glanced up from his books to give her the once over.
"Hello," she said cheerily as she performed her proper bow. Standing straight again she fought the urge to roll her eyes as he studied her over his round little glasses. She never failed to get that reaction when wearing this get-up in public.
"Busy day, huh?" Kagome queried, hoping to get the man to say something at least.
He shrugged his shoulders slightly as he tartly replied, "Not really."
Kagome's mind boggled at that. If today was not a busy day, she'd hate to see what one looked like.
"Name?" he asked, looking back down at his papers and marking something.
"Higurashi Kagome," she replied, mimicking his tone and disposition by standing straight and tall and puckering her lips slightly with a sour look on her face. By the look on his, he wasn't amused.
"Huh, what?" Wow, good one girl, amaze him with those vocabulary skills of yours there.
He put down his pen exasperatedly. "The name of the one you want to see tonight? A favorite maybe? One you've seen before and haven't had a chance to try?"
Kagome flushed brilliantly when she realized not only what he meant but also at how inexperienced she was with the way things worked.
"Well see," she started as she twisted the hem of her haori in her fingers, "this is kinda my first time here?" She chanced a glance up at him through her eyelashes to prevent from showing the entirety of her face, her very red face she was sure.
Not even deigning to answer he turned to a small open door behind him set into a slight recess in the wall. "Hey Kazuma, get out here! We got a newbie!"
Kagome cringed as she knew the entire room had just heard the exclamation and were now aware of her situation. "Thanks…" she muttered under her breath. He spared her one sideways glance and then returned to his oh so important papers before a man in his early twenties, Kazuma she supposed, came careening out of the door, wiping his hands hastily on a towel.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming. Keep your shirt on." When the little, middle-aged man opened his mouth to begin his lecture or rebuttal, Kazuma cut in.
"No, really, I mean it. Do us all a favor; no one should be subjected to that." He smirked as he dropped the towel on the miniscule space that accounted for the man's desk then winked at Kagome.
"C'mon kid," he said as he grabbed her wrist and started dragging her away behind him, still smiling, "let me show you the ropes."
Kid!? her inner self seethed. I'm probably not even four years younger than you! What are you going on about?! Kagome had always been slightly sensitive about the fact that she looked young for her age, especially since it meant she'd still be treated like a child for at least part of her adult life.
Before they could get much farther Kagome abruptly stopped and turned, even though her escort deemed that an unworthy hindrance to his tour and just kept walking with his grip on her arm. So while walking backward she attempted to gain the attention of the front desk man by waving her free arm and yelling "Sir!" When that didn't work she gave up any pretense of decorum.
"Hey, you, the little old man with the glasses staring too hard at his papers!"
This had the desired effect as the man craned his head around to find the source of the distraction and when he found her still waving animatedly he scowled openly.
Kagome, starting to speak, was annoyed at the flow of people that still walked between them, blocking her view, so she began jumping up and down as she spoke. "What's your name? I didn't get your name!"
He hesitated only a moment before just barely raising his voice to say "Ryu" and then immediately looked back down.
Out of the corner of his eye he caught her exaggerated smile as she yelled back, "Nice to meet you, Ryu!" then finally turned back around to the increasingly persistent tugs of her guide.
Her back now turned, she didn't see the tiniest hint of a smile that graced his face even as he rubbed his temples and muttered "So loud…" to himself. All the same he couldn't help but think, that girl is too open and naïve for a place like this.
Kazuma laughed down at her as he found the door he was looking for. "So now you're hitting on the entire staff, eh?"
Kagome looked slightly harassed at the idea and had to suppress the urge to punch him in the arm or stick her tongue out at him, neither or which would be received well she was sure. "No, it's just if I'm going to be here for four weeks I figure I may as well befriend the people I'll be seeing during that time."
Kazuma half turned as he continued to lead her down the corridor. "Four weeks, is it? And a pretty little thing like you showing up in such an…interesting outfit." He winked quickly, letting her know he was joking (at least mostly) while he continued to appraisingly drag his eyes over her form from top to bottom.
She huffed at him, crossing her arms over her chest in an act of defense and irritation. "I happen to be a miko from the Higurashi shrine. My family has run it for centuries and I come representing them. Granted, this isn't every day run of the mill clothing for me, but I figure I can do what I can to honor all the work of my family. Besides," she began to mumble, "my mom wore the same thing her first time here, something about tradition…" Kagome trailed off as she fidgeted with her fingers.
Kazuma stopped and laid a hand on Kagome's head while she eyed him warily out of the corner of her eye. He noticed and smiled widely at her. "Nope, now nothing wrong with that."
When he noticed she wasn't following after he'd started walking again he yelled over his shoulder, "What, we doing this or not?" He laughed when she went from surprised to scowling as she trotted to catch up to him.
"Where are we going anyhow?" She realized she'd just been trailing him blindly and didn't even know what she was supposed to be doing next.
He glanced at her like she was stupid - and suddenly she felt she was - until he shattered her sulk with a smile again. "We're going to find you a partner for tonight!"
She smiled back at him as he turned the corner into a room. "And just how do we go about doing that?"
"With this!" he declared, patting the cover of an overlarge book. "This," he began, cracking the book open and turning the first page, "contains the profiles of each of our Tetsudai. Everything from photo to age, weight, height, likes, dislikes, expertise…" He trailed off while he rifled through the book, apparently looking for something in particular.
"Ah, here it is! What do you think of this guy?" He pointed to a photo and beckoned Kagome over to stand in front of him. She found herself looking at a conservative looking 25 year old man with tousled brown hair and an endearing enough smile, but somehow she just was not comfortable with his eyes.
Besides, he looks kind of boring… Kagome smacked her palm against her forehead. Wait! Did I actually just think that?! How is it possible to think anything about tonight could be classified as 'boring'? Remembering that Kazuma was still standing right behind her and raising an eyebrow at her antics, she laughed nervously as she waived her hand at him.
"Sorry, nothing. Umm..is it possible to look at someone else?" He smirked at her nervous answer and she had to wonder what was going through his head, or worse, what he thought she had been thinking about when viewing that photo. She groaned inwardly.
Luckily Kazuma pulled her from her misery as he pointed out another profile. "So what about this one?"
Over the next half hour Kagome turned down profile after profile until she noticed something. "Hey," she paused the man standing next to her as he started to leaf through the book again, "Why is it that all the ones we've looked at have the letters 'NG' on them?"
He stopped and turned to her. "It's an identifier we use. Some people want to try mixing up who they're with every time they come but still want the same type of experience. I figured you for the 'Nice Guy' type, so I pulled those up."
Kagome's mouth formed a silent 'o' as she took in the information, suddenly realizing that shrine prostitution was much larger and much more organized than she had originally thought.
"Here, why don't you just leaf through the book and let me know if you see anyone. Since you're here for four weeks you'll get to try a variety of different styles, so don't worry about your first choice too much. I'm sure you'll have fun no matter which way you go."
He winked at her and Kagome immediately turned her blushing face away from him and toward the book. She stopped again at the first page she turned to.
"I think there's a typo here. There's no way this guy's 126 years old! 26 maybe," she laughed.
Kazuma looked up from his magazine, when did he get that?, and peeked over her shoulder. "Nope, that's right as rain. Hakkaku there is wolf youkai. The age range of the youkai here vary quite a bit, but they don't tend to stay very long. So if you like the looks of him you might want to snag him now."
Kagome sat there mouth agape after he turned back to his magazine. She turned slowly back to the photo, then to Kazuma, then to the photo, then Kazuma… "You sure you're not lying?"
"Yeah, I'm sure," he grunted without peeling his eyes away from whatever had him so entertained.
Staring warily at the photo in front of her Kagome heaved an inward sigh. You'd think someone would have told me this shrine wasn't human only. Why had I expected anything about this day to be normal? Shaking her head slightly she continued on her search.
After another exhilarating hour of leafing through photos and reading statistics Kagome closed the book with a muffled scream. "It's just so hard to choose from a piece of paper! I mean, someone can seem perfectly normal in his photo and then turn out to be a total creep in person. Believe me, I've been set up on plenty of blind dates, so I know."
She shuddered at the thought of the last revolting boy she'd gone out with. Her friends were constantly trying to find her a boyfriend as if it was their sole mission in life and she'd finally given in to go out with one of Eri's classmates. He was described as quiet, studious, shy, and looked nice enough in his photo, but when they met in person she felt like all he did was leer at her.
She might have thought she was just being paranoid had he not tried to feel her up the first second the two of them were alone together. She actually had to smack him with her purse to get him to stop. Apparently in his vocabulary 'date' meant 'easy.'
And unfortunately that was only the most recent encounter. She could fill a short novel with her blind date horror stories.
She glanced over as Kazuma stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Well," he brightened, "why don't I just take you to meet them then?"
"Wh- What?!" she stuttered. He was already off his feet and heading out the door when she caught up with him. "What do you mean by that? There's no way I could meet every single one!"
"Of course there isn't!" There was that condescending, 'poor naïve little girl' voice again. "I'm taking you to dinner. All the Tetsudai are in there at once so there should be no problem."
He rounded the corner and started into a nicely decorated corridor before continuing. "It's unusual for a first-timer to be taken there, since we don't want to scare them off now, do we?" He winked at her. "But regulars go through there often enough that we won't stand out too much."
He stopped in front of two large paneled doors and grasped the bronze handles. "Don't think anything of it if they look at you funny. It's what they're here for, so you just study them to your heart's content." With that he slid the heavy door open and led her in.
Kagome was bombarded by the echoing din of voices, scraping metal, and banging wood, and had to fight to not hide behind Kazuma's back to gain her bearings. Although the room was massive by her standards, there were easily a hundred people there and some were trying to converse from across the room it seemed.
She forced herself to keep her back straight and head erect as she levelly and coolly scanned the group before her. Nothing too out of the ordinary…unless you count the number of men staring straight at me as abnormal. No, that's totally normal, everyday occurrence, right?
Kazuma grabbed her wrist and started to lead her through the crowd. Before they even made it to the other side of the room Kagome started to feel ill. Half the guys she passed clearly snubbed her and her appearance. She didn't know whether to take offense to her face, her body, or her heritage by choice of miko garb. The other half leered like they'd never seen a female before and had to exert terrible control to not rip her from Kazuma's grasp and strip her bare right there.
Sure, she was exaggerating, but that's what nerves could do to a girl. In other circumstances it might be very flattering, but at the moment Kagome wanted nothing more than to melt into the wall.
Then she noticed it: an abnormality. It wasn't even his appearance, though the ears and bright shock of silver hair were quite extraordinary. It was his reaction to seeing her. He glanced up, then as if he had seen right through her turned back to his tray and continuing to pile up the surprising amount of food he was apparently going to ingest. Kagome made her decision right there.
"Okay, I've decided," she informed her companion confidentially. He followed her gaze and startled slightly, until he put together what he thought was two and two and smirked in revelation.
"Oh, so you're one of those," he remarked, turning her around and heading back for the doors they entered by.
"What do you mean by that?" Kagome whirled, not sure whether or not to take offense.
He continued walking in silence and Kagome began to wonder whether or not he was going to answer her. She was ready to state her question again when he noisily slid the doors back into place and they were back out in the corridor. "Let me guess, you have a special kind of outfit you're wearing tonight, not just the normal lingerie?"
His insinuation made Kagome blush as she let her dropped her head in embarrassment to let her bangs cover her eyes. How had he known? She bit her lip and nodded her head, looking at an extremely interesting spot on the floor.
"Good, good," he laughed, patting her heartily on the back. "You should have told me at the beginning and I could've saved us some time. Oh well." He grinned widely. "I'd never have pegged you for one, but if I've learned anything here it's to never judge by appearances because you're always surprised!"
He guffawed his way back into the front room where he had Ryu sign her up for the night. The middle-aged man peered at her over his glasses as if looking for something but just as quickly shrugged it off and continued writing.
"I trust Kazuma informed you of all the goings on, the rules, and the methods of payment?" he asked without even looking up.
"I – uh – sure?" Smooth Kagome, that sounded real sure of yourself there.
Ryu sighed while putting down his pen, then glared at Kazuma. "What do I even keep you around for you lazy - "
He cut himself off as he started swatting at Kazuma's head. Kagome fought to smother her giggles as the smaller man had to almost jump to reach the top of the younger man's head. "Why don't you just go clean something!" He all but shoved Kazuma into the room he had appeared from earlier that day and, with a wink to Kagome, he was gone.
While Ryu was taking his seat he continued to grumble something about how hard it was to find good workers or something to that effect and Kagome continued to laugh. It seemed that in all the excitement she'd been forgotten so she cleared her throat.
"What are you smiling for?" he snapped.
Kagome raised her eyebrow in protest. "Is there anything wrong with smiling Ryu?" He started when she said his name; she guessed he wasn't used to hearing it from the people who passed through here every day. They probably never bothered. Pity really, these two seemed highly entertaining to her.
Ryu rubbed the slightly bald spot on his head, making Kagome wonder if the hair had receded naturally or from his constant attention.
"Sorry, but I do not have much time for chit-chat today…" he glanced at his notes, "…Kagome, but I trust you understand payment?"
His glower didn't seem nearly as menacing as he meant it to be and Kagome had to fight to take him even a quarter as seriously as he took himself. "Yessir!" she saluted him. He didn't think it was half as funny as she did.
"Anyhow," he continued on, regardless, "6000 yen per hour, paid in advance. You can pay nightly, weekly, or for the entire month, but any time you go over the one hour limit will be detracted from the remaining amount. Got that?" His look told her she better; he wasn't going to elaborate or explain anything a second time.
"Yeah, yeah," Kagome waved him off. "You get what you pay for. Follow the rules, don't make anyone mad, and most importantly, don't annoy the front clerk!"
Said front clerk merely rolled his eyes and waved her off with a flick of his hand. "Get on with you. Before you even ask, you're in room 112 tonight at 10pm sharp." Kazuma glanced up from his 'oh so important' paperwork to give her one final admonition. "And please, do have some care tonight. Just because it's someone else's toy doesn't mean you should break it."
Kagome had no clue what he was talking about but nodded sagely like he'd just given her some valuable insight into life.
Giving him a small wave she was off to the find the small apartment she was renting the month she was here. She found it relatively easily and was relieved at the simple, functional décor. She'd been afraid her grandfather was going to find her something hideous.
The place was set up as a studio with a living room to the right, a kitchen and bathroom behind that, and a large king size mattress that took up most the left side of the apartment. Kagome thought she'd died and gone to heaven.
Dropping her bag on the ground she flopped onto the bed, spreading her arms and legs out as far as they could go and squealing when she still didn't feel the ends of the mattress. Glancing at the clock she found she had enough time to sneak in a little nap before getting ready and heading back to the Bacana Shrine and searching out room 112, then smiled dreamily as her head found the down pillows.
Thinking over the events of the day she drifted off. The rest of the night was a blur between the buzzing of the alarm, getting ready, and getting lost in the complex maze of hallways inside the shrine…until she was there.
Now she stood frozen. Still. The reality of it was rearing its ugly head and banging against hers like a drum. She was actually going to do that with whoever was on the other side of this door: a man whose face she'd seen for all of 5 seconds.
Raising her hand, she prepared to knock.
Tetsudai – variation on 'helper'
Bacana – the name of the shrine is loosely based on the Roman/Greek god Bacchus/Dionysus who was the god of fertility and wine.
A/N: This is to hopefully answer/appease multiple questions/comments raised to the previous one-shot.
To DeMoNMiKo192. and the multiple others who asked:
This story is set in an AU where Greek and Roman culture was never wiped from the face of the earth. Instead it migrated over to Japan where it was assimilated somewhat.
Buddhism is a religion that adapts to its surrounds and environments, to the point of taking on foreign deities and practices and incorporating them into the religion.
The Greek/Roman world really did have shrine prostitutes, most often associated with Aphrodite (goddess of love) and Bacchus (god of wine/merrymaking). It actually constituted worship to go and have sex with a shrine prostitute and was a culturally accepted practice. I've heard much more about the presence of male prostitutes, especially young boys, than of female prostitutes. For the sake of this fic, and having it occur in the present, everyone is going to be of legal age so there's no nasty pedophilia or anything of the like, and while there are female prostitute, the focus will of course be on the guys.
Neither are demons extinct or in hiding in this fic, although that'll be explained much more later. Let's just say for now that they are living side by side. It may not be friendly, but they're not killing each other either.
Luna Chic NSI: Thanx for catching that the conversation was jumpy. I had intended to make it somewhat so, considering the very awkwardness and uncomfortableness of the situation, and wanted the conversation to mirror that, but perhaps I went a little overboard. Hell, could just be I suck at writing a conversation that flows well, but that was my intention at least.
To C & C Bandit: You're right, I had originally planned this as a one-shot, so I wasn't given as much to historicity and other things that would have to carry through. Although I explained the historic context of temple prostitution above, you're right that it does not exist in Buddhism (as far as I know), but for the sake of this fic it does. The point is not that Kagome must go have sex. It was simply her choice that this was her first time, which I felt kept her in character more since I still see her as more the innocent virginal type. She could have had sex with a boyfriend or something before going to the shrine, but she just hadn't. The point of going to the shrine is not to become 'experienced' or anything like that, it's just seen as an important, vital form of worship to be completed by everyone now and again. Historically, the more time you spend with the prostitute 'worshipping,' the more you are pleasing the gods and the more they bless you. Her family wanted blessings for the shrine, and seeing it as 'worship' and not something sleazy, they sent her for a full month.
Regarding the other stuff you mentioned, I'll work on it ^_^
Original FF version posting: July 22, 2006
Edited: July 9, 2007