Kagome lived a boring life. She always followed the rules, helped everyone, and did as she was told. Never straying off of the path set for her by her family, she watched other children play around in the mud and wrestle over lizards and turtles. They would ask her to join them and she always told them that today her mother didn't want her to get dirty. The other kids soon learned to stop asking.

In a way, Kagome was fine with how her life was. She did not have to face the same family problems that the other kids did because she learned early on that her mother was the absolute ruler and to disobey meant to be a disgrace. Because she did not fight her mother on this point, her life was peaceful. She could tend to the flowers and help the devoted who came to find guidance from her grandfather. She was too young to start training to be a shrine maiden, but she didn't mind taking up duties that she normally wouldn't worry about until she turned thirteen.

When Kagome was at the shrine, she did not have to worry about the world outside the gate. She was sheltered and content. It was when she climbed the walls that surrounded the shrine, looking for broken tiles that needed to be repaired, that she would watch the other children and wonder what it would be like if she was one of them. Kagome had never felt cool mud between her toes, or the slimy skin of a salamander. She had never wrestled and she did not own a crown of wild flowers that was given by a friend and attracted bees.

Years went by and the children grew up as did Kagome. They played in the mud less and less and began to bemoan school and love and life in general. Kagome stayed at the shrine and swept falling leaves from the flagstones, content with her position as shrine maiden. Her grandfather was too old to care for the shrine, so the responsibility fell to her. Day after day, visitors would show up, both tourists and devoted followers, and they would ask her to speak words of wisdom. Kagome smiled at them and claimed that the gods were quiet today, which only meant that they had nothing to say.

Her mother's death was sudden and completely unexpected. The shrine was closed for one week to allow for mourning. Her grandfather lamented and cried and worried about what would happen to the shrine now. Kagome's mother took care of the expenses; Kagome herself had no experience with bills. Her younger brother, now in his first year of high school, was the only one who left the shrine and he was much too young to know how to balance accounts. Her grandfather became resigned to the fact that the shrine needed to be sold to another family. He was too old to learn business and Kagome was too passive to barter. The shrine was sold to a family that had never taken care of a holy site before and Kagome grandfather died of grief when it was flatten to make an apartment complex.

Kagome was given an apartment on the first floor of the complex. It was situated right where her flowers used to sit. She lived there for three years and ordered her groceries over the phone and had them delivered to her door. When asked why she didn't move away like her brother did, she would say that she had never left the shrine. The other tenants would get uncomfortable looks on their faces when they were reminded that they were living on a former holy site.

It was when Kagome was twenty-one that she looked out of her window and realized that she no longer saw the gate of the shrine. She had known it had been torn down, of course, but she had never really thought about what that meant. It hit her very suddenly and forced her to take a seat or risk falling down.

The shrine was gone.

She had spent her whole life on this plot of land. She had never ventured out, had been educated by her mother. She looked down at her attire, the standard red and white shrine maiden clothes that she had worn since she was little. It was meaningless now. Kagome looked out of the window and saw cars rushing by on the street below. Young people her age, dressed in outrageous looking clothes, walked by with loud rambunctious laughter.

Kagome strode to her little closet, the one that held her mother's old clothes. She didn't own any street clothes and would have to make do with an outfit that hadn't been worn in four years. They felt strange on her skin, soft and comforting. Her shrine maiden attire was made of modest, rough cotton. She kept her hair in its customary pulled-back style. There would be time to change it later, when she knew what else she could do with it. A pair of loafers replaced her sandals and a sweater was pulled on to ward off the chill that was growing in the fall season.

Her neighbors watched curiously as she made her way down the steps that ended at the street. She knew that they must be wondering what drove her to finally leave. At the very last step, before her foot touched the concrete sidewalk, Kagome paused. This was the farthest from the shrine she had ever been. She knew better than to look back. It would only make her want to hide in her apartment again, to pretend that she was still a shrine maiden. Her foot landed steadily on the sidewalk. People walking past her didn't spare her even a tiny glance. She was just another face in the crowd.

Kagome continued down the street, following the crowd wherever it went. She didn't worry about getting lost. According to her neighbors, the apartment complex was very popular right now and nearly everyone knew about it. She took in the different shops around her, not caring that she had no money to buy anything. The sights were strange and amazing to her.

While she was staring at a display of elevated shoes in the window of a shop, she failed to pay attention to her surroundings and walked into a hard wall. From her position on the ground, Kagome looked up and her blues eye met with a pair of bright green. A young man with blazing red hair bent down to lend her a hand up. Long, graceful limbs were clothed in a pink school blazer, a color that should clash with his hair, but managed to make the red even more vibrant. As Kagome grasped the slender hand offered to her, she felt a jolt pulse through her joints. The young man's eyes widen, but he did not comment on it.

"I'm terribly sorry, miss. Are you quite alright?"

Kagome smiled and nodded. "Yes, I'm fine. I should have been looking where I was going. Please forgive me for running into you."

"There is no harm done. I should have seen that you were not aware I was there. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Minamino Shuichi. May I ask who you are?"

"How rude of me! My name is Higurashi Kagome."

Shuichi smiled. Kagome noticed that he looked rather girly when he did that. "A lovely name for a lovely young woman. It was nice to meet you, Miss Higurashi. Perhaps we will run into each other in the future." The red-haired young man bowed to her and turned away, blending into the crowd easily, even with his stand-out hair color.

Kagome looked down at her hands and realized she was holding a rose in a tight grip, its thorns poking into her palms. The bud is closed tightly. "Minamino Shuichi…such a nice man."

Kagome moved out of the apartment complex and across the city. The area wasn't as nice as her old neighborhood, but she was finally away from the shrine and all of its memories. She got a job in a small coffee shop near Meiou High, a prestigious school that sported pink uniforms. Kagome never saw Minamino Shuichi again, but did not linger over it. She had met so many new people over the past year that one person that had fallen through the cracks of her memory did not bother her.

"Kagome! You can go home early tonight. Customers are slow today and Yuki can handle the tables alone." Kagome's boss, Warai Kibishii, was a portly man that had as man chins as he did laugh lines. He had hired Kagome even though she had no experience and trained her to do every job at the coffee shop. Kagome knew she would always be grateful to him.

"Thank you Mr. Warai! I'll be back in the morning to unpack the morning's shipment of tea." The man nodded to her and holed himself up back in his office. Kagome went out front to where her co-worker was pouring coffee for a group of business men. "I'm heading out, Yuki. I'll see you tomorrow, alright?"

"Goodnight, Kagome! Don't forget you promised to help me find a wedding dress this weekend!" The perky young girl had been engaged for three years and her fiancé had finally agreed on a wedding date.

"I won't forget!" Kagome strolled the now familiar streets that made up her route home. This time, however, a group of young men were loitering in the narrow alley-way that she used as a short cut. They noticed her right away and she backpedaled and continued down the street, hoping they wouldn't feel like following her, as defenseless as she was. The sound of four pairs of shoes hitting the pavement behind her dashed her hopes.

"Hey there, girly…what's a pretty little thing like you walking all alone?" There were jeering catcalls and snickers. "You might as well be asking for someone of…ill-intent to come by."

A rough hand caught her arm and wrenched her back. The smell of sake wafted over her and Kagome fought back her gag reflex. She was spun around to face the four men.

"It's a good thing that we're willing to escort you home, isn't it?" The young man that had a hold of her leaned in close and leered down the front of her uniform before grinning into her eyes. "I wonder what kind of reward we'll get for our community service? What do you say, girly? What kind of gift are you going to give us?"

The catcalls grew louder and a bottle was passed around the group, making Kagome more nervous than she already was. She yelped when the grip on her arm tightened and she was pulled toward the alley. "You guys wait out here. I'm going to test the goods and see if they've been…damaged. Wouldn't want to pay the little whore for used merchandise, right?" The other three laughed and helped push Kagome farther into the alley, whapping her across the back of the head when she tried to get loose.

Before she was pulled even halfway into the alley, one of the three men shouted and fell to the ground, knocked out cold. A young man with black hair had his fists up, keeping his eyes only on the other two delinquents. Another young man made his way toward Kagome and her captor. The lighting prevented her from seeing his features, but she could see that he was not built for fighting. The man holding her threw her against the wall and rushed at her rescuer, his fists flying haphazardly. The shadowed man delivered a kick to the other man's chin, sending him farther down the alley and into unconsciousness.

Kagome stayed where she was, watching with a detached curiosity as the black-haired man finished off the other drunks. Her own rescuer bent down to offer his hand to her. A single stream of light illuminated his face and Kagome recognized him immediately. Blazing red hair framed a face that was masculine until a smile was formed. Minamino Shuichi gently lifted her to her feet, allowing her time to think.

She notices that he isn't wearing his pink uniform anymore and wonders if he graduated. His fingers snap in front of her face and she jerks up to meet his bright green eyes. His lips move and slowly, as if everything is disjointed in her world, she hears what he is saying.

"Are you alright, Miss Higurashi? Kagome? They didn't hurt you too badly, I hope."

It took a moment for her to answer and she saw that Minamino's friend had joined them. "I'm fine, Shuichi. I'm just a bit shaken. I didn't know you lived around here."

Shuichi smiled. "I don't. Yusuke here does. We were just coming home from…the arcade," Kagome raises an eyebrow at that. Shuichi doesn't look like one to play video games, "when we noticed your unwelcome company."

The black-haired man, Yusuke, ran a hand through his hair. "Those punks were pathetic. Picking on a girl like that." He looked at Kagome. "Hey, how you doing? The name's Urameshi Yusuke. You?"

"I'm Higurashi Kagome. It's nice to meet you, Yusuke." She held out a hand. "Thank you both for your help." Yusuke shook her hand and they locked eyes when a jolt, so similar to what she experience with Shuichi, raced through their joints. Yusuke let go of her hand rather quickly and took a small step back, as if to distance himself from the feeling. There was a look in eye that told Kagome he had felt that jolt before and it brought back bitter memories for him.

"Kagome, we will escort you home." Shuichi broke the silence. He grasped her about the shoulder gently and ushered out of the alley and down the street, Yusuke behind them. Without Kagome telling him where to go, he brought her to her door and bowed to her. "I will see you at later date, with luck. Good bye, Kagome."

Shuichi and his friend, Yusuke walked away, the second looking back at her for a moment before looking ahead. Kagome shook her head and wondered what happened to her boring life at the shrine.

A later date turned out to be five years later.

"So you're telling me you're a demon within a human vessel," Kagome stared at Shuichi, or Kurama as he told her, and mentally wondered where the nearest mental hospital was. "and you need my help to reseal an object that was stolen out of a vault in the Spirit World."

Kurama nodded and held up a photo. A pink pearl sat on a purple velvet pillow, looking elegant and dangerous. "Yes, the Jewel of Four Souls. It requires a holy person with immense power to seal it."

"What makes you think I'm a holy person? I've never seen any evidence that I have super powers."

Kurama laughs. "Not super power, just holy. Remember when you shook hands with Yusuke and I? That jolt was your holy energy reacting with our demonic energy. Had you been fully trained, you could have turned us to dust with a poke to the nose."

Kagome just rolled her eyes and turned away. "I'm sorry, Shuichi, or Kurama, or whoever you are. I promise to call the nearest hospital. They have doctors who can help you."

"Do you wish me to prove that I am telling the truth?"

"Really, Kurama," she muttered, turning to look at him, "how are you going to prove you're…a…" In front of her, a tall, silver-haired god stood. He was clothed in white silk that looked to be top class. There was a twitching at the top of his head and Kagome's eyes were drawn to them. Two large, fox ears stood up, twitching to catch any sounds around him. "…demon."

"Does this prove anything?" Gold eyes caught hers and held on, making a peculiar heat flush through her body. "I assure you that everything you see is real." Kurama bent down, grabbed on hand, and brought it to his ear. Kagome's fingers closed on warm, soft fur and she stroke it lovingly. A deep purr rumbled from Kurama's chest and Kagome stopped, freaked out a bit.

"My mother would be dismayed if she knew how close I was standing to a boy. She would say it was improper and that it brought shame to the family." Kagome pressed into Kurama's chest, making him stand up. She followed and wrapped her arms about his waist, pulling him close. "She would say I'm being inappropriate right now. These are not the actions a shrine maiden is to be participating in." Kagome hoped her mother was watching her, seeing her break all the rules she had set since she was little. "She would also say it was improper to go on a long journey with four young men I did not know very well without a chaperone. She's probably rolling in her grave right now." Kagome smiled up at Kurama, sighing when his lips met hers.

"Your mother would be right." Kagome looked up at him and saw that he understood. That he knew she was finally feeling free from everything that tied her down. He pressed another kiss to her lips and his hands crawl up her shirt. "Your mother was a smart woman. We do not want to prove her wrong, right?"

Kagome nodded and placed a kiss to the end of his chin. "Give me three days to get things settled. After that, I'll go with you wherever you need me to."

Gold eyes sharpened in victory and Kagome's breath stopped when she felt hands tighten on her hips. "Excellent."

She watches the other children play around in the mud and wrestle over lizards and turtles. When they turn and ask her to join them, she shucks her sandals, ignores her mother's yells, and dives headfirst into the water.

Look at me now mother…

A rose, tattered and wilted a bit over time, brightens. Its bud unfurls, revealing a dark red center. Its petals shimmer.

Yeah…that was supposed to stop right after she met Kurama….don't really know where any of it came from. I just sat down and started typing. Was originally going to be a one shot about Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, but, well…yeah. I don't know her character very well, so I need to do some research. Sad, considering I love the girl to pieces….

Anyway, I'm feeling in a one-shot mood, so don't expect any chapter updates (although that's not a surprise) anytime soon. It's been so long since I wrote anything for any of the other stories, I just don't feeling like looking at them right now.

I'm currently writing a Inuyasha/Harry Potter crossover that does not involve Kagome or anyone else from the anime enrolling at Hogwarts! The pairing's already set, so once I start posting it, don't bother me about it. You guys interested?

Fun Fact: Kagome's boss's name is Warai Kibishii

Warai means "laughter", Kibishii means "strict"

So, in American format, his name is Strict Laughter. Yeah, I thought that one out. I'm a genius!.