Update November 2014: I'll be updating this chapters again. I believe my english is better now than back in 2011... or at least now I can read this fic in english and say: "That doesn't sound right..." hehehe...
Author Notes: Well, here I am with my first attempt to write a story in English, my native language is Spanish and I usually write Inuyasha fanfics in that language. A while ago I started to translate fics from English to Spanish but now I felt the challenge to translate one of my own stories to English.
This is the result.
The next chapter will be uploaded only depending on a few things: If you guys like this story, if you understand what I'm trying to say (Maybe I think that I'm saying something but the word doesn't even exist!), and depending on that I'll translate the other chapters.
So, in short, give me a chance and please if you find something that's not right, or you want to give me your comments, go ahead and send me a review, I love them and I will really appreciate if you could give me some feedback for this story. Thanks to all of you and, well, here I go…
Disclaimer: Besides the plot line, I don't own anything. Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi and Yomiuri TV Corporation. I'm not getting any profit from this story; this was just made for fun.
Warning: Once in a while there will be cursing. I'm not familiarized with the english dub of this series, but I don't think it's so much, because I honestly don't like bad words but sometimes they happen. You understand me, right? :3
Thanks to: petpeeves12 and A.B. Plasencia for your help when I was uploading this fic, for your corrections and beta work!
Chapter 1. The Slaves
"I'm leaving, mom!"
"Please be careful, my dear." A woman said, getting out of the house. She stood near her only daughter, watching her as she quickly put some stuff in her backpack. "Are you sure you don't want me to drive you there, Kagome?"
"Don't worry. Nothing bad is going to happen to me, mom."
Her mother frowned. Of course bad things could happen to her, no one was safe from death, and even less from what was waiting for them beyond it.
"Mom, relax, it's just the school bus, I'm not going anywhere else and everything will be fine. Don't you trust me?" She added after seeing the look on her mother's face.
"It's not that I don't trust you. It's just that... I couldn't bear to see you turned into a Slave."
"I'm not going to die, mom!" Exclaimed the young teenager a bit desperately, her mother was too overprotective. It was understandable, after what had happened to her father but... "No one would be interested in me, anyways."
Her mother smiled a bit. When her daughter began to look down herself, it was time to change the subject.
"It's ok, just please be careful..."
"I will, mom, I will." she said, giving her mother a sweet kiss on her cheek and fighting the urge to roll her eyes.
The teenager got out of her house, a little department on the outskirts of the city, and walked towards the highway, where she would take the school bus.
"Damn, it's not as if my life could be interesting enough so that other people wanted to turn me into a Slave..."
The bus came a few seconds afterwards. She was grateful for having cut out her conversation with her mother, because otherwise she would have lost it.
Kagome Higurashi was a common teenager who lived on the outskirts of Tokyo, in an area that was something between rural and urban. You could not have said that she was poor. With all the money that her father had left them they could live like the rich, but her mother, thinking it better, had decided to live a humble life, only having her daughter at her side, in a desperate attempt to seek protection.
The young woman got on the bus, and she stopped thinking about her past. As usual the school bus was full of students and she had to walk to the back in order to find a seat. At the very back of the bus she saw two free seats and headed straight to them.
To her surprise, she noted that they weren't as free as she had thought. There was a little boy, with bright, orange hair, sitting in one of the 'free' places. The only other free seat was at his side. She took it and studied the little boy with great interest. His clothes looked weird and he had a tiny, fluffy tail that could be seen through a hole on the back of his pants. The girl quickly came to the conclusion that he wasn't human.
"Hello sweetie, who are you?"
The young boy, who was blushing with embarrassment, did nothing more than press his little arms tighter between his legs. Then he looked down, completely confused.
"Cat got your tongue?" teased Kagome, in an attempt to make the boy forget his embarrassment.
"Young lady, I believe that you're grown up enough to understand that people's Slaves do not have permission to speak with other people without their master's authorization." A man sitting in the row in front of her said. He looked over his shoulder, watching her warily, yet with warm eyes.
"I don't see any shackle on his... oh..." the girl went quite immediately when the little boy raised his face, watching her, and letting her see that, indeed, on his neck was some kind of collar. He wore a small shackle with an orange stone placed in the center of it.
"This little one here will be the prize for the Science Contest from your school, that's why today we've taken the school bus."
Kagome felt rage growing inside of her. If there was something that she hated more than the fact that people kill others just to turn them into Slaves, it was the way the rest of the population treated them. As if they were no more living beings... well, in theory they weren't, anymore, at least that's what people said but... shit, they were still breathing didn't that count?
"A human being as the prize?" She asked, keeping the urge to punch that man for his disregard of the young creature, at bay.
The man did nothing more than smile softly.
"Shippo is not human... He's a little kitzune that has existed for some centuries. He's from Japan's feudal era. He's a very valuable object since there aren't too many survivors - or rather, Slaves - from ancient times.
"Don't treat him like some kind of thing without feelings!" Some students around them turned to see what was all the commotion about but, when they saw that it was Kagome who had yelled, they lost interest and kept on with their own business.
The man stared her intently, as if he were analyzing her.
"Shippo, you have permission to speak with her. Treat her nice." He said, turning around again to face the front of the bus.
The little kid smiled watching the girl at his side; he could tell that she was a kind and special girl.
"Nice to meet you, young lady, my name is Shippo."
Kagome couldn't help to feel compassion for that boy, who was smiling warmly at her. Something in that moment made her take a decision.
"Hello Shippo, my name is Kagome. And I'm determined to win that contest, even if it sounds bad that you're the prize, so I can give you a real life."
Two weeks had passed since that day.
Kagome was slowly climbing the stairs to her room. She was tired and totally exhausted. School was getting harder and harder with every day that passed. But well, only two more days and she would be able to say 'Hellooo winter break'.
When she entered her room, she looked over to the little child, Shippo, sleeping peacefully in his own bed.
Winning the contest hadn't been difficult at all. She had entered without knowing what was going to be the prize. When she had found out that it would be a Slave, she had been determined to not allow anyone to get their hands on the child who, behind his smile, hid a look of loneliness, as if he were all alone in this world. He practically was. The point was that thanks to her fast working mind, she had won and now the little one had a home of his own. She still remembered the words the man had said when he gave him to her.
"This little boy has suffered so much. Please accept my apologies for my attitude on the bus. I agree with everything you said. Aside from all else, Slaves deserve to have rights and be treated as normal people. Unfortunately the society we live in doesn't see it that way. In front of unknown people, I normally say that he's some kind of object, that way I'm able to reveal the true feelings of the people on this subject. It gives me great pleasure to know that, from all the students in here, it is you and your pure heart the one who will take care of him. Because of my work I have to travel a lot and that's why I can't stay with him. I didn't lie when I said that he is special because there aren't so many Slaves from his era in this world. That's why I beg you: please, take good care of him."
Kagome couldn't help but feel a mixture of emotions. She watched as Shippo said good bye to his former master, who then gave Kagome a plastic bag with some orange stones.
"Just in case you need to change his stone or if you get other Slaves, these stones will prove that they're your property. Don't take that the wrong way" he added when he noticed that Kagome was getting upset again. "It's just that this way no one will be able to take them away from you by force, nor claim that they are the real owner. You must remember that not everyone understands they still have feelings, and unfortunately this world is a very cold and cruel place. At least this way you can guarantee that he will be safe with you."
"Thank you so much, Kei-sama." Shippo said to his former master, with tears in his eyes. "Thanks for everything."
The man hugged Shippo tightly one last time and then carried him over to Kagome.
"I trust in your word, take good care of him."
"Of course I will." Kagome hugged the little boy, who returned the hug with a big smile. "I don't see him as my Slave, he's my friend. He is a new member of my family."
After that, it hadn't been difficult to adapt to their new life. Shippo lived with her and her mother, and helped them with the cleaning... and from the looks of it, that day they had had lots of things to do, since the poor child looked really exhausted.
Kagome looked over at her desk and saw the stones that Kei had given to her. Then, she turned her sadden gaze back to Shippo. Despite it all, she felt as if she was controlling his life.
When they die, human beings, animals and every living creature have 15 seconds before their souls leave their bodies. In those few seconds some people can take advantage and place shackles and a stone on their necks, waist, ankles or wrists. Those shackles symbolize Slavery. They regenerate the life of the death ones but, in exchange, it makes them Slaves of whoever had 'saved their life'. No one really knows if while being Slaves they're really alive or not, and even less is known if they can ever be released. Having their life attached to the shackle, they believe that once it is removed the soul will escape from their body. Since while being a Slave one is immortal. They're not immune to illnesses, but they don't grow old as time passes.
Kagome put away from her mind those depressing thoughts. She couldn't even begin to try to understand the mind of the little kitzune who had lived over 500 years as a Slave... that would have been unbearable to her.
The teenager got closer to the little one and lay down on the bed, beside him. She had really grown fond of him. He was like her son, and he treated her like a mother. But, when they were in the presence of other people he acted shy and reserved. Because that was the way a Slave should be; that's what he had learned. A Slave was not allowed to have any interaction with anyone or anything, unless they were given a direct order from their owner.
That's why Kagome passed her time giving him 'orders' to do whatever he wanted as long as he promised that he would never run out of the house or do something inadequate or stupid. But the child was just so scared and shy of the outside world. Something must have happened to him... something really bad...
"Mom..." whispered the kitzune in his dream, while releasing silent tears.
Kagome noticed this and began to try and calm him, trying to shoo away those nightmares, the ones that sometimes made the little boy wake up screaming, calling for his mother, and begging for forgiveness because he couldn't save her.
Kagome felt tears in her own eyes when she observed how much suffering had the small boy, and she couldn't do anything about it. She felt his pain as her own because she could understand him perfectly. She had never tried to take the shackle off of him to test if she could save him, because she knew that it would never work... at least the facts proved it.
Her father had been killed by a group of thieves and turned into a slave. They used that method to order innocent people to steal everything they could from their own houses and that helped them to never be caught. Nevertheless, her father had found a loophole on his master's orders and, after explaining things to his wife, had gone to confront him.
When they found him he was dead. His shackle had been thrown near him and he was badly, badly injured. They could never know if he had died because of his injuries or from the lack of a shackle on his body. But they, Kagome and her mother, were sure of something: he would never come back.
Kagome dried her eyes. It had been two years since that day and she still couldn't get over it. That's why she hated people who owned and mistreated Slaves. That's why she thought that all boys were scum... and idiots.
The teenager girl stood up and woke Shippo so they could go to dinner. There was nothing else to do other than get on with their lives. And to hope that, no matter what happened, nothing could destroy what bit by bit they had managed to obtain with the passage of time. That no matter what could happen, they could still be together.