Fighting the Tide

Chapter 1- Returned

The doors of the large, fancy building opened automatically to let in a red faced woman and a stoic teen girl. The woman was fuming and sneezing, her expensive pink dress slightly stained and wrinkled from being slept in. The girl's face was unreadable, but her gray-green eyes were slightly fogged from lack of sleep. The woman's plain brown eyes were raged filled, but showed the same signs that proved she had no sleep either. It was early, the building having just opened less than 15-minutes ago. Employees were still coming through the doors to clock in. Most of them were women, a very few men were present, as the job of a social worker was best done by the female gender. The two females walked quickly to the front desk, the woman slamming the table lightly and snorting to block a sneeze. "Is Utada Kameko- san in yet?" she asked harshly, almost like a demand. The teen girl yawned and looked up at the receptionist man. "Hey Fumio-san. Same old same old." She said, as though that explained everything. The man named Fumio sighed and shook his head. "Hai, miss, Utada-san just got in 5 minutes ago. Would you like me to set up a call for her and let her know you're here?" his light, simple voice replied with practiced ease. The woman nodded rapidly. "I will not put up with this… this ki no kurutta fkrigan shōjo any longer!" she yelled, snorting back another sneeze. The girl snickered. Fumio nodded, though inside he was pinching his nose and wondering what had happened now. He pressed a red button next to Utada's name and her voice came through. Fresh yet tired and slightly exasperated. "Utada-san, she's back. Yamata-san would like to see you now." He replied. A groan came from the speaker. "Alright, send them up." Her voice came, sounding much darker and disappointed. Fumio waved his hand to the elevator. "Up you go then." He directed. The woman huffed and dragged the girl to the elevator. Repeatedly pressing the button. Fumio gave a side look at the teen girl who just shrugged and copied it, but with a 'neh' expression.

The elevator opened and a woman stood waiting. Her light brown eyes looked impatiently at the two, mainly at the door. The three did a light bow before the woman instantly began talking. "What did you do this time, Kagome-chan? Azula-san, let's discuss this in my office." She directed, stepping aside to let the other two go first. The girl- named Kagome- rolled her eyes as she sat down in a puffed up office chair with wheelie wheels. Kameko sat down behind her desk and took out a yellow floral pen from a little cup and pulled out a sheet of paper. "Can you explain what caused you to return Kagome-chan, Azula-san?" the practiced question rolled off Kameko's tongue. Kagome pouted. "Why does snobby get to go first? She'll just wack the whole situation up with her 'proper talk' and junk like that." She protested, earning a glare from both women. "That right there. Her mouth is unacceptable and she has no respect for her elders! And to top that off, she manipulated her freedom against me!"

The previous night

Azula came home from the ball to see her newly adopted daughter Kagome sitting on the living room floor, on her knees. Azula pouted. She'd have to break that 'tomboy' behavior of hers. Kagome didn't need to act like that here, she was in a rich home with servants and handmaids and plenty of other girly luxuries. Kagome seemed to brush it all off, and it put off Azula to no end. But, she promised Utada-san she'd be very patient with Kagome, as she was a very feisty one that didn't seem to meet any parent's desires or persona. *It was only because the poor girl had a terrible start to life* Azula reminded herself. As Azula walked closer to Kagome, she heard a soft mewling sound and stiffened in her step. To try and break the ice, Azula had allowed Kagome to head to the pet store and pick out a personal pet. The only set back was no cats. Azula was terribly allergic to them and frankly, didn't like them. They were too much like animal 'tomboys', all independent and free.

So, when she heard the mewling she hoped it was a floorboard. "Kagome? What kind of pet did you buy at the store today?" Azula asked, a slight twitch in her voice. Kagome smirked. She knew Azula was allergic to cats, and she honestly hated her. They were polar opposites to the very concept of the word. Where Kagome hated to be cuddled, Azula was clingy and saw her as a new fluffy coat that she had to have wrapped around her or caressed. Kagome didn't like rich people for this reason. She didn't like really any type of parent she'd been sent to. Maybe she was picky, maybe the department people were so desperate to be rid of her that they nearly were ignorant to who they sent her to. Most likely it was a bit of both. Only once had Kagome actually enjoyed a parent… the sound of Azula's horrified gasp and then the rapid procession of loud and unlady-like sneezes that followed afterwards brought Kagome from going into a bittersweet trek into memory lane.

"I DID NOT ALLOW THIS!" her shrill voice shrieked, followed by three more sneezes. Her spear-shaped, black eyes were widened in rage and her cheeks were flushed with anger, shock, and slight embarrassment. Kagome's 16 year-old face was practically radiating smugness and mirth at the woman's predicament. Her expensive pink dress was crinkling as Azula stomped her foot in anger and flinched from more sneezes. Kagome snorted. She'd never wear such a Barbie dress. Who wouldn't go blind at how neon and annoying it was? That's why Kagome practically lived in her ripped jean capris, black vans and green lucky star shirt. She stood, picking up the little bundle of mewling fur. It was a little boy kitten, with bright green eyes, and white fur spotted with large spans of peach in random places. His tail was striped, with brown and white, the tip a random peach. The minute Kagome saw him at Petco, she fell in love with him. The little kitten was chubby though, and Kagome enjoyed the way he spooned into her arms like a babe as she fed him. She still couldn't figure out a name though…

The kitten mewled and Kagome giggled slightly, petting his small head with her finger pads. The kitten liked this and pushed his head into her fingers to get more. Azula would've seen it as cute, if only the animal in her arms was a puppy and not a Kami-forsaken kitten! "Kagome, get that- THING-out of this estate! I never want to see it again! If you do this now, I may let you go without punishment." Azula demanded, her voice quivering as another sneeze came. Kagome narrowed her almond-shaped green-gray eyes, though her face remained smugly calm. "Funny, Azula, I remember you distinctively saying I could have any pet I wished for. You gave me your word that you would put up no complaint. This kitten is what I wish for, I fell in love with him instantly and here you are complaining. Not a good way to break the ice, breaking your word so quickly. This only makes me trust you less." Kagome rebutted. Smirking when she knew she had made the one and only valid point. The kitten mewled, hungry no doubt. Azula sighed. "Of course not, dear. But I honestly don't approve of this. You will have to wash every time you come in the house and the…kitten must stay outside." Azula snipped.

Kagome stiffened. A little kitten would not go outside! She loved this cat. "No! No kitten belongs outside, full grown cats are different, but my kitten still needs to be powder milk fed!" Kagome nearly yelped. Azula puffed out her cheeks and ended up in a sneezing fit. "Please –ACHOO- go and get a different pet. I'm so allergic to cats I can't even –HACHOO- even speak without sneezing all over the place!" She whined. Kagome shook her head, turning to walk into the kitchen,

a large plastic bag full of kitten care equipment hanging on her elbow. (AKA: I meant food, milk powder, mini litter box, etc.) "No. we have every other animal here except a cat. Therefore, I'm keeping him. I'm going to name you Buyo. I don't know why, but you remind me of cream and marshmallows. So, 'candy' cat will your name. It's time for some more milk, isn't it? You get hungry so easily, you're gonna be a fat cat when you grow Buyo." Kagome mused to her kitten. "Azula, you should get some allergy shots and pills and junk, seeing if you last the night without sneezing your brain out. If there's even one in that cavity of a head. Tata!" Kagome chirped, giggling at Azula's sputtering face.

The next morning, Azula had violently woken Kagome and dragged her to the car, driving nearly 140 to the social worker building. Kagome had fought all the way, not wanting to leave her kitten. Azula would have none of it.

Back to Present Day

At the end of each of their stories, Kameko sighed and rubbed her temples. "I see…Kagome-chan, you and Aimi-chan will go back to Azula's estate and collect your things." She said. Kagome cleared her throat. Kameko sighed. "As well as Buyo. Azula-san, I apologize for Kagome-chan's…persona. She doesn't do well with any one we've had in a while, so I can assure you she wasn't acting out on you out of spite." Kameko assured again the well-practiced line. Azula 'hmphed' "I would imagine so. I had everything set so nice for the girl." She chipped. Kagome rolled her eyes. "You really are stupid. I'm glad I got returned when I did. Honestly…" she breathed. Azula's face darkened again and she stomped out of the room. Kameko glared half-heartedly at Kagome. The girl had been here since she was 5, and there was a time she'd found a parent she truly loved. It was a shame that Kaede-san died the way she did and scarred poor Kagome. She'd never been out of the center for more than half a month. Kagome looked out of the window behind Kameko. Outside she cared not, but inside she was still the little 10-year-old girl that had been dealt an evil hand.

Kagome and Kameko sighed in unison. "Kagome-chan, I understand that no one will ever replace Kaede-san, but will you please stop being so…untamable? Soon we won't be able to hide you in here. You're 16, only 2 years and we have to- by law- let you go do what you wanna do with your life. I don't want you to leave without a proper set of parent figures. Do you understand?" Kameko said. Kagome glared at the woman. "You don't think I know that? I'm so 'untamable' because no one meets my standards. No one makes me happy. Somewhere along the line, they try to take away a part of me that no one is allowed to touch. They try and shape and mold me to their needs and profiles. But I'm not made of plastic or something like that. I'm made of steel." Kagome looked hard at Kameko. Kameko smiled slightly. The girl took after her father in so many ways, yet behind closed doors, she was truly her mother's daughter and a true pupil to her grandmother, Kaede-san. Kagome then gave a bitter, humorless laugh. "Besides Kameko-san, who in their right mind would want me after they realize I'm a Kakusareta hanyou? No one except Kaede obaa-chan. I know you wouldn't take me, face it. I foresaw that I'd be stuck alone all my life. Might as well get used to it. Sorry to be such a pain in your ass." Kagome continued bitterly, leaving with a trembling lip.

Kameko sighed and wiped her eyes before tears could fall. She loved Kagome, but she couldn't keep her. Law didn't allow her to. Sometimes she wanted to screw the law and take Kagome home with her…give Kagome peace. But that would only result in Kagome getting taken away from them…forever. In the next hour, Kagome and Aimi had moved all of Kagome's possessions- along with Buyo and his things- back into a medium-sized room on the same floor that Kameko worked. This was Kagome's room when she lived at the Social Worker's center. The walls were painted a mix of green and purple, butterflies of alternate colors on each. There was a TV next to one of the widows, and in place of a bed was a special type of hammock that stretched from one of the large windows to the center wall. It was held in place by steel poles and hooks attaching the hammock to the ceiling.

Kagome set Buyo down and watched as he rolled around on the soft beige carpet. "I like this place way better that any home you guys send me to. Maybe that's part of why I come back." She muttered to no one- she knew Aimi had left right after placing her things in the room. Aimi had to work. Kagome sat cross-legged on the floor, using her fingers as cat toys for Buyo, dodging his claws and teeth. "Two years… that's a short time. I don't wanna go Buyo. But I wish someone wouldn't try to bend me to their will sand life style and let me adapt myself. I wish someone would actually care about me…like baa-chan did. She taught me how to use my miko chi…hidden deep inside my heart, with my spirit. I wish I wouldn't have to hide the real me anymore. I guess…I just want home where I don't have to be the hidden hanyou or the hidden miko. Is that such a big problem that the Kami don't want to deal with it? What did I ever do wrong?" Kagome continued, tears running down her cheeks. Buyo stopped playing and rubbed against her knees, purring as he tried to comfort his new human. He liked her the moment she had picked him up and nuzzled him.

Kameko cried softly as she pulled her head and hand back from Kagome's door. That poor child. She's been through so much in so little time, and the sting of having no one truly want you always nagged in Kagome's heart and spirit. Kameko was going to open Kagome's door and comfort her when her pager went off. "Utada-san, your 12 o'clock appointment has arrived." Fumio-kun's voice chirped through. Kameko sighed and walked back to the elevator. "Send them up please, I'm ready for them." She replied. As Kameko headed away from the door, she could hear the soft sound of a flute and Kagome's voice singing another random song.



~The New Kagome

Jap terms:

1) ki no kurutta fkrigan shōjo= crazy hooligan girl

2) Kakusareta hanyou= hidden hanyou