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Giving Back by sarhea

Explaining

Summary:  Kagome says she needs to go back to the future for two weeks and explains why to those who are willing to listen.

Edited: Dec 28, 2011

AN:  CIBC Run for the Cure is a fund raising event (1k/5k run/walk) held the first Sunday in October for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I don’t know the Japanese equivalent so I’m using the name for the same cause in this fic.

AN: I know it’s really late for Breast Cancer Awareness month but I was not feeling too inspired back then.

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~ooO Explaining Ooo~

“SIT!!”

Kaede, Sango, Miroku, and Shippo winced in unison as they watched InuYasha pancake into a newly created crater. Then they watched as the miko from the future hurriedly pack her belongings into her ever present yellow backpack and thrust her arms through the straps.

“Kagome-sama, do you mind explaining why you need to go home for two weeks?” Miroku inquired delicately. “Usually you go back for just a few days. Why so long this time?”

“Yes, Kaa-san, why are you going away so long?” Shippo pouted and begged to know with wide green puppy eyes.

The schoolgirl turned to her friends and knelt to scoop her adopted son up for a cuddle. “Oh I’m not going back for just school,” she said. “I’m volunteering for Run for the Cure.”

That confused everyone listening. “What is Run for the Cure?” Miroku asked.

Kagome blinked confused, then understanding dawned. “Oh! I forgot you wouldn’t know.” She gestured at the grass and sat down herself and waited for her friends to settle down before continuing. “Run for the Cure is a special event that raises money for research into developing new treatments for a disease called breast cancer.”

At this point Sango waited for Miroku to make a lewd quip but the houshi remained quiet, expression serious, matching Kagome’s serious expression.

“What is breast cancer?” she asked.

Kagome frowned and began speaking. “You need to understand what cancer is first. Cancer is a condition that happens when the cells, the small building blocks of the body start duplicating themselves incorrectly. When more and more of these mutated cells form it becomes a hard lump called a tumour.  Sometimes these tumours are benign and harmless. But sometimes they grow rapidly and start affecting healthy tissue, so healthy tissue also become mutated, cancerous.”

Eyes widened in surprise and concern.

“Cancer sounds very dangerous,” Miroku commented.

Kagome’s expression turned grim. “It is because it can spread like an infection from the initial tumour. Cancer can occur in any part of the body: stomach, bone, throat, lungs, skin, brain, colon, blood, are just a few examples. When it occurs in the breasts it is called breast cancer.  It is a disease that mostly affects women but men can also get breast cancer.  About 1 in 8 women have the risk of developing breast cancer compared to the 1 in 1000 for men. For men it is low, but for women it is dangerously high. I know over hundred females, relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours… Of every hundred, twelve have a chance of getting breast cancer. I personally know a lot more than twelve with some form of cancer, some are still living and many are dead.”

Sango frowned. “I don’t understand Kagome-chan… Didn’t you say the doctors in your time could heal anything?”

Kagome smiled bitterly. “Compared to the Feudal Era yes, but even so there are diseases and conditions that have no one-shot cure, no vaccine. Cancer is one of them. It kills because there is no cure, only treatments to force it into remission, a hibernation state. A lot of the time the treatments have bad side effects or require difficult choices. Surgery would require amputation of the affected tissue. Chemotherapy affects healthy cells and has side-effects like hair loss, nausea, fatigue, memory loss, reduced fertility and weakened immune systems leading to infections.”

Kaede’s single eye was very wide. “Cancer is a very dangerous illness.”

Kagome’s face was grim. “It is. All types of cancers are but breast cancer is personal. My grandmother died of it after undergoing treatment to put it into remission four times.”

Kaede nodded slowly, understanding Kagome’s devotion to support efforts to stop a disease that killed her kin.

“You said there are treatments,” Kaede spoke slowly. “Is it expensive?” Kaede was not the sort to profit from pain but some of the rarer herbs had to be bought from merchants who had travelled great distances. They were often expensive and had few if any cheap, locally grown, substitutes.

“Some of them are. In my grandmother’s time there was no government paid treatment facilities because cancer treatments were mostly experimental and very very expensive. A charitable organization paid for the costs and it kept her alive long enough for her to see me and Souta born. My mother developed it as well but it is in remission now. She could never have afforded the newest and most effective treatments after my father died. Mattaki’s Vision paid a large percent of the therapy and she has been in remission for seven years now.”

“So why do you need to go home for two weeks?” Shippo asked in subdued tones.

“October is breast cancer month.  Many organizations, including businesses and schools help increase awareness of the disease and raise money for research and treatment. My grandmother volunteered when she was alive and so does mother. I’ve done the same since I was old enough to understand. This year I’m volunteering for Run for the Cure. It’s an event to raise money sponsored by Mattaki’s Vision.” Her eyes were especially hard. “I will not stop because of one selfish stubborn brat.”

Sango and Miroku recoiled at the harsh words but Kaede nodded firmly.

Miroku tried to redirect Kagome’s dark thoughts. “You sound proud of this Mattaki’s Vision.”

“I am,” Kagome exclaimed in more upbeat tones. “They are a very respected and honoured charitable institution. They help fund so many worthy and needy causes, not just cancer research and treatment. I would love to work for them, but they are very exclusive in their hiring practices,” she added wistfully. “You practically have to be invited to apply.”

Miroku was confused. “You can get paid to work for a charity? Where does the money come from?”

“Charities are usually sponsored by private companies and wealthy individuals though anyone can make a donation of time or assets. The government in my time give those who make such donation a benefit so they do not have to pay a large tithe to the government. Many wealthy merchants, the equivalent of daimyos, sponsor such charities to increase their reputation in the community, as considerate and caring; because clients are more likely to trust and favour a merchant who helps others and is gracious.”

Miroku nodded slowly seeing the argument.

Kagome grinned and clapped her hands.  “Well I need to get going.  I promised Kaa-san I would be back in time to help deliver flyers and put up pink posters for the Run. Keep InuYasha here or I’ll S-I-T him to the centre of the planet!”

Miroku cringed at the imagery of InuYasha being hammered into Yomi.

Kagome softened. “Just take a break. Do whatever you want. I’ll be back in two weeks.”

Kaede looked at Miroku. “Gather your sutras houshi. I think it is best we restrain and seal InuYasha into a hut while he is still unconscious.”

Kagome shrugged. “Do whatever you want. Just warn dog-boy I’m not going to tolerate any of his antics if he comes chasing me.”

“Don’t worry about InuYasha,” Sango assured her friend. “We’ll keep him under control.” Then she grinned broadly. “If he makes a fuss Shippo will use his tops to pin him down.”

That excited the kitsune. “Yeah! If baka-Yasha acts stupid I’ll do just that!” he crowed.

Kagome laughed and stood up. “Well I have to get going now!  See you in two weeks!” she called out cheerfully as she followed the path into the woods, towards the Bone Eaters Well.

They watched her vanish into the forest unaware of a particular eavesdropper who had heard everything that had just happened.

~o~

Just out of scent and sound range of Kilala, Shippo, and InuYasha stood a particular daiyoukai. He had made a slight detour, to intercept the miko and determine any new information the hanyou’s pack may have come across regarding Naraku. He had been curious to stop and listen when the odd miko had insisted she was going to go ‘home’, to the Bone Eaters Well.

Sesshoumaru had known for a while the miko was not from this world. He hadn’t expected her to be from a future time. He considered the possibilities of knowing the future before setting the thoughts aside. The miko was fiercely protective of what she saw as hers, as her charges and duties. It would not be wise to make demands when the truce between both packs was still fragile and untested.

Deliberately he decided to allow himself time to absorb the full implications of the new information before arranging to cross paths with the miko. All educated youkai knew living tissue were made of small bricks, that certain diseases and infections were caused by tiny foreign particles invading the body. How odd the ningens in her time had figured that out that truth despite their weak senses. He had seen ningen with odd abnormal growths, bulges under the skin, scented the weakness and decay from such afflicted ningen whose own bodies had turned against them. Now he had a name for the condition: Cancer.

The miko had given him much to think about with her explanation of the condition. He wondered what other natural phenomena she could explain to him using her future knowledge. With a slight spring in his step he set about making a mental list of questions. Perhaps Rin could be coached into asking a few of them. The miko did enjoy talking and Rin was very fond of asking questions.

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TBC…

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AN: 2 more chapters to go.

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