Love and Marriage
An Interlude
by Leloi


“Are you ready?” Inu Yasha asked, turning to stare at his mate.

“As ready as I’m going to be,” Kagome replied, leaning against the well.

“Good luck you two!” Sango called from the sidelines.  “Remember, if all else fails and you get kicked out for dishonoring the family you always have a place here with us.”

“Oh, gee.  Thanks,” Kagome replied with a hint of sarcasm and a big smile.

Inu Yasha scowled at the group of well wishers, including a sobbing kitsune.

“They’re leaving us behind again,” Shippou cried, cradled in Kaede’s arms.

The old woman sighed and laid a gentle hand on the fox boy’s head.  “This is a battle they have to fight alone,” she said gravely.

Kagome swung her legs into the well and jumped.  She landed on a dirt bottom.  Inu Yasha landed beside her.  She pulled herself up and out of the well with practiced ease.  She waited for her mate to emerge before leaving the well shrine.

“Are you nervous?” Inu Yasha asked as they neared the Higurashi house.

“Yes,” she said.

He took her hand and squeezed it.  They entered the house together.  The family turned as one to stare at them.  Lunch lay half-eaten on the table.

“Oh!  Miso soup!” Kagome smiled, sitting down beside her brother.

“Help yourself, dear,” Mrs. Higurashi said, smiling at her daughter and her demon friend.  “You want some too, Mr. Demon?”

“That’s alright,” Inu Yasha replied, blushing furiously.  He sat between Kagome and her brother.

“What brings you here with Kagome?” Grandpa asked, studying the embarrassed dog demon.

“I… That is, we… We have to tell…” Inu Yasha glanced at his mate for help, but she was busy slurping down the soup and humming happily.  He gulped.  “We have to tell you something important,” he announced.

“What?” Grandpa and Mrs. Higurashi both queried.

“Is Kagome pregnant?” Sota asked suddenly.

Soup exploded from Kagome’s mouth in his general direction.

“I was kidding,” Sota said, wiping soup from his face.

Inu Yasha removed the mushroom that had attached itself to his ear during the miso shower.  He looked at it and put it in his mouth, chewing on it thoughtfully.

“Eew!” Sota squealed.  “That was in her mouth.”

“So?”  Inu Yasha replied, rolling his eyes.

“Um, dear… Is there something you wish to tell us?” Mrs. Higurashi asked in her sweetest mother voice.

“Um,” Kagome smiled nervously and wiped the soup from her chin.  She stared at Inu Yasha.  He nodded to her and she stared at her bowl of soup.  “Inu Yasha and I… We’re… That is, we… Well…”

“Kagome is pregnant,” Inu Yasha announced.

Her family stared at him with various degrees of shocked horror on their faces.  Grandpa was the first to recover.  “And who, may I ask, is the father of… of…” he groped for the right words, still unable to come to terms with the concept.

“The child is mine,” Inu Yasha offered.

“How did this happen?” Mrs. Higurashi finally found her voice.

“The normal way,” Inu Yasha replied with strange look on his face.

“But she… but she… but you… but…” Mrs. Higurashi floundered around looking for a way to express her thoughts.

“She’s my mate,” Inu Yasha said quietly, finding Kagome’s bowl to be just as fascinating as Kagome was finding it.

“How did this happen?” Mrs. Higurashi returned to the sentence that she knew she could say.

“Mom…” Kagome began, looking up from her bowl for the first time.  “I love Inu Yasha.  He asked me to be his mate and I agreed.”

“What is this ‘mate’ thing?  Does that mean you two can… you can…” Mrs. Higurashi found a few more words to say, but she still had trouble with the idea behind them.

“Mating means that she is my wife,” Inu Yasha responded.  “At least by demon standards,” he added in a small voice.

“But she’s too young…” Mrs. Higurashi’s voice broke and she began to cry.  “My little girl was soiled by a demon!”  Her sobs rang higher and higher in decibels.  No one dared to cover his or her ears and face her wrath.  They all found the table to be the most fascinating thing they had ever seen.

“There, there…” Grandpa said, lamely.

“I wasn’t ‘soiled’ by a demon,” Kagome said quietly.

“Look,” Inu Yasha sighed, his patience waning.  “I love Kagome.  You may think whatever you want about me, but I can’t let you be angry with her because of me.  She is going to have my baby, deal with it.  Do whatever you want to me.  Just don’t take it out on her… Please.  She needs her family just as much as I need her.”

“Will you do the honorable thing?” Grandpa asked.

Mrs. Higurashi stopped crying to listen to what the demon had to say.  She sniffled quietly, staring between Grandpa and the demon.

“What is the honorable thing?” Inu Yasha asked, glancing at Kagome with a worried expression.

“Marry her.”

“We are already married,” Inu Yasha responded, confused.

“Marry her in our tradition.”

He shrugged his shoulders.  “Sure.  Does that mean you’ll forgive her?”

“When you do the honorable thing we will be satisfied.”

Inu Yasha nodded.  “So, how does your tradition go?”

“We have a wedding.”

“Alright, so let’s have a wedding.”

“First you must ask me for her hand in marriage.”

Inu Yasha raised an eyebrow and glanced at Kagome.  She was still staring at her bowl.  “What do I need with her hand?”  

“It’s the way to ask.  Just ask me for her.”

“May I have Kagome?”

“Please…” Kagome whispered.

“Please?” echoed Inu Yasha.

Grandpa sat back and regarded the dog man with a strange smile, “And why, may I ask, do you wish to have my granddaughter?”

“I already told you that!” Inu Yasha replied.

“Tell me again.”

“I love her.  She loves me.  We are already married under my tradition.  She’s going to have our baby…”

“Why do you love her?” Grandpa asked.

“I just do,” Inu Yasha responded.

“Not good enough reason, boy,” Grandpa smiled.  “Someone, bring me the sake.”

“Sake?” Inu Yasha echoed warily.

“It means you are in the business part of the wedding plans,” Kagome whispered.

“This should be just between me and your intended, my dear.  But since he doesn’t know what he’s doing, you can stay.  Everyone else must leave,” Grandpa said as the sake and two cups were placed in front of him.  He poured out a cup and handed it to Inu Yasha who stared at it in confusion.

“Drink it,” Kagome instructed.

“I don’t drink,” he responded.

“You have to.”

He closed his eyes and swallowed the contents of the little cup.  His eyes watered as he set the cup back down on the table.  Grandpa filled it again.  Inu Yasha looked to Kagome again.  She made motions for him to drink it.  He did and nearly dropped the cup back on the table.  “Two’s my limit… oh!” he moaned, placing his chin on the table for support.

“Lightweight,” Grandpa chuckled, filling the cup again.  “Now tell me why you love my granddaughter?”

“Because she makes my heart go ba-bum ba-bum ba-bum and my manhood gets all hard whenever she’s near me.  When she is gone I can still see her smile.  I like her smile and the way she smells.  And I don’t mind my human side so much when I’m around her.  I like who I am when she’s… hic!  Did I just say all that outside of my head?” he turned and asked a shocked Kagome.

“So you really like her?”

“Who… Kagome?  Oh yeah.”  He reached out for the waiting cup of sake and slammed it down.  He dropped the cup and giggled, “I don’t drink…” 

“Hmm… I see,” Grandpa said.  “So, tell me… what about your parents?  Do they approve of the match?”

Inu Yasha sat up stiffly and stared at the table as the next cup of sake was poured.  “They are dead.  Dead, dead, dead…” he made a face and began to laugh crazily.  

“Who were they?”

“My parents?  Let’s see… Father was the lord of the western lands and mother was his second wife.  His first wife died while giving birth to my older brother, Sesshoumaru.”

“Were they both demons?”

“Nah… Mother was human.  She was a princess I think.”

“So, does your older brother approve of your match?”

Inu Yasha stared at the table and made a face.  He frowned and swallowed the waiting cup of sake.  “He tried to rape Kagome… the bastard.  No one harms my woman.”  He stared intently and Grandpa.  “No one…” He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand as another cup of sake was poured.  “I’d give my life to save her.  She means that much to me.  Did I say that out loud again?”

“Yes,” Grandpa smiled.  “Do you have any questions for me?”

“Can I marry her now?” Inu Yasha asked, wiping his face with his hands, trying desperately to focus his thoughts.  He tried to clear his mind and not pay attention to the swaying room.  “I just want to know if I can marry her.”

“When would you like the ceremony to happen?”

“As soon as possible.”

“Agreed.  That way we can keep this little detail about the child to our family.  How long has she been with child?”

Inu Yasha blinked.  “A day or two.”

Grandpa raised an eyebrow in intrigue.  “And you know already?”

“I knew the exact moment it happened.  Sesshoumaru told me.”

“Your brother?”

“The bastard.”

“Didn’t he try to…?”

“That’s when he tried.  Don’t worry.  I kicked him… hard.”

“Good,” the old man smiled.  “My dear, go get your mother.  We have a wedding to plan.”

Kagome stood and stumbled out the door to where her mother waited with Sota.  

“So?” Mrs. Higurashi asked.

“Grandpa wanted me to get you.”

“And…?”

“We have to plan a wedding.”

Tears returned to Mrs. Higurashi’s eyes as she followed her daughter back into the kitchen.  Grandpa and Inu Yasha had just raised their cups of sake to each other.  “To our new son-in-law!” Grandpa laughed, downing his cup.  Inu Yasha threw back the cup and fell over backwards, out cold.

Kagome knelt at his side, slapping his face.  “Wake up, wake up!” she cried.  

“Leave him be, girl.  Let’s plan this wedding.” Grandpa said.

The next few days past in a whirlwind of activity.  The dates were consulted and it was found that the next good day was less than a week away.  Kagome was kept busy putting together her kimono and inviting old school friends to the ceremony.  Houjou accepted with a sad demeanor.  Kagome felt sorry for him.  She found her school girlfriends.  “Why so sudden, Kagome?  You wouldn’t have a reason, would you?”  

Kagome laughed nervously.  “What are you taking about?  I’ve been with Inu Yasha for years.”

The girls smiled politely and whispered among themselves about the “demon bride.”

Kagome wanted to invite her traveling companions, but she soon realized that no one could pass through the well as easily as she and Inu Yasha could.  Shippou and Myouga could if they held onto them tightly, but the others were stuck in the past.  Kagome was distraught until Kaede suggested that a wedding dinner could be celebrated when the newlyweds passed back through the well.  “Besides,” Kaede smiled.  “In our eyes you two are already mated.”  Kagome dried her tears.  She pulled the kitsune and the flea back through with her to stand as witnesses.

The bridegroom was kept in the house.  He was pawed over and petted by his future bride and mother-in-law.  He regarded everything about him with weary patience.  He was made to sleep in Sota’s room.  “Couples do not sleep together until after the ceremony,” Mrs. Higurashi insisted.  

The ceremony was small but elegant.  The guests whispered over the groom’s appearance.  He didn’t seem to notice.  His whole attention was on Kagome.  Together they drank the wedding toast.  Inu Yasha made a face at the taste of sake.  Kagome slipped a ring onto his left ring finger.  “Symbol of eternal love,” she said with a small smile.  He smiled back, wishing he had a ring for her.  

The reception party got underway and all the guests overwhelmed the new couple.  Some wanted to touch the groom’s ears.  Most wanted to see a real demon up close.  Eventually the newlyweds were whisked away to Kagome’s room and left alone.

“So, what happens now?” Inu Yasha asked, leaning against the desk.

“We spend the night together,” Kagome blushed.

“Do they know that?” he asked, waving his hand to indicate the party downstairs.

“That’s the custom.”

He turned red.  “They know we’re going to…?”

“We don’t have to do that.  We can just sit up and talk all night,” she said, sitting on her bed.

He nodded and sat beside her.  “So what do we talk about?”

“What do we normally talk about?”

“This isn’t very fun.”

“We can always do something else.”

“I don’t like being vulnerable where people can find me.”

Kagome cocked her head to one side and stared at him.  “Are we vulnerable?”

“They can open the door or look in the window,” Inu Yasha replied.

“What do you suggest?”

He smiled and stood to open the window.  “Ladies first…”

Kagome smiled and climbed up onto the window frame.  Strong arms surrounded her and they were off and flying.  

The next morning a kitsune sneaked into a bedroom.  He looked around and realized that no one had slept in there.  “They left me again!” he fumed, stomping away to sulk.

Back to Chapter 3 Onward to Chapter 5