Chapter Eight: Plans and Interruptions
The morning sun shines
with that pure spring-like color –
how it invites us!
See how the wild flowers bloom;
let us walk amid the fields
He and his guests were seated around a low table.
For once, the main part of the house was unusually calm and free of the bright voices of children at play. Sango had made sure everything was sparkling, and there was a graceful arrangement of early spring flowers on the table in front of them.
Miroku turned the tea cup round and round in his hand, closing his violet eyes for a moment as he let the warmth from the drink rise up and tickle his nose. He opened them again, then took a sip of the bitter liquid. Sango, moving unobtrusively, placed a plate with rice cakes in front of him on the low table, within easy reach of both him and his guests, then withdrew into the back to check on Shippou, who was playing with the girls.
It was a funny thing, the monk thought to himself while looking at the two people who sat around the table. He was noted as a hard negotiator, and pretty much a person who could get people to agree to almost anything, but for this meeting he was nervous. Looking at the well-dressed man in his fine beige and blue on his right hand savoring his tea, and Kaede to his left, Miroku knew he was not in a hostile environment. The monk knew they both wanted this meeting to come out for the best, for both Kagome and InuYasha and for the village, and that among the three of them, they would think of something. But it still made him uneasy. He decided for the moment to keep the tone of the meeting social to begin with, until he got the feeling how they were feeling about the situation. Placing his cup down, and looking at his visitors said, “So, Miko-sama, Tameo-sama, how pleasant that you stop by and visit today.”
Tameo, almost as old as Kaede, smiled. His smile was warm and friendly, something that as head of his family and as headman of the village had served him well over the years.
“It is indeed a pleasant day, Houshi-sama. So how goes the work on your plans for the temple?” Tameo said.
“Slowly, Tameo-sama. I think most of the villagers are happy with the old chapel,” Miroku replied.
“Some, it is true, are resistant to change,” the headman replied. “But change is not necessarily a bad thing, true?”
Miroku nodded. He picked up the tray of rice cakes, and offered it to his guests. Tameo refused, but Kaede looked at the tray and took one. Miroku too, selected one, and took a bite, looking thoughtful.
Tameo picked up his cup and examined it.“We have some things changed in this village. We have a priest to tend the chapel where we have honored Kwannon in our own homely way for long years. We have a young woman under the auspices of powerful youkai, here to learn the ways of being a young woman.” He swirled the contents of his cup and took a sip. “We have a young hanyou who lives with us. And now, I hear that the young miko-sama who used to stay with us has returned. These are all quite different changes,” Tameo said.
“This is true,” Miroku said. He placed the rice cake down on his place setting.
“Sometimes,” Tameo said, with a small sigh, “it can require such balance, learning how to deal with all the new things. For instance, what shall we do with the hanyou and the young miko? Miko-sama “ he said, nodding towards Kaede, “has told me you wish to discuss the affairs of our two young friends today,” Tameo said, finishing his tea, and placing the cup down on the table.
Sango returned from the back and sat down next to her husband. She offered more tea and the tray of sweets to each of her guests and her husband.
Kaede looked up at Miroku, and smiled reassuringly.“My cousin and I have been giving this some serious thought,” Kaede said, her single eye looking the monk over carefully. “We want what’s best for both the village and our friends.”
“There are those who would prefer that we kept out all youkai presence, no matter how well intentioned,” Tameo said. “Miko-sama and I do not necessarily share this point of view, but there are some, especially some of those of Tsuneo’s family, who do not like the fact that InuYasha-sama lives here and that Sesshoumaru-sama is seen frequently around our village. And now since the word has spread through the village that Kagome-sama has returned, and InuYasha has taken her into his home, gossip is starting”
Again Miroku nodded. “InuYasha-sama took Kagome-sama under his protection immediately on her return, but more than that, he expressed to me that he would like there to be a formal wedding,” he added. “And, if acceptable, to have the arrangement registered here at the village.”
“Good, good. He is an honorable man. There are those about who would come down upon that match, even if she wasn’t a miko, but her being what she is may complicate things. But Miko-sama here thinks she has a solution to the problem . . . ”
Rin sat down on the grass examining her garden. There was a small pile of weeds and old leaves and stems gathered in her basket.
The quiet weighed heavily on her, and she sighed, thinking about Nakao, and what his brother Sukeo had said about him being “that Youkai’s girl” and therefore dangerous to be around. She picked up a blooming weed, and twirled the small flower in her hand, and began to sing.
“I watched the snow fall,
in the cold winds of winter.
He left no footstep
pressed into the deep whiteness.
“The azaleas bloomed,
and I looked for him to come --
I walked through a field,
but all I found were flowers.
“The summer rains came,
and I wandered through the wet.
I could not find him,
but my sandals fell apart.
“Fireflies danced at night
amid the autumn grasses –
full moon came and went,
I watched the leaves fall alone.”
Even though the day was sunny and warm, she felt cold, even sitting there in the sunlight. Suddenly, a shadow fell over her. She looked up to see a burly man with a grizzled chin poking out from beneath his conical straw hat. He wore blue and brown clothes like a merchant, but there was something predatory about his face that made her uneasy.
“My, my, what a pretty song you sing,” said the man. “Who do you belong to, pretty one?”
Rin did not like how his eyes took her in, and looked down at her basket of weeds. “I am ward to Kaede, miko of this village,” she said.
He squatted down, and lifted her chin up. “I suspect I’ll see some more of you, then. I’m going to be here for a while.”
Rin winced away from his touch. The man smelled of stale sake and something she couldn’t quite name. Suddenly, though, the man was knocked out of her sight.
“Damn it, Jiro, let lone!” roared another voice. “We just get here and you’re already trying to cause trouble?”
Jiro rose to his knees. “Fuck, Haru, why’d you do that?”
Haru shoved his foot into Jiro’s face.
Rin, not really looking at her rescuer, grabbed the opportunity to run. She fled into the woods surrounding the field, her heart pounding in her ears, until she ran into something strong and white.
“Rin,” said Sesshoumaru. “Who has troubled you?”
She looked up into the golden eyes of the Inu Youkai lord and burst into tears.
Kagome’s lips brushed against InuYasha’s as he pulled her into his lap.
They broke for air. The afternoon light streamed into the little house, planting warm highlights on his hair and his eyes. The delight in her eyes was very clear. “So you do want a wedding,” InuYasha said as he ran his fingers over her cheek. “Miroku told me you would want one.”
“Miroku’s a smart man,” she said, smiling up at him. “Maybe it’s silly, but yeah. I know you said I’m your wife, but the ceremony would just make it feel more real to me.”
“If it’ll make you happy, we’ll do it, Koibito,” he said. His hand, large and claw tipped, but very gentle when he wanted it to be, brushed against the soft ebony of her hair. “I want you to be happy.”
“I am,” she replied, smiling.
For a moment, they gazed into each other’s eyes, but as the seconds passed, something in the way they looked at each other shifted and heated.
“Wife,” InuYasha whispered. He shifted Kagome in his arms, his hand cupping the back of her head as he lowered his mouth to hers, gently brushing his lips then tongue gently across the warm welcoming touch of her lips.
“Husband,” she replied. One of her hands slid softly into his silver hair and wrapped around his neck. Her lips parted as his kiss deepened, and their tongues slid over and around each other in a gentle, delicious dance, exploring and tasting. One kiss led to the next, and then another.
Kagome reached up, pulled the tie of his suikan loose. One hand slipped inside of his jacket, but the other ran fingertips across his cheek, gazing into his darkened amber eyes. She brushed her fingers ghost like across his lips. Kissing her fingertip, InuYasha brought that hand down with him, lacing his fingers in with hers and kissed her once again, hungrily.
He kissed her along her cheek, down her jaw. “I want you,” he murmured.
“Then have me,” Kagome replied, running her hands down his back under his suikan.
“Woman,” he moaned.
There was a knock at the entrance. Once, and then it repeated.
“Damn it,” Kagome said.
InuYasha looked at her, and suddenly laughed, kissed her on the nose, and stood up. “Later, Koibito,” he said, and retying his suikan, he walked to the door.