Miroku and Sango sit on the set of Masterpiece Theater in comfortable lounge chairs. The fireplace gently smolders in the backround, creating a cheery but clichéd feeling of pleasantness. One can hear the trumpets begin to play, signaling the start of the show.

Miroku tries to smoke the pipe in his hand (every Masterpiece theater host must have a pipe), only to have Sango knock it out of his hand.

Sango: Like you need your life to be shortened.

Miroku: (smiles sweetly) Sango! I never knew you were so concerned!

Sango: (blushes furiously as she whips out her boomerang) Urasai!

Miroku: How can you speak that way to a priest? (insert look of long suffering innocence here)

Sango: (rolls eyes as she tries to get more comfortable in the leather chair) Whatever. Weren't we supposed to do something?

(Both look at the readers, and sweat drop)

Miroku: Oh yeah. Welcome to the Rambling Coffee Addict's first attempt at fanfiction.

Sango: Rambler was a bit busy this week-

Miroku: You mean too lazy.

Sango: (ignores) So she got Miroku and I to do the intros and disclaimers for the first couple of chapters.

Miroku: (takes out a crumpled sheet of paper from his robes, waves it at the reader) Rambler wanted me to read this. (Begins to read) 'Rambling Coffee Addict owns Inu-Yasha, and everything that has to do with Inu-Yasha. She also owns Masterpiece Theater and Poland. Therefore you will bow down before her and'… wait… this doesn't sound right….

Sango: (looks nervous) That isn't right, houshi-sama.

Miroku: How do you know?

Sango: Because we now have a bunch of angry lawyers on the set ( points to the gentleman standing in the suits to her left, who have somehow managed to make gigantic flames appear behind them).

Miroku: (Grabs Sango) Damn that delusional woman! She knows she doesn't own the series! (Begins to drag Sango a way from the bloodthirsty lawyers) If you will excuse us, dear readers, we must run for our lives. Enjoy the fic!

Chapter One

It Wasn't Supposed To Be

The sleepy village lay nestled against the green mountains, as a child to a protective mother's breast. Rice patties surrounded its outskirts, their waters reverently calm. The village houses were picturesque in their quaintness, as if a painter had created them in celebration of everything pastoral. But of all the houses, the Higurashi shrine was considered to be the most beautiful. Clean white walls surrounded by large gardens; the shrine was a sanctuary in an increasingly bloodstained land. Many had remarked that there was never a more peaceful home in all the whole Senjuko Jidai era of Japan.

Unfortunately, the shrine was about to lose its serene reputation.

"THEY DID WHAT!" A shrill scream echoed through the Higurashi home, causing several innocent next door neighbors to go deaf. Yet somehow, the little boy standing a few feet away from the screaming girl remained undaunted.

"Uh- huh!" Souta nodded enthusiastically, as he stood in the girl's bedroom. "Kaa-san and Ji-chan found you the PERFECT husband, Kagome!" He beamed up at her with big dark eyes, oblivious to the way her left eye had begun to twitch. The problem with little brothers was that they were either incredibly thick to the rising tension in the room, or took extreme glee in causing it. Kagome wasn't sure which, since her little brother did genuinely seem to be very protective of her, and very sweet. But they say that the devil has a gorgeous smile. Souta must have been demonic to be able to grin at such horrible news.

Kagome was trying very hard to keep her temper under control. After all, this was supposed to be her "happy week". She was supposed to be celebrating her seventeenth birthday. She was supposed to be out with friends, laughing and smiling, enjoying her life as a young single woman. Somehow Kagome got the sinking suspicion that her "happy week" had just been thrown out a window and smashed into small irreparable pieces. She breathed out, still not able to keep her eye from twitching. "They are making me get married?" She asked through gritted teeth.

"Yep!" Souta replied, his brown hair shaking as he nodded cheerily.

"To a stranger?"

"Oh, but Kagome, you have to see Inu-Yasha-onii-chan! He is SO COOL! He's really strong, and brave, and he has these gold eyes-"

"I don't care if he's Superman!" She barked, her deep blue eyes flashing dangerously as Souta backed away. Oh, so now he gets that I'm upset! "I don't want to get married yet! I'm seventeen! I'm not ready! Hell, I haven't even been COURTED yet!"

"What about Hojo?" Souta reminded her timidly.

"He doesn't count." Kagome grumbled sourly as she thought of the clueless boy who followed her like a lost puppy.

"And Kouga?"

"I would hardly say declaring me to be his woman and then running off with his friends every few minutes qualifies as courting." She sighed, sinking down onto her comforting futon. Suddenly something terribly wrong popped up in her head. "Wait, you mean you've met him?"

"Yep! He and his family came to the house last Sunday!" He informed her casually.

"When I was out at the marketplace?" Kagome asked incredulously.


"How long has this been arranged?"

"About a month."

So much for controlling her temper. "KAA-SAN!"

The clouds rolled over the lush valley, slowly, licking the lands and leaving golden sunshine in its place. Inu-Yasha watched them from his thinking spot, high up in a tree. Things always seemed simpler to him when he was up there. Nothing looked as bleak when one was nestled against the gnarled bark. Marriage didn't seem so bad with leaves outlined in blinding gold shading ones view. Even if it was marriage to a complete stranger, when the one he really loved was… elsewhere.

Kikyo. A part of him he couldn't quite place what ached when he thought about her. There were so many emotions swirled together that he couldn't quite tell what he felt. Maybe it was dumbfounded numbness. One day she was there, misty blue eyes serious and intense. His world beginning to fall into a steady rhythm with hers, as his heart became more entangled. But then suddenly, she disappeared, and was presumed to be dead.

He had tried to resist his family's insistent orders. Kikyo was his fiancée. There was no other for him. But she was gone without a trace, no matter how something inside screamed at him that she was alive. He had to get married, Kikyo or no Kikyo, or face disinheritance and being kicked out of his family. And other lives were at stake here, not just his. Who knows what his "benevolent" demon family members would do to his human mother after his father died.

He had come to the tree to think, and to accept the inevitable. Yeah, that's my reason for being up here… I'm not hiding…..no. Feh, the great Inu-Yasha hiding; never! His back straightened a little against the tree as a cocky smile lit his face.

"Inu-Yasha." A calm voice spoke from beneath his tree limb, causing him to nearly loose his balance. Kuso, I've been found

Regaining his posture, he hunched down to see the bane of his existence, his loathsome half-brother, standing with the regal air of a statue. He looked down at his brother with scorn filled eyes. "What do you want, bastard?"

Sesshomaru stared up at Inu-Yasha with a blank expression. "Your immediate demise." He replied coolly, tossing his long white hair over his shoulder breezily. "But father wants you to get ready to see your lowly bride-to-be."

Inu-Yasha rolled his amber eyes. "Why does he want me to get married to her again?"

"Because you're a weak hanyou and an embarrassment to our family, and can't marry into a youkai family because of it. At least she's a miko. That is the best a piece of filth like you can ask for." He really should not have bothered to ask, he already had memorized his older brother's speech after hearing five times a day for the last three weeks.

Never before had Inu-Yasha wanted to rip Sesshomaru to shreds as much as in that moment. The bastard almost seemed to smile as he regarded Inu-Yasha's miserable expression. He always found ways to rub everything in without a word. His very stance mocked Inu-Yasha, taunting him with the fact that he was the eldest, he was the better swordsman (in his mind, not Inu-Yasha's), and that he would inherit almost everything when Inu-Yasha's father passed away. The hanyou's single consolation in life was Sesshomaru's effeminate looks. If the man didn't look like damn woman with his flowing hair and austere porcelain beauty Inu-Yasha would have nothing to sooth his ruffled ego with.

Inu-Yasha leapt gracefully from the tree, landing a few feet away from his brother. "What time is the bitch's family expecting me?" He asked as he surveyed the tranquil valley for a final time.

Sesshomaru smirked deviously as he turned to head back toward their father's large castle. "About five minutes ago."

Inu-Yasha's widened as his brother's word sunk in. "SHIMATTA!"

Kagome growled as the maid fixed her kimono. This was unacceptable. Her mother was marrying her off without even consulting her. Not even a "Honey, would you like a husband as a 17th birthday present?"

She tried to calm herself, sitting in the beautiful stone garden in the back yard, and trimming some of her grandfather's bonsai. She tried to meditate or practice her miko studies, but nothing helped. She had been sold out by her own family. Her own flesh and blood. And why? Because they wanted her to be happy, and more importantly, they wanted her to be safe.

She could still hear her mother, her voice dipped in honey as she spoke.

"Dear, this is for your own good. You are a miko. Do you understand how special your gift is? How much responsibility weighs on your shoulders?" She shook her head softly as she smiled ruefully at Kagome. "No, my little Kagome, I don't think you do. Nor do you realize the danger that you will face because of it."

Her mother took her into her arms, embracing the girl the same way she had when she was little. "Gomen ne, little one, but I won't be able to protect you in the future, and your grandfather is too old to worry about such things. So please, put our minds at ease, marry Inu-Yasha. I promise, I did not make this decision hastily."

Kagome wanted so badly to be furious. She wanted to scream, to shout the injustice of her situation to anyone and everyone who would listen. But all she could feel was hurt and sadness swelling inside her. She found herself crying bitterly as the maid finished tying her obi, sobs shaking her body.

The maid looked up at Kagome sympathetically. "There, there, Kagome-sama. Don't cry! You are about to meet your fiancée! This is a joyful week!" The old woman cheered.

Kagome only cried harder. She felt like such a child as the maid rocked her back and forth, muttering nonsense about how her makeup would be ruined into her glossy black hair. This wasn't fair, but it was logical. She hadn't mastered her miko powers fully, and had already been attacked by some small youkai bands. While she had been lucky enough to defeat them the first two times, without the proper protection, she might not beat them a third. Marrying someone who could protect her was practical. It made good sense. Why couldn't she see it like her mother could instead of getting all emotional about it?

As her sobs ceased the maid began to fuss over her destroyed makeup, grumbling that her fair face was now red and puffy with tears. Kagome let the woman prattle on, feeling her insides had been sucked out of her, and a great void had been left in its place. No matter how much she felt like a child, her childhood was now officially over. What she wouldn't give to trade places with Souta… Okay, maybe not Souta, the boy still has to make a conscious effort not to wet the bed.

She smiled lightly as the maid continued to apply powder to her delicate features. The old woman stopped to notice, eyes crinkling in relief. " Ah, good, you're smiling again. " She breathed as she once again continued to fix Kagome's blotched makeup. "You should never frown for such a long period of time Kagome-sama, it doesn't suit you." The woman chided gently. She stepped away from Kagome to admire her work.

The maid's grey eyes beamed as she looked the beautiful girl up and down, admiring her. "What a beautiful bride you will make!". She gushed, clasping her wrinkled hands together with glee.

Kagome didn't know how to respond. Luckily her mother entered her bedroom at that moment. "Your fiancée is here!"

Kagome gulped.

"Do come in!" The eager little boy chirped excitedly as Inu-Yasha solemnly entered the Higurashi home. He wished he could muster up as much excitement. It was just fate's sardonic sense of humor that he would be stuck with tons of happy-go-lucky people when he wanted the ground to swallow him whole. How the hell can one kid smile so much?

His thoughts were broken by the woman he recognized as Higurashi-san coming toward him in a mauve kimono. "There you are Yamura-san! We worried because of your tardiness." He sputtered and grumbled slightly at her veiled rebuke, stammering out an apology of sorts. She smiled reservedly at him, bowing slightly before ushering him into the sitting room. "Kagome-chan shall be out shortly." Gracing him with a small knowing wink, she left the room to make some tea.

Would his fiancée look like her mother? Warm brown hair and eyes, pretty, but tempered by wisdom. That wasn't Inu-Yasha's ideal, but he could live with it, for a while any way. Maybe she was fat, or really hideous. Worse yet, maybe they were lying when her family said that she was only in her late teens. She was probably an old spinster that they hadn't been able to marry off for years. There were so many excuses to fly out of the room and out of the house, and he could do so before any of them noticed. Yet something fastened him in place, binding him to sit cross-legged on the wooden floor. He let himself sink further into his sulking, before he became aware of the curious eyes watching him.

Kagome peered at the boy from the hallway, watching him with a mixture of surprise and suspicion. The boy sat cross-legged before the table, arms folded into his red haori. A pout creased his handsome and boyish features, making him appear younger than her mother said he was. What was he again? Nineteen? Twenty?

She felt her mouth drop in awe as she took in his long, snow white tresses. Never had she seen such beautiful, exotic hair. The small triangular dog ears that sat on top of his head added to his unusual appearance. They occasionally twitched, making her ache to reach out and touch one of them.

More striking than his hair or ears to Kagome was his eyes. Molten gold, intense and daring. They were the eyes of someone who stood down to no one, who would give in to no one. And suddenly the amber orbs were on her. "So," The boy asked in an arrogantly calm fashion. "Are you the bitch I am supposed to marry?"

In the basement of the television studio Masterpiece Theater is taped at, Sango and Miroku huddle in a corner, having temporarily lost the angry mob of lawyers.

Miroku: Once again, Inu-Yasha manages to make a fabulous first impression with his eloquence.

Sango: (grumbling in a highly disgruntled fashion) At least he isn't like SOME people, who cop a feel even when a bunch of lawyers are chasing us with pitchforks and large incomprehensible legal documents!

Miroku: (Looks around nervously) Not so loud Sango… They're still nearby… Damn Rambler, she better deliver what she promised…

Sango: (Blinks in surprise) She promised you something?

Miroku: You didn't think I would submit myself to her insane whims without some sort of payment did you?

Sango: (dryly) No, you would never be that benevolent. (She suddenly becomes suspicious) Wait, what did she promise you.

Miroku (Insert the most evil and lecherous smile in the world here) You will see, my dear Sango, you will see (cackles evilly)

Sango: (Shivers) Scary. (Regains composure) Anyhoo, see all of you some time next week. (Gets down on hands and knees along with Miroku) Please review, and tell Rambler to get rid of those damned lawyers! WE ARE BEGGING YOU!