Chapter 40

The noise in the music pavilion was bounding off of the rafters as Higurashi-sama toyed with the stem of her glass and steeled herself to deal with more guests. Her eyes flicked up across the room. There seemed to be some goings on at the head table, and Jukuryo had left her some minutes ago. Sesshoumaru would have been entertaining but fat lot of good that was as she saw him in a small huddle with Inuyasha in his black outfit with its shimmering mons and Rin in her chrysanthemum-flowered apricot across the width of the pavilion. After a moment they all three disappeared around the free-standing screen that concealed the entrances to the rest rooms.

She had chosen her current seat with an eye to watching the incoming guests and felt just a bit bereft at Jukuryo's sudden abandonment. Okay so she was middle aged, did that make her yesterday's cheese? She frowningly took another swig from the glass that had magically appeared before her as one of the servers swooped by. Really, she was mother of the bride after all. Why couldn't she have some of the fun?

"Higurashi-sama," She looked up to find herself faced with a pair of men who bowed and smiled and were entirely unknown to her. They looked like a prosperous businessman and his assistant. She rapidly put down her glass to give a quick seated bow in reply. "We have come to be witness to your daughter's wedding sama."

"That's wonderful, and you are…?"

"Koencho-San." He bowed profoundly and gestured to a young man standing at his elbow. This is my assistant, Kagitsukeru. "He bears a gift from us to your family. We represent relatives of the groom. I realize this is a somewhat abrupt question, but; have they consummated? Do you know?"

Higurashi-San had absent mindedly taken a mochi cake from a nearby plate and had the familiar chewy sweetness go to dry ashes in her mouth. She rapidly attempted to work up enough spit and nearly choked as she swallowed the mouthful down. It seemed to lodge right at the top of her sternum. She gave a cough, "I'm sorry?"

The man gave a shift of his eyes, and looked a little irritated. "Let me be a bit more bluntly, Sama, I wish to inquire into the validity of this marriage-as well as witness it. There are a number of questions about the appropriateness of this joining."

Higurashi-San tried to swallow again, but the mochi cake just sat there radiating discomfort downwards. She gave another cough., "I'm sorry, " she said and coughed again. "I can't seem to…"

The annoying man finally actually focused on her and her plight, "Are you alright?"

She waved a hand miserably and took a swig of water.

Koencho-san looked enormously irritated and stepped forward whipping out a handkerchief. "Please Sama, have this." People near to her were standing up from their seats, and in a moment she was surrounded by a bevy of women who clucked concernedly and obscured her from view. Both Jukuryo and Sesshoumaru stood up and peered across the pavilion to where Higurashi-San was in the center of such a swirl of activity.

Jukuryo gave a gentle backwards kick to Jijii-Chan's left calf and that worthy responded by smacking his tea cup down on the table. "What!" he said.

"Maybe those new guests should be coming over here, as your honored daughter appears to be choking."

Jijii-Chan took a knowledgeable look over at the disturbance in the corner of the room and tugged slightly on his mustache. "Choking on mochi cakes again, is she? I warned her about that. Not to worry; she'll be better directly. She always is." Nevertheless he got up, shook out his robes, settled his ceremonial cap better on his head to stalk over to where the unknown men were facing the brouhaha with uncertain looks.

"Kon'nichi wa." He said pleasantly upon reaching them. He bowed slightly folding his hands into his robes and smiled in a professional manner. There was a hacking sound in the background as Higurashi-San finally solved the problem of the mochi cake she'd been choking on. He raised his voice slightly to be heard over the muted roar of the room, "Are you better, Daughter?"

Higurashi-San nodded her thanks and gathered herself together, rising from the table. She addressed her guests, "Perhaps you would like to meet the bride and groom. Please follow this way."

Higurashi-San nervously got walked with her unexpected guests across the center of the open area of the pavilion, past the short music stands and the traditional instruments. She was uneasy. This man claimed to be a relative of Inuyasha's but he looked wrong in some way that was indefinable to her.

He looked more like he would be related to pigs, actually.

Her attention was mostly on guiding those following her through the crowd which seemed to have thickened rather surprisingly. She had to stop and apologize several times to complete strangers so that she did not register the substitution at the head table. Instead, she turned slightly and smiled in a social manner at those following her before turning to address the wedded couple.

"Please, Koencho-San, let me present my daughter, Nishigawa Kagome and her husband Nishigawa Inuyasha." She turned and smiled at the pair sitting at the table across from her and froze. Sesshoumaru nodded gravely and gave a meaningful flick of his eyes towards the outer screens of the hall. Rin sat next to him swathed in foamy white and sporting a familiar comb with a trailing fall of miniature red maple leaves which just caught on the curve of her neck.

l0l+

In the small shrine Kagome was struggling to hang on to some semblance of sanity while Inuyasha's thrumming rumbles coursed through her body. He was unwaveringly intent upon what he was doing. Firmly catching her with one arm about her waist to keep her still he let his other hand trace in smooth arcs about her stomach, palm flattening for a moment as he worked his fingers into the front of her kosode.

Kagome gasped sharply at the contact of his skin upon hers and the sound echoed around the little chamber and reverberated down into the well.

"They'll hear." She whispered as he pulled at the ties that held her hakama up.

He looked up at that and brushed a kiss at her nose, "Good, let them." With a soft hiss he finished pulling the tapes free and the hakama fell to the floor in a creamy puddle of silk at her feet.

"Oh." she said, in a whimper of excited concern. "Now you've…"

He drew her forward, forcing her to step out of the discarded hakama and leave them behind on the floor. He backed down the steps, holding her hands and her eyes with his own.

She followed him, half mesmerized, as her great swaths of silken robes drew back from her shoulders and revealed her slender body in the shadowy light. Her pert young breasts only drew attention to a narrow waist and the downy fulfillment between her thighs. Drawn by more than he could claim to understand, Inuyasha dropped a hand to slide his fingers hand up to cup her sex as he drew her to him.

She sighed a little and arched against his hand, allowing him the sleek wetness of her folds. He was firm but gentle and his voice was barely a breath as he slid his other hand up behind her head to lace his slim fingers through her hair. There was the soft clatter of pins upon the floor as his claws scraped gently at the back of her head, "Kagome, come to me, girl."

A slight pinch and tug and she was collapsing against his chest, arms wrapping up around his neck to draw his face down to hers for a dizzying kiss.

His hand left her for a moment to catch at the pad of flesh at the top of her rump, fingers tracing over the twinned pair of deep dimples there. He pulled her tightly against his own arousal and she gasped into his mouth.

"Inuyasha, koi."

His arms around her were very firm and she could feel the rock-hard strength of them as he pulled her off of the last step, "Wife, be my wife, Kagome. Be mine now."

Her hands slid to his shoulders and curled over the collar of his kosode, pulling the front of it apart, exposing his naked chest. He kissed her fiercely and pulled at the ties of his black silk hakama, getting them loose in a second before he picked her up and settled her in a billowing bed of her own robes. She gave a faint cry as he stretched his beautiful body over hers and he murmured in response. He buried his face in her throat muttering nonsense words of reassurance and need, his voice urgent.

Kagome smoothed her hand over his shoulder and down the long, taut, line of his back. Muscles bunched as he arched his body against hers with a groan of pleasure. He held her face between his palms and kissed her deeply. She answered him with a matching passion.

"Kagome, " he whispered.

"Inuyasha," she said helplessly. "Please."

He came into her then, in hard thrusts, impatient as though he could no longer wait, stretching her, invading ever deeper into her. The pressure was sending a wave of delight upward, closing her throat. She began to make small whimpers which quickly became sharp gasps as he slid his arms under her waist and drew her upwards towards him. Her head fell back and her back arched as if she could no longer control her body but only offer it to his own

He growled between his clenched teeth and his eyes bled red as he gripped her against him. She felt his muscles contract, pumping into the depths of her, to hold in a long, hard shudder. And then another and another as her own ecstasy burst in hot waves and she clawed her hands into his hair.

They forgot the outside world then. They forgot time travel or family disagreements, the differences between themselves or even what the future might hold in store for them. Instead, for a time they were only themselves, forming the last links in a new bond and a suddenly settled sense of completion.

o0o

Outside of the well shrine however, it was a different story:

Sesshoumaru had gestured for the new visitors to take a seat at the empty places by Rin's side and had waved over servers to clear the old place settings there and start new ones. Koencho was occupied enough with that to miss the approach of an old figure in a festival kimono leaning on a staff. He bowed to the group at the head table and bent across whispering to them. Higurashi-San smiled in evident pleasure, breaking the cloud of concern that seemed to have settled over her brow.

Sesshoumaru rocked slightly forward in his chair, placing one elbow on it's back, and one on the table and looked at this unexpected petitioner. The old man examined him slowly back and Sesshoumaru flicked his eyes up to see that more unknown figures were filing into the room though the front entrance.

His mouth quirked up in the faintest of smiles, and he almost rested his lips against his knuckles to conceal it as he regarded the invasion of the wedding. He sat back and leaning one shoulder against the back of his chair turned his attention to Rin, "My dear," he said, catching Rin's attention.

"Hmm?" She responded pleasantly, squeezing off the tip of a lime into her soup.

"Don't you want to be entertained?"

"Oh yes!" She said squeezing the lime hard enough so that the juice squirted in little acidic arcs. She shook off the droplets off of her hand and dropped the remains of the lime piece into the soup. She blushed, and picked up a chop stick to stab at the lime piece as it bobbed in her soup, "That's right, I get to choose the song don't I?"

Sesshoumaru nodded and Higurashi-San nodded also. Rin beckoned the old man and whispered in his ear. The oldster grinned and trotted off and within moments drums and other instruments were being pulled and pushed into a new configuration in the center of the hall and it seemed that a regular band of the more traditional type was setting up. A few in the crowd took note of that and the fact that no microphones were in evidence and resigned themselves to an evening of polite boredom and traditional music.

Jijii-Chan looked up and sneezed. Maybe the sneeze was the last piece of irritation he needed, but he was tired of all the drama and machinations that even getting this far had taken them. "For Kami's sake! They are late! Make them sing a song!"

The old man turned and thumped his staff on the floor for silence. Alone in the center of the music hall, with his accompanists kneeling around him and where the sound of the crowd banged and echoed off of the walls he thumped away steadily. A partial hush fell over the crowd and he stood very erect, clutching his staff in both hands. He lifted his face and looked very soulful and everyone was sure that the bride had picked a romantic ballad. Oddly enough, his shrill old voice cut through the residual hubbub and noise without difficulty and rose quavering up to the rafters where it seemed to blossom into something quite different.

Parting the fence of rushes,

Making her way through the fence,

Someone has spoken to Father,

Spoken to Father of you.

The house is in an uproar.

It was my brother's wife!

The pavilion was in an immediate and answering uproar of laughter. Within moments many of the voices there were picking up the refrain. It was an old song but a very good one and almost everyone there had heard it at least once in their lives.

"What a very peculiar choice," murmured Sesshoumaru.

Rin dimpled, "I've always liked it. Somebody sang it once at a wedding at my village."

He glanced at her, but then away.

Ooooo00ooooO

Kagome sat languidly up next to Inuyasha and peeked at what he was doing, "Isn't that the camera that Jaken had?"

"Yeah." Inuyasha said abstractedly, "I can't seem to work it. Sesshoumaru gave it to me when I gave him my haori."

"What did you want to do? Get a picture of me naked?" She snuggled winsomely on her nest of silken robes.

He snorted, "Not hardly. The only one who gets to see you this way, my girl, is me."

She really couldn't find it in her to mind the possessiveness of his tone and giggled faintly in response.

He ignored her and kept fiddling. "I want to get rid of those pictures of me and Sesshoumaru; they're embarrassing."

She had already slipped on her kosode and hakama as he spoke and was kneeling up adjusting the robes around her shoulders. A little disheveled but very pretty indeed with her hair all undone and down her back again.

"What are you doing, wench?"

She stood up, fully attired now, and leaned over him, tweaking the camera from between his clawed fingers and he let her have it. She looked at him critically, "I like those pictures of you and Sesshoumaru and I know just who I want to show them to." In a swirling flash of robes she was over the side of the well and gone.

Making a desperate grab at his discarded kosode and hakama he was after her in a flash, "Kagome!"

…000OO000...

The song in the music pavilion was coming to its rollicking height;

Oh what to do with an inconstant young man?

when there was something resembling a thrum in the air. Both Sesshoumaru in his borrowed robe and Jaken in his persona as a wedding photographer nearly cringed because they knew that a certain young pair of idiots had used the bone eater's well.

Koencho-San gestured to the rather beaky-faced fellow that accompanied him. "Kagitsukeru-San, would you kindly go around the perimeter of this building and check? There is something definitely odd going on here."

Sesshoumaru poured a glass of saké, and handed it to Koencho-San. "Something odd?" he inquired, "Why, how could that be?"

"I do not believe you to be a hanyou," Koencho responded stiffly.

Sesshoumaru sat still at this and merely lifted an eyebrow.

Koencho soldiered on, "I do not believe that you two have mated, or gone through any form of marriage…" he looked then frowningly at Rin. "Although, this girl does appear to be yours."

Rin smiled and cast her eyes down.

Manfully, Koencho-San gathered himself up and spoke straight out, "I think this is a fraud! Where is the real couple!"

Sesshoumaru opened his eyes widely and shook his head slightly, "Truly, I have no concept of what you are speaking about."

Koencho-San stared at him, gazed into calm, cold, eyes that appeared to have never known self-doubt. For a moment he floated on that lake of cool superiority; what did he know, after all? But then his own youkai nature reasserted itself and the touch of another mind, more ancient than his own, was lost, "Where are they?"

There was a silence at the head table that seemed to spread itself to the revelers from the head table. Sesshoumaru's expression didn't flicker but Koencho's attention was drawn to the dwarfish figure of Jaken, trailing shirt tails and hefting a fair sized video camera.

"Inuyasha and his bride went out that away," he said, flicking his thumb over his shoulder.

With a roar Koencho knocked over his chair and ran for the exit indicated and the youkai that had secreted them selves among the guests followed him. The band grabbed up their more portable instruments and followed them, beating drums and hollering up a storm. The human guests gave a collective gasp, waited two beats and followed them out into the shrine grounds to search frantically amongst the buildings in the quickly falling Autumn night for what, they knew not. Quite pixilated, they were, and eventually returned to their homes confused, but, quite all right.

In the nearly empty pavilion, a lone bowl spun on its side in the center of the now empty floor and landed on its bottom with a clatter.

"Well," grunted Jijii-Chan doubtfully, "that was a success."

FINIS