The-First-and-Only-Disclaimer: ...Howdy. ...Inuyasha is MINE. That will be all. :D
AN: Not much to say just yet. This idea's been in my mind for awhile. I think I'll let it simmer. *smile*
Hanyou on the High Sea~ Chapter 1
"White, white, white! ...There's so much damned white..."
Kagome tossed her snow-colored reticule on the lounge next to her, standing stiffly to avoid being stabbed by the thousands of unseen pins that probably aimed towards her skin at that very moment.
"Ah said, DOHN'T MOVE." The heavy Swedish accent came below from Paulina, the round, stern-faced dress maker moving around the statue-like girl like a bee around pollen.
"Are... all these measurements really necessary..? This dress had been altered at least...twenty times." Her breath was suddenly cut off by the tightening of her stays.
Paulina smacked the young girl on the arm with a newspaper. "NO TALL-KING. You want to trip over your train down the aisle, no? Let Paulina work."
Kagome had been standing on the stool for over half an hour, and her legs were stiff with pain. She looked at herself miserably in the mirror, facing the gargantuan white beast staring back at her.
Seventeen years old and unhappy of that fact, this wasn't how the young girl had planned her picture perfect gown to be. ...She was lost in a sea of ribbons and bows, with a heavily pearled veil covering her over like foam. Her shoulders were puffy soccer balls on either side of her neck, extending down to heavy belled sleeves that hung limply to her sides. ....Not an inch of life showed from underneath the gown. Kagome refrained from hurling.
"...So much goddamned white. I look like a polar bear." ...Said, of course, between gasped breaths.
The ornery dressmaker was quick to respond. "You're missing the black nose, little one... ...Shall I give it to you? Back straight up!"
The bark made Kagome jump, and in turn cause a pin... somewhere... to jab her.
"Shit!" She gasped.
A smack to back of the head. "Hush! Ladies do not cuss!"
Kagome bit her tongue to keep it in check. Itchy, stiff, and overflowing with white fabric, she looked straight into the mirror. If she could have sighed, she would've, for it's worth.
...A girl, in a tacky wedding dress, awaiting a rich husband to woo her and make her family's pockets glitter with inheritance. That's what she was. ...And what a typical way for a girl of her class to go.
To her left, the thick bedroom door opened a crack, and two mouse-like eyes peeked in to spy on the torture within. Kagome gritted her teeth. "...Et tu, Souta?"
Discovered, Kagome's little brother opened the door with a flourish and stepped in with a wide grin. He looked...unusual...
The small boy gave his sister a humored look up and down, much to her irritation.
"You look like a polar bear."
Yes, that was very true... but that wasn't going to stop Kagome from her spiteful tongue.
"...And you look just... darling...."
Souta's grin was wiped out as quickly as his appearance in. He reached down and fingered the nautical outfit gingerly. "...It's a sailor suit..." He looked up, indignant. "All the rage in the west, you know... Mama said so."
"You look like an idiot."
"Mama said I looked like a young man."
Kagome endured another painful stab with a pin. "...And she's absolutely right... You're a fine young man. ...A fine noble..." She turned a cool eye his way. "...Just like Hojo..." She'd just hit a nerve. (...Though, fortunately for him, not with a pin.)
Souta suddenly looked horrified. "Eww... Kagome! How dare you compare me to that pansy! He is such a...a... girl."
Hojo, of course, was the most local noble, and was, for a time, Kagome's first would-be suitor. ...He wasn't a pansy, but unfortunately for him, nowhere near Souta's standard... Poor Hojo had about the cool factor of lima beans.
...Souta looked sullied. "...Just watch. Everyone in Japan'll wear a sailor suit one day... You'll see."
Kagome suffered another smack from Paulina for slouching. She was exasperated.
"Yeah Souta, I bet... ...Now, what did you want to tell me?"
The boy bent over the dressmakers sewing kit, examining it. "Mama and Grandpa want to see you in the Shrine room when you're done... And the cook says we're having pickled radishes and rice for dinner."
Kagome groaned internally. ...Pickled radishes. "Okay, Souta... Tell them I'll be right there..."
"...Un." he said absently. ...Souta was holding a pair of sharp-looking shears. ...He was promptly chased out by the vicious Swede.
Paulina pinned and tweaked some more, keeping Kagome at bay for another five minutes. She stood in front of her after then, almost admiringly.
"There... vat a beautiful bride you'll make... Vat a beautiful bride for the Lord Kouga." She beamed at her handiwork.
Kagome stood and stared, the final reflection bringing about a small wave of nausea. She took a step back, temporarily losing and regaining her balance on the stool, tipsy.
"Oh! Child, Vat's wrong?!"
"Paulina..." Kagome's hand clamped over her mouth quickly. "Quick. Bring me a bag."
...The moon had long since risen in the sky, and Kagome had retreated to her room after the talk with her Mom and Grandpa, hiding under her vast bedcover with a small flashlight, and, the most secret and prized of her treasures... a small, soft-cover journal. She could hear Mom talking to Grandpa in hushed voices from the parlor. Kagome rubbed a sore spot on her back and continued scribbling.
...Tomorrow it happens... Tomorrow I'll set sail for the Shizuoka coast to meet and marry my... husband... Kouga what's-his-face. I guess, then... that makes this the last journal entry I'll ever write as a single girl. ...Unsettling isn't it?
...Mama and Grandpa called me into the parlor today after my appointment with Mistress Pain... Mom looked like she was about to cry, no matter how hard she tried to be excited for me, and make me the same way. ...I really wish she'd talk to me more, though I know she's still hurting from Dad's passing.
...Grandpa was in somewhat good spirits. ...He made me drink this liquid shit** ...scratch that... crap, that tasted like cod liver oil and sake... he announced It'd ward against evil spirits on the voyage over, but I know he was just giddy to have an excuse to test it.
...I noticed his eyes were a little red. He blamed Buyo.
Even Souta, of all people, seemed to be a little sad. ...He gave me a present today, for... the first time in his life. It's a mini compass that came with the sailor suit. I was surprised he didn't opt for the ship in the bottle, instead. He didn't want it, he said, was never going to grow up to become a sailor, he said, and it seemed like a waste to keep it. ...I guess... I'll miss him too. But of course, nobody ever has to know about it.
...I'm too nervous to sleep, but too tired to be nervous. ...Does that make any sense? I might as well try some shut-eye, then.
***Remember not to swear!!!
Kagome tucked the flashlight and journal under her pillow and curled up in a warm fetus position under the covers. The adult's voices were still audible outside. ...She dug her head farther into the pillow to try to strain out the voices. ...Her mother's seemed to be getting louder, and it was only a few minutes before her telltale footsteps were coming down the hall.
Kagome pulled the covers closer to her, and shut her eyes. ...The door to her big room creaked open, and with it came a line of light, punctuated by the familiar shadow of her mother's form.
Concentrating deeply on the soft chenille of her pillow and warmth of her body, the movement of the mattress as her mother sat down came as a surprise, though she was aware it was going to happen.
Ms. Higurashi sat closely to her daughter, and reached out to stroke the long, dark hair. Kagome could hear her mothers slow, though uneven breathing, and knew then she was trying to refrain from crying.
...For awhile, a good long while, Ms. Higurashi sat there, in the darkness, next to the 'sleeping' form of her daughter.
Kagome had known her mother hoped to find her awake, but for a reason she couldn't pinpoint, she couldn't bring herself to 'wake up' and talk to her. So... she kept herself curled for what seemed like an eternity, until she felt the warm breath blow in her ear, followed by a kiss on the cheek.
"I love you, my Kagome... and... I'm sorry."
Time reversed, the pressure eased off the bed, the footsteps came again, the door clicked shut, and lying still in the darkness... Kagome felt only a few quiet tears patter on her pillow top.
AN: A new beginning... It's getting me excited... *pees*. Stay tuned, of course...^^