Series: Inuyasha

Title: Toronto Story

Genre: general/AU/romance

Rating: pg

Warnings: OOCness on Sesshie's part.  Maybe Kagome's too.

AN:  Actually, it is sort of romancy, but not SO much really.  This story was inspired when I went to Toronto for my cousin's wedding.  The place I am describing really DOES exist, as do the houses and other things I refer to.  This is going to be a one-shoter until I finish up other things, alright?  Anyways, hope you enjoy.

Toronto Story

By: cappie

The gray clouds, like tangible freedom swarmed across the hazy blue sky of an autumn day.  The leaves some brown and withered, others golden, others streaked with memories from their youth, dripped contentedly against the gray pavement that lead from the main thoroughfare of Younge Street to an elevated area above it.  There, the noise of the cars seemed far away—as though the closer any undesirable sound came to the church, the weaker it became.  If there was a God, perhaps this was his power.  And if there was not, then all chose to have selective hearing when it came to the roar and gentle hum of motors and they moved about, almost in an automatic sort of function, down the street to unknown destinations.

Despite the wet atmosphere, the day was not unpleasant.  It was now the aftermath of the storm that had swept through the ivy and brick covered city during the night.  During the dark hours of early morning, Kagome has listened half awake to the sound of the drops against the side of the hotel window pane.  Had she been actually expecting to sleep, she would have been irritable—but as it had been, she had not expected anything so welcome.

Yet, she was no longer outside, avoiding the puddle that reflected from the maple lined streets, she was no longer chewing idly on a piece of toast as she watched a French film noir scroll by on the screen, she was no longer in the period of transition.  What was about to happen now had finally come to pass, the two weeks of preparation, the guidance, the laughter and the tears, the hopes and fears—in the end, it was this result which was now presented in front of her.

So tender and fragile did she looked as she strode gently down the isle draped in cream colored silks, the gentle fragrance of rain and eucalyptus following her, that Kagome knew that she would cry before the two even said, "I do."

But to cry, ah, women were sentimental in that way.  She tried to focus her mind elsewhere, to remember her life in Japan, to remember her dreams and aspirations, and how in the grand scale of things they were as insignificant as a thunder storm.

She watched as their fingers intertwined discretely between their two bodies.  They were happy, were they not?  But of course.  There was nothing to watch here, for there was no need for fear—there would be no delays, or mistakes, or fears.  Yes, all was as it was supposed to be.  After all, it was her best friends wedding.

Turning her blue eyes, she glanced at the crowd of guests sitting respectfully among the pews.

The wedding was equally just as inconvenient for the bride's side of the family as it was the groom's.  Each had long distances to travel, and much to buy and participate in the event overall.  The groom's family came from California, although immigrants from Japan.  Their son was what was referred to as a "Nissei" meaning that he was the second generation to live and be born in America.  Luckily, he still retained many characteristics of a fellow Japanese person, and it was only in few mannerisms that he acted particularly western (much to the delight of the relatives still living on the 'floating island').

Miroku, the groom, had grown up in foggy San Francisco in Victorian house about as close to Nihon Machi as a Japanese person was allowed to get on a decent income.  Not living some three blocks from Kinokyunia, on a fairly quiet street, he had grown up accustomed to his duel life; that of Japanese and that of an American.

He was able to switch to English to Japanese and back again in a single sentence, and find hamburgers just as enjoyable as miso soup and pickled vegetables.  A lover of learning and one of the few friends to the decrepit homeless of the city, he was loved by all who met him.

The bride's family came from Tokyo, Japan.  She was an urban girl herself, and although she favored the country for quiet retreats, her heart remained true to the hustle and bustle and exciting life that that the young so often lead in city.  She, unlike her husband-to-be, grew up with an acute longing to be part of the western culture, not necessarily American (in truth, she would have preferred Austrian, or French).

As a child she had often been sent out into the country during the summer, and there she learned her English skills from a crazy gaijin who had retired to Japan for some strange reason.  But, even with all its earthquakes and singing street signs, she loved Japan with a passion that was only innate in the heart of its citizens.

Sango had grown up in western Tokyo in a nice house, well, at least as nice as her parents could afford.  As a child she had been rather sickly, and it was for this reason that she wished to become a doctor and repay her debts to the profession.

The two had met, quite romantically, believed all—while at medical school in Toronto.  Each were living off of scholarships and loans, and longing for a fresh beginning.  Sango and Miroku, although hardly living in the same dorm, had formed a relationship that progressed from lab partners, to study buddies, to friend, to boyfriend and girlfriend, to lovers, and finally, to a firm and solid couple.

Now, they were to be married in Toronto, the city in which they had first met.  The city with brick buildings and ivy scattered generously throughout its rolling landscape and windy streets.  Toronto, where the storm clouds rolled in over the Lake and it was not unheard of that there should be a sudden cold snap in the middle of September.  Toronto, a city both had grown to love—but probably their love for the clean city with the crazy freeways, had grown immeasurably with their companionship.

If she ever wished to be married, it was now more than ever that Kagome desired that the man would take her hand in his and slip the band onto her finger.  It was now more than ever that she wished to cry for her own happiness and not her best friend's.  Yet, if anyone deserved it, it was Sango…

Turning her eyes down, she blinked back the tears and smiled softly as she gazed down at the bouquet of white roses, eucalyptus leaves, pods and lily's of the valley. The combination of the fair against the deep and dark was pleasing to the eye, and rather modern in its approach.  The eucalyptus pods hung cheerfully in a light and arid green against the dip rich and glossy color of the leaves against the matted cream of the roses. It was truly a beautiful arrangement, and she was glad that her best friend should have such impeccable taste.

Looking up, she found that the two were looking expectantly towards the priest.  In their faces was a mixture of hope and happiness and anxiety and the past weeks of stress, all melted together and cooked so that the affect was quite beautiful, if not somewhat sobering as to all the stress that a marriage involved.  Kagome had only been in Toronto for two weeks, and only three days in to the journey she felt a mixture of stress and anticipation grip her body so tightly that she could not escape.

But now…

It had finally come to pass.

And she was happy for them.

Her ears drowned out the voice that hung in the air, and instead she shifted her gaze to the best man who stood beside the groom.  As Kagome studied him, she realized (as she had the first time she had ever seen him, which was some two odd weeks ago) that he was a very handsome, if not proud man.  There was something about him, something innate that demanded your attention to be devoted towards him, although he seemed to abhor such attention. Even the groom took second place when it came to the man's beauty and grace.  If Miroku was informal and carefree than his best man was the antithesis. He had a quiet and cool reserve, in fact so cold was his character that nearly everyone found him disagreeable.  Not only was his proud character off putting, but that, with his mixture of terribly good looks inspired jealousy from more than a number of men, or at least, so she had heard. But, somehow, through the maze of childhood and adulthood, the groom and the best man had formed a deep underlying bond that swam like a deep and full river between them.

When Miroku, the groom, had first introduced the two of them, she was surprised that Miroku, the kindhearted Nissei doctor from California would ever befriend with such a person as him.  To Kagome, this man, who stood in front of her so calmly and emotionlessly, was something one would find in a movie.  A fantasy movie, or a young girl's dream.  To begin with, he was very tall—yet not so much as to be cumbersome in anyway.   He was not so tall that he had to board planes early so as to assure him a seat with more leg room.  But then again, the thought occurred to Kagome that the man would never traveled coach, but instead always opt first class.

She felt his gaze directed towards her for a moment, and flushing she looked down again at her bouquet.  Yet, looking up through her eyelashes, she could not help but find the man intriguing…

Besides his height, his hair was the most extraordinary color she had ever seen.  To put it simply, it was silver.  No, not white, such as the type of hair that old people acquire—no, this man's hair was pure silver.  It flashed in the light like a cool metal with occasional flecks of a light blonde color—but supposedly, the boy had the hair that same color since his birth.  Yet, it was so beautiful, and the added length at which he wore it made it extremely attractive on him.  He was cold and sharp and full of wrath like a double edged sword.

In addition to his hair, his height, it was his features that truly demanded the viewer's attention so that one would often find the cold emotionless face haunting her dreams.  At least, such was the case with her.  Ever since she had met him, her dreams had been full of strange interludes.  For example, in one dream, she had been visiting a flower shop and he worked there.  He had suggested to Kagome that she buy the Chinese lantern plant so that she could use it for an autumn flower arrangement.

"But what of chrysanthemums?  What do you think of those?"

"Well, they are the flower of the dead…" he had whispered in his dark voice, as thick and smooth as honey, "But there is no denying their beauty."

"Yes, I feel the same way."

"As do I."

He had then scooped up a collection of them and deposited them in her arms before melting away into a blinking and beeping alarm clock.

Looking up at the man, she found that he was staring at her again—probably wondering why she was gawking at him during the middle of their best friend's wedding.  Kagome could hardly imagine why either. Suddenly, however, the wedding seemed far away and thankfully so.  There was something so tender in his features, the long shapely nose, the thin lips with the bottom slightly plump, the narrow eyes with a delicate slant in which amber colored eyes had resided.

She looked away, aware she was flushing.  Now was not the time for such things, if ever.

"Sesshoumaru Okuda," the priest questioned, turning towards him and extending the hand.  So, the time in which the two would be bound was about to arrive. 

Kagome fingered the box nervously and anxiously watched Sesshoumaru as he placed the platinum band into the priest's hand.  His amber eyes fell back, and for a moment both were surprised to find that they were willingly exchanging glances.

"Kagome Higurashi."  The ring was handed over.

A moment later, it happened.

"I do," Sango whispered, sealing the red string of fate.

And it was done.  The music began again, and the wedding party was whisked away out into the blustery blue and brilliant September sky.  The clouds were beginning to clear; the blue sky evident beyond the initial gray of the present…The light grew brighter and silvery as she walked calmly down the aisle lined in the color of blood towards the rear of the church.

What came next was a blur of congratulations, hugs, kisses, bows, questions, comments and wishes—all, directed of course, to the newlyweds.  Standing beside her best friend, Kagome felt truly at peace, as though this experience, in a new country, in a new place, with new people—it had somehow proved that their friendship with Sango was not a temporary thing, but as permanent as the return of spring.  Even though their friendship might go through winters, spring, like the sun, would return. Snows would flow towards the ocean to where Sango's heart truly lay.

Gradually, the party of guests drifted out onto the square that led to the Church soft and subdue grounds watered in grays and gold and beyond that, the brick and ivy covered neighborhoods of the area.  Excusing herself (discretely)  she inquired after where a W.C. was to be found, and after much searching (for the person had given truly strange directions) she found the washroom located in a small area no more the size than a broom closet (and indeed, that was probably its original function).  In the small room was a window on which a few spiders called home; their webs trembled in the light draft that whispered under the floorboards.

On the return trip, she explored the rose garden somewhat; glad to be away from all the crowds and finally able to breathe again. For the past two weeks she had felt constrained by her friendship and honor and duty—so much so that she could tell her health was beginning to suffer.  Late nights full of restless sleep and the onslaught of a new and foreign were as tiresome to her as the cold that bit through her skin.

The sun had struggled for the past hour to remain in control of the sky, and temporarily he was succeeding.  In the air was the smell of autumn; wet soil, apples, sharp piney woods, hazy smoke, the smell of wet pavement and the last sweet fragrance of the late blooming flowers.  Leaning over the back of the bench she closed her eyes and smiled softly.  Kagome could fall asleep right here, she was so tired.  The sun was so warm and so relaxing that the added combination of exhaustion and a warm, comfortable place made her quite incapable of resting.

One minute or so could not hurt…

When she awoke, it was dark and chilly.  It took her a moment to realize where she was, and bolting up she jumped out of the bench swearing profusely.  She stumbled in the dark towards the light of the church, hoping to find a pay phone so that she could get a taxi to rush her downtown. 

The church, which earlier in the day had sparkled like a gem, was now subdue and matt in the darkness of twilight.  Heaving open the great wooden door, she ran into the chapel, her breath coming in puffs.  Surely, someone must have been here!  Why would the doors be open and the lights alit?

Glancing down at her formal and decorative watch, she found that her clock read 6:30.  Night fell fast in the winter and up in the north.  Closing her eyes, she tried to calm her breathing.  The reception was near, perhaps a mile or so—and there were stores all around in which she could phone for transportation.  There was nothing to fear, no reason to panic.  After all, the reception did not start until 7. There was still thirty minutes.

Walking through the chapel down the isle just as Sango had done, she burst into the entry chamber and promptly two things happened at once.  The first of which, she walked into something quite solid, and the second of which she heard a disgruntled, "Umph!"

Stepping back, she gasped in start and alarm at realizing who it was, she apologized, "Oh my god, are you alright?"

Sesshoumaru Okuda as glaring at her as he irritably rubbed his chest.  He seemed upset about something, something besides her walking to him.  His eyes seemed larger in the dim of the room, and his lips were slightly parted as though preparing to say something.

"Where have you been?"  He whispered in an irritable and annoyed voice, although somehow it managed to come out softer than either had expected.  Perhaps it was the deep quality of his tone that lessoned the words.

"I-I feel asleep."  Kagome admitted, flushing and looking down at her feet and then back up at him.

"Asleep?"  He repeated, rubbing his neck.  He was still in his tuxedo.  Most men would have found the attire too formal and uncomfortable, but he looked as contented as though he was wearing a bathrobe—of course, not that she had been thinking about him in a bathrobe.

"That's what I said," Kagome fumed in an annoyed voice, crossing her arms.  As she did so, she realized for the first time that they were speaking Japanese.  She was surprised—she had figured him for a foreigner.  But now she saw that he was indeed Japanese, though his silver hair and amber eyes deeply concealed his origin.

"What?" He asked in a mocking voice, smirking slightly, "Took me for a gaijin?"  He was mocking her.

Flustering, Kagome spat, "What?  Why would I think that!?" 

He looked at her for a long moment, as though judging her stature and will—and whether or not he approved, she did not know.  Whatever he had surmised it was concealed behind that mask of his. 

Turning on his heals, he instructed, "Come, let's go.  We are taking my car."

"Your car?  What?  I would prefer we walk!"  She was angry now, determined not to like the man who seemed to enjoy being a thorn that brought her as much pain as possible. 

"Don't be preposterous," he snapped walking down the steps that lead to a residential neighborhood, "You hardly have your bearings, let alone the route from this direction."

He was now swimming through a sidewalk of wet leaves and dripping branches.  It was beginning to rain again, although only lightly.  The world seemed suddenly altered, as though night had made it more adventurous and dangerous, even amongst the brick and ivy-covered houses.

"There is no time for a lengthy argument.  I am right, admit it, and get in the car," he sighed heavily as he withdrew his keys from a hidden pocket.  The car beeped in alarm as he pressed down on the button.  In long and even strides he walked a few more yards opened the door.  His eyes did all the talking for him—there was to be no argument.

Begrudgingly, she sank down into the leather seat. 

She had expected the door to shut with an angry slam, but instead, his face appeared before her, his silver hair matching the color of her dress.  Flattening herself against the seat, she was startled as he questioned, "Higurashi-san, what would you do if I kissed you?"

Her blue eyes widened, and before she even knew what she was replying, the words poured forth from her mouth, "Let us not find out."

Sesshoumaru Okuda looked at her for a moment longer, and slowly, a grin broke through his mask and he chuckled, "Yes, you are right.  I like your answer.  Best not to complicate matters."

Half proud, half filled with regret, the two drove through the night.  Neither dared to try it again, nor were each tempted to.  Perhaps at another time, another day, another month or year—but tonight?  No. Hardly.  It was their best friend's wedding and at the moment it was they who deserved their full attention and happiness.

They only spoke when Kagome questioned him on when he was returning to California.

"After the wedding," he had stated in his dead-pan away.

Bickering ensued, and by the time they had reached the hotel the question and the answer had been cast aside—and thankfully so.

It was now a week later.

The events of Canada—the events of Toronto were now treasured in her memory.  It was such a different place, Kagome thought as she pulled her scarf about her shoulders more.  Toronto was so western, so different and new—and Tokyo, did others view it as strange?  That wedding had certainly been an emotional roller coaster for Kagome, and although she had wished to savor the memories—work and school reappeared as soon as the plane had landed once again on the floating island.

By the time she returned home, she found in her mailbox a small letter of thanks, in which was added in Sango's scribbled writing the intention of the two of them moving to Tokyo in the coming months, after they had sorted out personal matters, and, of course, gone on their honeymoon to Hawaii.

Let us plan to meet while in Tokyo, ne, Kagome-chan?  Oh, did I tell you that Okuda-san is moving back to Japan as well?  It seemed as though he had some unfinished business of some sort.  Too bad you guys did not become friends.  By the way, what would you like from Hawaii?

Sighing, Kagome had slid the letter into a box full of past cards and lengthy stories that the two had written to one another after her stay in Canada.

But, she was still living on, wasn't she not?  The memories of the brick houses, the rose garden, the ivy and that wet rainy night still whispered to her—but not as loud and not as often as they once had.  She was back at home, where she belonged, amongst the plum rains of spring and the monsoon season of late summer.  Kagome wanted to taste the sweet persimmons in her mouth once again this autumn.

The subway doors opened, and walking down the streets, she paused and glanced at a building splashed in the green of ivy.  Looking up, she smiled, and thought of that rainy day and that sunny afternoon amongst the brick and ivy covered houses of Toronto.

But, the smell of cooking rice, miso soup and yakitori soon roused her senses and she continued on her way home, mindful of the puddles and the oncoming rain that dripped off of the golden leaves above.

-fini-

AN:  Well? Ke ke ke ke.

Read~! Review~! Say "ufu ufu"~!

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