Disclaimer: Yup, I own nothing…except for my half empty snack-pack bag of Fritos, and empty water bottle, and a little ID card that grants me permission to eat the nastiest food in the world. *Sigh* What I would give for Kaede cooking…
By: Of Memories Past
Chapter 1: Mates in Name, not in Heart
A young woman with normally vibrant coffee-colored eyes despondently trudged through the thick snow and bitter coldness. She did not see the beauty in the pure white fluff that covered the ground; she did not find peace in the plump flakes that floated silently to the frozen earth; she did not let her mind wander to the naked trees waiting out the winter so that they could once again burst forth with life. No, she did not see any of this. Her tears and a distorted picture of all around her was all she could see.
Kagome looked up when the stench of smoke stung her nostrils. Up ahead lay a small hut undoubtedly made for two. The scent of a rabbit roasting on a spit over a fire became stronger as she approached. Different smells—those of cooked vegetables and hot tea—reached her nose when she stopped only a few feet outside of the cloth door. Glancing wistfully back over her shoulder, she secretly wished to be going back to the village that had become her second home over the years. There, she could curl up with a thick pelt in front of a warm fire with a good bowl of stew in her hands as she listened with fervor to the stories that her friends told. She would laugh and join in with her own tales, content to allow the feeling of home flood her veins and occasionally scratch a wandering kit that had made himself at home in her lap.
Yes, that village spoke of, smelled of, and felt like home.
But this new, strange hut that she slowly made her way to was different. It was too new to be broken in and possess that "homey" feel. When she walked in, the walls were cold and strange to her. Even if the fire blazed brilliantly, the new home remained alien to her. Nothing was familiar. In her own bedroom she did not find comfort.
A sudden blush rose in her cheeks when she thought of her room. That room was not only hers. She would never have one to herself again. Yes, the bed was more than comfortable and plenty big enough for her and its other occupant. The bedroom was warm, the small fire pit in the corner always glowing with its burning embers. Yet a unique coldness lurked in its corners, betraying the comfortable and happy aura that it gave off. Even with the two occupants that room was lonely.
It's not filled with love, she thought sadly, pushing aside the thick material hanging in the doorway to enter. She stopped to remove the thick cloak that she wore—a gift from Kaede—and hung it on a small hook embedded in the wall. Her eyes took in the food slowly cooking over the fire, and a small smile stole onto her face. She may have not liked her current situation, but she at least found security in knowing full well that she would be taken care of. Even in this age, Kagome knew that she would never hunger or thirst for anything. As much as she found her situation not to be ideal, she had the safety of care of the one in the same quandary as herself. And that gave her at least a little comfort.
Sighing, she crossed the main room and silently walked into her bedroom, disregarding the sleeping figure on the bed as she shed her miko clothing and stepped into something a bit more comfortable from home. The deep, soft scent of the rosy colored, floor length nightgown that her mother had lovingly bought for her after the whole ordeal assaulted her sense of smell with scents from home. The gown was just enough to scream out the word "wife" or "mate" without being too sensual. Her mother had chosen it, knowing the role her daughter was about to take, but also sensitive to the fact that moving too fast would be more damaging than good. So, she chose a piece that was conservative, covering the entire body of the one who wore it, yet enticing at the same time, its silky material and slightly low cut showing enough off without revealing too much.
Kagome smiled. She could pick out the flowery smell of her room, the detergent her mother used, and even which drawer it had been in as she held it to her face, breathing in deeply. But she quickly pulled the material over her head as tears of nostalgia threatened to spill over. The last thing she wanted was for the tangy smell of salt to wake the one sleeping on the bed.
Him. Kagome looked over at his sleeping form and pulled her hair back into a high ponytail as she contemplated. He was all she had ever wanted and yet now that she had him, she wanted nothing more than for things to go back as to how they were before—before the mess had started. Neither of them wanted to be in the situation they were in now, but it was the hand dealt to them. And in the end, she admitted to herself that it had been better than certain abuse and a lifetime full of sorrow and want.
It had all started out with a simple shard hunt. Sango had started out the day giving a resounding whack from Hiraikotsu over the head of a lecherous monk as he reached for both women, and Inuyasha and Shippo had started arguing the moment they set out on the road. Everything had been as it should. But then a nasty horde of spider demons, having heard of a powerful new miko who held in her grasp the Shikon no Tama, approached. Kagome had watched with fear as the angry mass made it clear that each one of them intended to claim her as their mate. Inuyasha had stood firm with the Tetsusaiga and readied to battle off any that came to close. And no one was going to touch his Kagome. This problem of demons coming to claim Kagome had become more prevalent in the past month, even a few in her own time. Thankfully Inuyasha had been there to save her.
But then the last straw finally hit the hanyou as one of the spider demons lashed out with a long leg and grabbed a hold of the young miko. She had screamed, knowing that only a bit from the gnashing claws that came closer and closer as the seconds ticked by would mark her as some disgusting spider demon's mate. As the sound of those teeth clacking together mercilessly pounded in her ears, she closed her eyes, one shining tear slipping down her cheek, as she awaited the inevitable.
But the spider had never had his chance to bite her. Before she knew what was happening, Inuyasha was at her side, sinking his fangs into the soft flesh on her neck. The screeching sounds of angry spider demons had echoed in the sky as the one they sought became that of another. Inuyasha had claimed Kagome as fully his, and the spider demons had scattered, defeated through just that simple action.
Things had been a blur after that. She had received a brusque explanation back at Kaede's hut of what she was now, though Inuyasha himself had had a fairly decent blush tingeing his cheeks. But of course his excuse was that he was tired of having to ward off lustful, demons, and she was better of with him anyway. This way he would not have to worry about others trying to come and claim her. Demons would never bother her in that manner again as they respected the right and sacred claim of a mate—even the most vile creatures had a respect for the consecrated union.
He had suddenly left the hut, roughly telling Kaede to explain to her what was expected of her now. She could remember the grandmotherly look the old woman had given her as she told the girl from the future to sit down. And it was a good thing she had. By the end of the little "information" session, Kagome found herself shaking uncontrollably and dreading anything and everything that was to come.
Her mother had accepted everything in stride when she was told what had happened and had consented to the union, trying to be a support to her daughter in any way that she could.
Kagome had to smile at the memory of her mother taking her shopping for more intimate knickers now that she was technically a married woman. Only one more thing lay ahead to complete that bond, and Kagome had avoided that subject with her mother completely. But she had had a fun time with her mother, laughing and joking about strange and grotesque lingerie that they had found to lighten up the mood of the whole outing.
A soft groaning shook her out of her memories, and she turned to look at the stirring figure on the bed. A gentle smiled touched her lips when she watched on sleepy amber eye crack open with another one following it soon after. He looked at her groggily before collapsing back onto the bed covered with a blanket made of pelts, snuggling into the soft fur for a few more moments before he had to be up. Her smile turned sad as she watch him.
Their new relationship was strained. Yes, they still had the friendship that they had possessed before, but the warm and caring love of a husband and wife—of mates—was missing. She knew it was due to the way their bond had been formed. Tears pricked at her eyes as she remembered it being a call of duty and not love. Oh, she loved him; that was for certain. But whether or not he loved her back was completely unknown to her. If he did love her, he certainly did a good job at hiding it. She new he cared and hoped that their relationship could be built around that if nothing else. But she craved the intimate bond that those joined together shared. It made her sad to think that she may never have that.
They had been so shy with each other at first, neither willing to look the other in the eye. And then, after their first night together, Kagome could not bring her self to even glance at his feet without a heated blush rising in her cheeks. And tears always soon followed that blush. That first night was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be a celebrated declaration of love. But for her it had been no more than an action with the purpose of making it known to the world that she was taken. It had been empty. So, she lived as wife and mate to one, going through with all wifely duties without the assurance of love that she yearned for.
Kagome looked up as he called her, willing the fresh tears that her thoughts brought not to fall as she crossed over and sat down on the edge of the bed. But it was to her surprise when he pulled her into his arms and held her close to him, resting his chin atop her head as the tears that she had held in so bravely before let loose and streamed down her cheeks. She had to smile, knowing that he knew how she felt and tried to make it just a little bit better through the actions she was use to. She snuggled closer, remembering how he would pull her close like this before when she was sad or scared.
It was how she knew he at least cared.
Inuyasha finally let go, giving her a quick kiss as he left the room to finish with dinner. Usually such a task belonged to her, but he did it himself sometimes to allow her a break and make things a bit easier for her. He knew how rough it was on her.
Kagome touched her lips once he had left, and the tears burned in her eyes once more. Such actions did not come natural, but rather were forced and unnatural as they tried to adapt to their new life. As they tried to turn that bond they now shared into something more real. But Kagome found that she never had the courage to initiate anything. She patiently waited for him, never taking the initiative herself. Now she would not so much as hug him without his consent first. Strange as it may seem, the new situation made even that harder for her to do. Kagome ached for the day she felt the freedom to do to him as she wanted whenever she wanted. She wanted the privilege of kissing him and wrapping her arms around him as she pleased, not having to worry if he would look down on her for her strong affections or, even worse, push her away.
That thought in mind, Kagome lay down on the bed and buried her face in the soft pillows, doing the one thing she did best nowadays. She cried.
A/N: Kind of depressing. Almost four-thirty and I'm suppose to be doing a paper. Of course this thought just had to enter my head as I tried to work. Not a good thing, but it was a nice break from Philosophy. Oh well. I hope that you all enjoyed. I hope to have the next chapter up soon! God Bless! ~Of Memories Past