Chapter 44


InuYasha stared at Kagome's hand clasped in his own as the wink of gold caught the morning sunlight that filtered through the bedroom windows. 'This feels weird,' he thought with a frown as he stared at his wedding ring, so strange looking under his claws and with his fingers twisted together with Kagome's. Her diamonds glinted in the light. He smiled, feeling inordinately proud of himself for that. He could tell from the radiance of her face as she had come to him under Goshinboku that a life with him really was what she wanted.

Because she had asked him to, he'd worn the old fire rat clothes. He hadn't figured anyone would be looking at him during the ceremony, anyway, and he was right. Everyone had stared at Kagome as she had come to him, dressed in a simple white silk kimono that needed no embellishment. She was all the decoration that had been needed. She was his Shikon no Tama, and he was her sworn protector. 'Forever,' he thought with a smile. They were officially bonded, in every single way. True, he'd never actually witnessed a human wedding ceremony before. But Kagome had seemed sincerely happy, and that was enough for him. She'd said last night that the wedding had been everything she'd wanted, which was something considering Kia had made good on her promise to hurry the planning. Three weeks from the day he'd proposed, to be exact.

Glancing around their bedroom, he grinned. Kagome hadn't wasted any time spreading her things around. Not overwhelming, the feminine touches she'd added to the house seemed right, to him, belonging here just as she, herself, did.

She'd finally let him move her things in the night before the wedding though she had slept at the shrine one last time then. She'd also adamantly refused to let him inside her room, which, at the time, had irritated him to the point that he'd ended up spending the night propped against her window, not that she could see that. Curtains drawn and window locked, she had probably even locked her bedroom door in case he tried to get in that way. 'It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding,' she'd told him.


Though he had to admit that it had been entertaining to see Sesshoumaru, Kagura, and Shippou in their more familiar attire. InuYasha hadn't realized that Sesshoumaru still had his ceremonial white garb. The humans in attendance had been a little intimidated by the youkai---even the children, who had been dressed in traditional clothes, as well. InuYasha had to do a double take when Aiko had run to him in an elaborate kimono like Kagura's but in the colors of the House of the InuTaisho. During the short reception that followed, Toga---the little trouble maker---had fussed loud and often that his clothes made him itch. Even Sesshoumaru had been at a loss as to how to make the boy stop. In the end, Kagome had coaxed Toga into dancing with her. Whatever she'd said to the boy during that dance had made the difference, though. Toga hadn't complained again, and later . . . .

InuYasha grinned, remembering his talk with the boy.

Toga was sitting alone under Goshinboku. Head bowed slightly, looking sad, InuYasha remembered how he used to sit there, under that tree, in deep thought as Toga was now. Kagome had changed all that, as she had so completely changed him. It was not intentional, he was sure. She'd never asked him to be anything other than what he was. Yet in her always kind way, Kagome had done it. Because of her and despite himself, he was a better person for it.

InuYasha squatted beside the boy. "Something wrong, Toga?"

Toga shrugged, trying his hardest to seem unconcerned. "No . . . ."

"You sure?"

"Yeah . . . ."

InuYasha waited another moment then slowly pushed himself to his feet to head back inside before Kagome came looking for him. "Suit yourself."

"Uncle Yasha?"

InuYasha turned back to face the boy, who had also stood. Toga shuffled his feet, staring at the ground. "Toga?"

"You married her? Like a human ceremony? But you're hanyou---half-youkai. Why?"

InuYasha knelt down before Toga and made the child look at him. "Because Kagome's human. Because this wedding made her happy. Because I love her. Toga, when you meet a girl and feel about her like I feel about Kagome, you'll understand."

Toga's frown deepened. "But why did you have to marry Kagome?"

InuYasha grinned as understanding dawned on him. Toga had a crush on Kagome. "Some day you'll find your own Kagome."

Toga looked doubtful. Then he scowled and turned his glower on InuYasha. "Don't you hurt her, Uncle Yasha, or I'll have to come after you. Father's going to teach me to use Tokijin. I'll use it on you if you do!"

InuYasha hid his amusement at the boy's protective nature. "Don't worry, Toga. I won't hurt her, I promise. Now come on back inside before your father and mother start thinking you've run away, okay?"

Toga fell in step beside InuYasha as they headed back into the shrine. "Uncle Yasha . . . ."


"When are you and Kagome going to have babies?"

InuYasha stopped mid-stride to stare at the boy. "Does your father know you're asking me that?"

Toga shook his head quickly. "No, and Rin said it isn't nice to ask, but people love babies, don't they? Mama and Rin sure do." Toga made a face. "I was just thinking, though, that if you and Kagome had babies, maybe you'd have boys, and then I'd have someone to play with."

InuYasha smiled as the memory faded. Kagome stirred in his arms, her eyes fluttering slowly, as though she wasn't quite ready to wake up. His grin widened. 'We were up pretty late last night. . . .'

"Morning," Kagome mumbled, smiling drowsily. InuYasha kissed her forehead. "How long have you been awake?"

"Not long," he said. Idly, he ran his claws along the mark. She shivered and cuddled closer to him. He let his claws drag along Kagome's hip. She giggled.

"So what do you think?" she asked, rolling onto his chest and resting her chin on her clasped hands.

He was preoccupied with her hair, wrapping it around his finger and letting go to watch it fall. "About what?"

She sighed. "About being married!"

He made a face as she wrapped her fingers around his dormant prayer beads. "The ring feels weird."

Kagome reached over and grabbed her pillow to whack InuYasha in the face. He pushed the pillow away and smirked. "I'm hanyou, remember? You can't hurt me."

She rolled off the bed, dragging the sheet with her to wrap around herself before InuYasha could catch her. "Where are you going?" he called after her.

She peeked back into the bedroom with an impish grin. "Some of us have school today, remember?"

InuYasha's eyes widened as he shot off the bed. 'Damn, I forgot!' He was substituting this week and hadn't been able to get out of it. Many of the schools' teachers were coming down with a nasty strain of flu that put them out for a week at a time. While InuYasha enjoyed his job much more than he had ever thought he would, he had been told that he was supposed to have something called a 'honeymoon' after he married Kagome.

He would have told Kagura he couldn't do it, anyway. But when the semester break had come at the college, Kagome had signed up for more classes. Since she seemed excited about attending those, he figured he might as well do something, too.

He heard the soft gurgle of the pipes as Kagome started up a shower. He considered joining her but after another glance at the clock, he knew he didn't have time for the excursion . . . at least not time enough to properly show Kagome what she meant to him. It didn't help, either, that he knew that she was completely naked, completely vulnerable, and that she wouldn't be likely to protest if he did step in with her. He sighed. He might have enough time for a dip in the frigid pond, though.

With a grimace, InuYasha ripped off the clothes he'd just put on as he headed for the back door and the pond outside. 'Small consolation that today is a short school day,' he thought as he dove into the insanely cold water.

Still he grinned as he surfaced despite the knowledge that he was willingly subjecting himself to hypothermia. Kagome had, after all, promised to spend the entire summer at his beck and call. Damned if that didn't sound like something he would thoroughly enjoy . . . .

Kagome gathered her things together and packed them into her bag when class was over. She sighed. She loved taking the courses, sure. But she'd been so preoccupied most of the day that she doubted she remembered anything that the teachers had said. It was unsettling yet wholly comforting, when she'd first arrived in class and had informed the instructor that he needed to change her name in the ledger from Higurashi to Izayoi. She grinned.

Shuffling out of the class with the rest of the students and thinking about stopping on the way home to pick up something special to make for InuYasha's dinner, she gasped as a strong hand fastened onto her arm, dragging her out of the exiting students. She whirled around and glared at her would-be assailant. "Houjou?"

"Got time to go for coffee?"

Kagome hesitated. 'InuYasha won't like this,' her conscience insisted. Maybe not, but she needed to tell Houjou, at least, before he heard that she'd married InuYasha from someone else---like InuYasha. "As long as it doesn't take too long," she agreed.

Houjou seemed to relax a little. He escorted her out of the building and around the corner to a small coffee house that catered to the junior college crowd. Kagome slid into the chair that Houjou offered her at one of the smaller tables set back from the main part of the place. She ordered an espresso and smiled politely at Houjou until the waitress hurried away to get their drinks.

Houjou broke the silence first. "Eri tells me you married . . . him. Why, Kagome?"

Kagome shrugged. "I love him. He's my ma---soul mate." She smiled to herself at what she'd almost said. 'But he is your mate. That's what he calls it, anyway. I call it marriage. He calls it mated. What does it matter, as long as it is the same thing and as long as it makes us happy?'

"You're too good for a dog like Izayoi," Houjou scoffed, his cheeks reddening as he stared at his fists on the tabletop.

Kagome blinked. She knew as well as anyone that 'inu' meant 'dog'. Was that what Houjou was doing? Making fun of InuYasha's name? Somehow, she had a feeling that it wasn't what he was doing at all, that it was something that went far deeper than a jab at InuYasha's heritage.

She refrained from comment as the waitress returned with their drinks. Something about Houjou's expression reminded her of another youkai . . . Kouga? It dawned on her. Was Houjou somehow Kouga's reincarnation? "Don't make fun of him, Houjou. He is my husband, and that's not going to change."

Houjou's eyes were fierce, dark, angry. She drew back when he pinned her with a glower. "You were my woman, Kagome! Then he came along, and---"

Her voice was soft, apologetic. "I was never anyone's 'woman'." Grabbing her purse, Kagome dug around for some money and tossed it onto the table as she stood. "I think this was a mistake. Goodbye, Houjou."

He jumped up and ran after her, catching up with her outside. "Kagome, wait!"

She rubbed her forehead and didn't even try to smile. "I don't think there's really anything left to say."

"I'm sorry." Houjou looked miserable.

The memory of Kouga, dying in her arms . . . and she was sure. Houjou really was Kouga's reincarnation . . . . She relented with a slight smile, unwilling to let his soul remain unhappy. As infuriating as the wolf youkai had been, Kouga had also been a true friend to her, as well, and Houjou . . . . He had been one, too. "Don't be sorry. I'm not." She leaned up on tip-toe and kissed Houjou's cheek. Then she turned and walked away.

She didn't see the silver haired hanyou standing on the opposite corner with his hands balled into fists, claws digging into his flesh until he smelled blood. Eyes flashing red momentarily, it took every last bit of self-control he had to turn and walk away when all he wanted to do was to hurtle himself across the busy street and use Houjou to sweep the sidewalk.

InuYasha wasn't home. After stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients to make a special dinner for him, she knew she was running late. He should have been home long before her.

The food was keeping warm on top of the stove. Kagome sank down on the sofa with her history book and notes. The pup they'd decided to keep hopped up next to her, laying his head on her leg and staring at her as though he was attempting to comfort her. "Where's InuYasha, Kanaye?' she asked the dog. Kanaye wagged his tail.

Kagome glanced toward the row of windows that overlooked the front yard and driveway. Still no sign of InuYasha. It didn't matter that she knew that worrying about where he was wouldn't make him come home any quicker. He could take care of himself, she was certain. But a tiny voice in the back of her mind whispered to her, made her doubt. 'Where is he? Come on, Kagome, you're worrying over nothing.'

'Still . . . .'

'He probably just stopped to see Sesshoumaru or something. He's fine, and you know it.'

She'd know if there was something really worth worrying over. Hadn't she always been able to sense if he was in trouble? She couldn't keep her mind on the homework, and finally, with a heavy sigh, she closed the book.

She stirred the food on the stove and grabbed her coat so she could let the dogs out the back door. The wind had picked up. Flipping her head to get the hair out of her face, Kagome gasped as the soft voice spoke. "I saw you with Houjou today."

He was sitting in the tree beside the porch. Relief that he was fine warred with irritation that he would have been here the entire time. Kagome settled for a frown designed to let him know that he was in the wrong. "He came to the college today and asked if I would have coffee with him. I thought I should tell him that we're married, is all."

"Feh! I don't care." He hopped out of the tree and stomped past her into the house. She followed after him with the dogs. They ran straight to InuYasha, hopping up and down in greeting. He spared a moment to pet them both before trudging off to change clothes.

Kagome twisted the ring on her finger as she wrinkled her nose at InuYasha's irritation. She squared her shoulders and followed him. "If you don't care, then why are you so upset?" she asked in a reasonable tone.

He stopped unbuttoning his shirt and let his hands fall to the sides before rounding to stare at her as though he couldn't believe she'd even had to ask such a question. "You kissed him! I saw you."

Understanding dawned on her, and she stifled the grin that rose to the surface. "On the cheek, InuYasha . . . I was saying goodbye. That's all."

He looked slightly pacified though the mulish set of his lips was still there. "I don't see why you had to kiss him."

She stepped over to him and kissed his cheek. "That's all it was; just like that."

He thought that over for a moment, as though trying to decide if her reasoning was good enough. An enigmatic smile turned the corners of his lips, and he smirked at her. "Show me how you kiss me?"

Kagome didn't answer. Instead she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought his head down to meet hers. She brushed her lips over his once, twice . . . flicked her tongue over his bottom lip, sucked it gently as he sighed.

Her hands twisted in his hair, tangled in his silky locks. She wanted time to stand still. It felt so good to be in his arms. He took control of the kiss, wrapping his arms around her, teasing her sides, idly rubbing the swell of her breasts through her blouse. His claws were lethal in more ways than one. Undoubtedly one of the strongest weapons in his sensual array, he used those claws on her without taking any prisoners. He reached down to pull up her leg, holding it against his him as he pushed against her. She moaned as heat shot through her, delicious, heady, perfect.

All too soon, though, he pulled away, nose wrinkling as he sniffed the air, a troubled light in those amazing golden eyes. "Uh . . . Kagome?"

"Hmm?" she asked, idly touching the hollows of his collarbone. He shivered under her touch, forgetting for a moment what had drawn his attention as her lips grazed over the hard ridges, as her hips pressed harder against his. A soft groan rewarded her, a gentle noise that sounded fierce at the same time. He was so many things that she loved, and the mix of emotions, the torrent of feeling that he unleashed in her was something that she would never get used to. Her hands running up and down his spine, she loved the hollows in the small of his back. "You were saying, InuYasha?" she murmured against his skin.

"Was I saying something?" he gasped out, bemused. Suddenly his back stiffened, his head turned, and he sniffed yet again. "Uh, Kagome? Is something burning?"

Kagome gasped and bolted, remembering too late that she'd left dinner on the stove. Judging from the pungent smell, the food was beyond saving. Though she groaned in dismay as she turned off the burners, she couldn't help the ironic smile that surfaced.

At least InuYasha still loved ramen . . . .


Akihanah (FFnet ) asks:

Kagome's mother's name is never actually given. I've named her for the sake of this fanfic because it seemed awkward to simply call her 'Kagome's mom' or 'mom', etc.

Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Purity): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.