Broken Hold of Matrimony
Part One: The Pang of Discovery
Rating: PG-13/R This means the rating is likely to rise to "R" in later chapters.
Genre: Romance AU- Segoku Jidai Time period
Pairing: (Inu/Kag, Inu/Kik, Sess/Kag)
Summary: The Masaharu and Higurashi Families have long been acquainted. As a symbol of their alliance a wedding is arranged between Masaharu Inuyasha and Higurashi Kagome. But happiness isn't to be found in the union of the family's youngsters and heartbreak follows...
Authors Notes: This story was inspired by "Shadows Against the Shoji Screen" written by Cappie. Please check that out.
You'll notice I've once again used the surname Masaharu, I don't feel like thinking up a new one. They're all humans in this fic but I've once again used the gold eyes/white hair look.
Please note, it's very important.
1. Kaede and Kikyo are NOT sisters. Kaede is the old village miko that trained Kikyo, the young village miko.
2. Kagome's father is mentioned as a powerful figurehead. More likely to be mentioned in passing however.
He was surprisingly straightforward about where he was going, she thought peeking at him from behind a tree. Her 'husband', should he deserve such a title, had been taking these little 'walks' since they day they were married, ever since he'd stormed out on her on their wedding night.
Words couldn't describe the fury that burned in her chest for that man. The awesome loathing that had been building in her for weeks. She hated a lot of things right now and hated herself for feeling that way.
Things had been fine at first, she was at home, and content with her family while they planned behind her back. She understood, of course, it was tradition for parents to plan the future spouses of their children, but she would've wanted anyone but him. Anyone but Masaharu Inuyasha.
She'd known him a long time. Their fathers had been good friends for many years. The preparations had all been made without her or his knowing of it. She had determined to simply accept it and had done so until she'd ended up back at the Masaharu Estate with her new husband. Nothing could've prepared her for the horror that would follow: the fights, the gut-wrenching sobs, the bitter self-loathing but worst of all, the pain.
That was worse than anything else, being rejected by your partner. Tossed aside, and despised... She wasn't deluded, or in love, she hated him with as much passion as he hated her but that was it. The passion stemmed no further than that, no sexual tension strung between them only distaste and bitterness. They could barely stand to share a room together and had attempted to have separate rooms only to meet with swift reprimand from Inutaisho. Since they were thusly forced to share a room, they kept separate beds within it.
The merry laughter of children drew her out of her reverie as she had blindly followed him. She followed his figure as he stepped through and then vanished into the crowd of people inside the village she had come across. She stepped out of the woods and followed, peering about, receiving, but ignoring several admiring glances.
Just when she had about given up her search for him after threading in and out of huts she caught sight of him stepping into a small hut, the screen swinging slightly as he stepped within. She followed, glancing about but there were few within sight this far back into the village. She sneaked around toward the back and slid down the side underneath the window where the shoji screen was pulled open to let in the breeze.
"I was beginning to think you weren't coming," a gentle female voiced intoned.
"Of course I would come..." returned the gruff, familiar voice of Inuyasha.
"Is everything well with you, love?"
"Now that I'm here..."
Silence followed with only the breeze to answer her until she heard the rustle and drop of fabric and a soft female gasp. She heard more fabric drop and paled, her heart began to pound fiercely in her breast. He wasn't - they weren't -!!!
"Inu ... yasha..." the woman's voice broke into a deep throaty cry.
Unable to bear it she pulled herself to her feet and took off into the crowd. She was running blindly, tears blurring her vision, until she stumbled into another body. Two heavy male hands pressed against her shoulders, steadying her.
"Are you unwell, miss?"
She gazed up looking into friendly eyes.
"Come, have some tea with me, perhaps I can be of help to you." He offered warmly.
"No, no I need to go," she murmured.
"Please, I insist," his hands fell away from her shoulder and took her hand firmly in his and began leading her away.
She followed blindly in her dazed state and soon found herself seated and a warm cup being pressed into her hands and the monk sitting strangely close.
"Beautiful creatures such as yourself should never suffer so, please tell me your worries. Confide in me, allow me to help you..."
She stared down into her glass, staring through the transparent liquid to the glass' bottom.
"I-I was following my husband... because he had been going out so often... I wanted to know where he was going to... so-so I followed him here to this village."
"Ah, yes I understand, go on, go on," he urged. "Whom are you married to, if I may so inquire?"
The monk, who had previously been inching closer suddenly and abruptly stood. "L-Lord Inuyasha? Really, my apologies Masaharu-sama I did not realize who you were."
"Who is the woman? I didn't see her but-"
"Ah, yes I know who you speak of. Her name is Kikyo, she is the village miko."
"M-miko?" She gasped, staring up with startled eyes. "But... he..."
The monk lowered his head, and his gaze away from her. "Lord Inuyasha has been visiting our village for quite some time now. He spends many hours with Kikyo-sama with ... business ... that I have no knowledge of."
"Business? Is that what you'd call it?" She suddenly snapped, looking up at him with dangerously narrowed eyes.
Miroku visibly exhaled when a female burst through the screen door. "I knew I'd find you with a woman! What did you do to her?!" She exclaimed.
He was quick to stand and attempt explanations. "You misunderstand my dear Sango; this is Masaharu-sama's wife. I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?"
"Masaharu Kagome." She replied, her anger suddenly gone once more, she didn't even bother looking up at the woman in the doorway.
"Masah- oh! Lord Inuyasha's wife?! Oh, I'm terribly sorry for interrupting; please forgive me, my lady."
"You aren't interrupting, actually I should be going. If you please, do not say anything of my being here, I do not wish my husband to learn of it."
She sat down the glass of tea she had yet to touch to her lips and stood gracefully.
"Thank you for being so hospitable, my apologies for intruding upon you."
Before either could protest she slipped past them and out into the village once more.
She felt utterly sick. Despair and anger warred within her as she left the safety of the village and into the darkness of the forest willing to be lost in it. She should have hurried back to the estate but she didn't rush, she walked leisurely, even loudly, as though inviting nearby bandits to rape and rob her. She was broken, broken over a man she loathed, whose very existence was a bother to her. It didn't stop the pain, or the anger, the betrayal the burned hot in her belly.
She came upon the courtyard without fully knowing and stumbled her way inside the mansion that belonged to her husband's father. Her attendants were immediately upon her but she paid them no heed as she made her way further inside. Sitting peacefully alone at the table she found Masaharu Sesshoumaru, her husband's elder brother. He paid her no mind as she came in and none as she left, until her attendants scurried in behind her calling out softly to her in concern over her despondency.
"I'm fine... really. I would simply like to rest, please leave me." She paused to murmur, flash a smile and then pad away into the deeper recesses of the mansion.
The comings and goings of his brother's wife was something he typically took no time to notice. In the very few weeks the girl had been married to his brother he had been away on family business. Having finished with such, her presence in the household was a most drastic change to his typical way of life.
She hadn't necessarily been a negative asset, as they rarely encountered one another he was certain however that the attitude he'd witnessed just earlier that afternoon was unusual. It was plaintively obvious she was miserable here; there was no disguising it no matter how many times she smiled at his father. Having seen her in such a despairing mood, he'd immediately set about looking for his brother. Only to have returned to him by the end of the afternoon news that his brother was slaking his lusts with the miko of a village just north of their home.
Perhaps the girl had discovered where Inuyasha was herself and thus was unhappy about it, he mused. His brother's infidelity did not please him, nor did he care, but soiling the family name would be unforgivable. The girl, Kagome was her name, was a respectable woman worthy of carrying his family name. It was utterly shameful that his brother would lower himself to find physical satisfaction outside of his marriage bed and with a miko no less. That he had lowered himself to defile a miko... he cringed.
He heard the door slid open and his brother's distinct footfalls and sure enough, his brother slid open the door and plopped down across from him reaching for the sake.
"Have a good day, brother?" Sesshoumaru spoke raising his gaze to Inuyasha.
Inuyasha looked up suspiciously. "Fine... why?"
"Where did you spend the day, exactly?"
"Around," he replied evasively. "Visiting some villages, why?"
"Meet anyone? A miko perhaps whose company you found to be engaging?"
He was hooked, and caught from the gaping shock on his face that quickly turned to defiance. "So what if I did?"
"Your behavior is unacceptable; you have a wife and a family name to uphold. You are soiling our name with the whore."
"She's not a whore!" he protested.
"Isn't she? What kind of miko is she then?" he challenged.
"Kikyo is a good miko."
Sesshoumaru chuckled lowly, scornfully. "Are you in love with this woman, then?"
Inuyasha refused to answer.
"It's unfortunate that both you and father have no sense of honor... him with his whore, you with yours ... Neither of you care that it is your wives and our family name that will bear the shame of your actions while you satisfy your carnal lusts... You disgust me, Inuyasha. Remove yourself from my company and do not return until you may do so honorably."
The younger sibling did as he was ordered, angrily slamming the glass onto the table before storming from the room.
Sesshoumaru sighed heavily. Why did he have to be saddled with idiots?
He was reading in the dining area the next morning when he heard the gentle rustle of fabric. He raised his gaze slightly surprised he hadn't heard the approach sooner only to find himself face to face with her, Kagome.
"Good morning Sesshoumaru-sama."
Her bright eyes were a delicate blue shade.
"Anything I can get for you?
"No." he replied quietly.
She smiled gently at him and nodded. "May I sit with you?"
"As you like."
He turned his attention back to his book only to raise it once more as he heard his brother at the doorway. He flickered his gaze back to her, but her head was tilted downward demurely toward the table with downcast, closed eyes. He turned back to his brother who eyed her for a moment with an unreadable gaze before he declared he was going out.
Kagome said nothing and didn't raise her head until he was gone.
Her eyes met his fleetingly as she turned toward the attendant at the door.
"Please forgive me for disturbing you, you have a visitor. A lady who says that she is acquainted with you by the name of Sango, she has with her a young boy and a monk by the name of Miroku."
He watched the tension in her face fade away. "I see. I would like to see them, if you will excuse me, Sesshoumaru-sama."
He nodded weakly and watched her graceful figure as she followed her attendant out the door. Kagome, formerly of the prestigious Higurashi family, he knew little of. He hadn't, until that morning, been on the receiving end of that warm gaze and wasn't sure yet if he would wish it upon himself again.
She returned within the half hour and sat with him once more without a word.
"Friends of yours?" He inquired without looking up from his book.
"S-sort of. I met them the other day when I was out."
"Where did you go?"
"For a walk, I was rather bored just sitting about," she replied.
"You met them on your walk?"
"Actually I met them in a village, Miroku-sama offered me some tea and I met Sango through him and the child, well, him I had never met before. His name was Shippou, quite adorable really."
He looked up as she paused to find an uncomfortable look upon her face. "I'm sorry, should I not have gone? It was just a little village north of here... I won't do it again if you think I shouldn't."
He almost grinned in satisfaction. She had outright ignored his brother, scoffing the respect she ought to owe him, but she minded him. At least, he thought, the girl wasn't as unmanageable and rebellious with him as she was with his brother.
He'd heard them in the night, but they were not screams of a physical passion, but a passion of a different sort. It was almost unimaginable that such words and shouts could come from this slip of a female across from him.
"You may travel as you like but go nowhere alone, for your own safety."
She nodded obediently. "If you will excuse me then Sesshoumaru-sama, there are a few things I wish to attend to today."
He nodded briefly returning to his book.
She watched discreetly as he stepped back onto the property that was his father's and disappeared into the house. Just the thought of him felt dirty, he was returning from another tryst with his lover, it was disgusting. She forced herself to turn away and return to her project, it would be night soon, and she would have no work to busy herself with.
She planted the last azalea bush and smiled pleased at it before standing. She admired her work a moment before turning around and abruptly halting. Sesshoumaru stood across the lawn a short distance staring intensely at her.
"Why are you doing servants work?"
"I wanted something to busy myself with; I don't like to sit around all day."
They both glanced toward the doorway where Inuyasha was within making a fuss over the lack of food before stepping rudely out the door and into their conversation. He stared at Sesshoumaru, and then at her as though suspicious of something.
Neither said anything to him as Sesshoumaru turned back to Kagome.
"It is late, return within, and change for dinner."
She nodded and left the two brothers alone in the courtyard.
Sesshoumaru spoke up. "You've left her, haven't you brother? You do so everyday to return to your whore..."
The younger one bristled and returned quickly with a brash nonsensical comment.
"She is your woman but it is my name she carries as well, if you will not look after her, I will have to."
"She doesn't need you to do anything for her, clearly you don't know much about Kagome!"
"Perhaps not, but she obeys me and that is all that matters."
And with that he left him there upon the veranda.
Boredom with his limited reading material finally set in and he rose clutching the book tightly in his hand intent upon returning it to the library. Passing out of the dining room her voice caught him mid-step and he moved back a pace or so.
"I never liked Inuyasha, couldn't stand being around him but..." her voice trailed off and he stepped closer to the door. "That I'm not good enough... hurts."
"I see... I see... the entire situation is disturbing but do not let it drag you down Kagome-sama. I've told you so before you are a beautiful and desirable woman."
"If you come any closer to me in another attempt at convincing me I am 'beautiful and desirable' I will insist upon having you removed from the property."
He chuckled nervously and hastily took a seat elsewhere.
"Where is Sango today?"
"She had business to attend to and Shippou was kept at home although they both send their warmest wishes."
"I see, that's very kind of them, mine also."
He stepped away and continued on down the hall, leaving her with her guest. His father was gone yet again on business affairs that could keep him away for months leaving the care of the household to him. Miroku, he remembered the name, was the monk that had come to meet her before.
Although he had his doubts, Kagome seemed to trust this monk enough to put herself in his care in a private room, and her attendants were just outside the doors, so he was not concerned over it.
As he stepped into the library he frowned however. Kagome and his brother Inuyasha disliked one another through and through; they apparently held nothing in common and loathed the sight of each other. He'd heard from his father that they had wanted separate rooms and that he had objected thus leaving them stuck together. His father was convinced eventually they would work everything out and things would calm down.
To him, however it was unusual. Usually the first few months of marriage were the easiest weren't they? Everything about your partner was new and exciting, for them it seemed to be quite the opposite, and they showed no signs of softening even the slightest and it had already been over two months.
That too was another thing on his mind, her comment to the monk. Inuyasha preferring the company of another woman to herself that must mean then that they were not sharing a bed. Not surprising, and knowing his brother he began to have doubts on whether or not they had ever shared a bed. Inuyasha had no charisma and a very short temper, and the girl it seemed had a temper to match.
He had originally thought her lack of reaction recently around Inuyasha, save for their arguments at night, was because she was angry with him. Now though, he realized it had to be an emotional pain, she had admitted that it hurt. Her husband had rejected her, and although he was slightly sympathetic, he didn't understand the feeling and could not empathize. Nor did he ever imagine himself to be in such a situation, there were women lined up willing to be his wife; rejection had never entered into any equation for him.
He replaced the book, sighing weakly. Things only got more complicated as time went on.
He'd become accustomed to watching her and being around her, he realized as they sat together the next morning. She had such a pleasant disposition, and the gentlest of fragrances wafted off her person assaulting his nose with her delicious scent. She was babbling on about something he hadn't quite caught but it was her voice, not her words that he was listening to. A sweet, chirping voice matched by the warm glow in her eyes, the look of satisfaction that someone was finally paying attention to her apparently pleased her endlessly.
"It was really lovely." she concluded, flashing him a smile just before the door slid open and Inuyasha stepped within, yawning.
He mumbled a greeting before falling into a lazy heap beside her as the servants brought him his breakfast.
"Good morning Inuyasha."
He watched his brother blink himself awake before turning his gaze toward her, but she was turned away glancing down at the item she had brought to the table with her. She was sewing something but he couldn't identify what it was.
"What's good about it?" he grumbled.
She, in a surprising show of patience, ignored the remark and returned with a question. "Are you going out today?"
"I would like to come."
Inuyasha almost choked on his food. "What?"
She turned toward him innocently. "If you don't mind, I would like to go out with you. I've been in for a long time and Sesshoumaru-sama says I should not go alone."
He watched as his brother looked up at him accusingly as though he'd told her about the affair with the village girl.
"Thank you." She smiled cheerily at him before standing with the cloth in her hands and leaving the room.
Sesshoumaru eyed the girl until she had vacated the room leaving them alone before turning to his brother. "What are you going to do, leave her in the village while you go off to fuc-"
Inuyasha growled cutting him off. "Don't even say it!"
"I am not interested in your dalliances with your whore, but it is inappropriate to have your wife tagging along." He responded impassively.
"She asked to come! I'm not making her!"
Sesshoumaru brushed off his excuse and proceeded to watch them some fifteen minutes later as they left. Inuyasha stomped ahead while Kagome followed some distant behind him, a strangely light expression upon her face. He wondered if the girl had a plan of vengeance, she was certainly taking her new life well all of the sudden, that couldn't bode well for his brother, he mused.
Standing, he informed the nearest servant he was going out and proceeded to follow the pair at a discreet distance.
As far as he could perceive from the great distance between them no words were exchanged, angry, or otherwise. Silence loomed between the young couple as the traversed the dense forest, so unlike a married couple. Inuyasha did not glance back to see if she was still following, or respond to any of her little murmurings about the terrain.
Perhaps to hide her pain over it, or maybe because she no longer cared, the girl absorbed herself in observing her surroundings. Staring closely at every tree, leaf and root she passed, her pace growing slower and slower behind her husband who paid no heed to what she was doing. Now, quite a distance ahead Inuyasha met the clearing and started in toward the village, as Kagome followed absently having not yet even reached the edge of the trees, and he behind her, watching as she did so.
He wasn't sure why he was here, only that he had felt compelled to be here. To see what his brother planned on doing, how he edged around his wife being in town, if only to witness the fiasco that would surely follow such idiocy. Just as the clearing came in sight, he heard a sharp gasp and watched as tried to back away from something that had apparently frightened her.
Clumsy, as she was occasionally given to be, she tripped over her own feet, falling backwards, landing roughly. If the grimace on her face was any indication, she had somehow or other become injured. He watched, not slowing his approach as she gently pulled her arm in front of her, cradling it. What injury she had incurred, he could only guess. He speculated it might have been her wrist given the angle she had held her arm and that it had impacted first on the ground before her body weight had fallen against it.
He could hear the quiet sniffling as he got closer, and realized he was more correct in his assessment of her than he'd ever have guessed. He was almost upon her now and she had yet to even notice his approach, the girl would fall easily to the bandits that roamed the forests near towns, he thought with a frown. His brother had since disappeared into the crowd leaving the girl alone.
He kneeled down behind her, and she almost leapt in fright before he leaned forward allowing his silvery locks to fall over her shoulder as she raised her head to see who had approached her. He reached down taking her arm, discovering it was indeed her wrist that was causing her pain before helping her from the ground silently.
He ran his fingers lightly over the injured wrist, as more teardrops fell quietly. She didn't say anything, nor did she look back to see where Inuyasha had gone, perhaps already knowing he was not even within shouting distance. She let her eyes fluttered closed refusing to meet his gaze.
He tugged her gently in the direction of the village. He would leave her with her friends while he went about his business, and then he would take her home and have her wrist looked at by someone he approved.
"Kagome-sama!" A hearty, male voiced called out.
Not entirely happy to see the monk but pleased he hadn't had to ask her about her friends location he released his hold on her as the young man approached.
"Ah, I hope I am not interrupting."
"This is Masaharu Sesshoumaru," she introduced him, not looking up at him as she said his name.
"It is a great honor to meet you." Miroku bowed, respectively and Sesshoumaru eyed him momentarily.
"Kagome is injured; I trust you will see to her well being until I return for her."
The monk blinked and turned concerned eyes toward the young woman whose gaze was directed toward the ground. "Of course, Masaharu-sama."
"Good." he bit out curtly and left her there with the monk as he headed off into the village. He succeeded in getting the girl off his mind as he spotted the shack where his servant had told him, the miko - Kikyo lived. It was at the far back of the village, and near here. He looked around.
There! Several huts down was the cottage he was searching for. The hut of the old village, miko, Kaede. This was the woman who had trained Kikyo. He proceeded toward it, and moving the screen aside, stepped within unannounced.
The old woman was huddled down on the floor beside a small fire pit, apparently brewing something or other in a large pot.
"Eh? Can I help you?" Her tone was in no way hostile, but nor was she attentive as she turned back to her task.
"I am here about your village miko."
"Kikyo..." she drawled and nodded. "Please, come in. How may I help you? Masaharu Sesshoumaru, isn't it? Please excuse me for not rising, these old bones don't work as well as they used to."
He excused her silently and proceeded within and kneeled down across from her.
She raised her one good eye to meet him while a dark patch covered the other.
"It is my understanding that my brother has been visiting your miko on 'business' for almost a month and a half, is this so?"
She nodded. "It is indeed. He comes almost every day to see her."
"Really, and you approve of this 'business' he has with your miko?" The aversion in his tone was audible and she looked back up wearily.
"I have spoken to Kikyo. She insists it does not have an impact upon her duties and believes she guards the secret well enough to save her reputation. There is little I can do, the villagers adore her, and so I cannot remove her as the village miko even though some suspect what business it is she has with the young man who comes calling so often."
"Is he the only one?"
She nodded weakly. "Yes, virtuous she is not, but loyal she is."
"Kaede?" a new voice called from outside.
She turned old eyes toward the doorway. "Yes?" she called and the monk from earlier stepped within.
"Oh, I apologize for interrupting."
He thanked her brusquely and stood, turning his gaze toward the doorway as Kagome stepped within. Her gaze visibly softened when she saw the elderly woman.
"Kaede..." she murmured stepping past him without notice and going toward the woman whom she fell beside.
He watched as more tears spilled and the old woman took her wrist, ordering Miroku to bring supplies for her treatment.
"Now, now, all will be well child." Was the last comment he heard Kaede speak before he stepped out of the hut and proceeded toward the lone cottage where his brother was to be found.
End Chapter One.
Author's Notes: It's not a -new- story, it's an old one. This is part 1 of 4, but the 4th isn't completed yet.
Prisoner, my Prisoner 15 - I'm trying to work out the last details with this storyline and finish it.
The Incomplete - Completed, will be posted soon.