Long author's notes: Well this is the end! Thanks to everyone who has followed this little story. It's meant so much. Happy Holidays to you all.
-All of the stories IY tells later on actually do happen in the series, strange as they sound. Yes, there is a giant chicken. She is Abi-hime's mother. Abi-hime is a beautiful female youkai that Naraku employs to fight the InuYasha-tachi. She appears in volume 31 of the manga. Yes, she really does have a mother who is a giant chicken.
-If you want a visual of the ring InuYasha purchases for Kagome, it's here: http:img.photobucket. com /albums/ 1003/ cowgirled/ squishyring. Jpg (Take out the spaces.)
-The 'yuki onna' (literal translation, 'snow woman') Jiichan speaks of is from a very well known Japanese folk tale. For a full version of it, go here: http:www. thejapanesepage. com/ howtowow/ yukionna .html (Take out the spaces.)
-As odd as it sounds, 'Uno' is a popular card game in Japan. One of my friends even has a Japanese Uno set especially made for the anime "One Piece." (It's so amusing.)
-And lastly, some fanart my beta reader Tailfluffgirl did for the fic: http:www. deviantart. com/ view/ 13145288/ (Spaces… you get it by now. :) )
Ushitora- Literally meaning 'north-east' this is the area in which the Shichinin-tai arc of the series takes place.
One Promise to be Kept
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
By Kelly O'Connor
Following the clerk, InuYasha glanced into the case and surveyed all the rings. Most of them being single bands with one small jewel interlaid in the center.
"Do you know what a promise ring stands for?" The clerk inquired in a warm tone. InuYasha looked up from the case in wide-eyed curiosity.
If they're popular, then Kagome might like them. And I know she doesn't have one already. This lady acts like it's something she'd want but…He spoke up,"No… well, what does it mean?"
"Well, men often give it to their girlfriend to show how much they care about them." The girl answered, nonplussed. It still boggled the clerk how this young man was unaware of the meaning behind a promise ring. Then again, he was a bit unique looking.
Clearing her throat, Mrs. Higurashi saddled up next to the Hanyou and smiled. "I think a promise ring would be a good idea, InuYasha."
"Well, a promise ring is what you give a girl when you like being with them all the time, feel lonely when they're not there…" She paused and tapped her chin, catering her words to match InuYasha's feelings towards Kagome. "When you always want to protect them, and don't want any other boys near them." Reaching up and placing her hand on InuYasha's shoulder, Mrs. Higurashi leveled him a thoughtful look. "It's what you give someone to show that you always want to be with them."
InuYasha's eyes widened at her last statement. What you give to someone you always want to be with? He reflected upon the pang he'd felt earlier that day when Kagome had informed him that he wouldn't be allowed to go out shopping with her. It wasn't just because I thought she was embarrassed but because… His mind traveled to how he felt each day when she went to school, or anywhere else he couldn't follow along.
Because I hate being without her…
Blinking, InuYasha turned to the clerk. "Is that really what it means?"
"Well… yes," she confirmed.
A light pink tingeing his cheeks, InuYasha lowered his voice a bit. "Do you… really think Kagome would like something like this?" He asked her mother.
Mama beamed. "I think she would love it InuYasha."
Leaning over the case that held the rings, InuYasha grumbled. "Well… which one am I supposed to get?"
"Whichever one you think Kagome would like best," Mrs. Higurashi reasoned.
"Bah, I don't know which one that is!"
"Well, I'm sure you could choose better than I could." Mama laughed lightly.
Blush returning to his cheeks, InuYasha creased his eyebrows and pursed his lips in concentration as he surveyed the rings.
Most of the rings looked very similar; gold or silver band with a small colored jewel interlaid in the center. It seemed more a matter of choosing a color than anything else.
I don't know what color Kagome likes best… InuYasha grumbled to himself as he scanned the blues, greens, whites, and reds. His eyes widened slightly when they met with a silver banded ring that held a solitary spherical pink jewel.
"Umm, what about that one?" He pointed it out to Mama and the clerk.
"Oh that's a nice choice. That's a very well cut gem." The woman stated.
"My, my, I think she'll love that one InuYasha." Mrs. Higurashi approved.
"All right," the clerk stepped behind the counter. "What size does she need? I think we have several of these left, so chances are good there's one in her size."
"Size?" InuYasha questioned.
"Here," She pulled out a metal loop of rings and handed it to the Hanyou. "Let me know which one looks closest to the size of her ring finger."
Catching on immediately to his inevitable confusion, Mama gestured to her own ring finger and whispered, "This one InuYasha."
Nodding the silver-haired boy flipped through the rings, trying to figure out which one was closest to that of Kagome's size.
After a minute's deliberation, he held one up. "I think this one looks right."
Mama eyed the size he'd chosen. Awfully perceptive regarding her indeed…
"I think that's correct as well." She took the loop from InuYasha's hands and gave it back to the clerk.
Reaching under the counter, the woman pulled out a small red box and opened it, exposing the ring within. "We do have it in her size. Would you like us to wrap it as well?"
"Wrap…?" the teenager inquired, bewildered.
"Yes, I think that would be great." Mama answered for him.
Walking over to a cash register, the clerk rung up their purchase, "That will be 19,425 yen."
With a sigh she was unable to hold back, Mrs. Higurashi reached into her purse and pulled out a credit card, handing it to the clerk.
InuYasha gulped. "That's… that's a lot of money isn't it?" There was a bit of regret in his voice.
"It's all right dear, don't you worry about it." She gave him a warm smile.
"I never have paid you for all the work you do around the shrine when Kagome's at school. You've been doing all of that for free for months now, and it's made things go so much smoother." Mama winked at the boy. "So consider this your payment."
InuYasha made a small sound in the back of his throat. "Thank you…"
"Souta!" Kagome called into the living room. "Stop playing that video game and help me clean up the mess your friends left in the kitchen."
There was a drop of a controller and a 'beep' as the game was turned off, before Souta's bare feet padded into the kitchen.
"Sorry, Nee-chan," He gave her a sheepish grin and reached to nab one of the few remaining cookies.
"It's all right; I just don't want Mama to have to clean it all up when she gets home."
"Yah, I imagine she'll be exhausted after a night of shopping with InuYasha," Souta quipped.
"She probably will be, although I do wonder what's taking them so long." She tapped her chin. "I finished wrapping his present about two hours ago."
"Hmm, maybe he's getting you a Christmas present," He suggested slyly.
Kagome's cheeks flushed pink. "Don't be silly Souta, InuYasha wouldn't think of that."
"How do you know?" The boy nudged her in a playful manner.
"Souta!" Kagome squeaked, but was interrupted by the sound of the front door opening.
The dark-haired girl found her blush reappearing as the source of their conversation entered the kitchen a moment later.
"Hi, InuYasha," She waved.
"Hey," He replied, taking off his baseball cap.
"Did you have fun shopping with Mama?" Kagome asked, sparking conversation.
"Yah… I guess."
"Well, what did you buy?" She inquired, not in the least bit sure of the intentions behind their shopping trip.
InuYasha's face flushed crimson and he gestured wildly in front of his face. "N-nothing in particular!"
Souta cut in, seeing an opportunity, "Oooh did you get Nee-chan a present?"
If possible, InuYasha's cheeks grew redder. Looking around desperately, he settled for a simple "Keh," revealing to even the more skeptical Kagome that he'd without a doubt been Christmas shopping for her.
"InuYasha… I…" Kagome shook her head, "I need to go to talk to Mama." She darted out of the kitchen, attempting to cover the inevitable blush she now sported.
Blinking, InuYasha frowned. "Did I… do something wrong?" He asked Souta, worried.
Souta grinned. "No, Inu-no-niichan… you did something right."
"Mama!" Kagome called as she came across the dark haired woman reading a newspaper in the living room.
"What is it sweetie?" She lowered the paper and raised her eyebrows.
"You," the teenage girl lowered her voice, "took InuYasha to buy a present for me?"
"Well, it was supposed to be a surprise, but yes I did."
Kagome sat down on the floor next to her mother. "You… talked him into buying something?"
Mama blinked. "No, not at all dear."
"All I did was ask if he wanted to go shopping with me. The rest, he did on his own."
Kagome's cheeks pinked as she recalled what she'd told InuYasha about giving Christmas gifts.
"It's a celebration in my time," She chose her words carefully so the Hanyou would understand. "It takes place on a certain day in winter every year. They put up all kinds of decorations, and you spend time with people and… you buy gifts."
"Gifts?" He asked, curiosity piqued.
"Gifts for… those you care about."
After what I told him it meant… he wanted to get me something? "Mama, he's the one who suggested doing it?"
"I… wouldn't have expected him to." She continued, still somewhat at a loss for words.
"Well, why not?" Mama questioned.
"Because he's… him." Kagome explained lamely.
"Well perhaps InuYasha has matured a lot more since you met him than you give him credit for… hmm?" Mrs. Higurashi proposed.
Straining her ears towards the kitchen where InuYasha was nonchalantly assisting Souta with cleaning up, Kagome felt a light smile cross her lips. "I guess he has."
Crystalline white flakes fell down upon the Higurashi shrine as its younger residents found themselves waking up on late Christmas morning.
Souta had been especially ecstatic about the newly fallen snow, deciding immediately that he had to go outside and have a snowball fight with his Inu-no-niichan.
Somewhat reluctantly, InuYasha had agreed. However, he found that his aim in throwing snowballs was fairly poor compared to Souta's, and he also didn't much enjoy the cold on his bare feet.
As such, the two came inside quickly. Mama had prepared everyone hot chocolate, and the family was now sitting around the living room table.
"Darn snow," Jiichan was the first to speak.
"Jiichan, I like the snow," Souta piped up.
"Snow is dangerous, and has been for hundreds of years!"
The two Higurashi siblings held their breath in anticipation of an inevitable legend.
"Keh, why is it dangerous Jiji?" InuYasha inquired, genuinely curious.
"Ah, you haven't ever heard the tale of the yuki onna?"
"Jiichan, I've heard this legend so many times," Kagome grumbled.
"Yuki onna?" The Hanyou intoned confused.
"Yes, she's a fearsome woman with skin and clothing as pale as frost, and when she breathes on people they die and become white as snow and ice. She comes after innocent people during the winter snow."
InuYasha furrowed his brows in thought. "Hmph, I bet I could defeat her."
"InuYasha…" Kagome sighed. "It's just one of Jiichan's legends. She's probably not even real."
"Of course she is!" The elderly man protested, and then turned towards the silver-haired boy. "I don't think anyone could defeat the yuki onna."
"Keh, well I once defeated a youkai with poisonous drool. That's kind of the same," InuYasha retorted with a smug grin.
Kagome smacked her forehead, but Souta's eyes widened in amazement.
Realizing that he'd captured at least Souta and Jiichan's attention, the Hanyou continued.
"Yah, and he also had another youkai that lived inside his stomach. He had blades for arms, and I defeated him too."
"That is most interesting…" Grandfather Higurashi remarked.
"What else have you fought?" The young boy asked in excitement.
"Umm, we fought this youkai woman whose mother was a giant chicken. There was this one detachment of Naraku who never wore any clothes."
"A giant chicken, I don't believe that!" Jiichan grumbled.
Kagome rubbed between her eyes. "Yes, Jiichan… it actually is."
Souta meanwhile, found the idea of a sengoku jidai streaker to be laugh-worthy.
"Neh Inu-no-niichan, what other weird stuff did you fight?"
"Well there was this zombie who… liked me." The teenage boy twitched.
"You don't need to tell them about Jakotsu, okay InuYasha?" Kagome cut in, exasperated.
"Zombies?" Souta blinked, "no way!"
"A whole group of them," InuYasha elaborated. "They were resurrected with shards of the Shikon no tama and we had to fight them."
"Eww, were they gross looking?" He asked, picturing a more traditional zombie in his mind.
"No, it wasn't like that. They looked just like they did when they were alive."
Continuing to tell the tale of the exploits of the Shichinin-tai and their group's adventures in Ushitora made the afternoon fly by. Soon, early evening began to descend upon the Higurashi shrine.
Clearing her throat, Mama gave InuYasha and Kagome a pointed look. "I believe you two have something you need to do before this day is over, hmm?"
Blushing simultaneously, the two caught each other's gazes.
"Souta, Jiichan… why don't we go up to my bedroom and play a few rounds of Uno."
Catching onto what Mama was implying towards the young couple, Souta grinned. "Okay Mama. You've still go to try and beat me after all!"
"Yes, yes of course, even Jiichan beats me all the time." She laughed. And the remainder of the Higurashi family stood up and walked out of the living room, leaving behind the teenage pair.
Once she was assured of her family's absence, Kagome cleared her throat. "Umm, I'll be right back, okay?"
Returning a moment later with two rectangular boxes, she gave the Hanyou a shy smile.
"I didn't know what to get you, but I'm kind of glad I didn't go until yesterday… because I think it helped me choose." She began softly.
"You were shopping for me yesterday?" InuYasha asked. Kagome nodded. Looking down shamefully, he attempted to formulate a response to that.
"Don't worry about it… it was all just one big messy misunderstanding," The dark-haired girl waved her hand.
Handing him one of the boxes, she bit her lip in anticipation. InuYasha, having had the concept of wrapped gifts explained to him by Mama after he'd had Kagome's wrapped, began to carefully tear off the paper surrounding the box.
A few moments later, the white-haired boy lifted the top off the box and caught glance of what was inside.
A long sleeved red top was folded neatly on top of a pair of comfortably baggy khaki pants.
Gulping, InuYasha spoke up tentatively, "Are… these for me to wear here?"
"They are," Kagome replied. "I know it may seem like an odd gift, but… I wanted you to know that I—I want you here InuYasha."
"Kagome…" Touched, he could only manage her name.
"I could never feel ashamed of you. Never. It hurt me so much when you said those words. But only because I couldn't bear the thought that I could have given you that impression." Kagome paused to take a breath. "If anything it must bug you, to be stared at when we go out together. That's one of the reasons I chose to buy you these."
InuYasha thoughtfully ran his hands over the fabric of the clothing he held.
"I want you to feel comfortable here InuYasha. I want that because… I want you to always be with me."
Kagome heard the drop of a box, and felt the sleeve of her top being tugged towards a warm red clad chest. She smiled when she found herself in InuYasha's tentative embrace.
He said no words, and Kagome in no way expected him to. This was his response. This was his outpouring of gratitude towards what she'd given him, and that was more than enough for her.
"InuYasha," She finally said, sighing in regret when he pulled out of the embrace. "The other box is a pair of shoes. I got them open-backed because I figure you'd be more willing to wear something like that."
Kagome looked down and twiddled her fingers a bit, "Also, as part of your Christmas gift to me, I would love if you could go out with me tonight. There are lots of things to do on Christmas night."
"Keh, of course I'll go." He clarified. Kagome grinned. "I gotta give you your present first though." Blushing lightly he took a deep breath. He'd gained a bit of confidence from Kagome's gift to him, and it had made him realize that they both wanted the same thing. However, the inevitable nervousness was still there.
Making a sound in the back of his throat, InuYasha reached in the front of his fire-rat and pulled out the small box. "Here," he stated, blush prevalent as he bashfully shoved the box towards Kagome.
The dark haired girl's eyes widened a bit as she took the tiny wrapped box from his hands. Is this a jewelry… no way, she cut the thought off. This is InuYasha. He probably got me something weird.
There was silence in the room, save for their heartbeats as Kagome unwrapped the box. It is a jewelry box… Surprised, she opened it up.
And that surprise quickly turned to astonishment. The pink gem glittered from atop its silver band, and all Kagome could do was stare.
"No it just…" She attempted to form any sort of response. A promise ring, he gave me a promise ring.
Immediately panicking, InuYasha attempted to explain the meaning behind his choice of gifts. "I thought you'd like it…" he began, "It's supposed to be… well, what you-you give to a girl you…. A girl you wanna be with." The silver-haired boy said the last part in a rush, his face flushing crimson as his clothing.
Mellowing out a bit, he continued. "No one said anything about it when I asked, but I also thought since it's called a 'promise ring,' that it must mean that it's what you give someone when you're so serious… you mean it as a promise." He looked away. "But if you don't like it…"
Quickly slipping the ring on her finger, Kagome felt her eyes well up a bit. Without any further thought, she leapt at him and wrapped her arms around his middle. Her quick spontaneous hug caught InuYasha completely off guard and he nearly fell back onto the ground.
"InuYasha!" She reached up, impulsively pecking him on the cheek. "Don't be stupid." Pulling away, she gave him the most brilliant of smiles. "It is the most perfect gift I have ever been given, and I know that nothing could be more meaningful than a promise from you."
Kagome then noticed InuYasha's wide eyes and tremendously deep blush. Oh… I kissed him, she registered, I've never done that before… even on the cheek. But, I was so happy! It just happened.
The teenage girl still had her arms around the Hanyou's waist when he finally managed to speak. "Kagome… you mean that?"
She took one of his hands and placed it on top of hers, running his fingers over the very ring he'd just given her. "I promise InuYasha, I promise."
Recalling her earlier action, Kagome took a deep breath before leaning up towards him… this time with the intention of giving him a real kiss. Noticing her movement, InuYasha's eyes widened as he figured out her motive. Kagome… He leaned in as well, their lips meeting in the middle.
And the two sealed their promises with their first shared kiss.
Amongst the many couples walking the streets, InuYasha and Kagome were just one.
However, InuYasha's eyes were consistently wide with boyish innocence as they walked along the streets of Tokyo. The snow intermingled with the elaborate lights and decorations that were prevalent on Christmas night was more than enough to intrigue the ever-curious Hanyou.
Kagome's smile was bright that evening, sometimes because she found herself glancing at the ring she now wore on her finger. But more often because she found herself watching him. He looked at ease in the clothing from her era, from the ordinary bandanna he wore over his ears, to the very new idea of shoes on his feet.
But more importantly, he looked happy. So even though it meant stopping every few moments to peek in a store window, or look at lights… Kagome didn't mind. She proudly held his hand the whole time.
"InuYasha?" Kagome piped up upon seeing that he'd had spotted a particularly decorative display in a store window.
"This is like a whole village, but tiny," The teenage boy stated, marveling at the miniature set up, complete with lights and a moving train. His smile turned into a frown though, when he caught the reflection of a few passersby behind them. "Kagome," He began, crestfallen, "Keh, I'm just embarrassing you."
"You're not doing any such thing!"
"They're still looking at us though…" He cast a wary eye to the passersby in question.
Immediately tightening her grip on his hand, Kagome leveled him a fierce but kind look. "Good for them. I don't care, and neither should you."
Squeezing her hand back, InuYasha's smile returned. "Yah, you're right."
"Merry Christmas InuYasha," Kagome wished him. In response, the Hanyou wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her towards him. Raising his head up to the sky, Kagome followed suit. And together the two of them marveled at the colored lights that shone over snow capped Tokyo.