Author's Note: The first of the holiday gift fics I'll be uploading. This one was written for xgrenade on livejournal.
Kosode- A traditional jacket/top worn by both men and women. Think the shirt Inuyasha wears under his red fire-rat.
Hakama- Very wide legged pants that tie at the waist. The wide legged pants several characters wear in the series are hakama. Some tie at the bottom like Inuyasha and Naraku's. Others are open like Jiichan's. Inuyasha is wearing open-bottomed ones in this fic.
Kanzashi- A hair ornament used in a traiditional Japanese hairstyle.
Kakuni- Japanese braised pork dish.
Inuyasha had been confused that day, when Kagome brought him to her world in a rush, face flushed as she frantically glanced at the 'clock' she kept in her backpack. "Oh my, look at the time!" she'd shouted exasperated. "Mama wants us to be ready at five, and it's already four. Both of us… we're a mess!"
He didn't ask when she grabbed his hand, dragged him to her bathroom and asked him to take a shower (after teaching him how to use the taps, he'd never done so without Souta there). Inuyasha had garnered few details about what they were doing that night. It was a 'special occasion.' There had been something mentioned about something called a 'fodograf' that just bewildered him.
Whilst he came back upstairs, he found a pair of navy hakama, a kosode, and a matching hari. As Kagome darted from the room to take a shower herself, she explained to Inuyasha where he could find everything he needed to get ready. Once she'd left, he quickly slipped off his clothing and pulled on the clothes provided. The kosode was white and plain, but the navy-colored haori was warm and well-made, nicer than his normal clothing. He used Kagome's brush and her mirror, and pulled his back into a low ponytail.
Inuyasha frowned, still unsure as to why he was dressing up in the first place. Quite some time later, Kagome came back into the bedroom. His breath caught in his throat as he surveyed her appearance. She wore a kimono in the palest of green, flowers dotting it, and an obi cinched around her waist, flaying out in a bow behind her. Her hair was pulled up in a bun, a delicate kanzashi of bloom and ribbon holding it in place.
He turned away with a blush. "You look… really nice."
Kagome beamed. "Thank you Inuyasha. You do too. In fact…" Her cheeks pinked. "Ah never mind. Let's go down to dinner. Your hair should be dry by the time we finish, so that will be perfect."
Everyone was dressed in their very best when they went down to the dinner table. Souta and Jiichan's clothes were identical to Inuyasha's, and Mama Higurashi wore the loveliest of pale violet kimono. She served them a meal of kakuni, and she was noticeably pleased that everyone enjoyed it.
Mama Higurashi doted on Inuyasha, talking about how handsome he looked all dressed up and how happy she was that he came. He took it all in, smiling politely at her the whole time and trying to hide his embarrassment.
Jiichan related a few unbelievable stories about things he'd seen creeping around the shrine. He was apparently worried that the well could be allowing things to slip through. "You two need to be more careful," he said. "Perhaps you should seal the well somehow so it only works for you pair." Inuyasha wasn't shy about admitting he didn't believe the stories, and Kagome told him as kindly as she could that maybe he should get his eyes checked. Souta just stifled laughter the entire time.
"All right, all right!" Mama exclaimed once everyone had finished their meals. "We'd better get outside and do this before the sun goes down." They left the dishes on the table, and Souta and Kagome promised to do them later at their mother's behest.
"I'll get the tripod and meet you outside, Mama," Kagome volunteered. She nodded and Souta, Jiichan, Mama, and Inuyasha walked out the front door.
"Um," Inuyasha finally spoke up, "what exactly are we doing? Kagome was in a big hurry and… didn't have time to explain or something."
Mama began to laugh. "Oh I'm so sorry. I thought you knew. Every year we take a family photograph on the birthday of Kagome's father…"
"But Kagome's father is…"
"He passed away three years ago," Mama intoned, wistful sadness seeping into her voice. Souta squeezed her hand. "But we always got the photograph when he was alive, so we thought he'd appreciate it if we continued after he…"
He was truly embarrassed to ask the next question. "What's a fodograf?" Inuyasha queried.
"Has Kagome never taken a photograph of you?" She blinked. He shook his head in the negative. "We'll have to fix that! I'm going to send a camera back through the well, so I can get pictures of all of your other friends as well."
Souta stepped toward Inuyasha and cut in. "A photograph is a way you can take a picture of something, like a painting. Except the machine does the painting for you."
"Oi uh, I think I understand but…" He lowered his voice, "why do you want me in the painting with you?"
"Because it's a family photo," Kagome cut in. She'd silently made her way out the door with a large device. It must have been what she'd called the 'tripod.'
"Everyone deserves to be part of a family." Mama smiled at him and gingerly placed her hand on his shoulder. Inuyasha turned to her and his eyes widened, the unspoken thank you clear in his expression.
The camera was setup within a few minutes, and Mama was positioning everyone in the most ideal manner for the photograph. They stood in front of the Goshinboku, which was the place they'd always done the picture, but Kagome found it more appropriate than ever this year. Souta and Jiichan, the two shortest, stood in front. Mama and Kagome stood behind them and flanked their sides. The tallest of the group, Inuyasha, was placed in the middle between Kagome and Mama and behind Souta and Jiichan.
"You have to smile for the camera, Inuyasha," Kagome elucidated. "It's the thing that takes the pictures. It will capture your expression, so you want to look happy." Inuyasha nodded.
Mama ran from her spot and quickly set the camera to take the photograph, darting back in time to regain her position. Kagome elbowed Inuyasha lightly and he smiled. The camera went off and the photograph was taken.
"Eh? Where are the pictures?" Inuyasha wondered after they'd taken a few more, just in case one or two didn't come out well.
Souta snickered and stumbled towards the door, running back inside. Kagome lips quirked into a smile. "We have to develop them. We take something called the film somewhere and they create the photos from it." Inuyasha scratched his head. "Mama should have them ready in a few days, and then you can see it!"
Mama, Souta, and Jiichan had all gone back inside now, leaving the young couple alone, the evening sun setting behind them.
"Kagome…" He closed the distance between them and stood next to her.
"Why… did you invite me to be in the photograph?"
"Because I wanted you to be and because my family wanted it too." She shrugged and gave him a warm smile.
He shook his head, fighting his nerves. "But a painting with your family? I'm not part of your family. We're not…. married or even betrothed."
Kagome placed her hand on his shoulder and he turned his body towards her. The two were face to face. "Do you think that, somehow, when two people get married, when a ceremony is performed, that it just happens that they become family? Don't you think that it happens naturally before that, maybe… sometimes?"
Inuyasha gulped and closed his eyes. "Keh! I mean… how should I know?"
"You are important to me," Kagome ventured, her face flushing. "You are important to my Mama, my little brother, and even Jiichan."
"And you belong with us. You belong with our family, if that's where you want to be."
He reached around her and pulled her toward him, crushing her to his chest in a deep embrace. "I want to be… wherever you are."