STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY: Inuyasha and all other characters do not belong to me, unless otherwise stated. They belong to their rightful owner, Rumiko Takahashi. I do not profit from writing this. Other than the net, my soft copy, and my own hard copy, this fanfic is not reproduced elsewhere. No copyright infringement intended.
Title: In Pursuit of Happiness
Genre: Romance, Humor
Pairing: Sesshoumaru x Kagome
Chapter Summary: Luck from the gods is sometimes needed in meeting in-laws and Kagome's case was no exception. Lies, however, when compounded may bring about more disastrous results.
IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
in-laws: part II
"Sesshoumaru, I don't think this is a good idea," Kagome protested as she jumped forward, blocking the door.
The woman was clearly insane. But then again, it has been quite long since he had established that fact. "Move. You are delaying my father's entrance."
"I am delaying our deaths!"
"I beg to disagree. The sooner he enters, the easier we will be done with this matter," he hissed.
"Did you just hiss?"
"Move, Higurashi, else it will be my father who will do that for me."
"See? SEE? This is what I'm talking about!" Kagome felt her knees weaken and her stomach churn. "Your father will be the death of me!" she whispered furiously.
"I will give you my word that he will not."
"What? You're asking me to trust you?"
"Precisely. Now move. Once he rings the bell, there will be no second chances." He expected her to budge but the woman was too stubborn to do so. "I'm taking the pay for the door out of your allowance," he threatened.
"Alright, alright," she nearly jumped behind him. "Do it quick then, if you're going to push through with my death. I might as well arrange my own funeral," she muttered.
He took a deep breath to compose himself before turning the knob.
"You will explain to me this instant about that news regarding your marriage!" A loud voice boomed with anger the moment Sesshoumaru opened the door.
"Father," he bowed in respect.
The man at the door, Kagome felt, had an imposing aura. She observed him for a few seconds and noted that despite the creases of age on his face, he must have been strikingly handsome in his youth. Like Sesshoumaru, he stood unbelievably immaculate - tie in place, suit neatly ironed, and hair combed back with all strands in place.
Now I know where Sesshoumaru inherited the genes for his beauty.
There was also pride and authority in the way Sesshoumaru's father carried himself that she nearly backed away, if not for Sesshoumaru's presence that almost rivaled his father's.
"I will not be called by that name until your marriage to," he switched his attention on Kagome, "this woman is explained," he said in a glacial tone. "And there is no use in covering your impudence with this elegance."
Kagome flinched and felt as if a clever insult was flung at her.
"Father, please enter."
The man known as Yokoba-sama walked directly into the next room followed by two men in black business suits, and sat in the living room that Kagome tidied and kept neat a few hours earlier. He ignored the obvious disobedience of his son against the conditions he clearly stated before he was to be called 'father'.
It was as clear as glass that Yokoba Kitsuhito was displeased. "Speak, you impertinent son." The words rolled of his tongue in disgust. "I shall take your recent actions as a deliberate attempt to go against my wishes."
"I thought it was one of your wishes that your eldest son marry," Sesshoumaru spoke, challenging his father.
Kagome shook her head and winced inwardly. She should've known better than to trust Sesshoumaru! He was taking them straight to hell by answering his father!
"I did not give any instructions that you do it without inviting me!" Sesshoumaru's father roared.
"And it is precisely that lack of specifics that gave me freedom to perform the ceremony at the soonest possible moment."
"Am I to believe that this silly wedding of yours took place legitimately? The fact that there had been neither a celebration nor a reception makes me inclined to believe that you merely attempted to fool your father. I am no fool, Sesshoumaru."
"You may check the official register. It is legal."
"What, then, is this? What is the reason that you have wedded yourself to a woman without inviting your father to the ceremony?" His father's voice had an impatient and livid edge to it that Kagome felt forced to push herself farther back to the sofa with the back of her dress touching its surface.
"It was not my plan, Father," Sesshoumaru met his father's eyes directly. "It was my wife who insisted that we skip the unnecessary procedures and have the nuptials as soon as possible."
What? Kagome's eyes widened in alarm. She turned her head sharply towards Sesshoumaru. That's short of saying you're leaving everything in my hands, you demon! She was quirking her eyebrow, trying to quickly decipher Sesshoumaru's strategy. Mentally, she threw daggers at him. You murderer! Traitor! You said you wouldn't let your father kill me! Instead, you were already planning my execution!
Yokoba Kitsuhito shifted his attention on his daughter-in-law. It was her turn to be directly under his glare.
"Uh…" Kagome tried to quickly juggle her head for an explanation. He fingers were trembling as she nervously played with her dress. "You see, sir, I mean – father-in-law – I just happened to…fall in love…" her voice trailed.
"You love my son?" his father regarded her with doubtful eyes.
Kagome swallowed, then nodded. Inwardly, she thought his father was rather cruel. Was Sesshoumaru that impossible to love?
"If there is truth in that statement, what possessed you to have a wedding without my permission and without my attendance?"
"I was being threatened," Kagome spat out without thinking.
"By my son?" For a second his father was confused. It wasn't exactly an impossible scenario. Sesshoumaru was a very driven man who would fight god and demon to achieve his goals. Thankfully, world domination was not one of his current aspirations.
"No! Not, by Sesshoumaru! By, uh, loan sharks," she countered quickly.
"And what does an immediate wedding have to do with that?" His father's voice was deadly.
"They…they needed an assurance that I'll have sufficient resources to pay my father's debt," was Kagome's explanation.
"So you married my son for money?" her father-in-law bellowed.
Throughout the debacle, Sesshoumaru stayed the silent observer (once again) as he witnessed the exchange of words between his father and his wife. He was rather impressed, truth be told, that despite the fact that Kagome did not know he was planning on leaving the explanation to her, she was putting up a good fight against his father without betraying much, save for nervousness and diffidence.
Kagome was getting tired of continually being accused of being a fortune hunter. Momentarily forgetting her fears, she stood up and said with determination, "I did not marry him for the money! I loved him! Regardless of his feeling for me, my feelings were genuine! I just asked him to have it in a quick, legal manner because the bastards had my brother! And they would not believe me until I had his name in the registration!"
It was a spasmodic event, and the moment Kagome realized what she was doing, she stopped. She bit her lip and stared at the floor. "Uh, I got carried away by the, um, intensity of the moment…Sorry." She sat down immediately, convinced that her actions were now deemed unforgivable by the head of the Yokoba family.
Sesshoumaru's father did not say anything. He looked at his daughter-in-law and processed her sudden outburst. She rose in defense of her honesty and honor. He did not quite believe her story. He knew his son had a deliberate role that he played in the matter of their marriage. He could not be sure that his new daughter-in-law sincerely loved his son but from what he observed, she does care. That was something, at least.
Yokoba Kitsuhito tried to assess Higurashi Kagome's character. His son did not need to introduce his wife – he already did a few researches on her background the moment he heard of the ludicrous news. From what he heard, there was some truth about a certain loan shark group that they were indebted to and she had a brother who went to one of the colleges. He felt that she was a good woman, probably far better than some of the Japanese elite that he and his son were used to mingling with.
He did not expect his son to marry for love and affection. He expected him to treat it as part of the business and Kitsuhito expected a wedding between a titled family that would benefit them through connections and perhaps added riches. Not that it mattered to him; merely his son's actions caught him unexpected. How was Sesshoumaru able to meet a common woman, much less considering marrying her? However, looking at the woman seated across him, it seemed as if he understood a little. Sesshoumaru remained unreadable even after her outburst for Kitsuhito to decipher his son's plans, but he saw that the woman his son married had eyes that implored he believe in her and this inclined him to give them the benefit of the doubt. Mayhap she had no idea how she affects others, but he found it rather difficult to bring out his rage on her.
Ah…so he lost to his son again. He had no reason not to believe that Sesshoumaru planned to 'sacrifice' his wife, so to say, and leave to her the task of giving him answers because Sesshoumaru already knew that Kagome would be able to pacify him.
Sesshoumaru knew his plan had worked. His father had stopped his outrage; Kagome had sprung up to her own defense, and proved that she had some backbone after all. Being the strategist that he was, he felt it best to go along with whatever his father will plan next despite its many inconveniences to him. It may be good to argue a little, to lessen possible burdens, but since Sesshoumaru understood the gravity of his actions, he knew when to bend to his father's wishes as does the bamboo to the wind.
"I will overlook this offense," Sesshoumaru's father finally said, but to Sesshoumaru he added, "However, I am not convinced. I will expect answers in the future."
Kagome breathed a sigh of relief. At least that was over…
"As punishment, Sesshoumaru will be given leave for a few weeks and I will send the two of you to France or wherever you like."
"Eh?" Kagome looked up, trying to understand where the conversation was going.
"I think that it would be better if we merely stay at one of the vacation houses," Sesshoumaru suggested mildly, with the ready answer as he was expecting this from his father.
Kagome jumped at the offer, since she still believed that whatever Sesshoumaru had in mind was far better than Yokoba Kitsuhito's. "I would rather stay in Japan, if that is possible, father-in-law," she said politely. "Forgive me, but why do we have to leave Tokyo…?"
Yokoba Kitsuhito laughed. "Of course, it's to give the two of you ample time to make me a grandson!"
Wordlessly, Kagome moaned and hoped her face did not betray any obvious displeasure at the prospect of having time to make a grandson. She expected the answer but she could not deny that she already perceived that as the reason for her father-in-law's sudden plans.
"We appreciate the concern, father," Sesshoumaru bowed. "But we were planning to wait, at least a few years before—"
"Nonsense! You will adhere to my wishes regardless of whatever you had planned beforehand for you have proven to me that the two of you are quite skilled in doing things in haste. I'm inclined to believe making heirs is no hard feat."
"But…" Kagome began.
"I will not be disobeyed twice!" Sesshoumaru's father gave them a stern warning.
Kagome sighed. Things are going from bad to worse.
"Since that is settled, I only have a few questions to ask," Kitsuhito began. "Why were we never introduced?" He referred to Kagome.
"I was admitted to the hospital soon after I made your son's acquaintance, sir," Kagome explained without second thought. "There was no time to make any proper introductions then."
"What happened?" Sesshoumaru's father showed sincere concern about her health that Kagome felt touched and a little guilty for the lies she was going to give him.
"There was an accident," she said hesitantly. "I was hit by a motorcycle."
Sesshoumaru glanced at her direction. The story she was giving…could it be…?
"I hope there weren't any serious injuries," his father nodded in understanding.
"Nothing that a short rehabilitation could fix," Kagome started smiling cheerfully. "I had just come home from China back then, but it was unfortunate that I met so soon an accident as I was going down the steps of our shrine. It was actually partly because of the published incident that the loan sharks came after us," she shook her head.
Sesshoumaru regarded himself fortunate that he had trained himself long before to control and suppress the desire to smirk or show any signs of amusement at any given circumstance. He thought the Higurashi woman quite the creative and resourceful character for being able to twist the tragic death of her cat as into an excuse to fit their story.
"Where did you meet?" Kitsuhito now directed this question to Sesshoumaru.
"In China, father, when I attended the Export Commodities Fair last spring," he explained.
"If you were bound to marry the girl, then you shouldn't have had any qualms about marrying," his father narrowed his eyes, trying to catch Sesshoumaru in a lie.
"The thought did not occur to me when I met her once again after the accident, despite your persistence, father. But I thought it convenient when she needed the help. We were acquaintances, if not friends. I believed you'd rather I bring an intelligent and capable woman into the family instead of a brainless heiress."
Kagome thought Sesshoumaru was a smooth liar. If she didn't know him, she would've believed they really were friends rather than strangers living under the same roof.
"I will admit defeat for this particular round," his father announced.
"Eh?" Kagome stared at her father-in-law. Sesshoumaru's family was twisted, she started to believe, perhaps even far more inane than hers. Why does the whole thing seem like a…game to them?
"But until I have my grandson, the war will not cease." Kitsuhito stood up and to his men, he said, "Let's go." Before he went out the door, however, he said to Sesshoumaru, "After two weeks at the vacation house, I expect that you and Kagome will be moving into the Main House."
Sesshoumaru thought it best to comply. "I will see to our arrangements."
"I am still wiser by years, son," his father said good-naturedly, implying that Sesshoumaru was still too young to outwit his father. To Kagome he said, "It was nice to meet you, Kagome. The doors of the Main House will be open to any visit until you and my son have departed for the vacation house."
"Ah…you are leaving already? Won't you have dinner first?" she offered.
"Unfortunately, I have some urgent matters to attend to," he declined politely. "And Sesshoumaru?"
"See me at the office tomorrow. Give me the current situation regarding that issue."
Sesshoumaru nodded while Kagome, gripped by curiosity, decided not to ask anything.
Kagome bowed politely. "Thank you for your visit, father-in-law. I will make it my priority to return the visit."
The moment Sesshoumaru's father closed the door Kagome asked him, "Did you happen to introduce me to your father?"
"I don't believe I had the opportunity to do so," Sesshoumaru answered casually as he headed towards the dining room to have dinner.
"Then how did he…?" her voice trailed as she followed behind him.
"One of them must have given him the information. Do not concern yourself about such matters."
Kagome narrowed her eyes. "I'm inclined to believe that you and your father know more about me than I do about you or your family."
"Whatever gave you that idea?"
Kagome regarded her husband with suspicion. "Just a very strong hunch. Women's intuition. Whatever you call it. And did he really expect us to just do it all day at your vacation house for two whole weeks?" Kagome asked in horror.
"He doesn't look like it, does he?"
It seemed unbelievable but for Sesshoumaru, it seemed as if his wife and his father were becoming fast friends. Kagome's visits became daily and it was only a few days since they first met. He was hoping his father would forget about the short vacation he was planning to give them but unfortunately, with Kagome visiting all day, it was impossible. Luckily, he managed to postpone it for a week. This delay, however, only gave his wife and his father more time to bond together.
As for Jaken, the events were horrendous. He believed that the Higurashi woman bewitched his master's father. How could a rude, low-class woman find favor in the eyes of the head of the Yokoba family? His plans were going perfectly awry. He was hoping that by displeasing Sesshoumaru's father, the woman would be banished from the family. By the way the things were going, it'd seem that it was anyone who opposed the woman who was going to face banishment and exile.
A knock at the door of Sesshoumaru's office snapped the two men's minds from their thoughts. Jaken proceeded to carry out his duties and opened the door. Speaking of the devil!
"Ah, Jaken! Is Sesshoumaru here?" Kagome greeted cheerfully.
"Sesshoumaru-sama is currently busy," he said with gritted teeth, eager to drive the woman away.
"It's alright, Jaken, let her in," came Sesshoumaru's command from where he sat.
Grudgingly, Jaken complied.
Kagome stuck out her tongue at the poor man and, in all-smiles, entered the room. She headed straight to Sesshoumaru's desk and placed a fancy paper bag on top of it. "Your father gave it to us. I've been trying, you know, but he wouldn't listen so I had to accept it."
Sesshoumaru knew what it was. His father kept sending the two of them various things that were supposedly going to help him get a grandson from the couple.
"You should've thrown them away,"
"What?" Kagome's reaction seemed close to being aghast. "And waste them? No way!"
Sesshoumaru noticed that she was drinking something, sipping through the straw once in a while. "What's that?"
"You should try it. It tastes really sweet," she handed out to him to have a try.
"No, thank you." Sesshoumaru turned his chair to the left and focused his attention on the papers at hand. Suddenly he froze and quickly glanced back at his wife then at the package on his desk. "You're eating it?"
Kagome shrugged. "Why not? It's not as if it'll be any harm. Besides, we're not doing it anyway."
"Suit yourself. Have you readied your bags?" he asked without looking at her, completely immersed with work.
Stupid woman! "We're leaving tomorrow."
Kagome bit her lip. "Ah…I completely forgot."
"Go home and pack your bags before I do it myself," he said to her, his tone stern and deadly.
"Yes, yes," Kagome hurried out of the room. "You know, you really should try those stuff. They're quite addictive," she called out before vanishing out the door.
"Shall I dispose of this, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Jaken inquired as he lifted the package off the table.
"Give it back to her," he said before turning another page of the document he was reading.
"Are you quite sure, Sesshoumaru-sama?" It might be a worse idea to give the woman the freedom to finish the package. For all he knows it might have some drastic, ill effects on her sanity.
"Would you rather drink it, Jaken?" Sesshoumaru asked coldly.
The older man shook his head profusely.
"That settles the matter."
to be continued...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: That's the update for this month. I'll try to write the next chapter soon and update it within the first week of November but I can't make promises. :P I had to invent a name for Sesshoumaru's father for "Inu no Taisho" is merely a title and from what I've read, there were no given indication of the brothers' father's name.
Reviews and constructive criticisms are, once again, very welcome. :)
Last edited: November 14, 2006