Disclaimer: The characters of Inuyasha are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, but this story belongs to me. Asking Permission is the prequel one-shot story to one of my other stories, Kagome's Baby, but it can stand alone (I think…).

Asking Permission

His hands trembled.

Today he would be facing his greatest fear. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he gathered his courage. The next hour or so would determine his fate. His life was on the line. Nothing would ever be the same after this. Ever.

It wasn't too late to turn back. No one would ever know. Well, except himself. Could he live with being a coward if he turned tail and ran? He glared at the thought. No. Inuyasha was no coward. He, who looked death in the face without flinching, could do this. Clenching his fists tightly he ordered his feet to move.

They refused.

Inuyasha growled and gave himself a shake. "This is stupid!" He stomped out of the well house, letting the door slam open. "I ain't afraid."

Yet when he reached the door of the shrine, he could not make his fist move to knock on the door. What if she rejects me? What if she says no? What if she thinks a hanyou is not good enough? He closed his eyes and fought off the questions and doubts that were whispering in his ears.

No, he told himself sternly. There's no way she'll say no. Remember the list.

His hand still refused to move, regardless of the threats. Part of him wanted to dash back to the well and try again tomorrow, the other part was determined to see this through. If only he could knock on the stupid door!

Luckily he was saved from cutting off his hand and throwing it at the door, which was the latest threat against the disobedient appendage, when Kagome's mother answered the door. She looked surprised, but she gave him a warm smile and opened the door wider to give him room to enter.

"Inuyasha! So good to see you. We weren't expecting to see you until tomorrow. Come in, dear." She waited until he was inside before closing the door. "Kagome is still at school, but you are welcome to wait here."

He cleared his throat. "I'm… uh… not here to see Kagome…" He hoped he wasn't blushing or fidgeting. He would have to watch himself around the overly perceptive woman. Standing tall he lifted his chin proudly. Show no weakness, he reminded himself. "I'm here to speak with you."

Again she looked surprised.

"Oh, okay dear. Come into the kitchen and have some tea."

Inuyasha followed. It felt weird being here without Kagome. It always made him feel a little uncomfortable, no matter how nice her mother was to him. Covertly he wiped his sweaty palms on the legs of his hakama. Reminding himself that he's been in her house dozens of times, he tried to get himself to relax.

"Have a seat," she suggested. With another smile she turned to the stove and pulled off the kettle. Within moments she returned with two steaming cups of tea.

Shaking his head, Inuyasha declined. He straightened his spine and tried to look as strong and impressive as he could. "I'd rather stand." What do I call her? Higurashi ? Mrs. Higurashi? Kagome's Mom? Mom? Inuyasha blushed at that last one. He decided to just not call her anything just yet. It seemed like the best option.

After taking a seat, Kagome's mother folded her hands on the table and gave the silver haired boy her undivided attention. "What is it you wish to speak with me about?"

Taking a calming breath to slow his suddenly racing heart, Inuyasha prepared himself for the confrontation. He recited the list in his head quickly, just to make sure he didn't stumble over his words. Once he felt he was ready, he looked into her eyes with renewed determination.

"I am strong," he told her. "I have defeated thousands of demons. Full blooded demons. Sometimes with my sword, and sometimes with my own two hands." He put his hands behind his back so he wouldn't be tempted to show his claws. He wanted to portray strength, but not remind her that he was part demon. Most human mothers probably wouldn't bee too happy with their daughters being with a demon, or a hanyou.

"I am a good protector," he continued as he refused to break eye contact, regardless of his instincts screaming at him to run. "We travel with a monk, a demon slayer, a fire cat demon, and a fox demon kit that seems to have adopted Kagome as his own mother. I protect them all. And we protect each other." Mentally he gave himself a pat on the back for bringing up Shippo's attachment to Kagome. Hopefully it would help sway the woman's decision.

"I am a good provider. We never go hungry. Ever. Kagome only brings us ramen and snacks because she knows how much we like how they taste. I can catch as much fish or game as we need at any time. I can always find us clean, fresh water to drink."

"I take care of Kagome. I find her hot springs to bath in. I have made her medicine when she was sick. I carry her if we are going long distances. I make sure she has a place to sleep, and that she can sleep with no fears. I protect her."

He paused, trying to remember more of his speech. I must've missed something… the list seems too short…

"But do you protect her heart?" She took a sip of tea. "I notice that sometimes Kagome comes home in tears."

Inuyasha clenched his jaw. "I'm taking care of that. Kagome means more to me than anyone or anything else in the world. There is nothing I hate more than to see her cry. I'm… I'm not real good at… I'm working on it though." He cleared his throat and stopped his foot from nervously tapping. "I will make her happy."

"Do you love my daughter?"

"Yes." He knew he was blushing, but he would not hesitate to answer her blunt question. This wasn't like the teasing of the monk and the kit. Too much was riding on this to let embarrassment put him on the defensive.

The kitchen was quiet as the woman took another long sip of tea. His nerves were shot! It was taking too long for her to say yes! She shouldn't have to be doing all that thinking!

"I'm a lord!" Inuyasha blurted out.

"Pardon?" She looked up at him curiously.

"A lord. Lord Inuyasha. Of the western lands."

"You have lands?"

He blushed. Again. "Er… Not exactly…"

"It is a title, then?"

"Uh… yeah…" He scolded himself for bringing up the topic. What did I think THAT would accomplish. Tell her you're a lord but have no lands. Brilliant move. Way to impress her.

The woman smiled softly and looked down at her cup. "I know you are strong, and that you are a good provider and protector. Kagome has told me as much. You don't need to prove anything to me. You have already proven that you take excellent care of my daughter." She took another sip before calmly looking at the nervous hanyou once more. "Is there a reason you are bringing this to my attention, Inuyasha?"

For a moment his eyes flicked away in fear, but he brought them back to her eyes. "I came to ask you for Kagome."

She cocked her head to one side in confusion. "Ask for Kagome?"

He took a deep breath. "I am asking permission to take Kagome as my mate."

Well, that sure seemed to startle her out of calmness. The tea cup actually chipped when it was brought down too hard to the table. It was Kagome's mother's turn to take a deep breath. "Mate? That is like… marriage, is that correct?"

Inuyasha shook his head. "It's more than that. Kagome says that people who marry can get a divorce. That they can end their union. Having a mate is different than having a wife or a lov… uh… friend." He winced at how lame that sounded, but he just couldn't bring himself to say that other word outloud. Especially to Kagome's MOTHER! "When a mate is taken, it is for life. Only death can separate them. I will love and protect your daughter for the rest of my life."

For several terrifying moments Inuyasha waited for her to say something, hoping he hadn't stumbled over his words too badly. I did it! Kagome would be his soon. She would be his mate. He allowed himself a smile at the thought. Once they were mated, no one would have any questions about who belonged to who. Then they would adopt the kit in an official ceremony and he would really be their son. They would be a family. My own family. They would live in his time, but come visit her family, and maybe even some of those silly friends of hers, occasionally when they come back to stock up on ramen, chips, and pocky.

"No."

His heart turned to lead, ceasing to beat. "What?" Surely he misheard.

"No, Inuyasha, Kagome can not be your mate."

His lips pressed together as he struggled with his emotions, flashing between extreme rage and a bone aching sorrow. Blood dripped to the floor where his claws dug into his palms.

She told him no.

She had ripped his heart out of his chest and the air from his lungs.

This can't happen. No. His breathing was labored. She was supposed to say yes. She was supposed to be happy for us and say yes! It hadn't gone at all like it was supposed to have. Well to blazes with what she said, with what anyone said, he decided. Kagome loved him, even if she hadn't really told him yet. And he loved her. She would be happy with him. He knew she would. So if he has to steal her the moment she gets home from school, then that's what he would do.

No one was going to keep him from his mate.

Yes, my mate. There was no need for a ceremony or asking for permission. His heart had decided months ago that she was his mate. They didn't have to have anything official or to have anyone say yes. It wasn't anyone else's decision but theirs. He would give Kagome the same speech about how great he was and she'd agree to stay with him forever. Okay, so maybe he'd go through and do a little editing and re-writing…

"She is too young, Inuyasha," the woman explained. "She isn't even sixteen years old yet. She is still a child. Besides, she has to finish school before she can become anyone's wife."

"Mate," he corrected.

"Mate, then." She smiled. "You must wait until she is finished with her schooling. If you still love her, and she still loves you, then you have my permission to take her as your mate."

His argument about women in his time marrying at ages even younger than Kagome went right out the window as what she said sank in. "I do?"

"Yes."

"I do?" His knees went weak.

"Only if she finishes school first," she reminded him.

He sat down at the kitchen table and took the cup of tea she had offered earlier. Still in a daze he reached for the sugar and started dumping some in. "How long?"

"Oh, a little over two and a half years."

His jaw dropped.

"She will almost be eighteen by then, and old enough to be married and have a family of her own."

Inuyasha blushed at the mention of having a family, but tried to cover it up by taking a gulp of the now lukewarm and very sweet tea. "How many days is it?"

He watched as Kagome's mother stood up and went to pick up the wall calendar and get a calculator from a desk drawer. In silence he watched as she consulted the calendar and pushed little buttons.

"Nine hundred and twenty one days," she announced.

Fuzzy ears drooped.

"Can you wait for nine hundred and twenty one days, Inuyasha?" she asked.

It would be a long wait. It would be even longer and more painful of a wait if he declared his love to her or she told him how she felt. Once the words were said, there wouldn't be anything on earth, promise or not, that would keep him from making it official. Or unofficially official.

It figured. As soon as he decided the time was right, someone comes along and tells him it isn't. Of course, he could go ahead and tell Kagome how he felt and ask her to be his mate anyhow. He didn't need permission, even if it was her mom. It's not like he lived by the rules anyhow. She had promised to stay with him, so he was fairly sure that she would. But would she defy her mother to be with him? Would he want her to? After all, she HAS a family. One that loves her. His only relative seemed to want him dead every time he saw him. And her family welcomed him and made him feel like they were his own family. If he cut ties with them… he would feel the loss as well.

And Kagome would probably cry.

Two and a half years, huh? He decided to keep this conversation from the others. It was going to be difficult enough getting through this without being teased or having anyone giving him those knowing looks.

He snorted. "I would wait for nine hundred and twenty one years if that's what it takes."