Thanks to all who read & review "Noble Commitment" – AtomicFire, swmgrl, momike, GargoyleSama, Zaratan, Thorius Maximus, & Goinghome. Thanks also to all who read the story even if you didn't left a review. :)
Thanks go to campy for betareading for me. Thanks! (big grin)
Disclaimer: All Kim Possible characters are the copyright of Walt Disney Corporation. I'm just
borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. All other characters in my stories, that Disney doesn't own, are mine. :)
A/Ns: Well, here's the second story of a small trilogy, which started with "Noble Commitment". That story was the engagement. This story is the wedding. Of course, anyone could tell what the third story will be about. ;)
This story takes place roughly two months after "Noble Commitment".
Sentences, that begins and ends with a slash (/), means the person is speaking in Japanese.
Story rating: Rated K+ (aka PG)
Written: April/May 2006
Summery: A day of celebration at Yamanouchi as Ron and Yori get married.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kim Possible: The Reflections Universe
A Promise Forever
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
Flying high with wings spread out, the bird flew with grace and beauty as he roamed the clear, blue skies. He didn't need to flap his wings much to remain aloft, using the rising warm air uplifts to keep it from falling to the ground, much like an experienced glider pilot could do. His sharp eyes could see for miles/kilometers around, always on the lookout for prey to hunt, and he could easily come down from the skies, like a dive-bomber, if he ever did find food to grab with his talons.
Yet this elegant falcon, as it soared over the majestic Japanese mountains, took notice of the structures on top of one peak. The bird-of-prey has passed over them many times in his life, and always he noticed the many beings coming and going inside those formations. A few times he has swooped down to catch small rodents in the gardens inside these buildings, and the beings, which spotted him, paid no heed, for they left him alone to catch his prey.
Presently, he saw no prey in his sights within the boundaries of the strange structures, yet the beings were more excited than the last time he flew over them. Very strange, but he journeyed onward, circling over the dwellings of these beings before flying off.
As for those beings, a few have looked up upon spotting the falcon, and many smiled at the sight. It was a good sign to them that the day would go well.
For the students and facility of the Yamanouchi School, today was a special day that many of them had waited for some time. Festival decorations were adorned on buildings. Some students were preparing the school's Shinto shrine for what was to come later on. Others were preparing the main courtyard for the feast and celebration that was to follow after the ceremony. There was no doubt this day would be remembered for a long time to come.
Today was the day two of their own would be bonded forever in love and matrimony. The story of their love, forged out of friendship and the fires & pain of battle, was one of such romantic tendency that it felt like something out of a romance novel. Most in the school, especially the students, envied the pair for their deep affection, and it was going to be a joy for them to bear witness to their union.
Two months ago, the school had learned of their engagement, and the many students, once the second semester started, were informed of the upcoming nuptials of their greatest champions. Sensei had announced it would be a day of celebration, and no one could deny it.
The Yamanouchi historians would later mark this date as the day Ronald Stoppable, The Chosen One and Keeper of the Lotus Blade, married Yori Tanaka, Yamanouchi's greatest female warrior of present times, also known as The Lotus Maiden. Together, they would walk on a single path as one, and nothing would come between their hearts.
Dark eyes scanned the figure in front of them from head to toe, and in the end, the owner of those eyes agreed with what he saw. The person was ready, and he couldn't agree more. "Ron Stoppable-sama, you are fully dressed properly," he said with a slight Japanese accent in his voice. "You are ready."
Gazing in the full-length mirror in his quarters, the blonde man grinned. "I guess you're right, Hirotaka. Maybe I'm just nervous."
Hirotaka chuckled. "You act like you are going into battle than knowing you will soon be marrying Yori-chan, my friend."
Turning from the mirror to face the Japanese man, Ron gave a small chuckle of his own. "Yeah, I hope my nerves don't make me faint during the ceremony."
Giving an amusing smirk, Hirotaka slightly shook his head. "If you do that, Yori-chan will be worried at first, and only after you recover will she kill you for ruining the ceremony."
Softly laughing, Ron nodded. "Hai. That's the truth," he said before returning to inspect his clothing again in the mirror.
Ron was wearing the traditional Japanese groom's attire. His black montsuki kimono with white crests could be seen through the opening of the matching haori overcoat, while gray hakama pants covered the lower part of the kimono from waist to feet. White socks adorned his feet as they wore comfortable, black, vinyl Zori sandals with red velvet thongs, which went between his toes. Traditionally, his family crest was supposed to be on both the front and back of the kimono, yet it currently was embroidered into the back of the haori, so everyone could see it.
The crest was a Japanese dragon, whose body encircled a snow-peaked mountain, and in the palm of one clawed hand was a glowing blue katana. Yori had designed his personal crest before February and had it embroidered into his formal, red haori, which she had given as a gift on Valentine's Day. Since Ron knew of no Stoppable family crest, he opted to adopt his personal Japanese emblem as his family crest, and even Hirotaka agreed the dragon adorning the back of the haori made Ron look more prestigious.
Knowing he was not able to do anything more, Ron once more turned to face his best man, who wore a simple black kimono with gray/blue hakama pants. Until Ron came along, Hirotaka had been Yamanouchi's best among the men of his generation, and it was the reason why he had been chosen to go to America during that one-week student exchange so many years ago. Over the past two years, the blonde man made friends with Hirotaka, who became an instructor much like Yori. It was not hard for Ron to befriend him, given the Japanese man not only helped him train but also because he knew much about American culture.
With a grin on his face, Hirotaka handed Ron a small white folded fan, and his American friend took it without question and placed it in the waistband of his hakama pants. Then the blonde man reached down to the side of the mirror, where the Lotus Blade, in its sheath, was leaning up against the mirror's frame. Taking the mystical sword, he wrapped the sheath's belt, which held up the sheath and sword on his left side, around his waist before snapping it close. Eying himself one more time in the mirror, he knew he was ready now.
"Well," Ron sighed, "I guess we have nothing to do but wait now." The ceremony would not begin for another hour, and he wondered if he would able to pass the time without becoming extremely anxious.
After a few minutes of gazing out the windows at the tranquil sight of the valley and mountains, a knock was heard from the door and Ron gave permission to enter. The shoji door slid aside to reveal two important people in his life, and the 24-year-old man knew he wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. "Mom, Dad," Ron grinned.
Mr. & Mrs. Stoppable walked into the quarters before the elder man slid the door closed. Both were given traditional Japanese wardrobe for today's occasion – he in a blue kimono and black hakama pants, while she was wearing a formal tomesode kimono, which was black with a multi-color design on the skirt and colorful sash around the waist. Only married women attending a Japanese wedding of a close relative were allowed to wear a tomesode kimono.
The couple beamed at the man they had raised. For them, it seemed it was only yesterday Ron was a baby. Where had all the time gone? When had that blonde-haired tiny infant become this tall, grown man?
A tear trickled down Hanna Stoppable's cheek, and it was enough for Ron to sigh with an affectionate grin. "Aw, Mom. You're already starting with the crying?"
"Don't you start on me, Ronald Stoppable!" she scolded as she walked over to stand in front of her son, yet her happy face told the blonde man she was not tweaked. "Your father and I certainly will not miss our only son's wedding." Her hands reached up to gently smooth out the haori before gazing up into those brown eyes. "When has the time gone?" she whispered. "It seemed only just yesterday your father and I took you home from the hospital, so little and helpless you were."
"Now, now, Dear," Donald said with a tender grin as he walked over and placed an arm around his wife's shoulders. "Ron is about to enter the next phase of his life. We've raised him to the best we could." He turned his head to look up proudly at his son with twinkling eyes. "Soon we'll see how he will manage raising his children."
While his mother softly laughed, Ron rolled his eyes and grinned before his eyes settled on his best man, who was smirking at him. The soon-to-be married man wondered if it was some sort of natural intuition for parents wanting their grown children to make them grandparents.
Settling his brown orbs on his 'rents again, Ron was glad they were here.
A year ago, his 'rents had been pleased when he had informed them of his relationship with Yori. Ever since the break-up with Kim, they saw their son had closed off developing any deeper feelings for any of his friends who were women, and they had wondered whether their son would ever find a special lady who could make him feel loved again. Although his mother still thought he should have sought a nice Jewish girl, both couldn't be more delighted that Yori had slowly eroded his shell and made him able to see he could fully love once more.
When he had informed them of his engagement, they were thrilled; despite they hadn't even met Yori. Yori wanted the wedding to be on Yamanouchi grounds, but given his parents did not know of Yamanouchi's secret, it became a problem since both wanted to be there for their son's marriage. Yet after talking with Sensei, the head master of the school saw no problem inviting the Stoppables, for he reasoned the elder couple could able to keep a secret, knowing their son did.
"I have to admit, Son," Mr. Stoppable started as he removed his arm around his wife's shoulders, "even after nearly a week here, this school is still pretty amazing. Things are not ever dull here."
"That's because all of this is new to you, Dad," Ron explained. "After a few months, the excitement pretty much fades for a newcomer and things settle down into a routine."
Mrs. Stoppable snorted a laugh. "Settle down? Ronald, after hearing all the stories of this place and especially regarding some of your adventures, particularly from Yori, I don't think even you found living here to be totally routine." Her son chuckled, for she spoke the truth.
Hirotaka chuckled as well. "Your mother is quite wise, Stoppable-sama. It is easy to see where you got your wisdom from."
While his mother blushed a bit from the praise, Ron smirked as he faced his friend. "Well, she was sometimes the wisest in the family." Mr. Stoppable did a mock-throat clearing while Mrs. Stoppable giggled at her husband. Yet their blonde son wasn't perturbed, as his smirk became a frown. "And quit using the 'sama' honorary already! You maybe not a master, but this doesn't make me your peer, Hirotaka."
This time Mr. Stoppable really cleared his throat to get his only child's attention. "Son, word of advice here. You better get used to it." Seeing Ron frowned some more, the elder Stoppable man continued before his son could speak up. "I know you don't like the notion of others thinking you're above them, but you've won the respect of many here, especially the younger students. They look up to you as an example of what they could accomplish, and I could easily see in their expressions, wherever you make an appearance, that you've become a role model to them. After all, as Sensei has said, it's rare for anyone to achieve master status as you did."
"Hai," Hirotaka spoke up, this time being serious. "Please do not think we are being disrespectful toward your views. It does you honor you think of us as equals." He gave a small grin. "Your father is correct, though, that many of the younger students look up to you as well as many of the school's staff." His right hand came up to friendly grasped Ron's right shoulder. "You have earned the honorary, my friend."
Sighing, Ron relented with a small grin. "Okay." He raised a finger as Hirotaka released his hand. "Least I've gotten Yori to stop using that honorary. I don't mind 'kun' or 'san', but I will not like it if my wife uses 'sama'." A small snort of a chuckle escaped his lips as he lowered his finger. "I truly want us to be equals, so despite that I'm a master, I don't want her to make me think she's below me."
Both his parents gave warm grins upon hearing his words. Even they agreed marriage should at least be close to equality between the partners. They considered their union as equal, even though she was somewhat the dominant one.
"Well," Hanna began, still grinning at her beloved, grown child, "I'm going to check on Yori and see if she's ready." With that said, she turned to leave.
"Um, Mom?" Ron said perplexed as she opened the shoji door. After she turned around to face him, he continued. "Normally, it's tradition the mother of the groom is not suppose to see the bride on the day of the wedding."
Mrs. Stoppable narrowed her eyes. "Tradition or not, Yori is going to be my daughter-in-law. I want to talk to her before the ceremony." Her hand rose to point a finger at the three men. "Do you have a problem with that, gentlemen?"
Father and son immediately shook their heads saying, "No, no!" and "Not at all," knowing better than to inflict her wrath on them. The young Japanese man simply bowed his head in respect.
"Good," Hanna nodded in satisfaction as she lowered her hand. With an air of feminine superiority, she crossed the threshold and slid the door shut.
As Ron and Mr. Stoppable let out a breath of relief, Hirotaka merely grinned. "Ah, it is good to be single."
Both Stoppable men trained glaring eyes on the Japanese man, who didn't flinch and just continued to grin. Ron swore that when Hirotaka ever get married, he was going to have a sweet time teasing the Japanese ninja mercilessly.
As dark eyes looked into the full-length mirror, steady hands lowered the white tsuno-kakushi hood on top of her head around the bun hair, which was adorned with kanzashi ornaments, combs, and other jeweled accessories. The hood looked more like a large American enlisted sailor's cap with a hole so the hair bun could slip through. Yet for Yori Takana, it was merely the last traditional piece of the bride's wedding attire to be placed on her.
/"Good,"/ Yori's best female friend grinned from the side. /"You look beautiful, Yori-chan."/
Yori nodded with a grin as she examined herself from head to toe in the mirror and was pleased at what she saw. The white shiro-maku bridal kimono covered her from shoulders down to touch the floor around her feet, which was covered in white stockings and encased in high-heel platform, white, vinyl Zori sandals with white velvet thongs. The woven patterns on the kimono could barely be seen to the naked eye.
Turning from the mirror to her best friend, who was her Maid of Honor, Yori spread the hem of the kimono's skirt the best she could, given the heavy material. /"Hai. I'm ready now, Kagome-chan."/
/"Not exactly,"/ Kagome smirked before handing over three items for the bride to wear — a small fan to be placed in Yori's obi belt, a small hakoseko purse to carry, and a small kaiken-encased sword, which Yori placed in the obi belt from the other side of the fan. Afterward, Kagome smiled. /"Now you are ready."/
/"That is good,"/ Yori sighed with a tiresome grin. /"I don't think I could carry anymore weight on me."/
Kagome, with long hair in a ponytail, gently laughed. /"Just be grateful that Yamanouchi has a shiro-maku gown that fits you, my friend, or else you would have asked your fiancé to buy one for you."/
Yori giggled, for it was true. Today, it would have cost up to 25,000 American dollars to purchase a shiro-maku kimono alone. Given the very expensive costs to have a Shinto wedding, most Japanese couples opted for a simple Western style wedding, which was more easily affordable. Knowing Ron-san's huge wealth, she knew he wouldn't have minded paying the bill for a Shinto wedding; however, her blonde man was lucky that Yamanouchi did have everything needed for a Shinto wedding without needing to buy them. The only exception she knew was for Ron-san's black haori, which was bought with a special order to embroider his family emblem onto the back.
/"Kagome-chan speaks the truth,"/ a matured female voice spoke from behind. Both women turned to face the most eldest woman in Yamanouchi. /"You are indeed fortunate that the school could have the means to perform a Shinto wedding,"/ she said with face crinkling in amusement before it frowned. /"It saddens me that the old traditions are fading from our society."/
Giving an understanding and slightly sad grin, Yori nodded her head. /"Hai. It is sad, Nooni-sama, yet can we blame most people for not going through a Shino wedding because it costs too much?"/ Her head shook a little as she sighed. /"The old traditions are still being carried out, just rarely done today."/
The Master Lunch Lady of Yamanouchi, as Ron-san called her, scoffed. /"'Rarely done'? More like being ignored to me. The youngsters today are mostly going the ways of the West, and it makes me wonder whether anyone will still remember the old ways by the time you are my age, Yori-chan,"/ she finished with a finger pointed to bride.
A small chuckle escaped both young women's lips. /"We will adapt the best we can as society changes, Nooni-sama,"/ Yori kindly stated.
Taking a look at her maid of honor and the senior woman, Yori was glad to have them both to represent her in the ceremony.
Kagome, still being single, was wearing a colorful, pink/red furisode kimono. After she had graduated from Yamanouchi four years ago, she'd decided to go to college for a higher education. Today, the young lady has a bachelor degree in Ancient Cultures & History. Upon receiving Yori's request to be her maid of honor, Kagome had ditched a trip to Egypt to accept the role and spend a week with her friend before the wedding.
Nooni currently was wearing a tomesode kimono, for she was to act as the mother of the bride. True, she was not blood-related to Yori, yet she and Sensei were the closest the young woman has to an adopted mother and father. Yori's mother Akane had died from disease when she was ten, and her father died also from disease when she was four. Her uncle, being a graduate of Yamanouchi, had asked Sensei to give Yori residence at Yamanouchi, and since then, Yori has called the age-old school home.
A knock from the door interrupted Yori's thoughts. /"Come in."/
The shoji door slowly slid open to allow Mrs. Stoppable to peek her head in with a sheepish grin. "I don't understand Japanese, Yori, but I presume you said I could enter, right?"
"Hai," Yori warmly smiled at the matriarch of the Stoppable family. "Please enter."
After entering Yori's quarters, Mrs. Stoppable closed the door before walking over to her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. "I've just come from Ron's quarters. He's getting nervous, and I have no doubt he wants to get this over with." She matched Yori's warm, amused expression. "I know it's against your tradition for the mother of the groom to see the bride before the wedding, but I want to check on you and see how you are doing."
"I am doing okay, Hanna-sa…. Hanna," she amended. In the past week as Yori had gotten to know Ron's mother, Mrs. Stoppable kept insisting she call her 'Hanna' without the honorary. It was not easy to undo years of automatic instincts of using honoraries, but Yori was trying for Ron's mother, and the elder woman, after the first couple of days, came to adore the Japanese woman, especially since she had seen how Yori treated her beloved son with honor, dignity, and love.
"That's good to hear," Hanna replied before gently taking hold of Yori's right arm. "Now tell me how you really are feeling."
Yori sighed with a small grin. "I am a little nervous," she admitted.
"And why shouldn't you?" Hanna softly chuckled. "Today is a big day for you. You're going to be married, and I know it will not be easy at first, yet when the day progresses, you'll find everything is going to be okay in the end."
"Hai," Nooni added with a knowing grin. "I remembered the time I wedded my late husband. It was not simple at first, but after the ceremony, we found the path was smoothed."
Hanna nodded in agreement at the elder Japanese woman before returning to Yori. "Even I had the jitters at first before I walked down the aisle, and only after I said 'I do' did everything become easy." Her hand reassuringly squeezed the younger woman's arm. "You'll be fine, Yori."
Giving a thankful expression, Yori nodded once before her future mother-in-law removed her hand, and then the 24-year-old woman turned to face the mirror to inspect herself once more. Her wedding outfit was in place. Simple make-up of light blush, light pink lipstick, and light blue eye shadow was on her face; she had opted not to powder her entire face white as was tradition. Her hand came up to pat the complex style bun on her head.
Upon seeing what her son's fiancée was doing, Mrs. Stoppable took a closer look at the hairstyle Yori was currently wearing. "Is that really your hair, Yori, or are you wearing a wig as I read most Japanese women have to wear when doing a Shinto wedding?"
"It is my hair, Hanna," Yori answered as she removed her hand from her head. "My hair is long enough for it to be pinned up closely to the bunkin-takashimada style."
"And it will stay that way, if you do not touch it, Yori-chan," Kagome kindly scolded with a huff. "Nooni-sama and I spent more than hour preparing your hair. All our work will be undone if you touch it any further."
"Okay," Yori obeyed with a supportive voice. "I certainly do not want to undo all your hard work, Kagome-chan." Both young women giggled, while the two elder women just softly grinned.
Just then, all four ladies heard the distinctive sound of the school's gong, and they knew it was now time. The constant gong chimes were the signal to all that the ceremony was about to start, and everyone was to go to the shrine to attend the service.
The twinkling brown eyes of the groom's mother held onto the dark ones of the bride. "Are you ready now, Yori?"
"Hai," Yori replied with confidence this time, her face radiating. "I am ready."
As Kagome assisted Yori in keeping the train of the bridal kimono up so she would not trip over it, Mrs. Stoppable opened the shoji door for the others, and once everyone walked out the door, the door was shut before they all made way out of the living quarters building toward the school's shrine.
Despite the fact that it was still technically summer time with the Fall Equinox not for another week, the high mountain elevation of the school made it felt like spring with mild temperatures that were comfortable instead of unbearable heat one would have experienced in the valleys below. It was a beautiful day for a wedding with the trees green and the air crisped with a slight breeze.
So with the weather wonderfully cooperating, the many students and facility members of Yamanouchi made their way toward the school's Shinto shrine in their kimonos. The shrine was not huge compared to those in Japan's big major cities, but it was large enough to accommodate 100 people with breathing room. Yet it could closely handle an additional 100, but only if people were shoulder-to-shoulder and packed like sardines, much like Tokyo subways during the morning and evening work commutes. However, given the back area of the shrine was needed for the ceremony, only an additional 50 were allowed to enter with those left to look through the front doors. Inside, the students and school's support staff lined up in three rows on either side of the building up to the area where the ceremony was to be performed. The first row of people were to sit on small stools, while the last two were to stand, thus the men gentlemanly allowed the women to sit on the stools while they stood. A small aisle was freed of people from the front doors up to the ceremony area, and no one faced forward, given the ceremony called for people to face sideways with only the groom and bride facing forward toward the shrine's altar platform.
It seemed like almost the entire school was crowded in and outside the Shinto shrine, for no one wanted to miss this wedding. By tradition, only family members and close friends of the groom and bride were allowed to observe the wedding ceremony. Yet given Yori had no blood relatives now who cared about her, she considered Yamanouchi to be home and family, so everyone was welcomed to bear witness for her and Ron, who didn't want to invite his extended family from America, just his parents. It was an invitation one would be crazy to refuse.
When it was clear the shrine could hold all it could and everyone was ready, the Shinto priest, in his white robes and tall black hat, entered the building through the left side door. He was an elderly man roughly a decade younger than Sensei. After he had graduated from Yamanouchi decades ago, the man had decided to stay to study to be a priest, and since then, he had risen to become the keeper of Yamanouchi's Shinto shrine.
The priest stood in front of a small table, which sat center-lined to the front doors and situated not far from the center raised platform. His being in position was a signal to a small band of flute and drum players near one corner to begin playing, and once the gentle music began, everyone became quiet as they all turned their heads to face the priest, while those outside the front doors looked inside.
After another minute or two passed, Nooni, through the left side door, and Hanna Stoppable, through the right side door, walked into the shrine opposite each other. Nooni was followed by Sensei, wearing a red haori and gray hakama pants, while Donald Stoppable followed his wife. Nooni and Sensei, reaching a point, bore to the left and stopped in behind two small stools, and at the same time, Hanna and Donald bore to right at a certain point and halted behind their stools. Both couples faced each other with the priest and table between them at a respective distance.
Only after the elderly couples were in position did the bride and groom follow their paths through the side doors with the best man and maid of honor immediately trailing behind. All four passed the parents of the bride and groom toward the table.
For Ron and Yori, this was the first time either of them had seen each other in their wedding attire. For the Japanese woman, she thought he looked handsome in the black haori and hakama pants. For the American man, he was awestruck seeing her in the white shiro-maku kimono, and he couldn't help but think she was very beautiful.
While Ron and Yori, each producing a radiant smile at the other, halted together in front of the table, Hirotaka and Kagome stopped off the sides of the table. Then the bride and groom turned to face the small table and took a few steps to stand behind small stools, while the best man and maid of honor did the same yet they stood facing the bride and groom.
The flute and drum music played for another minute before it faded away, and only then did the wedding party and the first row of people on either side of the aisle sit down on their stools. Afterward, the priest, who warmly grinned down at the young couple, began the ceremony.
"With joyful hearts," the priest looked around at everyone in the shrine, "we are gathered here today to witness the bonding of Ronald Stoppable and Yori Takana with loving relatives and friends at every side. This ceremony is a reaffirmation of what is already known in this young couple's hearts, and we ask that harmony, love, and equality prevail in their lives."
Picking up a stick with paper streamers attached to one end, the priest began a purification ritual of all present as the band played soft flute music. Starting with Ron and Yori, he waved the streamers, while chanting, over their heads to keep away evil spirits and to purify the couple. He then proceeded to do the same toward Kagome, Hirotaka, the Stoppables, Sensei, Nooni, and finally to everyone else as he walked down the aisle toward the front while waving the streamers before returning to stand behind the small table.
The priest put down the stick and started a ritualistic prayer in Japanese that lasted a couple of minutes before addressing the young couple. "Ron," he looked at the American man, "Yori," he then looked at the Japanese woman before looking at both, "I ask you consider this: You live your lives to realize oneness as husband and wife. Happiness and unhappiness, joyfulness and sadness are coming and going just like the high tide and the low tide. You live your lives to realize impermanence: Life is ever changing and to resist the changing is to resist life. You live your lives to realize your responsibility in everything you say, you do, and you think. By striving to realize these things, you commit your lives and your work for the benefit of people – to your families, to your friends, and to the people of your community."
The priest trained his eyes on Ron. "With these words as guiding lights in your marriage life, do you, Ronald Stoppable, take this woman, Yori Tanaka, as your lawfully wedded wife?"
Ron's shining, brown eyes turned to locked onto the smiling dark ones of Yori's. "I do."
Facing Yori, who kept her eyes on Ron's, the priest continued. "With these words as guiding lights in your marriage life, do you, Yori Takana, take this man, Ronald Stoppable, as your lawfully wedded husband?"
"I do," Yori answered without hesitation, her face glowing.
Smiling at the love passing between the pair, the priest gestured a hand to each. "You may now exchange words and tokens to show your promise to one another."
Twisting his torso to the right toward his best man, Ron took the gold ring from Hirotaka's hand before coming back to Yori. His beloved watched his hand place the ring onto her left ring finger right next to her engagement ring, and when he began speaking, her eyes again focused on his. "Yori… Until you entered my life again, I thought I would not ever feel beloved and cherished ever again with another. Yet you proved to me that I can feel beloved and cherished again, and I will vow to stay by your side until death do us part. I love you, and I will forever do so."
Feeling her heart bursting upon his words, Yori, fondly smiling, turned to pick up the gold ring from a grinning Kagome. Facing her love, she placed the ring on his left ring finger as he watched before their eyes connected once more. "Ron-kun… When you reentered my life, I thought my world was going to be unraveled in confusion. However, you brought completion and joy to my being. My heart sings to forever be by your side through the lightness and the darkness that has yet to come." Her smile broadened. "I love you, and I will forever do so."
Their words of love and promise to one another made many smile. Mrs. Stoppable held her husband's hand as a few tears escaped her eyes, and even some teenage female students shed a few tears at the romantic sentiments Ron and Yori produced in them.
Seeing they were finished, the Shinto priest reached down under the table to pick up a tray, containing a small kettle and three red flat cups, escalating in size, as they were stacked on top of each other from the biggest to the smallest. Placing down the tray on the table in front of Ron and Yori symbolized the start of the San San Kudo ritual.
Ron took the smallest cup, which was on top of the stack, and placed it down on the table, before Yori took the small kettle and poured some saké (rice wine) into the cup. Raising the cup to his lips, the groom took three sips of saké before handing it to the bride, who also took three sips before placing the cup down on the table. They repeated the procedure with the middle size cup and last, the large one. After Yori placed down the large cup, she refilled it before handing it to the priest who rose and took the cup to Ron's parents who each took a sip of wine. The priest then walked to the other side to hand the cup to Sensei and Nooni, who each also took a sip. Afterward, the priest returned to place the cup on the table, thus ending the saké toast ceremony.
The priest next turned to walk up the platform toward the sacred altar, and Ron and Yori stood up together and each walked around the table opposite each other before coming together at the platform and together they walked up toward the altar. With the priest off to one side, the young man and woman offered tamagushi (sacred twigs) at the altar before they bowed together. Only then they together returned to their seats with the priest following to stand behind the table again.
"Ron and Yori," the priest grandly began, "has displayed strongly the union of their hearts and souls, and their families acknowledged their unity as well as the unity of the two families." His merry eyes came to rest on the bride and groom. "I pronounce you, husband and wife." His lips quirked a bit. "You may embrace and kiss."
Looking at each other with joyous expressions, Ron and Yori didn't linger as they quickly connected their lips together hard and deep with her left hand behind head and his hands on her shoulders.
Applause and cheer erupted around the kissing couple, who were momentarily lost in each other. Ron's mother released a few tears as she and her husband held hands and beamed at the just-married pair. Sensei and Nooni just grinned warmly. Even after Ron and Yori's lips parted, the clapping and cheering continued, making both chuckle as they smiled fully at each other.
The Shinto priest stood up which prompted the wedding party to rise, followed by everyone else in the shrine. The elderly priest lifted his palms up to signify silence, and once everyone complied, he lowered his hands. "I give you the newly wedded couple, Ronald and Yori Stoppable! May their life together be long and fruitful!"
Once again the entire shrine broke out in thunderous applause as Ron and Yori smiled at everyone around them before their gazes fell on each other. With hearts bursting, they once more kissed, feeling their love quite powerfully.
After they broke the kiss, the band began to play, before the married couple led their wedding party and their parents down the aisle toward the front doors of the shrine as the cheering and clapping carried on around them. Just before reaching the front doors, a male student near the door gave Ron a red Japanese paper umbrella, and when they left the shrine, the blonde opened it to cover both himself and his wife as they proceeded toward the large open courtyard of the school where the reception celebration was to take place.
Continue in Chapter 2