Author's Notes- New fic. I hope you'll forgive me since I haven't updated any ongoing fics in almost two years. You may expect updates of The Beginning of Tomorrow and In More Ways Than One in upcoming weeks, as well as possibly Honor to Us All. However, I can't make any promises. I am only now getting back into fanfic writing. This story isn't much like anything I've ever done before. Although the first chapter is rather lighthearted with just some serious undertones, the tone of the story once it delves into the plot will be very dramatic and at times quite angsty. I promise a happy ending though. It's no dark fic by any means. Characters featured prominently in this story will be Kagome and InuYasha (obviously), Kouga, and of course Sango, Miroku, and Kohaku.
Kagome and InuYasha are five years older in this story, so please allow for a natural maturation of their characters, as well as a much more extensive modern knowledge than he has now for IY.
Edit: Sorry for deleting this and re-uploading it. I revised a lot of things. Thank you to Neyssa and Kyosbeads for your reviews on the original upload. I saved them to my hard drive and much appreciated them.
Translation: Tadaima- I'm home. Okaeri- Welcome home. Hakama and Haori- like the navy and white outfit Jiichan wears as shrine caretaker. Shoji- Sliding door. Karei Shio-yaki- Flat fish with salt. More notes at the end of the chapter.
By Kelly O'Connor
"You want me to do what?"
"I figured you'd be the best person to ask," InuYasha explained. "It costs money to get it done in Kagome's world."
"I see, but it seems like an odd request of you."
Miroku and InuYasha were situated in the village hut he had taken up residence in with his wife Sango and her brother Kohaku. Five years had passed since the defeat of Naraku, and Kaede's village had remained the central meeting place of the group of friends that had caused his demise. InuYasha and Kagome had made their home at the Higurashi shrine. He was content with assisting in maintaining the shrine, while Kagome had attended high school, and now university.
"Keh! I'm not just doing it impulsively," InuYasha crossed his arms indignantly.
The Houshi gave him a bemused look, "I figured that was not the case. Is it a tradition in Kagome-sama's world?"
"I don't know if it's a tradition, but it seems to be something you do once you're ready to settle down," he clarified, "I've never seen anyone who has settled down with it like mine."
"So it is something seen as a youthful deviation?"
"I don't know. Here in this world, I'm considered an adult just because I'm old enough. In Kagome's, I'm not," InuYasha sat down beside the fire pit by his friend, "There are things you have to do to be thought of as an adult in her world. I can't go to school or get a job, like most people would."
"But you are twenty old," Miroku seemed genuinely bewildered.
"I know! I know it's strange. But people live longer there and so they grow up slower," InuYasha elucidated. "Why do think we haven't… you know, yet."
InuYasha's cheeks turned pink and he fingered the small box he'd carried with him in the front of his shirt all day, "Yeah… and I want Kagome to know that I'm ready to be an adult in her world."
"To show her how serious you are when you finally ask her. Very well, is this the only way you can think to do it?"
"Yeah okay? I can't get a job or anything, so I'll just look it." His eyes narrowed in frustration. "Oi, you act like it's such a big deal."
Miroku chuckled, "I suppose it's not. It is just that it's been this way since I met you, and I have to admit this is a bit of an odd plan."
"Bah, it's always been this long." Reaching into a small bag he'd brought with him through the well, InuYasha pulled out two straight-edged razors and a wrinkled picture hastily ripped out of a magazine. "Just don't cut it too short, do it like this picture."
Miroku took the items from InuYasha and surveyed the picture. "Kagome-sama is the one who never asked you to change, and yet it's her you keep changing yourself for. I am sure Kagome-sama does not mind that you look somewhat childish in her world. You know she has never cared about what others think of you."
"You know it's not like that, Miroku," InuYasha shook his head and turned around, his back to the monk, "It's never been about me. It's always been for her."
"I understand," the older man surveyed the expanse of waist length black hair in front of him, and began steadily gleaning it from the bottom with the razor. "You are very fortunate that Kagome-sama does as well."
The household was silent when InuYasha came back to Kagome's era, his request that the family go out for the night having been blessedly answered. Kagome, who he of course wanted to come home, was at her late afternoon class and would return shortly after sunset, at six 'o' clock.
Mama Higurashi had, upon his request, cooked a meal of Karei Shio-yaki which she'd placed in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Reheating instructions, written in simple Japanese so InuYasha could understand them, were taped to the refrigerator door.
Six 'minutes' on the microwave to reheat… He glanced at the digital clock that he'd learned how to read over time. 5:15 right now, so I'll go get ready first.
The Higurashi house had four bedrooms, so InuYasha did not have one of his own. Truthfully, he spent most of his time in Kagome's room or downstairs. However, they'd erected a sleeping futon for him and a section of the closet to store his limited belongings in Souta's bedroom. He did not have an extensive wardrobe of modern clothing, as he did not have the desire to try and wear new things that the people of Kagome's era did. In addition, when he was tending the shrine grounds during the day, he usually wore hakama and a haori, or his fire-rat outfit (which he was wearing at the moment). For tonight, he grabbed his 'special occasion' clothes off their hanger, a long sleeved blue dress shirt and a pair of khaki slacks. This was something he'd worn out on dinners with Kagome or her family and to events like her high school graduation. He then rushed downstairs to take a quick shower.
Upon entering the bathroom, InuYasha caught a glance of his reflection in the mirror. His eyes widened as he turned fully to face the mirror, startled at how different he looked. It was the first time since he came home that InuYasha consciously registered that he'd just returned from asking his friend to hack all his hair off. Turning away towards the shower and taking care not to glimpse back, InuYasha sighed. I don't really have time for this…
Whereas it had taken him several minutes to wet his hair and wash it with Kagome's 'shampoo' before, he finished in only a fraction of that time now. He ascertained soon thereafter that blow drying (which he had learned to do on one of his earlier visits to Kagome's era), was a much less tedious task as well.
It doesn't look bad, he observed as he buttoned up his shirt and stood in front of the mirror once again. Miroku had not cut it particularly short, just as InuYasha had requested. It was still shaggy and since his bangs were still intact, fell around his face in the same manner. Nevertheless, he was unable to decide if it made him look more adult.
However, his hair was the least of his worries. For the first time that day, InuYasha noticed how anxious he appeared. Oh he'd felt it, but he was hoping it wasn't visible on his countenance. He was sure that fidgeting with the ring box in his pocket was not helping the situation, but toying with it had been a nervous habit he'd been engaging in since he'd picked it up with Mama Higurashi earlier that day. Taking a deep breath and attempting to calm himself, InuYasha pulled his hand from his pocket and headed to the kitchen to heat up their dinner.
"Tadaima," Kagome's voice called from the foyer at a few minutes past six. In the kitchen, where he was grabbing two sets of chopsticks, InuYasha froze.
"Okaeri," he responded several moments later. "Umm, can you go the living room?" His voice cracked fretfully.
"Neh? You don't sound good," Kagome hung her coat up on the rack and walked towards the living room. "Are you sick?"
InuYasha, you idiot, he berated himself. "Oi, I'm fine. I'll be out in a moment." Forcefully, InuYasha halted his hand from going to the pocket with the engagement ring in it. Needing something else to do to satisfy his nervous twitch, his arm wandered to the back of his head, where he rubbed the now bare nape of his neck.
Before he could register the sound of the shoji sliding open, Kagome stepped in the kitchen, unbidden. He dropped the chopsticks in alarm. "InuYasha are you…" Her eyes widened as she surveyed his appearance, "EH?"
Chopsticks forgotten by both of them, Kagome stepped forward and blinked, to be sure she was seeing him right. "Your… hair."
InuYasha suddenly felt very awkward, and very much like he may have made a stupid decision. He wasn't sure if Kagome was upset or just perplexed, so he tried to formulate the best response for both. "It's just hair…"
"Well I know, but why did you do it? I doubt you just wanted to try something new," Kagome reached up and ran her fingers through its length.
The young man flinched, "I had Miroku do it," he rubbed the nape of his neck once more.
"Okay," Kagome slowed up, as InuYasha was plainly being avoidant of giving her an answer, "What would possess you to ask Miroku to chop off over half a meter of hair then?"
InuYasha decided to at last pick up the chopsticks from the floor, and made his way over to the sink to clean them off. Moron! Just talk to her.
"I can't tell you right now," he bit his lip, "Umm… does it bother you?"
"It's a little strange, I have to admit," Kagome was now next to him at the sink, "Okay… it's really strange."
"Does it look bad?" InuYasha frowned. Damn Miroku better not have messed it up…
Kagome waved her hands in front of her, "No, no. It really looks very nice on you," she switched her gaze to the ground, "It's just surprising and… well, I always did love your long hair."
"Eh, you did?"
"Yeah, it was… different, in a good way. It doesn't matter though," she shrugged, "I'm really just curious as to why you did it." Kagome planted a kiss on his cheek. "You have made far bigger decisions without me than just cutting your hair."
InuYasha knew to what she referred to and felt his nervousness flare up.
"But it seems to be bugging you? You keep playing with the hair at the back of your neck," Kagome discerned.
"Well it feels weird, the weight's not there. But… it's not that." Dammit, the middle of the kitchen isn't exactly where I'd envisioned doing this. But… I'm kind of stuck now. He closed his eyes and exhaled. "Kagome… I… wanted to show you that I'm ready to become an adult in your world." Fuck that sounded stupid.
"So you… cut your hair?" InuYasha nodded and Kagome began to piece things together. "Because generally it's only young people who wear their hair long in my time?"
"I can't go to school or work…"
"You do work," she countered.
"I mean a paying job, like you're going to get," InuYasha clarified.
"You help keep the shrine in business, and the shrine is what is paying the bills for my family," she elucidated. "InuYasha, you do more to bring in money than me or Souta, because we're still in school."
Kagome sighed, "InuYasha, I don't know what got into your head that made you think you're not enough of an adult, but I think you're plenty grown up."
InuYasha was feeling increasingly less assured of his actions.
"So you looked younger than you are with long hair?" She placed her hand on his arm. "You really don't look any older with it short."
Desperate for a retort, as he was feeling more and more like his plan had failed, InuYasha grabbed her shoulders and wrapped his arms around her fiercely.
"I want to marry you!" He blurted loudly, before his mind could even register what had left his mouth.
Kagome's eyes widened, near speechless, "Wha…"
"I wanted to be seen as an adult by you and your world… so when I asked you, you'd know how serious I was." His voice lowered considerably, and it wavered with every word.
"InuYasha you didn't have--- "
He pulled away from the embrace and reached in his pocket, gulping so as to return his voice to normal.
"Please Kagome," he tried to stop his face from flushing and steadied his movements. "Let me be yours?"
It was a perfectly InuYasha proposal, Kagome thought as he flipped open the velvet box to reveal the solitaire diamond ring within. Let me be yours, not Will you be mine. Kagome always came first, and years of rejection and insecurity made it so that her wanting him was most important.
It took her a moment to fully process the scene in front of her, but it was her eyes glossing over with tears that brought her back down to earth. "InuYasha I… I love you," she took the ring box and leapt towards him, arms around his neck and lips against his.
InuYasha struggled to keep his balance, but then his eyes slid closed and he returned the kiss, sharing this one perfect moment. A rush of relief flooded over him.
When they pulled apart, Kagome pressed her nose against his and smiled impishly. "Just do me one favor?"
"Keh! You know I'd do anything for you."
Kagome's mischievous grin disappeared and she grew serious. "You have already done everything for me InuYasha, given up everything."
Pulling her down and hugging her tightly to his chest, InuYasha replied, "I don't mind Kagome. I don't have any regrets about what I did four years ago."
"I was so angry when you did it…" she reflected, "I thought, what did I do that was so horrible to make you think you had to change to be with me? That… you didn't understand that all along I loved you as you were."
He pressed his face into her hair and breathed in its scent, "I couldn't have done it if I hadn't understood that."
"I know that now."
"I never thought of changing to be with you. I knew I could be with you as things were," he reiterated, "I changed so you could live… freely in your era and without the threat of danger. When you were hurt so badly protecting it," he winced at the memory, "I remembered how I'd vowed to end the curse of the Shikon no Tama."
He lifted her chin up and smiled lightly, "Being human is a small price to pay to complete that vow. I'm used to it now and I don't need anything else to live in your era that I don't have like this. You would have protected that jewel until the day you died, and never looked for a way out of your duty. I know you Kagome."
Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she returned the smile and looked into his violet eyes. "You are such a good man, InuYasha."
"Hmph, if I am, it's only because I met you."
"But please remember, you don't need to do anything more than be yourself." His eyes widened as Kagome took the box she'd hastily grabbed before, and removed the ring, sliding it on her finger.
He felt a wave of emotion come over him as she surveyed the ring. Calming down his beating heart, he recalled what had started the conversation. "Umm, what was that favor anyway?"
Kagome's grin grew playful once again, "I would really like if you would grow your hair back out, unless you don't want to."
"Oi, is that it?" Kagome nodded. "But that's gonna take forever, considering how long it was."
Kagome shrugged and led him out to the now likely lukewarm meal that was spread out on the table. "Forever is good; we have the rest of our lives."
"Yeah, I guess we do," and for InuYasha, that was the most remarkable thought in the world.
From now on, nothing could go wrong.
But in the back of the shrine house InuYasha spent most every day taking care of, a different future was foretold for him and Kagome, covered in dust and awaiting discovery. And if it this was indeed a true history, their legend was only beginning.
-Hair was cut with razors, not scissors way back when. While InuYasha would have access to scissors, I had him bring razors because Miroku would be familiar with those. Razor cutting is still an often practiced art of cutting hair (it supposedly makes for cleaner and healthier cuts than scissors), but I wanted to make it clear that there's no shaving going on here. It's just what they used to slice hair.
-There are some traditions that involve a man cutting his hair when he is ready to settle down/marry. I meant to imply this kind of vibe in the fic, without IY following any actual tradition. I have to admit that the idea of IY with shorter hair was a difficult mental image for me to adjust to, but now it's rather grown on me.
-IY being human in this story is an absolutely huge crux of his character. It would not have been possible for me to write this fic and keep him hanyou, so I apologize to anyone who doesn't like that series outcome. His story is only brushed upon in this chapter, although it's still pretty easy to see what happened in at least some vague detail. However, the story of what happened four years ago will be revealed in more detail as this story continues.
-When IY refers to his vow to end the evil caused by the jewel, he is referring to a line in volume ten at the end of the chapter "Birth of the Jewel." If the jewel's fate repeatedly returns things to evil, then I with my own hands will sever that fate.