No Kiss for Kagome?

Sesshoumaru had not needed to hear Jaken's squawk to know that Kagome had returned to Inuyasha after three years. For one, he could see it for himself and secondly she had had the temerity to call out to him as her brother-in-law. As he peered disdainfully at her he wondered why she had referred to him as such; it was obvious to him as he took a discreet sniff, that both she and Inuyasha were still innocent pups when it came to the carnal intimacies, they were not yet mated.

That however was no surprise to him; the girl had not arrived until a couple of days ago at least, she had not been there when he had last visited Rin. They were sitting together in companionship however and he did not doubt for one second that they would soon be bonded; it must have been the reason for her presence and the answer for his little brother's determination in his heart that Kagome would come back to him.

Sesshoumaru had to admit he was gratified to see that the Miko had returned to his young brother; the siblings had not called a truce in so many words but it was well understood that they had come to a peaceful plateau in their relationship. Inuyasha trusted in his brother's honour and felt safe from attack as was evident by the fact he was unperturbed now whenever Sesshoumaru flew overhead; not even reaching subconsciously for Tessaiga. Who knew but that in time a more recognisable brotherly affection might arise; one that would be the dearest wish of their father fulfilled.

Sesshoumaru would not deny any longer that it was a possibility; after all, he trusted Inuyasha also, by letting Rin stay in the whelp's village in the care of the fairly respectable human miko who had willingly agreed to shelter the child in her own home. It had been a prudent decision to leave the child with humans who would care and teach her; she had been weaned off her complete dependency on his person since he had left her and Jaken when he went to fight Magatsuhi alone.

He still visited her regularly and bought the girl gifts; she was after all his responsibility and he realised that she needed contact with him as well as the humans, for her to grow up balanced and suitable as his ward. Besides she was coming to an age where she would need the Miko to explain her body changes to her; something he most certainly was not going to do.

Rin's ultimate choice when she was older would be to stay in the village and perhaps live the rest of her life there, or to accompany him in whatever capacity he could think of. But her loyalty and complete love for him deserved the recognition of choice. Sesshoumaru could not forget the time he had rescued her from the hound of hell and found out that she had died; never to come back to him, at least not by his own ability. His Lady Mother of all people had taken pity on his unshed tears and returned the child to life for him then, but would not do so again.

Since that time Rin's place in his heart was acknowledged and her care was all important. Of course she had objected to the arrangement, he would have been perturbed had she not; but she would obey him and had since settled in most amiably as he too kept his end of the bargain by his frequent visits. He enjoyed choosing the little gifts to please her and never questioned even in the most secret places inside just why he felt so much for the child.

There had been no objection and no demands off him for the safety of Rin from the humans; the one called Sango and the old miko Kaede had made her welcome at once, Inuyasha however had vanished when his brother had requested that the child stay. Pausing only briefly to consider the reasons why the boy had disappeared, Sesshoumaru found him in the branches of Goshinboku.

"You would not begrudge the girl a home in the village Inuyasha, under your protection would you?"

"Feh, I don't care who lives here so long as they don't cause problems."

"She will be of no concern in that way; Rin became my responsibility when I raised her with Tenseiga. I have grown fond of her since."

"I know."

"Such a young human was vulnerable; Rin was alone when she found me."

"I was alone when you left me and I know first hand how vulnerable a human child is Sesshoumaru; I was one once a month for many years, remember?" Inuyasha turned to look at the sky through the canopy of leaves and sighed; with Kagome gone and Sango pregnant and about to start a family with Miroku, he was destined to be alone once more.

"You would rather I had treated her as cruelly as I did you?"

"Of course not, no one deserves that."

"Perhaps I sought atonement in assuming responsibility and care for her; it was too late to do the same for you."

"Whatever; makes no difference to me now." With that Inuyasha bounded off back to the village leaving Sesshoumaru to think over what had been said. It didn't matter, there was plenty of time for them to change and become reconciled, if it was desired and he knew that Inuyasha still cared about him, the pup could never hide what he was thinking from the older one. Sesshoumaru would ask Rin to keep an eye on Inuyasha; the child could be trusted to be discreet and would be cheerful company if the hanyou felt alone.

As he was walking off to follow his brother and bid goodbye to Rin the well caught his attention and he went to take a look; faintly but definitely, he could feel that the magic was still sleeping but had not dissipated. It might mean nothing but he would still inform Inuyasha; it might give him added incentive to stay in the vicinity if he ever got the bad idea to go away alone. Not that he would for many years, his Inu nature would keep him loyally hoping and waiting even against the odds.

And so it proved; Rin grew and thrived under Kaede's care and Sesshoumaru's visits, she was a source of comfort for Inuyasha who was drawn to the happy little girl who reminded him of his Kagome and she was able to do the same, as she reflected how alike in so many ways the lonely boy was to her beloved Lord.

Over the next couple of years a pattern was established in the village life shared by humans and those with youkai blood. There was the birth of the twin girls who were especially cute and soon came to adore their parent's 'doggy' friend; much to his secret pleasure, even though he would scowl at the pair who completely ignored his ferocious look. He and Miroku would earn their money in mainly honest ways and worked well together as a team and when Miroku and Sango settled down for the evening with their family, Inuyasha would go and be welcomed by Kaede to her hearth. Here the old friends would sit in quiet silence or he would listen to the gentle chat with Rin.

Invariably though Inuyasha would leave them as the night progressed but before the women settled to sleep and he would stroll around the village as it closed its doors and windows; watching as the lights went out around him, leaving him with his own thoughts. His feet regularly took him to the well and then to the boughs of Goshinboku where he would eventually settle for sleep himself.

Sesshoumaru would return regularly for his visits which also served to tell any other youkai or bandits that his protection or at least his interest was in the village, which of course then benefited from less attacks apart from it being Inuyasha's home. When he appeared, Rin would go and spend the afternoon with him and pick flowers, play or dance as she had used to do and she would chat with Jaken while he told her of the things they had done or accomplished since the last visit. Sesshoumaru would sit and look away into the distance while listening intently; sometimes Rin would throw a comment or two his way but rarely received or expected an answer.

Later she would come to him and sit near and tell him how things were in the village how her life was progressing and how Inuyasha was keeping. Sesshoumaru didn't need to be told that the kitsune had often followed Inuyasha at night when everyone else slept and the hanyou kept his silent vigil by the well. The Daiyoukai knew that the pup often wept privately when he was alone and missed the girl from the future; the scent of his tears was heavy in the area, but Inuyasha had never let his friends know the true depth of his sorrow.

Sesshoumaru had mentioned that the well still contained magic and it had left Inuyasha with the confirmed opinion that the reason Kagome had not returned was because she was happy without him in the future. She had been returned to her overjoyed family and he had just got to see them reunited before he was pulled back to his own time. That too had left him feeling a bit jealous; everyone else had loving family but him, he was back where he started.

But then he pulled himself together and reasoned that he was no longer a snivelling orphaned whelp; now he had friends and a home, even his brother was not aggressive anymore. It was small consolation for the loss of his desired mate but it was still a good feeling, especially when Sesshoumaru would sometimes even take time to spar with him.

Then after three years the miracle had happened, Inuyasha had scented Kagome and before she could make her own way out of the well he had reached down and pulled her out. They stared at each other, their gazes intense and saying everything that words could not; and if anyone could have seen them they would have been entranced at the depth of love their hearts spoke at the time. In that moment commitment was made to each other without any doubts and they both turned shyly to welcome the rest of the gang.

Of course there was much catching up to do between the friends and the three small children to play with and admire. But the next night was just for Kagome and Inuyasha to talk together and was perfect as it was the moonless night and Inuyasha was human and more able to tell Kagome how he felt. They had been open with each other and far more at ease than ever before; Kagome told him how she had thought of him every day, until it had grown so painful that she had told her mother that she only wanted to be with him and the well had opened to her.

They had cried together about the loneliness each had felt from their forced separation and the heartbreak they had both hidden from friends and family; the despair of never seeing one another again. But each suspected that both Mama and Sesshoumaru knew that they were putting on an act for the benefit of others. Kagome soothed away the guilt he felt when he realised the well was sealed and that Kagome was now deprived of her family, assuring him that she had her mother's and everyone's blessings and understanding. She had been able to say goodbye.

Inuyasha asked her if he could court her properly now and was able to speak of his love for her without faltering. In turn Kagome took the binding spell off the rosary around his neck; leaving the beads on at his request, they had been such a memory of her that he would finger them while he thought of her and feel that she was not so far away. He had done that especially while sitting at the foot of Goshinboku; knowing that the tree was alive in Kagome's time and that they had been connected once through it; it had never happened again, but he had tried to remain optimistic.

The next time Sesshoumaru visited Rin he noted that the young couple were still unmated and acting only as close friends; a fact he casually noted to his ward knowing that she would fill him in on any problems. Rin mentioned that the couple seemed happy enough, but that the others too had assumed that by now Inuyasha and Kagome would have their own hut and no longer be sharing with Kaede. Rin whispered that Inuyasha hadn't even kissed Kagome yet and the younger Miko had told Kaede that she was going to ask Inuyasha why on the next moonless night, when he might be able to explain.

Sesshoumaru had a horrible feeling that he knew why nothing had happened yet; it was quite probable that Inuyasha didn't know what to do. He would know that something happened between couples, obviously his friends had made their family; but what it was may not be within his knowledge. The hanyou was quite shy by nature and by circumstance he would not spy on other's privacy. It was born on Sesshoumaru that he had a duty as a brother and brother-in-law and he went to seek out Kagome.

Never one to beat about the bush he spoke plainly;

"You and my brother are not yet mated Kagome; is this mutual abstinence?"

"I am sure Inuyasha will eventually ask me Sesshoumaru."

"You do not misunderstand him and the fact he has need of you, as you might have done once upon a time? I understand he has not even kissed you."

"No, I intend to ask him if he wishes to do so when he is human. I think he is just nervous."

"I will speak to him now; he may be ignorant of the salient facts." He smirked as his point struck home; obviously Kagome had not considered that possibility. Then he went in search of Inuyasha.

"You have not yet mated your miko although you have built her house Inuyasha. Why is this, do you not worry that she may start to doubt your intentions towards her? Your friends even begin to question the fact you have not shown her any mating signs; for instance you have never kissed the girl." Sesshoumaru could not keep the harshness from his tone as he spoke and Inuyasha flinched as he heard the rebuke in his brother's voice.

"I love her too much to cheapen her Sesshoumaru." Was the astounding reply and Sesshoumaru thought long and hard before speaking in return.

"In what way would she be cheapened in mating with the Royal House of the West Inuyasha? Does Kagome think this way?"

"I think I said that wrong, its just that it seems wrong to touch her like Miroku always touched Sango, all that grabbing and stuff; I couldn't do that to her."

"Very well, I understand." He was confirmed in his belief that Inuyasha had little knowledge of the intimacies connected with mating and yet he knew the boy had been kissed before and embraced. He brought up the subject by stating that he could at least start out with a kiss surely.

"I don't think Kagome would like me to kiss her; I was kissed by Kikyou and I don't want Kagome thinking that I am treating her the same way. But I don't really know what else to do."

"You are being a fool Inuyasha, kissing is something all mates do and enjoy; really you need to ask the wench to be your mate and go with your body's feelings. Stop living in the past, the girl has given up everything for you and you merely dally around; she deserves more respect than that." Sesshoumaru sounded mocking as he berated his brother but felt a glimmer of remorse when he remembered the pup had no education in such matters, and it was no wonder he was afraid of tainting Kagome if he only had Miroku's former example to go by.

"Go to the girl Inuyasha and take her away tonight; you have a hut built now, it is high time you put it to good use. Let Kagome guide you until you know what to do and do not forget to let your youkai mark her, then she will be bound to your lifespan and may easily get to see her family again." Sesshoumaru actually gave his brother a small smile and the hanyou felt his brother's gentle hand stroke his head for the first time.

Blinking back the sudden tears the unexpected, but tender action had caused; Inuyasha smiled back to Sesshoumaru who indicated that he should go and fetch Kagome who was waving to them both from where she stood outside of Kaede's hut. Inuyasha fetched Miroku and Sango who along with Shippou and the children, made up an impromptu wedding party; along with Kaede, Rin, Sesshoumaru and Jaken. Miroku helped them say their vows and Inuyasha swept Kagome off her feet and ran to their hut with his bride in his arms.

They all laughed as Miroku said Inuyasha was going to make up for lost time and then they got the villagers to plan a wedding feast for the couple for the next evening to which even Sesshoumaru said he would stay.

In the hut a nervous and unsure Inuyasha was explaining to Kagome why he had not yet kissed her and then gently pressed his lips to hers. It was chaste and completely inexperienced and Kagome knew that Sesshoumaru was correct, Inuyasha's knowledge was at best incomplete and she being a girl of a more modern era was able to help him learn. She parted her lips for the second kiss and added more pressure, encouraging a wondering Inuyasha to experiment for himself. It did not take long and soon after as their bodies naturally responded to the stimulus of kissing; Inuyasha learnt that groping a woman in public was nothing to do with true mating and bonding.

The whole village heard as Inuyasha's youkai roared out his claiming of his mate and within the village in their own huts, Miroku grinned at Sango and Kaede sent them a silent blessing that finally their dreams had come true. Sesshoumaru too added his own congratulations and relief that he had not needed to interfere; Inuyasha had now got full control of his youkai. For the newly mated couple who had fallen quickly asleep, their tomorrows stretched out before them.

THE END