Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi owns Inuyasha not me, 'nuf said.

Author's Notes: I bow down at your feet and beg forgiveness for my…lateness doesn't even begin to cover it…laziness is more like it. Okay...if you've gotten as far as Chapter 6, and haven't picked up on the fact that this is a sequel then you must not read these little blurbs, and therefore my writing it again will have no effect. Read on.

Miroku's Worst Fear Chapter Six: The Plan

            "What do you mean, I should stop going to school?" Kagome asked pushing herself out of the well.

            "We could travel farther if we didn't have to keep coming back here and faster if you did bring so many books," Inuyasha commented pulling himself and her backpack out after her.

            "You're just upset because I had to leave a whole case of instant ramen at home to make room for my books," Kagome said taking her rucksack from him.

            "Feh," Inu-yasha retorted.

            As they walked back to Kaede's village, Shippou ran out to meet them. "You will never guess what happened to us!" he exclaimed as he led them back to the shrine.  "We decided to walk back instead of flying and we met this girl whose village was cursed."

            "Cursed?" Kagome asked.

            "Yeah, it was great!" Shippou said.

            "Great? Were they cursed with too much sweets and you ate them free?"

            "No. Actually it was some supernatural curse where people would be possessed by the spirits of animals and end up getting married against their will. But it's okay because I found the place where the animals were buried. And after Sango and Miroku fought off this huge evil spirit, Miroku gave them a proper burial ceremony and we constructed a shrine to the animals," Shippou chattered on.

            "Married against their will?" Kagome asked as Inu-yasha asked, "How big was this 'evil spirit'?"

            Shippou nodded to Kagome and began to describe the fog, the shadows, and the creature with his natural story-telling flair. Every once in a while you would hear Inu-yasha grunt at something Shippou said. Kagome spotted her bike leaning up against a wall and left the boys to their discussion.

She set her bag down beside the bike and pulled out a small rectangular box, a yellow tube with a handle on one end and a needle on the other, and a small gray case. Opening the case she pulled out a wrench and began to remove the bolt that held her front wheel in place. From her vantage point on the ground she saw Sango enter one of the rooms. Sango didn't notice her at all though, which she thought was a little odd, but she shrugged a little and went back to work. Pulling the rubber tire off the rim she removed the deflated inner tube. Next she located the rectangular box and opened it pulling out a new tube. Fitting it inside the rubber tire, she placed both back on the wheel. Next she picked up the yellow tube stood. Placing the tire between her feet she put the needle end of the tube into an opening in the rubber tire. Pulling the handle up and pushing it back down Kagome began to inflate the inner tube with air. Looking up one more time she saw Sango emerge from the room with a half awake and half dressed Miroku on her heels. In his hand he held a slip of white paper; yawning, he followed Sango to Kaede's house. Kagome frowned a little, 'I wonder what's going on,' she thought.  Placing her wheel back on her bike as quickly as she could, she headed off towards Kaede's house.

"Kaede-sama," Sango called out entering the little house, "we were wondering if…"

"Yes?"

"…if you could assess this for us," Miroku said handing her the crumpled slip of paper. "We found it hanging outside our room one morning, but have no recollection of the night's events."

"Hmm…" the older woman began unfolding the paper, "you have no memory of that night at all?"

Sango blushed a little, her head down but her eyes were cast on Miroku. "Well…"

"None," Miroku said assuredly, cutting Sango off before she said something they'd both regret.

            "Hm… the paper has been exposed to hot springs and then improperly dried."

            "How can you tell?" Sango asked leaning in.

            "Well you can tell it was wet by the smudged words and it reeks of sulfur," she smiled. "It will be hard to decipher all of the words."

            "Maybe I can help," a voice came from the doorway.

            "Yes. Perhaps younger eyes would be better suited for this task," Kaede commented to the new arrival.

            "Kagome-chan, I didn't realize you had returned," Sango said edging her way closer to the paper.

            "Sango-chan, Miroku-sama, I hear you had quite the adventure without us," Kagome said coming fully into the circle.

            "Oh you know Shippou; he likes to exaggerate," Miroku said reaching his hand out for the paper.

            Alas, before either of them could grasp the paper Kaede handed it to Kagome. Kagome held the paper up to the light, "Shi… Shin… ko…n. Shinkon," Kagome smiled successfully deciphering the smeared kanji on the outside fold. "Newlyweds?" she began as the meaning of the word sank in, "Who got married?"

            Sango raised her hand weakly while Miroku spoke. "That's actually what we were hoping Kaede-sama would tell us didn't happen."

            "We want to know if it's valid," Sango responded to the shocked and confused look on Kagome's face.

            "Oh Kami-sama! I just knew you two would get married one day!" this snapped their heads up to look at her as she ran forward to hug them. Turning to leave she began, "Wait until I tell Inu…" she stopped in her tracks and turned looking at them, "You guys got married while we were gone?" she sounded dismayed.

            "Well…if it makes you feel better we missed the ceremony, too," Miroku commented.

            "What?" Kagome began. The realization hit her, "married against their will…" she whispered repeating what Shippou had mentioned earlier. "You guys got sucked into another curse?"

            "Well it tends to give us the motivation to break the curses," Sango replied trying to lighten the situation.

            "I could have taken it with one blow!" Inu-yasha said cracking his knuckles.

"Yeah well just be glad you weren't with us. Or you could have ended up married to Kagome or even Sango depending on how mean the spirits were being."

            "Eh?" Inu-yasha blanched.

            "As I was saying before there was this curse…." Shippou explained.

            An hour had passed, and Kaede had come to a decision on the validity of their marriage. "Based on this document, it seems to me that the ritual itself was valid enough. However, being that neither of you consented and assuming you have done nothing to consummate your marriage I do not see why you could not just part placing that which you have no memory of behind you. That is if both of you agree."

            "That's right," Kagome said, "It's not binding if you didn't give of yourselves freely."

            "Well, I have no problem returning to the way things were before we entered that village," Miroku said. "Sango?"

            "Huh?" she snapped out of her little reverie, "Oh yeah…right it doesn't mean anything to me either."

            "It's settled then?" Miroku half asked half stated as Sango nodded and excused herself from the room.

            Sango held her composure as she left the shrine and began walking towards an open field. Walking past Inu-yasha and Shippou, she stopped when Inu-yasha called out, "Oi Sango! Congrats an' all." 

           Sango placed a fake smile on her face as she turned to them and shook her head saying, "We're not married." She continued on her way picking up the pace.

            "Oi," Inu-yasha said again noticing a tear trickle down her cheek as she disappeared beyond a hill, "What did I say?"

            "Hm," Shippou began and the two youkai headed back to the village shrine.

            Passing Kagome, Inu-yasha stopped. "Oi, Kagome. What's Sango's problem?" 

            "What do you mean?"

            "She headed off into a field crying," Shippou informed her.

            "Her too?" Kagome commented.

            "Too?" Inu-yasha's ears twitched.

            "The second she left the room Miroku-sama sat down in a corner and just began staring into the fire. I tried talking to him but apparently tracing his kazaana with his left hand seemed more important than anything I had to say."

            "Hm…" Shippou said, "I've got an idea." Following his gesture the other two leaned down to listen.

            In the bright sunlight Sango could easily be seen sitting on the side of a hill looking out over the village's rice fields. Kirara was curled up at her feet snoozing in the warm sunlight. From the rice paddies some of the women spotted her and began to wonder why she looked so sad. They had begun to wonder if one of them should approach the young taiji-ya, whose visits they had grown accustomed to, until they saw the strangely dressed miko standing on the crest of the hill.

            Kagome slowly descended down the hill and took a seat in the grass beside her only female companion in this era. "Sango-chan?"  Kagome said nothing else; she decided to give Sango support and patiently wait for Sango to be ready to talk.

            After a few minutes of silence Sango finally spoke, "Have you ever been so blind to how you feel that it took a complete stranger to make you realize your feelings?"

            "Sango?" Kagome said touching her friends shoulder. Sango finally turned to look at her hot tears streaming down her cheeks.

            "I never realized just how much I care about that sukebe until I found myself sitting in a tree crying because he doesn't feel the same."

            "That's not true. Miroku-sama cares about you as much as you care about him. Trust me. We outsiders can see it."

            Sango gave a sideways glance at Kagome, 'You mean like how you and Inu-yasha feel about each other. Oh Kami-sama tell me I'm not that transparent,' she thought. "Then why doesn't he want to marry me?"

"What?" Kagome suddenly realized she had no idea what was going on inside Sango's mind. "Do you want to be married to Miroku?"

            Sango sighed and looked out to the rice paddies again, "I didn't."

            "Go on," Shippou said pushing at Inu-yasha's calves. "This won't work if you don't go talk some sense into him."

            "Feh," Inu-yasha replied, "That's not my style." Putting his foot down firmly just before he hit the shrine house veranda, Inu-yasha turned to glare at Shippou. Shippou realizing that this was all he could do—that and if he stayed longer he'd get pummeled—ran back to where Kaede had planted herself in an herb garden. It wasn't everyday that the lives of these young people got interesting in her hut. She liked to watch, and sometimes manipulate, but only from a distance.

            Inu-yasha paced for few seconds before finally entering the small hut. Miroku was sitting in the corner staring at the fire while mindlessly tracing a circle on his right hand, just as Kagome had described. Walking over to the fire, Inu-yasha took a seat just a few feet away from the houshi. He didn't say a word but instead joined Miroku at staring in silence at the fire.

            Luckily for the plan's sake Miroku wanted to talk. No, he needed to talk to someone. And Inu-yasha seemed to be the most impartial of the group, or at least the one least likely to try and stick his nose into someone else's romantic life.

            "Did you know that she had a vision of the future?" Inu-yasha didn't respond, in fact if you'd been in that room you wouldn't have thought he was even listening, but that didn't stop Miroku from continuing. "She saw our future. Married, a pair of sons, and no kazaana. She agreed to bear me sons that day. As soon as we broke this curse," he said balling his right hand into a fist and slamming it on the floor beside him, "and freed her brother from Naraku's grasp. And for a brief moment, I actually thought it could happen that way. Somehow we'd all manage to defeat him, you could get your revenge, Kagome-sama could purify the shikon no tama, Kohaku would be a normal boy again, and my curse would be broken. Then surrounded by family we'd get married and have that happy life she dreamed of. But… but now things are happening out of order."

            Miroku stopped speaking for a few minutes. In the heat Inu-yasha's ears twitched and he waited for the houshi to continue. "And now look at this mess I've gotten her into. I knew something was off the second we stepped into that village, if I hadn't been so involved in making her jealous I probably would have realized where the source of the jaki was coming from before night fell. Shippou said we'd been fighting like a married couple and now we actually are a married couple…" Miroku shook his head, "No. No we're not. Kaede-sama said it didn't count unless we wanted it to, and… and…why should anyone want that?" he whispered to the ground. "It's better this way. Now she can get married to someone who doesn't make her cry, with all her family there and this time she'll get to remember it."

            Inu-yasha narrowed his eyes and cast a glance towards Miroku as he began to stare at his hand again, "It is. It's better this way," he said reassuring himself. Miroku said, "Then why do I feel so empty?" Looking up to where Inu-yasha was sitting—only he wasn't sitting next to the fire anymore, "Inu…" Miroku's words were cut off as Inu-yasha's fist came down on his head.

            Returning to his seat by the fire Inu-yasha glanced at Miroku holding his head and then back to the fire and he said, "Ba…ka."

            Miroku looked up at Inu-yasha and then climbed to his feet. "You're right," he said and then headed out the open door.

            After minutes of silence, Sango finally spoke again. "At first I hated him, I hated the way he treated me just like some conveniently close object to feel up. But as I watched him hitting on all the other girls, I began to wonder why he'd never hit on me like that. Shippou said he hit on you when you first met."

            "That's true… but…"

            "I mean he hit on a little girl!"

            "And she said 'Yes'"

            "Kagome, you're not helping."

            "Sango, didn't you confront him about this already?"

            "Yeah, and the baka didn't even realize he hadn't asked me. But I began to wonder why I cared so much." Sango looked at her feet and blushed a little, "It was then that I realized that I liked the attention though inappropriately timed, and if he had asked me I would have agreed. Which I pretty much told him after my week in a cave thinking that I'd never see any of you again." Sango chuckled to herself, "I never thought that we would have gotten married before we broke his curse, and it makes complete sense to go about our lives as if we didn't. But I'll always know that we did, even though I can't actually remember the wedding," Sango frowned.

            "Sou ka," Kagome smiled. "Don't worry Sango. Leave everything to me," she said getting to her feet. Squeezing Sango's shoulder she smiled and took off up the hill.

            By the time Sango recognized that plan-making look in Kagome's eyes she was already out of sight.

"I'd just let her go if I were you," a voice said from beside a tree.

            Sango turned to see her would be husband nonchalantly leaning against the tree less than ten feet behind her.

            "How long have you been standing there?"

            "Long enough," Miroku said taking the seat beside her opposite of where Kagome sat. "You really can't let this go, can you?"

            "Can you?" Sango said turning to face him. "Tell me honestly, right here and now, that you can pretend that nothing happened and really want to go back to the way things were and I'll let it go."

            "Really?" Miroku said looking at her. "I'm completely capable of pretending and resuming our sad excuse of a relationship, but…" Miroku exhaled deeply and grasped Sango's hands in an-oh-so-familiar-fashion. "Sango, I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to marry me, especially someone who has actually spent time with me and knows my flaws. But I wouldn't give up that tingling sensation I get every time you put me in my place."

            "Houshi-sama…" Sango said as she playfully slapped his arm.

            "Ow…" Miroku joked. "Seriously though, you have always been more than simply geographically desirable…Sango, you're special to me and…and…I can't imagine my life without you. Truth be told, I was hoping to get rid of this," he said raising his right hand, "before we did this," he said placing his right hand on her cheek and wiping away her tear tracks, "but I guess life knows something we don't," and with that final statement he pulled her in and kissed her gently on her lips.

            As their lips parted Sango's cheeks began to flush. Resting his forehead on hers he opened his deep blue eyes to peer into her brown eyes, "So what do you say to doing this right, while we're both conscious and we have our family with us?" Miroku said shifting his eyes towards the crest of the hill on the word 'family.' Sango smiled and pulling his gaze back to her, she kissed him more passionately than before. This time when they parted she smiled bigger and nodded simply because she couldn't bring herself to speak. Miroku smiled taking her hands in his and began to stand pulling her to her feet as he said, "Good because I think Kagome's already begun planning our wedding."

**~**

            By the time Sango and Miroku had made it back up the hill, through the village and into the shrine Kagome had made three round trips to her 'country.' Stopping short at the foot of the shrine steps the couple stared on in disbelief as they watch Kagome haul an armload of white fabric into the shrine. Beside them Inu-yasha stood speechless as Kagome ran back down the stairs and past them. "This is going to be so perfect!" Kagome squealed in delight as she dashed into the woods one more time. At the sound of her giggles as she hopped into the well, Inu-yasha's eyebrow twitched.

            "I hope you're happy," he said gruffly to the stupefied pair beside him before stomping up the stairs.

            Miroku looked at Sango, eyes wide with disbelief and concern. As if thinking with the same brain they both turned toward the shrine and darted up the stairs in unison. Passing a grumpy Inu-yasha along the way the soon-to-be-remarried couple entered the shrine doors and froze at the sight before their eyes. Kaede was standing with her back to the far wall holding on to a cardboard box that had the words 'Yui-no' scribbled on it in black marker. Around her a pile of clothes sat on either side shades of white, red, and gray shown through. At Kaede's feet was another box—smaller—labeled 'San-san-ku-do supplies.'  "Normally we hold these ceremonies in the home of the family, but Kagome insists that it be held here," Kaede said. Miroku and Sango turned toward one another and each shrugged with a look of understanding. It's not like there was a family home for either of them to celebrate at. When neither of them made a motion to move from their spots Kaede spoke again, "Come, take a box."

            "Oi, Kagome," Inu-yasha said putting his hands out as he stood on the steps blocking her path, "what in the world do you think you're doing?"

            "Giving two of my best friends the wedding they deserve," she said trying to side-step him.

Inu-yasha moving into her path again continued, "They didn't ask for this."

            "Maybe not, but they'll appreciate a big event."

            Inu-yasha looked confused, "How big are we talking here?"

            "Big enough so that when they look back on their wedding years from now what they'll remember is this day when they were surrounded by their friends and family and all the festivities instead of the fact that they were forced into an early marriage by some cursed village who didn't know how to properly bury sacrificed animals," she said taking a step back the way she came from and dashing up past him as he stood frozen for a second trying to follow what she just said.

            "Oi! Kagome!" he said turning to follow her inside.

            Kagome smiled as she entered holding up pair of rather worn looking scrolls. "Okay, it's been a while since Jii-chan told me how one of these was done but I'm sure I can follow what's in these scrolls if I get lost," Kagome smiled corralling everyone to a small room off to the side of the actual shrine. Setting her scrolls on a table in the center of the room and gesturing for Kaede to place her box there too, Kagome separated Sango and Miroku so that they stood facing each other across the table. Then she turned to drag Inu-yasha in and stood him next to Miroku. Heading to the other side of the table she stood next to Sango and gestured for everyone to take a seat. Kaede waited patiently in the corner for Kagome to finish preparing the others.

            "What exactly are we doing?" Miroku asked not wanting to sound ungrateful but still too stunned at the speed of Kagome's insanity to sit.

            "We're having an old fashioned yui-no," Kagome said unrolling one of her scrolls as she knelt beside the table. The other three had yet to lower themselves.

            "We're what?" Sango said lowering herself so that she could be on Kagome's level. Placing her hand on Kagome's shoulder to get her to look up from her reading all she could ask was, "Why?"

            Looking from Sango to Miroku who was still giving her an extremely odd look, Kagome stood almost in anger.               

            "Kagome-sama, we do not wish to upset you, but we really don't need all of this…formality," Miroku said looking to Sango for help.

            "No, no, no. You've already made a big enough mess as it is," she said walking around the table to stand between them. "Most people don't get a second chance to marry their soulmate and you two just happen to be so lucky," she said taking their hands and joining them. "Now we're not going to just stand back and let you mess this up again!" Kagome said releasing their hands and heading back over to her place, nodding to Kaede. "Now, sit down," she said trying to regain their attention after her little outburst.

            Sadly the couple whose hands were still joined across the table as their eyes were set upon each other's did not hear the last bit that Kagome said nor did they notice that she had returned to her place and asked them to sit down until they heard the thud beside them as Kagome's slip of the tongue brought another companion to the ground.

            They all turned to look at Inu-yasha sitting grumpily on the floor beside the table. "Um… Inu-yasha… She used the sit command for people not for dogs what are you doing?" Miroku asked.

            "I know that, baka. Do you see a giant hole in the ground where I'm sitting? I know that tone, I didn't want to ruin Kaede-baa-baa's table so unlike you rude humans I sat before Kagome gets upset," Inu-yasha said folding his arms and grumbling to himself, "Is there going to be food at this…yomogi?"

            "Yui-no," Kagome corrected sitting down, "And yes."

            "Ano…Kagome?" Sango said sitting beside her friend. "Isn't a yui-no a betrothal ceremony? I mean, technically we're already married so… why are we doing this, again?"

            "Because Kagome-chan wants you to have better memories than the ones you've already made. So we're starting over. Actually… the yui-no won't start until Shippou and Kirara get back, but we want to discuss some things with you two before he gets here," Kaede said joining them at the head of the table.

            "He?" Miroku said picking up on Kaede's tone.

            "We sent Shippou and Kirara out to gather any family that might be missing," Kagome said turning her attention back to her scrolls.

            Miroku's eyes got wide, "You didn't," he said noting her lack of eye contact.

            "Didn't what?" Inu-yasha and Sango asked in unison.

            "And are they telling him that I'm getting married before they bring him back or are you just planning on dropping it on him when he gets here and there's nothing he can do about it?" Miroku began to ramble.

            "I'm not really sure what all Shippou's going to have to tell him to get him to come," Kagome commented without looking up from her reading.

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Author's Dictionary:

Sukebe: lecher. It's Sango's favorite word to describe Miroku…if you watch a subbed version listen for the phrase 'sukebe houshi' to pass her lips.

Sou ka: 'Is that so...' 'I see...' or any number of phrases along those lines.

Ano: 'Um…' 'Excuse me…' or any number of things that a good verbal utterance takes the place of.

Yui-no: betrothal ceremony. As I said in the text. You'll get to see what goes on in one of these in the next chapter.

San-san-ku-do: Part of the actual Shinto wedding ceremony. The part where the couple and their families share sake in ritual format.

Yomogi: it's a green chocolate filled pastry thing. It's food; beyond that this author doesn't know what it's really made of. I just needed something for Inu-yasha to miscall the yui-no by and thought that since he's thinking about food, might as well call it some kind of food. And I wrote this shortly after my first trip with Queen to our local Mitsuwa where they sold green pastries called yomogi.

Shinkon: for those who didn't catch it when Kagome translated it, it means Newlyweds. Shin=new and kon from the word Kekkon for marriage. ^_^.

* I know there are other Japanese words in this chapter, but they're one's I assumed everyone knew…or I'm certain I defined in earlier chapters.

Author's Notes:

Can I grovel for forgiveness one more time? I have had this chapter written since…oh February. Initially I had intended for Chapter Six to be my wrap up chapter and there would be a wedding and bam story would be over. But then I began writing, and writing and talking to Queen about what would make this chapter funnier. And well I got to the point where the simple ending chapter was fifteen pages long and I still wasn't finished. AAAHHH… I knew that I'd have to divide it into two but still didn't want to post one half of the wedding chapter before I knew where the other half was going. Well… phooey on that idea. Now the one simple chapter has become three. And each one gets mushier than the last. Just a warning.

A little note about ramblings. I realize thanks to my wonderful beta that Miroku's rambling more than he would and what not so I tried cutting a few lines out of his little monologue but I still think it's a bit rambly. Oh well he's venting. 

Haruko. I did have a reviewer state that they thought Haruko is a girl's name. And well let me say…I'm sure it is. BUT…in my fic it happens to be a boy's name. I got the name off of some online baby name page because I wanted to give my brand new car a name. And well according to this page Haruko means first-born son or child (don't remember which) and was a boy's name. So… I named my lovely little red car Haruko because he's my first car, and because it's like a pun on Haruka…the resident Sailor Moon speed demoness. To honor my car…I gave my new character his name. (for all people who come across a name in someone's fanfiction that seems like it should be the name of the opposite sex… let it go. There are a million gender neutral names in the world and a thousand more that aren't but people purposely use them for their children and characters anyway. –getting off of my soapbox now)

A thank you to my beta for catching my rice pattie mistake. I like onigiri so much that Sango was sitting on a hill looking at those instead of paddies full of water and rice. ^_^ oops. And THANK YOU to all of the reviewers out there. You've almost made this story top Sango's Ordeal in number of reviews. And a big thanks to all the patient readers who haven't given up on this story. I promise I haven't either…it's just that you wouldn't expect writing something as simple as a wedding ceremony between your two favorite characters to be so challenging.

The next chapter is done. I just need to put my little notes on it. If I don't post it in two weeks, someone write me a long painstaking email about how my laziness is affecting the entire planet. And if that doesn't work…tell Queen to come and kick my butt.

And a little preview from Chapter Seven: The Yui-no

"So… you're really going to do it?" Myouga said coming to grips with reality.

            "I am." Miroku let out a sigh of content as he thought.

"But, on the bright side…" Myouga thought in a most conniving fashion, "if she's your wife then you can grope her all the time or at least whenever you want."

            "Oh…" Miroku smiled, "I doubt that."