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One Step Closer by Chie

Chapter 1

One shot I wrote for Inuvember, day 16 - Sesshoumaru x Kagome. Prompt for this came from Utsukushi Tenshi, who wondered how Sesshoumaru wold react to slow dancing.

I'd like to apologise in advance for the factual inaccuracies in this one shot; there's really no dancing whatsoever in Japanese wedding receptions, but by the time I realised that I had already written 3/4 of this and didn't want to start everything from scratch so... Please suspend your disbelief and enjoy the fluff!

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One Step Closer

It was early autumn in Edo and the night was slowly creeping in, but the merriment in the village showed no signs of stopping. Weddings in the village were usually much more lowkey – during the time she had spent in Edo after returning to the Warring States era, Kagome had seen her fair share. But then, the wedding of Lord Sesshoumaru’s ward could’ve never been an ordinary affair.

Kagome had enjoyed the banquet, and Rin and Kohaku had both been glowing with happiness. People were still gathered around the young couple, chatting, laughing, making toasts, drinking sake as the stars began to shine on the darkening sky.

Kagome grabbed a bottle of sake and a dish from the banquet table, then slipped away without anyone paying much notice.

She walked to the stone stairs leading towards Inuyasha’s forest, climbed up with sure, silent steps, leaving the feast and the celebration behind.

Kagome kept walking, until she came to the Bone Eater’s Well. She sat on the wooden rim, set down the bottle and the dish next to her.

She leaned back and looked at the sky, heaved a sigh.

A rustle of silk was her only warning, then a figure in white emerged from the darkening twilight, and stopped to stand next to her.

“Sesshoumaru!” Kagome pressed her hand over her racing heart. “You’re too good at sneaking around.”

He arched his eyebrow.

“I do not believe anyone saw you leaving the celebration, so perhaps I should tell you the same.”

Kagome flashed him a smile. “I think someone did notice, since you’re here.”

The corner of his lips twitched. He lowered himself onto the grass by the well, and reached to pick up the bottle. His gaze landed on her to give her a searching look.

Kagome shrugged, picked up the sake dish, and studied Sesshoumaru in silence as he poured her a drink.

“Thanks,” she murmured. She brought the dish to her lips, and took a good long sip.

“You have always been very fond of talking,” he said, a hint of dry humour weaving into his deep voice. “Perhaps it might help to speak your mind.”

Kagome took another sip. She smiled again, but this time it didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Am I that obvious?”

Sesshoumaru’s calm golden eyes didn’t waver. “You slipped out of a celebration to seek solitude. That is most unusual of you, Kagome.”

Kagome downed her drink, then held out the dish for Sesshoumaru. Obligingly, he poured more sake for her.

“I like weddings,” she said, studying the clear surface of the rice wine. “But the problem with them is that at some point or another I will inevitably start thinking what my wedding would be like.”

She slanted him a look as her lips curved. “That’s why weddings feel bittersweet to me.”

“Why should thinking about your own wedding be bittersweet?” Sesshoumaru asked.

Kagome sipped her sake. “For a lot of reasons.”

“Such as?”

“Sheesh, you’re a stubborn git, aren’t you?”

“That has been established many times in the past.”

Kagome laughed. “That’s true. Oh well. For starters, I guess I’m starting wonder if I’m ever going to even have a wedding.”

The look Sesshoumaru gave her could only be described as incredulous. “Why would you not have a wedding?”

She snorted, took a swig. “I have no prospects. And I’m not getting any younger.”

“You have never lacked for suitors,” he pointed out, his voice cooled with irritation.

“Sure, in the wild days of my youth. They’re not exactly lining up for me now, are they?”

His clawed fingers wound around the sake dish in her hands, snatched it away from her and flung it aside as she gasped.

 “Sesshoumaru, what…?”

“If you expect me to sit here,” he said, his eyes flashing and his voice bordering on deadly, “and listen while you deprecate yourself, you are sorely mistaken.”

Kagome eyed Sesshoumaru, wary after his unexpected outburst. She pursed her lips, tried for a light tone of voice. “But I just wanted to wallow a little.”

Sesshoumaru didn’t reply, only levelled his ire-filled glare at her.

Kagome shook her head.

“Fine, let’s assume there’s someone willing to be saddled with me and I get to have my wedding. It would still be bittersweet, because in my era, most people marry for love, not for politics.”

Sesshoumaru raised his eyebrow. “You could well marry for love in this era, too.”

“I could. Hopefully, I will. But you see, most girls where I come from dream about their wedding day. Long before they meet the right person, they have this image in their head, of how they want their wedding day to go.” A smile twisted Kagome’s lips. “At least I do. And if I have my wedding here, it won’t be the wedding I always wished for.”

“Why not?”

“My family won’t be there. That’s a big thing. But then there are all these little things too. The ceremony itself, that would be much the same. A tradition that has lasted throughout the centuries. But the celebration after? That has been influenced a lot by Western customs we’ve adopted.”

Sesshoumaru was silent for a while. He turned and moved so he could lean his back against the well, the fur on the pelt draped over his shoulder brushing against Kagome’s legs in passing.

“Regarding your family, that is indeed unfortunate. But the other problem is one that could be fixed. There is no reason why you could not celebrate according to the customs you are more used to.”

“That’s a perfectly logical point,” Kagome said, “but people’s reactions rarely follow logic.”

“You are overly concerned of what other people think of you.”

“And you don’t really understand my dilemma.”

“I do not,” Sesshoumaru admitted. “Which is why you should enlighten me. Name a custom you feel unable to follow in this era.”

Kagome bit her lip, slanted a look towards Sesshoumaru. “The first dance. When the bride and the groom dance together.”

“And why could that not be done here?”

“Well… It’s a very different kind of dancing than any of the kind we do here. It’s romantic. Slow. You’re touching each other, holding each other. And where would I get the music to accompany the dancing, when the kind of songs I’d love to dance to haven’t even been composed yet? I mean I could try to teach some musician a song or two, I guess, but what if that screws up this whole time-space continuum thing and…”

Kagome trailed off, realising that Sesshoumaru was staring at her, the look in his eyes both intensive and speculative.

“… What?”

“Show me,” he said.


He got to his feet, offered her his hand. “Show me this dance.”

Kagome gawked at him, at the hand he was offering. “How much sake have you had?”   

“Hardly any.”

“It’s very… involved, are you sure you’d be comfortable to –”

“You have piqued my curiosity, Kagome.”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Kagome muttered under her breath, but reached to take Sesshoumaru’s hand, allowed him to pull her up.

“There’s really not much to it,” she said, feeling suddenly nervous to be standing so close to Sesshoumaru.

She swallowed when she met her eyes, her fingers trembled a little as she guided his hand to the small of her back.

“This is the hold,” she told him, placing her free hand on his shoulder, extending their arms.

She ignored the stuttering beat of her heart, and held Sesshoumaru’s gaze.

“Waltz is the most traditional, but at the most simplest you dance just by turning on the spot.”

Kagome started moving, trying to ignore the warm weight of Sesshoumaru’s hand pressing against her lower back.

He followed her movements with ease – and with a fluid grace that made her prickle with jealousy. And then he was the one who moved, and she the one who followed.

In the darkening night, they swayed and turned, the only rhythm guiding their steps the steady beating of his heart, the mad racing of hers.

She was the one who’d been supposed to show him the ropes, but she felt helpless in his arms, unable to look away from his face. A shiver raced down her spine. She felt like a weak little animal, trapped in place by a deadly predator.

“I can see why you were doubtful,” he spoke, his voice soft and deep. He bent closer, his breath warming her cheek as he continued: “This kind of dancing definitely feels intimate.”

“Uhhuh,” was all she managed to stammer in reply, a blush spreading over her features.

“Perhaps it is not suitable for a wedding celebration,” he conceded.

Sesshoumaru’s fingers pressed into Kagome’s back, pushed her closer.

“Yeah. Like I said, it’s a modern, Western thing,” she replied, sounding more than a little breathless.

But then, it was easy to forget to breathe, when pressed against a daiyoukai like Sesshoumaru.

He stopped, and with a faltering step so did she.

He held her in place, in his arms. His gaze bored into her, even as he untangled his fingers from hers, so he could cradle her free hand.

“Still, I can see its appeal.”

A smile curved his lips, and warmth flashed in his golden eyes.

Kagome squeezed his shoulder for support, fearful that her knees would give out any second. There was an expression on his face she’d never expected to see – and even if she could have somehow imagined Sesshoumaru looking at someone like that, she would never have pegged that someone to be her.

“Perhaps, we can dance again, some other night.”

Kagome opened her mouth, closed it. Cleared her throat, tried to find her voice.


It came out as a weak, breathy whisper, but Sesshoumaru’s smile deepened.

He brought her hand to his lips, held her gaze as he pressed a feather-light kiss on her knuckles.

Kagome stared back at him, knowing that something had shifted tonight, that something had permanently changed between the two of them – and wondered whether she was able to handle all that was yet to come.



INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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