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The Bridal Creed by MoxyMikki

All Under Advisement

Disclaimer: Inuyasha is the intellectual work of Rumiko Takahashi. I make no profit from this.

AN: Hello everyone! I've been here at Dokuga for a while, but have only recently decided to "put myself out there" so to speak. This is my first fanfiction, and I am admittedly quite nervous about it's reception. I admire so grately admire many of you, that putting this story up makes me feel vastly vulnerable... So... PLEASE review, and tell me how you like it, if I should continue, and all constructive criticism. I sincerely wish to improve my writing skills, and without the assistance of reviews, that is difficult to achieve. But remember, if you like it, lemme know, 'cus positive reinforcement makes my muses happy! Also, I have no beta! I do my best to edit, but after you read something so many times, you actually start to read over the mistakes. Thank you everyone!

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For as frequently as he and his beast were in conflict with one another, this was one of the few occasions in which they were in sync. No desire ever held more temptation than escaping the confines of his office, along with the incessant ramblings of his advisers. Looking past the men who continued to prattle away, Sesshomaru studied the forest beyond his majestic home. He had spent years freely roaming the country, battling, rutting, living… It was how his beast preferred life best, wild and unhindered.

The time eventually came to put away such luxuries, and some fifteen years ago, he had settled into his ancestral home, taking up sovereignty of his kingdom. Under his command, balance was restored. He understood, as many lords were beginning to, that it was necessary to assimilate humans within the realm of demon life if their species sought to survive the ravages of time.

Peace had settled into the western land as it never had before. Humans were content living under his rule, as he was fair in the mutual protection of all species in spite of his prejudice to human inferiority. Demons accepted the alliance for the resources which humans provided in abundance. Still, it was an uneasy peace.

His advisers' urgency for this meeting was only evidential to the fact.

"My Lord, the humans... they are in a state of unrest! It is said that there may very well be an uprising!" Jaken announced, halting the squabbling of the advisers. The momentary reprieve did not last long.

"Let them try. Our forces will slaughter them!" exclaimed one traditionalist demon.

"The economic balance of the country would crumble! Our work forces would-" the raspy voice of the elder most adviser tried to warn, before being interrupted.

"They have proposed a solution."

"It is unacceptable!"

"That is not for you to decide!"

"It may well be our only hope of peace."

The bickering of the four men was beginning to make his head hammer, and his carefully steeled control crack.

Sesshomaru flexed his claws rhythmically. Long, lean fingers - well calloused with the practice of sword handling - curled inward until their razor sharp tips agitated the rough, pale skin of his palm. "What solution are the humans proposing?" he questioned, his deep baritone smoothly disarming the rising hostility of the room.

Timidly, one man answered, "A political and matrimonial union."

The following silence, though laden with the unsuppressed anxiety of his advisers, was a calming balm to his nerves.

"They wish for this Sesshomaru, to take a human bride?" he sought confirmation to what was, in his opinion, perhaps the most ridiculous proposition he had ever had placed before him.

"My Lord, if I may..." a previously under-spoken adviser stepped forward, and Sesshomaru favored him with a nod to continue.

"It is indeed a rather... unconventional request, but the humans' reasoning is sound. From their perspective, a human bride would have your ear, and make requests for considerations that would benefit their kind. The humans know the character of the Inu clan, and know that, should you take a human bride, you would encourage her happiness, as honor dictates, in spite of her species and in regard to the care she has for her own species."

The young lord could not find fault with this assessment. It was well know that the Inu demons took great care in honoring their brides, so much so, that many often took but only one wife. He himself was not so sentimental. Sesshomaru had four demoness wives, and each was well cared for, though he held little affection for any. Each wife sought his power and prestige, and vied to become his mate, a decidedly more permanent fixture of his house and person.

Taking a human bride would create unrest among the other wives. They would bow to his authority, for certain, but the chaos that would ensue none-the-less, would be reprehensible. He was quite certain the wrath of his four wives was quite more than even he could handle. He was man enough to admit as such. No... the hassle seemed quite un-worth it.

The thin crease between the lord’s eyes, which grew ever deeper as the moments passed, was telltale that the adviser wasn't getting very far by way of convincing. The young man was well aware of how important this alliance was and pressed onward, hoping to help his young lord consider the only possibility lain before them.

"Without the human element, the carefully orchestrated balance which you have worked so hard to create will effectively be snuffed out, along with hundreds of lives - human and demon alike." He thought to sweeten the offer with further details, but was certain of his lord’s relative indifference.

"They offer you your pick of any woman you desire. You could perform the rites with little ceremony, and be done with it. You could continue to rule with the wisdom and efficiency that you always have, and the humans would have peace of mind."

"The humans presume to think that one of their own is capable of the responsibilities that come with being the Daiyoukai's wife?" one asked with distaste and disbelief.

"Challenges!" Came an excited cry from one of the others, and everyone, including Sesshomaru, gave him a quizzical stare. He elaborated.

"Why limit the Lord to choosing his newest wife so immediately? Time and a few challenges would be sure to reveal the character and worth of the candidates, not to mention her ability to properly train for such a position of honor. In the end the final decision will of course be up to you, my Lord. It would weed out the women who are not up for the trials of being a Dai's wife, as well as those who are in it for the wrong reasons."

Sesshomaru's golden eyes became distant, and his ever shrewd mind began working away at the possibilities of such a scenario."It would seem there is little choice in the matter," he said sagely, and although his physical appearance was the picture of aloof tranquility, he was in fact quite put off with the entire situation.

"Send forth my brother, and whomever he requires to fulfill the task. I want him in charge, for I trust no other." The men nodded and immediately left him to his thoughts.

Yes... this was indeed most inconvenient.

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A burdened sigh escaped her as she studied the carnage that was all that remained of her patient’s right arm. Fortunately the man was fast asleep, and brokering no arguments to the particularly painful procedure she was currently invested in. If not for the decidedly strong sedative properties to her personal brew of tea, he would most certainly be putting up a fight.

Kagome dipped her hands in the surgical basin beside her patient’s bed to saturate a cloth. She then used the excess water to carefully wash away blood and debris from the amputated end of his arm.

Without even looking up, she softly requested her assistant - a young girl from the village she was currently with - to bring to her fresh cloths and to dispose of the now soiled one. She didn't need to see the girl to know that she had bowed and left to do as instructed, but her peripheral vision was good enough, through years of battle training, to know she had, and that she was prematurely halted by the man lurking just outside the hut.

"Girl, what is she doing? She's wastin' time; just get him sewn up already! Does she even know what she's doin'?!" the gruff man accused.

Kagome listened, a knowing smile softly playing on her lips, as she prepared to cut away necrotized flesh in order to properly close her patient’s wound. Many times she had been through this before - people doubting her skills as a miko and healer.

The obsidian haired woman was quite young still, only but eighteen. She was old enough to be a solitary practitioner, but most stayed under the tutelage of their elders until they passed. Circumstances, however, made it impossible for Kagome to stay in one place too long. The dim glow of the pink stone hanging from her neck was a constant reminder.

However, it wasn't so much her age that had most questioning her competency. Kagome was from a different school of teaching, and her methods of practice - both spiritual and medicinal - were vastly unconventional to this side of the country.

Kagome listened on as she worked, while her assistant, Kamia, did her best to reassure the man outside her hut.

"Sir, Kagome-san is a very skilled miko. She will take good care of your friend." again she made to leave, in order to fetch the unsoiled cloths, and again she was halted.

"She ain't doin nuthin' but wastin' his time, and he ain't got much! I'm goin' in there and tellin' her to just take care of it already." she heard a shuffle as the young man moved the girl from his path, and stomped his way into the hut. Kamia entered behind him, looking guilty and apologetic.

Kagome scowled in displeasure, her eyes shooting up to the unwelcome intruder.

For his part, the young man who entered found himself halted in his tracks, paralyzed by awe. Before him was possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. She pierced him with eyes so blue they could turn sapphire green with envy.

"I would thank you to not manhandle my assistant," she said, her voice calm, but clearly protective.

She nodded to Kamia. "Go and fetch those items, and quickly please." Again, she bowed and ran off.

"You are part Inuyoukai?" Kagome asked as she set back to work. Upon his intrusion, she couldn't help but to take notice of his white hair and pet-able ears.

"What’s it to ya?" he asked, clearly bristled by her observation.

Kagome smiled then, a sincere smile that both surprised and disarmed the Inu. "I was just wondering why the countryside has seen so many Inu in recent weeks." She looked back to her patient, his hair just as white. "This part of the country rarely sees but a few visits from the citadel."

It was well known that the Inu clan was among the most powerful, influential, and respected of demons, and as such performed only the most important of tasks, which normally kept them close to the heart of the country.

The telltale twitch of the hanyou’s adorable ears told her she was on to something, but her questions seemed to make him uneasy as he studied her. After allowing him a few moments pause, it became clear he had no intention of replying.

She sighed and shook her head, deciding instead to change the topic to one which would help assure him of her qualification to assist his friend.

"Your friend is... in a pretty bad way. I sent Kamia to fetch fresh towels to clean his wounds with. Before I stitch him up, I need to remove the dying flesh. Once I sew up the wound any dying flesh will be trapped in there, rotting away. Any infection, caused by the cross contamination from a dirty cloth, will also be sealed away. He would slowly decompose from the inside out, without proper cleaning of the wound. That's why I am taking so long, and why Kamia has been sent to fetch clean cloths." She explained, still smiling softly to him, even as she worked.

He cautiously stepped forward to take a look at his friend, and Kagome was touched by the amount of concern in his eyes. Normally - for such serious wounds - Kagome forbade anyone in the tent with her save an assistant, but she took pity on the young man.

"There is a knee cushion over-"

"That's okay, I... is he gunna be alright?" he interrupted.

Kagome sighed. She hated these questions, and yet she understood. Many times had she been on the other side of the surgical table herself. He just wanted assurance that his friend would live, but Kagome never made promises that only the Kami were fit to keep.

"Look... uh..."

"Inuyasha."

"Inuyasha," she repeated, smiling as she tested the name, oblivious to how such a little thing made the handsome Hanyou blush uncomfortably.

"He's had a very serious injury, but he is youkai, which works in his favor. I cannot promise you anything other than that I will fight for him until he's strong enough to fight for himself. Okay?"

Inuyasha was oddly comforted by her reply. At least she wasn't going to give him false hope. He respected her for that honesty, but he still couldn't understand why she was even bothering to help them.

"Woman, why are you doing this?"

Kagome's eyebrow twitched.

"It's Kagome." she said, trying hard not to be offended.

"Keh, whatever. Look, you humans aren't known for liking demons too much. And mikos... you're enemy number one. Why ain't ya trying to purify us?"

Kagome looked up at him from her work. She was sure the young man had had a vastly trying life, from both human and demon alike, being born into both and yet belonging to neither groups. Perhaps that was where some of his hostility was coming from?

"I don't just randomly kill people." she said as she went back to work, but his scoff made her pause.

"You call demons 'people'? You're a weird one ain't ya?!" He was genuinely confused, and Kagome chuckled at his bafflement, un-insulted by his seemingly harsh response. She had, after all, been called much worse in the past. Conscious soldiers tended to dislike the person cleaning their wounds.

"Yes, I suppose I am." she replied.

Kamia walked in then. "Excuse me," she said softly as she nervously brushed past Inuyasha, making her way to Kagome with fresh water and cloths. Kagome smiled at her and thanked her, but just as quickly she shuffled out. Kagome frowned at her odd behavior.

She wasn't the only one who noticed. Inuyasha watched as the girl left, a suspicious glint in his golden eyes. Quickly he turned around on Kagome, Kamia's odd behavior reinforcing Inuyasha's distrust. "Seriously, why you helpin' us?"

"Because... you were in need," the young miko said brightly, as if it were the least complicated answer in the world.

"How did this happen anyways?"

Inuyasha thought to evade the question, but figured she'd find out soon anyways, so he enlightened her.

"Lord Sesshomaru has issued a creed."

"Ah yes, the Bridal creed! I thought that was all just rumor. So it's true? The Lord seeks to take a human bride?" she asked, clearly disbelieving.

"I guess he thinks it will help bring peace with the humans," he shrugged. "Anyways, we've been sent to seek out women who might be able to live up to the position. Some of the potentials are far too eager, and others are... violently against it. Roku was attacked in his sleep by the fiancé of one of the girls that was selected as a candidate. She was in fact quite eager to be the potential new Lady of the West."

Kagome could detect some distaste in the Inu's tone, and decided it best to redirect the conversation.

"The Inu lord seems very wise. Taking on a human bride would help reassure the human populace. I was under the impression, though, that he finds humans barely tolerable."

The hanyou made a noncommittal sound, one which clearly indicated that there was nothing more to say, so Kagome instead absorbed herself in the task at hand.

Inuyasha watched her closely as, with great care and skill, she closed his friends gaping wound. She was beautiful, and smart, and seemed to accept demon and hanyou alike. Plus, she seemed to hold his brother in high regard, considering how little she knew about him. He was loath to admit it, for he rather liked the miko himself, but it seemed that after weeks of gathering women, he may have just stumbled upon the most promising candidate.

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AN: As I explained above, this is my very first fanfiction post. Please let me know how I did, and where I can improve. I realize that you may need to read more in order to more accurately asist me in the this. I hope it was enjoyable, as I have had a wonderful time writing it.  Please review! You know you wanna. ;)

Thank you ChaoticReverie for editing! You're my angel!

 

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