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The Hime Tradition by Sesshomaru's Secret Admirer

The Proposal

Chapter Two

Looking into a full length mirror, Kagome observed herself with shock written across her face. Layers of pure silk kimonos revealed strips of color across her small shoulder as if it were trying to create its own rainbow. The outer haori was dyed in bright purple with a beautiful design of the landscape of Japan drawn on. Her waist length hair was tied into a braid that flowed down one side of her shoulder.

Kagome realized that she no longer looked like the 16 year old girl that first came to the feudal era. No, rather she looked more mature and filled in the right places. It had been the first time wearing such expensive clothes, which made Kagome feel really odd and awkward. Fumbling with the edges of her haori, Kagome couldn't help but continue to stare at the different person within the mirror. She looked like a totally different person; just like how Inuyasha appeared the moment he stepped past the Western Gates.

The mischief that always played behind his amber eyes froze, replaced by an icy glint.

His usual slump and casual strides while he walked disappeared as he strode stiffly pass the Gates.

Kagome had always loved her friend's boyish look, but that too had seemed to vanish behind a manly appearance. It gave her a shock to see her best friend, who had always been the immature one, now looked so distant from the person she befriended.

Staring into the mirror once again, Kagome felt a sigh needing release. It was this place, the Western Castle, that was causing Inuyasha so much pain and change. It hurt to realize that the Inuyasha she knew beyond these Western walls was his true character. Yet, within these walls he had to put up a front that was not his true self but a barrier to protect himself.

Knock Knock

"Come in," she whispered knowing that it was Inuyasha behind her room door. Turning her attention to her friend as he opened the door, she sent him a small smile. Her eyes met with his tired looking amber eyes. Already he must have been weary from pretending to be who he wasn't. Softening her eyes, Kagome walked towards Inuyasha and grasped his hand to lead him towards a chair within the room. Seating him down, she sat across from him.

"Now, tell me more about the demon society," Kagome voiced in a commanding tone. Although she knew this would only cause Inuyasha more exhaustion, she needed to know all about the demon society in order to protect her friend. They were both notified that they would be attending a greeting ceremony for all the demons that have gathered to celebrate Inuyasha's return to the Western Castle after 200 years. Noting the weary look Inuyasha was giving her, she glared at him in determination that told him they would not leave this room until he told her everything.

"Keh, you better understand the first time cause I ain't explaining it to you twice!" Kagome relaxed a bit as she saw her friend's old self return. Nodding her head in agreement, she waited patiently for Inuyasha to begin.

"There are seven ranks within the demon society. Depending on the hierarchy of the ranks, the more influence and powerful the demons are. Daiyoukai's are obviously at the top," Inuyasha grimaced at the name of the rank.

"Sesshomaru is a Daiyoukai, right?" Kagome asked.

"Ya," Inuyasha grumbled out. "Then the next ranking is a 'Sho (正)'. You know, you are ranked as a 'Sho'," Inuyasha informed casually.

"EHHH!?" Kagome exclaimed loudly causing Inuyasha to flinch at the noise.

"Stop SHOUTING, woman!" Inuyasha yelled back as he jumped up from his chair and pointed accusingly at Kagome for causing his poor ears to bleed from the noise.

"Sorry, sorry, I'm just shocked that I'm ranked right below a Daiyoukai!" Kagome breathed out in surprise of the information. She had known that she was respected within the demon society, but to the extent of a 'Sho' was shocking. Watching Inuyasha sit back down with his arms crossed, she covered her mouth to indicate that she would be quiet.

"I'm ranked right below you as a 'Jiki' (直). They are demons that have a straight of direct link to the rank," Inuyasha explained. Kagome understood the underlying meaning behind his words. It was his father's blood that placed him straight into the rank of a 'Jiki'. But that didn't help Inuyasha's situation at all because his rank was not acknowledging his strength, only his blood line.

"The rank of a 'Gon' (勤) are the demons who have power within military forces," he said.

"Like Generals?" Kagome asked.

"Ya," Inuyasha answered as he continued, "Then the rank of a Mu (務) are scholars who are knowledgeable on many things. Their ranks are held similar as to a 'Gon'. Below them is the rank of a 'Tsu' (追) who are demons that need to further work on their skills before being placed in a higher rank. Then lastly, the rank of a 'Shin' (進) are those who have just joined the demon society and have yet to be ranked." Kagome memorized the ranks that Inuyasha had told her because she knew he would never repeat it again for her.

"How can you tell who is in which rank?" Kagome asked as a precaution.

"There is a color code to each rank. Daiyoukais wear yellow" Inuyasha was about to continue the rest of the color codes until Kagome interrupted.

"That's why Sesshomaru wears a yellow sash!?" she exclaimed excitedly as she found that learning about the demon society was very interesting.

"Someone's excited," Inuyasha muttered in annoyance. Catching her friends frown, she mentally kicked herself for appreciating the system behind the demon society that had been so cruel to Inuyasha.

"I guess the dress code for a 'Sho' is light purple?" Kagome asked the obvious as her haori color was light purple.

"'Jiki' wear dark red, 'Gon' wear dark green, 'Mu' wear light green, 'Tsu' wear dark blue, and 'Shin' wear light blue," Inuyasha informed quickly wanting to get over the topic of how the demon society worked.

"Got it," Kagome replied as she mentally stored the information safely away. Seeing Inuyasha sniffing the air, she flared a bit of her powers and felt many powerful demons entering into the Castle.

"Let's go," she heard Inuyasha growl out. Quickly observing her friend hide behind his own mask, she felt her heart heavy at the sight. Gently wrapping her arm around his, he led her towards the hall the ceremony would be held.

A tall ancient looking door was now the only barrier that blocked her and Inuyasha from the sea of demons past the doors. Tightening her arm around Inuyasha, she heard the doors creak open. She felt a rush of demonic aura crackle against her purification powers and narrowed her eyes at the challenge some of the demons were testing her with. Inwardly smirking, she released a portion of her powers into her aura while making sure it didn't affect Inuyasha. Immediately, she saw a few demons flinch and others retreating their auras. Briefly glancing at Inuyasha to check if he was okay, she saw a slight smirk remaining on his lips. Kagome was relieved that she could make her friend the least bit more comfortable. She was sure that this was the first time there was someone standing beside him as a support. But slowly, Kagome began to realize that no one had approached them or looked directly at them.

Many disgusted looks were quickly flashed towards their direction.

Whispers spread throughout the crowd.

Kagome noticed the distance and backs turned towards them as if they were invisible. A pang of rejection pierced through her heart for a brief second, until she felt Inuyasha pull her closer to his side. Shocked by her friend's reaction, she glanced up to see his icy mask slightly portray an apology. The pang of rejection quickly was replaced by sorrow. She did not wish to see Inuyasha apologize for the demon's rude behavior. She knew at that moment that the stares and whispers were directed towards Inuyasha and not her. And it pained her to see her confident and brave friend remain still to receive and accept such behavior.

Whispers were cut off and Kagome looked to see the reason that caused this. A beautiful demoness dressed in a similar style of kimono as hers, yet more revealing near the cleavage, emerged from amongst the crowd. As the demoness walked towards Inuyasha and her, Kagome watched as the haori was painted in light yellow and flowed past the normal length to drag along the floor behind her.

"What brings the Shikon Miko to this occasion?" the demoness inquired lightly. Observing the demoness, Kagome recognized that she was an inuyoukai as well. Her white hair held natural waves and gave a similar shade as Inuyasha's, while her eyes were bright green.

Sensing no hostile behind the demoness' question, Kagome replied, "I come as the intended mate of Prince Inuyasha."

Laughter rang through the grand hall.

"Intended mate? Prince?" the demoness managed to blurt out teasingly as she continued to laugh. Hearing the rest of the demons join in with sounds of snickering, Kagome felt confused as to the reason for their laughter.

"How on earth did the half-breed manage to fool you into becoming his intended mate?" the demoness finally asked amusingly. Anger flared within her as Kagome felt a rush of heat flow throughout her body. The word 'half-breed' echoed within her mind causing her anger to turn into rage.

How dare she use such words towards her friend, how dare she insult her friend!

Just as Kagome was about to retort something back to defend her friend, she felt Inuyasha tug at her arm to indicate that she remain silent. Immediately, she sent him a devastated look wondering why on earth her friend would stop her. Yet, all she felt was the tug on her arm tighten its grip. Feeling her anger vanish into a puff of smoke, Kagome clenched her jaws shut.

"Inuyasha," the demoness voiced in a totally different tone and manner than she had addressed to Kagome.

The tone held disgust and disrespect.

"Did you think you would be treated any better because you've managed to attain a mate with higher ranking?" the demoness remarked in distaste.

Kagome's heart sank the moment the demoness pointed out Inuyasha's only hope. As she secretly glanced towards her friend, her heart broke at the sight of his hardened look.

"If she was to be a 'Hime' that may be a different matter," the demoness said as she overlooked Kagome.

"But a human to win the title of 'Hime' is unheard of, even if she may be the Shikon Miko," Kagome made sure her expression remained cool and collected, even though her thoughts ran wild on different ways to purify the demoness.

Finally noting that the demoness had said all she wanted to say, Kagome saw the demoness turn to walk away. She was glad that the demoness chose to leave for Kagome didn't think she could hold her tongue for any longer.

"Oh, by the way," the demoness continued to say. Kagome had to control the urge to roll her eyes.

"I hope you don't think we came here to congratulate you for returning to the Western Castle," the demoness said nonchalantly. Kagome could feel her anger rising within her once again.

"We came for the Hime Tradition that is soon beginning, as you know 10 centuries have passed," the demoness voiced with a growing smirk on her face.

Unable to hold in her anger anymore, Kagome retorted in her best bored voice she could manage to hide her anger in.

"I think you will need to try harder if you think your petty comments were supposed to be heard as insults," Kagome said as she saw the demoness' eyes widen in shock while a few gasps were heard from the crowd. Kagome suddenly felt Inuyasha pull her towards the hall exit.

From the edges of the crowd, golden eyes flickered with amusement as the silent figure continued to watch the Shikon Miko being dragged out of the hall while leaving a shell shocked demoness and crowd.

Finally reaching the room she was assigned to, Kagome ripped her arm away from Inuyasha's tight grasp in anger.

"Why did you run away!?" Kagome yelled at Inuyasha.

"You should have just kept quiet!" Inuyasha growled out.

"Wha…What?" Kagome's voice suddenly dropped its volume and came out shaking. She couldn't recognize her friend anymore. Her friend who was brash and said what he wanted. Yet, when he was being insulted right in front of his face, he did nothing. She didn't understand him. Why was he so different?

"Kagome," she heard him sigh heavily in weariness, "You can't just say what you want here. It's different when it's beyond these walls, but not in demon society. Lady Inari is not someone you want to mess with."

"Lady Inari?" Kagome echoed at the title Inuyasha gave to that wretched demoness.

"She is a Daiyoukai, Kagome. You need to address her as so," Inuyasha whispered bitterly, hating the societal manners already.

Staring downwards towards the floor, Kagome stayed silent. The anger, the humiliation, the sorrow she was all feeling were probably what Inuyasha had grown up feeling with. The disgusted looks she saw still caused a wrenching pain to pierce through her heart. Feeling tears swell within her eyes, she quickly looked up to hold them in. Now staring at Inuyasha's exhausted form, she knew what she had to do.

"Inuyasha," she whispered noting that she had caught his attention," sit."

THUD

She watched as Inuyasha's face slammed against the marble floors of the room.

"WHAT WAS THAT FOR!?" Inuyasha shouted in anger while his amber eyes portrayed its usual glow and his lips snarled to reveal his fangs. But, Inuyasha's anger faltered as he saw Kagome only showing him a tender look.

"That's more like you," Kagome voiced in anguish. She didn't like to see her friend pretend like someone he was not. She hated seeing her friend who said what he want spit out words forcefully because of his rank. Observing the Inuyasha she knew with fire glimmering behind his amber eyes once again, she looked at him with determination.

"I will win the title of 'Hime'" she exclaimed confidently.

"What?" Inuyasha said in confusion.

"You said that the title of 'Hime' prevented your Father from ruining his reputation no matter what! That demoness also said that the title of 'Hime' could make demons less disrespectful and rude to you! So I will win the title of 'Hime'!" Kagome said with determination as her deep blue eyes portrayed a storm.

"There are many demonesses that have prepared themselves to gain the title of 'Hime', Kagome," Inuyasha scoffed at her confidence to win.

"Let me try, Inuyasha," Kagome voiced passionately as she would give her all and more to win the title. She could not allow Inuyasha to live in pain or humiliation anymore; not if she could help it.

"Kagome, you would have to really mate me-" Inuyasha began to inform but was quickly cut off.

"I know," Kagome interrupted, fully understanding what she was about to say, "Be my mate, Inuyasha, my real mate."

"Wha-wh-wha…" a tint of red began to form along Inuyasha's cheeks at the brave proposal Kagome had just announced.

"I know we both think each other as friends, but don't you think our marriage life would be easier that way?" Kagome explained logically. She knew that friendship was valuable within a marriage and it was because of friendship that held marriages to last longer.

"Kagome," the blush on Inuyasha's cheeks had disappeared as he unveiled a serious frown upon his face. "Don't waste your life being tied down with me because of the stupid demon society," he said honestly.

Though Inuyasha's words were telling her that he was worried for her, Kagome saw a glimmer of hope once again appear upon his face. Recalling the hope Inuyasha had of pretending to have an intended mate who was of higher status was soon crushed by that demoness, Kagome felt her heart aching again at the memory. She truly didn't mind mating with Inuyasha. After realizing that she was stuck in the feudal era, she didn't think she could marry anyone else from this era. They wouldn't understand that she was from a different time; no one but Inuyasha understood her. She knew she would be happy by Inuyasha's side.

"I will become 'Hime', and then I'll make sure no one ever disrespects you ever again," Kagome promised to herself and to her real intended mate. Feeling Inuyasha's arm wrap around her into an embrace, she felt comforted by the skin-ship. Although their relationship may never be filled with burning desire for one another, she would have a comfortable husband who would understand her quirks and oddness. And that was enough.

-The Seven Ranks-

Daiyoukai (大; Great or Big youkai) Yellow

Sho (正; True or First Rank) Light Purple

Jiki (直; Straight or Direct Rank) Dark Red

Gon (勤; Diligent Rank) Dark Green

Mu (務; Earnest Rank) Light Green

Tsu (追; Following Rank) Dark Blue

Shin (進; Advancing Rank) Light blue

-Name Meaning-

*Inari: Successful One

Author's Note: The demon ranks are actual ranks Japan used long ago, but please do not penalize me for the historical accuracy.

Thank you for reading,

Your reviews are cherished.

 

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