4 Carats by Sereia

4 Carats

Inspiration/Prompt: "4 Carats" by Kelly Clarkson


She shouldn't feel upset. She had no reason to be. Sesshoumaru had been giving her gifts for months; why should it matter that there was nothing in her basket from him on the one day she was supposed to get them?

He'd been so wonderful—had even started showing up in the village just to visit her—but Kagome had thought the extra attention would show up on Christmas too.

Maybe she hadn't made it clear that it was something couples were supposed to do?

We are a couple, aren't we?

"Hey Kags!"

Pushing aside her melancholy, Kagome greeted the wolf with a smile.

"Hi Kouga, Merry Christmas!"

He flashed her a fang, then held a small package out to her. "I got you something."

Her heart clenched, but she took the gift. "Thanks, that's sweet of you."

"So, you accept it?"

Something in his voice made her pause, and she looked at him. His anticipation was potent, more so than what was typical for him when he came to visit, and she frowned, a memory stirring from earlier that year.

Sesshoumaru had asked her the same question with the first gift he'd given her. The intricate mix of silver and sapphire suddenly felt heavy on her wrist, and she looked over her shoulder, searching for the daiyoukai.

A swirl of indigo disappeared into the trees, turbulent youki quickly following.

Kagome felt strangely alone.


Turning back to her friend, she struggled for a response. "Well, I-I—"

"No, she doesn't." Inuyasha grabbed the package out of her hands and threw it back at Kouga. "And you're a weasel for tryin' that shit."

Kouga bristled, his tail swishing back and forth in agitation. "Go away, dog breath! You're not part of this."

"The hell I'm not! Look at what she's wearing, moron!"

Kagome looked down at herself. What was wrong with the way she was dressed? Sesshoumaru had given her a new kimono a month prior, the lavender crest of his clan contrasting nicely against the dark hue of the indigo silk. He'd even worn a matching one, and she hadn't been able to hide her joy when he'd shown up for a second Christmas in a row.

It wasn't covered in dirt or indecent, so what was Inuyasha—

Kouga's startled expression told her there was more to the outfit than she'd initially thought.

"What the f—why'd you let her accept it?!"

Inuyasha smirked. "You're an idiot if you think I let her do anything."

She tugged on Inuyasha's sleeve. "What's going on? What did I accept?"

Her best friend's brow furrowed before he ran a hand through his hair, suddenly embarrassed. "It's not my place, K'gome. Ya gotta go talk to the bas—Sesshoumaru."

"She doesn't even know?" Kouga grabbed the front of Inuyasha's haori, growling in the back of his throat. "You practically handed her over to him!"

Inuyasha landed a punch in the wolf's stomach, Kouga hunching over in pain. "You just tried the same shit!"

"I thought she knew! She's been hanging out around youkai for almost ten years now!"

Kagome suddenly felt panicked, and she turned towards where Sesshoumaru had walked off.


Sapphire met gold, Inuyasha having put Kouga in a chokehold to prevent him from doing any more talking.

"And make sure you clock him good for not tellin' ya when it first started."

She gave him a grateful smile, then took off, snow crunching under her feet as she went in search of the one person she wanted—needed the most.

Kagome found him in the same place he'd taken her last year, the embarrassment of being forced to explain her gifts and one-sided crush still lingering at the base of her neck.

She wasn't sure what she'd done wrong, but Kouga's reaction and Inuyasha's words echoed loudly in the surrounding silence. It urged her forward, and she plowed into the back of him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist, worried he would leave if she didn't.

"Miko, what—"

"I'm so sorry!" she blurted, burying her face in the back of his obi. "The gifts meant something, right? I didn't know—I thought you were just being nice. But there's more to them, isn't there?"

She felt him jerk in surprise, his aura shifting between hurt and confusion, to surprise and frustration.

"Inuyasha never spoke of youkai customs?"

The silk of his kimono rustled as she shook her head, afraid to meet his gaze. "It never really came up. I mean, I figured we were kind of dating, so the gifts were part of that, but it's more than that, isn't it?"

"Each gift is significant in its own way." His response was slow, and Kagome had the distinct feeling he was choosing his words carefully. The panic she'd been holding back settled deep in her heart, and tears pricked her eyes.

Finally pulling back, she looked up at him. Half his hair had been pulled up into an intricate knot, the rest trailing over one shoulder. His severe profile was still facing away from her, and Kagome's tears overflowed.

Had she ruined everything?

"Please don't leave."

"It was not my intent to leave. I was merely—" Sesshoumaru sighed, turning in her arms and brushing away her tears with the back of his fingers. "You have made it clear in the past your dislike for petty squabbles. I was ensuring that the wolf's limbs stayed attached to his body."

She gave him an incredulous look. "You were going to fight Kouga?"

Golden eyes narrowed. "He attempted to lay claim to my intended through courting gifts of his own. He deserved to be taught a lesson."

"Y-Your what?!" Kagome sputtered as she tried to collect her thoughts. "But you—you never said—"

"I assumed you were well versed in the ways of youkai courting." His expression softened as he cupped her jaw. "I apologize for not being more clear. You accepted the gifts so willingly that I thought an explanation was unnecessary."

A blush stained her cheeks. "You were finally paying attention to me. What else was I supposed to do?"

Sesshoumaru chuckled, then pressed his forehead to hers, and Kagome grabbed fistfuls of dark silk, pulling him closer. Her heart finally calmed, the dread and alarm that had been plaguing her finally dissipating.

"This One has one last gift for you."

"You don't have to—"

"It is important."

Blushing again, Kagome nodded, slowly releasing her grip, and letting him step back. He reached into a pouch hidden under his obi, producing a crescent moon on the end of a silver chain. The sapphire sparkled in the moonlight, and she noticed that it matched the bracelet he'd given her.

"It's beautiful," she whispered.

"It is a mating gift."

"A mating—" Her eyes flew to his, her words dying in her throat.

"You have accepted the gifts symbolizing my intent, my loyalty, and my ability to provide. Will you now accept the symbol of my clan? To show to all who has laid claim to you and whom you have chosen in return?"

It was direct, and probably rehearsed, but her heart hung on every word—especially with the intensity of his golden gaze bearing down on her.

She didn't remember giving a response, but his body suddenly relaxed, claws brushing raven locks away from her shoulders as he fastened it around her neck. He traced the line of the chain between the folds of her kimono before laying it between her breasts.

Kagome felt something stir within her and knew the moment Sesshoumaru felt it as well, his pupils dilating.

"Do I require mistletoe to kiss you this year?"

She barely shook her head once before his lips were on hers, one hand cupping the back of her head as he pulled her against him. If he thought he was being too rough, Kagome quickly quelled his fears, snaking her arms up around his neck and kissing him back just as hard. Tongues tangled and teased, and it was Sesshoumaru who moaned first.

Kagome smiled against his lips—her basket had been a lot fuller than she thought.

"Where's Kagome?"

Inuyasha smirked, his chin resting in his palm. "Getting her Christmas present from Sesshoumaru."

Shippou pouted, then sat down next to him. "He should've put it in her basket. That's what everyone else does."

"This one was different, runt," he said, ruffling the boy's hair.

"More special than the kimono?"


"Well, that's okay then. Kagome deserves the best presents."

Inuyasha smirked again. In his opinion, Sesshoumaru was getting the best gift out of the two of them, but he wasn't about to explain the semantics to Shippou. The runt was still too young to know about the complexities of youkai mating—Inuyasha himself had had to piece a lot of it together in his later years.

But he knew love when he saw it.

"Did Lady Kagome receive her final gift?" Miroku asked, a twin in each arm.

Silver ears twitched. His brother's presence was still nearby.

"The bastard's still here, so it seems like it."

"Perhaps he will gift her with more than just his clan's insignia," the monk added, both eyebrows wiggling.

Inuyasha groaned, his hand twitching with the need to pound his friend into the dirt. "Keep your perverted thoughts to yourself, Miroku! Especially when it comes to my best friend and my brother."

Chuckling softly, Miroku set the girls down next to Shippou, the twins instantly begging the kit to perform magic for them. Shippou's chest puffed up, and the three of them scampered away in a fit of excited giggles.

"Do you regret not explaining the intricacies of youkai courting rituals to Lady Kagome?"

"Keh! And miss out on the bastard having to do it himself? Hell no!"

"But not understanding the implications could have—"


Both males paused in their argument, turning towards the soft interruption. Shiori stood in front of them, a shy but eager smile on her face as she held out a carefully wrapped present.

Inuyasha blushed, scratching the back of his head before taking it from her.

"Thanks," he mumbled.

She gave him an expectant look, and he blanched, then pulled at the packaging to reveal a woven charm. It appeared to be a combination of one of her old ribbons and heart-shaped barrettes. Inuyasha stared at it for a moment before pinning it to the lapel of his haori.

"So, you accept it?"

Her tone was both hopeful and wistful, and Inuyasha frowned. "Ummm, yeah, sure. You know you don't have to get me anything, right? Just because K'gome set up those baskets for everyone, it doesn't mean—"

"I think you have completely missed the point, my friend."

Bristling, Inuyasha turned to Miroku. "Shut up, ya perv! It's just a Christmas present! She doesn't know what it means. She's just being'—"

"I know exactly what it means," Shiori said, violet eyes gleaming before she gave them a slight bow. "I look forward to the coming year, Inuyasha."

Miroku fell off the log, clutching his robes as he doubled over in laughter. Inuyasha turned as red as his fire-rat robe, his jaw-dropping open as he watched Shiori walk away.



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