Scent of Contentment

BY : FlameWolf
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Sessh?maru/Kagome > Sessh?maru/Kagome
Dragon prints: 702
Disclaimer: I don’t own anyone or anything from Inuyasha. This is just for fun and no profit will be made from this.

Author’s Note:  Be prepared for a lot to happen.  I hope you enjoyed this series!  See you again soon~



 

Scent of Contentment

 

By: FlameWolf





 

    As it turned out, Hiina’s initial human form had been all too temporary.  A few moments after she’d been born, the illusion faded for something that more resembled that of her father.  White, silky fur overtook soft skin, floppy puppy ears replaced human ears, a canine muzzle became her mouth and a stubby, curly tail protruded from her backside.  She looked like a perfect canine/human hybrid and, too be honest, the switch suited her.  Everyone she met simply fawned over her adorable features and loving personality.  It certainly helped that she seemed to enjoy being picked up, licking the face of whoever would let her; to both her parents’ chagrin.

    To top all of this off, she was much smarter at her age than she should be; able to talk before she had even been able to crawl.  It was honestly scary how she used her cuteness and young face to her advantage.  All she had to do was make a whimper or small bark and any woman in the area would fall over themselves to give her anything she wanted.  She would be a heartbreaker when she got older and Kagome honestly couldn’t wait to show her off to her mother.  The only problem was, she had no idea if the young youkai would be able to travel through the well.

    For very obvious reasons, neither she or Sesshomaru were willing to experiment.  If the young pup didn’t make it through, it was very likely she would be dropped to the bottom of the well; a fall that would no doubt hurt her despite her lineage.  Even young youkai could get injured, especially with the fact that their youki was still developing.  Not to mention the fact that young bones tended to be brittle, no matter the species.  Unfortunately, this left the young girl with a very hard decision.  Did she continue to travel back and forth, risking being trapped in the future?  Or did she stay with her new family and pick up her life in 500 years.

    With her new immortality, waiting that long would not be an issue.  Yet, it would be a very long time to be separated from her family.  Not to mention the fact that she would have to wait until her future caught up with the events that led to her daughter.  It would be a juggling act with time itself, the very notion making her head hurt and her heart ache.  The only thing she could do was send through Sesshomaru, confident he would find a way to claw back to the past if the worst should happen.  Thankfully, the well worked as it always had; allowing the Western Lord to hop between the times with no issue.  Though, he understandably had no desire to attempt such a thing again.

    Now that Naraku was dead, there was a good chance the passage between the past and the future could collapse.  Not to mention it seemed to have some connection to her own feelings.  The more at home she’d felt in the Feudal Era, the weaker the connection had seemed to become.  The one trip was really all that would really be advisable.  At least he’d been able to get Kagome’s message to her mother, returning rapidly with a response.  A note that had made the too young girl break into heart wrenching sobs.

    ‘While it pains me, I accept your reasons for not coming back to the future for now.  Especially given the fact you intend to visit after this last communication.  Time is a weird thing, especially when you are immortal.  I do look forward to meeting my grandchild and will do my best to keep in mind that it has been 500 years for you while it will have only been a few minutes for me.  I do hope to see you soon and that you have survived.

                                    Love Mama’ it read, short and straight to the point.

    The worst thing about it was the not knowing if she really would be alive to see her own mother again.  Not with how the climate looked for youkai in the future.  It was entirely likely a massive extinction event was about to take place.  Either that or the humans had found a way to kill the demons.  With the advent of gunpowder not being far off, Kagome was more inclined to think it was the latter.  Guns were something beings like Sesshomaru were far too arrogant to expect humans to make.  The other taiyoukai likely felt her kind were to stupid or weak to ever pose a threat, making it all too easy to dispose of the haughty beasts.

    Even with all the talks that had been happening, the old fools were disastrously set in their ways.  The only hope left was to maybe get through to some of their offspring, a feat that was also proving to be impossible in some respects.  Most times, the eldest sibling was just as set in their ways as their parents; leaving them with the less favorable option of the younger siblings.  While they were more willing to listen, they had a lot less influence.  Still, at least they were getting through to someone that was in line for succession.  If the worst happened, it would likely be only them left.

    Sighing as she watched her baby playing with Shippo and Rin, she found herself grateful that they had at least a few years to form the necessary alliances.  Alliances that were causing several heated arguments.  All the actual politics involved were worse than anything she had heard about America.  Instead of coming together to agree on something for the good of their species as a whole, they were busy snarling at eachother about who was right and who had wronged who.  It was enough to make her want to tear her hair out by the roots.  Even Sesshomaru seemed to be losing his almost legendary cool.

    This upcoming meeting would be no different, being with the Tiger youkai from the North and the Dragons from the South.  Clans who hated eachother and held no love for the clan of inu.  Just the fact that they even agreed to the meeting was highly suspect under normal circumstances and Sesshomaru had to take rather extreme precautions.  It would be held on neutral ground and all weapons would be seized by the guards.  Their mates and children would also be present as extra insurance against any funny stuff.  This, of course, included Kagome and Hiina; a fact that did nothing to help smooth things over.

    The hatred of humans was deeply ingrained in youkai society.  To the point where they actively looked down on Sesshomaru simply for his choice of mate, let alone having a child with a miko.  At least none of them had the cojones to tell either of them to their faces.  They just acted vaguely hostile as well as disrespectful.  Yet, all they could do was act as if nothing was wrong; mostly on Kagome’s demand.  What she hoped would happen was that they would eventually accept her.  So far, she’d only made headway with the guards; getting them to the point where they’d at least greet her with the barest hint of friendliness.

    Scooping up Hiina in her arms, she felt some amount of comfort when Shippo hopped on her shoulder and Rin jumped up in Sesshomaru’s arms.  If they were allowed to come, that must mean the taiyoukai felt safe enough to include them as well.  At least he wasn’t afraid of any insult for taking in beings that weren’t of his species as his children.  If any of them dared, it would be their heads on a pike; a bad precedent to set when you were trying to make friends.  “Are you sure there won’t be a problem with bringing them?” she asked, feeling a bit nervous as they took off from Kaede’s village.

    “It is time.  Those stuck up nobles will have to get used to the idea they are part of my family.  If they should want it, either Rin or Shippo will be in line for succession.  Though, I doubt our little girl will be suited to the rigors of being a Lady of the High Court.  Our kit will likely follow her example, given how close they are,” he rumbled, grinning when both children blushed and hid their faces.

    “Daaad~,” they cried in unison, avoiding eachother’s gazes out of embarrassment.  The pair were rarely ever apart now a days, acting more like a courting pair rather than siblings.  All in all, neither she or Sesshomaru had a problem with them carrying on a relationship.  Neither child was blood related and, besides, their love for eachother was too pure to see destroyed.  They were nigh inseparable, sleeping together and going everywhere hand in hand.

    Nuzzling into her own mate, Kagome smiled to herself as she watched the trees pass below their feet.  Young love was truly a beautiful thing.  It comforted her to know the orphaned kit would have a lifelong companion.  The same went for Sesshomaru’s young ward.  If the two had never found eachother, it was unlikely the Western Lord would be willing to allow her to get married to anyone else.  He was extremely protective of the girl and her only other prospect had been the undead Kohaku, a choice that no doubt hadn’t sat well with the stoic male to her right.  It would have come far too close to mirroring what had happened between his half brother and some living golem made from a long dead piece of soul.

    Besides, none of them had any clue if the boy was even still alive.  His shard was still missing but the being controlling him was also dead.  There was a fairly good probability the unfortunate boy had either followed right after or soon would.  It certainly hadn’t helped that neither Sango or Miroku had been able to find him.  It was as if he had simply disappeared, not so much as a glimmer of the shard he carried for miles.  Though, it was possible Kagura had taken him along with her and Kanna out of simple pity; hiding the three of them behind a barrier of youki.  With all that had happened, she really couldn’t blame the demoness.  The young void demon and undead boy were the closest thing she had to a family.

    The feeling of going lower broke her out of her reverie, watching with faint awe as a huge compound appeared below them.  While she had been here many times before, the sheer grandeur of it still blew her mind.  It was mostly of ancient Japan design with some western touches here and there.  The entire thing was made of a high polished white marble, the central structure towering many feet over the high, blank walls surrounding it.  It was a meeting place that belonged to the inu but was located in completely unclaimed land, making it a nice place to hold important gatherings.

    Even Shippo was staring at the massive building as they grew ever closer to the lush courtyard.  Decorative cherry trees lined the insides of the walls, just the sight of their green leaves making Kagome long for Spring.  They would have been a true wonder to behold and would have made the entirety of the yard smell of Sakura.  A scent Sesshomaru had often accused her of having.  To her own nose, she simply smelled of the various shampoos and soaps she used.  Nowhere near as stunning or exotic as she pink blooms she so often adored on her walk to school.

    Unfortunately, one of the things she had given up on her permanent move here had been those trees.  As a poor village, Nihongo had no such foliage and had no means to care for them if they did.  Still, the sixteen year old had no idea just how much she had missed them until now.  Suddenly, she was filled with a longing to see this place in Spring.  Such an intense need that she subconsciously approached a tree once they had landed.  She only noticed when the palm of her hand touched the rough bark, Hiina silently watching from her arms.  “This place is very old Mama...  Even Papa has often found solace here without knowing why,” murmured her too young voice, holding a wisdom of ages.

    Knowing what she did about reincarnation, Kagome wasn’t all that surprised her own daughter was likely an older soul.  Kissing the crown of her pup’s ebony hair, she simply gave a nod.  Something about this place felt far too familiar.  Like she had lived here as Midoriko.  Shuddering, she stared down into the toddler’s intelligent, amber colored eyes as she began to wonder.  Was she the ill-fated babe that had been birthed far too soon?  Just thinking about it made her shudder as she handed over Hiina to Shippo.

    The pup’s tail curled around her older brother’s forearm, black nose quivering as her floppy ears perked forward.  A brilliant crescent moon shone on her forehead and magenta stripes adorning her furred cheeks, clearly showing which clan she belonged to.  Not that her form itself wasn’t a dead giveaway.  “Talk to Papa tonight, under the full moon,” she murmured, a strange light glimmering in her golden orbs.

    “He’ll have the answers you both need,” she continued, eyes shifting over her mother’s shoulder.

    Turning slightly to look, she saw Sesshomaru heading toward her at a fast clip.  He was being followed closely by guards from both factions they were meeting with today, amusement on their handsome faces.  These were men that had encountered her before and were well aware of her eccentricities.  Unbeknownst to their masters, they took it upon themselves to see to her safety.  This was mostly due to how kindly she tended to treat them.  She went out of her way to make sure they had food or that their wounds had been taken care of.  She’d even spoken to their Lords on their behalf, making sure they all had regular breaks to see their families.  All in all, they were rather taken with the human Miko.

    They were unused to any consideration from humans, let alone Priestesses.  So, when she had first approached them with a smile as well as food, they had no idea how to react.  Some of them had even pointed their spears at her simply out of confusion.  Thankfully she had shown no fear or hatred, merely smiled and set the basket down outside of the reach of their weapons.  Day by day, she had continued; eventually earning their trust and loyalty.  “Lady Kagome, you know it is dangerous to wander too far from your Lord,” chided a rather young tiger demon, a gentle grin on his feline face.

    “I know but...  These trees...,” she whispered, shuddering at the feeling of deja-vu that pulsed through her.  Hiina merely gurgled like the baby she appeared to be, no sign of her earlier cognizance.  As young as she was, the growing youkai was surprisingly shrewd.  She knew to hide all the cards she held around strangers.

    “Ah, this is our first time meeting here.  Usually, we use Lord Babur’s neutral grounds,” husked an older voice from a more humanoid looking youkai, bold stripes decorating his grizzled visage.  This guard was much more muscular than the other one, a long tail flicking behind him as he leaned on his spear.  One of his brilliant green eyes was completely gone, a patch made of fur covering the grotesque injury.

    All too often, Kagome had to help him clean and disinfect the socket that had been left behind under the torn flesh.  Even with his healing abilities, the skin and muscle hadn’t come back; implying he had been hit by some exceedingly strong holy energy.  This made it even more remarkable that he allowed her anywhere near him, let alone becoming a good friend of hers.  The dragons behind him had similar injuries, making her heart ache for the actual citizens under the two Lords.  If the guards’ injuries were this bad, what must the lower youkai look like?  If it was close to as bad as she imagined, she couldn’t blame any of the youkai for being hesitant to join their cause.  Getting along with ningen seemed an almost impossible task.

    Giving the small group a smile, she simply nodded in response to what the elder of the tigers had said.  “I feel like I used to know this place in a past life.  Let’s not keep your masters waiting though.  Leaving those two alone in a room together is a risky prospect.  Their ancestors ancestors have been warring for longer than either could care to remember.  They had been at war for so long, they had forgotten what the original disagreement was.  They just found it easier to continue as they were rather than actually admit that neither of them had a reason to hate eachother.  It was the height of frustrating.  Especially since they got along so well when on neutral ground.

    Still, old habits died hard and fights broke out fairly often when talks turned to the barely remembered past.  If only they weren’t so stubborn and set in their ways but the the best she could hope for was a continuation of these talks.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.  At least the two hard headed males were forging a sort of relationship, a rivalry more than outright hatred.  Not exactly an ideal step but certainly one that was in the right direction.

    Walking up to her mate, she felt something inside her tighten as he wrapped a firm arm around her; letting out a low rumble in warning as he nuzzled the crescent moon on her neck.  It was an obvious show of dominance as well as concern, meant to remind her of her place in his pack as well as his heart.  Instead of fighting, she simply rolled her head to one side and made the proper submissive noise.  Just like Sesshomaru had taught her.  While the action of appearing to be beneath anyone in the pecking order rankled her, she knew it would show her mighty mate in an unfavorable light if she fought him.

    In his society, she had accepted his suit and was therefore his property.  Her behavior directly reflected on him and she was to behave with the utmost of respect when around other nobles.  Though, to her relief, he never asked for her subservience.  In youkai circles, the female was seen as on equal ground with her male and was often party to what happened during the meetings.  Their opinions were usually considered with the same amount of weight as their Lord’s, allowing her to at least voice her opinion on important matters.

    Thankfully, most time her outspokenness was seen as a sign of great inner strength; often earning the respect of the elder youkai.  At least begrudgingly.  Today would be no different, the burly, barrel built Tiger Lord spinning to face her first.  While he wore the guise of a human, there was something almost feline in the structure of his broad face.  He had wild, brown facial hair surrounding his head, the bits growing on each cheek resembling a thick stripe.  Wild, green eyes glistened at her above a wide beard and mustache combo, his own tail twitching with good humor.  “Ah, Lady Kagome!  Your warm presence will loosen up ol’ scale britches,” boomed his boisterous voice, fairly rattling the rafters.

    The slender, much more composed Dragon Lord merely narrowed his red eyes; his own tail swishing with mild irritation.  He too resembled a human, his true species only hinted at through features on his gaunt face.  Shoulder length, black hair was slicked back, a soft smile on his angular but handsome face.  “While I am loathe to agree with anything this oaf says, I am happy to see you are well mi’Lady,” purred his sonorous, smooth voice as he smiled gently at her.  Giving them both a grin in return, she found herself encouraged by the presence of their tails.  Even Sesshomaru’s was unwound from his shoulder, swishing with a mixture of amusement and irritation.  Most of the time, such appendages were hidden or tightly wound around a waist or shoulder.  They showed off far too much emotion, much like their true animal forms.  Animals didn’t hide their emotions well at all.  Only humans were such good liars.

    All her time in this society had taught her a lot about demon mindsets and she found it ironic that they dubbed it safer to hide under the guise of something they hated.  Sesshomaru himself only showed his true face in absolute privacy out of habit and comfort.  He found his true form as alien as the moon, oddly more comfortable in his more human skin.  Suddenly, her reflections were broken by cries of excitement; her gaze going to a swarm of younglings.

    Too young to have prejudice, the whelps mixed with the cubs easily; clinging to her jeans as they stared at her with wide eyes.  In one, loud chorus, they cried for the strange sweets from her time; a supply she was beginning to run short on.  All too soon, she would be completely out of the large mountain she had Sesshomaru tell her mother to buy on his one visit.  She didn’t look forward to the crushed expressions on their faces when that happened.  Making sure it was okay with their fathers, she handed out lollipops; having long banished chocolate.  While she wasn’t entirely sure it would hurt the canines in her pack, she didn’t want to take any chances.

    The animal-like children took their sweets with an eagerness only the young could muster, circling around Shippo and Rin to chat with them as well as make funny faces at Hiina.  The young pup simply giggled and clapped, acting very much the innocent infant that she wasn’t.  Her eyes were shrewd and attentive, taking in everything that was said and done.  Kagome and Sesshomaru would no doubt get a full report about how well the fox and human were accepted by the end of the visit.  For now, the pair approached the two taiyoukai they had come to see.

    “I’m happy to see you,” the young miko declared, meaning every word despite her lingering frustration with their continued pigheadedness.  She approached Babur first, allowing him to crush her in his customary bearhug as he lifted her off the floor. Raucous laughter poured from the huge man while Sesshomaru quietly shook hands with an equally stoic Isamu.  Once she was released, her and her mate switched places; allowing Kagome to witness the Lord of the West get picked up off his feet out of the corner of her eye.

    “I take it you are happy to see me as well?” purred the draconian, pressing cool lips to the top of her hand.  Just the feel of his skin against hers made her shudder, a faint sensation of deja-vu washing over her.

    Like Sesshomaru and this place, she felt like she knew him.  Had loved him almost as much as Noriyasu.  Would have probably mated him if not for meeting the arrogant dog.  He had been a guard of hers long before she had become a full on priestess, taking it upon himself to watch her from a young age.  Without him, she would have likely never became what she was.  While revered later in life, Midoriko had been abandoned as a child.  This dragon’s former self had stumbled upon her son after she had been left in the woods, the animals around her caring for her out of simple instinct.

    The look in his eyes told her he remembered too, a faintly paternal expression coming over his features.  This only added to the sense that she knew this place.  Images of her and Noriyasu wandering these halls filled her head.  Rocking on her feet as the past overwhelmed her, the teen’s eyes rolled back in her head as she simply dropped; Isamu catching her before Sesshomaru could even move.  Though, the dragon didn’t look much more steady; looking at his fellow Lord for help as he slid to his knees.  Barely hanging onto consciousness, he handed the miko to her mate before he lost consciousness himself.

    Hiina was the only who didn’t panic, sending out a thread of her odd energy to her father.  It was neither reiki or youki but something in between and even more powerful.  It was so unique to her that she could disguise from anyone but the recipient for her subtle message.  Shuddering, her sire turned to give her a relieved look; his head moving up and down in a subtle nod.  Then he was scooping her mother into his arms, carrying her off into one of the rooms reserved for overnight guests.  This left Babur in a rather odd predicament.

    Looking down at his unconscious enemy, he found himself struggling for any true animosity.  All that was really left was a sense of duty to an ancestor long gone and even that was fading.  In all honesty, Isamu was an honorable enough youkai.  Especially given the one who preceded him had been the dreaded Ryūkotsusei.  Under this male’s rule, the dragons had gradually become less war-like and more scholarly.  It was barely any fun to have their annual battle anymore.  So, with a heavy sigh and knowing full well the gaggle of children was watching him, the Tiger Lord took his rival into his arms and carried him into a room before summoning healers.

    “She should come around soon mi’Lord.  She seems to have just fainted,” assured a wizened voice from above her, sounding neither male or female.

    Groaning as she took in a deep breath, Kagome slowly sat up while she cradled her throbbing head in both hands.  Already the memories were assaulting her, the pain broadcasted across their strange link causing Sesshomaru to growl protectively.  Before she could even begin to reassure him, he was taking her into his arms; rough tongue licking through her ebony hair as her nurse showed herself out.  Catching the barest glimpse of a wrinkled crone, the sixteen year old found her attention drawn back to her beloved as he began to nibble her neck.  “What did you remember,” hissed a not quite demand, the beast heavily coloring his voice and causing her to shake all over.

    “I’ve seen this place.  I feel like we’ve been here a long time ago.  And the dragon..,” she responded, her voice sounding a bit huskier than before as she felt her consciousness drift like a wayward balloon.

    “I feel it too.  Meet me tonight, under the full moon,” purred in her ear, a echo of the past and her daughter that made her skin tingle.  The voice was gruffer, more like an animal than Sesshomaru’s was.  She had only heard it twice but still knew it in the depths of her soul.

    “Noriyasu...,” breathed an intonation that didn’t quite sound like her, blood singing in her veins as fangs prickled gently on her neck.

    “Soon...,” rasped a husky promise, his reiki mixed youki spiking as his hold on her tightened.  Then the true owner of the body was back, the stark difference in energies as apparent as night and day.  It almost made her feel like she was cheating on her mate in a way, despite the fact the other man was a past version of himself.

    Soft lips replaced deadly teeth, a deep inhale coming from the powerful being cradling her.  “Do not feel guilty.  He would not be talking to you if I did not want him to.  He and I are parts of the same whole, we share a soul as well as several personality points.  The same goes for you and Midoriko and I hope to finally meet her tonight.  She is part of you, one well hidden,” rumbled a smooth baritone as he slowly pulled away from her, walking to the front of her bed to offer her his hand.

    Taking the elegant appendage, she allowed him to pull her to his feet; feeling a bit nervous despite his assurances.  While Midoriko felt closer to her personality than Kikyo, that didn’t remove her apprehension about dealing with past lives.  The last thing she wanted was another situation like what happened with Inuyasha.  Though, she had doubts this would ever be the case for Sesshomaru.  He saw her as her own person, even when his soul had drawn him to her side.  On top of that, he genuinely seemed to enjoy her company as well as that of Shippo.

    A few moments later, she found herself listening to a flurry of excuses from Babur about how any peace with the neighboring humans was impossible.  Isamu simply observed, a strangely thoughtful look on his alien face as he mulled over what had happened between him and Lady Kagome.  “If you would just extend a hand in kindness first and keep at it, I’m sure the villages would eventually come to change their minds,” Kagome assured, rubbing her temples as she felt the beginnings of a stress headache.  It was an argument she’d had with him before and she was beginning to feel like she was spinning her wheels in thick mud.

    “That would take far too much time, I keep tellin’ ya that.  Humans are surprisingly stubborn.  Can take several generations to even make a dent in some prejudices,” the wide Lord pointed out, unaware of how close he was coming to describing his war with the dragons.

    “Not as stubborn as some youkai,” she quipped, jarring both men enough that they stared at her with their mouths slightly ajar.  Even their wives were gawping, seeming stunned that she had said such a thing.

    “I agree.  In some diplomatic situations, it is best to extend the hand first.  Send out help should the villages need it.  Give them food during famine.  Send healers to the sick.  It is time we end this silly struggle.  It does no good,” the Dragon Lord interjected, keeping a neutral facade even when the focus shifted to him.

    “On that note, I wish to be the first to suggest we bring an end to our own differences.  I have long stopped seeing you as an enemy.  I see you more as a friend and find all the battles rather bothersome,” he continued, getting to his feet so he could offer his long rival a clawed hand.

    Babur only stared at it like it was some alien thing, brow crinkled in consternation.  Closing his wild, green eyes, he let out a slow sigh before he got to his own feet; easily towering over the other male.  Then he was offering a meaty hand, a broad smile on his huge face.  “Alright, from this day on we’re brothers.  Gives me an excuse to throw a party in your honor,” he announced booming laughter as the kids began to swarm amongst eachother with glee.  Over the varied meetings, they had become quite close; forming tight knit bonds that would have been near impossible to break.  Isamu could only smile, the expression looking more like a grimace as he was carted off by his new ally.

    “Think they’ll also discuss his ideas for humans?” Kagome whispered, giggling as the voices moved off toward the back of the building.  It was there that a ballroom had been set aside for an occasion like this, allowing other guests to have quiet while they tried to rest.

    “I think they will.  We might finally be making headway.  Just a little bit.  At least we already have the wolves.  But the other Lords are not going to be as easy.  Still, Babur and Isamu will add credibility to our stance,” growled out Sesshomaru while Rin and Shippo gathered around them, Hiina holding tightly to her adopted brother.   

    As the party in the other wing got into full swing, the young girl excused herself to sit on a bench outside; watching as the sun set.  The children had long ago been escorted to bed, having had a very long day.  Sesshomaru, on the other hand, had followed her like a shadow; lingering behind her as the orange in the sky deepened to a fiery red.  It wouldn’t be long before that red faded to a bruised purple, a foretelling of dusk.  Just thinking about talking to Noriyasu again made her want to fidget in anticipation, her blood fairly racing through her.

    The creature behind her seemed to feel the same, his tainted youki flaring every so often as his tail wound its way around her waist.  Clawed hands landed on her shoulders, the warmth of him almost burning her as the sky continued to darken.  As the stars slowly began to blink to life in the gloom, crickets began to sing while Sesshomaru’s energy changed to something different entirely.  Rough lips brushed just under her left ear as a soft, growl laced breath gusted against her skin.  “Close your eyes for me,” rumbled the deep voice of Noriyasu, making her mouth go abnormally dry.

    Nodding, she did as he requested; feeling her conscious mind break off from her body.  Buoying up into the sky, she felt the tether of her soul to her body grow taut; stopping her ascension.  Looking down, she saw the color gradually drain out of the landscape while the full moon rose above her.  The pair below also changed, their clothing becoming older while reality changed to sepia toned.  The building also changed to a more Japanese feel, the layout staying the same despite that fact.  It was then that it hit her why she felt so at home here.  Midoriko and her mate had lived here, meaning the fateful night had likely occurred here.

    Upon this realization, she was rocketed back to her body; her frame jolting backward to be stopped by the inu youkai behind her.  “This was our place, our home that we had built ourselves.  It will soon be so again, after we have accomplished a few more of a goals,” assured a soft grumble as strong arms picked her up to place her in a lap that felt familiar and strange at the same time.

    “That time is not far off.  During our child’s second year, all will fall into place.  Though it will look like it was falling apart long before that happens.  Never lose faith my love, that is tantamount.  Keep moving forward and you will be rewarded,” promised the ancient voice, careful claws moving over her arms as he began to plant kisses along her neck.

    All she could do was moan, leaning into the male as shame prickled at the back of her mind.  While this was a past version of her mate, that didn’t stop her from feeling guilty for being attracted to him.  “It has been so long since I have touched you...  Even with a different name, you are still the same.  Especially your scent,” sighed in her ear, roughened hands still caressing her as if trying to offer comfort.  Given the mark, he was likely able to sense her discomfort and was reacting to it.

    “Can you not see I am the same as well.  I have missed you, terribly.  Feeling my current incarnation hold you is not enough for me.  I need to touch you for myself, if only once,” pleaded his snarl of a voice, the gruff tones making her shudder as a fire started in her lower tummy.

    “B-but...  I’m not...,” she began, only to be cut off by urgent lips covering hers.  Sharp fangs nipped her soft lips without injuring them, a quiet rumble leaving him as he wrapped his oppressing youki around her.

    Yet, this energy wasn’t like Sesshomaru’s.  It was a lot like their daughter’s while more closely resembling demonic energy.  Probably the result of his long relationship with her first incarnation.  “You are while not at the same time.  You are unique,” insisted his feral voice, a certain part of his body hardening under her buttocks.  Squirming slightly as she realized what it was, Kagome went bright red as her heart began to pound against her sternum.

    “I want to feel you, my Kagome.  You don’t just belong to my reincarnation.  We inu never truly give up our chosen mates,” declared his guttural voice, the growl edging it making her skin break out in goosebumps while her nipples tightened painfully.

    In a blur of dizzying speed, the teen found herself in an entirely different part of the courtyard.  A secret place that had been carefully walled off from the rest.  Only those that knew it was there would be able to find it, making it a rather private spot.  In the center of high walls and surrounded by a floor of plush looking grass was an ancient cherry tree, its branches in full bloom despite it being the end of summer.

    Blinking as the being wearing Sesshomaru’s skin set her down, Kagome stretched her senses toward the imposing foliage.  She could feel a strong life within it, seeming to be aware of her probing.  Instead of rebuffing her, it welcomed her with what felt like a motherly hug; immediately making her feel right at home.  “In time, you may remember this tree.  For now, let us use this period for ourselves.  I want you to know me as you do him, to understand why I insist on being around you,” Noriyasu sighed, walking ahead of her to sit under the branches that appeared to be perpetually raining down pink petals.

    Licking her lips, Kagome gathered her courage before following; sitting on the grass as she looked up at the brilliant lights eating up the sky above.  The stars in this era were truly unrivaled by the small specks in her time.  Only the brightest avoided being absorbed by the light pollution so this veritable ocean was breathtaking.  Swallowed by a sudden cramp of nostalgia, Kagome felt tears clog her throat as she ached for her father.  He would have love seeing this, let alone hearing about her adventures.  Feeling strong arms wind around her only helped the dam crumble, soft sobs leaving her as she burrowed her face into a strong chest.  “Sorry, I just... I miss my family,” she admitted quietly, melting into the soft touches of his deadly hands.

    “I know it is hard but you will see them again.  This one is not willing to die anytime soon,” declared the haughty voice of the male holding her, the closeness to her mate’s making her giggle.  Just the fact they spoke the same did worlds to set her at ease.

    “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  500 years is a long time for a human though.  We’re meant to live maybe ninety years max.  That long will seem like an eternity in and of itself.  At least all these peace talks will keep me busy, not to mention caring for Hiina,” she whispered, the weight of that time sitting on her shoulders.  It was almost inconceivable, as was eternity.  She would likely watch all her human friends grow old and die long before she saw her birth family again.  Then they too would fade into time, leaving her to march forward with Sesshomaru; alone.

    “We will always have eachother.  Not to mention Rin, Shippo and their family.  Our time will be far from empty,” Noriyasu reasoned, using firm fingers to tip her face toward his.  Then, with a soft noise, he was kissing her; his tail holding her close to his muscled body.

    Knowing he was right, she allowed her sorrow to ebb to the background.  What she was thinking of would likely happen decades from now.  Worrying about it would only drive her insane.  Instead, she focused on the taiyoukai that was doing his best to gain entry with his questing tongue.  Opening slightly, she let out a gasp when he plunged inside; taking immediate possession of her mouth as his arms tightened slightly.  Letting out a gruff noise he released her, reddened eyes meeting hers as his armored chest heaved.  Acid producing implements of death moved her hair out of her eyes as the ancient soul staring at her licked his lips.

    “This will go no further unless you wish it.  As much as I wish to taste you for myself, I will not force you into something you do not want,” assured his deep voice, the stripes on his cheeks sharpening as his gaze bore into hers.  Meeting it steadily, Kagome took a moment to consider her feelings about what was happening.  While Sesshomaru was okay with it, could she really rationalize it to herself.  Could she accept the fact that it wasn’t technically cheating?  Looking up at the pleading islands of amber floating in lakes of blood, she found herself wanting to try.

    Closing her eyes, she allowed her consciousness to slip just enough to see what the part of her that was Midoriko felt about this.  To her shock, she felt that part of her entwined with what felt like Sesshomaru; the pair engaged in their own bonding.  Snapping back to reality with a blush, Kagome took a shaky breath before coming to a decision.  “O-okay.  I... I trust you.  I want to learn about you, learn about who my mate used to be,” she admitted, getting a grating noise of approval in response before he was nibbling at her mark.

    “I will not disappoint you.  Sesshomaru is not all that different than I, much like you and Midoriko.  It is only our life experiences that set us apart from you both,” Noriyasu reasoned, his words making an odd sort of sense.  Then a rough tongue was lapping at her cheek, the feel of it making her giggle as she turned to face him.

    A sense of familiarity slammed into her and she leaned forward to give him a shy kiss, whimpering as he spread her open with his tongue.  His right hand moved to hold her head while the other pressed against her lower back, a strange noise escaping his as his fangs seemed to sharpen.  “You taste like Heaven little one.  I cannot help but want more,” lamented the previous incarnation of her mate, the spicy scent of him fogging her brain.  He smelled much more musky than Sesshomaru, more wild and raw.  Even his motions were a touch untamed, impatient while remaining gentle.

    Suddenly, he was breaking free; lifting her shirt over her head in a frantic movement.  Feral eyes took in her developing breasts, the orbs still heavy with milk from feeding their pup.  With a desperate groan, he took one in his hot maw; suckling and nibbling until her milk began to flow.  Shuddering down his entire body, Noriyasu fed from her eagerly; his hands slowly unwinding from her to play with the rest of her body.  One settled on the other breast while the other began to tease her folds, drawing the most tantalizing noises from her rosy lips.

    In the back of her head, she could feel Sesshomaru’s attentions to Midoriko; as if the pair wanted to make it clear they were giving their full blessing.  Wrapping fingers in liquid platinum hair, she tipped her head back and moaned as a pleasant buzzing began to fill her supple body.  Despite the fat and stretch-marks that clung to her after the birth, Kagome had no problems with her own body.  Rather, she saw them as war wounds to bear with pride.  She had gained them carrying her child, after all.  Then a long finger was dipping into her cavern and all other thought was blown away on a wind of pleasure.

    Soft growls and chrrs graced her ears as he released her left breast to move to her right, his fingers teasing her clit until she was moaning on every exhale.  Panting softly, the sixteen year old swiveled her hips needily as she felt a tingling ball begin to form within her.  Each stroke of his skilled tips sparked another jolt inside her, drawing her closer to the edge but never being enough to tip her over it.  Just as she was about to beg him for more, he was lifting himself from her; leaving her feeling a bit stunned.

    Before she could think to complain, the demonic male was settling between her thighs; placing her thighs over his broad shoulders as his tongue met her quivering junction.  A strangled groan left her as her back arched, her ankles locking around his back while both hands settled on his head to keep him in place.  Chuckling gruffly, Noriyasu began to lick at her; giving her long strokes with his tongue that tantalized but didn’t satisfy.  Squirming, she whimpered his name as he tortured her; bending her hips in a vain attempt to get more contact.

    Despite her best efforts, he danced around where she needed him most; keeping her right on the knife’s edge.  “Nori,” she whimpered in a frustrated growl, tears rolling down pale cheeks as he gave her button a too brief flick.

    “You know what I wish to hear,” came a demand that was barely discernable as language at all.  Gritting her teeth, Kagome gasped as he gave her a brief suck.  Pride be damned, she wanted this sweet agony to end!

    “Please my Lord!  I need you to slake this fire within me,” she begged, inwardly wincing at how cheesy the lines sounded.  Still, they were what came to mind; sounding almost familiar as she spoke them.  She was rewarded with a growl that shook the ground below her.

    “As you wish,” rasped the specter in Sesshomaru’s body, propping himself up to place his foreskin coated shaft against her moist center.  Without further ceremony, he was entering her; relishing her groan of satisfaction as he stopped to allow her to adjust.

    Soon, her soft body was arching into his; the scent of Sakura flooding his nose.  It was painfully familiar, calling to unwanted memories he had buried deep in his mind.  Memories of the night he had died, the mournful cries of his beloved following him into Hell.  Shaking his head to clear it, Noriyasu began to move; the feel of her making his vision bleed crimson.  She was tight, quivering around him while her blunt nails did their best to damage his impenetrable hide.  Smirking slightly, he lowered his youki just enough to allowing him to feel the dull pain; a rough rumble leaving him as he shuddered.

    It had been so long since he had been allowed to fully feel anything and was quickly finding himself overwhelmed.  Barely hanging onto his senses by a thread, Noriyasu heightened his pace; grabbing ample hips in a tight grip as her noises grew a bit more high pitched in tone.  Due to long experience, he could tell she was getting close; drawing his darker instincts to the surface.  The more animal part of him wanted to howl in triumph as she came around him, her squeezing muscles forcing his own end.  Instead, he muttered her name; holding her against him as he rolled to lay beside her.  Soon the pair was sleeping peacefully, well protected in their secret alcove.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ten Years Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    While many good things had happened in the long decade, just as many bad had occurred near the end.  The Tigers and Dragons were getting along better than they had in centuries, actually going so far as to arrange marriage between their first borns as a show of solidarity.  While Kagome couldn’t say she really approved, she had to admit such practices were normal for this time frame.  In fact, it was even expected; often solidifying relationships between separate clans.  Still, she couldn’t help but wonder if the two would truly be happy together.

    Beyond that, her one night with Noriyasu had been the last.  The odd spirit seeming to disappear back into his reincarnation.  A fact that honestly depressed her, even with how hectic things had become.  While relations between some clans were improving others were eroding no matter what they did.  At this rate, a full on war between several clans would break out; likely taking out thousands of individuals.  The only thing they could do was prepare to take in refugees from all sides and hope that gesture would be enough to gain them some favor.  Even so, the thought of all that death made her feel ill.  Losing so much life could only hurt their efforts but there was nothing they could do to stop the eventual blow up.  Pressure had been building for far too long.

    At least the children had been unaffected by the drama, their relationship growing into a full on romance as they got older.  Shippo, as it turned out, grew into quite a looker; breaking many a heart of a village girl.  Rin was no better, looking like a proper Lady of the court with her heart shaped face and dark brown hair.  Since the pair was so wrapped up in eachother, they were oblivious to the attentions of others around them; much to their adopted parents’ amusement.  Hiina was no different, getting softer features despite the fact she refused to use her human form.

    It hadn’t been long before ningen children were flocking to her, asking all manner of questions about why she looked the way she did.  Inquiries she answered in an eerily childlike manner, especially to those who knew her.  The wise child still went to great lengths to hide just how advanced she was, doing her best to blend in with those around her while observing them.  It was a bit like watching a shark watching its prey, the comparison often making Kagome shudder.

    Sighing, she leaned against the wall of the hut they had been given; listening with one ear as Hiina, Shippo and Rin spoke.  Just hearing her daughter talk like an adult still made an icy feeling creep up her spine but she was coming to accept it.  It was just part of who the pup was, making her all the more unique.  Having her around was a joy, the small child being fairly affectionate while wildly intelligent.  Yet, thinking about all of this did nothing to distract her.  Right now, she was basically waiting for Sesshomaru to announce a declaration of war in some part of the land.

    All too soon, she felt a faint tingle of reiki colored youki approaching at impossible speed; making her shoot to her feet in an instant.  Already, she could feel a bit of his rage and frustration; telling her it was exactly the news she had feared.  As much as she loathed it, she would have to ask her friends for their help.

    In the years, the members of her pack had semi-settled.  It certainly helped that there was only Kohaku’s shard to gather.  As soon as the boy showed himself, they would work on finding a way to remove it without killing him.  So far, the only idea had been to use Tenseiga.  Maybe, just maybe; the sword could negate the effects of death on the walking corpse.  At least there were no children because of this hiccup, making it easy for her friends to be on the road should she need them.

    Exiting the house, she felt an odd mixture of relief and apprehension as her powerful mate landed his youki cloud.  “The boar and the bears are attacking tomorrow.  You can bet the jackals and buzzards will join in,” he declared, the words making a chill jolt through her veins.

    “Our allies are setting up the neutral compound for refugees, both youkai and human,” continued his too calm voice as he closed the distance to take her into his arms.

    Nuzzling into his neck, Kagome took comfort in the build of his body as he carried her into the shack they shared.  While it wasn’t as grand as the Lord was used to, he hadn’t complained; knowing it was important to his mate to live near her friends.  She received strength from this small villa, an inner steel that allowed her to get through many tough situations.  A determination she would need in the years that were likely to come.  Already feeling weary and soul sick, the twenty-six year old allowed her mate to comfort her.  “I have scented the boy near here.  He is being escorted by Naraku’s two incarnations,” burred a quiet voice in her ears, the words catching her attention.

    Blinking, she looked up with questioning look; she received a nod in response to her silent inquiry.  “Go tell Sango, I will see if his companions mean to cause trouble,” he assured, placing her on her feet before giving her temple a kiss.  Then he was leaving, Kagome sprinting out right behind him.  Heading in different directions, the pair set to their tasks with a deadly seriousness.  They had no idea what the trio’s intentions were and had to be prepared for trouble just in case.

    Sesshomaru greeted Kagura while his mate was busy explaining the situation to her slayer sister, a neutral expression on his sculpted visage.  To his inner suprise, she knelt before him with her head bowed; the two behind her hiding while she prostrated herself.  “I don’t come here to cause any trouble.  The boy... Kohaku, he wanted to come here.  Upon Naraku’s death he... regained his memories.  It took a long time to talk him down from suicide but he still wanted to see his sister.  He also... wants to return to shard,” she explained, her voice carefully submissive while her pink eyes focused on the ground below her.

    “The boy knows this will likely cause his death,” the mighty assassin demanded, his voice cold and emotionless as his eyes fixed on the figures crouching behind a bush.

    “Yes...  But he also knows the Shikon cannot truly be healed without it.  We wants to say goodbye to his sister and give his shard back to where it belongs,” the shaking youkai whispered, looking like she expected to be killed at any moment.

    Behind him, a breathless voice was calling for said boy; drawing a thin, sickly figure from the forest.  It certainly seemed that learning of his past had taken its toll, his bones barely visible through his tight skin.  Haunted hollows surrounded sad, dark eyes, making Sesshomaru ache for the undead boy.  A boy that hadn’t aged in ten years.  A fact that didn’t bode well for Tenseiga’s effectiveness.  This likely would be the last time the Taijiya would see her brother alive.  “Sango,” the unfortunate creature murmured, staggering toward his sibling and collapsing in her arms.

    “Shhhhh,” she soothed, running a hand through his matted hair while Miroku came to kneel by her side.  The boy could only sob, bony frame shaking as he wrapped his arms around the older woman’s neck.

    “Sister...  I have to give up the jewel piece,” he uttered, his voice weak as his eyes begged her for understanding.

    Just seeing the boy told Kagome Tenseiga wouldn’t work and she felt her stomach drop.  If there had been any hope, he would have aged.  The fact he hadn’t meant his life was tied to the shard’s very presence, just as they all feared.  It was the power that moved his body, giving him the ability to be alive but not to change like the true living do.  “No, not yet!  We’ve just met again!  I can’t lose you a second time,” wailed the predictable, pained response; making the young woman wince for the woman who was her soul sister.

    “Sango... he is suffering.  He isn’t moving forward in time like the rest of us.  You must let him go, for both your sakes,” Miroku tried to reason, getting a violated yell in response as his wife shot to her feet to shoot him a glare that was beyond all logical thought.

    “I will not let any of you near him!  I will kill any who try!  He’s just a boy!” she spat, looking much like a wildcat preparing to fight for its cub.

    Kagura winced, getting to her feet as she took a few steps back.  After years of longing for freedom, the last thing she wanted was to be destroyed in a random fit of temper.  Thankfully, Kohaku tugged on her sleeve; drawing her down from nuclear in a second.  “Sister, please.  He’s right.  I feel so empty all the time, so cold.  Like I’m forgetting what emotions really feel like.  I don’t want to continue like this,” he pleaded, tears rolling down his white cheeks.  Sango could only stare down at him, swallowing thickly as she knelt to take him into her arms.

    “This isn’t fair!  None of this is fair!  I lose you once, only to have you brought back under the control of a monster!  Now I have to let you go all over again!  How can I be okay with any of this!” she exclaimed, glaring at the sky as if she expected the kami above to answer her.

    “I know its hard but I’ll feel better.  I finally be at peace, in the afterlife where I belong,” assured his young voice, the pleading in his words making all gathered fight to hold back tears.  Even Sesshomaru was affecting, having formed a soft spot for children during his time with Shippo, Rin and Hiina.

    After a few minutes, Sango released him with a small nod; allowing the priest with her to lead her back to the village.  Watching her until she had disappeared from sight, the degraded soul in a boy’s body turned to fix his eyes on the Aristocratic Assassin.  “Just make it painless,” he whispered, closing his eyes while he turned his back to the mighty inu.  Nodding, Sesshomaru made a movement undetectable to human sight; holding a blood coated shard in his likewise soiled talons in a split second.

    Swaying for a few moments, Kohaku’s eyes went blank before his body was falling; decomposing in the blink of an eye.  All that was left of him was a pile of ashes that was quickly gathered into a mason jar by Kagome.  While it wasn’t anything glamorous, it was certainly a better option than allowing them to blow away.  Sango would likely want to keep them so she could honor her brother’s memory.  With a nod to Kagura, the pair that was left behind departed; leaving the wind demon with a perplexed expression on her oddly beautiful face.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Four Years~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    The war was utterly destructive and swallowing up more clans the longer it went on.  As such, the number of casualties continued to increase.  Any injured she healed just returned to the battlefield, only coming back as a corpse across her table.  She had seen enough blood to make her utterly sick but the fighting still continued.  By the time everything was said and done, there would be a good chance there would be nothing left for them to save.  What was worse were the women and children that came into her tent.

    Wide eyed and scared, they consistently had horrific injuries that exhausted her to heal.  All too often, she had to hand off a patient to another healer when she simply had no more to give.  The others in her pack berated her over her unhealthy behavior, complaints she ignored.  She couldn’t stop while people needed her, she wouldn’t have been able to live with herself.  The only one that didn’t criticize her was her young daughter.  Instead, the fourteen year old helped where she could; offering some of her odd energy when her mother ran low.

    The end to all this pain and misery couldn’t come soon enough, the thirty year old having had quite enough of seeing children ripped from their mothers or vice versa.  A soft grip on her upper arm drew her attention to Hiina, the canine-like girl already beginning to reach her height.  It wouldn’t be much longer before she equalled her father, making the miko feel more than a little jealous.  “It won’t last much longer.  Things will be better.  Father will also be here soon.  Seems the other wishes to see you again,” assured the furred femme, a grin on her slender muzzle.

    Hearing that came close to making her stop in her tracks, her heart thudding hard in her chest.  It had been a long time since she had seen him, making her nervous as well as a bit angry.  After all, their last encounter had ended in sex and nothing more; after a lot of talk of getting to know eachother.  While she had no idea how all of this worked, she felt hurt the past incarnation had made no further attempt at contact.  It made her feel just a bit used, an odd thing to feel towards a spirit that was a precursor to your current mate.

    Finishing what she was doing, she gave her girl a scritch between floppy ears; chuckling at the gruff noise that escaped.  Wagging her tail, Hiina licked her mother’s cheek before she was leaving; giving Kagome some time to gather her thoughts.  Already, she could feel him closing in; his energy erratic.  From what she could gather, Noriyasu was eager to speak to her; giving her the impression he hadn’t been separated from her by choice.

    It could be that he could only come through at certain times, making her curious about what the conditions were.  Would there always be such huge gaps with only a few hours given to them?  Such a reality depressed her.  She had honestly found herself fascinated by the echo of her past.  He held many answers that she longed to have, not to mention the fact she had barely scratched the surface of who he had been.  So, when her mate came charging into her tent, she offered him a knowing smile.  “All sides are surrendering.  The loss has been dubbed too great to continue,” announced his wavering voice just before his arms were wrapping around her.

    Once again, he found himself shoved to the back while his former self surged forward to talk to their shared mate.  Not that he really minded.  This allowed him to commune with the fascinating Midoriko, a woman who had been done a great injustice by the priests who worshipped her.  While she was seen as a hero by them, none of them told her whole story.  His first meeting with her had been a mere taste that left her starved for more, making him eager for this encounter.

    Already, an older version of his Kagome’s scent was wrapping around him; causing him to feel safe and comforted.  Purring softly, he purposefully wagged his tail as a figure began to materialize mere feet away from him.  She was a much older, almost regal version of his mate, the energy she gave off offering him a comfort he could only find with her current reincarnation.  “My Lady,” he uttered, bowing before her as a sign of his ultimate respect.  She simply smiled in return, rubbing the top of his head affectionately.

    “Sessho, I thought I asked you to refer to me ask Midoriko,” chided her musical voice, causing an instinctual shudder in the canine demon.

    Giving her a shameful grin, he straightened to catch one of her hands; bring it up to his lips for a kiss.  “I shall do my best.  It is not often that this one is confronted by one that is his better,” he rumbled, showing no shame in his admission.  Soon, his Kagome would be on her level; making him eager for that day to come.  She would be truly glorious.  The legendary priestess before him merely grinned, as if fully aware of what was going through his mind at that moment.

    “I don’t see myself as your better,” Midoriko sighed, tapping the tip of his nose with the index finger of her left hand.  He simply twitched the limb in response, raising an elegant brow at her while she giggled.

    “On a different note, I am glad they are getting along.  I just hope Kagome will be able to allow herself to trust him,” she continued, moving up to rest her cheek on his bare chest as her arms curled loosely around him.

    “She just needs some time.  She already longs to see him, to know more.  I bless humans for their curiosity,” Sesshomaru chuckled, nuzzling her midnight hair as his own arms reciprocated.  Once Kagome accepted Midoriko and Noriyasu, the pair would finally be able to join their reincarnated souls; able to be at peace.

    The only reason either of them still hung around was a simply want of acknowledgement as well as to pass on the knowledge of the past.  Though, the sex was a very nice perk.  Still, both her and Noriyasu longed to finally rest.  They had been lingering for so long, they looked forward to being whole again.  Even if it meant losing their consciousness.  Nuzzling the shade, Sesshomaru simply enjoyed her company while the conscious pair held their own discussions.  Soon, the celebration would start and there would be no more time for talking.  They had to take whatever they could get.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Two Years Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Looking at the crowd gathered in the hall, she could barely believe a war had happened at all.  Already, numbers were recovering; all the clans going into a breeding frenzy to replace lost  life.  They were also acting like nothing had happened at all, talking amongst eachother like they were old friends.  As strange as it was, the conflict had brought many clans closer together simply due to the fact they took in injured that weren’t their own.  Such actions had forged inroads to ending the war in the first place.
 

    Just grateful all the strife was over, Kagome simply moved into the crowd to talk to the gathered guests.  As Noriyasu had predicted, things were beginning to fall into place; the Lords discussing the possibility of tolerating humans.  It helped that many villagers had banded together to fight for the taiyoukai that owned their land out of an odd loyalty.  Watching these people that had no reason to fight risk their lives for the sake of those that mistreated them had made a deep guilt settle in.  As horrific as the events had been, it seemed to have brought both species closer together; forcing a grudging understanding.
 

    Smiling, the young woman moved through the thick press of people; liking everything she was hearing.  Here and there, she heard whisperings of allowing some of their younger children to marry the children of the headmen of their villages.  While they were few and far between, they made her feel giddy.  With the way things were going, the hard part of their fight was pretty much over; all because of a disagreement between lower youkai clans.  Still, if all of this was successful, why hadn’t Sesshomaru sensed anything on any of his visits to her time.  He hadn’t even sensed their future selves, only deepening her concern.  Nibbling her lower lip, she began to seek out the familiar form of her mate; longing for the comfort of his presence.
 

    Despite their success, a lot could still go wrong.  After all, she had no real idea of what had happened to kill off the youkai in the first place.  Maybe it really had been a disease, the very thought of it making her feel ill.  If it had been some plague, she had no hope of treating it herself.  She would have to depend on the unreliable well and she wasn’t even sure if it still worked in the first place.  To have to travel between time made her skin tingle with apprehension.
 

    Soon, the sight of silver hair was driving her worries from her muddled mind.  Sesshomaru would no doubt have a much more rational outlook and would point out they had hundreds of years to figure it out.  Still, she had her doubts.  She had no idea just when the event would happen, whatever it turned out to be.  As if sensing her unease, he spun to face her with his normal cool mask.  Only his golden eyes gave away his true emotions, glimmering with a deep worry.  Obeying his silent message, she closed the distance to nestle into his side.
 

    The only thing that helped quell her anxieties was a brief glimpse of their adopted children.  The pair had long ago mated, Shippo proposing to her as soon as she had turned eighteen.  Now the couple were expecting their first pup, the twenty six year old Rin practically glowing with happiness as a hand rested on the slight swell of her stomach.  Kagome herself would be attending the birth, having learned all there was to know about healing from Kaede before she had died.  Despite being prepared, the thirty-two year old still missed the old woman.  She had been like a second Grandmother to her.  “What bothers you?” rumbled in her ear, drawing her attention back to Sesshomaru.
 

    “What if this wasn’t what fixes the past?” she whispered, giving smiles to the youkai and humans around her.

 

   “I have my own theory about that.  I shall discuss it at a later time.  For now, we must socialize as well as strengthen ties.  Maybe, at least then, we can mitigate the human element,” he assured, leading her to the Boar Lord that had started this whole mess.
 

    Like most of the lower demons, he retained his animal form; a grizzled looking pig head glaring down at her from atop a humanoid body.  Beady, mean eye scanned her judgmentally, a snort burring through his upside down heart of a nose.  Almost reluctantly, he offered a hoofed hand to shake; tiny ears twitching with displeasure.  “This one thanks you for saving our daughter,” grunted his gruff belch of a voice, sounding like a pig trying its best to speak.
 

    “I don’t require any thanks Great One.  Just the satisfaction that I helped one as mighty as yourself,” she simpered, hating the words that slid off her tongue like slime as she took the offered appendage.
 

    While dealing with a Lord for the first time, it was best to seem as subservient as possible; flattery winning over a majority of the arrogant males.  Buta was no exception, puffing up like a toad due to the praise.  “Indeed, you have done your mate and land a great honor by serving us,” he gloated, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as he lead her to meet his family.  Sesshomaru followed closely, his posture relaxed despite this having been an enemy not that long ago.
 

    By the time the night was over, she felt exhausted; grateful for the secret alcove Noriyasu had shown her their first visit to this place.  It allowed her a comforting level of privacy to gather her thoughts, the children being the only ones who knew where it was in the advent of an emergency.  Leaning against the trunk of the perpetually blossoming tree, she allowed her dark eyes to close as all the tension built up inside her bled out of her muscles.  Still, it wasn’t long before her peace was interrupted by familiar, reiki mixed youki.
 

    Smiling, she opened her eyes as she felt an unnatural heat settle next to her.  Looking up, she saw Sesshomaru giving her one of his rare grins.  “The demons may have learned how to hide their youki as well as their true nature.  Our daughter has already been teaching some of them how to cloak themselves,” husked his smooth baritone as he leaned down to give her a gentle kiss.  Just hearing that made her feel much better, relief filling her as she leaned into him.
 

    “Now, we must get rid of the Shikon.  We have a time of peace and we are alone.   It is time for the souls inside to be put to rest,” he continued, nuzzling under her ear as she pulled said jewel out of the collar of her shirt.  She had made a necklace out of it to better keep track of where it was, finding some comfort in the feeling of it against her skin.
 

    Staring into its pink depths, she smiled at the thought all of it could finally be over.  All she needed was a truly unselfish wish, the only wish that would make it fade away.  Clutching it to her, she listened as Midoriko whispered the answer to the riddle in her ear.  Murmuring it softly, she watched as the orb slowly faded out of existence; leaving behind only a dusting of white glimmers.  “What did you wish for?” husked beside her, drawing her attention to her mate.
 

    “I didn’t.  The best wish was to ask for nothing,” she responded, kissing under his chin as a sense of well being filled her.  Something deep inside her now felt complete, the bit of her that was Midoriko almost seeming to fall into a deep sleep.  It wouldn’t be much longer before that part of her joined the rest of her soul, making her a little nervous.
 

    How much of her would be left behind when that happened?  Would she even be the same person?  At least Sesshomaru’s own transition had been fairly unnoticeable.  The only difference had been a surge in his power, leaving him much the same as before.  This fact gave her some comfort for what was to come.  “Now that we no longer have to worry about much, what would you say to another pup,” Sesshomaru’s lusty tone purred, making her blush to her toes as he pushed her into the grass.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Modern Times~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    It had been a long five centuries, filled with many hardships as well as highlights.  Sango and Miroku were long dead, leaving behind generations of children that she still kept in touch with.  Shippo and Rin’s family had also grown, having a hundred children in the five hundred year gap.  Not that she and Sesshomaru had been slacking in that department.  The youkai had been fascinated by her fertility, doing his best to get her pregnant as often as he could get away with.  In the end, they ended up with quite a few of their own; several of them obtaining families once they were old enough.
 

    Hiina had been no exception, receiving several suits before she settled with one of the dragon clan; a son of Isamu’s as it so happened.  To be honest, the reptilian Lord couldn’t be happier, having become quite close friends with Kagome after he had remembered his past life.  Even Inuyasha was doing well, having chosen a lynx hanyou after about a hundred years.  The pair had several of their own offspring as well, making the inu clan one of the largest in Japan.
 

    During the long years, they had all been busy working with youkai all over the world.  After a lot of work as well as heartache, they had succeeded in saving several species of youkai.  Even now, you would not be able to tell them from normal people; most of the taiyoukai ending up as high powered business execs or franchise owners.  The hardest part had been waiting for the day she would meet her family again.
 

    It was beyond difficult to simply sit by and watch your own life play out in front of her.  Especially when she saw her father alive and well again.  She’d had to restrain herself from rushing to him, from warning him about his too early death.  She had already taken a huge risk with the youkai, meddling with time any more seemed like an exercise in foolishness.  Still, allowing him to die had been the hardest thing she had to do; spending many a night sobbing in her mate’s arms.
 

    Finally, after going through the surreal experience of watching herself grow up, it was time to show her presence to her mother.  Watching a younger version of Sesshomaru hop through the well for the last time, she took a deep breath before tightening her grip on the current Lord’s hand.  Then she was moving up familiar steps, Hiina being the only one coming with them at first.  She didn’t want to overwhelm the woman on the first day.  So, with her pulse roaring in her ears, the miko knocked on the door of her childhood home.
 

    The moment Mrs. Higurashi opened the door, the floodgates opened wide as she held out her arms for her mom.  “We made it,” she announced lamely, the breath knocked out of her when the matriarch nearly tackled her.
 

    “Welcome home, come on in and let’s get caught up.  I’m sure there’s a lot to cover in five hundred years.  You know, I’m jealous!  You haven’t aged a day past sixteen,” gushed the excited mother, leading the trio into her humble abode.
 

    “You have no idea mom,” Kagome whispered, sitting on the couch as she launched into a very long story.












 

The End



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