Hey everyone. This is the last chapter. I think it's a good place to end it, however, don't be upset, there will be a sequel. I have a lot of ideas running around in my mind, and it'll have a whole lot more of the other characters involved. It will also continue some of the unanswered questions about the Toukai and other things that I can't give away, because I'll spoil this chapter. Anyway, I hope to have it started soon, but I'm not sure, so please be patient. I want to thank all of you for your reviews and your comments. This story is my baby, and I'm happy that I received so many positive reviews on it. I ask that you all come back for the sequel.
Chapter 22: Waking Up After Love
The sun shone brightly into the mahogany room, casting a glow upon the walls, the floors, and the form that lay cozily atop a comfy palette. Sango's brow furrowed as some of that sunshine began to shine her way. Letting out a soft moan, she awoke from her peaceful sleep. She opened her eyes to be met with...the wall.
She sat up quickly to look around the room. As expected, she was completely alone, and a feeling of immense discontent hit her at once. Had he left her here? Letting out a sigh, Sango gazed at the floor with teary eyes. She couldn't bare it if he had. She had told him something she had only told one other person, and that person had crushed her despite it. She couldn't stand to think of experiencing that same kind of pain again.
She slowly got to her feet, covering her naked form with the blanket she had shared with Sesshoumaru only hours earlier. She knew she had heard him say it. He had admitted to loving her. Was it a lie? Did he only say that to toy with her. Sango knew he had always acted indifferent when it came to her, and he probably saw he could hurt her most by toying with her frail emotions. She thought back to all the callous words-memories she had forgotten during their love making, and her heart ached as the night flooded it's way into her mind.
It couldn't have all been a lie; she refused to believe that. Shaking that tingling sensation in her nose, Sango took in a breath. She wasn't sure if he had left her here, so there was no need to jump to conclusions. He might have just decided to go for a walk, or to get some breakfast, or maybe something important came up. If so, then why didn't he just wake her? She bit her lip, maybe he just needed to get away from her.
Deciding it was best not to think of it, Sango looked around the room for her clothing. She found them folded neatly, sitting on the windowpane. She picked them up and hugged them to her bosom, inhaling their smell. They were covered in his scent, and for some reason, that comforted her.
"You what!?!" Jakken couldn't keep his surprise intact. He looked up to see the familiar piercing gaze of his master and let out a sigh of relief, "At least not everything has changed. Milord still strikes fear into my heart."
Sesshoumaru let out a, "Humph," in reaction to Jakken's words. "All things are as they once were, Jakken. " He was still himself wasn't he? He shook his head. He had done the very thing that he detested the most. He had mated with the human. That thought had been plaguing his mind all morning. However, it was the fact that he'd loved every minute of it that really bothered him-and apparently Jakken as well.
It was also the fact that he mentally flinched every time he referred to Sango as "the human." As if she were no more to him than an insect. It was something he knew to be a complete falsity, for she was far more to him than that. For some reason, though, he just could not let go of his former self. He needed to be that self in order to remain strong, but how could he do that with all of these...feelings?
"I don't know, milord. Are things still as they were?" Jakken was at a loss for words of any kind, really. This morning, he had waltzed into his master's quarters, as he always did to rouse him in the morning, and found him sleeping with the human woman. He then received a death glare and returned to the hallway. It was during this little walk that Jakken had finally got the courage to ask him what he was thinking. After all, it was Sesshoumaru who chastised every other demon who bedded a human woman. It was the very reason he was so angry at his own father!
Sesshoumaru furrowed his brow, "It isn't important. You serve me, do you not? You still tremble in fear when you are in my presence. Tell me, Jakken, are you afraid I will kill you if you say something to displease me?" Sesshoumaru needed to know that he was still intimidating. He had no intention of killing his servant.
Jakken swallowed a big 'gulp' before answering, "Yes, Milord, but..." Jakken stuttered, "m-me thinks p-perhaps it might be a m-mistake-" he was cut off when Sesshoumaru turned his head abruptly. Obviously, that wasn't the answer he was looking for. Jakken was quick on his feet, though, when he was struck with fear, "However, a mistake you could use to your advantage!" Jakken quickly spat.
Sesshoumaru regarded him with intrigue, "Continue..."
"Well, milord, they say a man with nothing left to lose is the most dangerous, but I disagree. That man has nothing to protect, no real reason to succeed..." Jakken let out a nervous chuckle. He was reciting something his grandfather had told him once, back when he was a peaceable fellow.
"You're point, Jakken," Sesshoumaru was loosing his patience.
"Uh, Right!" Jakken cleared his throat, "The point is, now you have everything to fight for. You have something to protect-a reason to be stronger than you've ever been before! Kind of like your brother when it comes to his friends-"
"Do not compare me to Inu Yasha-"
"No. Never. He is nothing compared to you, Lord Sesshoumaru. I was just trying to make a worthless analogy, milord, nothing more!"
Sesshoumaru growled an explicit under his breath as he turned around and continued to brood over the question at hand. What was he going to do? He'd have to go back there, of course, Rin was there. He let out another sigh. He felt weakened by his condition. He had always found it hard to leave Rin by herself, but today he had felt comforted that Sango would be there. However, it was leaving Sango that had been the hardest. Who would look after her?
He had awaken to her serene face, and had almost smiled. She was so warm, and they way she nestled into him made him feel so at peace. Yet, at the same time, he was not. He knew what he had done, and he knew what he had said and felt. He had told her that he loved her...and the most frightening thing about that was, that it was completely and undeniably true.
Something had changed within his heart, or perhaps it was always there, but remained dormant until now. Ever since the death of his father, Sesshoumaru had ignored every humane plea of his soul. He had ignored it when it begged him to forgive, and instead he would kill. He ignored it when it begged him to understand, and instead, he would refuse to listen. He ignored his humanity when it pleaded for him to love, and just to spite it, he would hate.
It was Rin that had finally made his heart listen. A cold, dead Rin with empty ashen eyes, and the pulsing of the Tenseiga had freed the humanity within him. Yes, it was also a test, but a test that the gray areas of his soul agreed to, and that is what had started the change. It happened that quick. In the final battle with Naraku, Sesshoumaru had felt the blade pulsing beside him...it had began to tremble, and when it stopped-it's blade, glowing blue-was pointing in her direction.
So, trying to figure out what the sword wanted, Sesshoumaru went to her side. It was then that he felt compelled to touch her. Death was nearly upon her, and using the dragon arm, he pulled the arrow from her shoulder. He carried her from the battle and laid her next to her demon, Kirara. No one had spotted him, and with one last glance in her direction, he left her to her friends. All this time, the black had been dispersing from his heart and soul, now it was up to him to allow it to continue.
Sesshoumaru looked up at the morning sky, and asked himself one question, 'Could I live like this-could I live with myself if I stayed?' In truth......he knew that he could.
Sango leaned forward on her elbows, placing her head in her hands as she sat on the porch stairs. Rin was getting washed up for breakfast while the food was still cooking. Sango had captured a couple fish, while Rin had gone off to pick a couple of apples with Kirara. When she had returned, she was covered in dirt, explaining that she had tripped and fallen into a puddle of mud. The apples were in good condition however, nice and red. Kirara had left after witnessing the debacle, in search of her own food.
She casually questioned Rin, upon finding her playing in the front of the cottage, about where Sesshoumaru had gone and she had cheerfully replied, "He and Jakken went to get themselves breakfast. They don't like human food."
Sango had smiled and agreed, "Well, then I guess we better do the same." It comforted her to think that Sesshoumaru had only left to get something for himself and his servant-that he would be returning.
Now, the fish were frying and the apples were waiting to be cut into pieces. Sango gracefully stood and went to retrieve her knife. When she found it, she sat down next to where the fish were cooking and began slicing the apples. A few minutes later, she spotted Rin skipping toward her, "Would you like a piece?" Sango asked gesturing toward the apples.
Rin smiled a toothy grin and nodded, "Yes, please." Snacking on her apple she turned to Sango, "Are you going to be staying with us, Sango?"
Sango smiled and shrugged, trying to appear as if the answer to the that question wasn't of real importance to her, "I'm not sure." She took the fish from the flames and handed Rin's to her on a stick.
"Oh," Rin took her meal and looked down at her lap, "I hope you do."
Sango gave her a soft look, "Me too."
Before they could talk any longer, Sesshoumaru with Jakken in tow, emerged from the forest and walked across the clearing. "Sesshoumaru-sama," Rin jumped up and greeted him with a smile, "Did you and Jakken find something to eat? Me and Sango are having fried fish and apples! Do you want a piece? You can have some of mine!"
"No thank you, Rin," Sesshoumaru declined. "Jakken and I ate well this morning."
Sango tried to ignore the effect his presence had on her as she continued to nibble her fish. She put it down to take a slice of her apple, but as she did so, her eyes met his and she immediately felt a surge of adrenaline flood her veins, quickening the pace of her already accelerated heartbeat.
Sesshoumaru could hear her heart pounding in anticipation. Letting out a breath, he told Rin to help Jakken feed Ah and Un. Rin, having inhaled her food, was ready to do as he bid. She happily rushed off with Jakken to help. Sango tried not to look so distressed over the absence of Rin's comforting presence, and forced a smile.
"Good morning, Sesshoumaru," she began, trying to sound normal.
Sesshoumaru could practically taste her apprehension. He came toward her until he was standing right in front of her, the sun casting a silhouette over his features that gave him a towering affect. His gaze was his same calm emptiness in sync with the rest of his cool demeanor.
Sango found herself standing up as well, as if to silently challenge him. Would he take it back? Would he tell her to leave? Questions of doubt raced through her mind, before she finally found her words, "Sesshoumaru...I think we should-"
"Stay," he interrupted her with the quietly spoken word. Upon seeing her, Sesshoumaru had known the answer to his question.
Her eyes widened, "Stay?... Here?... With you?"
"With me," he confirmed. He had made his decision-he wanted her. He wanted her to always be beside him, as Rin was always there beside him, "Indefinitely."
Slowly nodding her head, her lips trembled, "Yes." She would stay with him forever; there wasn't anything that could change that. She gasped as she remembered something important, "There's something I've been needing to do, Sesshoumaru."
Sesshoumaru regarded her inquisitively, "What's that?" he asked as he pulled her closer.
xoxThree Months Laterxox
Sango stood atop the hill of her old village, looking down over the river that she and her brother used to play in. She turned around and knelt beside the armor covered grave. She took out a cloth from her satchel and began to wipe the dirt from his weapons, "Little brother," she smiled, "I've something to tell you."
She folded the cloth and placed it back in her bag, "I've fallen in love." She began to place the daisies she'd picked onto his grave one by one into a pattern, "But I need you to understand something. I need you to know, that no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, that I will always love you, and I will never forget you. I had thought at one time, that you would come to back me. That I would wake from this terrible nightmare, and you, father, and I would be together in our village."
"I realize now, how impossible that is. I've realized, that I was already awake, and that my nightmare was actually a horrible reality. I thought of coming to join you several times, Kohaku, but I know now that I cannot do that, not yet. There are people here who need me. There are things that I must discover about myself and about life." Sango smiled again, "I've found some happiness, and I hope you and all the people I care about can be happy with me."
Sesshoumaru took a walk around the village that Sango had brought them to. She had told him that she needed to do something important, and this was it. He understood her need to see this place, and her brother's grave again. He had no intention of ever keeping her from doing what she pleased. Unless it would endanger her life-the very reason he was so adamant in waiting until there was no threat upon their visit.
'Sango's life...' Sesshoumaru contemplated. It wouldn't last as long as his. This was something that bothered him. He was living in a time where the people he cared for would not last. He knew he had to hold it as close to him as possible before that terrible day came. He had to do what he could with the time given to him.
Sesshoumaru breathed in deeply, inhaling the scent of honey suckles and daisies as he did so. The village he was in was very nice. Sango had told him that she had been trying to rebuild it. He could see two huts, both of which were in moderate condition. He knew she must have been the one to build them, and he felt a sudden twinge of pride wash over him as he thought about all the things his woman could do.
Sango was smart, intelligent, and hard-working. She didn't whine about circumstances and she fought considerably well. All of these were qualities Sesshoumaru didn't know any human could possess. He didn't question himself as frequently as he had a few months ago. The doubts were still there, but he had grown quite accustomed to her company very quickly.
She would wake up and fix breakfast for Rin on a daily basis. Sesshoumaru argued that she'd turn the child into a weakling, but as if to respond to his lecture, she began teaching the girl how to defend herself. Jakken had even seemed to be warming up to her, as she would often bring back small stones from her and Rin's adventures in hunting. Jakken always examined them to see if they were fit for his collection-who would have thought that the little green demon collected rare stones?
Sesshoumaru looked up at the hill where Sango was kneeling at her brother's grave. He knew she'd make an extraordinary partner and, when the time came, an even more wonderful mother. The thought of Sango bearing his child played happily through his mind. Who could of thought that he, this Sesshoumaru, would ever love anyone--and a human no less? But he did, and he wasn't ashamed of it any longer.
xoxoxoIn another place at that exact same time, Kagome receives a letterxoxoxo
Kagome carefully unfolded the letter that Kirara and Rin had brought for her. She smiled as she read the opening aloud to them (Rin and Kirara), Inu Yasha, Kaede, Shippou, and Miroku-who was passing through on 'official monk business.'
I'm so sorry I haven't wrote or come to see you for such a long time. I realize you must be worried. I know I would be if one of my friends told me I was going to be working for an old enemy.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I'm doing fine. I'm actually happy here. You wouldn't believe how beautiful it is in the West. Sesshoumaru had me patrolling the Northern regions of his land for awhile, but after a small misunderstanding, we realized the demons who reside there are not a threat. While their motives still remain a bit blurry, I'm sure we'll see through the fog eventually.
As for my purpose, I think I've found it. I know that none of you are ready to hear this, and you probably won't be able to understand it until I see you in person, but please don't get overly upset. Please know that I wanted to tell you this face to face, but I'm about to make a very important visit, and I can't come for a while.
When you see me, you probably won't even recognize me. I haven't changed much-I'm still the same 'ol Sango, but I'm changing my look. So, if you're not sitting, please sit."
Kagome looked around at the group as she read further down the letter. She took a gulp. "Guys, do what she says."
Inu Yasha snorted while the others all obeyed, "I'm more comfortable standing."
Kagome sighed, "Alright..." She then took a breath and continued,
"I'm going to be staying in the West indefinitely. You see, I've fallen in love, and I'm going to be getting married." Everyone was baffled at this announcement, wondering who she could possibly be marrying. Kagome took a breath, tears of happiness for her friend already streaming down her face, "There is a baby growing inside me right now as I write. When you see me next, I'll be showing. Sesshoumaru and I are going to have a baby, and I'm the happiest I've ever been."
Kagome looked up to see a floored Inu Yasha and several gaping mouths, "Love Sango."
xoxBack to Sangoxox
Sango placed a hand over her slightly growing stomach, "You're going to be an uncle. I'm going to marry Sesshoumaru, Demon Lord of the Western Lands. I know this probably isn't a surprise, since I know you already watch over me, but I wanted to come to you and tell you this. I was raised to believe that all demons are naught but devious and evil creatures, but I've come to realize that we were all wrong. I beg that you support my decision in your afterlife. " She placed the last flower on the grave and began knitting the stems together, "I will be watching over this village and your grave, Kohaku. I promise to never let anything happen to it. I love you and father very much. Please tell him the news for me."
Sango kissed the tips of her fingers before placing them over the grave. She finished knitting the flowers together, revealing the pattern; a heart surrounding their old village symbol. She glanced once more at the river below as she stood. She then turned to her brother's grave again, "Until next time, little brother."
Inhaling deeply, an easy smile spread across Sango's features. A strong breeze suddenly swept the village, emptying the trees of their pink blossoms, all of which seemed to encircle Sango as they blew around her form standing form, her kimono dancing with the wind. Allowing herself to spin around in the center of wind, Sango could almost swear she saw her father and brother smiling down at her in the swirling dance of the leaves and flowers, as if granting her their approval.
When the wind stopped, and the blossoms settled, Kohaku's flowers were still in place. Happily, Sango made her way down the path of the hill. She walked steadily, thinking of what life would be like from here on in. She wondered if Kagome and the others had read the letter, and whilst letting her mind wander over her actions, she kept her sights on her future. For, Sesshoumaru was standing right in the center of her vision.
There it is. I must admit, I'm sad to write the end, but I'm hoping it was a good conclusion. Don't worry, as I said before, there will be a sequel. Drop me a review-all of you, please-and tell me your thoughts. You can't leave without saying goodbye-it's rude!!