Author's Note: I got the flua week and a halfagoand it's still draining my energy. Instead of making you wait longer for the whole thing, I decided to post what I've got so far: roughly half of the chapter. Assuming everything goes well, I hope to have the rest posted sometime between now and Wednesday ofthis week.
Chapter Thirty-nine: Reunion
Curious, Sesshoumaru thought, the hime was still alive and she had Inuyasha. He frowned as he scanned the ground flying beneath him. Surely his interference in the past would have made fathering a hanyou most undesirable, and yet Lord Toga still chose to do so at great risk to himself. Sesshoumaru felt a gnawing suspicion eating its way through his stomach but shook the feeling off. No, it couldn't be destiny - just poor planning. Nonetheless, the taiyoukai altered course and headed back toward the east, to the lands of Ryuuou -the Dragon Kings.
The insolent wench and his bastard pup of a half-brother would have to wait.
If they can survive that long, Sesshoumaru snorted.
The young miko froze at the sound of her name uttered bythe beloved voice. Afraid to turn around and be disappointed, she clutched at the shawl she'd acquired in the last village and cleared her throat. "I know hanyou and demons mature rapidly, but Inuyasha—"
Before she could speak another word, Kagome found herself swept up into the most exuberant hug she'd ever received in her life. A nose nudged at her neck, and she craned her head back to be absolutely certain before shrieking in joy.
The elder hanyou flattened his ears but his eyes reflected his immense relief. Kagome turned fully for a proper embrace, burying her own face in the folds of his haori. Moments passed in almost complete silence, save for the soft babbling of the stream just behind them.
"You came for me…"
"Of course I did, wench! Did you really think I'd let you have all the fun?"
Kagome rolled her eyes and swatted him lightly on the shoulder. "You wouldn't believe the things I've seen and done…"
"Not sure I want to know," he replied gravely. Inuyasha frowned. "Wait a second – Myouga said you weren't alone…"
"I'm not," Kagome affirmed.
"But I don't smell anyone else here."
"Seriously? Do you have a head cold or something?"
"All I smell is you and me, wench. Calling me a liar?"
"No, I just… Oh." Kagome smiled and came to a stand, walking the few feet to her charge's makeshift crib.
"What are you doing, wench?"
Lifting the warm bundle to her chest, she turned around to see a suspicious-looking half-demon staring back at her. "Of course you only smell the two of us. Inuyasha, I'd like you to meet Inu…," she bit her lip, trying to come up with an appropriate term. Finally, she settled on one with a smile, "Inu-chan."
The hanyou – the elder one – quirked a brow in confusion as Kagome sauntered toward him with a squirming bundle.
Kagome giggled at his bewilderment and as she came within a couple feet of him, uncovered the infant's face to present him to, well, himself.
"It's you, Inuyasha. Just… a younger you."
Inuyasha's eyes remained fixed on the smallwhelp before him, his heart thundering in his chest. That's me? But how can I…? I'm right here… "How did you…?"
Sensing Inuyasha's disturbedness, Kagome covered Inu-chan and motioned the older hanyou towards the firepit. He followed, slowly, and sank onto his haunches beside her, still dazed from the introduction.
"About four days ago Sesshoumaru… he tried to kill you and your mother."
Biting her lip, Kagome nodded. "He didn't think I'd dare to cross him – pompous ass – so as soon as I could I went in after him to find you and Izayoi-hime." She sighed at the memory. "It was pretty scary: fire and brimstone kind of stuff. In the end we managed to escape undetected. A cousin of your mother's, Yukino, found us. Realizing it was futile to escape Sesshoumaru forever we split up and agreed to meet back at the Southern stronghold. That's where I'm headed now."
"And you've had… me… this entire time?"
Kagome nodded, a soft smile on her lips. "Yeah. We've been through a lot, haven't we Inu-chan?"
The baby gurgled at her, blinking his bright, golden eyes.
"My mother… is she…?"
Kagome lifted her eyes from the infant, thehumor in them fading slightly. "I'm afraid I don't know. When we split up – that was the last time I saw her."
Inuyasha sighed. "Myoga told me she was being followed but I—I wanted to find you, first."
Her eyes glimmering with unshed tears, Kagome leaned toward the half-demon and snuggled into his warmth. "Always seems to come down to that, doesn't it? Having to choose between me and another woman who means the world to you." When he didn't answer, she let out a soft, breathy sigh. "Arigato, Inuyasha."
Another moment had passed in contemplative silence when at last he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, drawing her in closer. Kagome adjusted her position, nestling the infant between them.
"So has 'Inu-chan'," he snorted at the term, "been much trouble?"
Kagome smirked up at him. "Less than he will be when he's older," she quipped.
"Wench…" The irritation melted out of him at the feel of a soft peck on his cheek. He blushed slightly, and settled in more comfortably. "We'll get an early start tomorrow."
"Going to find your mother?"
"Yeah. I should be able to catch up to her and Yukino within a couple hours."
Kagome nodded. "All right. I just need a short nap and I'll be fine." Closing her eyes, she breathed in the familiar, woodsy scent of Inuyasha and smiled. Maybe the past was still in danger but for the moment, all was right in her world.