Trial of the Century
By Striking Falcon
Epilogue: Some Things Change, While Others Stay the Same
One year later….
Sesshoumaru sighed to himself, watching the sun set on the steps of the shrine. His gaze would stray to the remains of the well house on the other side of the courtyard, then back to the sky before turning into his thoughts.
'Who would have thought that I would end up here?' he said to himself. 'Sitting on the steps of this ancient shrine, and mated to a shrine maiden. It's all too funny to be believed, yet…here I am.' He leaned back against the porch railing, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.
'I feel…at rest here, where Kagome's scent is the strongest. Of course there are still some traces of Inuyasha, but that can be ignored easily.'
"Enjoying yourself Taisho-sama," Narasa interrupted, giving Sesshoumaru a friendly smile before sitting down beside him. "I suppose you are, since you spend so much time here."
"Kagome insists on seeing you all," Sesshoumaru answered, then returned his gaze to the sky.
"And you would deny her nothing?" Narasa teased, then shed his human disguise. Sesshoumaru frowned, then smiled and nodded.
"Ah. I see," Narasa chuckled to himself as the outside lights came on. "Then perhaps it was unnecessary to threaten you so many years ago."
"Were you and my parents really friends?" Sesshoumaru asked. "I seem to have trouble remembering you."
"But I have no trouble remembering you," Narasa told him, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. "You and your mother were always the life of the boring balls your father insisted on having. You two could always be counted on to do something…interesting."
"So I've heard," Sesshoumaru said dryly. "But is that all?"
"Believe it or not, I was one of your father's advisers. And it was I who helped search for your mother."
"I see. From what Father tells me, you lost someone as well."
"Yes," Narasa said, his head downcast. "But I have a feeling that I didn't loose her. She may have merely…changed."
"I do not understand," Sesshoumaru admitted. Narasa opened his mouth to answer, then stopped as the sound of stampeding elephants thundered into the house behind them.
"What on earth…"
Haramu and Raiona burst onto the porch moments later, with Shippou stopping behind them as they each gave Sesshoumaru and Narasa warm, but violent hugs.
"Hi Unkle Sesshoumaru!"
"Hello children," Narasa chuckled as he attempted to get Hamaru from around his neck. "I see you two are doing well."
"Yeah! Father is inside too!" Raiona chirped before grabbing a handful of Sesshoumaru's hair. "You have such pretty hair Unkle Sesshoumaru. Can I braid it?"
"Um…I don't think that's such a great idea," Shippou said as he tugged the little girl free. "After all, if otou-san wants his hair braided, I'm sure okaa-san will be more than happy to do it."
"Awww…." Raiona moped, then brightened instantly. "I know! Play with us!"
"Who?" Sesshoumaru and Narasa both replied. "Us?"
"No, just you Uncle Sesshoumaru!" Hamaru said, with Raiona nodding in agreement.
"I don't think so," Sesshoumaru answered, fully expecting the
"Please Unkle Sesshoumaru," Raiona pleaded, her violet eyes big and puppy dog like. "You'll be my most favoriterist unkle in the whole wide world!"
"I thought I was already," Sesshoumaru teased, a hand ruffling her auburn hair.
"Yeah, but you have to earn it!" Raiona argued back, her hands firmly planted on her hips. Sesshoumaru shook his head. "Be that as it may, I still do not wish to play."
"Unkle Sesshoumaru rhymed!" Raiona chirped, quickly followed by her brother as they both danced little circles around Sesshoumaru's feet. He cast a curious look to Shippou, who shrugged in response.
"Raiona's on this really weird rhyming kick," he explained. "But you should play a game with us. You might like it."
"No, I believe I'd rather watch."
"Hey you guys!" Souta greeted as he stepped outside, a soccer ball in hand. "How about helping me practice?"
"Yay!" all three children cheered, then grabbed Souta and dragged him into the middle of the courtyard. Sesshoumaru nodded his head in thanks, then watched as the Souta and Shippou proceeded to teach the others how to play. There were a few missed attempts, and more than a couple of accidental kicks, but soon Raiona and Hamaru figured out what to do good enough for a quick game.
"Wow, look at the time," Souta said after a few hours. "I've got to go."
"Awww…do you have to?" Hamaru whined. "It was just getting good."
"I know, but I have a date tonight, and girls don't like it when you're not on time."
"OK then Unkle Souta," Raiona said. "But you'll play with us when you get back, right?"
"I promise." Souta tossed Shippou the ball, then turned toward the porch and made his way inside. "Good luck Sesshoumaru," he whispered before he disappeared inside, leaving Sesshoumaru and the children to themselves.
"Now will you play with us?" Raiona asked, then frowned when Sesshoumaru shook his head.
"I have a better idea," Shippou told her. "Who do we know that will always play with us, no matter what?"
Raiona and Hamaru thought a moment, then "Auntie Kagome!"
"That's right! Let's go get her!"
They zipped past Sesshoumaru in a mad dash, the pounding of their little feet thundering through the night air as they reached the kitchen, where Sesshoumaru heard Kagome groan moments later.
The children soon reappeared, half dragging Kagome along with them to the courtyard. She shot Sesshoumaru a 'Help me!' look, then stuck her tongue out at him when it was ignored. She then turned to the children, who were all happily bouncing around her.
"Alright kids, what do you want to play?"
"Raiona made this really great game at school," Shippou told her. "Want to play?"
"Sure, why not? How do you play?"
"First, you turn in one place like this," Raiona explained, holding her arms out and spinning clockwise. "We hold hands, turn this way," she pointed left and counter-clockwise "around you and count to five. Then we stop, and if you fall we win!"
"Alright then," Kagome said with a smile. "That sounds simple enough. Let's get started."
Sesshoumaru watched as they began to spin, the children's counting slowly fading as he watched Kagome spin. She tipped her head back, her eyes closed and a small smile on her face as her dark hair swirled around her.
'It was worth it,' he thought to himself. 'To wait for so long for her. Five hundred years is nothing compared to what I'm feeling now.'
"Four, five! Everybody stop!" Raiona called, everyone but Kagome screeching to a stop. Kagome attempted to stop, wobbled a little on her feet, then crumpled to the ground.
"Yay!" Hamaru shouted. "We won! You lost Auntie Kagome!"
"Yeah Okaa-san! We won! Um, Okaa-san," Shippou said, reaching out to shake Kagome's shoulder. "You can get up now. We're starting over."
"Auntie Kagome?" Hamaru said nervously when Kagome didn't respond. "Auntie Kagome!"
"Otou-san! Something's wrong!"
Sesshoumaru appeared by Shippou's side instantly, reaching over to sit Kagome up as Inuyasha and Narasa stepped onto the porch. "She smells funny," Shippou admitted. Sesshoumaru sniffed near Kagome's ear, but found nothing to support Shippou's claim.
"Kagome," he whispered softly, gently patting each cheek. "Kagome, wake up. You're scaring the children." When she remained unresponsive, Sesshoumaru quickly picked her up and bolted to his car at the end of the shrine steps, with Narasa and Inuyasha following close behind.
"Inuyasha," Sesshoumaru ordered as he landed, tossing Narasa his car keys. "Stay here with the children. Narasa and I will find someone to help."
"I know of a doctor on the border of your territory," Narasa told him. Sesshoumaru nodded in understanding, placing Kagome in the back seat before sitting down himself and placing her head in his lap. "Inuyasha, you know where the ramen and things are. Give the children something else."
"Alright then!" Inuyasha waved as they sped off, then turned to make his way up the stairs. 'Man, I hope she's alright,' he thought as he began to leap the stairs three at a time. 'But what did Shippou mean by her smelling funny?'
Sesshoumaru beside Kagome's bed at the clinic the next morning, his thoughts dark and morbid as he watched Kagome sleep. 'She hasn't responded to anyone since yesterday. What could be causing this? Her youkai blood should have activated by now, so no human illness should be able to harm her. What am I missing?'
"Good morning Sesshoumaru," Narasa whispered as he walked in, balancing two cups in his hands. "How fare's our Sleeping Beauty? Perhaps a kiss from her prince would wake her."
SF: Fic Plug!!!!!
"Forgive me Narasa," Sesshoumaru growled anxiously. "But I am in no mood for such jokes."
"Of course not," Narasa complied. "My apologies. Have there been any changes since last night?"
Sesshoumaru shook his head. "No. The doctor checked her over, drew some blood and left. I haven't seen him since." A low growl began in Sesshoumaru's throat, his claws extending as he said "If he is not back soon, I will have to find him."
"And that's what I came to prevent," Narasa said as he sat down beside Sesshoumaru. "Trust me, this guy knows what he's doing. He'll be along shortly." He reached over to hug Kagome, stopping a mere inch above her bed.
"What is it?" Sesshoumaru asked as Narasa sniffed inconspicuously. His eyes widened a moment, then returned to normal with a shake of his head.
"It's nothing Sesshoumaru."
"It does not seem like nothing," Sesshoumaru replied, with a growing suspicion that Narasa was lying to him. "So what is it?"
"It's nothing Sesshoum-"
"Oh man…my head," Kagome groaned miserably, giving Sesshoumaru a lopsided smile when he helped her sit up. "What happened? Where am I?"
"You're in the hospital," Sesshoumaru answered gently. "You fainted in front of the children."
"Oh, the poor guys," Kagome moaned. "I bet I scared them."
"You've been here overnight," Narasa told her. "But we'll leave as soon as the doctor gets here."
"When's he coming?" Kagome asked.
"I'm right here," the doctor announced as he came into the room. "I'm sorry about disappearing on you. We had a few tests to run first." He approached Kagome's bedside, warily eying Sesshoumaru before Kagome whapped his arm.
"Move Seishou!" she said. "He just wants to check me over."
"Fine," Sesshoumaru growled, more at the steely-eyed Immortal in front of him than at Kagome. He stood up and to the side, watching the doctor as he finally checked Kagome's pulse.
"Well," he finally said after a moment of silence. "I can see nothing wrong. You're as healthy as the proverbial horse. I just need for you to take these," he passed Sesshoumaru a prescription "and come in next Monday morning."
"For what?" Sesshoumaru asked, missing the knowing smile on Narasa's face. "If she is fine, then why does she have to come back?"
"For the dizzy spells of course." He eyed Sesshoumaru curiously. "Have you not noticed any dizzy spells in the past week?"
"No," Sesshoumaru answered truthfully, mentally replaying the past week. 'Well, there have been times when she seemed a bit out of it, but dizzy? She would have told me.'
"Lady Taisho, have you had any of the said spells?" the doctor asked. Kagome sheepishly glanced at Sesshoumaru, then nodded.
"I see. Nausea as well?"
Again Kagome nodded, ignoring the evil eye Sesshoumaru was sending her.
"Well, it's simple then. Congratulations my lady. You're pregnant."
"What?" Sesshoumaru and Kagome both exclaimed, then growled when Narasa burst into laughter. "Are you sure?" Kagome asked.
"If she is, then why did I not sense it?" Sesshoumaru asked.
"That was to be expected," the doctor responded. "You see, Immortals are different than regular youkai, even though she has some inu youkai and human blood. The Immortal gene prevents normal detection through scent. You'd have to be familiar with her scent to recognize it my lord, and one year after mating is too soon to tell."
"So I will never be able to detect it?" Sesshoumaru concluded, then repressed the urge to frown when the doctor shook his head.
"Not exactly. Do you know her heat scent?"
"Yes," Sesshoumaru answered, chuckling to himself at Kagome's rising blush.
"It's a little like that," the doctor concluded. "As the weeks pass, you'll be able to tell a lot better. Now, just have that prescription filled-it's for pre-natal vitamins-and come back here for her first exam. I must be leaving you now. Congratulations again."
Sesshoumaru watched as the doctor stepped out, along with Narasa, then turned to Kagome, who seemed unusually quiet. They stared at each other in silence, then Kagome burst into tears.
"What's wrong?" Sesshoumaru asked, pulling her from the bed and into his lap. 'She can't be sad about this…can she?'
"I'm (hiccup) sorry Seishou," she sobbed brokenly, her hands fisted in the collar of his shirt.
"Sorry? For what?"
"I know how much you hate hanyou, and with me being what I am…" Kagome continued to cry, even as Sesshoumaru considered what she said.
"You know me better than that," Sesshoumaru replied. "I do not care if it is hanyou. It is mine, ours, and the child shall be loved." He brushed her bangs aside and kissed her forehead, his lips brushing against the crescent that resided there. "So you're worried for nothing."
"Are you sure?" Kagome asked. "Shippou by himself is a handful, so I know with-"
"Shippou is fine, and he'll be overjoyed, even though I think he already knows," Sesshoumaru interrupted. "So all is fine. Don't worry, ok?"
"'Kay." She sniffed one last time, then wrapped her arms around Sesshoumaru's waist. "So…we're finally parents…"
"We've always been parents, remember?"
"Yes, but….are we ready for this?"
"Don't tell me you're afraid," Sesshoumaru teased, then winced and laughed when Kagome punched him in the arm. "This coming from the miko that destroyed Naraku? Challenged an entire youkai council? Surely you jest!" His chuckle became outright laughter, the foreign sound ringing from the room and down the hallway to the lobby where Narasa and the doctor now sat.
Kagome punched him in the arm again, then crossed her arms over her chest and frowned. "I hope you get a frog in your arm," she growled, little fangs protruding over her bottom lip as she pouted like a little girl.
"Yes yes, I'm sure you do," Sesshoumaru said gently. "But seriously, stop worrying. It can't be good for the baby."
"Of course. Ow!"
"One more for the collection," Kagome grumbled, then smiled happily. "So Sherlock, what do we tell everyone else at home?"
"We tell them the truth, then celebrate," Sesshoumaru told her. He stood up, reaching down to pick Kagome up before walking to the door and the hallway outside.
"Seishou!" Kagome squealed. "I can still walk you know!"
Sesshoumaru promptly ignored her, his mind focused on the sudden euphoria flowing through him. 'Just when it seems that things cannot get any better, they do," he mused as he walked past Narasa, out the lobby and to the car. 'It does not matter to me what the child is, boy or girl, human or inu youkai, it is still mine.
I will love it no matter what.
And I cannot wait for what the future will bring…