Important Note From the Author For New and Reoccurring Readers: 1) After the End' IS a sequel. I was asked by one of the reviewers if there was another story telling how Sango and Sesshoumaru got to this point. So, for all of the new readers-I appreciate you greatly, and there IS a story that preludes to this one. The title is After, and it is on this site. The easiest way to find it would be to click my highlighted member name (Pammi) at the top of this page, then to scroll down to the 'stories authored' part of my bio. You'll find it there, waiting for you to read and review. 2) Anyone who wants to link to my stories or post my stories on a website, please email me at the address on my member page. I did receive some emails that I never got a chance to respond to, so if you sent an email, and I didn't respond, please send another.
Thank you, and enjoy the show,
Chapter Two: There's Always Gotta Be Something
"Come on, Sango, just a little higher," Kagome instructed. "It's good for the baby."
"Are you sure the people of your time know what they're talking about?" Sango grunted as she strived to touch her toes, "This is harder than slaying a hundred demons."
"You're exaggerating. It's not that bad, and yes, they know what they're talking about. Doing simple exercises while you're pregnant is healthy, AND it'll keep you from having too much weight to lose after you have the baby."
"It's easy for you to say. You don't have a giant bulge of belly in your way," Sango growled.
Kagome sighed and gave a weak smile, "Well, I guess your right about that." She reached for the exercise book that lay between them, "I don't think you're supposed to be able to touch your toes anyway. Just try to get your fingers parallel to your legs and go as far down as your stomach lets you. I mean, this book is intended for the first few months of pregnancy. You're already on your sixth month."
"Does your mom have any other books for women who are further along?" Sango asked. She liked the books that Kagome brought her from her world. For the past few months after her wedding, Kagome and Inu Yasha had become frequent visitors. Sango had even managed to convince Sesshoumaru to let them stay in the extra rooms of the cottage so that Kagome could be there. Naturally, Inu Yasha was part of the installment. After all, he was her self-proclaimed guardian, and more importantly to Kagome, her boyfriend.
Every other week it seemed, Kagome brought Sango a different book to read: What to Eat and What Not to Eat During Your Pregnancy, Yoga for the Pregnant Woman, Your First Baby, The Book of 1000 Baby Names and Meanings, The Art of Lamaze, and Sango's personal favorite, What to Expect While You're Expecting.
Kagome shrugged, "I think she gave them to one of her friends a couple years ago, but I'll ask her tonight when I go back." She tossed the book aside, "Let's take a break, okay?"
"Sounds good to me," Sango smiled as she looked around for signs of her husband, "Where'd Sesshoumaru and Inu Yasha run off to?"
"Wherever they are, they're probably not together and if they are, then they're probably arguing, fighting, or worse," Kagome rolled her eyes.
Sango shrugged, "You have to admit, things aren't as bad between them now as they were when we first met. I mean, at least they can stand in the same room without barking at one another."
"I'm not sure if pretending the other person isn't there counts as better," Kagome sighed.
"True, but at least it's quieter," Sango stated bluntly, causing them both to giggle at the truth of it.
Inu Yasha growled at his brother, "What do you mean by calling me her pet?"
Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, "Exactly what I said. You're like a child's puppy. You've even been trained to sit."
"That's not true, and you know it!" Inu Yasha barked, "That doesn't happen anymore anyway. Kaede took those beads off after Naraku and the Shikkon Jewel were destroyed."
"Hmph…" Sesshoumaru turned his attention to the North. "Do you smell that?"
"Smell what?" Inu Yasha asked, taken aback by Sesshoumaru's sudden change of subject. I smell your bad breath he thought to himself.
"It smells like a conjure," Sesshoumaru furrowed his brow.
"You mean that musky scent?" Inu Yasha looked down, "I thought that was you…"
"Shut up," the older brother scolded, "This could be something serious…"
"Then let's go check it out," Inu Yasha offered.
"I will investigate it, but you need to head back and look after the humans," Sesshoumaru practically ordered.
Inu Yasha was too peeved at his brother's use of the word humans to do anything save get angry, "Sango isn't just a human, Sesshoumaru. She's your wife, and whether or not you've excepted the fact that she's mortal, you know you love her."
Sesshoumaru turned a cold stare in his brother's direction, "Stay out of it. What would a half demon like you know of anything!"
Inu Yasha narrowed his eyes and smirked, "What's the matter, older brother? Did I strike a chord?"
Sesshoumaru went still, wanting to thrash his brother until he no longer drew breath. Instead, Sesshoumaru caught himself confiding in him, "I know that Sango is more than just a human. She is an excellent hunter, a skilled fighter, and she'll be an even better mother," he turned away, "but I understand that she is mortal, and that she will die anyway."
"Yah, someday," Inu Yasha took a step forward, standing side by side with his older brother, "but not today."
Sesshoumaru cast his brother a sideways glance before returning his gaze to the North. He could no longer sense anything foul coming from that direction. "Whatever I sensed, it's gone now. Still, the sun is setting."
"Gotchya. Let's go," Inu Yasha turned on his heel and started back toward the cottage. Sesshoumaru followed slowly, still pondering what it could have been. He decided that he would investigate later on in the night. He would wait until everyone was asleep though. He didn't want to upset Sango while she was with child.
The moon was high and unfaltering as it shone among the innumerous, incandescent stars. Everything was still as Sesshoumaru sped, on foot, toward the North. His hair trailed behind him like a silver beam as his pace quickened. The wind blew gently, causing the surrounding trees to sway slightly overhead.
Looking up, Sesshoumaru noticed that the sky was getting darker. Something was not right in his lands, and he was determined to figure out what it was. When he came upon the clearing he noticed that he was in the very place where he and Sango had slain Akogi. Since then, the Toukai had not caused any problems. Even if they had, Sesshoumaru would had been too preoccupied to notice.
Sesshoumaru's ears suddenly twitched as he heard an almost silent hiss in the distance. He placed his hand on the hilt of his Tokijin as he stepped forward with silent, cautious ease. After no more than ten paces, Sesshoumaru heard the hiss again, only this time it was directly behind him.
He spun around just in time to come face to face with two beady, red eyes. The body of whatever he faced was a shadowy black. There were countless arms the reached out from the darkness as it hovered at least ten feet above him. Seeing the creature before him, Sesshoumaru became convinced that his suspicions were correct. This was indeed a member of the Toukai. "State your business. I'm growing tired the disturbances your kind has been inflicting in this area of my land."
The creature hissed, "Sssssesshoumaru, it would be in your best interests not to interfere with ussss."
Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, "Indeed. You are considering me a trespasser upon my own territory?"
"Just like your father," the creature tisked as it tilted it's head slightly to the side.
"You knew my father?" Sesshoumaru's interest was now at it's peak.
"Yessss I did. We encountered each other under circumstances much like these. I wonder…are you as big a fool as he?"
Sesshoumaru gritted his teeth. He would not tolerate some lowly demon disrespecting his father. Such debauchery was grounds for the ultimate punishment, and Sesshoumaru was set to deliver. With much ease and great force, the demon lord leapt forward. He drew his sword, the moonlight reflecting off his blade as he wielded it above his head then brought it down.
The demon dodged the first attempted blow. Frowning it sighed in frustration, "You leave me no choice."
That is when it happened. Something from behind him snapped his belt from his waist, taking the Tensiega with it. Then, a pitch black cloud of nothingness swept over his form: A barrier. Sesshoumaru swiped at it with the Tokijin, trying to destroy it but to no avail. "What the…" Sesshoumaru's mind whirled in confusion and well-masked horror as the barrier closed over him completely. He could see out, but barely.
His feelings of horror were not for himself, but for Sango. Who was going to protect his wife and unborn child? He'd been a fool to come here alone in the night. Hell, he possessed enough knowledge to understand the risk he was taking by investigating in the dark. To his credit, however, Sesshoumaru was not a demon many souls dared to approach, much less attempted to capture. So why would he have felt at risk in the first place? Whoever was behind this was going to pay dearly. In the meantime, he had to figure a way out of this imprisoning barrier.
Frozen in a bewildered, fearful stance, Jakken watched as his master was sealed into the ominous barrier. He had seen Sesshoumaru leaving the cottage and decided to follow above, praying that he wouldn't be noticed. He hadn't expected anything like this to happen, and apparently neither had Lord Sesshoumaru. Collecting his wits, he did the only thing he could. He ran for Ah and Un.
Sango observed her surroundings with mounting fear. It was a cold, dank and dark cavern somewhere in the North. She didn't know how she knew this, for she had never been here before. Her chest heaved heavily, as though she had been engaged in some sort of battle. Yet, she couldn't remember anything before this point. Confused and hurting, Sango looked down to see herself being lifted from the ground, her large belly striking fear into her heart. 'The baby…' she cried in her mind.
Strange, luminous lights began to encircle her as hundreds of small red eyes surrounded her levitating form from below, all of them looking up at Sango and the unborn baby. After a few minutes of struggling whilst the lights surrounded her, things began to slow down. Sango watched as the lights ceased to swirl and pause momentarily before suddenly entering her body. She could feel something changing within her…and her child. What was happening…? "No! Please! Stop this! Sesshoumaru!"
Sango awoke with a start, opening her eyes to see the worried faces of Kagome, Inu Yasha, and Rin. "What's the matter, Sango?" Rin asked sleepily. "Why did you scream?"
Sango regarded the child with comforting warmth, "I just had a bad dream is all. Go back to bed, sweetheart." Rin gave a small nod and left the room.
Inu Yasha and Kagome still looked concerned, "Are you sure you're okay?" Kagome asked, breaking the silence.
"I think so. I read somewhere that pregnancy sometimes causes strange dreams. I think this was one of those dreams," she sighed and looked down, "but it felt so real."
Inu Yasha didn't look convinced, "I don't know. Are you sure no one cursed you? Maybe one of Naraku's old buddies is trying to get to us-"
"I doubt it," Kagome butted in, "Who would want to challenge the ones that took out one of the most powerful demons of the era?"
"Sorikata didn't seem to mind the challenge," Inu Yasha interrupted.
"He wasn't after us, remember? He was after Sesshoumaru-"
"Where is my husband?" Sango piped, taking notice to the fact that he still hadn't arrived.
Inu Yasha perked his ears up and sniffed the air, trying to determine whether or not his brother was in the vicinity, "That's strange. I can't pick up his scent or anything-"
"INU YASHA! LADY SANGO!" Jakken's yell came from the hall before he burst into the room.
"Jakken? What's going on? Where is Sesshoumaru," Sango questioned immediately.
"I saw him leaving the cottage and I followed. He went to the Northern borders and was confronted by one of the Toukai-er-maybe two. One of them came out of nowhere from behind and stole his belt, separating him from the Tenseiga," Jakken paused to catch his breath, "Then a barrier appeared and swallowed him up, trapping him inside. It was then that I fled to come for help."
Sango turned worried, fretful eyes toward Inu Yasha, "Please…you have to help him, Inu Yasha."
"As if you even had to ask," Inu Yasha replied. This was his chance. Inu Yasha was going to prove himself, once and for all, to his older brother. With the aid of the Tetsiega, Inu Yasha would slay the enemy and break the barrier to rescue Sesshoumaru.
"I'll get my bow and arrows," Kagome's voice pierced through his thoughts.
Inu Yasha turned a hard gaze in her direction, "You can get your bow and arrows, but you're going to use them to defend Sango here at the cottage."
"I can fend for myself, thank you very much," Sango began, but was cut short by Jakken.
"My Lady, methinks you should stay here and protect Rin and yourself," pausing he glanced at the bulge of her stomach, "and your unborn baby. Milord would not approve if you were to put yourself and the child into harms way."
His words brought back images from Sango's dream. Much to her own chagrin, Sango found herself nodding in agreement. "Kagome," Sango turned to her friend.
"Don't worry. As much as I hate to admit it, both of them have a point," Kagome let out a sigh. She noticed the smirk that was forming on Inu Yasha's face. No doubt due to the fact that he had actually won, "Inu Yasha, take Jakken with you. If anything happens to you, and it probably will, he can come back and tell us."
Kagome smiled inwardly, for her words had done the trick. Inu Yasha's smirk had become a scowl. "Whatever. We're wasting time. Let's go, Jakken."
"Be careful, Inu Yasha," Sango warned. "I know you don't want to hear this, but if this thing actually did manage to capture Sesshoumaru, then you don't stand much of a chance yourself."
Inu Yasha didn't take a offense. He knew it was the truth and so did everyone else. Therefore, he felt no need to get defensive. "I will." With that he left the room. As he and Jakken mounted Ah and Un, Inu Yasha silently hoped that he could pull this off. And even more silently, he hoped for the safety of his brother and the protection of his friends. 'Why did there always have to be something?' Inu Yasha wondered.
Well, that's it for this chapter. Tell me what you think in your reviews. Sorry it's not as long as the first chapter, but I'm still trying to figure out how I want this to go and ya'll have been waiting long enough.