Author's Note: Thanks to my reviewers!
I Am Your Sweet : Thank you, hon. Glad you like it.
Chocobogirl: I'm getting out of breath, buddy! Don't worry, it's not the end just yet.
Locainlove: No need to give me a case of dead, I'm updating. I'm glad you like it.
The demon didn't stir, but he heard his name. The last thing he could remember had been looking into that old woman's eyes. What had happened? Why couldn't he see? Why couldn't he move? What was wrong with him?
"Peace, child," he heard. "He will be all right as soon as his eyes are open. His emotions are returning, and that is what holds him immobile."
Hearing this, Sesshomaru directed all of his strength towards his eyes and tried to open them. He managed it on the fifth try. He could see that he was lying on his back, and sunshine was shining through the branches above him, speckling the forest floor. A slight breeze was blowing, ruffling the hair around his face. Everything was quiet and peaceful, as if that nightmare of the palace and witch had never happened.
"Hey, his eyes are open," Shippo said, leaping to Kagome's side happily. "Is he all right now?" he asked Kioko.
"He should be," she said, smiling. "How do you feel, young man?"
Sesshomaru stared at her, shocked at her temerity by her calling him "young man," but he realized that it was only demon outrage, and not the stronger fire of human anger.
"How dare you!" Jaken croaked. "His name is 'Lord Sesshomaru,' you silly woman! You should be more respectful!"
"Quiet, Jaken," he snapped, relieved and a little annoyed to see his henchman. "I feel . . .normal," he said, rising to his feet and allowing himself a smile. "Thank you."
"You are welcome," Kioko said. She received the surprise of her life when Sesshomaru's eyes turned red and he began growling.
"What's the matter?" she asked, surprised and a little angry. Why should he snarl at her? Hadn't she helped him?
"What is he doing here?" Sesshomaru demanded, glaring at Tala's supine form on the ground behind Kioko.
"Relax, Sesshomaru," Inuyasha said quickly. "Tala was under a spell, too. He's Lady Kioko's son."
Sesshomaru glared at his brother, but the anger faded from his face. "I apologize," he said to Kioko. "I meant no disrespect to you."
Inuyasha stared at his brother. Since when had he been so polite to mortals? Was this a side effect of being under Kimi's spells? Perhaps he had decided to change? Almost snorting at that false hope, Inuyasha decided not to mention Sesshomaru's change at all.
"That's perfectly all right," Kioko said. "I must thank all of you for helping me to defeat Kimi and regain my son. I would not have been able to do it without your help."
"Thank you for removing the spells on me," Sesshomaru said.
"I thank you as well," Inuyasha said. "You're a great mother."
Sesshomaru glanced at Inuyasha, wondering what that had to do with anything, but he stayed quiet. Perhaps it was something between the two of them.
"You are all welcome," Kioko said. "May I ask one favor of you?"
"Certainly," Sango said, smiling. "What is it?"
"I need help getting my son home. May I trouble you?"
Smiling, everyone nodded, and Kirara mewed and grew to her larger size.
Rin was fetching water for Lady Kaede when a shadow fell across the ground in front of her.
"Rin," she heard.
She turned and saw Lord Sesshomaru, who sank to one knee and held out his arms. Dropping the bucket and sloshing water everywhere, Rin flew into his embrace, crying. "Lord Sesshomaru! Lord Sesshomaru! I knew you would come back to me!" she wailed, burying her face in his shoulder. His arms were wrapped around her, and he didn't seem to mind that his shoulder was getting wet and sniffley, or that Rin was soaked from the water. He seemed perfectly content to hold her and reassure her.
"Oh, Lord Sesshomaru, I made you a present," Rin said, sniffing and standing up to reach inside her sleeve for something. Finding it, she pulled it out and presented it to him. He took it and unwrapped it to see what it was.
It was an embroidered sash made out of simple linen, and the stitches were a little crooked, but he promptly wrapped it around his waist and tied it. "Thank you, Rin. It's wonderful." He hugged her again.
"That's too cute," Kagome sighed. "She really loves him, and I can tell he loves her."
"Just never say so to him," Inuyasha cautioned her. "He'd deny it."
"Oh, the secret's safe with me," she said, giving him a hug. "Let's go let Kaede know we're all right," she suggested as Jaken began to tell Rin off for getting their lord all soggy. Ignoring the little toad-like demon, Sesshomaru picked Rin up and held her. Anyone could tell that he was glad to see the little girl again.
Late that night, Inuyasha woke, feeling strange. Kaede had fixed a large meal to celebrate their return, but he knew that he hadn't eaten so much as to make himself sick. What was wrong with him?
He went outside, hoping a breath of fresh air would make him feel better. Sesshomaru, Jaken, and Rin had left an hour after supper, saying that they had to get going. Sesshomaru had thanked Lady Kaede, and she had replied that he was welcome any time. Inuyasha hoped that Sesshomaru wouldn't come around too often, or they'd start to hate one another again.
Sitting down on the grass, Inuyasha gazed up at the stars, wishing he could feel better. Was it just his eyes, or was it getting misty?
Inside Kaede's hut, Kagome sat up, feeling that something was wrong. Where was Inuyasha?
Rushing outside, everyone stopped to stare at a young man who was sitting on the grass.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome said in disbelief.
"I…I…" he croaked, staring at his hands. "I don't believe it! It's not even the new moon!"
Inuyasha was human.