How Kagome was ever able to keep up with all this homework and look for shards in the past was something Souta was totally unable to grasp. At least he had a good grasp on one of his subjects, and that was history. Well, at least this part of the course. When your sister had run around, and was still living it, it kind of gave you an edge.
Thoughts of his sister caused him to pause briefly on his walk home. It had been several months since his sister had last visited them with little Reimei. Oh how his niece had been so cute, though he would never admit it! Cute was for girls.
His grandfather had woken up from slumber one day in a panic, saying the magic was gone. It had taken a while for his mom to calm him down, but the words of his grandfather stuck in his head, and since then Kagome had not been home.
Strangely enough his mother didn't seem too worried. But then it was always hard to tell with her. She always had a smile on her face, even on those nights Kagome would come home covered in blood with torn clothing. It was as if nothing could faze a Mom, and he wondered if it was an inherit skill all grownups learned when they had kids, or just a skill his mother had.
He though of his grandfather and wrote the idea off as a special case for his mother. Or maybe it was a female thing. He thought of his sister. She had seemed so different holding little Reimei, so much calmer then the fiery, short tempered, more like Inuyasha then she would ever dare to admit, teenage sister he remembered growing up with. She reminded him of Mom.
"I'm home." Souta shouted as he slid the front door open, took off his shoes, stepped in, and closed the door again.
"Welcome home Souta. How was school?" His mother asked from the kitchen.
"Boring." He answered as he joined her, accepting his after school snack and sitting at the table, pulling out his textbooks. "Any word from sis yet?" He asked hopefully, as he had everyday for several months now.
"Not yet. She is probably very busy raising a baby and ruling a kingdom. Why when I had you I barely had a chance to breath to my self between work and diapers." She smiled in fond memory
"Women have a strange sense of what's cool." Souta thought to himself. Still he held a lingering concern for his sister.
"When you are done eating can you take the garbage out please?"
Said garbage was not that heavy or big. Grandpa barely ate at all, his mom ate like a rabbit, another inherit trait of women it seemed and he frequently wondered how any of them ever got heavy set, and even he could only put back so much food now that his latest growth spurt was over.
His path led him past the well, and he couldn't help but to detour to it on his way back. There was no sign of disturbance. The dirt on the bottom remained mark free and the little strings he had strung up to make sure his sister hadn't snuck in and out without telling him were still there, though he doubted such things would make it past Sesshomaru.
Inuyasha would have plowed right through them and never even think about resetting them. In fact there would probably be enough cussing that half the block would have heard it. Sesshomaru on the other hand would probably just glide through them, but for sure Kagome would have tripped a few of them and he doubted either of them would bother putting them back.
No, it was clear his sister had still not come back, and the well felt as dead as ever, if not more so. With a heavy sigh Souta left the well house, returning to the dreaded homework that awaited him at the table.
There was a time when he was younger he would have been happy to have the house and mom to himself, but now it was too quite. No one to pick a fight with. No one to sneak food out of the fridge late at night with.
With a sigh he set to his homework, starting with the easiest, History. As he read through the first chapter he sighed. So much for the well of knowledge his sister was suppose to be. The war they were researching probably hadn't happened yet where she was.
Not much was known about the war, only that a strong ruler from the north had swept through and conquered most of Japan, leaving a bloody trail in his wake. There was mention of a great war and a strong alliance of leaders banding together, but other then that not much else was known. Rather the lord was defeated or not remains a mystery, though evidence spoke of a large battle to the north. In fact his class was taking a trip up to what was believed to be the final battle sight.
If only Kagome would come home. He could warn her about the up coming war, though vaguely he wondered if doing so might change history. So lost in thought was he that he didn't notice his mother had set dinner out until she politely cleared her throat.
"Aw shoot!" He exclaimed as he cleared his books off the table and ran over to the spare bedroom to help his grandfather make it to the table.
The buss ride was not too bad considering it was several miles up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Seeing as how it was in the middle of the week during the school year tourism was not that large in the area yet, so traffic was minimal and there was no competition with a mob of tourist for the attractions, as much as old buildings covered in moss could be considered an attraction.
Well, in this case an entire cave structure never before seeing in Japan's history. It was as if it had been carved out of the natural rock without the use of tools. One theory was that water was somehow channeled as a cutting tool as the tunnels were similar in design to the ones created by dried up underwater rivers. Course there was no water markings on the rocks anywhere.
The tour was about as boring as it could be, though something of the place felt different to him. They were halfway up the mountain when he finally admitted the place felt kind of like how the well use to. Tingling on his senses.
He paused at one of the forks, looking down the dark corridor that was still covered in dust and clearly not used. He thought he had caught a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye.
He was about to shake it of when he caught it again. He took a step towards the corridor.
"Souta-kun, come on." His assigned partner barked at him when she had turned around and discovered he was no longer following her.
Matsumi was his rival for the top grade in history, knowing almost as much as he did about the time period they were studying. Not surprising seeing as how her father owned the local museum and one of the largest temples attached to it.
"Hang on." He called back to her as he started down the corridor, following the flicker of movement.
"Souta-kun." She growled in frustration as she chassed after him.
His first impression was right, no one had used these corridors in years, maybe even generations. Cobwebs were surprisingly absent. No tracks were in the dust, yet he was sure something was leading him somewhere.
Despite the absence of any form of modern day lighting, Souta was surprised to discover he could see just fine, the walls were apparently giving of some sort of soft glow.
"Souta-kun, we should turn around and head back before we get into trouble." Matsumi growled at him again, hand on her hips and tapping a foot impatiently, though there was a hint of nervousness in her voice.
"In a moment Matsumi-chan." Souta waved her off.
The corridor has seemingly ended, but there appeared to be some sort of faded writing on the wall. Text he could not read, but the picture below it was clear enough.
Behind him Matsumi gasped when her eyes caught sight of the mural on the wall.
"Oh my. It can't be. It's impossible. But it is." Her voice held hints of both extreme excitement and almost uncontrollable glee
"That almost looks like Sesshomaru." Souta muttered to himself.
"Don't be silly. Everyone know that the so called "Lord of the West" was white, and…."
"Hai, I know." He interrupted her. "More then you well ever know." He added under his breath. "This one is black, but the marking are still of the Western Lands." Souta pointed out.
"Hai." Matsumi agreed. "The text is really old, but I might be able to make it out."
"I wonder." Souta muttered. "Reimei?"
The Inutaiyoukai in the picture definitely resembled a black version of Sesshomaru, though the marking were slightly different.
"The setting sun brought about the new light." Matsumi declared. "Or something along those lines, it's kind of a rough translation."
"Setting sun? Reimei?" Souta asked.
Matsumi looked at the wall again, head cocked to the side in clear analyzing mode. "Hai, it could have been pronounced that in the old days. The mother enveloped all in her light, and the father in his darkness. Stand together, West to the North. Or something along those lines. I would need more time to properly study the symbols and cross…"
"Hai." Souta interrupted her before she could go off on a rant.
Souta looked closer at the wall, more pictures were starting to catch his notice. He found scenes of a big battle between many youkai, and in their lead was a large Picture of a white Inu, wearing armor with a young woman on his back, bow in hand and sword on hip. Two large birds flew over them and a pack of wolves ran at their feet with a 4 tailed Kitsune by their side.
The woman on the Inutaiyoukai gave it away even before Souta recognized the marking on the white Inu.
"Sesshomaru-dono and Kagome-dono." Matsumi gasped. "Till now they were considered mere legend, folk tales. No evidence has ever been found of their existence."
"Well, we found it." Souta, muttered, though he had known all along his sister and her mate were obviously real. "Perhaps that is why she hasn't come back, perhaps this war has already started and she can't." Souta fretted to himself.
Across from them was a large painting of another Inutaiyouki, this one so clearly evil and rabid it made Souta shudder just looking at the picture.
"Anything about who won?" Souta asked?
"No, but as I am sure you remember it was 10 years of tyranny till the unknown ruler of the time was defeated by a rebel army. Or so the sketchy history records declare. There was never any solid information on who led the rebel forces."
Souta frowned as he looked closer at Seshoamru's eyes. Well he assumed the Inu his sister was riding in the picture had to be Sesshomaru. Looking closer he managed to spot Inuyasha in the background. He knew from personal experience that Sesshomaru's eyes were golden, not blue as the picture indicated.
"That's strange." He muttered as he ran his hand over the eyes in the picture.
Before Matsumi could ask what he thought was strange, the wall began to shake and lift up.
"What did you do?" She demanded in a shout.
"I didn't do anything." He shouted back.
The trembling stopped to reveal the outside world, mainly a cloud cover valley. The wind could be heard gusting near the peaks, sounding very much like a thousand voices crying out in anger and loss. Add that to the field of bones sticking out of the grass and it made one creepy scene.
"The lost valley. The place of the 8 years of siege on the West by the North. They say this place held for 8 years of war, stopping the Northern Empire from claiming the West until they were able to push back. The high speed winds and the constant cloud cover combined with the sheer cliffs has made it impossible for anyone to actually come here."
Souta shuddered. This place felt cursed. Clearly a lot of Youkai had died here.
"We should get back to the others." Matsumi declared, her voice trembling slightly.
"Hai." He agreed.
They were about to turn back when a scream fromt eh air caught both their attentions. They stared up in horror as something dived at them, screeching loud enough to be heard over the wind and causing the two terrified children to scream and hug each other in terror.
Then, with a flash of light it was gone. The stood staring at where the creature had been, no trace of it left at all.
"He he." They chuckled nervously to each other.
"Just a tendril of fog." Matsumi laughed nervously.
"Yeah, and here we thought it was something else, boy are we jumpy." He chuckled just as nervously.
"Lets get back to the class. The curator is going to want to know about this place." Matsume Suggested.
"Yeah." Souta agreed.
He was about to turn away when he caught sight of something strange. He frowned as what appeared to be a white Kitsune, a woman in what appeared to be ancient armor on its back, disappeared into the clouds.
"I must be seeing things." He muttered to himself, shaking his head.
He followed Matsumi back to the rest of the class, mulling over the image.
"Souta-kun, Matsumi-chan, where have you been?" His teacher admonished them the moment they came around the corner.
"Cliara-sensai, come quick, we found something amazing." Souta cried.
The teacher and the rest of the class followed him and Matsumi led them back to the mural and the valley. There was a collective gasps from all around them.
"Are those bones?" One classmate whispered in awe
This was followed by Ewwww's from some of the girls. Having been the ones to discover the sight, Souta and Matsumi were requested to remain behind, with phone call permissions from their parents, while the rest of class returned to the school.
They watched in awe as a team of scientist immediately began to set up grids with string and take hundreds of photos. It didn't last too long though before there was a disturbance.
There seemed to be an argument between the lead scientist and what appeared to be a man with short, white hair in a business suite and cap. Souta watched the exchange, paying more attention to the white haired man.
He almost looked like Inuyasha, but he lacked the arrogant demeanor and long hair. Souta had a sudden urging to look under the hat for fluffy ears. He shock his head and paid more attention to the words being spoken.
"…research. You can not interfere with this great discovery."
"On the contrary. This land is the direct, private property granted to the family by the Emperor himself and is still recognized to belong directly to the family. They feel the disturbance of the bones is an extreme dishonor to the family and you can bet the Government well be hearing about it."
The lead scientist spluttered a bit. Souta's jaw was also down and dropped, but not nearly as much when he spotted a woman walking up to the man with white hair. She was dressed in full, ancient armor, the exact same armor he swore he saw earlier.
He could have sworn the woman paused to wink at him, before turning her attention to the white haired man and whispering something into his ear before walking off, hips swaying provocatively, rather aware she had the stunned, scientist attention.
"Hai." Souta answered with a surprised jump, turning to face the man who had addressed him.
The man was tall and had very light brown hair unseen on anyone from Japan. He was wearing sun glasses and when he shifted Souta was positive he caught a hint of a katana under his long trench style jacket.
"As the discoverer of the sight I was hopping you would be willing to come down to the lounge and discuss your discovery with me." The man requested with a wolfish grin.
"Sure, I guess." Souta shrugged. "I hope I didn't upset anyone." He sighed, looking back to the two men.
"Oh, do not worry about that. I represent the family who owns these lands, and they are pleased with your discovery, Higerashi Souta was it?"
They left the valley and entered the tunnel. The man paused in front of the mural painted on the wall, looking up at it with a small smile.
"Do you know who these people are?" He asked, waving at the mural.
Souta nodded his head as he pointed out the people on the mural he knew and named most of them. He admitted he didn't know the birds, or the ookami, though he was able to pick out Kouga thanks to his sisters description. Nodding in satisfaction, the man led him down to the lounge, sliding an access card through the reader before gesturing for him to enter.
"Bringing strays in again?" A voice called out from one of the couches.
"No, and shouldn't you be terrorizing that poor scientist some more Inuki." The man answered calmly.
"Finished that already. Mother said she had something she had to do and to wait for her here before heading home." The man on the couch waved his hand lazily their way.
"I bet." The man grumbled.
Souta took a chair at the table at the mans request.
"Not many know of the people on the mural wall. Some of them you named aren't even recorded in ANY history book." The man started, leaning forward slightly.
"Who you got there?" Inuki asked, glancing their way.
"The path has been opened." That caused Inuki to sit and glare at him.
"No really? I never would have guessed." Inuki snorted. "Still doesn't answer my question though."
The strange man sighed.
"This is the one who opened the door YOU were suppose to be guarding." The strange man snapped back in clear annoyance.
Before the two could divulge into an argument, the door in the back opened this time and Souta stared up at shock at the woman he could have sworn he saw riding the kitsune in the valley, armor still on and all.
"Mother." Inuki snapped to attention.
"Aunty." The other one saluted.
"I swear, if I had knowing someone was going to wander that way….." Inuki started.
"Let it rest." The woman waved away her sons protest before turning her eyes to him.
"And this is?" She asked warmly.
"Higerashi Souta." Souta introduced himself.
The woman's smile widened.
"It would figure it would be one of you who opened the door." She chuckled. "Tell me honestly please Souta, when was the last time you saw Kagome?"
Souta looked at the woman in shock.
"How do you know my sister?" He demanded.
"I have known her for a very long time." The woman answered, fondness in her voice. "Please, I have much I wish to catch up with her."
"I am sorry, I can't help you." Souta apologized.
"So the well has already been sealed then." She mused.
Now Souta stared at the woman in pure shock. The woman laughed lightly at the look on his face.
"Forgive me, allow me to formally introduce ourselves. The spoiled brat on the couch is my Son, Inuki. The man you are sitting beside in my adoptive nephew, Shippo, and I am Midoriko, High priestess of the West and servant to the Lady of the West, one Higerashi Kagome, whole I believe is your older sister, no?"
Souta found himself unable to speak. His mouth floundered up and down uselessly as his thoughts whirled, most of them coming back to a single word, How?
"Perhaps I should explain." Midoriko smiled as she joined him and Shippo at the table. "You see, when Kagome made her wish on the Shikon no Tama it sealed the well, the journey complete and something about time paradox's she use to go on about at one point.
"Now as for me, I was sealed inside the Shikon no Tama and when it was destroyed my soul was released. Technically speaking, I am the physical reincarnation of my spirit, and since spirits are ageless, thus am I."
A small white kitsune suddenly jumped onto the table. Souta looked at it in surprise, not so much because it was a kitsune, but because it had 2 tails.
"And this is Kitsume." Midoriko introduced.
"You were the two in the valley. You destroyed the youkai attacking Matsume and I?" He declared.
"Yes. For over 8 years blood was shed in that valley, a large portion of the youkai race was exterminated and even to this day many of their vengeful spirits remain. We have purified most of them, but many still remain. I lead the people who help to cleanse the remaining spirits."
"I think I understand. Wait, you said you worked under the Lady of the Western Lands! And that my sister is still alive?" Souta asked in shock.
"Yes." Midoriko smiled warmly. "As are you niece and nephew."
"Nephew?" Souta asked excited.
"Akatsuki." Shippo supplied.
"She named him after a group of villains from an anime?" He asked shocked.
Inuki and Shippo burst into laughter.
"Oh Kami no. He's a little older then T.V." Shippo managed to answer, catching his breath first.
"Kagome asked me to keep an eye out on you so she could approach you after the well was sealed, again more of that time paradox thingy. If you are able, she would be happy for you and your mom and grandfather to come visit at the Western Palace."
Souta could not refuse. Finally he would get to see his sister. He wondered how 500 years had changed her. He couldn't wait to share the news with his mother and grandfather. His lost sister wasn't lost after all.
Kagome stood patiently next to her mate, Reimei to Seshomaru's left and Akatsuki to her right. It had been 500 years and now finally she could see her family again, even if it would be for but a brief flash of what would be her life span.
The palace had not changed a bit over that time, even if the staff had, a continuous line of Sango and Miroku's offspring, for by the end they had fourteen children and those fourteen children had an average of 5 each, and it continued on an ever evolving scale.
Like Miroku and Sango, some of Rin and Kohaku's offspring also remained in service. By the end the two of them had four children, and in what could only be considered an act of pure irony, one of them would turn out to be Kagome's own mother. When Sesshomaru had saved the little girls life so long ago, he had unwittingly procured his mate in the process.
"I wonder if Souta's grown any?" Inuyasha commented from his place off to the side, Midoriko and their son Inuki, also lounging near by.
"It may have been 500 years for us, but to them it has only been a few months." Shippo pointed out.
He had dropped his disguise and was in his humanoid youkai form, six tails now wagging slowly behind him in pleasure.
Kagome nodded in agreement. Out of tradition they were all wearing their ceremonial cloths, weapons in place and one could have taken all of them and warped them 500 years in the past and no one would have been the wiser.
A car came into sight and Kagome smiled in pure pleasure as her mother stepped out of the car, followed by her brother who paused to help her grandfather out.
Kagome shared a hug with her mother and grandfather before introducing everyone to them. Once introductions and hugs were out of the way, her mother had only one question.
"It was my mates wish." Kagome answered with a smile.
I know many have wonder, though I bet most have forgotten about it, what wish it was Kagome made on the Shikon no tama way back at the beginning, and now it shall be revealed.
"I wish that everyone who has suffered at the hands of Naraku be granted one, true, wish."
Now then, several of the wishes were actually in the novel, not all as they were too hard to work in or just more or less irrelevant.
Sesshomaru's wish, chapter 2:
"Sesshomaru looked down at Kagome and Reimei, silently wishing that Kagome would, somehow, be able to remain by his side through the centuries."
Shippo's Wish, no chapter
"I wish that I will grow to be a powerful, brave Kitsune so I can protect my friends."
Miroku's Wish, no chapter
"I wish to have many children with Sango."
Sango's Wish, no chapter
"I wish that Kohaku will, someday, recover from the evil Naraku had done to him."
Inuyasha's wish, Chapter 19
"I wish," he though weakly as his vision began to go black as his lungs were both crushed and demanded oxygen. "that I could access my youkai blood without loosing myself to it."
Kouga's Wish, Chapter 17
"I wish for the North to be strong again, strong enough to defeat this evil, but I must admit I have doubts." He sighed.
Ayami's Wish, was mentioned about how Kouga remembered the promise
"I wish Kouga would remember his promise to mate with me."
Midoirko and Inuyasha's Son
Lets face it, Inuki just fits, its an over used name yes, but it just fits. He is also only a few years younger then Akatsuki, born about a year after the war ended, and does have the puppy ears, though no fangs or claws. Midoriko wants a girl now :)
A huge thank you to everyone who has reviewed and followed from the beginning, who had the patience to wait through the writers blocks and put up with my terrible spelling.
A big thank you to those who helped me correct that spelling as I am sure many have noticed during the adventure, a lot more will/well's ended up fixed I believe, and Patients/Patience, etc. That is all due to the constant reminders of constructive criticism.
If you read chapter 1 of Midsummers, and then the last chapter of Midwinters, I get the feeling it's almost two separate writers, and that is mostly from the valuable feedback of you, the reviewers.
If it is one thing I have learned on this adventure it's is that, so help me lord, I will finish a story completely before posting, like I did with Midsummer's. Well there be another story featuring the children? No promises, I find stories based on OC's do not tend to go over well with the community, even if these ones do have a bit of a history to back them.
One thing that did confuse me were the number of people still asking when Sesshomaru and Kagome were going to finally fall in love. They were in love by chapter 4. I mean, you don't seduce and play with someone you just respect. They just didn't throw themselves at each other, that was more the Inuysaha/Midoriko relationship. Love doesn't mean none stop sex, a large part of love IS respect. And as much as many of us dream of Sesshomaru throwing himself at our feet, lets face it, that is not his style and if he was really like that, we wouldn't love him like we do now.
Well, tata for now