Chapter Thirty: The Journey Begins

March 25th

"Awww Mama! You can't leave the story off there!"

"Now, Kaede, it's time for bed."

"But what happened to Kagome?"

Kikyo smiled and kissed her daughter on the head then sat on the bed beside her and finished the story she has told so many times over the years. Her daughter never let her forget the details or to leave it unfinished.

"Kagome and Kikyo made their wishes. But the wish could not be granted, the wish failed. Neither girl could honestly wish with all of their hearts that they be returned to where they belonged.

In the morning Kikyo went and found her mother and confessed that she had been unable to fulfill the wish. She felt guilty and ashamed. But her mother understood. She knew how much Kikyo loved her new life, and how much she hated her old one. She also knew how much her daughter, Kagome, loved her new life and her new friends. So she let Kikyo cry, then told her that everything would be ok.

Kagome told her friends about the failed wish. They tried to pretend to be sad, but they couldn't help but celebrate. Shippo was beside himself with joy. Sango cried, for the first time since her family died, but this time for joy. Miroku hugged her and tried to find comforting words to help her through the loss, but could not do so without a grin. And Inuyasha… he stood apart from the group. Watching. And smiling.

Kagome held her arms open for Shippo to jump into, then shyly took Inuyasha's hand. They looked out at the morning sun.

"I guess it's time for us to start hunting for Naraku," she said.

And the journey began".

"Did they ever get married?" Kaede asked.

Kikyo laughed. "That is another story, for another night."

"Did they ever defeat Naraku?"

"Go to sleep, my angel."

"Did she ever see Kikyo or her mother again?"

"Yes," Kikyo smiled. "Sometimes in dreams, and sometimes in the mirror. Now go to sleep, little one. Sweet dreams." She kissed her daughter one more time, then looked over at her husband and smiled.

"You left out the best part, Mama."

"Oh? What part is that?"

"The ever after part."

Kikyo smiled warmly, and finished the story. "And they all lived happily ever after."

Hojo stood up and held out his hand to her. He kissed it before wrapping his hand around hers. Together they left the room, leaving their daughter to dream of her own adventures.

"It was a nice ending," Hojo whispered as he led her down the hall to their own room.

Kikyo smiled up at her husband. "No, really it is just a beginning."

The End?

ooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOoo

Author's Note: To everyone who reviewed – Thank you very much. Your reviews made writing so much more enjoyable. The comments and suggestions spurred me on to make changes I might not have otherwise. Thanks.

I'm considering a sequel if anyone is interested.