Note: If you've ever seen the Hallmark/NBC miniseries The Monkey King, then you'll recognize what I'm doing here. If not, well, you should see it. It's not big budget or anything (few Hallmark presentations are), but it's a fairly decent movie - and not nearly as long as The 10th Kingdom.
Epilogue: Seperation Anxiety
She walked with an heir of confidence and grace, almost like a divine being herself. Her feet were bare, save for the tabi socks that covered her feet and muffled her steps so that the only noise she made as she proceeded down the long corridor was the light swish of silk against silk from the royal blue and gold kimono she wore. Her hair was long and jet black, tied in a horse tail at the nape of her neck with a gold ribbon.
As she approached the end of the hall, two large doors swung open of their own accord though it did not seem to phase her. Things like that were common place there. After all it was Nirvana, the Gods Realm, the Divine Plains, or the hereafter as it was sometimes called. Or one should say that those things were common place, more or less, within the walls of the Great City which was home to the lesser kamis and spiritual guardians as well as various theologians and philosophers (or rather their spirits). Outside of the Great City's walls there were various locations for various eras in time where the spirits of the 'common' dead resided until they were deemed ready for reincarnation.
Although the Great City was home to lesser kamis, the great gods - the mothers and fathers of all things that are, the creators of worlds, from each of the various religions which made up Japan - resided in the City of the Gods which was off limits to all but them. These greater kamis seldom descended to the lower realms except in matters of trials when their intervention was absolutely necessary. Any and all communications from these beings were sent through special messengers, beings who were able to carry out their orders when necessary.
She was a messenger, and very proud of her position. She had resided in the Great City for nearly half a millennia before being appointed the position and she had managed to carry out every order to the letter for over two hundred years now.
As the doors opened and she crossed the threshold from the stone tile floor to the tatami mats of the smaller chamber, several girls in less decadent kimono bowed to her, muttering a quiet "Greetings Midoriko-sama."
She nodded to them in acknowledgment and let her eyes wander the room. It was not small, but it was not as grand as some of the other rooms in the guardian's dormitory either. Tatami mats covered the floor and the walls were made of screens with three windows cut into each wall to allow for air flow. The back half of the room was a raised platform and littered with pillows of various sizes in orange, red and gold tones. The platform was partially blocked off from the rest of the room by a sheer, white curtain that hung from either end.
To the left of the raised floor a young woman in a pink and blue kimono played a soft melody on a harp. It may not have been a native instrument, but there were very few limits to the Divine Realms.
A rather large grouping of girls either sat or lay across the pillows of the platform while another girl read aloud from a book of haiku. And to her right another young woman in red and white stood at a canvas with a brush in hand, painting the scene outside her window.
Midoriko cleared her throat, gaining everyone's attention. "I need to speak with Izayoi and Kikyo, so if you would all kindly relocate?"
There were several groans, but each of the girls reluctantly rose and exited until only Midoriko, the painter and the harp player were left. Both women left their tasks to stand before the messenger who did not look very happy at the moment.
"It has come to the divine ones attentions that you haven't completed your assignment," she told them and both girls looked away guiltily. "They want to know why their orders weren't carried out."
"The reasons should be obvious," Izayoi said softly, a gentle smile on her lips. "They've fallen in love and to separate them now would destroy them both."
Midoriko sighed and her features softened. "I know, Izayoi, and I can understand what you're feeling, but I've brought this point up to the kamis. They were quick to point out that in accordance with our agreement, not only was the well to be sealed but anyone who was told about either era or had any communications with an era not their own would have that information wiped from memory."
"The idea being that their hearts can't be broken if they don't remember there is a reason for a broken heart, right?" Kikyo asked, arching her brow. She crossed hear arms over her chest. "I do not think that this is the wisest action. One's mind can easily be altered, but a heart has an amazing memory."
Izayoi nodded in agreement. "And he's so fragile aleady. I'm afraid that erasing her from his memory will undo all the progress he's made."
"Again, a valid point, but one that's already been argued before the high counsel." Midoriko shook her head and placed a hand on her arm. "I know he is your son and you want him to be happy, but the kamis have willed this and you cannot defy them. I shouldn't need to remind you that you are both still new guardians and your positions are still on a trial basis. If you mess up, you will lose your guardian status. So, unless you can come up with some extenuating circumstance for the gods to retract their previous decree, you will have to seal the well and erase their memories."
Izayoi bit her lip in thought and looked to Kikyo who seemed to be thinking just as hard.
Just when Midoriko was about to speak again, Kikyo's face lit up and she finally smiled. "The child!" She exclaimed and looked from Izayoi to Midoriko. "There is a child, a little girl. She's three and a perfectly valid excuse to not separate them."
The other woman nodded, a smile on her own lips as she began to get excited. "She's right. Whoever the babe is with at the time of the separation cannot have their memories erased because of the child and therefore that parent will suffer from the separation."
"She belongs with both of them," Kikyo added. "She's a part of them both. She's a part of both eras. Surely the kamis would not take a child from her parent? There must be a way around it for the sake of the babe."
Midoriko frowned. It was unusual that the divine beings would overlook such a detail, but she supposed being the rulers of the universe was a taxing job and kept them busy enough that overlooking the birth of one little girl was not such a big deal.
"Alright," she said finally, sighing. "I will relate this news to the kamis and see what their wish is. In the meantime, to keep the peace, I want you to watch and the next time Kagome returns to her era, seal the well. Leave their memories in tact for now."
The ear-piercing wails that had rocked their house that morning had finally worn down to pitiful whimpers and Kagome paced the floor of the main room, slowly rocking the bundle in her arms. The toddler clung to her neck, trembling and whining every few minutes.
"Hush little baby don't you cry," she sang softly, patting the child's back in even, light strokes.
The door slid open and Inuyasha walked in, brows drawn together in concern as he slid the door shut behind him. He'd been gone talking to Miroku and trying to decide whether or not it would be okay to leave long enough to exterminate a youkai that'd been attacking villages in search of the Shikon no Tama. They didn't get many but they did get a few who felt the jewel's power and were brave enough to ignore the youki coming from the demons of the village and the spiritual aura coming from Kagome herself.
"Any better?" He asked, keeping his voice low in case the child was asleep.
The little girl raised her head and turned puffy, red eyes to him. "Papa," she whimpered pathetically and held her arms out for him. When he took her from Kagome, she buried her head in the side of his neck. "My tummy hurts."
"She still has a fever and she can't keep anything down. I've tried giving her teas and every other form of medicine I can think of, but she can't keep it down long enough for it to do any good," his wife informed him. She stretched her arms to the side and then over her head, working out the muscles that had been held in the same position for so long while she carried her daughter.
"Maybe you should take her to your mom's, to the doctor there?" He suggested. If Kagome couldn't help her with the remedies from their era, then maybe the doctors on the other side of the well would be able to do something. "I still gotta take care of that youkai."
She disappeared into an adjoining room and he followed, watching while she packed a small diaper bag with a change of clothes, a sippie cup, and other things mothers need when taking their toddlers out. "You don't think it'll give up when it realizes the Shikon no Tama's no longer around?"
"By then it'll be here. Me and Miroku are gonna have to get rid of it before that." He handed her the little girl as soon as she'd shouldered her day bag and then drapped a small, pink flanel blanket over the little girl's shoulders. "I'll go to your mom's house as soon as we're done - if you're not back by then."
Kagome nodded and leaned on her tip toes to kiss him. "Be careful," she instructed, pulling away before he captured her mouth for another kiss. "I love you."
"Love you, Papa." Hana turned her head on her mom's shoulder to look at him and he rubbed his hand over her silky black hair.
"I love you, too." He raised his golden eyes up from the matching eyes of his child to the azure orbs of his wife. "Both of you."
He walked them to the well and waited until the blue light of the time warp had carried them away before sprinting off toward the monk's house to go slay some youkai.
Not long after Hana had been born and it was realized that not all of Kagome's visits would be accompanied by a hanyou who could leap out of the well, carrying them both with no effort, a sort of pulley system had been devised so that mother and child could get out without too much trouble. A basket, lined with a soft blanket and deep enough that she wouldn't tip out was left at the bottom of the well and Hana was placed inside. When Kagome climbed out, there was a rope attached to the basket that she could use to haul the child up and out with, as well as lower her back down when it was time to leave.
After lifting the toddler from the well, Kagome gathered her things and went out to inform her mother they were home and would need to make a hospital visit.
As soon as the doors were slid shut behind them, two ghostly figures appeared, hovering above the well. With sad and solemn expressions, they clasped hands. "It is done." And they were gone.
hits send and runs for cover