Disclaimer: All I possibly own is the storyline…Takahashi-sama owns the characters!

A/N: Lemon alert! Well, of course Rin is really happy to have her Big Dog back…once again, if you are too young for an 'M' rating, go no farther.

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Exchanged: Part Eight

Dawn

It took longer than I expected to have a shower.

When we arrived at the apartment building, the marks of the battle that occurred here were all over the place, and being rapidly cleaned up in the predawn darkness. A large, greasy-looking black scorch mark on the granite sheathing beside the ground entrance was being power-washed away; I didn't really want to know what caused it. The car that was intended to blow up the building was being loaded, very carefully, onto a flat-bed tow truck to be disposed of.

Casualties on our side had been relatively light; Kagome had apparently set some pretty powerful spiritual barriers around the core of the building where the children were, and absolutely nothing had penetrated them. The attackers had been thoroughly fried, though, in the process of figuring that out.

We were greeted enthusiastically by the dog forces gathered in the parking garage…do you have any idea what full-throated howling sounds like when done in a confined space? I'd rather be stuck in an elevator with an off-key marching band…

Okay, I might have been a little bit tired and cranky by that time.

The reunion with the children made up for it, though. Tai and Tsuki were still up, or were woken up, when we trailed down the corridor towards our apartments. The door opposite ours slammed open, and Tai came racing towards us at full throttle, Tsuki not far behind. He deftly dodged his father's open arms and flung himself at me. Good thing I was still wearing the vest, because otherwise the bruising would have been quite colourful. Tai tackled me with all his body weight; Sesshomaru graciously provided padding for my impact, and we thumped into a tangle on the hallway floor.

"Rin! Rin! Mommy an' Daddy an' Unca Sess brought you back!" He hugged me tightly enough to leave me gasping, then climbed over me to grip Sesshomaru around the neck, before whacking him in the arm and diving at his mother. Tsuki squirmed out of Inuyasha's arms and ran to Sesshomaru. Since he was sitting down already, his legs trapped under me, he didn't have far to fall over when she landed on his chest. He still managed to do that gracefully.

She buried her face in his neck, repeating "Unca Sess…Unca Sess…" over and over again while he sat up, cradling her close. She pulled away and looked into his eyes intently. "Unca Sess make bad birdies go 'way?" He nodded, kissing her little hand. "Win stay wif us now?" He raised glimmering golden eyes to me; I smiled back.

"Auntie Rin is not going anywhere…in fact, Tsuki-chan, soon you will have a small cousin to play with."

The wee girl started, her hands gripping his, and then jumped on me, squealing. For a tiny thing, she had a heck of a hug…definitely took after her mother. I got at least two kisses per cheek, and then she scurried to Kagome, dislodging her brother, who happily started punching his dad in the shoulder. I stood up first, and offered Sesshomaru my hand; he rose regally from the floor.

It was really going to suck being pregnant around him; I mean, you're already feeling oh-so-lovely, and then your preternaturally-elegant husband can't help reminding you that you have all the grace of a belly-flopping hippo…

I'm getting ahead of myself.

After another round of hugs, the other half of the family disappeared behind their door, and Sesshomaru opened ours. A couple of aides hovered, hopeful; he shook his head, and they withdrew. I wondered how much paperwork all of this was going to entail, and did a mental jig that it was unlikely I'd have to do any of it, triplicate or not. Uh-oh. Maybe I would be back slaving over a desk…I had a feeling that I was going to find out, since being Lady of the Western Lands probably had some strings attached. The fringe benefits were looking pretty good…well, aside from the 'increased risk of kidnapping by hostile parties' sub-paragraph.

I walked in, and stopped in the foyer, unbuckling the just-slightly-too-tight vest and dropping it, while breathing in the air of home. It was now very early Wednesday morning; I had left here Monday evening, not sure if I'd ever come back. Not even three days since Saturday night, when I'd discovered demons in my life, just over two days since I'd mated Sesshomaru and become a mother-to-be.

Actually, I was still more scared of my mother's reaction than anything Kagura could dish up.

Sesshomaru closed the door, and came up behind me, dropping his slender clawed fingers onto my shoulders. "What would you like first, aisai…?" he murmured suggestively, his hands straying to the zipper of the leather jacket. I chuckled, and pulled away, turning to face him.

"A really hot shower, a pitcher of cold beer and a double cheeseburger…"

His brows furrowed. "The witch did not feed you?"

"Actually, she has quite a decent cook…it wasn't the food, or lack thereof, that was dangerous to me…it was the company she kept." A vision of Moto's leering face passed in front of my eyes; I couldn't suppress a shudder and reached for Sesshomaru, burying myself in his shoulder. His arms tightened around me, and I sighed happily.

"Why don't you run the bath, Rin…I will summon the cook…"

"No, leave the poor bastard to sleep…I'm sure he'll be very busy tomorrow…if you decide to do some catering, don't you dare slice anything up with those claws of yours, mister!" I shook my finger at him, he smirked and caught it in his teeth, nibbling the tip gently, while watching my face for a reaction.

I swatted him. "Down, boy…" He released my wrist, arching his eyebrows and looking down his nose at me in pretended annoyance,then glided towards the kitchen. When he was safely on the other side of the room, I unzipped the jacket, and dumped it on the tiled foyer with the vest in a malodorous heap. The boots were a relief…they were just a bit too small, and my toes were happy to be free, especially when the less-than-fresh socks came off, too. I also stripped off the bloodied hakama, and wished that there was a fireplace where I could watch them burn. The strips of tee-shirt I'd tied around my thighs were also discarded; they'd nearly worked their way down into the boot tops by the time we arrived home.

I carefully rubbed my hands across the broken skin, wincing when the edges caught. These were going to be like the worst paper cuts I'd ever had…

Wearing only my self-cropped t-shirt, and Sesshomaru's very-well-worn dress shirt, (the long tails covered anything risque) I paused by the bedroom door and waited until he noticed. "Don't wait too long to join me…the hot water is going to run out with everybody showering tonight!" and then whisked in the door before he could demonstrate his demonic speed.

I started filling the two-sumo-wrestler-capacity tub, then stripped everything else off and jumped into the shower. The water running into the cuts on my legs made me flinch, but I'd had worse injuries from wiping out on my bike as a kid. I just stood under the faucet, head bowed, eyes closed, feeling very, very contented. When I opened them, I noticed that the water draining away was an interesting shade of brownish-red…eeyew. Time to wash that demon right outta my hair…

Of course, I had a full head of shampoo, and my eyes were tightly closed when Sesshomaru chose to make his presence known. After all I'd been through in the last couple of days, he was darn lucky I didn't knock him right back through the shower door when he curled his bare arms around my body and nearly made me jump out of my skin. "Geez, Sesshomaru…are you trying to scare me half to death? Didn't think you'd want to finish me off that quickly…"

I heard a distinct growl, and then felt his claws lightly tracing the length of the cuts on my legs. I hoped that General Tsume had already told him what was up, because I didn't really want to have that conversation right now. "It's okay, danna…Moto didn't get any farther than this..."

"He went too far just by looking at you." The dark tone made it completely obvious what Sesshomaru would have done to Moto, if he'd got his claws into him. I ducked my head under the water stream, and rinsed my hair as thoroughly as possible, pulling the curly mass forward to finger-comb out the tangles. I almost missed Sesshomaru's next words, spoken into the nape of my neck.

"I regret that I was not there to protect you, aisai." His arms wrapped me against him, his face pressing into my shoulder. I gripped his wrists, splaying my fingers over the red striping.

"S'okay…I managed. I'm going to need a bit of practise with that spear, though, if we have to fight Kagura again."

He didn't say anything to that, just loosened his grip and slowly ran his hands over my curves while making sure that he was pressed as closely against me as possible. I did a final rinse of my hair, and he braced my hips with his hands, turning me to face him. Eyes still closed against the water, I fumbled for his shoulders, and was startled when they dropped out from under my hands.

Arms wrapped around my hips and thighs, and he pressed his face against my belly. I wiped away the water, and looked down as he started rumbling deep in his throat, while slowly rubbing his cheek against my skin. Puzzled, I stroked his bangs away from his face, traced the crescent moon on his forehead, and ran my fingers through his thick hair. He was going to need a shampoo, too…he had more icky stuff in his hair than I did. I bent over slightly to see his face. His eyes were closed, as he rumbled in a soothing rhythm. Then I realized what he was doing.

He was talking to the baby.

I nearly started to cry. Damn hormones…starting already? To distract myself, I lightly stroked down the side of his face, down his neck and across his shoulders with my fingertips. He kept at his soothing of our unborn pup, his fingers massaging little circles on my back. Then suddenly, something Kagura said jabbed me in the gut, and I stiffened. Sesshomaru sensed my change in stance, and slid up my body until he was holding me loosely around the waist, our hips pressed together. I had trouble meeting his eyes, and instead fiddled with a lock of his hair.

"What is it, beloved?" His voice was a deep rumble.

"Sesshomaru, does it…does it bother you…that this baby will be… a half-breed?" He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, before bringing up both hands to cradle my face. I swear my heart stopped, waiting on his answer. His eyes, when he opened them, were dark honey shot with golden fire.

"The creature that I was…the creature that bloodline was so important to…died a long time ago, and I do not mourn him at all. He was a very pitiable creature, to have based so much of his value system on a mistaken belief." He slid his hands down to cup my shoulders, and then drew me back into his arms, cradling me like I was the finest porcelain.

"The day I admitted to myself that I loved you, it was like I could see clearly for the first time…I was reborn that day…and have never looked back. You are everything to me, Rin…the gift of your love saved me from myself."

Well, what are you going to do after a declaration like that? Of course I kissed him breathless…

After a few long moments of being lost in each other, he had to dash out to turn off the water in the tub. Floor drains are a really, really handy things to have… We took turns soaping each other up, and I indulged a recent fantasy by helping shampoo his knee-length hair. The silky strands were practically Teflon-coated…hoped the kid took after him there.

Thoroughly rinsed, I escaped his still-slippery grip, gave him a sultry wink, and hopped straight into the massive soaker tub, sloshing a fair bit of water over the lip. Ah, heaven. Sinking up to my nose, I closed my eyes, but watched through my lashes as a very fine example of muscular taiyoukai ass lifted a loaded tray off the counter and balanced it across one corner of the tub before stepping in as well, and setting off another display of displacement theory when he seated himself against the side, sweeping his hair over to trail outside on the floor. I rather thought it would have been more fun to have it in the water with us, floating and twining around our bodies like silver kelp…maybe next time.

A carafe of water, two glasses and a platter of fresh fruit…okay, maybe not a cheeseburger, but it would do, especially since neither ravens or wolves had been anywhere near it. I shot an interrogative look his way, before pointing silently at the fruit. He grinned mischievously. "It was already prepared..." I grinned, and bit into a piece of melon.

It was cold, sweet, and tasted like ambrosia. I noticed Sesshomaru watching me intently from under lowered lashes, so took another piece and slipped over to offer it to him. Catching my wrist, he ate it from my hand slowly, licking my fingers extremely suggestively, and then pulled me into his lap when I reached to retrieve another piece. I shifted around until I was straddling his thighs, my palms resting lightly against his chest. He brought up a hand to caress my cheek, his eyes darkening and turning molten. "Do you remember the first time I kissed you, Rin? …you tasted like melons that day, too…so sweet and delectable…"

I certainly did remember, and while he was moving in with intent to re-enact that moment, I had a flash of a few other, naughtier memories that had come about as a direct result of that kiss. I smiled against his mouth, and decided to take a few of those ideas out for a romp. Yup, time to see if his erogenous zones were in as good a working condition as I remembered…

Rising up slightly, I gently pinned him against the side of the tub, locking his hips between my knees, and slid my hands up to his shoulders. Breaking the kiss softly, I let him see me moisten my lips, and then leaned in to lightly trace his cheek stripes, running along the indentations in his skin with the tip of my tongue.

He shuddered very nicely, his hands becoming still on my back, his breath stalling.

I ran my fingers through his hair, sweeping it away from his face, and then nibbled lightly on his earlobe before moving to outline the rest of his ear with my lips and tongue, paying particular attention to the tip, which quickly had him trembling. Meanwhile, my hands were now busy on his chest, stroking and caressing his nipples, sweeping over his shoulders and down his arms and back again. Other parts of him were certainly enjoying the sensation; his erection was pressing against my inner thigh, but his steadily more ragged breathing had to be dealt with first. I pulled back, to look into crimson-tinged intensity. I ran my thumb over his lips where his slightly elongated canine tips poked out.

"No transforming tonight, my love…I want to play with you in this form for a while…maybe a cold shower to settle you down?" He tilted his head back, groaning at the suggestion, and I took the opportunity to kiss a path down his throat and across the hard muscles of his chest to his nipples, while my hand slipped down between us to make friends with his masculine appendage.

He seemed to like that. An awful lot.

Sesshomaru snapped his head up, growling ferally into my ear as his claws gripped my hips with possessive strength, pulling me tight against him and trapping my hand between us. His kiss began hard, but then softened and deepened, and he let me loose enough to rub my pubis suggestively against his stomach. I still made no move to lower myself onto him, instead breaking the kiss to repeat my oral investigations of his other cheek-stripes and ear, while keeping up the caressing of other, very responsive parts of his body.

You can have a lot of fun teasing a horny dog demon, if you can handle the inevitable fallout.

Forget it, ladies. He's mine. Go find your own taiyoukai to play with.

If Seiji and Hiromi don't work out, I can always give you his cell number…

Freedom of movement was over, so far as my danna was concerned. His hands wrapped up and over my shoulders as he sat up straight, leaning me back slightly, our kisses very, very deep, until he had managed to slide himself oh-so-slowly between my very relaxed thighs. I moaned softly, and wrapped my arms around his neck, burying my hands in his hair and my face in his neck. He rumbled, and arched up with his hips, while at the same time using his hands to push me down onto him, until he was so deeply seated inside me that my toes were curling at the sensation. I pulled back to look into his eyes, which were so dark and heavy-lidded, that I finally understood exactly what all those romance novels I used to read meant when they used the term 'lust-filled'…

One arm wrapped around my hips to keep me anchored to him, and the other hand stroked over my breasts, as he gave me a taste of my own medicine. I just writhed, squirmed and moaned as his tongue rasped along my collarbone, nibbled lightly on my pulse and up my neck to trace my jaw line until he began doing incredibly arousing things to my earlobe. I doubted that mine were half as sensitive as his, so it must have been pure torture for him earlier.

Better file that tidbit away for future reference.

"Look at me, aisai… open your eyes." Both hands cupped my hips; his voice rumbled through my chest, making my nipples even harder at the sensation. I looked at him, blinking slowly, trying to focus, when all the blood in my body was heading south, and the bit that hung around to help out my vision was complaining about the delay. I was conscious enough to arch my eyebrow quizzically at him; he smiled slowly, his own eyes liquid gold. "I wanted to see what colour your eyes turned when you are aroused…"

"Mmm-hmm…?" I mumbled, focussing on how kissable his mouth looked while working my fingers under his, trying to loosen his grip so that I could start riding him.

"The sky at twilight…you are so beautiful, beloved… in a hurry to go somewhere?" I'd managed to slide his hands further off the curve of my hips, and began moving forcefully against him. He clamped back down, reducing me to frustrated, squirming pouts.

"I'm dying here, Sesshomaru…let me…"

"Not yet, Rin…not yet, my love." Purring, he fisted a handful of hair and tugged my head back, arching my spine, until he could reach my breasts with his lips. That sensation nearly took me over the edge alone, especially when I could feel his fang tips tracing over my skin. I gripped his biceps and helplessly writhed as jolts of pleasure raced from my nipples to my core and back again.

Finally, he released both my hair and my hips, moving his hands to my waist and lifting me slightly away from his hard, taut body. I straightened my neck, flashed what I hoped was a sexy smirk at him (it probably came out as a lopsided leer), reached past his shoulders to take a firm hold on the side of the tub …and began to grind. He shifted his hips under me in a way that made me gasp and tighten up…and then we moved together in an urgent, fast rhythm that didn't last too long before he hissed, shuddering deeply, and let out a strangled shout that might have been my name. As his head fell back, I covered his jaw with tiny kisses, feeling him slowly relax, until he opened his eyes and regarded me rather muzzily, but with a certain glint.

"Thank you, Lady Rin…"

I composed myself a serious face. "You're most welcome, Lord Sesshomaru…" I answered as loftily as possible. His lips quirked and then his claws were dancing lightly over my ribs until I couldn't stop giggling. Gasping, I nuzzled the crook of his neck and curled against him, snuggled as close as I could get without actually crawling inside his skin with him. His claws drew spirals on my back while he gently purred, his breath creating goose bumps across my shoulder. We were still intimately connected and I was still incredibly turned on, but the water was getting cold. What's a girl to do?

Play hard to get, of course. Figured the thrill of the chase might lead to something…

Sesshomaru was caught fairly off-guard when I bounced straight up and over the side of the tub, grabbing a towel from the rack and scooting just out of range before whisking it around me. He sat forward, drawing his legs up and loosely wrapping his arms around them, watching me intently. I paused by the door to dry off, and pretended to just notice his look. "The water got cold…" Tossing my hair, I opened the door and stepped through, dropping the towel on the threshold.

I was tackled before I'd even taken one step farther, but he managed to have us land on the bed.

He hadn't bothered to dry off.

No, he doesn't smell like wet dog.

I was pinned down briefly, and locked in a hot, wet, thrashing kiss that ended when his lips and tongue began trailing fire down my body, hovering for the briefest moment over my core, before diving in. I froze for a moment at the unexpected sensation, but was soon screaming and clawing the sheets until I exploded over the edge into that white-hot chasm.

I was still floating somewhere, little white fireworks going off inside my eyelids, when Sesshomaru slid up my body and into place between my thighs. I was barely conscious of him tilting my pelvis, but I woke up quickly enough to hook my legs over his striped hips and hold on tightly for the ride. This time, he definitely howled my name, and I understood the phrase when one of my girlfriends described being 'pounded into the mattress' by one of her conquests.

After a few more minutes of being twined most intimately, he carefully untangled us, moving around until I was cuddled against his side, my head pillowed on his shoulder and the blankets tucked around us. His claws gently stroked through my hair, and he began massaging my scalp. I wrapped my free arm around his body and sighed deeply, just really, really enjoying the moment of complete relaxation.

"Sleep well, my beloved…" his whisper was warm against my hair; I tightened my arm across his chest in answer, and fell almost instantly asleep.

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Something was tickling my ear. I snuffled, and burrowed deeper into the pillow to escape. The annoying tickle started again, and I scrunched up a shoulder, grumbling at the same time. Once again it went away, and I curled up, dreaming almost instantly. I woke up with a start at the sound of a very loud whisper. Right in my ear, as a matter of fact.

"I don' think Auntie Rin wants t' wake up, Tsuki…"

"Twy 'gain, Tai...Unca Sess said she gotta wake up…"

While I was mentally checking to make sure none of my anatomy appeared to be on display to the two little terrors, a small hand patted my cheek. Fairly sure that I was decently covered up, I peeked through my lashes and a curtain of hair to see two pairs of very wide eyes intently staring at me. I pretended to yawn, and rolled over. One of them jumped right over me…probably Tai…and I heard the pattering of little feet, and then the mattress dipped as Tsuki climbed on, too. The heavy breathing in my ear resumed, and I nearly spoiled it by giggling.

"Is she not waking?" Sesshomaru's smooth tones were definitely amused.

"No, Unca Sess…we twied evwyfing!" Tsuki was sounding worried.

"I know! We could tickle 'er! That's what Daddy does t' me…"

"Mmm…no tickling this morning, Tai. She was very tired; why don't you go see what is being prepared for our meal, and I will deal with Auntie Rin?"

" 'kay…hey, you're not gonna tickle her an' leave us out?" Tai sounded highly suspicious that his uncle was going to deny him the pleasure of tormenting me awake. I guessed that he bought the solemn expression and head shake, because he used my shoulder to push off from when he scrambled off the bed, and I heard them gallop out the door, which then closed with a definite 'click'.

I rolled onto my back, and grinned up at him. Sesshomaru smiled back, and slid over next to me, reaching to stroke my cheek. I wound my arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss that didn't have much to do with leaving the room quickly. He pulled back, tracing my lower lip with his claw, his eyes hooded.

"We're getting a lock on the door when our kids are old enough to come barging in…don't want to scar them for life."

"Apropos to that, my brother has already gone through the newspaper, pointedly circling advertisements for 'family sedans' with a large red pen…"

"Guess he really envies you that sports car, huh?" I giggled for a moment before sobering up. "I really ought to phone home today, Sesshomaru. I should tell my parents…about all this."

He arched a fine eyebrow. "Even the ravens, and being kidnapped, and taking part in a youkai civil war?" I reached to stroke his cheek stripes.

"Uh, I think I'll skip that bit…for now. Just the news that they have an…um, demon-in-law and a grandkid on the way will be enough to cause total chaos for a few days at least."

"We will be married in your tradition as well, my love…I understand that the ceremony will be important to your family." I nodded, and he kissed me lightly. "The food is nearly ready, and unless you wish to deal with Inuyasha's ribald comments, I suggest you put on a yukata and quickly join us."

"I can handle Inuyasha…is that door locked, danna…?"

His eyes darkened, and his lips curved. "I imagine that quickly can be defined in a number of ways…"

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All things considered, we were seating ourselves around the dining table in record time. Inuyasha wrinkled his nose at me, then rolled his eyes and shook his head, but he no sooner opened his mouth to say something rude when Kagome flew through the door, tying a yukata, her hair rather dishevelled and her lips swollen from kissing. He shut his mouth, avoided my mock-surprised look, and had the grace to blush. It was pretty obvious that they had thoroughly reassured each other that they were indeed alive before going to sleep as well. Ah, revenge is sweet...

Shippo and Sota joined us; the former wore his bandages with a rakish air. Even Kirara wound her way around the table, purring mightily. Despite his apparent aversion to cat hair, Sesshomaru actually petted her, and she curled up at his side. Mrs. Higurashi had been helping in the kitchen, and it certainly was a varied spread set before us. No natto…whew! Eating eggs with chopsticks was a bit weird, so I slid the sunny-side up offering onto a piece of toast before munching it. No miso soup or dried fish for this girl. A slab of steak and some hash browns would have gone down well, though…

After breakfast/brunch, Sesshomaru and Inuyasha disappeared to attend a meeting, and Kagome and I decamped to our respective bathrooms for showers. Poking through the cupboard, I found the sweater set from Sunday and a pair of stretchy pants on the shelves that I guessed were now labelled 'hers' by the staff. Getting dressed wasn't that appealing, but somebody was bound to want to talk to me about Kagura's base of operations at some point.

I was curled up on one of the couches with Tsuki, reading to her out of an English-language storybook, when Sesshomaru came back in. We smiled at each other, until Tsuki elbowed me because the story was interrupted. He sat down beside us, circling my shoulder with one arm and stroked Tsuki's shimmering hair with his claws, leaning his head against mine as I read. Mrs. Higurashi popped in the door, and paused at the sight of us, then smiled brightly and came forward with something in her hands.

"Sota downloaded this from your computer this morning, Sesshomaru…the three of you do make such an adorable picture…"

"Are you referring to this Sesshomaru as 'adorable', Higurashi-san?" He gave her a regally icy look; she only laughed, and handed him the piece of paper. It was the photo taken on Sunday night; Tsuki and I looking at the camera, our floral crowns a little askew, my cheek against her dark head; Sesshomaru's eyes were on me, his arms wrapped around us.

"Uncle Sess is adorable, isn't he, Tsuki-chan?"

We both giggled at his growl, and then Mrs. Higurashi held out her hand to Tsuki. "Come along, sweetlet…Uncle Sota printed off some colouring pages for you." The little girl hopped off my lap, and scampered along beside her grandmother, turning at the door to blow us kisses.

I closed the book, and looked up at Sesshomaru. He was smiling softly, and reached to tuck a stray wisp behind my ear. "I hope our child has your eyes, aisai…and your curls."

I crawled half-way into his lap, made myself comfortable against his chest, and began braiding a lock of his hair. "A boy or a girl?"

"That is immaterial…so long as it is ours, Rin." I remembered the miscarriage of our first pup, and wrapped my arms around my middle, shivering. He hugged me, realizing what I was thinking. "Do not worry, beloved…this pup smells healthy and strong already. It was completely different last time; you and he will be fine…"

I snapped my head up. "He?"

He looked shifty all of a sudden. "A mere slip of the tongue, my love…" Then he handed me the handset. I just looked at him wordlessly, completely distracted from trying to wheedle more information out of him by 'slipping my tongue' in his ear. The smile reached his eyes. "It is an appropriate time to call your parents, Rin…"

Oh, shit.

I'll admit to breaking out into an immediate cold sweat, and drawing a blank on my home phone number for a moment, but then I remembered and pressed the buttons with shaking fingers. The line crackled, then cleared, and I listened to the dial tone. I realized that I was clutching Sesshomaru's fingers in a death grip, and forced myself to let go, instead resting my fingertips on his wrist stripes. He started gently massaging the back of my head with his other hand's claw tips, so that when I heard my mother's voice, I managed to not drop the handset.

"Hello?"

"Hi, mom…it's me…"

"Rhiannon, darling!" Her voice became fainter for a moment as she called my dad. "Robert…! Rhiannon's on the phone…We were just talking about you and wondering what you've been up to!"

I took a deep breath, locking eyes with Sesshomaru. He nodded encouragingly, his lips twitching into a smile. "It's been kind of busy lately, actually. Um…I-I have a couple of surprises for you, mom…first, I'd like you to say hello to your new de…son-in-law…"

finis

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A/N: Before anyone says "No way would that happen in real life!"…my cousin did exactly this to his parents when he phoned them in the middle of the night, collect, from Australia and introduced his pregnant wife to them…first they knew he even had a girlfriend…'course, his wife is a Kiwi, not an inu-youkai…

All good things must come to an end…Thanks for coming along for the ride!

If I can get that sequel-laden plot bunny to hold still, we'll find out what Kagura has up her sleeve… I have a couple of other story ideas to trot out first, so be patient…don't throw things, please! ducks behind monitor