The Broken House of Taisho
Sesshoumaru entered the room with two cups of coffee, closing the door gently with his tail. Setting the mugs down on the bedside table, he leaned over his sleeping mate. Her bandaged leg was sticking out from under the covers. His keen sense of smell told him that it was healing well, but he already knew that. He smirked as he remembered Kagome's boundless energy the night before. He would never admit it but making up with her after a fight was the closest to heaven he ever got. The taiyoukai lowered his head and nipped at her mating mark, which was fully exposed by the gentle tilt of her head.
She moaned and shifted on the bed. "No fair," she murmured. "You know what that does to me."
"If you wake up to hear my news, I will stop," he replied, going back to his favorite place on her body, the part that marked her as his own. Kagome always accused him of being animal and possessive when he said this, but she had a sort of pride in her voice about it. She liked it as much as he did.
A few minutes later, her brown eyes opened and she smiled sleepily at her mate. "Morning." She sat up and gave him a light kiss. "Fresh coffee?"
He handed her one of the mugs while taking his own and watched her as she sighed in contentment and leaned her head back against the bed frame. "There is something in the paper you may want to read," he said.
She opened her eyes again. "Is there? About what happened in the City?" she asked. Although Basho and Sakura had died forty-eight hours before, the papers hadn't mentioned anything the day before. Detective Ito had called to say that it was being taken care of, that they had found the general's headquarters in Tokyo, along with rosters of his mercenaries and diaries filled with his insane obsession with the Taisho family. He had practically written his own confession. Kagome and Sesshoumaru would not be charged with anything.
Sesshoumaru pulled out the newspaper front page that he had tucked into the back pocket of his sleeping pants. He rolled it flat and put it on Kagome's lap. Another Taisho Tragedy Strikes, screamed the headline, giving Kagome a deep sense of foreboding. As she read the article, however, she saw that it was much more pleasant than the last one about the mall incident. The poor Taisho family, just wanting a bit of peace and quiet, had retreated to their private property outside of Tokyo when they discovered that a gang of criminals had broken into their house. A mentally unstable man called Basho, who believed that the Taisho family had hurt his in some way, led the gang. The police found damning evidence at Basho's home, indicating that not only was he responsible for the attack on the Taisho's private property, but the murders in Tenseiga Tower and the assault in the mall upon Mrs. Taisho and her daughter.
It was an apologetic article, as if it was speaking directly to Kagome and begging forgiveness from the powerful hanyou. She looked up at Sesshoumaru. "But are they just going to forget about all the stranger aspects of the story? Like me going demonic at the mall? Or the fact that I squished Basho into a pancake? Or what about Sakura's supposed body in the office? Even I want to know how she faked her own death like that and produced a body."
"Well, remember that this is a demon held paper that you're reading. The human papers say the same thing, but they sound much more suspicious." He frowned deeply. "We will have to be careful. They know something is odd about us and we will be watched closely for awhile yet."
Kagome sat back. "Not exactly a perfect ending, is it? Sakura was wrong. We're not going to have our life completely back."
Sesshoumaru shrugged. This didn't seem to bother him nearly as much as the thought of discovery did. "The police are giving out that you experienced an extreme adrenaline rush in the mall and they're not releasing any details about the bodies in the City. No one will know that Sakura was impaled by claws or that Basho's entire rib cage was flattened."
"And the body in the office?"
The taiyoukai stood up and retrieved Kagome's robe from the closet. "The medical examiner went back and finally did the autopsy. You know how snake demons in the same family look remarkably alike, especially in demonic form. It turns out that what was supposedly Sakura's body was her cousin's. It was also the only body that had older traces of poison. Sakura must have paralyzed her kinswoman, taken her to the office and killed her there while the other murders were being committed. We would have known earlier if hadn't been such a close relative, but their scent was very similar."
She drained her cup and slipped into the robe he held for her. "Thank you," she said, their hands lingering on each other. She handed him his half-full mug and they headed downstairs. "I still can't believe that Sakura did all of this. Killing one's own kin? Her own family would have killed her in punishment for that. She took a lot of risks."
Sesshoumaru nodded his agreement as they went through the living room and into the kitchen. Midori and Washi were already there, exchanging stories about how hard they fought before Basho had taken them. "Well, you know, I did have Satu with me," he was saying. "I couldn't do much."
"I have an injured arm."
"I was in a car. No room."
"Dad told me to not fight. It's not my fault. You're the one with more training after all."
"Swords don't really stand up to sniper rifles."
Kagome shushed them. "Where's Rin?"
Washi bit into a jelly covered English muffin. "Satu woke up early. Rin's changing her. She'll be down in a few minutes."
The hanyou frowned. "Rin hit her head the other day. She should be resting."
"Even the doctor said that it was nothing more than a bump," said Midori, rolling her eyes. "Stop worrying about her, Mom. She was really good, you know? She sat there and just let those guys say all those horrible things while Dad was knocked out. I got mad, but she said that I just had to ignore them. They got bored after awhile. Then they drugged us too, but that's beside the point. She can take care of herself."
"Thanks, Midori," said Rin sincerely, from where she was standing in the doorway. Satu was sitting happily on her hip and Kagome got a pain in her chest when she remembered that her eldest daughter was in love and would probably soon have kids of her own. "Mom, did you read the paper?"
"I did," replied the hanyou. She smiled at the picture accompanying the story, a family portrait they had had done right after Satu was born. As it was fairly recent, Kagome still liked the outfit she was wearing in it. "I feel a lot better now."
The doorbell rang and Sesshoumaru went to get it as his mate began to prepare Satu's breakfast. "It's my brother," said the taiyoukai, reentering the kitchen. Kamlyn, Kagura and their baby, Hoshi, were in tow. The doorbell rang again and Sesshoumaru growled lightly in annoyance as he turned right around.
Kagome gave her brother and sister-in-law a hug each and pressed a kiss to the top of her nephew's head as Ginta and Hakkaku came in. "Nee-san!" said Ginta, hugging her tightly. Hakkaku remained silent but gave Kagome a quick embrace and smile.
"What are you all doing here?" she asked, as they all sat down at the table after Washi fetched some extra chairs.
Ginta shrugged. "We wanted to check up on you and the kids, nee-san," he said. "Oh, and we wanted to tell you that we were digging through Sakura's emails. They go through the network hub in the building and after the cops were done with it, we got the leftovers. Sakura and Machi were talking to each other a lot, you know."
Kagome nodded and sighed as she put her chin in her hand. "I know. Unfortunately…" She paused and grimaced. "I think Machi is innocent on this one." Her children and Kagura at the very least looked shocked to hear these words. "I know, I know. She's a bitch and she wanted Sesshoumaru for her own. And oh yeah, she wants my business and has taken my job, but she was just being gleaned for little tidbits about our lives. She wasn't working with them."
"Well, as long as you know," said Hakkaku uneasily. "By the way, she fired us over the weekend. Can you fix that?"
The hanyou stared for a moment and then laughed. "Yeah, Sesshoumaru can handle it. I don't believe that she thought she could get away with that, even if Sesshoumaru was a bit busy."
"There's a lot of cleanup to be done around here," said Washi. "The City, the company. It's a mess and even if she didn't act directly against us with the whole murder spree thing, Machi has certainly done her work well."
"We'll take care of that. All of it," said Kagome. She looked at Kamlyn and Kagura, who were patiently waiting for their news to be heard. They had never been so quiet in the centuries she had known them. "What about you two? What do you need to tell us?"
Kagura pulled out a folder from her oversized bag. "Sorry if it smells like baby wipes," she said, handing the thick packet over to the hanyou. "We just thought you'd be very interested in this."
Kagome flipped it open as Sesshoumaru leaned over her shoulder. It was full of documents and copies of ancient manuscripts. "A census?" she said, paging through the largest portion of the contents. It was a census of the Southern youkai population. She shook her head. "I'm afraid I've never been much good at the lizard demon dialects," she said. "What do they say?"
"Well, basically, most of it is unimportant," said Kamlyn. "But we went through it. Or rather, the interns at the news station did. But they found something interesting. See here?" He leaned over and pulled out another stack of papers tucked at the back of the folder. "This is the catalogue of who died in the war against the god. Now, it's not very interesting unless you're looking for a name, like the name of snake demon's son."
The hanyou stared at him for a moment. "You found Sakura's son? In all these names?"
Kagura shook her head, picking up the narrative easily as long-term couples tend to do. "That's just it. The census takers of the South were meticulous. If only I were so lucky as to have such good notes! They categorized every family by their clan. There were only three snake families in the Southern territories. Most snake youkai lived in the West actually. But none of these families had sons. And none of them lost anyone to the war. They were new immigrants, see?" She pointed to a symbol beside the youkai names. "That means they were the first generation there."
"So Sakura had no son."
Kamlyn shrugged. "Doesn't look like it. We found her birth record. She was born in a small Western town and lived an uneventful life as far as we could tell. If she ever got a mate, there's no mention of it."
The hanyou closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. "It's good news that I didn't kill one of my former friend's children, but then I'm even more confused as to her behavior. What could make someone do all that against people who love her? She killed her cousin for Kami's sake!"
"Maybe she was delusional," suggested Washi, shrugging. "Basho was, why not her too?"
"Maybe it was the allure of power," said Sesshoumaru.
"Maybe it was love," Rin murmured.
Kagome looked at her daughter. "What do you mean? I've never seen a more hateful act."
Rin sighed and stood to rinse out her milky bowl. "Well, I never told you because it seemed unimportant at the time, but Sakura was in love. I was delivering something to Dad and she asked me what a romantic restaurant was. I told her a few places that I liked to go and she was practically grinning. I just thought it was sweet at the time. Maybe she was in love with Basho and it was him that she was taking to dinner." She turned around and leaned against the counter, crossing her arms. "I mean, what would you do in that situation? You're a youkai and you fall in love with a human who hates youkai more than anything. So you empathize with him, tell him all about how you were wronged by the same family as he was."
"But we have no indication that Basho knew anything about the youkai population before he began speaking to Sakura," argued Washi.
She shrugged. "It's just a theory. I'm just saying that love can be quite powerful and sometimes you lose your head. Or your sanity."
"She was awfully tender with him," said Midori, making a face at the memory. "And the youkai population is pretty large in this city. There's bound to be humans that know about us. More than we'd like to think, I'm sure."
"We'll probably never know," said Kagome. "I wasn't exactly in the position to ask her before I sliced her apart."
Kamlyn tapped his claws on the table and fixed her with a curious look. "You're going to have to tell us about that transformation sometime in more detail, nee-san. I mean, I've never even been able to do that. The girls said that you looked like a terrifyingly large werewolf. You were in a dungeon that should have prevented any demonic abilities too. What happened? Do you think you can do it again?"
Kagome remembered her dream, her talk with the sun goddess. She was privately convinced that it had been Amaterasu contacting her and that it was the bond between mother and child that had broken the magic barrier around her hanyou blood, but she would never tell these wild theories to anyone besides Sesshoumaru. Even he would be skeptical, considering his scientific mind. Then again, he had expressed confidence in her ability to do it again. "I don't know," she replied. "I think that it'll be rare occurrence, if it is ever repeated."
"We will explore it," said Sesshoumaru.
"A lot of mysteries still surrounding this whole thing," sighed Kagura, her journalist mind clearly unhappy with the loose ends.
"I think I can deal with that," said Midori, "considering we're all still alive and not riddled with bullets. I would have haunted Sakura's fat ass for the rest of her life if that had happened!"
"Language!" warned Kagome, pointing a finger at her daughter while the rest of the family laughed.
There was a noise in the hallway and Sesshoumaru turned his head sharply. "Um, hello?" said a young male voice.
"Daichi!" cried the hanyou, nearly knocking her chair to the floor as her son appeared in the doorway. She gave him a crushing embrace, which he readily returned. "We were so worried. We had no idea where you were and the police were looking for you! What happened? Are you alright?"
He nodded as she pulled away and began checking him for injuries. "I'm fine, Mom," he said, catching and stilling her hands. "I was at a friend's house. I didn't hear or see anything unusual. I only knew what happened because they were talking about it this morning on the radio. I came over as fast as I could. Are you all alright?"
"We're fine," said Kagome, gathering him into another hug. "Sit down, sit down. You want breakfast?"
"No, I had breakfast with my friend," he said. He looked at his siblings uneasily, waiting for a backlash for making his mother worry, but it didn't come. They all smiled happily at him. Washi gave him a friendly slap on the shoulder and vacated his seat for his little brother. Finally, Daichi looked at his father.
Sesshoumaru gave his son the smallest of nods possible, pleased that he was unharmed. He sat down in Kagome's place, right across from his prodigal son. His mate would be in too much of a flurry to settle down again. "A female friend," he said. "A human?"
Daichi swallowed. "Um, yeah." He scratched at the back of his neck. "I met her about six months ago, at one of those coffee shops. Our orders got mixed up. We um, started dating."
"That would explain the copious amounts of cologne you've been wearing lately," his father stated evenly, much to the amusement of the others at the table.
"Yeah, well, we got along really great but I knew that you wouldn't like it much. I know how you feel about humans. Except Mom's family, of course. So when you forbid contact with humans, I just kind of got… angry." That was the understatement of the year and they all knew it, but allowed it to pass. Daichi gave his father a weak smile. "Funny thing, she turned out not so great. I mean, I was there for two days and she started in about how much time I spent with my family and how I should be on my own. She'd been saying it all along actually, but I guess I just heard it more clearly then. She wanted me to forget about you guys. And she didn't even know what I was, how important family is to youkai. I realized that we weren't going to work out. My stuff is in the car."
Kagome, her back to her guests as she toasted some bread, was listening carefully and smiled. Her son wouldn't know the heartbreak of marrying a human, and certainly not a human that believed in the separation of a family. She turned around and looked at Sesshoumaru. "Well, I think he's suffered enough then, don't you think, dear?"
Sesshoumaru nodded slowly. "A human," he said again, shaking his head and pouring himself some cereal into a clean bowl.
"Hey, it's not like I was dating a guy three hundred years older than me," said Daichi, laughing and easing back into his old laid-back self.
Kagome looked up sharply and saw Rin glaring at her little brother, her cheeks flaming. She looked as if she was about to renege on her forgiveness. Daichi paled a bit. "Um, you haven't told them, then?" he said softly.
"No!" hissed Rin.
"You did know then!" cried the hanyou. "I knew it!" She looked triumphantly at the others at the table. Sesshoumaru was staring at his daughter with an unreadable expression. The others looked amused. Ginta was barely able to keep from falling out of his chair with suppressed laughter.
Sesshoumaru got to his feet very quickly, this time actually flipping the chair onto its back. His eyes had moved from Rin to Hakkaku, who Kagome could barely see sitting beside Ginta. She moved three feet to the left and saw that the same blush that adorned Rin's cheeks was painting his as well. "Oh my Kami in heaven," she murmured.
"You?" said Sesshoumaru, his voice soft and dangerous.
"Daddy, please," begged Rin, standing too. She hadn't called him 'daddy' since she was thirteen in human years. "Don't be mean."
The taiyoukai's blazing golden eyes were wide as they turned back to his daughter. "Mean?" he asked, in the same sotto voce as before. "I believe that is last thing that he has to worry about."
"Sesshoumaru," said Kagome, stepping forward. She could feel his rage emanating off of him and clearly, so could the wolf brother. He was standing up, so slowly that he was barely moving. In the wild, the wolf had advantage of its tame cousin, but Sesshoumaru was no lap dog and Hakkaku knew it. "Sesshoumaru, Rin has the right to choose who she wants."
"He had a mohawk," snapped the taiyoukai. "He has no job!"
Kagome held up her hand. "Which is Machi's fault and which you will fix. And the mohawk is long gone, you know."
"Have you forgotten that his clan killed you?" he growled at his daughter.
Rin rolled her eyes. "No, Dad, I haven't forgotten, but it's also been about five hundred years since then. If I can get over dying, I think you should too."
There was a flash of movement and Hakkaku was suddenly pinned to the wall. Rin screamed and pulled at her father's shoulder. Her brothers and Ginta were on their feet, but unable to do anything. Kagome placed a hand on Washi's arm, silently telling him to sit back down. She walked over to her mate, where he was snarling at the terrified, but outwardly calm, wolf. His behavior in the face of Sesshoumaru, the greatest killer alive, was commendable. "My mate," said Kagome, looking directly at the taiyoukai, "Rin will never forgive you if you kill him. And you will most certainly be spending a few months on the couch."
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened and looked over at Kagome. "Months?"
"Months." She glanced at Hakkaku to make sure he was still breathing. "I don't really like it either, but remember that you're seven hundred years older than I am. Hakkaku has only three hundred on Rin. He's never had a mate, no children to take precedence over her. We know he works hard and that he is trustworthy. Really, how much more can you ask for?" She wagged a finger at him. "If you're going to act like this every time one of our children has a boyfriend or girlfriend, you're going to force them to elope. Missing my children's weddings because of you will also earn you time on the couch. Now release him and apologize."
"I do not appreciate your tone, Kagome," he replied. "I am Rin's father and…"
"Release him and apologize," repeated the hanyou, a dangerous glint coming into her eyes.
Sesshoumaru took a deep breath and stepped back from Hakkaku. "I apologize for my behavior," he said through his teeth. "Although if you hurt her, I will slaughter you slowly."
"Point taken," said the wolf, rubbing at his throat. He smiled uneasily. "And apology accepted. I'm sure I'll act the same way when my daughter has a potential mate in mind." He held up his hands at Sesshoumaru's soft growl. "Not that I'm going to impregnate your daughter any time soon, Sesshoumaru-sama! Honor is all important, of course!"
Kagome rolled her eyes. "Hakkaku, don't worry about it. He'll get over it soon enough." She hugged him and her daughter, before sizing them up. They seemed like a good pair, although she never would have put them together in a million years. Hakkaku was one of her oldest friends after all. It was strange, but when were youkai relationships normal, especially when one of the participants was actually an immortal human? "I would take his threat to heart though," she said softly, glancing at her still irritated mate. The phone rang and he got up to answer it in another room, a sign that he wasn't completely oblivious to other matters. It was a good sign. As soon as her father was out of sight, Rin embraced Hakkaku and pressed a kiss against his lips. Behind her, Daichi and Midori gagged silently.
Kagura let out a long breath. "Well, that was interesting. Are all of your breakfasts so entertaining, Kagome? We should come over every morning if they are."
The hanyou smiled. "Thank Kami, no they aren't," she said, heading back over to the toaster. The now cold toast was popped into the microwave.
Kamlyn strained to hear his brother's voice, but realized that he had gone into the study to talk. "Well, not to upset things further, and I certainly don't suggest telling it to Sesshoumaru at the moment, but Mom's got some news too. She and Makoto are going to become mates."
"Sesshoumaru mentioned that he felt something was going on there, actually," said Kagome. It had only been a few days ago that he had said anything, but it felt like a lifetime ago.
"The Ice Prince actually was aware of other people's emotions?" said Kamlyn, his eyes widening. "Wow, my big brother, knowing that people feel things. He's growing up. Changing right before our eyes!"
Kagome laughed as her brother-in-law pantomimed his surprise. Sesshoumaru came back in and narrowed his eyes at his sibling. "Juvenile," he muttered.
"Hey, we share lots of genes."
"Impossible," said Sesshoumaru. "You're a changeling."
"You're an oaf," retorted Kamlyn. This was all said with the ease that could only come from brothers having a mock fight that repeated itself constantly. Kagome sometimes thought that Kamlyn was the best thing to come out of the war, aside from her own attachment to the taiyoukai and the children. Sesshoumaru had needed a chance to redeem himself in terms of family. Even he would admit his failure with Inuyasha.
She and Kagura exchanged a glance and a smile that said that they were both thinking these things. Sesshoumaru came to her side. "It was the board that called," he said, immediately sobering her. He gave her a small smirk. "They want you back as president of the company. They have kicked out Machi and extend their apologies for their lack of faith. They wondered if you can start back on Monday."
Kagome threw her arms around her mate's neck. "Of course!" she squealed. Pulling back, she wiped at her eyes. "Oh, everything is turning out so well again!"
"The humans may know about us," said Sesshoumaru.
"Inconsequential," she said, borrowing one of her mate's favorite words. "They can think whatever they want. This is my life again and I'll be damned if they try to take it away from me!"
Kagura stood up. "Well, I'm happy for you Kagome-neesan but we have to get going. Your story has put us into overtime," she said, rolling her eyes. Hoshi begged to be picked up and she swung him into her arms. "Oh well. More time with the new intern." She winked at Kagome and sauntered out.
"Hey, wait a minute!" called her mate. He looked at Kagome. "Think you can make a subduing necklace for her?"
"She's the wind," laughed Kagome. "It wouldn't work."
Kamlyn smiled and shook his head, following his beautiful mate out the door. Washi stood up and put his dishes in the sink. "I need to get to the office and do some major work."
"Me too," said Daichi. He caught the shocked expressions on his parents' faces. "What? I thought I'd try the responsible thing for awhile. We'll see how it pans out."
"I'll take bets on how long that'll last," quipped Midori as she walked out. "I'm going to work on that math project with Jen down the street. Bye!"
Rin and Hakkaku looked at one another and then at Sesshoumaru, who was eyeing them with great distaste. "We're going to go now too," said his daughter. "Um, for a walk. In a public place. Lots of people! We'll take Satu with us." She dragged the wolf out of the kitchen.
Ginta gathered his brother's plate with his own and put them in the sink with the others. He smiled apologetically to his adopted sister and her mate. "The mohawk really was bad," he said, before exiting.
Kagome laughed, the now empty kitchen echoing. An angry taiyoukai could clear out a house in as little as fifteen seconds apparently. "An enlightening morning."
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist, tilting her head back so that she could still look up at him. "Oh come on, is it really so bad? Rin is happy. Daichi is home. I got my job back. Things could be a lot worse."
"Were you serious about being banished to the couch?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.
"Yes," she said simply. She reached up and kissed him on the tip of his nose. "But I would be very sad about it."
He frowned a bit, although his grip on her tightened. "I have not been very good to you as of late."
She leaned forward and rested her forehead against his chest. "I know. But then, I haven't been very reasonable either." Kagome smiled to herself. "You did tell me that you loved me, in your own way. That's something that doesn't happen very often and I appreciated it, even if I was still angry at you at the time."
"After you left, Rin told me that I take advantage of your affections, that I expect to be treated well by my mate and that I should realize that I am fortunate to have such a mate that would not begrudge my lack of affection."
He placed his metal hand on the back of her neck and used his real flesh to stroke her spine. "I do not wish to lose you again. Your absence was unpleasant." He paused and shook his head. "No, that is not an accurate description. It was not just unpleasant. It was painful and I desired your return more than I have ever wanted anything."
Kagome looked up at him, her eyes glittering with surprise. "I think that's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me. Thank you." She kissed him again. "Does this new outlook on our relationship mean that you're going to say more things like that?"
Sesshoumaru appeared thoughtful for a moment. "For five hundred years I have not changed much. I have learned human business and given up my title, but my personality remains the same. I believe that I could possibly alter my mind a bit, in order to appreciate you properly. It is only fair that I accommodate you as you have done for me."
The hanyou smirked. "Well, if you want to try, I won't object."
"That is the answer I expected."
Kagome kissed him yet again, leaving her breathless when she pulled away. Five hundred years and he could still do that to her. Well, was it really a surprise? The first time he kissed her, they conceived Daichi. She smiled at the memory.
"Is something amiss?" he asked, seeing the little quirk of her lips.
The hanyou shook her head. "No, for the first time in ages, there isn't." She slipped her hands into his. "So come on, then."
He arched an eyebrow. "Where?"
"To the bedroom of course," she said, barely able to stop from giggling like a brainless schoolgirl. "You can appreciate me more there."
Sesshoumaru smiled one of his rare smiles and followed her out of the kitchen.
A/N: I know it's short, but it's really more like an epilogue than anything else. I've really enjoyed writing The Broken Miko and this sequel, but I'm done now. No more. I will be concentrating on Thousandfurs for the next bit of time. I do have plans for another Kagome and Sesshoumaru story though. I have an outline and everything! It doesn't have a title yet, but just check up on me (or better yet, stay with Thousandfurs!) and you'll find it eventually. I love you all dearly. Thank you so much for the support you've all given me. Ciao!