I do not own Inuyasha, just in case you were wondering.

Chapter 15

Sesshomaru enveloped Alexandra in his arm and lowered his face to kiss her. She rose to meet him pressing herself against him. With only their kimonos between them Sesshomaru found the way their bodies molded together delightful. Their lips met and for a moment there was nothing in the world but the two of them.

Then the world once again rushed in on them. They were surrounded by a sea of well-wishers and rice rained down from the sky on them. With great reluctance Sesshomaru released his hold of Alexandra. Then before he realized it Alexandra was leaving his side with Sango and Kagome. "I'll just go change," she called out to him with an apologetic smile as the crowd parted for her.

Sesshomaru was irritated by her sudden absence and resisted a sudden urge to cut through the crowd around him. Inu Yasha came up to him distracting him by slapping him on the back, "You did it Sesshomaru! I can't believe you're married!"

The demon lord didn't reply as he saw Rin and Jaken pressing forward through the crowd. The two of them looked ecstatic.

Jaken looked up at him face full of emotion with tears shining in his eyes. "My Lord!" he exclaimed. "That was truly the most beautiful of ceremonies!"

"Lord Sesshomaru, may we stay for the feast?" the child asked hopefully.

"Well, of course you can!" Inu Yasha answered for Sesshomaru. "It is in his honour after all! Isn't that right, brother?"

He got a dark look as an answer then to his two vassals Sesshomaru answered, "Do as you wish." Then he scanned the crowd looking for Alexandra's return.

Inu Yasha noticed and started steering him to where they had set up for the banquet. "We might as well go and sit down those three will probably be a while. You know women."

Realizing that he was out of his element Sesshomaru allowed himself to be guided wondering vaguely exactly what Inu Yasha meant by his comments. Know women? He couldn't say that he did. But he knew a woman. He knew Alexandra and he was more than confident she would return to him as soon as possible. Why would they be a while?

Sesshomaru sat down in the seat they had reserved for him. He looked across to see Rin and Jaken beaming at him in places of honour. By the time Inu Yasha had poured Sesshomaru a cup of sake, to his great satisfaction Alexandra had returned. She gave him a shy smile as she sat beside him and the banquet began.

Not having any interest in the food or the festivities, Sesshomaru was increasing captivated by his young bride sitting next to him. Her scent mingled with that of the food, the other people and the flowers but still remained distinctive, cool and clean. It was more intoxicating than any sake they could give him.

Alexandra was increasingly aware of her new husband's gaze and blushed not trusting herself to look at him. She tried to concentrate on the people around her but the harder she tried the more she was aware of him. She couldn't believe it. They were married. A shiver of excitement coursed through her. She couldn't wait to be with him -alone.

"You're not eating," Sesshomaru stated smoothly.

Alexandra looked at him instinctively and was immediately caught by his smoldering eyes. He looked so beautiful, so passionate it took her breath away. "I'm not hungry," she managed to answer.

He blinked once and then rose. He offered her his hand. She took it and he pulled her to her feet.

The assembled company halted their festivities and looked at them in surprise.

"Lord Sesshomaru?" Jaken piped up. "Are we leaving?"

"No Jaken," his master replied. "Stay until the reception is over then bring Rin home. We will meet you there."

"Well I guess we're going now," Alexandra said unable to stop her happiness from bubbling over. "Thanks for the beautiful wedding Kagome."

Kagome blushed. "You're welcome," she said.

"You did a wonderful job on the service, Miroku," Alexandra continued. The Monk nodded in acknowledgement. "Oh and thanks Inu Yasha and Sango for all of your help and hard work."

"Any time," answered Sango, while Inu Yasha mumbled something and tried to look like he could care less.

"Oh! Rin and Jaken, the decorations were the most beautiful I've ever seen. Thank you so much!" Alexandra exclaimed.

"You're welcome!" Rin answered shyly while Jaken just nodded unsure how to respond.

"And thanks to everyone for coming!" Alexandra said looking over her shoulder and gave a small wave as Sesshomaru guided her away from the celebration. "Good-bye!"

"Good-bye!" chorused everyone as Sesshomaru wrapped his arm around Alexandra and leapt away. The crowd then resumed eating and talking.

Kagome looked wistfully after them. "The two of them certainly seem happy!" she observed with a sigh.

"Well no sense in letting all this food go to waste," Inu Yasha said while he refilled his bowl.

"Yes" agreed Miroku though he thought that Sesshomaru was the one with his priorities straight. There went a demon lord after his own heart.

Four years later….

Miroku tossed the rope over the load on the cart. Inu Yasha caught it, deftly knotted it and gave it a final tug. The monk stood back surveying their work with satisfaction.

"That was done so effectively I believe that we are a day ahead of schedule!" Miroku exclaimed smiling. He would be pleased if they got home early and surprised Sango. Her old jealousies had returned with the third trimester of her pregnancy and she seemed to worry that he would return to his wandering ways. Miroku wanted to take every opportunity to reassure Sango that he was totally committed to her and this child, their first of many he hoped.

"Nothing else could be expected of the Lord of the Western Lands," Miroku grinned basking in his delight at their progress.

Sesshomaru accepted the compliment without comment as he stood supervising their work. Jaken stood beside him staff in hand. Miroku thought the imp looked like he had put on some weight.

"Most likely he can't wait to be rid of us!" Inu Yasha chided with good humour, as he gave the load a final pat. He and the monk came to join them.

"Yes, perhaps next time I'll have the cart waiting at the gate for you," Sesshomaru answered dryly.

Miroku observed the two brothers. Though they still bantered, it was good natured. The anger and animosity between them had long since evaporated. It was still odd to think that Sesshomaru had a sense of humour let alone joke with them.

"We will have tea in the garden before you depart," stated Sesshomaru glancing down at Jaken who took the clue at once.

"I'll see to it immediately," his vassal said bowing. Then the little imp disappeared into the building behind them.

Sesshomaru turned and led them down the polished wooden walkway that followed along the side of the building. "So Inu Yasha, tell me when exactly will your wedding to Kagome take place?" he inquired.

"In a couple of months when she's done her exams," Inu Yasha answered uncomfortably. "Her mother wants her to graduate first." He knew that Sesshomaru didn't appreciate the fact he wouldn't be attending their wedding in the 21st Century but he would rather deal with his displeasure than that of Kagome's mom. Sesshomaru would have to be content with the second ceremony in the feudal era.

"I must say that it is truly generous of you to donate so many useful items to the Heavenly Chest," Miroku said tactfully changing the subject. "The monk tending the temple there will be very pleased."

"How is it that the goods are transported back in time?" Sesshomaru asked allowing himself to be distracted.

"It's a simple matter," explained Miroku. "The monk merely places the items in the chest and waits for them to disappear. It can take hours, days or weeks. It's believed that the Heavenly Chest sends the items into the past the same way the Bone Eater's Well works for Inu Yasha and Kagome."

"I don't get it, Sesshomaru," Inu Yasha said with a puzzled look. "Why do you do this every year? I wouldn't think that you would care about helping people in the past."

"Inu Yasha!" Miroku exclaimed answering for him. "After all this time I'm surprised that you would ask something like that. It's gratitude, of course. After all the Heavenly Chest gave us the weapon we needed to destroy Naraku!"

"Huh?" Inu Yasha gave Miroku an even more confused look. "What are you talking about? I was there that day in the cave we were looking through all that junk! We didn't find any weapon to defeat Naraku! We beat him ourselves!"

"Oh?" asked Miroku playfully. "Think about it a moment. Who was it that got Naraku to reveal the valuable information we needed to destroy him?"

"…Alexandra" Inu Yasha answered.

Sesshomaru walked ahead of them listening to the two of them. He marveled at the monk's patience with his brother.

"And who got everyone to cooperate in the fight against him?" asked Miroku.

"Alexandra," Inu Yasha answered again.

"The simplicity of plotting against Naraku together instead of searching for him separately, and drawing him out using his ego was sheer brilliance," Miroku went on. "It seems so obvious now." The monk's mind seemed to wander a moment before he continued with his explanation. "Yes and don't forget she came from the Heavenly Chest."

"Wait a minute. I thought Alexandra said that her purpose was to help that old woman she'd lived with before we met her," Inu Yasha argued.

Miroku shrugged. "She may have been a help to the old woman but I think her purpose in being brought here was a far greater one. That is to help us defeat Naraku. So because we received help from it we show our gratitude by providing some aid of our own. Sesshomaru included."

Inu Yasha considered this as the three of them walked into the garden. On the other side he saw Alexandra seated on a stone bench with the children and gave Sesshomaru a lop-sided grin. "You get to show your gratitude for getting a wife too," he observed.

Sesshomaru didn't reply as he surveyed his family. Alexandra cooed at the baby girl on her knee. Etsu beamed up at her mother with deep golden orbs as Alexandra ran a hand over the child's pale white curls. As she played with the child she kept a watchful eye on Kohaku and Rin. The two of them were sitting in the far corner of the garden with their heads together.

At her feet Takara, the elder of their two daughters sat with her back to the men intent on her toys. Her pigtails stuck up like soft brown paint brushes. The toddler suddenly stopped, lifted her head and sniffed. She turned and gave a soft cry when she caught their scent scrambling to her feet to leave her playthings forgotten.

"Papa!" the child cried with delight. Her emerald eyes were wide and bright. She ran toward Sesshomaru with her arms extended. Her father dutifully bent down and scooped her up.

"No hello for Uncle?" Inu Yasha asked her with a mischievous grin.

"Or me?" Miroku said wiggling his finger at her.

Takara snapped at his extended digit which Miroku quickly pulled back. The monk grinned and shook it at her playfully. She was so like her mother in looks, her pointed ears were the only outward sign of her mixed heritage. But in personality she was so like her father. Oh yes, Sesshomaru would have his hands full with this one.

She grimaced at him baring her small fangs confident no one would dare confront her in her position of power on her father's shoulder. Sesshomaru looked at her proudly. The stupid human was asking to get bit. Why he'd do the same thing himself if the monk had the audacity to stick his finger in his face.

"Takara!" Alexandra said with a note of warning in her voice from across the courtyard. She was less impressed by her daughter's manners and ever watchful of her children.

Dismayed that she did indeed have a challenger the child responded by pouting. She buried her face into her father's soft fluffy pelt to hide from her mother's disapproving look.

Sesshomaru, Inu Yasha and Miroku walked over. Rin and Kohaku also appeared as the tea was laid out in the garden. As soon as Takara noticed the plates of food being brought out, she wiggled out of Sesshomaru's grasp. He set her on the ground so she could indulge herself. She reminded him a great deal of Rin when he'd first met her.

Sesshomaru studied his adopted daughter. She had blossomed under Alexandra's care. It was clear that in a few more years she would be a beautiful woman. Her face shone with joy and he suspected that it had a lot to do with the youth standing beside her.

He turned his attention on Kohaku who met his gaze confidently. Sesshomaru smiled inwardly. His recovery was now complete since being rescued from Naraku by him with Tessaiga. Alexandra had drawn his attention to Rin's fondness for the proud young man and Sesshomaru had to say he approved. Perhaps sometime in the future Kohaku would become family too.

He regarded the people around him. Family. Friends. At one time he wouldn't have thought it possible to be so happy and content. Yes, there was indeed much to be grateful for and the root of it all was Alexandra. He watched as she laughed and chatted while tending to her children. Her beauty and grace seemed to grow with each passing day.

What a gift the heavenly Chest had given them! He doubted that he could ever provide enough items to show his gratitude. For Miroku was right he did send goods each year for that purpose but the monk was only partially right in his explanation to his brother. It seems Inu Yasha actually knew him better than he thought.

It was true that Alexandra had been instrumental in Naraku's defeat. Her ingenuity and insights were remarkable but Sesshomaru knew that eventually he would've crushed the monster completely. It had only been a matter of time. Destruction after all was his forte.

What he Sesshomaru would've never been able to accomplish alone was this. Bringing everyone together and making them a true family Alexandra had been the piece to his life that was missing. He was blessed. And whether it was Buddha, fate, some unseen god or the Heavenly Chest who had sent her, it was Alexandra who had blessed him. For that he would forever be grateful.

The end