This is the final entry of Take Another Breath. I want to thank everyone who's been with me through this story; it's been a long nearly three years since I started it, and it's so satisfying to see it finally coming to fruition. If you reviewed, you have my eternal thanks and love. If you didn't.. well.. shame on you! But thanks for reading anyway, and I hope you enjoyed the story, even if you didn't review. I may or may not be starting on a sequel fairly soon, either way, this has been a great journey for me, and I hope to see you all around if I do write a sequel.
Seven years passed almost in the blink of an eye for Hikari after Shippou and Rin left. Takaji grew up quickly, and by the time he was four, it was evident he would be much like his father; he was a quiet child, very studious and serious, and he admired his father greatly. It was but a month after his seventh birthday that Takaji suddenly came running into the garden where his parents sat, beneath the very tree where they had become mates, his normally stoic face alight with excitement. "Otousan, okaasan!"
Hikari arched a brow and quickly swatted Sesshoumaru's hand away from the front of her kimono, turning a bright turquoise gaze on her young son. "What is it, Taka?"
Skidding to a stop near his parents, he bounced eagerly on his toes, small clawed hands rising to push his silver hair out of his face. "Please, come with me! Quickly!"
Sesshoumaru gazed curiously at his heir, then carefully stood with Hikari in his arms, before setting her on her feet. The mated pair linked hands, before Sesshoumaru nodded. "Lead the way, Takaji."
Takaji gave a fanged grin to his father, then darted back towards the keep with his parents following. Much to their surprise, he led them up to the top of the keep itself, standing atop a parapet as the wind whipped at their clothes and hair. Takaji took up a stance on the opposite side of his mother from Sesshoumaru, clasping her free hand as the Lord and Lady of the Western Lands looked towards the winding path that led up to the walled gate of the keep. Sesshoumaru frowned, and Hikari looked down at Takaji, her expression curious. "Takaji.. why did you bring us up here?"
"Just watch, okaasan.. you'll see soon..." Takaji smiled, and lightly squeezed his mother's hand as he glanced up at her, then back out towards the horizon. "Any moment now..."
"Takaji, what--" Sudden movement at the edge of the forest quickly silenced Sesshoumaru, and his hands pressed to the waist-high wall as he leaned forward, peering towards the group of figures that appeared, making their way towards the keep. "..Is that..?"
Hikari narrowed her eyes, trying to see faces, if she could. What she heard was a familiar voice, carried on the wind, that made her gasp as a joyous smile came across her face. She looked down at Takaji, slightly amazed. "Takaji, how did you know?"
"I saw it in a dream. Oniisan and oneesan are coming home..." There was a sparkle of mischief in the young taiyoukai's eyes as he glanced up at his mother, giving a lopsided grin. "..And just in time for you to tell them and all your friends about our new imoutosan, I believe."
That caught Sesshoumaru's attention, and he too looked at Takaji, the eyes of both taiyoukai wide with surprise. All became clear as a sudden film of alabaster spread across Takaji's eyes, and they shared a look, before Sesshoumaru chuckled. "..I believe our son has inherited your gift, koishii. Come.. we have children and guests to greet."
Hikari smiled, lightly laying a hand on her still-flat stomach as she looked down to the approaching group of long-absent friends and adopted children, then followed her husband and son down to the entry hall of the keep.
Her family was whole again.