a/n: this is it. the absolute end. sort of. this story has been so long in the making and i can't believe i've finally reached the end of it all. yay!
After I've posted this chapter, I'm going to work on some one-shots. One is an AU-Inuyasha/Kagome fic, the other two are in the Naruto fandom. Those should come out tonight or tomorrow.
Once I've got those ready and done, I'll turn back to UE for just a little bit. I'm going to go back in and do a final error fixes and update those chapters-and then post everything to Dokuga. The ebook is still in the works-once I get that done, I'll update this chapter to let everyone know. Or you can keep up with everything via my blog.
After all of that, I'm turning to working on two other chapter fics: Almost Home Country Roads (Ouran) and Fighting Fate (Inuyasha). I will do the UE short sequel, but I decided I wanted to get a little bit more research done before I confirm the plot.
Thanks to everyone, btw, in the process of this story. Through good and bad, y'all have helped me push through this beastie and I am eternally grateful. All my love!
Arc 7: What Little Boys Are Made Of
Chapter 37: Puppy Dog Tails
Half a day.
Sesshomaru had been kicked out of the room hours earlier, and now the group of men watched as he paced the room waiting for news.
They were all grateful that Cho had thought to soundproof the room too.
A door opened and a maid rushed out, shutting the door behind her. She said nothing but rushed out to gather something that Cho had requested. She returned soon after and went back into the room again.
Haru was sitting with his back against Kin. The larger youkai had one arm around Haru and the other holding a book the two of them were reading together. Kin was the slower reader, and when he was finished with a page, he would squeeze Haru's hand and the inuyoukai would flip the page.
Miroku was drinking sake with Inuyasha-the only reason the hanyou wasn't also pacing the room-against a wall. "Sesshomaru-dono, please, have a drink. You'll make us all feel a little better if you do."
The Taiyoukai ignored the comment. It was all getting to him. He remembered his mother's pregnancies-especially the failed ones. And Izayoi's had not been easy on her either.
The door opened again, though this time Sango came out. She was taking off a white apron that was covered in all sorts of bodily fluids. She gave a sleepy smile. "It's over."
"And?" Inuyasha growled.
Sango gave him a flippant look before stepping out of the way. "You can go in Sesshomaru-dono-everyone is waiting for you."
He took a deep breath before walking past the woman and into the room. Sango closed the door behind him.
"Well? What is it? Is everyone okay?" Inuyasha continued to pester.
Sango nodded. ."They're both fine."
"And is it a boy or girl?"
Sango walked over to where the two were sitting, nodding her head at the other two men sitting in the room. Miroku poured some sake for her as she sat down and she gratefully took it.
"Sesshomaru-dono called it."
A smile broke out on the hanyou's face.
"Planning on spoiling your nephew?" Miroku asked.
Haru echoed the sentiment.
There were several women cleaning up the room as he entered. Cho stood at the edge of the screen, smiling at him.
"She did very well; we had a few complications, but nothing too serious."
"Just horrible amounts of pain," came a hoarse reply.
The small inuyoukai beckoned Sesshomaru to enter the screens. He did so carefully, noticing that Kagome was being propped up by several thick blankets while holding on to a gooey bundle. A smile erupted on his face.
Walking forward, he sat down next to the woman and looked down. The pup was all but still, only two triangular ears at the top of his head swiveled back and forth, getting use to the sounds of the room around him.
"We never did decide on a name," Kagome said.
"What would you like to name him?"
She paused for a second to think. "Aoi."
Sesshomaru looked down at her. "Aoi?"
"Look at his eyes."
Curious, the Taiyoukai looked closer and was startled. All members of the main branch had golden eyes-but Aoi only had one. The other was a deep blue.
"How odd," he said. "I've never seen such a thing."
"It's probably because of Kagome's own ki," Cho said. "When she was using it on Haru, it's possible some of it infused with the pup. There is nothing wrong with him, however. He's perfectly healthy and just waiting for you to clean him up."
Cho instructed Kagome to hand Aoi to Sesshomaru. She did so and nearly gagged.
"For inuyoukai, the father cleans off the baby."
"Okay, yeah-but why with his tongue?"
Sesshomaru's mouth turned into a smile as he continued to clean off Aoi.
"Youkai aside, we are still dogs," Cho explained.
Kagome looked away from the scene. Well enough, Aiko was approaching her with a steaming cup.
"Here, drink this."
Kagome reached out for the cup and gratefully drank it down. It soothed her aching throat. "Could I change while he's doing that? I don't really want to stay in a soiled yukata."
"Are you sure you're up to it?" Aiko asked, concerned.
"I'll need some help, but yes."
The older human helped Kagome up and out of the screens. Sesshomaru finished up his task and exited the screened area so that several servants could change the bedding.
Aoi was taken from the Taiyoukai to be dressed and then carefully returned. The maid, an older woman who had several children of her own, directed him at the best way to hold the little boy.
"I am going to take him out to meet everyone," Sesshomaru told Kagome.
The door was opened for him as he exited the room. Inuyasha was up in a flash and at his brother's side. Kin had left to collect the kids, so Haru was already near the door when he exited.
"What's wrong with his eyes?" Inuyasha asked.
He brought his face just inches away from the babies. Aoi whimpered for a second like he was going to cry before a small fist came up and hit the side of Inuyasha's face. "Hey!"
"At least your face doesn't make babies cry," Miroku said.
"No, just makes them want to punch it," Sango added. "Like most of us."
He flicked her off.
"You will need to stop that if you would like to be around Aoi."
"Don't start yet. Give him at least a day before you start the overprotective bullshit."
Sesshomaru rolled his eyes. "Perhaps I should have Daichi instruct you on the correct way to behave."
"Blah, blah, blah-I'm sure you won't let me around the brat enough to do any damage anyway."
"Nonsense-as a hanyou, you are the most adept in helping him with parts of his training. You understand your strengths more than anyone-I expect you to teach him those strengths as well."
Inuyasha looked at his eldest brother with an odd look then ducked his head. "Y-you really want me to help out?"
"Have I done anything recently to make you think I didn't respect you? Of course I want it-more than that, I demand it."
Inuyasha groaned. "Way to ruin a moment, asshole."
"I know-it is something you are much better at."
The hanyou threw his hands up in the air; a little tired of being teased all the time-though not really minding it. "Can I see her? Or should I wait until tomorrow?"
Sesshomaru was all but laughing at his frustrated brother. "Only for a moment, if she is still awake."
Inuyasha nodded and walked by. He could hear the kids coming anyway; he didn't want to deal with the brats on top of everything.
Inuyasha went the corner where the silk screens had the most gap in them and sat down. He called out to the exhausted miko quietly until she turned her head. Giving a tired smile, she beckoned him in.
The hanyou shook his head. "Even without carrying his child, there are places I don't belong. In there is one of them. How are you feeling?"
With great effort, Kagome pushed herself up onto her knees and crawled to the corner the hanyou was sitting. Inuyasha reached in and grabbed a blanket and pulled it until he could wrap her up in it. She sat there cradled against his chest, cocooned in blankets.
"You did good," he told her. "Aoi is perfect."
"Did you see his eyes? Aren't they beautiful."
Inuyasha chuckled and gave her a chaste kiss on the top of her head. "Yes, he is. Just like you."
There was a muffled 'thank you.' "When is Kikyo coming back?"
"Soon enough. I think we're going to go travelling some. There are still some pockets of Naraku's followers who are holding up to take the 'biggest bastard award' now that he's gone. I think we're going to try and flush them out."
Kagome tried to bury herself into his chest. "But I'll miss you. You're my best friend."
The hanyou turned his head so he could rest it on hers. "And you're mine-and I will come back. Sesshomaru's asked me to help Aoi with the ups and downs of being a hanyou. Once he gets big enough I'll have to help the bastard train him."
"Please don't cuss around my son."
"Ug, you too? He doesn't know what is going on around him yet!"
There was a giggle from Kagome, but it was short and quiet. She was falling asleep. Cho was still in the room, looking at them with a smile on her face.
"Will you get Sesshomaru? I think she needs to be put to bed."
Cho nodded and left to retrieve the Taiyoukai, plus one. When he entered he went first to a wooden crib-simple yet elegant, a gift from Haru and Kin-that was padded heavily with soft fabrics of reds, pinks, and purples. Carefully, Sesshomaru put Aoi down in his bed, covering him with one of the blankets.
Moving over, he took the woman from Inuyasha and moved her to the middle of the bed. The hanyou let himself out quietly; Cho followed soon after.
"Hey," Kagome whispered drowsily to the man who was settling down beside her.
"Hey," he said in return.
There was a silence between them, Sesshomaru thought she might have fallen asleep, before she spoke once more. "So, you have your son-what now?"
He reached out his arm and pulled her close to him. "Well, after a little rest for the both of you, Aoi will be formally introduced to the court as the next heir."
"Fun. Then what?"
"Then we raise him-with the help of some others, I'm sure. Rin-chan and the others already met him; Shippo-kun wants to know when he'll be big enough to spar with he and Kohaku-kun."
Sesshomaru was hoping for at least a little giggle, but instead he just got a long sigh. "I guess I should stop beating around the bush," she said. "What happens to me?"
The Taiyoukai leaned over and nuzzled her neck. He kissed it gently before pulling back a little. "I would love to say what comes next is like the end to a love stories the courtiers are always reading-but unfortunately I cannot forget my station."
Kagome's body stiffened and she nodded slowly.
"But I hope you will remain by my side," he said.
There was no answer from the woman next to him. Her body was still tense, indicating that she was still awake.
Sesshomaru pulled back for a second, confused.
"Of course I'll stay."
With great effort, Kagome turned around and hugged the Taiyoukai.
"Thank you," he replied.
He gently pulled her head up and kissed her with everything he could muster. She returned it passionately. When they broke apart she was panting, her eyes were glazed, and lips swollen red.
"Seeing that we have such a good looking son," Sesshomaru began. "Perhaps we should work on another child. You did so well with the first one."
His hand slid down her body to rest on her hip.
"I am so glad we can't get pregnant without a long and complicated ceremony. Though, maybe Cho knows a way you can carry the next one."
Kagome's laughter echoed in the room as Sesshomaru attacked her neck with kisses and nips. The laughter eventually turned into groans as Kagome forgot her exhaustion for plain pleasure.
Aoi's crying interrupted the mood.
It took me 2 HOURS to figure out how I wanted to end this. And this is what I chose. Is it the best? Probably not-but it serves its purpose. And for those of you wondering about the Shikon-that will be addressed later (i.e. another story).
Again, thank you everyone for reading. I love you all!
From me, Sif, Loki, Thor, and Hachi-Ja ne!