Chie: No words can describe what a journey this has been for me. It's been exactly 4 years since I published the first chapter of this story on , and only traces are left of that girl I was back then. This story, which I confess has always been my favourite out of all the works I have written thus far, will always have a very special place in my heart. We've been through a lot together, Tables Turned and I.
I thank you, my dear reader, from the bottom of my heart, for sticking through this ride. It's been a long trip, and I've really kept you waiting on several occasions… But now it all has come to an end and the time has come to bid goodbye.
My warm regards, especially, if you were already reading this story back when this was still being posted on A Single Spark.
Your support means a world to me. Thank You.
Katsuo stared at his son. The two men were in Katsuo's study, he was sitting behind his desk, his son on the chair before it. The womenfolk had decided that they needed to have a proper father and son talk, after all that had happened. They had ushered them to take this chance to talk in private, though Katsuo doubted that they might have had an ulterior motive of wanting to discuss womanly things by themselves. Katsuo knew his wife, and he was certain Izayoi was bursting to ask Kagome about the proposal.
Katsuo did not speak, merely took in the sight of his son. The old man didn't even know what to say. The crushing guilt had tormented him for days, ever since Sesshoumaru's name had been cleared from the false accusations. That knowledge of his son having been innocent all along, had warranted in many sleepless nights for Katsuo, and to Izayoi's worry, he had not been eating so well either. Knowing that he had turned his back on his own son had haunted him endlessly. He felt intense guilt for having snatched away even the comfort of his family from the young man who already had lost everything else.
The shame and regret showed in the way his cheeks had grown hollower, the torment was evident on how pale the colour of his skin had become, the dark circles under his eyes bespoke of all the hateful and blame-laden accusations with which his mind kept him awake all night.
Indeed, no matter how great the immense guilt he felt for his horrendous deed was, the anger scorching his heart was weighing him down even more. The anger was not towards Sesshoumaru, or Naraku, who had been revealed to be the man responsible for ruining his son's life – no, the anger Katsuo bore was all for himself.
How could Sesshoumaru ever forgive him, when Katsuo could not even forgive himself?
Even if the insistent voice at the back of the minister's mind reminded him that Sesshoumaru would not be likely to bear grudge against him. That his son would understand. He had never been the type to point fingers and lay blame to begin with…
Still, even facing him like this was a very agonising and difficult experience to Katsuo. Sitting there, looking at Sesshoumaru, wondering what his son was thinking… Feeling the silence in the room screaming at him to speak, to say something – anything – and to have no words to offer to the young man who had suffered too much…
The young man, who he, as his father, should have protected, not abandoned. What right did he have now to even talk to him?
In the end, it was Sesshoumaru who spoke first.
"Father, I have a request."
Katsuo gestured him to continue.
"I want money."
Katsuo could taste the bitter disappointment on his tongue. He did not know what he had been expecting, but he really should have seen that one coming.
"Enough to buy back the majority of the shares. Kyoto Records is mine and I want it back."
"Of course," Katsuo agreed. It had surprised him a bit, Sesshoumaru hardly ever asked for anything. But Katsuo could understand what the company meant to his son. It would not help to erase the sin, but he would do anything his son wanted him to. Anything.
"You will probably want some spending money too? Buy something nice, like a new apartment? Or a car?"
"That is unnecessary," Sesshoumaru declined.
"Are you sure? I want to help out, Sesshoumaru. I know it won't take away the way I treated you in the past, but –"
"Father," Sesshoumaru said pointedly, putting stop to the old man's foolishness at once. "You were not the one who forged my tax records."
"It must have been hard for you."
Sesshoumaru nodded, but didn't elaborate any further. He still could not talk about his life in the prison. Talking about it would bring back the memories he had fought hard to forget.
"Things looked very bleak the day I got out," the young man finally admitted. "I didn't really have anything, not even a place to go. But I've come a long way since then. I have endured, and I have received help from friends. Myoga gave me the job as Kagome's assistant. Miroku volunteered to take me in."
"You've been living with Miroku?" Katsuo exclaimed, surprised.
"I will be moving out soon, though. Kagome and I have decided to live together."
Katsuo smiled in spite of himself.
"You could have found no one better," he said with absolute sincerity.
"I know," Sesshoumaru simply replied. "Otherwise I would not have proposed to her." he added with a mocking grin.
Katsuo leaned back in his chair and glanced at the ceiling thoughtfully.
"I will naturally write your name back in the family registry." he said after a while. It was as clear an apology as any, even though it wasn't worded like one.
"You might want to add Rin's name in too, while you're at it," Sesshoumaru reminded. "And I'd like to bring her over one day to properly introduce her to her grandparents."
Katsuo paled and his eyes had grown wide. He had not made the connection yet, even when 'Suzuki Hikaru' had turned out to be his own son in a disguise.
"Rin-chan is…" Katsuo stammered, too shocked to produce a complete sentence.
"She's your granddaughter;" Sesshoumaru admitted calmly. "Though I don't know her mother's name or even remember her face. I'm not too proud of that night, but as I had just lost everything I owned, I wanted to escape the reality for a moment. Rin's mother couldn't take care of her and abandoned her. The twins took her in, I didn't even learn of her existence until I got out."
Katsuo stayed silent, digesting this new information Sesshoumaru had just told him.
"I'd love that," the elder man finally said, "and Izayoi will be delighted. Please, bring her over as soon as you can."
"It is I who should be thanking you," Katsuo said gravely.
"For what?" Sesshoumaru inquired curiously.
"For not blaming this old fool for his sins. For forgiving me though I've wronged you so. For bringing dear Kagome into this family. For granting me my first grandchild."
"I couldn't ask for a better son."
Sesshoumaru regarded his father in silence. Then, a dry smirk twisted the young man's lips.
"You have your failings, but even so you still are my father."
Later than evening, Sesshoumaru was lying in the bed, holding Kagome in his arms.
"Did you talk with Katsuo-sama?" the woman asked as he was idly playing with her hair.
Sesshoumaru smiled in the dark.
"I bet he will make you call him "father" from now on."
"Probably," Kagome agreed, equally amused by the thought.
"But yes," Sesshoumaru continued, "we talked. He seemed to have beaten himself quite a lot."
"He's a passionate man," Kagome said. "So I suppose he gives his all, even when repenting."
"We agreed that I will visit them soon to formally introduce Rin."
"Good." Kagome snuggled up closer to Sesshoumaru. "Did he promise to give you the money?"
"Yes. Though I think to escape his guilt he would have given me anything I asked. He's foolish like that. He should know that I don't easily depend on others."
"That's because you're a stubborn git," Kagome supplied playfully. "But getting back your company is the only thing that you want, right? You'll pay him back the money in no time, too, so don't worry."
"There is something I want more than any enterprise," Sesshoumaru said coyly, tightening his hold of the woman in his arms.
"Oh? And what would that be?" Kagome teasingly asked, looking into his amber eyes.
"Guess," he murmured as he leaned in and caught the woman's lips in a kiss.
It was curious how all kinds of stuff, items and personal belongings, would accumulate. Eight months ago when Myoga had dropped him off to this apartment, Sesshoumaru had been as good as empty handed. And yet, now there appeared to be boxes upon boxes of all kinds of things, to be packed into Miroku's car to be transported.
Of course, more than one box was packed with Rin's toys and clothes and other necessities. Still, Sesshoumaru was very glad that Rin's bed was pretty much the only piece of furniture they would have to move, seeing how Kagome's house was already fully furnished.
Inuyasha walked into the apartment after having carried another box into the car. He had come to give a hand with the moving. Kikyo would have loved to come to help as well, but she had just recently landed a lead role in a new, much awaited anime, and would very busy for the next weeks. Miroku was outside by the car, loading the boxes in so that they would all fit. Kagome was at home already, preparing Rin's room and keeping the children out of the way
Sango was back at her own apartment, finishing up. As soon as Sesshoumaru and Rin – and their belongings – were gone, she would be moving in with Miroku. They had been planning it for a while, and now when Sesshoumaru and Rin were moving to live with Kagome and Shippo, the timing was perfect. Inuyasha, though, was not looking forward to hauling her furniture all the way to the lecher's apartment.
Perhaps, though, Sango was avoiding Sesshoumaru and Kagome on purpose. She still had not quite forgiven them for leaving her in the dark about Hikaru's true identity. For months, everyone had known but her! Sango had been absolutely livid, although she understood that Kagome couldn't have betrayed Sesshoumaru's confidence, and that Sesshoumaru had wanted to as few people to know as possible.
After all, he had only told the truth to his parents like 4-5 days ago.
Sesshoumaru sighed to himself and looked around the stripped down bedroom in which he and Rin had lived for the past 8 months. He took a firm hold of the cardboard box in his arms and straightened himself.
"Is that the last one?" the gruff voice of his little brother came from the doorway.
"Yes," Sesshoumaru replied.
Inuyasha regarded his brother in silence and then grinned. He walked over to the man whom he had hated through most of his life, but with whom he had finally managed to properly connect.
Inuyasha amiably slapped Sesshoumaru's shoulder, earning a glare from the older man.
"C'mon, Sess. Let's get you to your new home."
Sesshoumaru nodded, and with his brother, walked out of Miroku's apartment.
It was a day which none of them would ever forget. The day when Yamasaki Sesshoumaru finally returned to Kyoto Records after his long absence.
One morning he just simply walked in, donning a neat black suit and an elegant midnight blue tie, his hair the same silver hue though cut short so that it barely reached past his shoulders. His pale, tattooed face was as much an expressionless mask as it had ever been, but there was a slight change there too. In his warm amber eyes was a soft look that had not been there before.
And right by the legendary businessman's side walked no other than Kagome, in black high heels, grey pencil skirt and wearing a pale blue blouse and her long black hair up on a high ponytail. Her blue eyes were sparkling, echoing the warm smile on her lips.
Everyone was stunned, and for a while the whole office came to a complete halt. The secretaries, assistants and other young office ladies shrieked out in their surprise. The longer-time employees solemnly welcomed back the man under whom they had started to work in this company, too moved by the touching atmosphere to trust their voices. The vice president Jaken, who had always held enormous amount of respect towards the company's founder, actually fell onto the floor, crying at the sight of his boss returning at long last.
And through the turmoil and overwhelming emotions of the reunion, Kagome stood by Sesshoumaru's side, silently supporting him through this very important day.
She had been ready and willing to give up her position as the CEO. She had always been prepared to step down as soon as Sesshoumaru would get back – but he had butchered that idea at the spot.
"Have these 8 months taught you nothing?" the man had scoffed in disbelief. "My company needs you. We're a team, Kagome."
After a short silence, Sesshoumaru had spoken again, in that quiet, soft voice she could not resist.
"I need you."
Kagome had given in, and snuggled closer to the dear, dear man.
They were slowly getting ready to become a family. All of them felt slightly nervous – well, maybe save for the children – for it would be the first time for them all to actually be a part of a family of their own. And as Kagome kept thinking of her new family, a growing part in her wanted to devote less time for work and more into being a mother for Shippo and Rin. Although she had lost her trusted assistant, as the owner of the company Sesshoumaru could well shoulder at least half the responsibilities and the work load that had previously been all on her. That was why she would now be able to work shorter days and would thus have more time for her family.
Maybe one day, when the time would be right, she would leave the hectic business life behind and take over the full-time job of a home maker. But no one could know what the future had in store. Right now, it was enough for her to have this family of four come together. Right here, she was content to stay with Sesshoumaru, supporting the man who loved her dearly and needed her by his side.
There was a soft knock on the door. Sesshoumaru bid the person to enter.
Kagome walked in and nodded and smiled to all of the Board of Management, with whom Sesshoumaru was currently engaged in a meeting.
The Board members had all been shocked to silence at the revelation of "Suzuki Hikaru's" true identity – well, to be more precise, only half of them had been bewildered, as Myoga, Saiya and Toutousai, all of whom were Katsuo's old friends, had been aware of the truth the whole time, being the culprits who had smuggled Sesshoumaru to work for the company in his disguise.
Kaede, especially, had been furious, complaining to her former student that is Kagome had but told her the truth from the beginning, she wouldn't have been so set against the CEO's and her "assistant's" relationship.
Kagewaki Hitomi, the youngest member of the board, had gone pale. There had been a haunted look in his eyes ever since the truth had come out about the evil deeds of his both uncles. To compensate, he had offered to sell all his shares of Kyoto Records and to leave the Board of Management. Sesshoumaru had declined that offer right away, saying that there were rotten apples in every family tree.
"I'm sorry to interrupt your meeting," Kagome said apologetically.
"That's fine, Kagome-san," Goshinki said.
Kagome smiled again and then walked over to her fiancé. Sesshoumaru turned to place a gentle kiss on the woman's lips, not caring about the crowd of the on-looking (mostly) old people, all with those typical knowing smiles plastered on their faces.
"I'm leaving now. I'll pick up the kids and then start making the dinner. Don't be too late, ok?"
Sesshoumaru brushed a stray lock behind Kagome's ear, briefly caressing her cheek in the process.
"I won't." he promised.
With a lingering touch of his shoulder, Kagome turned and walked out of the conference room after bidding good bye to everyone.
Sesshoumaru leaned back in his chair after the door had been pulled shut again, and let his gaze wander around the room.
"Wipe those grins off your faces," he barked, one eyebrow arched. "We have this meeting to take care of."
Kagome was in the kitchen, chopping up vegetables for the salad she was preparing to be served together with the dinner. The rice had already been cooked, the sauce prepared, the table set. Shippo and Rin were in the living room, watching their favourite anime movie for the umpteenth time. Kagome could swear she knew the lines by heart by now. Still, she had never felt this happy in her whole life. Even reaching her goal of climbing to the top of the business world had not filled her with this kind of warmth, with intense emotions such as these.
It was all thanks to Sesshoumaru.
Shippo and Rin had been delighted at the news of their parents getting married. Neither of them had ever had a proper family before. Shippo had been so happy that the young boy had burst into tears. It was like a dream come true! Not only would he have a father, but he would have his bestest friend Rin as his sister!
Sesshoumaru had been right, Kagome mused to herself as she mixed the sliced cucumber and tomatoes in with the lettuce. The children had been far more ready and willing to accept this change in their life than either she or Sesshoumaru had been. In the hindsight, she felt like laughing as she remembered how hard she had tried to fight against her budding feelings towards Sesshoumaru. She should have let go and let the love take over a long, long time ago.
The door opened and then closed. A muffled, low "Tadaima" floated from the entrance hall, soon followed by the excited squeals of Shippo and Rin running to welcome their father back home.
Kagome smiled to herself as she rinsed the knife clean under the running water. She had just set the utensil aside when she felt arms wrapping around her waist and a comforting weight leaning against her back.
"I'm back," his soft voice whispered right by her ear, in the way that made her shiver in anticipation. She turned around in the circle of his arms, wrapping her own arms around his neck before looking into those warm amber eyes that always seemed to be alight with love whenever she would lock her gaze with his.
"Welcome home," she gently replied and leaned into a kiss.
Read! Exclusive interview with Yamasaki Sesshoumaru!
The true Cinderella story!
written by Iemoto Eri
A week ago Yamasaki Sesshoumaru held the very first press conference since he was convicted of a tax fraud under false charges four years ago. Ever since it recently came to light in the police investigation of Kyoto Records' CEO Higurashi Kagome's kidnapping case that Mr. Yamasaki had in fact been innocent all along, it stirred up the whole nation. Even before that bit of news, Mr. Yamasaki had already been free for half a year. Yet, no one had caught a sight of him. He had not contacted anyone. It was as if Yamasaki Sesshoumaru had completely vanished.
That's why, the reporters flocking to Mr. Yamasaki's press conference were all burning with questions. Where had he been hiding for six months? Why had he never contacted the media to tell his side of the story? What had he to say about the injustice he had suffered? How did he feel about his name finally having been cleared?
Because of all those unanswered questions, it was a great shock to all of the representatives of media gathered, that Yamasaki Sesshoumaru did not address any of that right away.
The very first thing Mr. Yamasaki announced in his press conference was his engagement to none other than CEO Higurashi!
Hearing such happy news for the both of them, after suffering through so many hardships, really made me feel that this was the perfect happy ending – and that's why I decided to get down to the bottom of this surprising news item. The sudden announcement of the engagement spurred several questions I wanted answered – like when had Mr. Yamasaki and Miss Higurashi even met?
I met with Yamasaki Sesshoumaru and Higurashi Kagome at their work place, the head office of Kyoto Records, the successful recording company, which Mr. Yamasaki once founded and lost. He has recently assumed back his position as the owner, having bought the majority of shares back with the help of his father, Minister Yamasaki Katsuo.
Curious to find out how the love story began for the two true Cinderellas of the financial world, I was very surprised to hear a tale unfolding, one so unbelievable that it could have been right out of a TV drama or from the pages of a shoujo manga!
Hiten chuckled to himself and put down the magazine. He didn't need to read any further. He had been there after all, he knew what had happened. He grabbed the latest issue of JUMP, and pulled his hat down to better cover his face as he walked over to the cashier to pay it and then walked out of the convenience store. He well knew he shouldn't be out – even if the former senator Kagewaki Naraku was locked up, waiting for the court proceedings to begin, some of his many pals might still be out there, trying to find out the culprit who had leaked the information to media that had in the end caused him to get arrested. On top of that, the police were also looking for him, trying to save their face after having had their evidence swiped and leaked. Although it was a bit frustrating to lay low – Hiten wasn't much of a people person, and Raionigumi's headquarters was a noisy place, even if it was where he'd be most safe – the hacker was more than happy to hide. After all, he had done what he could. They had got the bad guy, and he had made it happen! Besides, if Ryuukotsusei was to admit his involvement in the tape's disappearance, he'd get canned for sure. Hiten did not want that. He liked Ryuukotsusei; he wasn't too bad for a cop.
Heading back to the yakuza gang's headquarters, Hiten whistled to himself.
In the end, it all had worked out better than he could have hoped for. The bad guys would all be brought to justice. And what was the most important, the hacker thought as his thoughts wandered back to the article in the magazine he had skimmed in the store, Hikaru…
Hiten huffed to himself. Old habits really die hard. Suzuki Hikaru was history, and from now on Hiten should learn to call his former cell name by his real name.
Most importantly, Sesshoumaru had got his girl in the end.