Light of My Life
Title: Light of My Life
Characters: Sesshoumaru/Kagome, Inuyasha/Koyama, Sango/Miroku
Summary: A powerful prophecy brings mortal enemies together, but prejudice may well tear them apart and spell the end of all inuyoukai.
Disclaimer: No ownership.
Note: "Seizukiko" means "Child of the Western Moon" with the kanji Kagome would have picked. To hide her daughter's ancestry, she could use other kanji such as "Star Map" for "Seizu" and "spirit" for "ki" with "child" for "ko". Since Japanese parents are known to choose a name that sounds nice first and pick kanji that fit it after, no one would wonder why Kagome would do this. Since the name ends in "ko" most of the villagers would assume she had chosen a popular name from her own time since "ko" names were not prevalent in this era of Japanese history. Sesshoumaru would know immediately that Kagome had chosen only a 3-Kanji name to match his and his other pups' (as Kagome made that point during their naming in chapter 7. Thus he heard Sei/Zuki(Tsuki)/Ko and correctly guessed the true meaning of her name. The multiple kanji with identical pronunciations is the reason the pups' names were defined during the naming, so the kanji would be correctly recorded. Some Japanese children do not have kanji for their names, such as Kagome. Her name would always be written in hiragana.
Chapter 24: To Meet a Child
Sesshoumaru had never wanted to kill someone as much as he wanted to kill his mother at that instant. The four females were constantly bickering over everything, including how the children should be dressed, what they should eat, and where they should be allowed to play. At the moment, the four females were sitting at the table, dining on a rice dish his chefs had prepared, and each was complaining about a different part. Fuyumi did not eat meat from birds, so she removed all the chicken from her meal and asked that the chef not prepare such insulting food again. Haruki did not say much, except that the vegetables tasted old, which was a great insult considering that they had been picked that morning. Yurieko was not a fan of the presentation and the fact that there was more rice than meat. Fuyumi was perfectly happy to let the other female eat her chicken. Irunami was used to a simpler diet and complained that such rich foods would ruin her figure. She also thought that the children should eat more vegetables and less meat, preferably only the minimum to keep their powers strong.
The pups, to their credit, did not speak, but it was clear they did not approve of any of the females. The trip to the lake that morning had not gone well, they did not like the colors of the kimonos that Sesshoumaru's prized seamstress had made for them, they did not like their beds, and they were not fans of the servants. All-in-all, none of the females liked the castle, the clothes, or the food, and all wanted to control the pups and win the hand of the Western Lord. Sesshoumaru resisted the urge to groan and bury his head in his hands as he had seen Kagome do once. Picking a mate was far too stressful.
The sound of the doors opening paused the bickering, and Sesshoumaru looked up to see who dared to disturb them. Shippo entered hastily, obviously having traveled very far very fast, eagerness in his step. He bowed briefly, waiting for permission to speak. The Lord inclined his head. "Sesshoumaru-sama, I have found something during my brief stint with the military that you might find of some note. I believe that all of us should make a journey to see it."
"What would catch this Sesshoumaru's attention?"
"I think for the sake of this discovery, and knowing your mother, perhaps I should keep this one secret for now."
Sesshoumaru considered the kit's words, knowing that he had raised him with a strong sense of discretion, especially where Satori was concerned. Rising from the table, the taiyoukai gestured for the servants to clear it, little caring if the picky inuyoukai females were finished eating. His children rose and gathered around Shippo, welcoming their big brother home, as the four women began to badger him with questions.
"Silence," he commanded, his voice ringing with authority. "You four will be allowed to stay here and entertain yourselves while this Sesshoumaru makes a brief journey."
"You're in the middle of courting for a mate and you run off as soon as some kitsune says he found something interesting? What kind of courtship is that?"
"It little matters what you think." He would not bother to speak Haruki's name. "This kitsune is like a son in this pack and this Sesshoumaru has raised him to be intelligent. If he says there is something to see, then there is something to see that is more important than courting for a mate. You will be here when this Sesshoumaru returns." With that, he turned on his heel and left the dining hall, Shippo and six pups behind him. He would be glad to get out of the palace and away from them for a while.
"A little more south."
"Shippo, where are you leading us? I have been to these forests before, but I do not recognize them now."
"I recognize where we are. You can land now; we need to walk the rest of the way."
Shippo headed into the forest, confident of his direction, Sesshoumaru one step behind him. The forest had changed in ten years, as had much of the landscape on the way, and Sesshoumaru was not as familiar with the Eastern Lands as he was with the Western Lands. However, he had a feeling that he was near Kagome's village, and his heart raced at the thought of seeing her again, if only from afar. After so many years apart, he knew that he could control his beast, but he wanted to touch her at least once more before her human life expired.
Shippo paused near a small clearing, raising his hand for the others to be still and quiet. Sesshoumaru had already masked their scents and auras in case any powerful youkai near the town decided to attack, so he waited patiently as Shippo entered the clearing.
"Little one? Are you here today?"
A small child peeked around a nearby tree, and Shippo smiled. "You did remember that I was going to bring you a present today, didn't you?"
"I remembered. I wasn't sure if you meant it, though. Mommy . . . I didn't tell her about you. I trust you, I think. But if I get in trouble she'll know."
"I know she will, because she's a very good mother." Sesshoumaru wondered why the kit was making light conversation with a human child. Did she perhaps possess the thing he was supposed to see? "Can you come out? I have someone who wants to meet you."
"Why? Does he have my present?"
"Yes, he does. And you can trust him just as much as you trust me."
From behind Sesshoumaru, Akihikomaru gasped in alarm, finally recognizing the soft voice. Though usually raised in excitement or joy, the whispered tones belonged to none other than his half-sister, the hanyou Sesshoumaru was not supposed to learn existed. Shippo whirled at the sound, his eyes narrowed as his suspicions were confirmed. The pup shrank back behind his father, knowing that he was going to get in some trouble for keeping this secret. Shippo waved, and Sesshoumaru stepped forward.
Seizukiko was not sure why she had come back to the clearing or why she trusted the tall kitsune youkai. However, he had promised to give her a birthday present, and she wanted to trust him to keep his promise. Besides, she had a little of her mother's power and could shock any youkai with reiki long enough to escape and run home if he tried to hurt her. Biting her lip, she walked into the clearing, tail waving in agitation.
From behind the kitsune, another youkai entered the clearing. He was tall, with long silver hair and maroon stripes on his pale cheeks and hands. He was clearly a noble youkai, dressed in a white and red silk kimono, and he had a blue moon on his forehead. The girl racked her brains trying to remember where she had heard of a blue moon before, and she yipped in shock as it hit her. Her mother had described her father to her a couple of weeks earlier, saying that he had silver hair, golden eyes, maroon stripes, and a blue moon. Staring up at the youkai before her, knowing that he was an inu, Seizukiko fell to her knees with tears of joy in her eyes.
Sesshoumaru froze, eyes and nose frantically examining the hanyou pup kneeling in front of him. She had silver hair, tinted a pale blue, and deep sapphire eyes, the same color as Kagome's eyes. Something in her face reminded him of his miko, and she looked to be about ten years of age. The wind shifted at that moment, brining her scent to him, and he knew the truth. She was his child with Kagome, his daughter.
"Yes," he whispered, kneeling down and lifting the child into his arms. She latched onto his neck with her little arms, crying in relief and joy, unable to stop her tears, and he felt a few of his own fall, as well. How could he have a child for ten years and never know? Why would Kagome not have returned when she realized she was pregnant?
He glanced up at Shippo and nodded, thanking him the only way he could. The kitsune bowed in return, tears in his eyes at the reunion. Suddenly the other pups exploded into action, jumping up and down and asking questions, demanding to be closer to the little girl. Sesshoumaru pulled the girl away and looked at her, memorizing her tiny face and her gentle scent. "I'm Sesshoumaru, your father," he whispered. "What's your name?"
The lord chuckled. "Kagome named you well, daughter. Tell me, do you know why she never brought you to me?"
The child nodded, her ears flattening against her skull. "She said that there's a curse and you'd all die if she went to see you. You're not going to die because you saw me, are you? I don't want to lose you. I've been seeing Akihikomaru . . ."
Sesshoumaru glanced at his son, sighing as the boy raised his hands in defense. "I see. I suppose that the disturbance I sent you and my errant brother to examine was the birth of Kagome's pup. I suppose she promised to let you visit as long as you did not tell me."
"I'm sorry, Father," Akihiko whispered. "I could not disobey."
Kaori stepped forward and sniffed the hanyou, raising one eyebrow. "It seems that the potion worked, but to what end I do not know."
Sesshoumaru looked at his daughter, silently commanding her to explain. In his arms, Seizukiko buried her face in his hair, memorizing his scent since she knew the reunion could not last. Kaori shrugged, trying to decide where to begin.
"She did not act alone, Sesshoumaru-sama," Shippo cut in. "The day after you first . . . spent the night with Kagome-san, Kaori-chan told me of a prophecy. She wasn't clear on the meaning, but she knew that if Kagome was not bound to the pack, your mother would find a way to force her out, a move that would spell the end of the Crescent Moon. She found an herb that could alter a human's fertility cycle without changing her scent, and we introduced it to Kagome's food the night before the Rights."
"Why then? Taking Kagome as my lover, I would certainly have slept with her more than that one night."
Shippo smiled at the lord, a knowing glint in his green eyes. "Sure, but would you have ever knotted with her again? It was the only night you would let yourself, and it was the only chance we would get."
Sesshoumaru shook his head. "How would a pup so young understand something like that? And how did you know of an herb with such properties?"
"I just know things, Father. And I knew that. It worked, but we were afraid that it had not. When Akihiko returned from visiting Mother Kagome and made no mention of a child, I thought we had failed. But now that I know it worked, I have no idea why it was so important. I'm sorry, Father, for tricking you and for tricking Mother Kagome like that. I know that you never wanted a hanyou pup."
Seizukiko pulled away, shock in her eyes as her tears welled up. Her father . . . didn't want her? Sesshoumaru smiled at her and kissed her forehead. "I did not want just any hanyou pup. But a child with the woman I love . . . that is a different thing entirely."
"You love my mommy? Can you go see her? Can we go with you?"
"I'm sorry, little one, but I cannot see her. Not yet. I would not know what to say. The sacrifice she made to protect my pack is larger than I ever thought to see from a human. For now, your mother cannot know that you saw me. You need to go back to her and pretend that nothing happened."
"I don't want to," Seizukiko whispered. "I want to stay with you."
"Your mother will come looking for you, little one. You must return to her. I will have Akihiko walk you back, since Kagome entrusted him with this secret, and the rest of us will stay here for the night."
"Please don't make me go." Sei's eyes filled with tears and bit her lip, trying not to cry in front of her father.
"It's getting late," Sesshoumaru whispered, "and your mother will be worried if she does not see you. We will be here tonight, and we will stay for a few days. You can come see us whenever you wish, but for now you must go."
"Yes, I promise. Be strong for me, little one."
Seizukiko straightened and brushed away her tears, letting Sesshoumaru place her on the ground. The boys surrounded her, hugging and nuzzling their sister, covering her in their scent as their instincts demanded. They stepped away as Kaori embraced the younger girl, rubbing her silver ears. "You are special, Seizukiko, but I do not know why. Soon I will and our pack will be whole once more. You will not live Inuyasha's life, shunned by humans, without a father and a pack. We are here for you."
"Ok. Thank you."
Akihiko reached over and took her hand, smiling past his tears. "Let's go, little sister. Mother Kagome is always irritable when you're late for supper."
Sesshoumaru watched them leave, feeling the unexpected welling of tears in his own eyes. A daughter with Kagome. That must have been the power surge that reached him so many years ago. His mother told him that it was nothing to concern himself with, but it appeared that he was right. A touch of destiny. Sighing, the lord stood and glanced at his somber children, eyes catching Shippo's. The kitsune nodded and vanished into the trees, off to hunt something for the pups to eat. Kaori reached up and grabbed a handful of her father's yellow obi, seeking some measure of comfort. For a child cursed with prophetic sight, she seemed oddly adrift. Her brothers were unable to comfort her as the entire family awaited Akihiko's return.
"Akihiko! I had no idea you were in the East." Kagome leaned down to hug the child, lifting her silent daughter into her arms. "We missed you at the party last week."
"I'm sorry I couldn't make it. Father . . . Father is being forced to court mates and all of the pups had to be in attendance." Akihiko reached out to comfort his sister when she paled at the words. "It's part of inuyoukai court traditions. Father must have a mate to protect his pups' claim to the Western Lands. He is purposefully choosing one that will not want pups but will raise us properly, one that is at least pleasing to look at so she can survive court functions." Kagome nodded, seemingly unconcerned, but Akihiko could smell the change in her mood. She was upset that Sesshoumaru was being forced to take a mate, knowing how much he did not want to.
"I hope you pups are happy, Akihiko. Don't let your father's chosen bitch make your lives miserable."
"Of course not. Kaori wouldn't have it."
"Our Father will never be happy, though," Seizukiko whispered. "Akihiko says that he misses you still and will always think of you, even after you've . . . passed on."
Kagome hugged her daughter closer, trying to ward off her own tears. "I know. Just as I will never be able to marry anyone. But at least time will dull his pain, after I'm gone." She suddenly caught a familiar scent, the gentle and calming touch of spring flowers that she had always associated with Kaori. "Sei, I think you're beginning to develop a scent similar to your sister's. How odd."
Akihiko cleared his throat before Kagome could ponder the change in Sei's scent. "I must be going, Mother Kagome. I spent some time playing with Sei, and I gave her a birthday present, but I am under the command of one of Father's lesser generals almost four hours' run from here. I do not want him to become suspicious, so I must bid you farewell." He stepped forward and hugged Kagome, vanishing into the forest a moment later. Seizukiko stared after him, as if wishing she could follow him.
"Supper's ready," Sango called from inside, breaking the moment.
Kagome smiled and kissed Sei's forehead. "Did you have a good time with your brother today? If I had known he was coming I would have made a treat."
"I had a good time, Mommy. But I'm hungry now."
"Then let's go eat!"