Rina and Sessho Maru awoke to the sound of the ringing telephone. She blearily picked the phone up and mumbled, "Moshi moshi?"
"Rina?" came Kuri's voice.
"Yeah?" Rina responded.
"You do realize that you have a doctor's appointment today, right?"
Rina's eyes flew open. "Shit! What time is it?"
Crap! She had to be there at 3:30!
"I'll be there in ten minutes to pick you up," Kuri informed her before she hung up before Rina had a chance to say anything.
She turned over to shake Sessho Maru awake. He mumbled in his sleep for a moment before he opened his eyes. "Wha's going on?"
"Kuri's coming to pick me up," Rina answered.
"Tell 'er I said 'Hi'," he slurred, not quite awake.
"Sessho," she chuckled. "You need to wake up, baby."
"Why?" he almost whined, a very uncharacteristic action for the great Lord Sessho Maru. Rina couldn't help but bark out a laugh at him.
"Because Kuri still thinks you're dead, I have a doctor's appointment to get to, and I think it'll take a few minutes for Kuri to let it sink in that you're not dead."
Sessho Maru sat up at that. "Good point." He slid out of bed and Rina couldn't help but bite her lip at all that succulent bare flesh that she just loved tasting.
"What are we going to tell her?" he asked as they dressed.
"The truth," Rina said. "She's the only one out of the band that knows what you are. The rest of them? Well, we're probably going to have to tell them that though we'd thought you were dead, you were actually in a coma somewhere and you woke up, went through rehabilitation, and that you only just found me."
"Doesn't sound too far off the truth," Sessho Maru said thoughtfully.
"Nope," Rina agreed. "And the less I have to lie, the better that I feel."
She heard Kuri's car pull up a couple minutes later.
"Wait here a minute," Rina advised as she opened the door to go outside and greet Kuri.
Kuri was just getting out of the car when Rina shut the door behind her.
"You ready to go?" Kuri greeted her an instant before she actually took a look at Rina's nervous face. "Um, what's going on?"
"Ok, I really need for you to not freak out," Rina said as she took a deep breath.
Kuri gave pause as she studied Rina's features. "What's happened? You look different. You look.....happy!" She ran up to Rina and looked closer. Then she gasped. "Knowing you like I do, there's only one thing that could make you look this happy........but how can it be?" She gave Rina a confused look. "What the hell is going on, Rina? How could Sessho Maru be alive? You saw him die!"
Rina grabbed Kuri's arm and pulled her inside where Sessho Maru was waiting, looking apprehensive and hesitant. Sure enough, Kuri's jaw dropped, her bag dropped out of one hand and her keys dropped out of the other. Only a second later she started to collapse on the ground in shock. Rina caught her and helped her over to the couch.
"How?" Kuri managed to blurt. Sessho Maru proceeded to tell her everything that he had told Rina two days ago.
"And then when I finally was able to get back here, I found her on the beach the day before yesterday and here I've been ever since," he finished.
"Jesus, that's heavy," Kuri breathed. She looked over at Rina. "You have got to have the most fucked-up life I have ever seen. This is some shit that only happens in either the movies or in a goddamn soap opera."
Rina winced as she could see Kuri coming close to the breaking point. In such times, it was usually just best to sit there, be quiet, and let Kuri have her rant.
To distract her friend, she held up her watch. "I would seriously love to let you blow off some steam, but doctor's appointment, remember?"
As usual when Kuri was offered a distraction from her ire, she changed tones instantly. "And today is when you find out what the baby is, right?"
Rina turned to explain to Sessho Maru. "I get my ultrasound today, finally." Then she explained what she meant. "An ultrasound is a machine that can give images from inside a person's body. In this case, we're looking at the baby today and I'll be able to find out if it's a boy or girl."
"Incredible," Sessho Maru said. "Am I allowed to accompany you or is this a strictly woman thing?"
"Buster, you try to stay behind on this one and I'll beat you so sound that it'll make what I did to Hinkotsu look like a party," Rina threatened, though there was no missing the playful note in her voice.
"Pregnancy hormones: ain't they a bitch?" Kuri said cheerfully. "Welcome back, Sessho Maru, she's all yours now!" She walked out to her car cackling at her wit.
Sessho Maru groaned exaggeratedly. "Oh gods, what have I gotten myself into?"
Rina glared at him open-mouthed in mock outrage. Sessho Maru made a show of cowering before her. "Sorry," he practically squeaked.
They piled into Kuri's car and started the drive to the doctor office. On the way, they filled Kuri in on the rest of what had happened over the past few months as to what brought about Sessho Maru's revival.
"Whew!" Kuri whistled. "That's heavy." She shook her head as Sessho Maru wrapped his tale. "I'm glad that you were able to come back, though. I mean, I know that sounds so blasé to say, but I really don't know what else I can say."
"Trust me," said Rina. "We know it sounds way out there. But I don't even care. I'm just so grateful that he's alive." She shot Sessho Maru a loving smile which he returned.
"I am too," Kuri agreed. "After seeing how these past few months have been, I'm so happy for you guys. I guess miracles really do happen once in a while."
They got to the doctor's office where Rina quietly explained more to Sessho Maru about her doctor visits up to that point.
"So all that's happening today is finding out if the baby's a boy or girl?" Sessho Maru clarified.
"Yeah. If it were anything else, I'd have just rescheduled, but I just couldn't miss this." Rina smiled at him, feeling her first genuine lick of excitement about their baby. It's not that she hadn't been excited to be pregnant, it was just that it was more complete now that she had her mate back.
Soon they were called back to a room that had an ultrasound machine in it. The technician came in, giving them a friendly greeting before having Rina lay down on the table and having her pants drawn down to right above her pubic area and her shirt pulled up right under her breasts. Rina shivered as the technician squirted the jelly on her slightly protruding belly.
"That's cold," she giggled a little.
"Sorry," the technician responded with a laugh. "Normally we're able to keep the jelly warmer than this, but the warmer crapped out on us."
A moment later, the screen lit up with 3-D images of their child. Sessho Maru watched with rapt awe as he beheld his child, looking almost as real as though they could pick up the baby and hold it right then and there. The technician did several measurements to decipher the development of the baby before pronouncing the baby to be developing beautifully.
"Would you like to know the sex?" she asked.
Both Rina and Sessho Maru nodded eagerly.
She moved the device over Rina's belly once more til she found what she was looking for.
Finally she said, "Ah! There we go!" She froze the image and printed out a picture before announcing jovially, "It's a girl!"
Rina's eyes filled with tears of love and adoration as she completely fell in love with her and Sessho Maru's daughter wholly and completely.
"Huh, that's interesting," the technician mused as she moved the ultrasound microphone over Rina's belly again. She'd gotten another angle of the baby's head. She was looking at her ears.
"I've never seen a baby with pointy ears before."
Rina almost blanched. She hadn't thought about that. She felt a hot blush creeping up her neck as she wondered what to tell her.
"They kinda run in my family," Sessho Maru said smoothly and easily. "Never really had an explanation, it was just hereditary."
"Huh," the technician said lightly. She printed out pictures of the baby's face and even managed to catch their daughter in the action of sucking her thumb. "Oh, I just love it when I get those shots! They are some of the most precious pictures ever! It helps give a lot of people the realization that their baby is a complete human being to see such things. They become more than just a picture on a screen long before they leave the womb."
Rina had had to hold back a little chuckle at the "complete human being" phrase. Even Kuri had cleared her throat innocently to suppress a laugh. Sessho Maru had taken to start looking around at the different pictures and diagrams on the walls.
When they left the office, clutching those precious pictures, they'd promptly broken into peals of laughter when they reached the safety of Kuri's car.
"I so thought I was going to lose it in there!" Kuri crowed as she tried to regain her breathing. "Nice save on the whole pointy ears thing! I thought Rina was going to explode while trying to think of something to say!"
Rina broke out laughing again. "I completely drew a blank! I hadn't thought of the possibility that the baby wouldn't look completely human when I set the ultrasound appointment much less what the doctors are going to think when they deliver a demon child!"
Sessho Maru chuckled again. "That's the benefit of always being so deadpan. No one thinks anything of it when one manages to maintain their composure."
"Oh, like how you maintained your composure when she made that 'complete human being' crack?" Kuri teased.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Sessho Maru said in a mimic of his tone that he'd used to brush off the pointy ears remark the technician had made.
Rina's laughter died down as she gazed again at the pictures of her daughter. Her and Sessho Maru's daughter. She looked adoringly at the picture of the baby sucking her little thumb.
"I can't wait to tell Inu Yasha and Kagome about their upcoming niece," Rina remarked. "I bet she and Kit are going to be best friends."
"How about we go over there tomorrow and inform them of the good news?" Sessho Maru offered. "Unless you'd rather go today."
Rina shook her head forcefully. "Huh uh. I just got you back and like hell I'm going to go anywhere today that I don't absolutely have to. I'm not done with my alone time with you yet."
Sessho Maru chuckled. He understood. So did Kuri.
"I'll just drop you guys off when I get you home and I'll come back to visit later so we can discuss how to break this to the band."
Rina nodded. "Sounds good," she agreed and Sessho Maru nodded the affirmative.
They went inside their little house when Kuri dropped them off. Sessho Maru picked her up in his arms as he always loved doing. Even now at almost 5 months into her pregnancy, he could still make her feel so petite. They spent the rest of the day and night continuing to get reacquainted and trying to make up for all the months they'd been apart. Soft, tender caresses, feather-light kisses, sweet, breathy moans of pleasure—everything they'd missed out on for over five months.
When Rina fell asleep in his arms, Sessho Maru stayed up for hours just watching her sleep, drinking in the sight of her sweet face peaceful in repose. The sight of her slightly swollen belly, rounding and filled with their child. His heart ached so much with the joy of it he thought it might explode in his breast. He gently laid a hand over her abdomen and smiled when he felt the fluttering movements of the baby. It was almost like she were saying hello, that she wanted to get to know him too. Sessho Maru silently swore to himself that there was no way in hell that he was leaving Rina's side ever again. He was still shaken to the depths of his very soul on how close he'd come to not getting to be with Rina. How close he'd come to being dead forever and left only with being able to glimpse Rina across eternity. Everything he could have missed out on had Hinkotsu been successful in killing him. He thanked the gods and goddesses for what had to have been the thousandth time for Toto-Sai knowing how to bring him back. He knew he would not get such a chance ever again.
When Sessho Maru woke up the next morning, he already knew that Rina was cooking breakfast in the kitchen. Well acquainted with her cooking by now, he caught the scent of pancakes, fried eggs, bacon, and sausage on the stove. He had once asked her why she didn't eat Japanese-style breakfasts.
"My birth mother used to make this for me when I was a child before she and my father died. I miss her breakfasts." Sessho Maru had smiled at her explanation even though his heart had ached for her. There were many days that he missed his father, found himself wishing that he could let him know that the lessons he had taught him as a child had taken root after all. He just didn't know it until Rin and Rina.
Now, as he walked into the kitchen to wrap his arms around his mate from behind, a new thought slammed into his mind.
"Rina?" he asked quietly.
"What is it, my love?" she asked tenderly as she leaned her head back against his shoulder, relishing his embrace.
"I've been thinking," he began. Rina turned around in his arms so she could look him in his beautiful golden eyes.
"I've been thinking," he said again, "about staying here."
Rina tilted her head curiously. Finally it dawned on her. "Permanently?"
Sessho Maru nodded quietly. "I never want to leave your side again, especially not in my era. I already lost you once and you me. I can't go through that again. I can't put you through that again. If I die again, I won't be able to come back again. That was a once in a lifetime miracle we were granted."
Rina nodded seriously, though her eyes held a troubled expression. "But Sessho, what about Inu Yasha? You two have finally been bonding as brothers. Are you going to just give that up? What about Jaken? He'd be lost without you."
Sessho Maru's eyes lowered. She was right. Still. "Alright, how about this then, my love? What if we stay here the majority of the time, I make Inu Yasha the steward of my lands, and we go back for frequent visits?"
Rina bit her lip thoughtfully. It was awfully tempting. To raise their child here in the modern era where it was far safer for her and yet still be able to take her back to the Feudal era where she could more be herself, get to be around her aunt, uncle, and cousin. It definitely had a lot of appeal.
"Why don't you talk about it with Inu Yasha? We're still going to go visit them today, yes?"
"Yes, we are," Sessho Maru confirmed. "So you approve of my idea?"
Rina smiled. "I think it's a fine idea, my love. It would definitely carry a lot of perks."
After breakfast, they got dressed and made the trip across town to Kagome's family's shrine. It felt like it had been ages since Rina had last taken the plunge into the well and yet the sight and the feel of the energy flowing around them was so familiar that it seemed like it had been just yesterday. Upon arriving at the other side, Sessho Maru promptly scooped Rina up in his arms and carried her like a priceless treasure to Kaede's village. There was no way in hell that Sessho Maru was going to allow his pregnant mate to exert herself. Not if he could help it.
Inu Yasha met them at the outskirts of the village. The expression on Inu Yasha's face was one of pure disbelief mixed with elated joy. "So, it's true!" he shouted as they approached. "You really are alive! Kagome had told me but I could scarcely believe it!" Inu Yasha threw his arms around his brother much to Sessho Maru and Rina's surprise. They'd come a long way in the past almost-two years, but never once had they engaged in any sort of physical affection. That just wasn't their way. Still, Sessho Maru did not reject his younger half brother. Rather, he embraced Inu Yasha right back.
Pulling back, Inu Yasha asked, "Has Rina told you, brother?"
Sessho Maru smiled widely. "She has. I even joined her at an appointment the other day. We got to see the baby on the ultrasound--"
"Isn't that the most amazing thing you ever saw?" Inu Yasha blurted. "I still have the pictures of Kit in my haori."
"How did they not notice her ears?" Sessho Maru wondered.
"Her hair was already so thick that the ultrasound machine just didn't really pick it up, I guess. Honestly, I don't really know." Inu Yasha gave an impatient bounce. "So, do you have pictures? Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Girl," Rina pronounced proudly.
"Well, pull 'em out! I wanna see the pictures of my niece!" Inu Yasha demanded.
Rina couldn't help a laugh at her brother-in-law. She pulled her wallet out of her bag and pulled out the pictures, showing him the ones where she was being measured, the one that proclaimed the baby to be a girl, and, saving the best for last, the one of the baby sucking her thumb. It couldn't be missed how Sessho Maru shone with pride as Inu Yasha gloated about his adorable niece.
"Oh, we've got to hurry. Kagome will 'Sit' me into the next century if I don't show these to her immediately." Neither Rina nor Sessho Maru could help a laugh as Inu Yasha gave a mock-disdainful tug at the charmed prayer beads that hung about his neck. He'd been wearing them since he and Kagome had met after Kaede had put them on him. It had been a means of keeping Inu Yasha from getting too close to the Sacred Jewel. Now it was just a means of endless entertainment or for Kagome to get back at Inu Yasha whenever he pissed her off.
They got to Kaede's hut where everyone was gathered. Everyone, including Kaede, expressed their joy that Toto-Sai had been able to revive Sessho Maru and that he and Rina were reunited. They gasped and cooed over the ultrasound pictures of the baby, Sango and Kagome especially. In fact, Sango got a devilishly mischievous look in her eye.
"I wonder if it'd be possible for me to get over to the modern era to have this done." Her eyes scanned the faces of the others to see if they'd caught on. Miroku's especially.
"Why, my dear Sango," Miroku chuckled jovially, "why would you need to go have this done unless--" His words cut off as his mind finally connected the dots. He looked over at Sango, who was grinning shyly at him. Miroku was at her side in an instant. "Sango, are you serious?" he asked, taking her hand into his and pressing it to his lips, his eyes full of hope.
Sango's mahogany eyes filled with tears of joy. "Yes, Miroku. Kaede confirmed it for me three days ago. I just didn't know how to tell you." Miroku gave a cry of joy as he swept Sango into his arms while everyone else looked on in shock.
"Wow. You mean to tell me that Sango stopped slapping Miroku for his advances long enough for them to actually procreate?" Kagome asked Rina with a mischievous giggle.
Inu Yasha clapped Miroku on the back, interrupting him and Sango in the process of a kissing session that was definitely not polite for company. "Well, Miroku, I guess you don't have to keep asking around for someone to bear you a child." Miroku and Sango's faces flamed brightly at that. Sango stood up and grasped Miroku's hand.
"If you guys will excuse us, I feel a great need to get home so that Miroku and I can do more things that aren't appropriate for mixed company."
Kagome and Rina about fell over laughing at Sango making such an uncharacteristic comment. Normally she was much more modest and reserved than this. However, they were so happy to see that Sango and Miroku were so happy and in love. Now they were starting a family.
Things felt so perfect right then. Everyone was happy and content. Everyone was together. Everything was finally right with the world.
Sessho Maru waited to talk to Inu Yasha until after everyone was asleep.
"I knew you were going to talk to me about something," Inu Yasha said as Sessho Maru joined him at the fire. "That's why I didn't go to bed. What's on your mind, aniki?"
"Inu Yasha, I've decided that I'm going to live mainly in Rina's time." Inu Yasha's jaw dropped. "I know that, now that Hinkotsu has been destroyed, there isn't as much a threat here anymore, but I can't assume that for Rina and our child's sake. If something were to happen to me again, I highly doubt there'd be any coming back for me again. I can't leave Rina stranded like that again. And she and the child would be bait for any other demon wanting to try to get at me. They deserve better than that."
Finally Inu Yasha found the will to speak. "What of your lands, brother? What of me? We were finally starting to get along like brothers. I don't want to lose that."
"Nor shall you," Sessho Maru assured him. "Just because we would be mainly living there doesn't mean we wouldn't come here often to visit, nor does it mean that you and Kagome and Sango and Miroku couldn't come visit us there. And as for my lands, brother, I want you to be the steward of them. I know you would oversee the people there wisely and fairly. You could make the Western Lands thrive again in a way that I never was able."
Inu Yasha's mouth gaped open and shut with the weight of what his brother was telling him. "Are you sure, Sessho Maru?"
"I've never been so sure as this." Sessho Maru tilted his head in a pause. "I'm sure we'll be back to live again someday. Rina is going to live for many hundreds of years, as will our children. We won't be able to stay there for forever." Sessho Maru gave Inu Yasha a sidelong glance. "So, will you do this for me, my brother? Will you take care of my lands and my people in my stead?"
Inu Yasha nodded fervently. "I would be honored, my brother."
Sessho Maru felt a lot better having gotten that taken care of.
They stayed in the Feudal Era for about a week before they returned to the modern. Rina felt absolutely and blissfully happy to be back. She was thrilled that Sessho Maru had made the arrangements he'd wanted to for things to be taken care of while he made his residence in her modern world.
Rina taught Sessho Maru how to get by in her time. He magically produced himself sets of identifications and even managed to produce a glamoury for himself so as to blend in better with the modern-day humans. He took the idea from Inu Yasha, actually, who would turn full human once a month on the new moon. When he had it perfected to his satisfaction, he showed himself to Rina, who's jaw dropped wide. "Oh my gods," she gasped.
His eyes were a luminescent chocolate brown, his hair a silky, midnight black still hanging long down his back. The markings on his face were disguised. She couldn't even tell that they'd ever been there. His normally-pointy ears looked like normal, human ears. He was dressed simply in a pair of jeans that hung enticingly off his hips and a black tank top that seductively hugged his muscular, powerful torso in such a way that Rina was sure it would be criminal to let him out in public like this. Her mouth watered and her hormones spiked. She knew the moment that he scented her desire, for his eyes flared to their normal golden color as he inhaled deeply.
"I take it that you approve?" he grinned at her as he advanced toward her to take her in his arms.
"Oh, baby, I didn't think it was possible to look even more yummy than you already do, but holy green guacamole, you proved me wrong!"
Sessho Maru laughed a deep, throaty laugh as he claimed her mouth with his while he picked her up and carried her into their bedroom.
They and Kuri told the band about what happened to Sessho Maru about a week after they'd gotten back from the Feudal Era. They were about halfway through their version of it when Rina hung her head in exasperation.
"Look, I can't keep lying about this. You guys probably aren't going to believe me. Kuri, however, already knows the full truth and has seen it for herself." Rina looked up to look her band mates full in the face. "Sessho Maru isn't human. He's a demon lord from the Feudal Era. When I had disappeared for all those months last year, it was because I'd been kidnapped by another demon and sold into slavery."
One by one, despite the incredulous expressions on the faces of her friends, Rina told them everything. About Sessho Maru, about herself. Then, taking a deep breath before she could lose her nerve, she showed them her demon self. She tried to keep it from looking too scary. Still, she couldn't help a cringe when her friends jumped back, startled.
Ryuko was the first to speak, amazement dripping out of her tone. "You're not crazy. You really are a demon." Her eyes widened when Sessho Maru followed suit and showed himself a little bit. Ryuko swallowed. "So, you hadn't been attacked by an animal. You had been wounded from killing Hinkotsu."
Rina nodded. "You guys have to promise to keep this a secret," she pleaded. "I'm sorry I kept this from you for so long, but I thought it was better off for you guys not knowing."
Shoto stood up and strode over to Rina. "Why didn't you ever tell us, imouto? We wouldn't have thought you were crazy." There was no judgment in Shoto's voice. Just compassion. "I mean, it's not like we're blind. It wasn't hard to guess just by looking at him that Sessho Maru isn't human like us."
Rina had to look at Sessho Maru, who had an innocent look on his face. She cracked a smile. "Well, that's very true. But this brings us to why I have told you the truth in the first place.
"After everything that we've been through with Hinkotsu, Sessho Maru dying for a time, and everything else, he has elected to make his home here in our era rather than his. We'll still go back there to visit our friends there, but from now on, the majority of our time will be spent here."
Kuri came forward. "Hey, Rina? Could I ask you guys a question, maybe even a really big favor?" Rina gazed at her friend expectantly. "Sometime, one of the times when you guys make another visit to the Feudal Era, could I come with you? I just want to see what it's like." Rina hesitated as she looked to her mate to see what he thought of that.
Sessho Maru looked just as startled by the idea as Rina was. He considered for a moment before deciding that one visit couldn't hurt too terribly. Kuri squealed with glee as he related to her his decision on the matter.
After that, Rina got back to the point that she had been trying to make. "Sessho Maru is going to be looking quite different for the most part, at least to other peoples' perceptions. This is another reason why I wanted you guys to know the full truth. It's so you wouldn't wonder who the hell the new guy was."
As if on cue, Sessho Maru called upon his human glamoury. Ryuko and Kuri both gave approving wolf whistles. "Sexy!" hooted Ryuko. Rina had never known that it was possible to make Sessho Maru blush until that moment.