My Father's Sword – Returning Home

Sesshoumaru watched with some amusement as Shippou and Rin chased each other around the clearing. They had escaped the cave late at night, once the taiyoukai's wounds were fully healed. The Hanransha had never known they were gone. It was better that way, Sesshoumaru figured. Rin was still shaken from her encounter with Katsuna, and none of the others were prepared for battle. Not that they wouldn't have gladly gone in beside him had he chosen to drive out the Hanransha once and for all.

His eyes landed on Rin, keeping a close watch on her as she chased after Shippou. She seemed more relaxed now, as if being with the fun-loving kitsune had placed some distance between herself and the trauma she had experienced. Rin had been killed several times – death was nothing new to her. It was the fact that her death almost came at the hands of someone she trusted that was so devastating.

Kagome sat down beside him, chuckling a bit as she watched Ah-Un and Jaken merely exchange longsuffering looks and not even bother trying to keep the kids in check. "She'll be fine, Sesshoumaru." she said quietly. "Rin is strong. It will hurt, but she'll recover. That's just how she is."

"How do you know?"

Kagome pointed at Shippou. "He'll make sure of it. He thinks of her as a little sister, you know."

Sesshoumaru hadn't realized that, but now that he thought about it, it made perfect sense. Rin had often talked about Kagome and Shippou, but it was the kitsune that had attracted her attention. At the time, he thought she had a crush on him. Now he realized. She did love him. He was like a brother to her, something that not even Jaken could provide her with.

"I hope you are right." he said simply.

"I know I am." Kagome bragged.

He smirked a little at that. "What will you do when you return?" he asked. "Will the village still accept you now that you've aided a youkai?"

Kagome laughed a bit at that. Her eyes were dark as she responded. "Doubtful. And I can't go back to Edo. Inuyasha still stays there, and even though Sango and Miroku wouldn't mind me coming, he will. Besides, Kaede already has an apprentice. Edo will be well looked after."

Sesshoumaru nodded. Bits of Rin and Shippou's conversation filtered across the clearing to them.

"I tagged you, Shippou! Now you gotta catch me!"

The kitsune laughed. "That won't take long!" He charged after her. Rin nimbly jumped to the side, making Shippou skid to a halt a few yards past her. Laughing, he barreled into her, deft fingers tickling at her sides. Rin shrieked in laughter, struggling to throw him of her. Shippou, however, was not about to relinquish his position.

"You could come with us."

Kagome turned to look at Sesshoumaru. "Why would you offer that?" she asked. "Aren't you going to have enough problems with the Hanransha as it is?"

"Yes." He threw her a sideways look. "But I would be a fool if I did not acknowledge that you are a warrior. Shippou too has excellent battle skill. Rin will most likely be with me in battle. She will want the chance to exercise her aggravation."

"Nothing like almost being killed to make you want to go off and kill others." Kagome remarked dryly. Sesshoumaru couldn't tell if she was joking or not. "Then again, it couldn't be for a better reason like revenge for what they did to you." At his startled look, she smiled. "Oh, come on, Sesshoumaru. You know just how different we female humans are. We always have sentimental reasons for everything."

"You are an insufferable woman." he shot back. "But my offer stands."

"I'll gladly accept your offer." she said with a smile. "It's been far too long since I've been able to travel with anyone." For a moment, there was silence. "There's something I've been meaning to ask you."

"Hai."

"Why is it that Rin can use Tokijin?"

Sesshoumaru smirked at that. "When I had Tokijin forged, I was thinking about how much stronger Inuyasha had gotten. I realized there was actually a chance of him defeating me. Before it wouldn't have mattered, but with Rin – it was different. So I went to Kaijinbo for a blade."

"You wanted to protect Rin." Kagome surmised. "So Tokijin took up the task when you couldn't."

"Hai. There were other results as well."

"Like what?"

He smiled fondly as Rin and Shippou began their tired trek back to the adults. "From the moment she first touched the blade, she will live as long as I."

Kagome smiled as Shippou curled up in the crok of her arm. "Hey Shippou. You wanna stay with Sesshoumaru?" she asked.

"Yeah!" he exclaimed quietly. "Then I'll have someone to sparr with."

"You can help me beat up on Jaken-sama." Rin added. Jaken visibly blanched at that. Ah-Un almost split their sides laughing so hard. Sesshoumaru let the ghost of a smile flit across his face.

"Get some sleep." he said gently, running his fingers through Rin's hair. "Tomorrow we head back home."

Rin nodded and fell asleep against Sesshoumaru's chest. Shippou was curled up on the other side of Kagome, and the miko herself was leaning against his shoulder. Un smirked at the picture.

"Aw, how sweet." he teased. "A ready-made family." Sesshoumaru glared at him and sighed.

"Oh, shut up."

The End

An: Kinda a crappy chapter, but it is the LAST chapter. I am free of this story now! So drop me a line, and until next time, I remain,

Shadowblade-tara