AN: Hi everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to get this one out but they're still coming. I haven't forgotten about this story. It's been so long that I just wanted to get this out as fast as I could. Please enjoy.

Echo

CHAPTER 14: A Day in the Life

Early the next morning, the shrill ring of the hotel phone woke Kagome from her sleep. She glared at it and moaned at the green numbers on the alarm clock.

"Who in the sane world calls a person at five-thirty in the morning?"

Sesshoumaru made no move to answer the phone and she was too far away to reach it. He wouldn't let her go. Still hating to wake up early no matter where in the world she was, Kaome's temper got the best of her and she borrowed some of Sesshoumaru's youki to mix it with hers for the pure satisfaction of smashing the phone into the wall.

The rumble at her back told her Sesshoumaru found her reaction amusing.

His voice was rough with sleep. "You do realize that smashing the phone was louder than the ring."

Kagome grunted and snuggled closer to the warmth at her back. She pulled Sesshoumaru's arm over her ribs and wrapped her fingers in his. This was their last day of the trip and they were scheduled to catch their plane later in the evening. She just wanted to laze around this morning and maybe do some shopping, find some souvenirs for the kids.

Right as she was about to fall back asleep, Sesshoumaru's cell phone began to vibrate.

"Someone's trying to torture me," she whined. Sesshoumaru unlocked his arms from Kagome and rolled just enough to reach it on the nightstand.

"This better be good."

Kagome could tell it was a man's voice but that was it. With just a couple grunts from Sesshoumaru, the conversation was over and he rolled back toward her, spooning her from behind.

"What did they want?"

Kagome's neck was sensitive and when Sesshoumaru buried his nose in her hair, a pleasant tingling shot straight to her gut.

"We are sleeping in today."

With a loud yawn, Kagome agreed and fell asleep again.

When she finally woke around nine-thirty, Sesshoumaru was already out of bed, reading the local paper that had been delivered with their breakfast.

She stretched like a cat waking from its nap and let out another yawn. "How long have you been up?"

He flipped to the next page in his paper and grabbed his cup of tea. "A couple of hours."

Kagome flipped to her side and watched him read. She still had a hard time believing that he wanted her and it slowly showed in her scent. She would probably always have a hard time believing that the sexy dog demon who sat with one leg crossed over the other, wearing nothing but a robe and looking delicious, was all hers. Kagome couldn't understand how a perfect demon such as him would want a frumpy, grump of a miko, who was pretty much the opposite of him in every way. Her thoughts took a downward spin and the scent of it was enough to gain Sesshoumaru's attention.

She was so depressed by her thoughts that she couldn't even look at him. Kagome rolled over in the bed and faced the door instead. The paper ruffled and was put down. Sesshoumaru's voice called out to her from across the room.

"What are you thinking of, my little miko?"

Tell him the truth? Yeah right.

"Nothing."

"Your thoughts are tainting your scent. Tell me what you are thinking of that sours it so."

Kagome sighed into her pillow and she felt the bed dip behind her. A clawed hand flipped her onto her back and she was walled in by a curtain of silver hair. Sesshoumaru straddled her body on his hands and knees and his gold eyes waited to meet hers but she never looked at him. Kagome kept her head to the side so he wouldn't have to look at her.

"I said it's nothing." Her voice was soft and pained.

"Why do you lie?"

"I'm not-"

"You are." His voice was rough with anger and that tint of growl in his voice had Kagome looking at him now. "Your scent hides nothing from me. I know you feel confused and sad but I do not know why. How am I to make you and keep you happy if you do not tell me what ails you?" He was nuzzling her cheek now, letting out soft growls to calm her. "I cannot read your mind, love."

He felt a tear drop slide down and touch his cheek. Sesshoumaru kissed the edge of her eye and followed the tear's trail down to her ear.

"Why?" She was trying not to cry but he made it so hard.

He growled gently again before answering, "why what?"

There were so many answers but the one she really wanted, no, needed to know was, "why me?"

He was still placing soft kisses and nips along her jawbone and throat. "What do you mean, why you?"

Tears choked her voice. "I don't get why you want me of all people in the world. I'm a broken miko. I'm a nobody and you're…you're Sesshoumaru. Lord and business mogul, Sesshoumaru Sekiguchi. I'm the miko who almost screwed up the world and went crazy after I barely managed to save it. I just don't understand."

Sesshoumaru stopped laving attention on his miko and moved to sit next to her on the bed. It was the only way he could focus on an explanation. Kagome rolled back to her side, thinking he had finally come to the same realizations she had but his strong arm pulled her up and into his lap.

After all his centuries of living, Sesshoumaru had learned that human women were a different beast all together. Many suffered from insecurities and it looked like his little soon-to-be-mate was one of them. Granted, he hadn't given her the best explanation of what she meant to him.

"I recall, several hundred years ago, a young human woman that had accomplished something that no one before her had."

"What?" Kagome knew he was talking about her. "Pulled a sword out of a bone platform?"

"No. Something far more dangerous than that."

"What?"

Sesshoumaru's hands tightened around her. "She caught my attention." He nuzzled her hair, catching the scent of her shampoo. "It was a very reckless thing of her to do."

Kagome's body shook with laughter or sobs, she wasn't quite sure so she did both. His answer had been so unexpected. "More reckless than pulling a sword free that the demon lord coveted?"

"Yes. Much more reckless. You caught and held my attention for many years. And then after Inuyasha and I killed Magatsuhi, your soul was finally unleashed and whole again and I didn't realize at the time how it had affected me."

He remembered the decades and centuries of restlessness that conquering and warring never seemed to satisfy. Not even a rut had helped to alleviate the tension and in fact only made it worse. It was a good thing that the Council had ordered him to produce an heir. It was the only time after Kagome had made her appearance in his life that he had participated in such an activity.

Sesshoumaru held Kagome as he told her about the torture he put Inuyasha through when their sparring wasn't enough to quell the burning inside of him.

"It shames me to say that my land would have fallen apart and I would have gone mad if not for my brother's presence in my life. I did not realize until later that he suffered from the same tortures I suffered from."

Kagome had a feeling that what he was trying to tell her would be very important. She didn't say a word, just waited for him to continue.

"I took to wandering again after my son was born. Inuyasha cared for him while I searched for whatever was missing in my life. That brat had the nerve to kick me out of my own house and told me not to come back until I pulled whatever it was up my ass back out. Inuyasha knew that I had begun my descent into madness caused by lack of a mate."

Sesshoumaru felt her compassion through their ever-strengthening bond and let it wrap around his heart. "I returned from my travels and concealed my aura and scent to spy on my household. I wanted to see how my brother fared in my absence. He had done well. I had been so ensconced within my own mind that I did not realize how well he managed to take on my responsibilities. I heard his voice coming from my son's room and floated nearby to listen to what he was saying. Would you like to guess what he was filling my son's head with?"

"Stories of ramen?"

Sesshoumaru's chest shook with gentle laughter. "Yes, that too," he admitted. He took a deep breath and continued. "He was telling my son about a great warrior priestess who was blessed by the gods and was given the power to travel through time. He told Seiichi about how she loved unconditionally and even though she was human, she took in a fox demon child as her own. He told my son about how she formed a close-knit group of friends out of those who had tried to harm or kill her. Her love for others was what kept the jewel pure and what kept the darkness from taking over Japan. It was the strength of her heart that purified the evil half-demon Naraku and saved the world."

More tears ran down Kagome's face. Sesshoumaru rarely talked about Inuyasha and she could hear the respect for his brother as he continued sharing his memories with her.

"My brother credited his success in life to you." At that point Kagome broke down. She was sobbing into the comforter she had pulled up to her face. "He told my son that you were the reason he was finally happy, because you taught him to be proud of who and what he was and that if people didn't like it, that was their problem. Being half demon wasn't who he was. He determined that and you gave him strength to find himself.

"You had intrigued me from the beginning, Kagome. And then when your soul was complete, for that little while you were with us, I felt different. I felt more powerful and I did not realize what that meant until I heard my brother telling stories of you. When I heard that story, that same feeling came over me and stilled the restlessness in my soul. With every story after that, the feeling grew until I recognized it as peace."

"I…but-"

He pulled her black straggling hairs away from her puffy face and let a soft smile warm his lips. "Even in story form, you brought me peace. And then I knew what I would fight for. I realized what role you would come to play in my life."

Kagome didn't look up at him but hiccupped her way into asking, "and what role is that?"

What a stubborn and insecure creature his little mate was. "My brother kept track of the passing years and let me know the signs to watch for, the signs that let us know it was almost time to find you. The more years passed, the more excited we became but my brother grew older. He died protecting my son from a small army of the new government and their guns. Even as he lay dying, he was excited because guns meant we were closer to you."

"Oh, Inuyasha." Kagome was so tired of crying but it felt so good and she knew she needed this. She needed to grieve with Sesshoumaru, she needed to grieve for her best friend and first love. She needed closure on the life she had wanted to live but was denied.

"He was avenged. I slaughtered every military faction who dared cross into the West and set a curse on the borders of my lands. My brother was given a ceremony to honor him as a Son of the West and for his service to his people and his lands. There were many that called him friend and because of him and his strength, there were many hanyou that sought refuge and were not denied in the West, as long as they honored his wishes to remain peaceful and unbiased."

Kagome squeezed his arms and turned in to the warmth of his chest. "Thanks for telling me about him. I miss him too."

Initially, Sesshoumaru had hesitated to tell her about his brother, afraid that she might still have feelings for him. Their bond let him know otherwise. She was relieved if anything and had a similar brotherly affection for him, a pack affection and it comforted him to know that her feelings were nothing more than that.

"I tell you all of this," Sesshoumaru continued, "because my brother had been enlightened before I was. He caught me sneaking around my son's room, listening to their story time. My brother recognized the effect your stories had on me. They calmed me as nothing else had in the centuries that had passed between us. He knew that something had changed and was the one to tell me to look for you, that you would be my future."

That incredulous news had Kagome looking up at him. "What? Inuyasha told you what?"

"Inuyasha had pieced together why I had been restless and aggravated all those years. He had noticed my curiosity with you during the hunt for the jewel shards. He noticed and kept silent about it, knowing that you would eventually be sent back to the future. As the years passed and we were closer to finishing our quest, he had a suspicion that I had grown attached to you. I was so full of myself and assured of my own superiority that I had neglected to pay heed to what my instincts told me that day we killed Magatsuhi.

"You caught my attention in my father's grave. I did not realize it at the time but your soul was, in essence, trying to reach for mine but because it was incomplete and you were missing a portion of it, the pull of the souls was too weak. When we killed Magatsuhi and your soul was finally complete, I felt it again, the echo of your soul in mine but we were in the middle of a battle and I could not focus on what that meant. Then you had disappeared."

"You make it sound so logical," Kagome said. "I was attracted to you but like you said, the timing was horrible."

"It was and my suspicion is still that the jewel or some kami knew that I was not ready to listen to what my soul was trying to tell me. You were sent back to your home so I would realize that a life without you was a painful and lonely existence. I would learn that you were my only solace in this world. I have been ready for you, waiting for you to complete me and I to complete you. We were designed by the kami for each other, my little miko. I have known this for over three hundred years and so it pains me to see you in distress.

"Never doubt my affection for you. Never doubt what you mean to me. Without you, I am nothing, I have nothing. I do not want you to please me out of duty or obligation to all I have just told you. Being with you, knowing that you promise yourself to me for our lifetime brings me the greatest joy."

Kagome was on the verge of letting herself go into the happiness his words promised but a little part of her held back. "What if I do something wrong and you realize you don't want me anymore or that you made a mistake?"

"Kagome." His voice was soft but stern and she felt the youki backing up his words. "I am Sesshoumaru, Lord of the West. I have reigned without fail for over nine hundred years, the longest ruler in Japan, second only to Lord Tanaka-"

Kagome had never heard him pull rank like this before and she sobered up quickly. "I come from an honorable and powerful line of inu, descended from the great inugami himself. Inu are loyal creatures to the death and we have a surety of self that no other demon can claim. As such, we do not make mistakes."

He turned his golden and passionate golden gaze on her and she was stilled by the power she saw in them. "I do not make mistakes and I have chosen you to be my mate. You have agreed and as such, you will never question me again on my choice of mate. Do I make myself clear?"

There was that arrogance that she had missed. Sesshoumaru had seemed so out of place without it and that she had pushed him into showing it again, spoke to her about how silly she had been. Even as an enemy, Kagome knew that Sesshoumaru was honorable and kept his word. He never did anything that he did not want to do and remembering that and who he was settled the issue in her mind.

"I apologize, Sesshoumaru. It won't happen again."

He lifted her chin until her eyes met his and Kagome was rewarded to the warmest smile she had ever seen on his handsome face. All thoughts melted from her brain except that she needed him.

He leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers, savoring the quiet moment. It was broken, however, by the vibration of his cell phone.

Another peck, another soft press of their lips and he pulled away to answer his phone.

"What?" Kagome grinned at the irritation she heard in his voice. "Very well." He hung up the phone and pulled Kagome close again.

"Who was that, Sesshoumaru?"

After that emotional bout, Sesshoumaru wasn't sure Kagome would be up to the possible distressing news. He would tell her anyway.

"That was our personal security warning me about the paparazzi downstairs. We have been found out."

Kagome was still hung up in the conversation they'd had about the past. "Found out?"

Sesshoumaru gently pressed his lips against hers again. When he pulled away, there was a smirk in his eyes. "That I am newly engaged to the Shikon Miko, of course, and that she is in fact staying at this hotel."

"Aww." Kagome pouted. "I really wanted to do some shopping before we head home. There are a few things I wanted to pick up for the kids."

"We will shop, regardless of who is downstairs."

Sesshoumaru could see Kagome questioning his sanity. "And how do you suggest we get around the paparazzi?"

"We will not leave through the front doors, if that is your question."

"There are back doors?"

Sesshoumaru set a flat look on Kagome. "We have more than one mode of possible transportation. We will leave via the roof."

Kagome didn't think Sesshoumaru would hire a helicopter just to take her shopping. With a look, Sesshoumaru dared her to ask whatever was on her mind but Kagome knew that she shouldn't. She should just have faith that Sesshoumaru would take care of whatever they needed.

"Go get ready, miko. We will leave when you are ready."

True to his word, the couple departed from the hotel's roof using nothing more than Sesshoumaru's natural abilities. He sped them through the city so fast that they were nothing more than a brisk wind blowing through the streets.

Now, when Kagome had said she wanted to go shopping, the kind of shopping she had in mind was looking for small, useful trinkets at the touristy shops. Things like key chains, magnets, and mugs. Things that one would normally bring back from another country. Sesshoumaru's idea of shopping was to close down entire stores for the duration of their browsing and purchasing. The first time he did that, they were in an expensive American boutique and she had nearly thrown a fit when he offered an obscene amount of money to close the store for an hour.

Anything she had twirled in coming out of the dressing room was paid for and wrapped. He didn't even blink at the cost. But she had done a little more than blink. If he hadn't been able to sense her agitated aura about the amount of money he dropped on her, she would have blown a gasket and made a horrible scene. He caught her in time, wooed her with a few well-chosen words, and then seduced her into silence with some rather heated kisses.

The second store they entered went a little better. He had been to this store before with Rin and some of her progeny. The saleswoman recognized him right away and whisked Kagome away for the next hour and a half. They enjoyed a catered lunch at the second store that Kagome knew would make her faint if she knew just how much everything had cost.

Having satisfied Sesshoumaru's more expensive tastes, she went to regular stores and ordered him to leave the poor store manager alone. He would just have to suffer through a normal life experience. Her final purchases filled their arms. Their first purchases were to be delivered to the hotel for them. The second round, they would carry home themselves.

As soon as they made it into their suite, Kagome grilled Sesshoumaru on their flight plans and panicked when she found out they only had a couple hours to wrap everything up before they needed to head to the airport. At least they were flying on Sesshoumaru's private plane. The daiyoukai could not stand being in such close proximity with other beings with his sensitive nose and hearing and had solved that problem by purchasing a private jet decades ago.

Once they were on the plane, Sesshoumaru gathered his little mate-to-be in his lap and enjoyed the sense of peace he felt only when he was near her. She curled into his warm body and buried her face in his neck. It was nice to finally be going home. But Sesshoumaru was even happier that he was going home with his fiancée. Then maybe Rin would ease up on her not-so-subtle hints.

Everything was finally beginning to settle in place and Sesshoumaru could not be happier.