Best Wishes

Disclaimer

I do not own Inuyasha.

Part VI

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"Watch your language!" She hit him over the head with his own sheathed sword. How she had taken it out of his hand, he would never know. "If we ever plan on having decent descendants, those words should die out!"

She was honestly very jittery. The previous night, Sesshoumaru had been completely agitated. He had given her a nod and word spread throughout the village of their binding the next day. Miroku was completely miserable. Inuyasha had found him and dragged him back. As a safety, Mushin was there in case the houshi bailed last minute. He had been furious at the allegations and had told them that he would never cause so much stress to the woman he loved. He had to be there to see if she was truly happy...or if their relationship was enough to make her happy in the future. Inuyasha had been surprised when she asked him to give her away to his brother. She had told him that he was not only to be family but he was also the man that had gotten her through her toughest times. He had agreed after that.

"Sango-chan! Rin-chan just left with the flowers. You'd better be ready-" Kagome burst into the room and stopped in her tracks. The taiji-ya was wearing the kimono she'd picked out, white with a light blue obi, and her hair was fashioned in an elegant bun with chopsticks stuck through the top. They were white with light blue ribbons trailing down. Her bouquet consisted of white lillies, picked from her favorite meadow, the one that Kohaku had taken her to. They were tied together with a light blue ribbon, the shade matching both the ribbons in her hair and also her kimono. Her mahogany eyes were wide with anxiety and she was trembling. "Come on! That's your cue!" Inuyasha walked in and took her arm, smirking at her as he guided her steadily out of the house and down the small path covered in pink rose petals. Kagome had gone out first without Sango even realizing it. When she landed her gaze on Sesshoumaru, her breath was taken away. He was in an elegant haori, much like his previous one, though without the armor and the designs. His eyes were still the same amber, cold and reflective. However, the cold hard gaze softened slightly when Inuyasha placed her hand within his. Miroku tried to keep his voice even as he went through the ceremony.

When, at last, they were finished with the vows and the small party took place, Sango remained with Kagome. Inuyasha was speaking with Miroku and Sesshoumaru was with Rin and Jaken. Kaede made her way over to the two girls and said her congratulations to the taiji-ya.

"I wish I could offer advice to you but there is nothing I could say that you do not already know." Sango took those words to heart and hugged the elderly priestess.

"Thank you for all that you've done for me. Without all of you, I would never had made it to where I am." They knew she was speaking of Naraku and also the murder of her family and people.

"Sango-chan..."

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The festivities continued on into the night and, before long, it was time for everyone to go to their homes. Jaken and Rin stayed with Kaede that night and Sango headed to their home with her husband beside her. The villagers and Inuyasha had built them a home. Kagome had shown it to them on the day Jaken arrived. She silently stared at her feet as she walked, her hands folded in front of her. After a moment, she glanced over at the Daiyoukai. He was staring ahead, a small frown on his face. Was he not happy with her? She had been excited after the ceremony and the party that had been planned. Kagome had done wonderful work for a wedding with an unplanned date.

"Sesshoumaru?" He stopped when she spoke softly. His amber eyes gazed into her mahogany ones as she flushed lightly. She was nervous again. It wasn't everyday when she became wife and mate to a man she was beginning to love. Her modest hesitation was endearing and he found himself relaxing. If he was tense, she would read it and become even more nervous. He took hold of her hand and began leading her once again. They arrived and he started a fire. They had tea together and hardly spoke a word to each other. Each were in their own thoughts, adjusting to the lifestyle they would have to share with one another. When he finished, he stood and offered her his hand. She accepted gratefully and stood only a moment before she was in his arms. His kiss began light as he carried her into their room before the heat began ripping through her body. He rested her gently beneath him and broke their kiss only once to gaze at her with a question on his lips. She leaned up and kissed him, her hands gripping the front of his haori tightly. That was the only answer he needed.

...

Sango lay awake, her mind restless and her body exhausted. She fingered the fresh wound on the base of her throat, at the junction between her right shoulder and her neck. Her eyes stared up into the darkness that was the ceiling while her thoughts raced a million miles per second. Beside her, Sesshoumaru was slightly on his side with an arm around her while the other rested on her stomach. His amber eyes were half-lidded and fatigue was present. It wasn't every night he poured his youki into a bonding mark. His silver hair was like a curtain and her dark locks mingled with it, having been torn out of the elegant bun. Sweat glistened on their skin from the soft moonlight that drifted in from the open window. She shivered and he tightened his hold on her, drawing her closer to his chest. His heart beat steadily within his chest and she could feel it on her cheek as he adjusted them to fit comfortably against one another. It was a tender moment, cold and unfeeling though he could be. His eyes closed as he heard and felt her soft sigh. She draped one arm across his waist and closed her eyes. No words needed to be shared between them. They knew in that moment how they both felt. As they drifted into slumber together, they both felt the same way.

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Sango gathered her things and threw her pack over her shoulder. Kirara danced around her feet impatiently. She wanted to greet the others for brief good byes. They had remained in the village for a few days and then decided to leave to journey to the Western lands. The taiji-ya left their home, which was quite silent and imposing without her personal items and Rin's loud, cheerful singing. The little girl was excited to have Sango joining them on their travels. She met everyone in front of Kaede's home. Her smile brightened their moods as she hugged them before stopping in front of Miroku. She faced him with a slightly solemn look but chased it away with a smile.

"Houshi-sama, when you're ready...you can come and visit us. We will have tea and be able to talk as good friends once again. All right?" She felt sadness in her heart as she spoke those words. He smiled slightly at her and nodded, looking back at Sesshoumaru.

"May I?" The Daiyoukai met the houshi's gaze before turning away. Sango knew she would have to thank him later as Miroku's arms pulled her into an embrace. She felt that sadness return because it felt like she wouldn't see him for a long time. "I will always love you, Sango-san. Therefore, I wish you happiness." He let go of her. She met his blue eyes with a smile.

"I wish you happiness...Miroku-sama." His sadness seemed to fade as she smiled wider.

"I will visit. It is a promise." He turned back to face the Daiyoukai. Sesshoumaru stared back coldly. "Thank you and please take care of her." With a few more good byes, they left the village together. Sango was walking toward her future, toward her new home.

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"What does that mean?" Sango was so furious, she was close to tears. "What do they suggest, then?" He said nothing but stared at the door, fury and disbelief hardening his gaze even more. "That we can never have children? Do they want you to take another woman for an heir?" That was it. He stood up and glared at her.

"Of course they suggested that!" She had never seen him lose his temper as he had in that moment. "They don't care who is Lady but they will not allow a half-breed to be heir." Sango had been angry and upset until she heard those words from his mouth. Her anger remained but her anguish at their refusal to accept any child of hers was beyond what she could deal with. She spun around and went to the balcony of their room, trying to regain enough composure to face him. The both of them had been struggling to find a solution that would appease those youkai. For over a year, they had tried everything they could think of. Nothing was working. She was at her limit. Her mahogany eyes closed against the tears she could feel approaching.

"What are we going to do?" Her soft voice made his anger cool immediately. His amber gaze was focused on how rigid her back was. "What does this mean for us...?" It had been a fight to get them to accept her. She had to prove she was who she claimed to be. It had been hell for a while and, just when things cooled down, those elders started in on their issue with an heir.

"I will not fight with them anymore. They cannot bind me like they bound my forefathers. Their tyranny ends here." He could smell the reason why she wasn't facing him. He knew she was too proud to let him see how much they were hurting her. She wanted to be strong for him and to prove to herself that she wasn't weak. It made him angry to see how they reduced her self-confidence to this level. Finally, she turned to him and walked over, slowly folding him in her arms. His own arms automatically circled her body, drawing her as close as possible.

"I know you're trying." Her voice was so sad that it was almost heart-breaking. "I want to fight them beside you. You can't do this alone." He looked down at her before resting his forehead against hers. "You shouldn't be doing this alone."

"You needn't face them." His voice was soft yet still cold. She almost shivered from the feel of his breath against her skin. "All will be well, Sango." She looked up at him, meeting his amber eyes. Before she could protest, his lips were against hers. Her mind wanted her to pull away but her body couldn't find the strength to do it. She wanted his comfort. She wanted to forget the troubles they were putting her through. All she wanted was him. The only thing her mind registered was the feeling of being gently pushed down onto the bed before everything else became a passionate blur.

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Sango sat down, breathing a soft sigh as she rested her hot face against the cool stone. Her morning run had taken her longer than usual and had also tired her out more than usual. She opened her eyes when she felt his presence. A smile graced her pink lips and she looked up to meet amber eyes. Warm amber eyes beneathe unruly silver bangs.

"Inuyasha." Her voice warmed considerably and she gripped the wall to help her stand. He was at her side and lifted her gently around the waist. It had been little over a month since she and Sesshoumaru had almost fought because of the elders. The youkai had been rather quiet since the Daiyoukai had spoken to them. Inuyasha narrowed his eyes on her slightly.

Now I know why he asked me to check on her. Does she know yet?

The hanyou watched her as she breathed a sigh of exhaustion.

"What were you doing?"

"My morning run." She responded lightly. "Just because I get protected by youkai, doesn't mean I should stand around and let myself waste away." He stared at her. "Anyway, what are you doing here? Why didn't you bring the others?" He knew he needed to think fast. He shouldn't be the one to blunder out something his brother probably kept hidden for good reason. Then again... The bastard still owed him.

"I was in the area. I've been checking up on things since you left. You know, to keep everything peaceful." He made a face at the fact that it was a terrible excuse. She laughed, thinking that he made the face because Kagome had made him.

"Kagome-chan makes you do rounds now?" He froze. She'd bought it?

"Uh... Yeah." He scratched the back of his head. "I saw the asshole was away and decided to visit you." She crossed her arms and glared at him.

"I would appreciate it if you kept your mouth in check. Rin-chan could be hiding around here and hear your foul language." He rolled his eyes at her lecturing. She would make a wonderful mother.

"Whatever. Did you need anything?" Sango narrowed her eyes at him.

"No." She answered suspiciously. "I have a castle filled to the brim with food, drinks, beds, and weapons. I think I'm good." He narrowed his eyes back.

"Fine." He spat resentfully. "I was just asking because..." He stopped himself but that left him in a very awkward position.

"Because?" Her brow raised. He was knee-deep in shit. He knew he was either going to have to come up with a good lie or tell her the truth. "Inuyasha, what's going on?" Sesshoumaru was never very forgiving...

"Kagome's been worried. You haven't written to her. Not to mention the elders... The last thing we heard was that they would accept you as Lady but they didn't want a hanyou as heir." It was a very valid reason that was also the truth. Kagome hadn't been leaving him alone since the last letter arrived. She looked away with a guilty flush on her cheeks.

"I'm sorry." She said quietly. "Sesshoumaru said that he would talk to them. That's the last I've heard, too. I wanted him to let me talk to them but it wasn't really happening. He wouldn't let me." Inuyasha took a moment to look her over. She was still really fit and her physique was still the best he'd ever seen for a human woman. She didn't look frail and that was good.

"It was a good idea not to let you talk to them. That way you can only imagine what a bunch of assholes they are. Did you see them when you proved your worth?" He sounded relieved that his brother hadn't let her go.

"No, I could only sense them. Sesshoumaru wouldn't let me look around." She looked up at the castle as she talked to him. "Nothing I say would be good enough anyway, would it?"

"I'm not sure, Sango..."

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Inuyasha had been talked into joining her for lunch. There were so many stares in the kitchens and dining area that he requested they eat outside. Sango had agreed and they were set up in the private gardens with a blanket set up on the grass. It was one that Kagome had brought before, from her time.

"Have you heard anything from the others?" By the tone of her voice, he knew the exact person she was wondering about.

"No, not since you left." The houshi had gone the opposite way after parting with good-byes. He never stopped into the village after that. "No rumors, either."

"Oh..." She looked down at the cup of tea in her hands. Was he going to avoid her forever? "I saw Kouga a little while ago."

"You did?" She nodded as she picked up a rice ball. "What's he up to?"

"Getting betrothed to some heiress from a different tribe." She explained about him having to meet with the leaders of the land since he was moving up from prince very soon. "He was shocked to see me here and to hear that Sesshoumaru had chosen a human. It made him want to fight but he knew that Kagome was mated to you." He smirked at that fact, making a proud face that made the taiji-ya laugh. "He told me to pass on a message." She cleared her throat. "He said, 'If that mangy, flea-bitten mutt lets anything happen to Kagome, I will see to his personal hell.'" She had done a good impression of the wolf. It made Inuyasha chuckle. "He said it with a smile and such a good-natured face that it was hard to believe."

"He let you visit your village? I noticed that it was a bit fixed up when I last went through." Their talk continued on for a few hours and they hardly realized the passage of time.

"Sango-sama, your presence is requested in the main hall." A young youkai woman named Ayumi smiled timidly at her. Some of the servants were very nice while others were spiteful. She only dealt with the ones that Sesshoumaru trusted to take care of her in his absence. "Yuu-san is looking for you." Yuu was one of the guard. He was her favorite and always kept her company, not mention in shape.

"Tell him I'll be right there." The youkai hurried away, intimidated by Inuyasha's presence alone. "Kagome-chan is probably wondering where you are right now. Give her my love and tell her that I'll come and visit soon."

"I will." She walked him out and watched with slight sadness as he flitted away. He was getting faster...stronger... She only wished she could've been there to help him more. Inuyasha had always been her friend, her rock, and the one that she needed to pull her through the worst of times. Even if he got scolded by Kagome and Miroku both, he still nagged at her about being weak when she felt down. It made her angry and pulled her through the fog. Whenever anything got her down, she just imagined him telling her not to be so weak. He made her stronger in ways she couldn't have gained on her own.

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Sesshoumaru's return was his usual. Quiet and full of surprises. Sango was changing into one of the elegant kimono that was hanging in the closet. Ayumi was helping her with the obi. The youkai was the only one allowed around the Lady of the West, except some of the guard.. Sesshoumaru was known for his mistrust of others and he especially did not want anyone as such so close to his mate. He walked in when they were just finishing up. Sango looked excited when she noticed him standing there. Ayumi bowed on her way out after quickly finishing her task.

"I didn't expect you back so soon." The taiji-ya looked lovely in the kimono, yet so...not herself. She was herself in her uniform and in her traditional traveling clothes.

"A guest?" Sesshoumaru inquired as he stepped closer and fingered the long sleeves.

"Of course. They were going to stay until you arrived. I have no idea who they are but I was told to be dressed appropriately. Yuu told me about it and was very brief." The daiyoukai bit back a snarl. He hated having guests waiting for him when he arrived back. His amber eyes fell to the rest of her concealed body. "I hope they leave early. I've been so tired lately. It's not my usual time but..." She let out a sigh and moved her hands up so that she could use her fingers to massage her temples.

"I will be there for dinner. Go on ahead and greet them." The usual routine when he had guests waiting was to have Sango greet them until he was ready. She rose to her toes and kissed his cheek before quietly departing. He was at odds. She didn't know. Inuyasha hadn't screwed up and blurted it out. He would need to tell her after the dinner. He dressed quickly and hoped that the guests were not so important.

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Sango opened the door and peered into the deserted dining hall. The only ones in there were the serving youkai that were still preparing the tables. She slipped inside and back into the kitchens, getting herself a small drink of water before she went back out. Her steps were light as always as she went back to the dining hall. No one was there, making it eerily silent. The doors opened not long after she sat and three guests emerged from the hallway. Standing quickly, she bowed.

"Welcome." She stepped closer and paused before them with a smile. "It is a pleasure to have you as our guests." The man on the left returned her gestures stiffly.

"It is a pleasure to be in your company, Sango-sama." The voice came from the woman on the right. Her jade green eyes were bright with curiosity. "We have heard much about you." The man in the middle was the one that kept the taiji-ya's attention. Every instinct inside of her was telling her to get away from him.

"I am certain you have." At the sound of the voice, Sango visibly relaxed. Sesshoumaru strode through the door, his posture stiff as he realized who he was dealing with. "Forgive my lateness. I have only just returned."

"We heard you would be arriving soon." The woman seemed to be the speaker of the group. Her eyes flashed with approval at the sight of the daiyoukai. "It relieves us to see you here now." There was a moment of silence before Sango, fumbling for something to say, decided to just go with it.

"Shall we sit? I believe the food should be ready soon." The tension eased as they sat and tasted the wine in their glasses.

"What brings you here?" Sesshoumaru had a gift of being quiet yet absolutely intimidating. "I assume it has to do with the elders." At the mention of them, Sango's body went rigid.

"Of course it does." The man that had been in the middle finally opened his mouth. His brown eyes were narrowed in annoyance and centered upon Sesshoumaru. "They will soon be no more. We are becoming acquainted with everyone they are...involved with. I assume this has something to do with your last visit over a month ago." Sesshoumaru let a smirk curve his lips.

"You assume too much. I merely had a word with them about some of my rights and decisions as a Lord of the West. After all, I am the only one capable of taking care of this land my father ruled." The conversation took so many turns and twists that Sango couldn't keep up. She wondered exactly what was going on and, before she could figure it out, dinner was over and Sesshoumaru sent her to their quarters with his promise to be up later. She stopped in to see Rin and tucked her into bed with a soft lullaby. Jaken was waiting outside the door for her. He looked up at her in curiosity before they journeyed to his master's wing of the fortress.

"How was the trip, Jaken?" Her words were forced as her tired mind became overwhelmed. "It was quite fast."

"My Lord wanted to get back as quickly as possible. I believe he has other plans to attend to." The toad youkai stopped outside the door. He was surprised when she bent down and set her hand on his head.

"I will see you in the morning." Before he could properly react, the door was already sliding closed. A deep red blush spread across his face. She had been kind to him the entire time she had been with his lord. He had even tried to sneak glances of them and when he succeeded, he was surprised. Sesshoumaru was different around her. Not even Rin had seen that side of him.

Sango sat on the bed until Sesshoumaru entered the room. His rigid posture told her that the rest of the night had been tense and that the news he had not wanted her to hear hadn't been too great. She had changed into her usual yukata to get comfortable.

"Sesshoumaru?" His eyes were narrowed as he looked over at her. She knew not to push for answers but she also wanted to know what was bothering him. "Why did you send Inuyasha?" His expression hardly changed as he stalked over to his closet. "He wasn't about to let it slip that you sent him but I knew that something was up. Is there some kind of danger I should be worrying about? Really, you don't have to hide anything." He knew from the edge in her voice that even though her words were different, she would force him to tell her one way or another. Not to mention that even he thought that the explanation was long overdue.

"You need not worry." He glanced back at her. "While I was away, some things were taken care of. Those youkai here tonight were merely telling me about the decision the elders had reached. They wanted to know why I was the most...frequent visitor." There was a rustle of clothing and he didn't have to be looking at her to know that she had crossed her arms. "The reason I sent Inuyasha is also the reason why I went to the elders. They backed off because they knew that I had the right and the power to kill them if I thought they were over-stepping their bounds." He turned to her as he removed his haori. "They are accepting my heir as the next ruler." It was silent in the room before a grin spread over her face.

"Really?" Then a frown settled over her face. "What does that have to do with Inuyasha?" He had changed quickly and sat down on their bed, his eyes never leaving hers. The stare was unnerving as he reached out and brushed her cheek. A dark flush spread across her face. He leaned so close, it almost seemed like he was going to kiss her. His lips brushed her cheek. A shiver ran down her body when his hot breath brushed her ear.

"I believe that answer is within you..." She was so disoriented from his proximity, she hadn't noticed that he had untied her yukata until his hand was against her bare abdomen. The taiji-ya fell back on the bed and stared up at him breathlessly. Riddles? Her heart was pounding too hard and she could hardly even think straight. Suddenly, it dawned on her.

"I-I'm pregnant?" Mahogany met amber in shock. Suddenly, with speed that almost surpassed even the daiyoukai, she threw her arms around him. The only thing registering in her mind was the joy of a family that was soon to come. Her lips claimed his in a heated, passionate kiss that had even the great Sesshoumaru reeling. He returned it with just as much heat.

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Sango sent a letter to Kagome and Inuyasha the very next day. She couldn't wait to see them. To finally begin the life she wanted. A family... Her family... Jaken and Rin entered the dining hall just as she was finishing up her letter. She handed it to Kirara and the neko took off immediately, her ruby red eyes glowing with excitement.

"Sango-chan?" Rin asked as she walked forward in slight hesitation.

"Rin-chan! Jaken! Come on, breakfast is almost ready." The woman looked stunning in a light pink kimono with a red obi. Her hair was down, as she didn't have the patience to put it up. Sesshoumaru entered the hall just as Jaken took his place beside Rin. Sango's face was absolutely glowing. She smiled at her daiyoukai when he sat down beside her, a light pink tint flaring on her face. "Good morning, Sesshoumaru." He gave her a long look before nodding and looking directly at Jaken.

"I have an errand to run in a day or so. I must inform everyone of our news."

"Why not just gather everyone? It would be nice to have you stay after giving me such wonderful news." Rin looked at Jaken in confusion. Did he know what was going on? "Rin-chan." The little girl stood and went over to the woman. "I have something important to tell you. Come with me after breakfast, all right?"

So, after they ate, Sango and Rin went out to the gardens. Sango held Rin's hand and they continued in silence before stopping at the small koi pond.

"Rin..." The little girl turned around to face the woman she thought of as her mother. "I am...going to be having a baby."

"Sesshoumaru-sama is going to be a daddy?" Rin's voice was filled with a growing excitement.

"Yes." Sango answered as she pulled her into a loving embrace. "I am going to be a mommy and you are going to have a little brother or sister to watch over." Ever since she had joined Sesshoumaru in his travels, ever since the daiyoukai had saved her life, she had wanted to be as close as possible to him. Now that he was married to Sango and had a child on the way, they could finally all be a family. "I would love it if you would decide to accept the baby as a brother or sister."

"I always wanted..." Her voice softened and tears escaped her eyes. Rin couldn't finish her sentence. For the first time since she had been with Sesshoumaru, she began crying. She held tightly onto Sango and let all of her happiness out in tears. "Always..."

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Inuyasha and Kagome arrived the next day. She didn't tell them the news through the letter but rather said that she wanted them to join her for tea. She mentioned that she had news. The hanyou suspected that his brother had finally revealed the big secret. They were all gathered for lunch and Sango looked absolutely thrilled. Inuyasha looked at Kagome with a slightly worried expression. He wasn't ready for pups yet... He hoped she wasn't.

"Kagome-chan, I am sorry for worrying you. I know that all of this business about acceptance has made you as crazy as I am." She paused briefly. "The elders are breaking apart. Their approval is void. I-I'm going to have a baby."

"You're pregnant?" Kagome couldn't keep the surprise from her expression. Nor the happiness that burst through her when the taiji-ya nodded. "Wonderful!" Inuyasha almost groaned when they started talking about babies. He wished someone would save him from the horrible fate he was about to endure. He almost felt like thanking his brother when the daiyoukai entered the room.

"Little brother." His smooth voice was still cold and arrogant.

"Sesshoumaru." The hanyou stood and walked to where his brother had paused. "They're talking about babies. Let's get out of here." It was quiet enough to not be heard by the humans. It was enough to make Sesshoumaru turn on his heel and join his brother in the hallway. "I'm not ready for pups yet but I know Kagome's gonna hound me about it now."

"You can't sit through a conversation between women?"

"You can?" It would have been a touche if Sesshoumaru said nothing. That was not the case.

"It is in the training for a young lord. Should we need to court a woman, we need to learn to tolerate the potential endless blathering." Inuyasha cringed as he imagined Sesshoumaru sitting through something like that. The patience involved was not something the hanyou had. "It fades out after a while." There was a moment as the younger brother took in the words.

"Did you just...make a joke?" An awkward silence shadowed the brothers as they continued their walk outside.

"I am going to invite others at Sango's request. She doesn't wish for me to leave." He paused briefly. "If you are not going to continue speaking with the women, then you should make yourself useful."

"Hey!"

-------

Sango frantically tied Rin's obi and fixed the little girl's braid. She checked herself in the mirror before running out the door. Rin was pulled behind her by the hand as they flew down the hallway. The guests were arriving as they ran. Sango had slept in after an all-nighter the previous night. She slowed when they neared the dining hall. Voices drifted out from the opened doors.

"Where have you been, Inuyasha? You look like you just jumped into a tar pit!" Those voices came from outside. Sango and Rin cautiously walked down the rest of the hall and peeked outside. The hanyou was covered from head to toe in dark mud. He looked irate enough without having to be scolded.

"Look, it wasn't my fault. I'll go clean off and meet you inside. No one's here for me, anyway." She watched him walk away with her arms crossed.

"Come on, Kagome-chan. There are guests inside and I just got ready." The miko whirled around with a smile on her face. "Inuyasha will be there soon." A slight pink tint colored the young girl's cheeks.

"You heard that, huh? I hate yelling at him but he seems so...childish. Irresponsible." She looked over at her friend. "I'm sorry to be unloading my problems on you. You've got so much to celebrate."

"You shouldn't be worrying about that. Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean that I can't listen to you." The taiji-ya grinned. "Inuyasha's lucky. No matter what he goes through, he stays the same. I would give anything to have that kind of strength. I've changed so much that I barely know myself. He will always be that way. The way that made you fall in love with him." Kagome opened her mouth to say something when she noticed that they were already at the dining hall. Sango was right. She usually was. Her advice had always been the best.

"Sango! Kagome!" A familiar voice called to them from the other side of the room. Kouga rushed over with a girl barely falling into step behind him. "Good to see you! Hey, what's this all about anyway? Sesshoumaru never calls on so many people at once." Sango grinned and shook a finger at him.

"If I have to tell you, you haven't grown into your nose or your senses yet. And this isn't even half of the guests we're having tonight." Kagome looked at the demon girl next to Kouga. She had long red hair that was thrown up into pigtails and bright jade green eyes.

"Sango, Kagome, this is Ayame." Ayame bowed her head to Sango and gave a passing smile to Kagome. "Ayame, this is Sesshoumaru's mate, Sango. And that is his brother Inuyasha's mate, Kagome." His azure eyes met Kagome's for a moment before he smirked. "Didn't the mutt show up?"

"Don't you ever shut your trap?" Inuyasha barged right in on their conversation with an easy smirk on his face. "We can always take it outside if you've got a problem with me." Sango crossed her arms and cleared her throat.

"If you two decide to fight, I would have to interfere. I don't want people fighting at such a joyous gathering." A sly smirk grew on her face when Inuyasha's face went slightly pale.

"You win." The two backed off readily. They never intended to take anything outside anyway. Not to mention that she was pregnant and the unholy wrath of Sesshoumaru . "Where's my dumb-ass of a brother?" With a roll of her eyes, Sango pointed to where a different group was gathered. The former elders.

"What are they doing here? I thought they were done." Kagome looked at Sango with a slightly panicked expression on her face.

"They are. I invited them. They were getting sick of ordering everyone around, especially Sesshoumaru. He never did like to listen to orders." The taiji-ya grinned. "Besides, Sesshoumaru said that they wanted to see me and meet with me face-to-face." She left them a few minutes later to go and see them.

"Sango." Sesshoumaru's gaze was immediately followed by four others. They studied her quietly as she stopped at her mate's side. "These are the elders." She smiled kindly.

"It is a pleasure." There was one woman among the three other men. Though they were old, she got the sense that they were far older than she could hope to imagine. After all, Sesshoumaru was older than she knew. Their inspection continued and lingered on her abdomen just long enough to make her uncomfortable. She wasn't showing yet. It was far too early.

"It appears that your words were true, Sesshoumaru. Most of the rulers are willing to accept your children, hanyou or not." The new rulers were younger and easily intimidated, not to mention open to new ideas. They had all heard of Inuyasha's dominance against another powerful hanyou, Naraku. Sango's joy at the words almost made them guilty that they had given her such a hard time. With a smooth movement, she placed her hand on her mate's arm and smiled up at him. The room was still and everyone had their eyes on the Lord and Lady of the West. Inuyasha noticed the look in his brother's eyes that he had never seen before. It made him feel regret for ever thinking that he was cold and heartless. Kouga looked at Sango and watched in slight fascination as she easily pressed close to the daiyoukai. The rest of the lords and leaders of their lands had arrived by that time. The taiji-ya left his side momentarily to address their guests.

"Thank you all for coming. Tonight's feast will be ready soon. If you could all be seated..." Her voice was clear and they listened to her, only taking their eyes from her when needed. She walked over to her seat beside Sesshoumaru's. Rin and Jaken were seated just across from Inuyasha and Kagome. "As you all probably have found out by now, this is a joyous gathering. The new heir to the Western Lands...has been conceived. I am grateful to all of you for your acceptance." The food was brought out and they all sat together, sharing polite conversation and memories. Inuyasha and Kouga made a lot of people lighten up with their banter and stories of their angry fighting.

"I usually had to 'sit' him into oblivion after those fights just to get him to calm enough not to follow you." Sango laughed before relaying a few stories about how his temper had gotten them in trouble. She realized how light-hearted the room's atmosphere was and couldn't help but feel better. Her mahogany eyes watched as everyone traded their own humorous stories. Bonds had been made and it made her feel a joy so profound that she couldn't help but smile. The world she was hoping to achieve was right in front of her. The youkai lords and leaders were all speaking to Inuyasha without distaste or disgust. He looked happy. For the briefest of moments, his amber eyes met hers and he smiled. Relief was in his eyes, as well as gratitude. She grinned back before turning her gaze to Sesshoumaru. His barriers weren't completely down but he didn't seem as tense as he usually was. The taiji-ya felt herself relax as she surveyed everyone.

Amazing...

Their hard work and persistence had done it. They were so close to a world of acceptance. She let those thoughts linger a bit before the conversation drew her in again. Everything was falling into place.

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Well, this chapter got some things accomplished. I apologize for the LONG wait. It's been tough the past few weeks. I was sick for a while and work has been a little rough.

Enough of my rambling! I had it in my head that I was going to finish this chapter by tonight and so I have!

=D

There will probably be only one more chapter after this. I have some of it worked out so all I have to do is get it typed out. Hopefully, I won't have to make you wait so long. Thank you for your patience! It means a lot.

-Angel