A/N: The final part!
Prompt: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Genre: Romance, Drama
AU/CU: Canon, as long as you ignore the last bits of the manga
Warnings: Mention of character death, fluff later on, angst
Word Count: 2914
Lights in the Sky
"I got one of the biggest shocks of my life to see Sesshoumaru standing there. I was almost worried that he'd kill me next."
"You couldn't have thought that."
Kagome smiled at her friend. "You're forgetting that he's almost wordy these days. Back then, he never felt the need to explain himself. Whenever he saved our lives, it seemed to be almost a coincidence. He certainly didn't go out of his way to do it."
Sophie shook her head. "But then, why was he there at all?"
"He said that he wanted to know if Naraku was nearby. Something about Kohaku," said Kagome, looking down into her teacup. "That is a bit strange, now that I think about it. Sesshoumaru never wanted our help with anything before."
"Maybe he liked you, even then. Maybe it was an excuse to save you," suggested Janette from where she was hovering over the stove.
The younger woman laughed. "I was kind of a thorn in his side, if anything. I still think he holds a grudge that I got to Tetsusaiga first. He did try to kill me that time." The other two women sent her surprised looks, and Kagome cleared her throat. She picked up her pen and looked back at them. "Anyway, you think that I should include that part of the story? It seems so random, him showing up like that."
"I still think that if you're going to write about your adventures, you should write down everything," said Sophie, taking a sip of her drink. "You shouldn't pick and choose. Even including that bit about Sesshoumaru trying to kill you. You never mentioned that before."
"History is written by the winners, so they say. Or, in this case, by the survivors. You know that story, about how we first met. I might have not been entirely truthful about how angry he was that I got the sword first," Kagome replied. She shrugged. "There are some things that I don't want preserved for eternity."
Janette waved a sauce-covered spoon at her. "Those are the important parts," she said gently. "You can't tell the truth if you only tell half of the story. This isn't for you to remember - it's for your children to know."
"I don't think the children I have with Sesshoumaru need to know that he tried to kill me once or that I was in love with his half-brother," murmured Kagome. "And they definitely wouldn't need to know how much Sesshoumaru hated half-demons once upon a time. It'll give them a complex or something."
"Did he hate half-demons or just his half-brother?" asked Sophie.
"How would that make it better?"
The tall woman leaned back in her chair. "Point taken. But I don't think covering up parts of your shared past will help your children understand where they come from. Their uncle was a half-demon but also strong and capable. I think they would like to know that you loved him for that."
"Besides," added Janette, "we don't want to keep the censored version straight from the version you've told us. And what about Shippo? Are you going to make him leave out bits of the truth, too?"
"It's just that leaving out the love triangle would make it a bit more kid-friendly," Kagome argued weakly.
"Is it kid-friendly, anyway?" asked Sophie with a smile. "Demons. Blood. Gore. Sword fights. You've lived such an exciting life - it might not be for children, but it should be told."
Kagome relaxed her shoulders and put down her pen, sliding the pad of paper away from her. "I suppose. It didn't feel so exciting at the time. More like terrifying," she said. "I probably wasn't terrified nearly often enough. Inuyasha always saved me. I had such faith in him that I forgot how dangerous it was. It's hard to imagine these days." She reached down and ran a finger over the white scar along the back of her calf - one of two healed wounds that served as a reminder of her time in the past.
"You were young. Of course you didn't understand your own mortality. I tell you what though - I can imagine Sesshoumaru as a lord, with no trouble at all," Janette said with a little sigh.
A blush swept up, over Kagome's face. "He was beautiful," she admitted with a sigh. "I always thought so. He was covered in armor and white silk and this huge fluffy thing over his shoulder that made him look even more threatening - which was quite impressive, considering how cozy it must have been. But he was so cold. He could silence a room with a look."
"He can still do that," laughed Sophie. "You weren't at the last board meeting. All that gossiping, and then, he walked into the room. I think I could hear my neighbor's heartbeat in the dead quiet."
"I know," said Kagome with a smirk. "He was rather proud of himself after that one."
"He boasted about it?" asked Sophie, her eyes going wide.
"Sesshoumaru never boasts," Kagome replied.
"Not out loud, anyway," added Janette, grinning.
A cry rose from the one-way radio sitting in the middle of the kitchen table, and all three women went still. "Should I?" asked Sophie when another, more plaintive wail pierced the air.
Kagome got to her feet. "I'm not forcing you to be a nanny just because you've agreed to tutor Miyu when she gets older. Besides, I think Janette is doing more than enough by cooking on her one night off from the restaurant," she replied with a wink.
"You were going to use canned white sauce!" Janette said, sounding scandalized as the younger woman left the room. "I couldn't allow it!"
Laughing to herself, Kagome made her way down the corridor to the nursery but paused on the threshold. "Oh. Did Miyu disturb you?"
Sesshoumaru glanced up at her as he lifted their infant daughter from the crib. The moment her head fell against her father's shoulder, she quieted and blinked her liquid gold eyes at her mother. "No," he murmured.
Kagome crossed the room and switched off the baby monitor with a flick of her wrist. "This house is so much smaller than the other one, and your office is awfully close to the nursery. With your sense of hearing, it must be..."
"Fine," finished Sesshoumaru, shaking his head slightly. "I was already here."
"You've been in here a lot this past week," Kagome said, stepping closer to him. "Is something wrong at work?"
"Stepping down from the CEO's position has eased my responsibilities considerably," answered the taiyoukai.
"And increased your worries considerably, too, I would imagine." She gave him an understanding smile. "You always were a take-charge kind of person, Sesshoumaru."
He arched an eyebrow. "I still am taking charge. The mundane details are no longer my concern, but remember that I still am the majority shareholder and chairman of the board of directors. I may not be CEO anymore, but I can choose anyone I wish to be CEO in my place." He closed the distance between them, laying his free hand on her hip. "I do not regret that decision."
Kagome placed a palm on her daughter's back as she lay cradled against Sesshoumaru's chest. "I have to check every once in awhile, to make sure. This life isn't exactly what you were expecting. It wasn't what we were living a year ago."
"You did warn me," he said, "but I do not see sacrifices. I see fair trades for all of them."
She lifted her eyes to meet his. "Is that right?"
He nodded. "You know how I detested paying the electricity bill on our larger house."
Kagome put her forehead against his collarbone and laughed. "Be serious."
She slid her hand up to his pointed ears that he could now openly display in their home. "And this? Is this the trade for no live-in servants hanging around every corner?"
"Among other things." He squeezed her hip for emphasis, earning her startled giggle.
"And what about Sophie? What's the trade for sharing her with me?"
"I don't have to have three more assistants pestering me about everything on my calendar," he said with a smirk.
"A simpler life is a better one?"
"It seems that way." He glanced at the velvety, white ears of his daughter that twitched under his breath. "I'm not certain I would use the term 'simple', however."
Kagome smiled. "Simple as we can get," she said. "I'm glad that she doesn't have to hide within her own home. She shouldn't be ashamed of what she is."
"Is that the reason you are writing down our shared past?" he asked.
She sobered immediately, wondering how long he had known about it. Probably as long as she had been contemplating it - she hadn't been keeping it a secret. Not intentionally. "Partly," she admitted. "It was just an idea. I've meaning to discuss it with you. I know we told Sophie and Janette about all of it mostly out of necessity, but I want our children to know, too." Her voice softened. "And I feel like it might exorcise a few of those last ghosts that we have."
Sesshoumaru frowned. "I would prefer to leave any ghosts in the past."
She nodded, entirely understanding him. "Unfortunately, they kind of follow you around," she said. She paused. "You never talk about her, Sesshoumaru."
"There is a reason for that," he answered. "She is mine alone to remember."
"And is Inuyasha mine?" she asked. "I've never known you to be selfish, Sesshoumaru."
"He was my half-brother. There is a reason for my minimum investment in his life. Rin was nothing to you."
Her eyes widened. "That's unfair. Rin is everything to me. Do you think we would be here, together, if not for her?" She took a breath and turned her gaze away as a flash of annoyance crossed his face. "Please, don't answer that. I don't want to fight about it. I won't make you tell me anything. Dinner will be ready soon, anyway." She took Miyu out of his arms and turned to the door.
"Would you be satisfying your own curiosity?" he asked.
She stopped and looked back at him. "Yes," she answered truthfully, "but not out of jealousy. I'm done being envious of the dead."
There was a call from the kitchen - Janette informing them that dinner was, in fact, on the table. Kagome shifted Miyu higher up on her shoulder and smiled at her husband. "Forget I asked, okay? Come and eat with us. Janette's made something amazing from the odds and ends in our pantry."
He nodded, turning the baby monitor back on before following her down the corridor.
She was curled up in the middle of their bed with her notepad, pretending that she didn't know he was hovering in the doorway to her right. Miyu was asleep down the hall. Sophie and Janette had gone home hours ago. Kagome could guess what Sesshoumaru was so hesitant to discuss. It took five pages of scribbled notes for him to approach her, stretching out beside her and waiting for her to settle against his shoulder.
"You are intent upon this project," he said, gesturing to the notebook.
"Of course," she answered as she folded back another page and put it into his hands. "We didn't exactly meet at our local coffee shop, Sesshoumaru."
"And what do you want from me? You could manage this on your own."
She nodded. "I could, but it wouldn't be finished without your side of things." She watched him flip the notebook back to the first page - the rough outline of how she had fallen down the Well and how she had found Inuyasha pinned to the Goshinboku.
"You do not know how I met her," he said.
Kagome shook her head. "Explanations weren't exactly your forte back then."
"Nor are they now," he countered. "But I will try, if you wish."
"I told you that you didn't have to talk about her," murmured his wife. "But it would be nice to know. I was right about how much I owe to her, wasn't I?"
He inclined his head slightly. "I promised I would not forget her."
She leaned back, putting her cheek on his shoulder to look up at him. "I understand wanting to keep her to yourself," she said. "I feel that way about some things, too. But I don't think Rin would mind if you shared your memories of her, and I don't think Inuyasha or the other would mind if I told you about them. If we tell Miyu everything, and if I write it down..."
"I will have more than fulfilled my promise," he finished for her. "None of them will be forgotten."
"That was the idea," she whispered. "Things are already getting mixed up in my mind. Fading. I don't want to forget anything. But I mostly want to do this in case something happens to me. Or to you. Miyu will still know."
His hand crossed over his body to grab her arm where it rested on his stomach. "You will be there to tell her yourself," he insisted.
She gently pried his fingers loose and encircled his shoulders with her arms. "You can't swear to something like that," she said against his neck.
"I am close. Maddeningly close."
"Something could still happen to me, even if you managed it." She put the tips of her fingers onto his lips, silencing his protest. "Something could just as easily happen to you, too. And, just so you know, if it does, I do not regret my life with you," she said, recalling his fears about Rin. She put her mouth against his ear. "I love my life. And I love you, Sesshoumaru."
He stilled, as she expected him to. She had told him that she loved him before - for months, she had been dropping little 'love you's at the end of phone conversations or when she was about to step out of the house. But the difference here was inescapable. She let her hand fall away from his lips and waited.
"I have loved you for some time," he murmured.
Her breath caught. "Sesshoumaru..."
"When I speak, it is the truth," he cut in. "I refuse to repeat my mistakes. And while I am close to keeping you with me, I am aware that time is never a luxury to be depended upon. I do love you, and I will admit it, so that you may be certain."
She curled into him, trying to keep a hold on the rapid beat of her heart through willpower alone - fussing about the long overdue declarations would only make any future admissions that much more rare. "And I am." Kagome pressed a tender kiss to his clenched jaw. "It'll get easier to say," she assured him, not able to help herself.
He pulled her closer. "Have you ever known me to falter in the face of difficulty?" he asked.
"No," she affirmed with a grin. She plucked at the front of his buttoned shirt. "You're over-dressed for bed," she murmured, tucking herself underneath his arm and rolling onto her back before yawning widely. The stars were sparkling through the skylight above them - a rare, clear night in the city. She thought of her nights outside in the Feudal Era, knowing she had never felt as safe as she did now.
He brushed her silky hair back from her neck. "You should go to sleep," he observed. "It's past midnight, and, for once, Miyu is quiet. You should take advantage of this rare moment of peace and rest."
She turned her head, nuzzling his magenta stripes with the tip of her nose. "I want to stay awake and talk, like we did when I was pregnant."
"That was different. You couldn't sleep, and simply I kept you company."
"Please," she insisted. "It was tiring, but I miss it."
"I suppose we may stay here for a little while," he conceded, his hand wrapping around the curve of her waist. "Tell me."
Kagome smiled for her small victory. "Tell you?" she asked.
"Start at the beginning of your story," he said patiently. "Then, I will tell you what you want to know."
"We'll never finish all that tonight."
"No, we may not. We may move on to activities significantly more pleasing than speaking of my half-brother," he said, prompting a small sound of loving exasperation from his wife. "We may be interrupted at any moment by our daughter. But, until then, we will tell each other what we remember."
"Do we have to go in chronological order?" she asked, looking up at the stars again.
"I think we have some flexibility," he murmured.
She pulled him close, so that he was facing her and his warm breath was on her skin. "Good," Kagome said, "because I'm dying to know what was going on in that head of yours whenever we met."
"Mostly, how much of a pest you were," Sesshoumaru answered.
"Jerk!" she laughed.
He took a breath. "And, at times, how undeservedly fortunate Inuyasha was to have such a devoted female at his side," he added, and her expression softened. "Beyond that, you will have to be more specific."
Kagome left a lingering kiss at the curve of his jaw and began, "Well, there was that time we were fighting the Band of Seven..."
A/N: Please, if anyone finds my muse, can you tell her to get her butt back to my place? Her absence resulted in no less than seven versions of this final chapter.
But... but... I finished! :D This story took just over 9 months to complete - it was supposed to be a 2 or 3 month project at most, lol. That's fine. I'm finally pleased with this last chapter, and I'm free to start a story that's been on the back burner for FAR too long. Brace yourselves, guys - the main pairing is *not* Sess/Kag. Try not to faint. LoL. I'm going to try to get a chapter or two of "Beside You in Time" out before I start posting the new story though. We'll see if that dang muse returns to me. :P