Epilogue: What Dreams May come
"Come on, Shippo, say goodbye to Kaede, it's time to go. You do want to go with us to meet my mom and family, don't you?" she asked, as the kit sent a pouty look her way. As he heard the last part, however, his eyes lit up and he grinned.
Kaede hugged the kit as she caught the eye of the girl she'd never thought to see again. She had grieved terribly when she had been told Kagome had died, and her heart was mended by watching the obviously ecstatically happy young woman.
It had been a shock, not only to find she was still alive, but mated to Inuyasha's once dead and now resurrected father. A most handsome male, she had to say... and absolutely devoted to Kagome.
She had been told of all that had happened, and while saddened for Inuyasha's suffering she was not surprised to find that he and Kikyou were now apart. The truth was she had never thought that those two were a good match at all, and figured that sooner or later something would happen to separate them.
Naraku's end, and Inuyasha's part in it, had been a bit shocking, though. But at least it was all over and everyone had lived to enjoy Naraku's demise.
She watched, smiling, as the little family moved off, heading towards the well and Kagome's time until they moved out of sight, and then turned and looked at her sister.
A new day had come - for the both of them.
Shippo stared down into the well nervously. "Are you sure it'll let me through and I just won't hit the bottom?"
Kagome grinned at him. "I'm sure, Shippo. Don't you trust me?"
He gaped at her, then crossed his arms over his little chest. "Yes! How could you even ask me that?" He glanced down into the well again, eyeing it, and then uncrossed his arms and grabbed onto her tightly. "What do I have to do?"
Sugimi chuckled. "Just hold on." He scooped the both of them up and hopped over the rim of the well, smoothly entering the timestream, and both he and Kagome laughed at the kit's awed expression.
"Wow! It's kinda pretty, Kagome."
As they landed on her side, though, the noises and smells once again hit them, and Shippo's little face contorted. "Ewwww! What's that smell?!"
Kagome laughed, even while her own nose wrinkled. "Things are very different here, my little Shippo, so it doesn't smell anything like it does back home." She climbed out of the well and grinned as Shippo's wide eyes took in everything on the short trek to her mother's house.
Funny... I already think of the shiro as home and this place as my family's home, but not mine anymore. Of course, that's because anywhere Sugimi is, is where home is. And that's as it should be.
There were many loud greetings and excited yells between her brother and Shippo as they ran off to play, leaving Kagome and Sugimi to follow her mother into the kitchen and sit down, her grandfather content to sit in the front room and watch tv.
They told her mother everything, all about how Naraku had been defeated and Inuyasha's part in things. She was very saddened to hear of his fate... being alone once again after spending so much of his life that way already, but she knew that if he ever decided he was ready to rejoin his family, Kagome would never turn him away.
She knew that her daughter would be spending her life in the past, and was concerned with how things would work. When she asked, the answers she received relieved her somewhat.
It seemed that for everyday that passed there, one passed in equivalence here, so what she and Sugimi had decided was that they would continue to travel through the well for the next five years... and then seal it. That way, their future selves could at that time make contact and spend the rest of the years that her family had with them there in their own timeline. It would be a long haul for Kagome not to see her family for so long, but she would make it, since it wouldn't be forever.
Her mother agreed with their thoughts on the matter, and that settled that.
Next, she was told of her daughter's 'marriage' - by youkai custom, and was thrilled to know that she was taken care of. Sugimi once again reiterated his promise that Kagome would visit at least once a month for the next five years, and holidays as well... of course, as permitted. It was understood that things could and probably would happen over time to sometimes mess up their visitation schedule, but that everything that could be done would be done to keep to it.
They even set up a way that messages could be sent to her family if something needed to be conveyed between the eras. Kagome could infuse a bit of her aura into an object and then have it delivered and thrown into the well on their side... and it could then be found on this side. Since infusing her aura into said object would make it glow a little, all the family would have to do is check every few days and see if anything at the bottom of the well was glowing.
Easy. Kinda like mail.
Kagome and Sugimi both enjoyed the days that they spent with her family, and Shippo and Sota had become fast friends, spending pretty much every minute together playing games and running outside. But finally it came time to go, so, gathering all their things, they made their promises to return in a month and left, heading home... after all, they still had to get Sango, Miroku and Kohaku settled, and finish the work on the shiro itself.
And Sugimi himself had a lot to do to get matters back to his standards as a Cardinal Lord. It went without saying that he was allied with his son, as Lord of the West, and that left the North and West as the most powerful of the lands... as the South and East did not get along too well and stayed away from each other as much as possible.
They would not be happy, however, to find that Sugimi and his blood now ruled half of Nippon.
Oh, well. Can't please everybody, as Kagome would say.
The years passed as they always do, and Kagome gave her mate his heir and several besides. By the time the well closed they already had two pups, and Sesshoumaru and Kagura had also produced an heir for the west.
That mating had indeed been quite interesting, and Kagura really did keep her mate on his toes, to his father's everlasting amusement. Sesshoumaru had considered, rather bitterly on more than one occasion, that Sugimi would still be laughing at him on the day he died.
He was probably right.
Sango and Miroku married and had many children, just as the lecherous monk had wanted... and Kohaku grew up and healed, although he was never the same. He ended up being mated to a youkai female... and one that nobody but Kagura would ever have believed. He ended up with Kanna.
The fates are strange beings... and no one would deny that, least of all Sugimi and Kagome.
Shippo grew up as all children do, and funny enough, he and Rin had decided they were inseparable and so with Sugimi's blessing, and Sesshoumaru's grudging agreement, the two mated and were soon making lots of little kits.
As for Inuyasha? He wandered for years, occasionally sending word to Miroku and Sango - at which times they would go and visit with him. It was just accepted that he still wasn't ready to see his father and Kagome, and no one ever pressed.
He and Kikyou had never met again after being brought back from hell, Kikyou herself staying on as village miko after Kaede died, and lived out her life there as she would have originally had her and Inuyasha never met.
Eventually, the fates, with their odd senses of humor struck again, and Inuyasha ran across a young woman that reminded him in many ways of Kikyou. In many other ways she was completely different, though, and finally, about a hundred and fifty years after Kikyou passed, he mated that young woman.
Turned out she was Kikyou's reincarnation - her real one, not just assumed, as they all had with Kagome.
Her name was, funny enough, Kaede... and after about ten years of being mated, Inuyasha finally came to see his father... and Kagome.
It had taken a long time, but eventually he had healed enough to move on. Although he never got over his love for Kagome, he never showed it by word or by deed and the years passed peacefully, all of them surrounded by family, including his elder brother and his mate and children.
The day, however, that they finally reunited with Kagome's family in the future was the final healing for him, as he'd always had a soft spot for her mother - she reminded him of his own mother, lost so many centuries ago.
Things had really come full-circle, and the journeys they had all undertaken had finally come to an end...
It had begun with Kagome's family in that future era, and it ended in the same place and time.
Now, everything was as it was meant to be, and all the dreams that Sugimi had reflected on so long ago had come to pass - they had ceased being dreams and had become reality.
The fates were well pleased.
A/N: Well! And there's the wrap up on that one... hope everyone had fun with the torturous turns and hairpin curves in the story. I feel relieved - this story took two and a half weeks to write, and like my Fuyu trilogy was a new step for me, pairing wise, since I am a rabid Inu/Kag fan, writing other pairings was, in some ways, difficult. But I enjoyed myself, stretching my brain in other directions was good, and I hope that people enjoyed the different direction that brought about this story. As always, thanks to all the readers, and even more to the reviewers... that you took the time to let me know what you all thought is greatly appreciated. Until the next journey...
Edited and reworked 10/10/13