"Well everyone is finally settled in for the night including the new parents and their children," Yukina sighed happily as she sat down on the top of the stairs to the shrine.
"Yeah?" Yusuke mused politely. "That's nice I guess."
She watched from the corner of her eye as he twisted his hands between his knees anxiously. The quiet between them was awkward at best and Yukina didn't like it one bit. Yusuke was normally very relaxed and free with her, but tonight something seemed like it was bothering him and she had an hunch she knew exactly what it was.
Earlier in the night after everyone had settled in after dinner and before Sesshomaru's life mate had made her appearance Kuwabara was moved by the sight of Kurama happy with his daughters that he had finally proposed to the small ice maiden. She was surprised, though she shouldn't have been, everyone knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but she hadn't thought he would do it so soon. So of course she hadn't said no, but she hadn't exactly agreed either. Yusuke had pretended to be happy for them, but she could see he wasn't. He was just as... well... she didn't know what they were. Sure, they had been spending more time with one another lately and yeah, she would be the first to admit she enjoyed his company, but he hadn't really shown a real romantic interest in her.
"So, you gonna be a blushing bride here soon, huh?" Yusuke asked after a few minutes.
She shrugged and leaned back on her hands, "That's what everyone expects, I suppose," she replied easily.
"Yeah, but everyone expected Keiko and I to stay together too," he chuckled nudging her with his elbow. "So what're you gonna do? You say no and you'll break the poor kid's heart."
"Say yes, and I'll be breaking my own," she muttered turning her head away from him sadly.
"Is there someone else you like, Yukina?" he asked hopefully turning towards her slightly. She still didn't look at him but she nodded, "Someone at school?" he asked and she shook her head as he leaned back thoughtfully. "Hm, someone I know?" he asked watching her carefully. She nodded and he heard her sniffle, "And it's not Kuwabara?" he asked confused but she nodded again. "It is a guy right?"
She laughed even as a tear slid from her face, "Yeah," she admitted freely catching the little gem before it fell into her lap. "You're really stupid sometimes, Yusuke."
"What?" he chuckled sitting back up. "If it's not Kuwabara and since Kurama is already taken that really only leaves Hiei," he paused for a moment thinking before he shot up ramrod straight at that line of thought. "You're not in love with Hiei are you?" he demanded worriedly.
"I'm in love with you idiot!" she snapped angrily rising to her feet.
He gaped at her like a fish out of water, "Yukina, I... I didn't know..."
"How could you not?" she growled for once showing a bit of her demon nature. "I've been trying to show you, but apparently I have to beat it into you moron!"
With that she fell on him pounding on his head with her tiny fists causing him to roll on his back laughing at her futile attempt to hurt him. After a few moments when she was straddling his waist and he finally got a hold of her small wrists. His chocolate eye were locked with her own scarlet orbs as he held her small and fragile feeling wrists in his much larger and calloused hands. Slowly he raised his hands above his head as his tongue slipped out of his lips to wet them in anticipation while her face was slowly lowered towards his own. She didn't protest or move to stop him as their faces came inches apart and suddenly he crossed the line and kissed her, his best friends girl.
They were startled out of their happy revelations by the loud sound of a fist meeting the heavy wooden doors nearby. Both of them snapped their heads up to see a certain carrot top of a man with his fist buried into the heavy wooden door. They were quick to scramble to their feet both of them afraid, but Kuwabara didn't say anything he just turned and walked back inside.
"Kazuma wait!" Yukina called beginning to go after her dear friend, but a large hand on her shoulder stopped her.
She looked up at him with her wide doe like eyes, but he shook his head, "He's not going to want anyone around for a bit, least of all us," he said still staring at the dark spot where Kuwabara had disappeared into.
He was right, Kuwabara was furious. He had always been upfront and open about his undying love for Yukina, so why wasn't it good enough for her? She was a princess! He treated her like the goddess she deserved to be treated like and what did Urameshi do? He made fun of her! He picked on her all the time and she loved him? What the hell?
"Kuwabara, is everything all right?" a soft maternal voice called to him as he stalked his way back down the hall towards his room, completely missing the open door to the gardens.
Still fuming he turned on his heel about ready to let whoever it was have it but when his eyes landed on a slightly startled Kagome holding her smallest infant, the silver haired Haruko he just couldn't let loose on her. He closed his open mouth ready for yelling, lowered his upraised hand ready for punching, and let his shoulders slump in defeat as he shuffled his way to the confused priestess. She was slightly startled as he flopped down heavily beside her before letting himself fall onto her shoulder. Blushing she tried to shift away from him only to have him land in her lap just seconds before he burst into tears.
"Jeez, I get one baby to sleep only to have another one plopped in my lap!" she groaned relaxing only slightly to awkwardly pat Kuwabara on the head. "Though I suppose with twins I should get used to it," she muttered more to herself than anyone else. "What happened?" she sighed.
"Yu-Yu-Yukina," he blubbered, letting out all his emotions across her yoga pants.
"Shh, calm down and talk to me Kazuma," Kagome soothed running her hand over his mess of carrot colored locks. "What about Yukina?"
"She wants that moron Urameshi!" he cried angrily sitting up with his nose running. Frustrated he wiped it away on his sleeve, "I give her everything and when I walk outside I see her all over him like making out and shit! She's never even kissed me!"
"Kazuma," Kagome tried to begin but he continued his tirade.
"You know, you think you know a guy and then BAM!" he exploded slamming his fist into his hand startling the baby. "Next thing you know he's sucking your girlfriends face off and behind your back no less the bastard!"
"Kuwabara!" Kagome hissed kicking him as she folded her legs as her newborn daughter began crying again. "I just got her to sleep again you jerk!"
"Oh, sorry," Kuwabara admonished shyly.
It took a few moments before Haruko quieted again so they could talk, "Kazuma, I know you think the world of Yukina, but I've been in her spot before. It's hard for a girl, especially a really shy girl like Yukina," she smiled thinking about her own teenage years when she first fell in love. "When I first met Inuyasha I was just as shy as she was, well," she paused thoughtfully, "okay almost as shy since she did come from a place without men, but still, my point is that while I had not one but two boys who wanted to give me the moon, but really I only wanted the one boy who treated me like crap most of the time."
"Kurama treated you like crap?" Kuwabara asked confused. "Or was it that dog man who was here earlier?"
"His name was Inuyasha and yes he was my first mate," Kagome admitted for the first time to anyone other than Kurama. "I was head over heels for him and it was mostly because he didn't put me on a pedestal or treat me any differently just because he liked me. I loved him treating me for me, because either world I lived in I just didn't fit in so I didn't want to be ostracized further by the ones who were supposed to love me."
"What about Kurama? He treats you pretty special," he pointed out obviously.
She laughed lightly, "Now he does, but do you honestly see the fearsome Youko being sweet on a girl five hundred years ago especially a priestess of the growing village that would one day be Tokyo?"
"No," he chuckled with her. "I guess not. So he picked on you and was mean to you and stuff?"
"Mean to me? No, he was never mean to me," she laughed a bit harder. "He was a complete asshole!"
"Now, I don't think I was that bad," Kurama said stepping out onto the porch with them, a whimpering dark haired babe resting on his shoulder. Kagome looked up at him with a smile and a knowing expression, "I couldn't help but over hear that you've been having relationship issues, Kuwabara is that right?"
"Um, yeah," Kuwabara said despondently. "Yukina is apparently in love with Urameshi and I caught them kissing outside."
"While that isn't the best way to be let down, you haven't exactly allowed for Yukina to let you down easy either," Kurama said as he and Kagome traded girls between their arms.
"What do you mean?" Kuwabara asked dumbfounded. "She's never said nothin'!"
Kurama leveled him with a look that clearly said he knew Kuwabara wasn't that dumb, "You should know Yukina well enough that the last thing she wants to do is hurt a person. If she would have said outright that she didn't feel for you the way you wanted her to, you would have been very upset."
"I think really you need to sit down and talk to her," Kagome said seriously. "But you're going to actually have to listen to her."
"I do listen!" Kuwabara protested hotly.
"She means the female version of listening, baby bro," Shizuru yawned as she too, made her way outside for a midnight smoke. "Not the half assed male version of listening you guys like to use."
"Is the whole temple awake?" Kagome wondered aloud.
"No, Zuki and Sesshomaru are still out like lights, though I don't see how he sleeps through that awful snoring," Shizuru said shuffling past everyone in her housecoat so she didn't smoke around the kids.
"Some things will never change," Kagome giggled, before getting up and excusing herself to feed her whimpering daughter.
"So Yukina and Yusuke finally got together, I suppose?" Shizuru asked watching her brother carefully from the corner of her eye.
"Was I the only one who didn't know?" Kuwabara demanded loudly.
Shizuru shrugged, "It wasn't exactly well hidden. He pushed her out of her shell while you were content to leave her in it."
"Well I for one, am not going to sit here and listen to everyone tell me how badly I screwed up, thanks," Kuwabara grumbled, clamoring to his feet and stalking away back to his room.
Shizuru sighed and lit her cigarette. When once the garden had been filled with people only moments before, now it looked as though she was the only one left. As she sat upon a large rock in the middle of the sand garden she thought about how tough it was going to be for her little brother to get over the emotional trauma of losing his first love. It didn't help that he had lost her to his best friend, but she knew he was smart and eventually he would figure out that love isn't always fair to any of those involved. Just like love hadn't been fair to Kagome and Inuyasha. Sure she had over heard a lot of the conversation Kagome had shared with the half demon ghost and she couldn't help feeling sad for the past couple, but she had to wonder if Kagome had loved Inuyasha so much, where did that leave Kurama?
Little did she know, that in a room down the hall a certain red head was wondering the same thing as he and his mate laid his newborn daughters to bed. Hanako had been fussy but it didn't take much to for her mother to settle her back down, what with a little warm milk and a few soothing words and the dark haired child was asleep once more as Kagome placed her back into the bassinet next to her fair haired sister. He watched her with careful green eyes as she climbed up next to him in the bed and nuzzled herself in their warm blankets. Her own eyes caught his staring at her and she raised an eyebrow in response.
"Kurama, what's wrong? You've been acting awfully strange all day," Kagome smiled relaxing on her pillows, but still facing him.
"I would think that given the events of today, I would have a right to be just a little off," Kurama smiled warmly.
"Yeah, a little, but not like this," she frowned. "Are you upset that I never told you about Inuyasha?"
He shook his head, drawing his knees up to rest his arms over them in a lazy way, "At first, yes I was, after all I had always been open and honest about my relations prior to mating you. I felt cheated, as though you had lied to me," she started to interrupt but he quieted her with a serious look, "until I talked with Hiei who had unbeknownst to you during your mental breakdown somehow connected with your mind."
"What do you mean?" she asked sitting up straighter. "Like he saw all my memories?"
"He didn't tell me anything, really," Kurama defended, drawing his lips into a thin line. "He only said that in comparison to his own past with the memories he relived with you that as a human you had every right to keep certain things from me. Then it was Inuyasha who explained everything in detail, how he had marked you without mating and how it was that you and he were destined to be together, but that really only left me to wonder, where does that leave me in the equation?"
She deflated against the pillows again looking at him slightly surprised, "What? Do you think that I don't love you? Is that what you're asking?"
He didn't say anything, his expression still grim and she did the worst thing a woman possibly could have done in such a situation. She laughed. Right in front of him. He let out a deep breath and began to slid out of the bed, but her small hand on his firm bicep stopped him. Her eyes were still dancing and a smile was still lighting up her face as she looked up at him. She knew that because he was a demon trapped in human form she was going to have to placate both sides of his personality, so she began with the easiest. Without words she pulled him back to the bed, pushing him down into the pillows her blue eyes never leaving his own until her lips pressed to his. She pushed every ounce of love she felt for the kitsune into the kiss as she trailed her hand down from his arm and entwined her small fingers into his larger ones.
"Kurama," she began when they broke for air. "I love you, maybe not in the same way as I loved Inuyasha, but I loved you enough to become your mate, give birth to your children, and even wait for you to sort through adjusting to being human with me. To me, you're everything that Inuyasha never could be and it was because of you that I was able to pull myself together after everything happened with the jewel, Naraku, and even when I was forced back here to the present.
"I chose you, Kurama, not anyone else to be my first, my last, and my everything," she smiled. "Please just understand that talking about my past was too painful to endure. In fact I'm pretty sure it will always be a bit to painful to really relive, but when I'm with you the pain is just that much more bearable and I feel like I have a chance at happiness for the first time in a very very, long time."
"But I'll always be your second choice won't I?" he asked reaching up and pushing her raven hair back over her shoulder.
She sighed and rolled off of him to settle at his side before she answered, "Yes and no. Inuyasha will always have a place in my heart, but that doesn't mean you don't have a place either. After all I've seen and done, I can't agree with the theory that we have only one true love out there for us. I think that you and I were meant to happen just as much as Inuyasha and I were.
"It's like the love I have for him is pure and innocent, but the love with you," she began tracing patterns on his bare chest, "is more mature. It's a wild and explicit because we've both been in love before. We both know what we're getting into and it's easier to be more open with you because you understand me. You know right where I'm coming from or at least I would like to think that you do anyway."
He smiled lightly, "I believe I know you better than you think, Kagome."
"Oh good then you know right about now-"
"You just want to cuddle up and sleep?" he finished smartly.
"Exactly!" she grinned.
Together hands entwined they curled up in the rather large bed, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that together with hands entwined is how they were going to stay. Tomorrow may not be a given, but they were certainly going to take whatever they could get. They came together broken and bruised, but like can heal like and together they would mend one another.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear, brushing her soft hair away from her face.
Nuzzling into his shoulder, "I love you too, Youko."