AN: *bows* thank you to everyone who's stuck with me through this (embarrassingly long journey). You're all lovely, and I couldn't (and wouldn't) have done it without your encouragement. Now here's some fluff.
"Higurashi-san!" the excited little voice pulled her attention out of the pile of medical files she was in the middle of reviewing.
"Nurse-Tamiko said that big car outside is yours."
Kagome glanced out the window to the street below, easily spotting the sleek black luxury car waiting at the curb which meant, she realized with some surprise, that it was already after 6, "Well, it's my husband's car, so it is sort of, yes," she smiled at the little girl as she stood and began packing away her things for the day. Hanako had a charming affinity for anything mechanical and had her face practically pressed to the glass, and while to Kagome the car was simply 'the shiny black one', Hanako probably knew the make and model even from this distance and oblique vantage point.
"Maybe someday I'll take you down and you can look at it." she grinned at the girl's awestruck expression, "But only if you actually eat the breakfast I know you hide in your slippers until you can flush it down the toilet."
Hanako blushed at being caught out, but nodded in enthusiastically and her 'goodnight' was more enthusiastic than usual.
Wrapping her scarf around her neck as she waved to the reception staff and pushed her way outside, Kagome settled her bag on her shoulder and grinned cheekily at Jaken, waiting for her by the car's back door with his usual grumpy scowl in place. The car had been one of the first post-mating blow-ups they'd had. Sesshoumaru was insistent that she use the car getting to and from work, while Kagome thought it was unnecessary in a city that had such good public transportation. In the end she'd allowed that the thought of her in public transportation really bothered his protective instincts, and he'd come to terms that she still took trains and the subway on weekends and when she went out with friends.
"Good evening Janken-sama!" she chirped. It was still a delight to be unfailingly polite to the curmudgeonly little thing.
He muttered under his breath as he opened the door for her and bowed her in.
"Thank you Janken-sama!" she trilled as she slid into the darkened comfort of the back seat.
Her eyes were still adjusting to the dark interior when a tickle of youki nudged her. She gasped, turned, and launched herself across the small space.
"You're back early!"
Although he replied with his usual monosyllabic monotone, Kagome could tell that he was gratified by her enthusiastic response to his surprise.
She also took the chance to make a quick assessment of his physical state - he didn't sleep well when he was away from her for long periods of time, and the stress of the separation sometimes wore him down more than he was willing to admit. She wasn't sure if it was because the mating was still relatively new, or if it was just the nature of the bond itself. On his first trip away after their bonding he'd called her late at night Japan's time - odd in and of itself because he didn't like phones. Once she determined that nothing was urgently wrong she'd been at a loss - he seemed content to just sit on the phone with her saying nothing - until she figured out that he just wanted to hear her voice, hear her breathing, and know that she was healthy and safe and undamaged.
"Oh Sess," she brushed her thumbs across the high arch of his cheekbones and his eyes fluttered closed. She kissed him once at each corner of his mouth and then burrowed into him, "I missed you." She murmured into his neck.
Claws gently scraped against her scalp and he released one great low breath that rumbled against her. It was his way of saying that he'd missed her as well, she now knew.
She hummed happily when he tilted his head so he could nuzzle the place on her neck that bore the faint scar of a long-healed bite mark.
"How were Shippou and Mitsune?"
"Well. Happy." He paused, "They will have a kit come summer."
"Yeah, Shippou told me last time we talked. How exciting!" A faint frown appeared between his brows and Kagome poked it with a forefinger, "Stop that. Sesshoumaru – you'll be the first to know when I'm ready for kids. I promise."
"You know I want to have a family with you. But a hanyou is a big commitment. I just want a few years like this – you and me together and me getting to have a job that I love where I'm helping people. Don't worry. We have a long time."
He sighed with an air of long suffering forbearance.
"You know, you're really impatient for someone of your advanced age."
Her pert comment got her dumped off his lap and she laughed, straightening her clothes from the seat beside him.
"I am tired of being patient." He complained petulantly.
Kagome tugged a lock of his hair and laced their fingers together. She didn't tell him that she'd already started her due diligence – gathering info from youkai midwives and talking to hanyou and other youkai-human couples about their experiences. She knew how much he wanted children, and taunting him like that, when it still could be years before she felt ready, would be needlessly cruel. She was fairly certain that children hadn't been an issue yet because of her miko powers – and it was really embarrassing to think about – but she was fairly certain that there was no human prophylactic that would be effective against daiyoukai fertility. Her innate antagonism to demonic aura appeared to be like built-in birth control and it was likely that she would have to make a conscious effort to suppress her body's natural aversion to youki to allow conception. It was a very strange, kind of gross thought.
"Kagome." He murmured, his fingers trailed down her side and paused near her abdomen for a brief moment before continuing to cup her thigh, a comfortable, familiar weight.
After returning to the present she never would have guessed that she would one day be this content. This happy, and definitely she would have never guessed that it would be with him. And while there were still moments where she misread him, or he her, she was getting better.
They were getting better.
At times she marveled at how comfortable they were together, given their history, their differences, and inauspicious first meeting. She teased him about it sometimes and, remarkably, he indulged her teasing.
"You know, no matter what, it's going to be the best thing I could hope for." She smiled up into his face and was rewarded by the softening of his features that was his equivalent, "It's going to be an adventure."
THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!