Three Years Later

"It is here?"

Kagome hummed distractedly, a frown of concentration on her face as she tried to hone in on the Shard she was feeling. It was a ritual – of sorts – that he'd become very accustomed to in the past few years he'd been bound to the young woman. Not one he truly enjoyed of course, at it took him away from his home more often than he cared for, however it was something he'd promised.

After Higurahi-san had found them the morning after their joining, she hadn't been the least bit happy. The youkai lord had endured hours of screaming and lectures, bore insults and scathing remarks which he would have killed a lesser being over – especially when he did not understand some of those remarks. Eventually he'd been forced to promise not to mate his bound partner, his newly made soul mate, until she was an adult in modern standards.

Kagome, being the wonderful woman she was, had tried to make the agreement easier for them both. In the end, her mother had agreed to her terms. They would merely have to find the rest of the Jewel Shards and Kagome would be deemed mature and responsible enough for a mating.

As irony would have it, Kagome's birthday had been celebrated six week before, and they seemed no nearer to finishing that cursed Gem than they had been when they'd begun.


Sesshoumaru looked down to acknowledge Chiyoko, who was swaddled cutely in a pink dyed parka Kagome had found for her. Ever since the pup had managed to attain her human form, Kagome had treated her like her very own dress up doll. Sesshoumaru would have protested but for the fact that Chiyoko enjoyed the attention and that he knew it was done out of affection.

"When are we leaving Papa? It's cold here. I want to go home."

Sesshoumaru blinked, taking in her pinkened nose. "Hn. It is unbecoming of a young lady of your station to whine. You will cease immediately."

His youngest pouted, covering her mouth and nose with gloved hands as she stared dismally after the preoccupied miko. With a sigh Sesshoumaru gave her head a gentle pat. "If all goes as planned we shall not be here an hour longer."

Chiyoko nodded curtly and he saw relief on her face. Fighting back a smile, he picked up the young pup, holding her close to warm her small body. Upon looking up to see what Kagome was doing, Sesshoumaru found her climbing a tall tree Satoru staring down at her from a branch. Concerned, he stepped forward, "Kagome, what are you doing?"

Hanging on a branch, the priestess looked back, glancing around as if he were speaking to someone else before she looked to him. "Climbing?"

He had to force himself not to resort talking to her like a child, "And there is a reason for this?"

She gave a long-suffering sigh, "Really, Sesshoumaru. You should know this by now! I always have a reason for the things I do."

Sesshoumaru wanted to say that her reasons were only reasonable to her. "Why then are you climbing a tree?"

"It's fun?"

He fought back a growl, about to chastise her for such foolish behavior when he heard her giggle. "Chill out Sesshoumaru. The Jewel shard is somewhere up here."

He shared a look with Chiyoko as Kagome climbed higher and higher. Briefly, Sesshoumaru bemoaned the fact that she no longer wore those scandalously short 'skirts' and instead favored 'jeans.' Wondering if he would be able to convince her to wear them again, he watched as she pulled out a knife and began digging into the trunk of the tree. Tensing a bit, Sesshoumaru placed his daughter on the ground again, searching the boughs of the willow for any signs of movement. He had seen what the cursed jewel shards could do to inanimate objects, he was not fool enough to think this tree could not retaliate in some way to her stabbing it. If the damn thing even thought to harm his intended, he would cut it down in an instant.

And yet only moments later, Kagome stopped digging into wood and plucked something out of the splinters. Pulling the nearly complete Shikon from out of her pockets, the young woman cupped her hands securely around it and the shard, closing her eyes. A wave of purifying energy crashed over him, a soothing, yet tingling feel to it and Sesshoumaru couldn't help but savor the feeling.

Only moments later and the sensation faded and suddenly Sesshoumaru had to move quickly, catching the daredevil miko as she flung herself out of the tree. As he glared down at her, Kagome only smiled and presented to him the shard. Resisting the urge to drop her on her back end, he plucked the shard from her fingers. Well at least this one didn't come with a taijiya or monk or foxling.

"Sesshoumaru did you hear me?"

The demon tore his gaze away from the accursed shard to his strangely smug intended, "Hn?"

She smiled winningly, sweetly, "I said it's the last shard."

With that she slipped out of his arms, leaving him shell-shocked and still trying to grasp the meaning. "Satoru-chan! Chiyoko-chan! I'll race you home!" he heard her call out.

Eventually the meaning sank in and Sesshoumaru smiled slightly, tucking the shard of gem into his sleeve and turned to follow his small family. He watched as Kagome chased his pups, marveling at the love she literally exuded, wondering how he could have been lucky enough to find her. How his father could have found her for him.

And once more, for perhaps the hundred thousandth time in three years, Sesshoumaru silently thanked his father. For without Saitou's influence he would never have such completeness.


A.N. This is it! What had only been intended to be a quick little story turned out to be 125 chapters (short ones I grant you, but I'd NEVER thought it would even be that long). I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement, I couldn't have done any of this without you guys.

Please Regard Me Kindly,

I Agree