Epilogue

1793, Nine Years Later

The hooves of the horses were loud as they stampeded along the tiny dirt road. High up above their heads, a full moon shone brightly; the light of it highlighted the road despite the darkness of the countryside. On the back of one of the horses, holding onto the reins with total and complete focus, Kagome O'lionsigh glanced up at that bright and unrelenting moon. Her grey eyes stared at it with some annoyance before she dropped them back down to the rural world around her. Off in the distance, she saw the outline of a dark and sleepy farmhouse, but not a single light came from it much to her relief. It wouldn't due for someone to see them.

Clearing her throat, she glanced over towards her husband whose eyes were focused on the road ahead, looking for any abnormality that might make itself known in the dark. She pulled on the reins of her horse a bit, slowing it down, so she could talk more easily. When the horses were at a full gallop, she found it tedious to speak. "Inuyasha." She called out softly to catch his attention.

He turned in kind, glancing back at his wife as he tugged on his own horse's reins, encouraging the animal to drop down to a light trout. "Yeah?"

"How much farther?" She asked as she sped up enough to come alongside him before slowing down once more.

"Not much," He turned away from her and looked out into the distance. His much sharper eyes scanned the quiet horizon. In the expanse, he could make out the outline of a city rising up in the night. The dark phantoms shook ominously up and down as the horse underneath him continued at a brisk but relatively docile pace. He licked his lips and shifted slightly on the horse so that he was leaning away from the unnatural sight. "I can just see the edge of the greater city." He glanced towards Kagome and then passed her towards the farm houses that dotted the landscape. "We're—in the outer farms now."

Kagome felt her heart tighten in her chest a little bit and nodded. "We should have come for them much earlier." She commented; it was one Inuyasha had heard at least fifteen times in so many days.

"We kind of were on the other side of the world." He countered as he glanced towards a rather large farmhouse coming up on their left. Its inhabitants were most likely sleeping soundly and safely in the house by the looks of its dark windows. "We just got back to Ireland, ano—," He tilted his head to the side as he tried to think. "A year ago, right?" He glanced towards his wife for confirmation, which she gave in the form of a nod accompanied by a tiny sigh.

"And the political climate in France was bad then." She shook her head with worry.

"At least the King still had his head." Inuyasha commented offhandedly with a slight snicker that he knew his wife didn't appreciate.

Sure enough, Kagome snapped her head around and practically growled at him. "So, we take off King Louise's head and that equals—."

"Time to get Kohaku and Souta the hell out of Paris." Inuyasha supplied easily, not the least bit bothered by his wife's temper. He was used to it, after all.

"And my mother out of Bordeaux." Kagome huffed and with remarkable balance dropped the reins of her horse, so she could cross her arms over her chest.

Inuyasha glanced at her and raised an eyebrow to show his annoyance from her action, but he didn't dare tell her to stop. "She's already on the ship." He said instead and was relieved when Kagome shrugged and grabbed for the horn of her saddle. "At least she's holding onto something." He thought to himself even though he knew she would listen in and be annoyed. "Even if it isn't the reins."

"And my uncle." Kagome added only because she had heard his unspoken comment and felt like playing a bit dirty.

Inuyasha sent her a sideways glare of pure hatred (not directed at her of course). "Be glad he's on the ship." The dog demon growled irritably and pulled back his lips to reveal his fangs. "If he says one more word about whores or pirates—."

"For the last time," Kagome rolled his eyes and stopped him before he could continue on. "You cannot push him into the ocean, maim him in anyway, or—." She held up one hand and shook her finger at him. "Shoot him dead."

He huffed at her order and let go of the reins of his own horse, so he could mimic her earlier crossed armed stance. "Can't I at least break his nose again." Disgruntled, he closed his eyes and waited for her response even though he already knew what it would be.

"It healed crocked," Kagome groaned and reached for the reins of her horse as she contemplated ending the conversation by forcing the creature to gallop. "Isn't that enough for you?"

"No," Inuyasha pouted his lips and opened one eye to look at her out of its corner. "But it helps."

"Dear lord." Kagome let out an exasperated sigh and kicked the sides of her horse lightly, so he trotted a little faster.

Inuyasha laughed, completely entertained by her annoyance, and grabbed for the reins of his own horse. He gently kicked its sides to catch up with her; his eyes briefly moving upwards to study the full moon they were navigating by. It was beginning to dip quite low along the western horizon, and that worried the dog demon. His eyes shifted over to the houses along the road. They were closer together now; a sure sign Paris was growing ever nearer. Still, he didn't have to worry about how close the houses were; he did, however, have to worry about the lights he was beginning to see in some of the windows. They were few and rather far between, but that didn't make them any less dangerous.

"It's getting close to four in the morning." He called towards Kagome as he directed his horse to come alongside her own. "So, we better keep our eyes and ears open for the waking."

Kagome nodded even though they were going a bit fast for her to hear him clearly over the horses' hooves. "Do you really believe that man in the pub?" She spoke softly knowing that he would be able to hear her with ease. "The one who said people were rioting in the streets?"

"Drunk or not," Inuyasha shrugged even though it was hard to tell that he had while he was riding. "I think he was telling the truth."

Kagome bit her lip in response to his admission and turned to focus on the road once more. "Do you think," She asked without looking at him because she didn't want to see the true answer on his face. "Souta and Kohaku received Mama's letter?"

"Not a doubt in my mind." Inuyasha spoke quickly, too quickly.

"Stop lying." Kagome grumbled, but he heard her none-the-less.

"Do you want false hope or not?" He shot back as he surveyed the landscape. More houses were appearing alongside the road and further away from it as well. In the distance, he could hear a rather disgruntled cow mooing in the dark. A few lights dotted the landscape here and there, but he knew they most likely came from women who were simply beginning preparations for breakfast. "If they have anything to eat that is." He commented only to himself. With the comment still reverberating in his mind, he caught sight of something up ahead that greatly disturbed him. A dim light, not a candle or a lamp, was flickering amongst the rising specters of buildings. It was far away, he could tell, but that didn't make it small. Instead, it was quite large, which made him growl a little. "Time for a barrier."

Kagome glanced at him and then back to the city before them. "What do you see?"

"Look." He commanded softly, and, having no reason not to listen, Kagome directed her attention towards the city once more.

For several seconds, she said nothing as she studied the murky outline of whatever was in front of her. It didn't take long for her to see the abnormality. Flames were licking the edges of the dim buildings; the flames of a bonfire or, perhaps, something far more sinister. "We'll have to keep the horses side by side—match pace." She commanded softly as she let go of the reins of the horse and reached beside her for her bow that was tied to the saddle.

Nimble fingers undid the strings that contained it, and without another word, she drew the bow away from the horse's side and channeled her power through it. Her energy flowed up from the bow easily, creating a white and hot ball of light that temporarily illuminated them. She pushed it outwards without taking her eyes off of the tiny flame that was becoming larger and larger as the horses drew closer and closer to their destination.

Inuyasha watched the energy as it moved towards him knowing that, in a way, it was his own. The light that illuminated Kagome's face made it easier for him to see the smooth lines of her skin and her chin length hair as it danced around her temples. She hadn't change. In nine years, she hadn't aged a day and neither had he. The thought, as always, made him smile even as he turned away from her to look out at the road ahead of them. What had been a little flame was now something akin to a blaze, and he gulped with the knowledge of what that represented.

"So the drunker was right." He commented as the barrier engulfed them so as to disguise their movements. "They are rioting." His ears twitched with the sound of angry voices that were echoing down the road so quietly that only he could hear them.

"I had hoped," Kagome spoke louder now; her barrier methods had grown exceptional over the years, and now-a-days they blocked out sound as well. "That since it was night everything would be calm—well, calmer at least."

"From the sound of it," Inuyasha kicked the sides of his horse as Kagome did the same. Both of them understood the true urgency in their actions now. "Your hypothesis was wrong."

"It was originally your hypothesis." Kagome snorted as they finally transitioned from the dirt country road to the cobblestone of the outer city.

"Should have made your own then." Inuyasha snickered as he spoke, but Kagome didn't call him on his annoying mirth.

Instead, she looked at the little houses that lined the street; they were dingy and dark. She caught sight, just out of the corner of her eye, of the occasional homeless person asleep amongst a pile of filthy rags and blankets. Her heart panged with sympathy, but she knew there wasn't much she could do. France was in a terrible state, and even she did not have the power to fix what a corrupted government had caused. They rode on in the dark, away from the small, filthy houses and out into a rather large street. The sound of water caught her attention, and Kagome glanced to her right just as the banks of the Seine River appeared to her.

"A letter, Cherie, for Souta." Elizabeth Dresmont mother wrung her hands with worry as she spoke to her daughter. "I sent it to St. Germaine des pres. Souta and Kohaku vill be t-ere in ze prison—waiting for you."

"I hope they got the letter—please—please let them have it." Kagome thought as she remembered her mother's hurried directions as they got off the ship on that same river some five leagues or so away from their current position. "We caught up with the Seine again."

Inuyasha glanced towards her and nodded his head in the dark. Quite suddenly, he pulled on the reins of his horse and without speaking to her motioned for her to do the same. She followed suit without question, and the two stood still in the middle of the quiet street. Off in the distance, the pops of a fire or what might have been a gun resounded off the walls of buildings and down deserted alleyways. Slowly, the dog demon inhaled searching for the scent of gun powder. He found it without really having to try.

"We're close," He whispered even though they both knew the barrier around them prevented the outside world from hearing them. "To the Champ de Mars."

Kagome froze as she took in the significance of his words. "You mean, where the massacres were?"

He nodded as his eyes searched the area around them slowly, calculating. "We've got at least another mile and half to get to St. Germaine's." He spoke with such urgency that Kagome felt the palms of her hands twist the reins from nerves.

His horse whined as a loud crash in the distance echoed up and down the street. Both of them snapped their heads towards the sound as they attempted to calm the horses with shushing noises. A series of laughs rang out and a few French words that they couldn't discern from such a distance. Both of them could see the fire from earlier though. It was growing larger, and now that they were close enough to discern its location, they could tell it originated from the Champ de Mars.

Inuyasha, with his superior vision, had to squint to see what was illuminated by the flames, and when he finally made out the horrific sight, he wished he hadn't bothered. A group of men were raising what he knew to be a guillotine upwards as they positioned some sort of fruit along the base, like a head.

"Let's go." He spoke quickly before he could witness any further what they were preparing for.

Kagome didn't have to be told. In unison, they hit the sides of their horses with their boots and took off down the large road away from the signs of bloody revolution. As the horses galloped, Kagome allowed the smudged, blackish images of the city to pass by her without her notice while her heart began to clench painfully in her chest. She knew what Inuyasha had seen, only because she had allowed herself to slip into his mind as he looked. She could see the image of the sharpened edge of the guillotine, and the fruit that would be replaced, in daylight, by a head. Her brother's face formed in her mind as they raced down the street, and the conversation she had two days prior with her uncle and mother replayed in her head.

"Souta is," Her uncle crossed his arms over his chest and eyed Inuyasha with disdain before continuing. "A political prisoner."

"But he's barely nineteen!" Kagome protested in confusion as her uncle turned his unnerving glare towards her. She didn't even flinch. "Not to mention fully human."

"Cherie," Her mother spoke softly even as she dabbed her eyes with her handkerchief. "Souta—," She hesitated and shifted in the elaborate blue chair. "Werked with la monarchie." She hiccupped slightly and buried her face in her hands without a single care for the paint on her face.

Kagome's uncle stepped up behind her and placed a hand on her back soothingly. "And the revolutionaries only see that status." He continued on before releasing a grave sigh while his sister's shoulders trembled underneath his hand. "He sides with demons in their eyes Kagome, whether he actually agrees with the monarchy's ideology or not." He looked up at his niece with actual regret in his bright blue eyes. "And for that, he became a prisoner of war."

"Then we have to help him." Kagome pushed herself up out of the chair and looked at her uncle earnestly.

"You don't understand!" He fired back as he removed his hand from his sister's shoulders and threw it in the air with irritation. "He's locked up in the St. Germaine prison." His eyes flashed towards the relatively silent Inuyasha (who was only silent, truthfully, to keep from killing the other man). "Even your bloody pirate cannot get him out."

Kagome's eyes turned dark at his words, but not because of the way he cussed or how he spat out the word pirate. "You may think it's impossible," She took a step towards him, only vaguely aware that Inuyasha had tensed from the motion and was now hovering on the balls of his feet ready to pounce. "But I've done some pretty damn near impossible things." She spoke quietly and harshly all at the same time. "And breaking into a prison was one of them!"

Kagome would always relish the look of pure horror that crossed her uncle's face in the moments before he turned towards her husband and snapped, "Can you control your wife?" He threw his hands in the air and finally looked at Inuyasha for the first time since the conversation had started.

For his part, the dog demon shrugged and glanced at the man's crooked nose with amusement. "No more than I can control what a bloody idiot you are."

An old Church bell clanged in the distance; the sound brought Kagome solidly out of the memory. She shook her head in wonder at the noise. She couldn't help but assume that the bell was peeling out of a steeple in St. Germaine's Abbey. Somehow, with the current climate, she could only suppose that it did not.

Voices screaming back and forth in French barely phased the husband and wife as they hurried passed an ancient bridge. Vaguely, Kagome registered the name of the bridge as they passed its blackened entrance. "Pont Royal." She whispered under her breath, and the coincidence was not lost on her in the least.

The bridge was gone within moments, and Inuyasha motioned for her to turn right at the next street. Without hesitation, she jerked the rein slightly to the right redirecting the horse down a narrower roadway. It wasn't an alley by any means; still, comparatively speaking, the new street was much narrower than the giant one they had been on previously. They moved passed a variety of ancient and more modern buildings; the architecture varying from Grecian inspired to the very latest fashions: elaborate roofs and red painted walls with stark geometric angles that seemed grotesquely ill proportioned and gothic all at once.

They continued on down the road until Inuyasha motioned for them to turn left onto a different one that was far wider. The same buildings surrounded them, but a complex in the distance caught Kagome's eye. Rising out of a series of shorter buildings was a tall, gothic like cathedral that made Kagome gasp in awe. None of the lamps in front of it were lit, but she was positive that had they been, the building would have looked even more regal and immense. She stared at the large triangular tower as it rose up into the night. The giant steeples surrounded it like silent soldiers, making Kagome's heart sore.

"Is that?" She whispered not expecting Inuyasha to answer, but he did.

"The abbey of St. Germaine."

"They're using that as a prison?" She shook her head in complete bafflement as she looked at the gorgeous building ahead of them. She could now see smaller buildings that surrounded the greater chapel, but even their great windows couldn't beat the glorious, sharp angles of the abbey's tallest towers.

"To my understanding, part of its been a prison for a while—a prison inside the abbey." Inuyasha's sharp eyes surveyed the area they were approaching as he spoke. Carefully, he pulled on his horse's reins, slowing it down to a trot as he looked at the walls that now made themselves present around the abbey grounds. "We're going to have to scale the wall."

Kagome scrunched up her face and looked up at the wall. Although she had never been a good judge of distance, she knew it had to be a good ten feet. "Still," She told herself as they came to a halt by a rather large tree; the branches were swaying in the light breeze. "For us two—ten feet is nothing." She snickered under her breath and glanced towards her husband. She watched as his ears twisted in her direction, tweaked, and then swiveled back around as if he had only been checking on her and nothing more. "What's the plan?" She asked and watched with amusement as his ears twitched.

"Dismount." He answered cryptically only because he knew she was teasing him. She knew the plan better than she knew the back of her hand, and that wasn't because they had discussed it prior or that she had read his mind. Really, it was because they had known each other long enough to create the plan in tandem as they went (not that they broke into prisons often, but they did often break the law together—always for a good reason, of course).

Both of them slid off their respective saddle and landed quietly on the cobblestone street. The horses shook their heads in distaste and whined softly, but otherwise they didn't complain. Kagome patted her horse's side as she glanced at the well pruned tree beside them and then out across the disserted street. It seemed like a giant risk to tie them to the trunk; there was no telling who might be walking around the abbey this early in the morning and grow suspicious, but they really didn't have a choice.

"I guess we tie them here, huh?" She turned back to her husband who was also surveying their surroundings.

"Not like we have much choice." He replied as he threw the reins around the trunk of the tree.

Even though it was bigger than some of the trees that lined the streets, it wasn't big enough that the reins would not fit around it comfortably. Within seconds, he had tied up his own horse and, without thought, grabbed for the reins of Kagome's. She didn't mind the curtesy as she strung her bow over her shoulders and looked up and down the street paying careful attention to the small alley ways. They were darker than the unlit street, but that didn't mean she couldn't make out a fuzzy outline if she needed to. Luckily for them both, the street seemed almost abnormally quiet and did not play host to any roaming people.

"Come on." Inuyasha mumbled to her despite the barrier that still surrounded them. He knelt down in front of her presenting his back as he had several times throughout their time together.

Kagome nodded her confirmation, she too wanted to remain as quiet as possible, and climbed onto his back. She wrapped her arms around his neck gently and leaned her weight forward as he grabbed the back of her knees and pulled her close to himself. He straightened his legs as he supported her weight and titled his head slightly back, so he could see the wall. With minimal to no effort, he shot upwards and landed on the abbey's walls. They weren't exactly wide, no more than a foot and a half or so, but there was enough room for him to stand as they caught their first glimpse of the abbey yard. A complex of buildings, some old and some appearing rather new lined the dank abbey pathways.

Below them one of the horses shook its head and hit its hoof against the ground. The sound made them both relatively nervous because, unlike before, it wasn't covered by the dampening power of Kagome's barrier. "You've spent the better part of our marriage perfecting barriers," Inuyasha spoke in a hushed whisper. "And you still don't know how to leave a barrier behind."

"The second we get home I'll work on that." Kagome whispered into his ear being sure to blow a little bit.

Inuyasha shivered from the feel of her breath across his ears and growled low in his throat. "I've got a better idea on what we should work on."

Kagome stifled a laugh but managed to respond candidly. "And I like it."

The dog demon snorted, and they teetered forward as he momentarily lost his balance to laughter. "You're going to make me—us—," He looked over his shoulder and glared at her, but the expression was primarily playful. "Fall."

"Alright, alright," She smiled and kissed the side of his head playfully before looking out at the massive complex once more. "How are we going to find them?"

"I can smell the prison." He told her as he inhaled slightly and scanned the compound. He winced as the odor nearly made him dizzy and shook his head to clear it. "Human filth mixed with gun powder."

Kagome winced at the assessment, but she understood exactly what he meant. "Let's hurry."

Her husband nodded sharply and jumped off the wall and onto the ground below. The wind rushed around them for all of a second before he landed on silent feet. Immediately, he sprang forward and darted down a tiny gravel pathway. The stones made crunching noises underneath his boots, but the sound of it was contained by the barrier Kagome continued to project around them. He traveled along the path purposefully, only stopping long enough to sniff the air and change direction. All around them, the buildings seemed to loom up and out of the ground. They towered over them as the full moon above their heads cast creepy shadows against the ancient brick. They passed the giant peak of the gothic chapel, and Kagome stared up at it as it rose above them, a black and ominous warning.

She pressed herself closer to his back as a cold shudder ran down her spine from the sight. "It must be beautiful in light," She whispered to Inuyasha as she pressed her cheek against her husband's soft hair. "But all of Paris is in darkness now—isn't it?" She closed her eyes as the explanation for these cruel phantoms pierced her heart.

"Better yet," He replied as he began to slow down. "In flames." He finished as they approached the corner of a building that resembled a tombstone. "Here." He whispered as he looked at the morbid building before him. The smell that seemed to seep from it made him nauseous, but he swallowed the bile down as they both turned their attention to the hundreds of windows above their heads. For the most part, they were lined with unforgiving bars, thick and most likely made from steel. "Too bad there's not a normal window."

Kagome was fully prepared to agree with her husband when she noticed a strange sight coming from the corner of the building. Right where side met side and the building turned, a strange white flapping sheet came to view. She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes with some confusion. "Inuyasha?" She whispered to him and pointed over his head to the odd object. "Look."

His head snapped towards the direction she indicated and within seconds his eyes widened. "Good eye." He praised and they were moving before she could say another word. They rounded the corner of the building within seconds, and both of them looked up at the white sheet that hung from the window like a sign. "An open window."

"With no bars." Kagome nearly laughed out loud at the stroke of luck. "You won't have to break down the door."

"Is it sad if I'm disappointed?" He joked with her and glanced from side to side more out of practice than need. Even if someone happened to be patrolling the grounds, no one would see them. "So," He looked at her over his shoulder and motioned with his chin towards the room above. "Guard room or stupidity?"

"Maybe neither." Kagome chimed in and wrapped her arms a little tighter around his neck. "Mama told Souta in the letter to find a way to leave a window open." She whispered the words against his ear, but this time there was nothing in the gesture that made him shiver. "And to put a sheet in the window if he could."

"Right." Her husband tightened his grip a bit on her thighs and pulled her a little closer. "Let's find out, shall we?" He waited until he felt her grip increase before pushing off.

They sailed only for a few seconds in the air before they ducked into the window and further still into the room. It was a dark room with cold stone walls cut from the most dismal grey and brown slabs of rock Kagome had ever even half seen. The coldness of the air around them and the dankness of the smell made both of them nearly gag, but neither hesitated as they looked around the tiny space. Two slabs of stone with lumpy and dingy sheets rested against either wall. It took Kagome only a moment to realize that the lumps were bodies, but she couldn't tell with her human nose and eyes whether they were alive or dead.

She opened her mouth for a second almost afraid to ask and then snapped it shut. Slowly, she squeezed Inuyasha's shoulders before loosening her grip deliberately. Inuyasha responded by relaxing his own grip on her so as to allow her to slip from his back. She landed softly on the ground and looked towards one of the lumpy sheets. A tuff of hair was sticking out from underneath it, black and very much like her own in an odd way. "Can it be?" She stepped forward with an outstretched hand but hesitated. "What," She asked in barely a whisper; her barrier keeping the noise away from the sleeping prisoner. "Do you smell?"

"You." Inuyasha responded back and Kagome knew exactly what he meant.

"Souta!" Her loud voice nearly made him topple over as the barrier she had placed around them suddenly vanished.

"Kagome!" Inuyasha whispered harshly between clenched teeth as he watched the body on the bed stir.

His wife didn't listen to him at all, however, as she leapt towards the bed. She hit her knees on the cold and dirty stone and grabbed the sheet that the man was using to protect himself from both the damp cold and the awful smell. His black hair with little hints of lighter colors was curly just like his sisters, and his scrunched up face, so much older than it had been nearly eleven years before, looked remarkably like the father they had lost. Kagome swallowed down a sob as she reached for the face and brushed back some hair from his just now fluttering eyes.

"Que?" The man mumbled as his eyes opened, confused by the touch in the darkness.

"Souta." She whispered hastily into the dark, not noticing when the man on the other bed stirred or that Inuyasha had turned his attention to the other.

"Kohaku?" Inuyasha asked as he took on the responsibility of seeing to the other boy while Kagome kept her eyes on her brother.

"Souta?" She whispered again as she looked into the perplexed eyes of her father: grey.

"Kagome?" He whispered, and it was the sound of a man.

She nodded her head feverishly and laughed as she placed a hand on either side of his face. "You look just like Papa." She told the nineteen your old and bent down to kiss his gross brow without a care in the world.

The boy's mouth hung open, but he didn't question her as she pressed the kiss to his forehead and then suddenly his nose. "Kagome?" He whispered and reached out to touch her face as if in disbelief. His fingers rubbed her cheek, leaving smudges of dirt in their wake, but Kagome didn't mind. She leaned into his touch and watched as he squinted and frowned. "You," He sounded absolutely shocked as Kagome helped him up in the bed, the sheets falling away from his body. "You—you're the same." He blinked in disbelief as his hand fell away from her in shock. "You—you can't be my sister—you—she—."

"It's a long story," Kagome whispered to him, understanding that her appearance would be strange. After all, her mother and uncle had reacted the same way. "And that was a delightful conversation to try to avoid." She closed her eyes for a moment as she recollected how much fun it had been to avoid all of their questions and dance around the truth. "I'll tell them, sometime." She told herself and shook her head. "I am your sister Souta," She opened her eyes as she addressed her brother again. "And I can prove it."

"How?" The boy sounded almost afraid, afraid to hope.

"When you were three," She lowered her voice and leaned towards him with a delightful smile. "I told you—I wish I had been born a boy." She tried not to laugh as she pressed on. "And you offered to help me find, how should I put it?" She tilted her head back in mock thought. "The right equipment."

The full grown man turned bright red and not knowing what else to say laughed. "Kagome!" His voice shook with a mixture of embarrassment and love as he wrapped his arms around his sister lovingly. He buried his face in the side of her neck and tried hard not to cry. "The letter was real!" He spoke in a harsh whisper as he pulled away from her with a shudder. "I—mercy—Kohaku!" He turned towards the other boy who Inuyasha was just now helping to sit up. "It was real!"

Kagome blinked and looked behind her brother towards the other bed as if she just now remembered it was there. Sure enough, sitting up in the bed with his back against the wall was Kohaku. Her own husband was sitting beside him on the edge of the bed so as to help the boy stay upright. "Oh my word," Kagome stared at the man she had saved ten years before. He had aged some. His human features were becoming more masculine and somehow wiser, but his brown eyes, filled with a pained hope and his frail body were exactly the same.

"This might be the most unlikely thing to have ever happened," Kohaku spoke quietly but not because of their environment. "Don't you think, Ms. Kagome."

"I can think of something more unlikely." Inuyasha mused but didn't say anything more out loud. In fact, the most unlikely thing to ever happen in both of their lives had occurred nine years prior when their daughter had somehow come from the future to bring him back from the dead. On the scale of probability, that was the least likely thing to ever have happened. "Eliza." His adult daughter appeared in his head as he thought about the incident with a frown as he normally did. Although he was glad to be alive, he still wondered about that girl and what had happened to her. "After all, even she said there was a price, but what price?"

Kagome didn't hear Inuyasha's silent speculation. If she would have, an argument would most likely have started; an argument that had been going on for almost eight years. Luckily, she was far too consumed by the sight of Kohaku and her brother to listen in on her husband's thoughts. "Are you okay?" She spoke to Kohaku even as she dropped her hands down to her brother's shoulders and squeezed.

"We're fine," Souta looked towards the other man and nodded. "We're human so they left us alone most of the time." He glanced towards the thick wooden door of the room with the large black handle that didn't turn. "I convinced them to let us have this room for Kohaku's health." He explained hastily and with disbelief rocking through his voice. "When I got Mama's letter, I arranged for an extra sheet for the same reason." He looked towards Kagome in absolute awe. "We had hoped you'd come but we—we didn't—." He stopped as Kohaku suddenly began to cough. The wheezing sound was so similar to the sound from ten years' prior that both Inuyasha and Kagome winced from memory. "Kohaku's body wasn't made for a prison."

"That's because it came from one." Inuyasha shook his head and patted the boy on the back. Within a few seconds, the cough subsided and Kohaku sat up while taking small breaths. His body remained hunched a bit and his brown eyes smiled with thanks even though his lips looked blue. "Kohaku." Inuyasha spoke gently as his mind flashed back to the shell of a body he had carried out of a, surprisingly, worse prison. "How are you?"

The younger man laughed a little; the sound quickly turned into a cough. "I've been better," He reached a shaking hand out for Inuyasha to take, and the dog demon silently took it into a firm handshake. "And I've been worse."

"I know," Inuyasha continued to rub the man's back as he coughed again against the damp cold of the room. "I was there."

Kohaku smiled gently as his cough eased and looked towards Kagome who was checking her brother over for visible injuries, much to the younger man's displeasure. "Souta got them to put us together. He's been—be—," He breathed in deeply and forced himself not to cough again. "Taking care of me." He looked towards Inuyasha who was listening with patience that he shouldn't have had in a time like this. "Giving me his gruel and water."

"Good man." Kagome spoke with a thankfulness in her voice that should have belonged to Sango.

"Very much so." Kohaku agreed and immediately began to cough. The sound was violent but judging by the lack of movement Inuyasha could pick up from outside the bolted door, not uncommon.

"We need to get him out of here, now." Inuyasha mumbled as he pulled Kohaku out of the bed and into his grip. "We have horses waiting."

"What if they see us?" Souta glanced towards his best friend and partner in business.

"Don't worry." Inuyasha leaned against the side of the window and looked down at the ground; his face was hidden in the shadow, so he could not be seen. "Your sister has that covered."

A loud boom from outside followed by the loud cries of revolutionist caught their attention.

"There're at it again," Kohaku whispered as he leaned his head against Inuyasha's chest, exhausted from coughing. "Preparing to execute someone at that—that—guillotine."

"It's sad," Kagome mumbled as she moved towards the window and hid in the shadows so she would not be seen. She glanced out, and even though she couldn't see as far as Inuyasha could, she knew that the sound was miles away from them and beside them as well. In the streets, she could now make out men who were making their way along the early morning pathways. "That the starving must fight to eat bread."

Souta snorted at her words and motioned out the window with one of his hands. "Maybe if the humans didn't riot, they would have bread."

Kagome gasped at her brother's words, but before she could even think to say anything to him, Inuyasha turned and snarled, "You don't believe that horse shit, do ya?"

"I—." Souta looked towards his sister and then towards Kohaku. The older boy was looking at him like he was an idiot. "Of course not." He managed to say in a hushed whisper as he glanced at the ground shamefully. "I've been near these people too long is all."

"Poison often spreads." Kohaku whispered making Souta feel even more ashamed; after all, Kohaku more than anyone understood how poison worked.

Something crashing to the ground somewhere outside made Inuyasha swear. "We don't have time for this." He glanced quickly towards Kagome and jerked his head in the direction of the sound. "Can you sense anything?" He asked ignoring the two very confused boys.

"Humans—quite a few in the streets." Kagome replied and licked her lips anxiously. "Inuyasha, even with the barrier, we're going to have problems."

Her husband nodded once sharply. Although the barrier hid them quite well, they had noticed one flaw in its capabilities over the years. Although it could not be seen, it could be felt. "We need to get out of here quickly." He moved towards her at the window. "I'll take Kohaku—."

"No." Kagome interrupted as she turned her attention away from the outside and towards him instead. "Take me; I'll make a barrier down there. Better chance of not being seen."

He agreed quickly and turned towards Souta who was already prepared to take hold of his friend. Kohaku coughed slightly from being moved so much but otherwise did not complain. The dog demon grabbed his wife in an instant and was out the window even quicker. With the bow on her back, Kagome didn't bother to wait to form the barrier, and it was around them before her husband's feet hit the ground. Within seconds, he was gone and then back again with Souta clinging to his back and Kohaku in his arms.

Under the protection of the barrier, Souta slipped from the older man's back and took up residence along his sister's side. "Stay close," She directed as she started down the gravel path, Inuyasha and her brother close behind her. "Don't move more than a couple feet away from me."

The buildings seemed even more mincing now as the moon dipped lower and lower in the sky, but the sun didn't rise just yet and probably wouldn't until they were well out of the city's limits. The few minutes it took to arrive back at the wall they had entered over drug on and on as they began to feel a sense of panic. Despite the still relatively early hour, they could all hear the start of life as revolutionist and even common bakers began to take to the streets.

"There shouldn't be this many people about at five in the morning." Inuyasha hissed as they turned the corner at the last building that separated them from the wall and their horses.

"I know." Kagome agreed, but the panting Souta and coughing Kohaku didn't say so much as a word.

They reached the wall a few minutes later. Souta practically staggered towards it and placed a hand against the cool stone as he heaved from exertion. Silently, his sister placed a hand on his back and rubbed as she too breathed in a little heavily. The dog demon, however, leaned his back against the wall only so he could adjust Kohaku a little bit. "Alright, just like when we went out the window."

"Qui est en," The sound of someone screaming in French came up to them from the other side of the wall making all four adults freeze in place. "Chevaux sont seux ci?" The question hung in the air as Inuyasha and Kagome's horses whinnied.

Kagome looked towards her husband, and her husband looked towards her, both of them saying one word only. "Shit."

"You left the horses unprotected!" Souta whispered between clenched teeth.

"Were we supposed to bring them in?" Inuyasha hissed back at him as he tried desperately to formulate a plan just as hoof beats alerted them to their ride leaving.

"What the hell do we do now?" The younger man continued on as he motioned towards Kohaku. "Walk?"

"No." Kagome chimed in and sent her brother a devious smile. "Steal."

Inuyasha immediately snickered and said the only thing that honestly came to his mind. "I love you."

-break-

The alleyway was dark but not so dark that the humans couldn't see the dingy cobblestone below their feet. They made their way slowly down the dismal little back way for Kohaku's sake. Even being carried on Inuyasha's back as he was, his fragile body was tired and strained. Luckily, Kagome's barrier protected them from sight as they made their way along the completely silent street. The back gardens of houses, most likely belonging to the mid classes of French society, lined the streets on either side of them. For the most part, they looked rather well kept despite the upheaval, but that was the reason they had chosen this particular street to venture down.

A kept house meant money and money meant stables and stables meant horses.

Kagome glanced towards her husband who was scenting the air as he walked. On his back, Kohaku wheezed and panted as he clung to the older man for dear life. It was hard to believe that one person could find themselves in the same exact predicament in the same exact life time, but Kohaku was living (thank goodness) proof that it was entirely possible.

"Yes!" Inuyasha stopped suddenly making both Kagome and Souta nearly pounce on him for news.

"You've got the scent?" Kagome asked; her voice was filled to the brim with hope.

"No." Inuyasha replied nonchalantly as he dropped down, balancing Kohaku as he reached for something on the ground. "Found a livre." He held up the tiny scape of silver with perfect amazement on his face as he studied King Louie. "Can you believe it? I've been looking since we got here."

"We don't have time for your hobby!" Kagome practically growled as she made to snatch the coin out of his grip.

He laughed slightly in return and hastily dropped the coin in his jacket pocket before she could successfully take it from him. "You know it's not for me."

"We don't have time for anyone's hobby." His brother-in-law chimed in as he shakily looked up and down the back alley; he half-expected someone to come at them at any moment. "We need to get out of this city before they realize we're gone."

"Alright." Inuyasha nodded sharply and began to scent the air again as they started walking. Behind him, he felt Kohaku shudder a bit but not from coughing. "You thought it was funny."

"Certainly." The man replied and cleared his throat to prevent another coughing fit from coming on. "Who's the benefactor?"

"My mistress." Inuyasha replied, and the boy laughed as he buried his head against Inuyasha's back.

The dog demon smiled as he felt the laughter against his shoulder blades and continued to scent the air. He was beginning to wonder if there were any horses left in Paris. After all, with the food shortages the way they were and horse considered a delicacy, it wouldn't surprise him if they had all been eaten. Fortunately for him and his companions, however, horse meat had not been on the menu at one house, at least.

"Horses—I smell 'em!" He spoke sharply as he hurried his footsteps so that he was shoulder to shoulder with both Kagome and her brother. "Up there on the left."

Kagome blinked as she followed the direction he had indicated with his chin. A small fence that could have only reached up to Inuyasha's hipbone separated them from a rather large backyard garden. The soft call of chickens as they began to wake and of horses as they whinnied restlessly greeted their ears. A tiny stable that could only have housed two, maybe three horses, rested just beside the fence. At least two hundred feet away from it, the actual house stood. All of its windows were black; the family was still tucked in their beds.

"Perfect." Kagome mumbled as she approached the gate. She didn't lay a finger on it, at least not a finger meant to open it. Instead, she touched the top with her whole palm and quietly jumped over the scarcely three feet tall gate. "Stay here." She directed towards the men who waited on the other side of the gate.

Inuyasha obeyed without question as his wife made her way to the stable. The barrier followed her as she went. It stole her from his sight because of the invisibility it allotted her, but he wasn't too worried. This alley was relatively quiet, and no one seemed to be awake in the house at all. Her brother, however, looked from the place his sister had been to his brother-in-law completely baffled. "You're just going to let her go—all alone?"

"She's fine." Inuyasha mumbled with a shrug as he glanced towards the still quiet house. "I think this guy is a butcher; this place smells like a butchers, anyway." He spoke mainly to himself as he sniffed the air and ignored the fact that Souta was staring at him like he had two heads. "We should leave some money."

"Leave your livre." Souta growled and started to reach out for the gate. Inuyasha's slight chuckle stopped him from opening it, however.

"That livre isn't enough." Inuyasha rummaged in his pocket for a moment while Souta listened to the clinking of a couple dozen coins. "And I owe it to my other girl." He clicked his tongue as he finally pulled out a handful of plain gold coins and dumped them on the stone wall that separated them from the garden. "That should do—pay for at least four of 'em."

Souta stared at the small pile of gold for a moment and then looked up at his brother-in-law with his mouth agape. "Why," He motioned towards the pile even as Kohaku snickered again, apparently far more entertained than Souta. "Did you stoop for that one livre if you had this much money in your pocket?"

Inuyasha shrugged as his ears twitched on his head; it sounded like someone was waking in the house. He shifted with just a bit of worry as he glanced towards the stable. He could see the wide opened door, but he couldn't hear anything inside; he was prevented by the barrier. "How do you think I got that much gold?"

Souta's mouth dropped opened and then snapped shut again. "Mama didn't lie," He crossed his arms over his chest and glanced towards the stable anxiously. "You are a pirate, aren't you?"

"Semi-retired I would say." Inuyasha clicked his tongue and sent the boy a wink as the stable door momentarily disappeared as Kagome walked back through it. "Thank god—time to get the hell out of here." He exhaled and looked towards Souta. "Time for the gate." He told the younger man and motioned with his chin for the boy to open it. Quite un-expectantly, a light burst into existence in one of the windows of the house. Inuyasha and Souta froze at the sight. "Kagome!" Inuyasha thought harshly because he knew she would hear. "Someone's awake."

Even though Inuyasha couldn't see her, Kagome moved quickly upon hearing his thoughts; the barrier hid her swift movements. She had two horses because there had only been two in the stable. They were bridled but not saddled since she hadn't had time to dig out the saddles for both. The horses on either side of her body kicked the ground nervously and yanked on the reins, forcing Kagome to pull them forward using her body weight. Despite her grand abilities, she was still only human, and they were giant horses. "Just get to the gate before anybody sees something." She told herself as she yanked on the unruly beast.

Meanwhile, a man walked passed the closed window in his nightshirt. He yawned into his hand and stooped, disappearing from their view as he reached for something on the floor. He rose seconds later, and appearing exhausted, he reached his hands up above his head briefly to stretch. He released another large yawn, and then dropped his hands so as to scratch his lower back. Half asleep, he happened to turn towards the window and against all odds squinted as he saw Inuyasha and Souta standing at the gate. They both froze as they watched the man tilt his head to the side as if he wasn't sure what he was seeing. Within seconds, the man grabbed his candle from the ledge and yanked for the window's lock.

"Quiet times over!" Inuyasha whispered just as the man managed to through the window open.

"Ce que tu fais!" He screamed at them; the sound of his voice seemed to awaken a series of stray and kept dogs in the neighbor. And the sound they made, well, it seemed to awaken quite a few neighbors.

"Open the damn gate!" Kagome yelled and gave up on holding her barrier which allowed Inuyasha and Souta to hear her and the man to see the horses.

Souta yanked the gate opened, and Kagome shoved one of the horses through. Inuyasha grabbed the reins and was on the back of the horse with Kohaku still clinging to him within seconds. Without bothering to shove the other horse through, Kagome jumped on its back and reached down for Souta. "Come on."

The boy stared at his sister perplexed even as the butcher screamed at them waking up his neighbors fully. "Shouldn't I be first?"

"Get on the stupid horse!" Kagome snarled at her brother and yanked him up behind her with strength Souta didn't know she possessed.

"Non!" The man yelled, but luckily for them, he was a portly human and could not fit through the tiny window. "Mes chevaux."

"Nous sommes," Inuyasha yelled back and pointed at the wall quickly to indicate the payment he had left behind. "Partis de paiement!"

Despite the mention of payment, the man held up his fist and shook it as both Inuyasha and Kagome kicked the sides of their horses hard. "Reviens!"

"Pardon!" The married couple yelled over their shoulders as the horses ran at a full gallop down the Paris streets. A dozen or so homes had candles in their windows now, and a few people were even opening their own shut up houses to look out at the street. With any luck, however, Inuyasha and Kagome would be long out of Paris before a single person put on enough clothes to depart the house.

Souta clung to his sister's waist as the horse thundered down the street at full speed. They were far fresher horses than the ones Kagome and Inuyasha had ridden in on, and that simple fact allowed them to fly down the roadways of Paris with remarkable ease. Men were walking about now but none of them could even stop to stare as Inuyasha and Kagome charged through the streets; the husband in front of the wife as he mentally directed himself through every back alleyway he could remember.

Completely in shock, and unable to fathom what had just happened, Souta squeezed his sister's waist weakly. "Where are we going?" He yelled over the sound of pounding hooves and the blood in his ears.

"Home." Kagome yelled over her shoulder as she hit the sides of the horse a little harder and a little more anxiously.

-break-

Dawn was just beginning to stretch her rosy fingers towards the horizon as Sango and Miroku leaned against the wheel of a ship that had seen a great deal of wear throughout its relatively short lifetime. Exhausted, the two looked out across the Seine River with weary eyes rimmed with black. Despite their fatigue, however, they kept their eyes focused on the banks as best they could. Still, the effort it took to keep their eyes focused on the tiny dirt road that paralleled the river was rather exceptional.

Sango felt her eyes flutter open and closed as she stared at a tree about a quarter of a league down the dusty road. The early dawn light highlighted its trunk making it appear to be a person leaning over the bank of the river. "What time is it?" She asked as she continued to watch the tree; it looked to be a willow from her position.

Miroku glanced at the sun before reaching into a pocket discreetly hidden inside his jacket. He pulled out a small pocket watch, a gift from his father on his birthday last year, and opened its face to look at the little ticking instrument. The minute hand was pointed rather bluntly at the six and the hour was pointed roughly at the seven. "Seven thirty—about." He licked his lips with a bit of worry as he snapped the pocket watch closed and shoved it back into his inner pocket.

"It's only a league or so away." Sango muttered as she laid her head on Miroku's shoulder and closed her eyes briefly. "They should have been back by now."

Miroku cleared his throat and leaned his cheek against the side of her head without looking away from the banks of the Seine. "We shouldn't have let them go by themselves."

Sango nodded against his shoulder and pulled her head away with irritation. "Someone had to watch the moron downstairs." She grumbled as she glanced at the wood beneath her feet and shot a glare at the man she couldn't see underneath the planks. "Why Kagome didn't let me hit him I'll never know."

"She didn't let Otou-san hit him." Miroku countered and crossed his hands over his chest with distaste. "At the very least, she should have let Otou-san hit him."

"I know." Sango smacked the wheel with the butt of her hand as if she were hitting the man in question herself. "Especially when he asked if she was still an unmarried whore."

The hairs on the back of Miroku's neck practically bristled. "Damn bastard."

"You know," Sango tapped her finger's against the wheel absently. "I did trip him for that."

"Is that why," Miroku looked at her with a smirk forming on his face. "He nearly fell over the railing?"

Sango tried to look sweet and innocent, but her face had never been made to look that way. Before long, the expression changed into something a vixen might wear, and she winked.

"You devilish woman." Miroku took his eyes off of the bank completely and reached for his wife.

"Oh—such sweet words." Sango whispered sarcastically as he pulled her towards him. It was at that moment that the tide pulled on the vessel just a bit and rocked the ship rather violently. Both Sango and Miroku winced as their bodies lost balance temporarily and then gained it back but not without a price. "I'm getting too old for this." Sango straightened her back and groaned a bit. At nearly twenty-nine, she really was reaching the age where the sea life didn't appeal to her at all, but this trip had been for a good cause at the very least.

"You can say that again." Miroku grunted and dropped his hands down to the pain in his lower joints. For several seconds, the two sat in companionable pain before turning their attention back towards the task at hand without a moment to spare.

Dust was coming up from the road in the distance; a sure sign that someone (or something) was approaching the spot where the boat was tired up in the river. Both of them squinted at the sight barely registering what they were seeing as real. Still, the dust was diffidently being kicked up by what looked like a horse or two and that was more promising than anything they had seen so far.

"That has to be them!" Sango yelled as she wasted no time and went running towards the staircase that led to the helm's deck. "Grab a shore vessel!" She yelled at some of the men who were mulling around on the deck awaiting that very order.

The crewmen jumped up immediately at the command and ran towards the boat that was hanging against the side of the ship. Only the day before that very boat had been used to drop Inuyasha and Kagome at the bank of the river, and now it would be used to return them. Sango watched with excitement as the trotting horses came into view. Even with her human eyes, she could see the shimmer of Inuyasha's hair as the sun shinned down on him while it rose into the sky slowly. She couldn't make out any other details, but that didn't bother her in the least. The boat popped into the water with a plop as Sango hung over the railing. Behind her, her husband held a spyglass up to his eyes and looked towards the rapidly approaching group.

"I see Kohaku, Sango!" He shook with excitement and relief. Even though they had hoped for the best, they had been desperately worried about the boy who had already survived a hellish prison once and nearly died within its walls.

"Oh thank goodness." Sango pursed her lips and tried not to cry as she watched the horses get closer. Even without the spyglass, she could make out Kagome's head now, and the sight made her heart thunder in her chest. "There's Kagome! And—," She squinted a bit so as to see the boy clinging to Kagome's back. "That must be Souta!"

"Someone," Miroku turned towards the assembled crew and practically stabbed his finger towards what was normally the Captain's cabin. "Go wake Lady Dresmont!"

A man, well dressed and respectable looking, yelled back his obedience, and Miroku turned towards the water in time to see the horses and riders come to a halt on the bank. The boat was already rowing out towards them at a steady clip. He watched as his father dismounted his horse carefully, leaving Kohaku momentarily behind. The dog demon reached up and grabbed Kohaku with gentle hands, pulling him from the horse's back without releasing him to the ground. Instead, he cradled the man like a small child against his chest and turned to look at the boat. Worried, Miroku pulled the spyglass to his face again. Using the instrument to see closer, he frowned darkly. His father's expression was tense as he held onto the boy whose own eyes were closed. A lump formed in his throat, and he glanced at his wife who had noticed the positions as well.

"He doesn't look good." She whispered, and Miroku would have responded but Mrs. Dremsont cut him off.

"Souta!" The woman's scream filled the air making even the humans wince as she ran out of her room with only a robe on. She dashed across the deck and nearly flung herself over the railing beside Sango as she looked out over the water fretfully. "Souta!" She yelled again as she clutched the smooth maple wood between her shaking fingers. The wind caught her loose hair and ruffled her robe revealing her nightclothes underneath; the improperness of it all made Miroku look towards his wife with pure shock on his face.

"She's—."

"Let me help you, Lady Dresmont." Sango cut him off as she reached for the woman grabbing the edge of her robe quickly so as to tie it off.

Elizabeth didn't even seem to notice as she kept her eyes on the small rowboat that was now making its way to shore. "Mon Cher." The woman whispered as she looked at her son who was leaning his head against his sister's shoulder, exhausted. "Oh Souta."

Sango nodded in agreement as she managed to catch Kagome's eye. The woman smiled up at her, and the expression looked exhausted as well. "They must have been up all night." Sango licked her lips and glanced towards Miroku just as the longboat came up beside the vessel. "We have to back up Lady Dresmont," Sango pulled on the woman's shoulders gently even though she was actually met with remarkable resistance from such a proper woman. "The men need room to work." She spoke as gently as possible understanding exactly how this mother felt. "Just a bit and you'll have your son back."

Surprisingly her words did the trick, and Mrs. Dresmont released her grip on the railing and backed away. Instantly, a few men materialized in her place prepared to help those who were coming up the ladder. Rather unsurprisingly, however, Inuyasha suddenly appeared above their heads. He sailed over them and landed on the deck with hardly a sound (even with his boots on). In his arms, Kohaku coughed slightly and curled farther into the demon's warmth as he shook.

Forgetting completely about Mrs. Dresmont, Sango let go of the woman's shoulders and ran towards Inuyasha and Kohaku without another thought. She didn't dare run into them, however, and instead, she stopped herself once she was only an inch away from Kohaku and his protector. Her hands shook as she reached out towards the boy who was breathing heavily. His eyes were squeezed shut so tightly that Sango could tell he wasn't actually asleep but in horrible pain.

"Oh dear." Sango whispered because she didn't know what else to say as she looked at her brother's pale cheeks. "Twice in one lifetime," Sango mumbled as she looked at her brother's much older face with worry. "Kohaku—who does this twice?"

The boy's lips twitched a bit, and he opened his eyes just enough to look at his sister as he smirked. "I'm just luckily." He told her and smiled a bit wider when his sister growled at him.

"Lucky I don't clock you!" Sango hissed and sniffled at the same time before glancing at her father-in-law desperately. "Does he smell—."

"He'll be fine Sango." Inuyasha reassured her. Kohaku didn't smell remotely of death unless one took into account the horrible smell of excrement that still lingered in his clothes. "Miroku?" He directed his son who had been standing silently off to the side. The younger man hurried over and reached for the boy without having to be told. "He needs rest."

"Of course." Miroku replied as he gently took Kohaku out of Inuyasha's grip. Despite being well into his twenties now, the boy was light as a feather. "Come on," Miroku held onto Kohaku with shaking fingers. "Ready for bed young man?"

"I thought," Kohaku coughed slightly and looked up at his brother-in-law through hooded eyes. "You'd never ask."

At that moment, Souta pulled himself onto the ship, and the sound of his mother squealing as she flung herself at him was all they needed to discretely disperse.

"We're gonna give him a bath and put him to bed." Miroku told his father who nodded easily in return.

"You got water and everything?" He asked cautiously as he glanced towards the boy in Miroku's grip. It would take quite a bit to get that amount of grime off him.

"Had it set up ages ago." Miroku confirmed and looked towards Sango who was biting her lip worriedly. "Just need ta warm it."

"Get to it then." Inuyasha whispered and turned around dismissively, which Miroku didn't mind.

"Come on Sango." He motioned with his chin towards the ladder leading down below. They had a bathtub down there and a few dozen tea kettles to heat up the water they had collected earlier. "Time to get to work."

Inuyasha ignored Sango's response as he strode passed his mother-in-law in time to see her place a dozen kisses all along Souta's face. The boy winced at every one, but Inuyasha could see that he wasn't against the affection in the least.

"Mama." The boy whispered, and in that moment, he looked horribly young. "Mama, I'm filthy." He tried to push her away under the perfectly reasonable guise, but his mother shook her head venomously.

"Non!" She tightened her grip around him and rubbed her cheek against the side of his disgusting hair. "Oh, mon Cher—non," She pulled away placing a hand on either cheek as she stared at him with all the affection in her heart. "For Mama zis," She rubbed the dirt from his cheek. "izt no-ting!"

"Mama." He said her name for the third time, but this time it sounded like a prayer and not like a point of irritation. "I missed you," He brought his hands up and wrapped them around his mother's waist as he buried his nose into the side of her neck.

"Come," She pulled just a little bit away from him and brought a hand up to brush the hair out of his eyes. "Mr. Miroku made ze badz for you."

"A bath?" Souta looked like he was in heaven. "I haven't had a bath in ages."

His mother raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Mama can tell."

Inuyasha shook his head slightly and snickered as the woman pulled her son away from the side of the vessel. Not bothering to watch them as they made their way towards the same ladder Miroku and Sango had taken moments before, Inuyasha looked back towards the small rope ladder in time to see Kagome pull herself over the side with the help of one of the crewmen. "I was about to come for you." He called towards her as she planted her feet firmly on the deck.

"I waited." She grumbled at him good naturedly as she nodded her thanks to the man who had helped her. He smiled in return before continuing his work bringing the longboat back in. "But I got impatient."

"Can't blame you." Inuyasha reached for her with one tired hand. She took it absentmindedly and intertwined their fingers together without so much as a single thought. "I'm a horrible husband today."

"Well—," She leaned against him slightly as they made their way across the deck on tired feet. "It's the other days that count, and you're pretty good for most of them."

"And here I thought you were-e-e arg." Inuyasha stifled a yawn; his eyes watering a little bit as he tried to finish his sentence. "Going to mock me."

Kagome grunted and closed her eyes as Inuyasha led her towards the cabin on the other side of the staircase that led up to the helm's deck. "I'm too tired to mock."

"Me too." Inuyasha popped his neck and blinked a few times as he halted their progression towards the safety of the cabin.

He scanned the deck of the ship for a moment examining the men who were working without having to be told what to do. Not a single face on the ship was one of true familiarity. These were all men he had hired for a quick voyage to France, and they were respectable men at that. His own men had departed from his leadership years ago after the Shikuro had sunk in the sea surrounding the country of his birth. Some had stayed in Nippon; others had found jobs on Portuguese vessels and disappeared into new lives; a few had gone with Kagura and Hiten who had decided that the pirate life sounded good for a bit longer. And he, Inuyasha the pirate Captain, was retired. "Semi-retired." He thought to himself as he glanced at the vessel around him.

"It's sure not Shikuro," Kagome whispered from his side as she squeezed his hand. "Is it?"

"No." He hunched a little with that information, but the moment of brief depression passed in less than a second's time. "But it sure is something—it survived the jewel."

"And it kept us together." Kagome's voice was soft as she looked out at the deck of the vessel that was both of theirs.

Inuyasha smiled gently at his wife's words as the ship lurched forward a bit. He turned and looked up at the helm's deck where a man stood that he could not name. He had his hands on the wheel and was turning it with an expert ease. "Issho." He whispered the name he and Kagome had christened this ship with nine years before after the battle had been fought and won.

Kagome leaned her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes as she inhaled the salty air mixed with his natural woody scent. "Together." She translated the Nihon-go word and opened her eyes as the sun climbed a bit higher into the sky.

-break-

Two days passed at sea with little to no problems (mainly because Inuyasha and Kagome decided to keep an odd sleeping schedule so they wouldn't kill Therald), and before anyone quite knew how the time had passed, they found themselves walking down the narrow backstreets of Dublin. Kagome's mother looked at the houses with awe as she walked with her son, holding onto his arm for support. The woman had never in her life been down a street quite like this one: narrow and, honestly, in need of a cleaning. She was flabbergasted by the sight, and yet a little bit of giddiness shown in her eyes as she looked towards a woman's windowsill where some herbs were growing in small pots.

"Mon Cher!" She chirped with amazement as she pointed towards the tiny pieces of sage. "Sage in ze pot."

"And look Mama," Souta pointed towards another pot that had some tiny flowers budding in it. "Flowers."

Kagome laughed slightly as her brother humored their mother and glanced towards her uncle who was walking with his nose ever so slightly in the air. "If he points that thing any farther upwards," She whispered to her husband who was walking just beside her. "He'll fall backwards."

"I'd pay money to see that." Sango snorted in front of her as she guided her brother slowly down the street. Even though it had only been two days, the young man was already looking much better because of Kagome's healing abilities. Despite Kagome's gifts, however, she still couldn't correct some of the damage he had experienced ten years prior, so he walked a little more slowly than they would necessary like. Regardless, nobody seemed to mind the slow pace, except Therald.

"I can't believe," The man spoke suddenly from behind his sister and nephew. "We're in the—," He scrunched up his nose in disgust as they passed a woman dumping out her chamber pots. "Human colony."

"In case you haven't noticed," Kagome commented dryly as she walked beside Inuyasha in the narrow street. "We're human."

"Your husband," Her uncle replied in a tight and slightly mocking voice. "Is not."

"Oh," Kagome looked over her shoulder with irritation clearly present on her face. "We're acknowledging I'm married now?" She looked towards Inuyasha with fake amazement on her face. "So, I'm not a whore?"

"Last time I checked you were quite the opposite." Inuyasha smirked at her and sent her a haughty wink. "Considering you only go to bed with me, and we were married before you let me in your bed."

"Well," Kagome shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. "Let's get divorced and try again—get it right this time for Uncle."

Therald flashed bright red and halted his steps in the street as he spluttered. "Young lady!"

"Old man." Kagome replied; her tongue was so sharp that she couldn't stop it from stabbing. "If you would like me to take you back to Paris where the guillotine is ready to perform its duties," She stepped forward and brought one finger up to point at him threateningly. "Then keep talking."

She watched as her uncle practically swallowed his own tongue; his face going bright purple as he looked at his niece.

Behind him, Inuyasha, Miroku, and Sango all laughed heartily as they looked at Kagome with admiration. "And that's why she didn't let me hit him." Inuyasha swallowed his laugh as he supported Kohaku while Sango too the opportunity to mockingly clapped.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." Kohaku chimed in as he leaned against Inuyasha who shook his head to keep from losing it further.

"Tongue in this case." Sango added amused by Kagome's Uncle's absolutely furious face.

"Elizabeth!" Therald turned towards his sister with red cheeks and wide, horrified eyes. "Control your daughter—this is absurd!"

Eliza blinked at her brother and laughed just a little. Her cheeks were red with a bit of embarrassment but not with anger at her daughter. "Mon Cher," She held onto her son's arm a little tighter and cleared her throat. "Kagome," The woman looked towards her daughter wanting to say something important but not seeming able to. "C'est une femme." She switched to French because she was far more comfortable in her native tongue than any other. "Et je envie cette langue."

Kagome froze as she stared at her mother. "Mama." She whispered as Therald huffed and crossed his arms over his chest; his argument completely invalidated by his sister's words.

"What did she say?" Sango whispered to her brother knowing that Kohaku spoke fluent French.

"Kagome—is a woman," Kohaku mumbled as he looked up at Inuyasha who had gone relatively silent as well; the amusement no longer painted on his lips either. "And she envies her tongue."

"Who wouldn't." Souta chimed in as he stepped forward, directing his mother further down the street. "Now, I was promised food." He changed the subject as he had been trained to as a gentlemen during uncomfortable conversations. "How much longer till I get some?"

"Not much longer now." Inuyasha muttered as he reached for Kagome, taking her by the elbow. He had understood exactly what her mother had said, and he also understood exactly why his wife had been left speechless.

The group continued down the path; a bit quieter now. Luckily, the quiet of their group was soon replaced by the unmistakable sound of music. It hit the sides of the street and the doors to the houses, bounding from home to home. The beat of the violin was fast and the drums were a little off, but it sounded happy and hopeful and filled with life. They followed it; Miroku, Sango, Inuyasha, and Kagome knowing that they were headed in its direction, and the others completely unaware that each street they turned down was leading them a little closer to that hypnotic sound. Finally, the alleyways they had been navigating opened up onto a larger street revealing the source of the noise.

The sound of people laughing and music filled their ears completely as they stared at the unnervingly simple building. Each window on the first floor was filled with the images of people. They came and went so quickly that it was impossible to tell what they were actually doing. The sign above the door was freshly painted a bright blue, although the words still looked to be faded from time spent baking under the sun. Regardless, they were relatively legible, and it didn't take long for someone to read them as they crossed the street.

"Na Tri," Mrs. Dresmont read as they grew closer to the seemingly insignificant building. "Scalliwag?" She shook her head and glanced at her daughter who was smiling brightly as she looked at her mother expectantly. "Vat language iz zat?"

Before Kagome could respond to her mother, her uncle snorted. "We're going in there?" Therald asked as he looked up at the freshly painted blue sign.

"Sure are." Inuyasha clicked his tongue as he opened the door up wide for them revealing a giant mass of dancing people within the large tavern. "It's only the best place in Dublin."

"Welcome." Kagome's smile nearly split her face as she winked at her brother who looked just as baffled as his mother. "To the three," She backed up towards Inuyasha prepared to go in the door. "Scalliwags."

"Tavern." Sango filled in as she stepped towards Kagome, pushing the girl through the doorway in an unforgiving sort of way. Kohaku walked steadily behind her while Miroku kept a close eye on the boy as they made their way through the door.

"Oh my." Kohaku whispered, his eyes large and excited as the wave of heat produced by dancing bodies alone hit him.

"And inn." Miroku finished what Kagome and Sango had started as he slipped through the door after his wife and brother-in-law.

Kagome paused in the doorway so she could see her mother and brother. "Come on." She encouraged as Inuyasha patiently held the door opened. "It's wonderful," She bit her lower lip as she noted the brief hesitation on her mother's face. "I promise, Mama."

Elizabeth Dresmont took a deep breath and lifted the edge of her skirt. She tightened her grip on her son's arm and nodded her chin once firmly. "Mon Cher," She looked up at her adult son unable to look down at him anymore. "Lead ze vay."

"Of course Mama." Souta, for all his properness, looked positively giddy from the prospect of going into such a beautifully noisy place. The two walked through the door; Kagome turning to follow them instantly.

And just like that, Inuyasha found himself alone with the man who had insulted him, his profession, and, most importantly, his wife on multiple occasions. The Captain (semi-retired) continued to hold the door open as he turned his attention away from Kagome and towards the man standing silently in the far reaching glow of the tavern door. His crocked nose was highlighted by the lamplight that filled the air. The lines of worry on his face didn't need the lamplight to look predominant, however.

Growing impatient, Inuyasha rolled his eyes at the still man and grunted. "Are you coming or not?"

Therald didn't respond right away as he looked through the door with a surprising amount of thoughtfulness on his features. His crocked nose squeaked slightly as he breathed in and then whistled as he breathed out. The sound made Inuyasha smirk. "I've never been in a place like this." Therald told him, and for the first time since Inuyasha and Kagome had rescued him days before, he sounded hesitant (maybe even scared).

Even though the dog demon could have cared less about the man in front of him, Kagome had taught him many things over the years and forgiveness was one of them. "There's a first time for everything," He extended the proverbial olive branch with his words. "That's what I hear, anyway."

Therald licked his lips absently and nodded at him. He opened his mouth as if to say something and then snapped it closed again.

"If you're going to say something," Inuyasha told him bluntly as he looked the other man directly in the eye. "Just say it."

"I don't like you." The words slipped from the older man's mouth, but they didn't even make Inuyasha flinch.

"I don't blame you." Inuyasha motioned towards the man's nose. "I wouldn't like a man that broke my pretty face either." He took a bit of sadistic pleasure out of the way Therald winced, but he didn't comment on the action like he might have ten years prior. "But you can't blame me." He told the man instead watching as Therald licked his lips in irritation. "You hurt the woman I love, and from where I'm standing," He looked away from the man as a scream came out the door from a woman whose potential suitor was spinning her around in a tight circle. "You got less than what you deserved."

Therald looked down at the ground as if bowing in regret. "I didn't mean any harm."

"Whether you meant harm or not, you caused it." Inuyasha told him bluntly as he sighed, ready to give up on the man before him.

"But, doesn't it count for something?" Therald reached towards him as he spoke, and that more than anything was what gave Inuyasha pause. "Not meaning to harm," He tried to straighten wanting to save even the tiniest bit of face. "Doesn't that intent count for something?"

"I let you on the ship," Inuyasha spoke evenly but loud enough for Therald to hear him at least. "Didn't I?" He didn't wait for a reply as he walked into the tavern without looking back to see if Therald followed or not.

The tavern was as nosey as ever with the sound of the music echoing off every wall. The people laughed loudly as they danced on tables and on the floor. Inuyasha dodged countless people as he followed the slight trace of Kagome's scent through the room. His eyes scanned the tables, most of which were filled to the brim with both men and women, until he caught sight of Kagome's curly hair through the masses of swarming people. Glad to see her, he darted through the crowd, ignoring the odd glance from people who recognized him. An empty chair awaited him at the table, and he slipped into it easily. He smelt Therald as the man approached as well, but he didn't look at him or bother to acknowledge his presence. The human man sat down next to his sister and his nephew without a word, and that suited everyone just fine.

"Did I miss anything?" Inuyasha asked as he wrapped an arm absently around his wife in a side hug.

"Nothing much." Kagome informed him as she leaned into his touch ever so slightly. "Looks like Paedar's expanded the band while we were gone though."

"Just a wee bit as he would say." Miroku chuckled a bit across from them as Sango leaned her elbows on the table.

"That's adorable." She chuckled to herself and exchanged a proud look with Kagome.

"Vho iz Paedar?" Elizabeth asked from her seat on the other side of Kagome.

Kohaku looked out at the band, his conversations with his sister while they were traveling to Ireland replaying in his head. "Wait!" He tried to speak loudly, but his body simply wouldn't let him talk above a whisper. "In the band, that's—?"

"Our family." Kagome supplied for the boy as she looked over her shoulder at Inuyasha with sparkling eyes.

The small band in the corner consisted of far more than three scalliwags. Shippo, now in his third year of being fifteen by demon standards was bent over a lute; his red hair dancing as he strummed out a beat of reasonable quality in time with Paedar who possessed a similar instrument but looked far more adapt at playing it. To their right, Richard and Taisho's identical faces and identical brown hair and identical black eyes focused on their identical hands as they pounded on two very different drums that looked absolutely warn with age. Aengus sat on the floor in front of them, his back turned to the crowd as he guided their young hands.

And slightly in front of him, sitting on a tiny stool, a little girl with bright silver hair and black forelocks held onto a small violin. Her long hair and a few flowers that had been intertwined in it were the only indication she was a girl. Her clothes were pants and a baggy black shirt buttoned up in the front. The knees of her pants were ripped from play and stained by grass.

Beside her, Eion played an almost identical violin (a little slower than normal), so the small child could keep up. His watchful eyes studied her as her tiny fingers danced along the strings, and her bow pulled back and forth across the bridge. Her pink tongue hung out of her mouth as she bit it with concentration. The occasional squeak came from her instrument as she ran the bow across it, but nobody seemed to notice the sound nor care that she had made it. Instead, they continued to dance and sing as the small band played with only the occasional misstep in rhythm or notes.

Eion's eyes darted towards the group sitting in the back corner, and he smiled heavily amused. He mumbled something that, even with demon ears, Inuyasha couldn't hear, and then turned towards Paedar. The two looked at each other for a moment, silently communicating and then stopped playing. Within seconds, the children around them and Aengus stopped playing as well causing a deafening silence to fill up every corner of the room. The people, who had been so merry moments before, froze from the lack of music and began to buzz with whispered gossip and conversation.

"Looks like they noticed." Inuyasha contributed to the gossip and laughed slightly.

"Yep!" Eion almost seemed to reply to him from across the room. "Looks like it's time."

"That it is." Aengus commented loudly as he ruffled both of the twin boys' hair. "Are you ready little 'uns?"

"Yeah!" The two jumped up and down as they gripped their instruments fully prepared for what was to come.

Eion chuckled from their enthusiasm and glanced down at the tiny girl who held onto her miniature violin tightly. Her bright grey eyes were brimming with a combination of excitement and fear. "Are ya ready my wee one?" He asked her loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

The girl's grey eyes swelled with so much happiness that she looked as if she might burst. "Hai!" She screamed in a foreign language and practically sailed out of her stool. She paused only long enough to put down her own violin and replace it with two far larger violins that had been sitting in a case beside her chair before she darted towards her grandfather.

Eion took the first violin from the girl as she offered it to him and placed it on the table quickly. Then he took the other violin from the girl with one hand and scooped her up in his arms with the other. He spun her around once while she laughed madly, and then stopped so abruptly that she squealed. "Oi!" He yelled at the top of his lungs as he plopped the girl down on the table. She fell into a fit of giggles as the whole tavern went silent. "Now," Eion coached her as he handed her the violin again. "You tell 'em love."

She took it with all the care one might take when holding a baby chick. Her wide grey eyes filled with utter delight, and she giggled. "Hai—hai." She spoke in Nihon-go again not really noticing that a few patrons of the tavern sent each other strange looks and turned back to the crowd. She held the violin over her head, and in a bright clear voice, she told them: "Ya know who are-ie," Her accent was a strange mixture of east and west. "And ya know-u what to do!"

She laid the violin down just as her great-grandfather had years before her, and, immediately, the small group of musicians behind them burst into song. The two identical little boys pounded on the drums with Aengus gently guiding their beat with his own. Paedar played on his lute as Shippo followed ably along; his fingers moving at the same time as his instructor. People in the tavern screamed with delight as the other instruments joined in, creating a wild symphony played by a mix-matched orchestra. And the little girl, still standing on the table in her ripped pants and too large shirt, opened her mouth and began to sing.

A girl, just a girl sat on shore,

And can you image what she looked for?

Well, her grey eyes looked out at the sea,

And saw every possibility.

The girl's voice echoed throughout the tavern; her tiny stature not matching her larger than life projection. She pounded out the timing of the song with her boots and clapped her hands with the beat as she gazed at the crowd. To the untrained eye, it looked as if she was watching the reactions of the dancers, but to the trained one, it was easy to tell that she was looking for someone.

She knew as she looked from east to west,

That the sea was her guide, and the sky was her map.

But how's a girl who was born on the shore,

Supposed to leave, go out, and explor-r-e?

She held the note, dragging it just a little bit as the people in the tavern sang along. Kagome's mother stared at the girl with wonder. Her eyes went to Therald as she tried to process exactly what she was seeing. "Therald?" She whispered and watched as her brother glanced at her briefly before turning back to study the little girl.

He stared at the child as she turned in a circle on the table, and then looked back at his sister absolutely surprised. "It's Kagome's face." He spoke with complete disbelief in his voice as the girl started up again.

She found a man who knew the way,

And when the gold of his eyes met her grey,

In a single stroke, she ripped off her mask,

She knew now her new task.

In the dead of the night, she cut her hair,

Snuck to beach, and escaped with flair.

She knew even secretly she must get on board,

And vanish once and for all from the shore.

Kagome's mother looked towards her daughter as curiosity filled every part of her body. She stared at the girl in front of her, seeing her for the first time as a real woman. A woman who was married and had been for the better part of ten years. A million thoughts ran through her mind that she could barely contain. Kagome hadn't told her anything on the crossing from France to Ireland. The girl had kept her mouth tightly shut, avoided her mother even. The only information Elizabeth had gotten was that she was married, and that they had been living somewhere far, far abroad. Otherwise, she knew nothing else about her daughter's life.

Elizabeth blinked as that eerie feeling clouded her whole mind. She studied the curve of her daughter's cheek; the lack of burgeoning wrinkles on her delicate skin. The pit of her stomach twisted as she revisited the strange unchanged features of Kagome's face. Her daughter simply didn't look any different from the last time Elizabeth had seen her and yet—.

Elizabeth's eyes moved back to the small child who was clapping out time now with her tiny hands. She couldn't phantom why that girl looked like a miniature version of Kagome. Or really, she knew exactly why, but she couldn't believe it was true anymore than she could understand why Kagome hadn't aged a day in over ten years.

The girls' voice hit the air again distorting Elizabeth Dresmont's thoughts as the tavern exploded with a hundred voices singing the chorus of the song.

She disappeared into the deep blue sea;

She wasn't made for land.

She disappeared into the deep blue sea,

Never seen again.

Kagome didn't notice her mother's eyes as she stared at the little girl with absolute love in her heart, but Inuyasha did. He glanced at his mother-in-law watching as the woman studied her daughter. He could tell by the expression on her face that she had caught on. She turned towards him and blinked as she realized her son-in-law was looking at her. A blush formed on her cheeks, and Inuyasha sent her a reassuring smile to quell her nerves.

"She's beautiful, huh?" He whispered to her over Kagome's shoulder, and the woman blinked with confusion.

"Ze little girl?" She tried to clarify and watched as Kagome's smile faded slightly; the look on her face turned to worry.

"Yes." Inuyasha felt his wife tensing nervously beside him and noted the way Therald looked towards him with a bit of horror on his face. "The little girl who looks a bit too much like her mother?"

Elizabeth stared at her son-in-law as the little girl's voice echoed over their heads.

The story is long but I'll tell you a bit.

He found her and as he stopped his fit,

He made her part of his crew and his life,

And that girl achieved her dream that night.

"Se mama?" Elizabeth whispered the words, and Therald swallowed hard beside her. "Kagome," The woman breathed in and out carefully as she studied her daughter's profile and then glanced towards the little girl. "You—know ze mama?"

"Yes—she looks just like her mama." Kagome turned to look at both her mother and uncle with firm eyes sending them a challenging look as if daring them to say a word against her mixed raced child. "She looks just like me."

Therald nearly swallowed his tongue, but Elizabeth Dresmont looked as if she were about to cry with happiness.

She stood by his side and she learned his trade,

And amazed them all; she was unafraid.

Together they traveled all over the world,

And every reach they vowed to explore.

The little girl's voice danced in and out of their ears as Kagome looked at her mother's surprisingly happy face. "Oh—Cherie." Elizabeth opened her mouth as if about to cry. "Se's—se's," She glanced towards the girl who was singing all the while completely unaware of the conversation. "Manifique."

Kagome felt the surprise well up in her at the compliment and ignoring the look of disapproval on her uncle's face, she smiled. "Mama." She whispered even as she felt Inuyasha's reassurance behind her. "I—." Her voice left her completely. She had been so prepared for what her mother would say and how she would disapprove of a mixed blooded child that she hadn't dared to think it was possible for her mother to (as it appeared) approve.

Sensing his wife's inability to speak, Inuyasha reached for her hand and squeezed it gently to calm her. "We named her," He looked at his mother-in-law with a slight smile. "After you." He paused allowing her to soak up the information. "Eliza—Elizabeth seemed too proper—so we went with Eliza."

"Eliza?" Elizabeth brought a hand up to cover her mouth and looked towards her brother who was staring at her with disapproval on his every feature.

"Elizabeth." He whispered her name harshly, but she only glared at him with annoyance.

"N'ose pas!" She whispered severely towards her brother before turning back to Inuyasha and Kagome who both stared at her with shock. They had never heard the woman speak so furiously to her brother before. "Qui es ma pettie fille."

Kagome felt nearly light headed as her mother called Eliza her granddaughter and defended her so wholeheartedly.

"I told you." Inuyasha whispered in her ear and Kagome didn't have the heart to hit him. After all, he had been completely right; her mother had accepted Eliza without a second thought just like he said she would.

Therald muttered something back in French that Kagome didn't catch and turned to look away from them just as the girl began to sing again.

They ran, they ran, they ran from the shore,

And every region of the earth explored.

They ran, they ran, they ran from the shore,

And every region of the earth explored.

The girl leaned her head back and took a deep breath fully prepared to sing the chorus with every ounce of strength she had in her heart. "That's our cue." Inuyasha told Kagome and stood up from his seat. Kagome followed hastily without giving her mother even another glance. Quickly, they made their way between the rambunctious people, both of them preparing to do what they knew they must.

They disappeared into the deep blue sea

They weren't made for land.

The whole tavern echoed with the sound of the chorus. Even the members of the band let it slip from their lips as they concentrated on the sound of the music. The girl threw her head back forward in time to see exactly who she had been trying to spot in the crowd earlier. She made eye contact with Inuyasha and then Kagome. Her mouth split into a giant smile, but she didn't stop singing. She didn't stop to breathe; she didn't stop to watch as her mother and father took up the two violins. She didn't even bother to laugh when her father winked at her as he laid his chin against the soft wood of a violin that had been made only five years before (the other long lost at sea).

They disappeared into the deep blue sea,

Never seen again.

The last line of the chorus fell onto the ears of everyone in the room, and as if expecting what was to come next, it fell silent. Kagome's bow hit the string a second later, and Inuyasha's a millisecond after her. Immediately and in unison, they pulled their bows across the strings of their separate instruments. A wild and rapid burst of music flew forth from both of them; the same exact song that Inuyasha had played alone the first time he brought Kagome to this tavern. Their fingers moved like they were on fire; the bows produced the music as if by magic as they sailed over the strings with impossible speed.

Mrs. Dresmont felt her mouth fall open in the most unladylike manner as she watched her daughter's hips sway with the flow of her bow. The woman's eyes were closed as she matched her husband note for note and bow pull for bow pull. Kagome was smiling faintly; the most enchanting smile Elizabeth had ever seen on her daughter's face.

She shook her head and glanced towards her daughter's friends—family. They were watching her and her husband with unsurprised mirth that made Mrs. Dresmont feel just slightly odd. She turned towards her brother studying the look of both amazement and horror as it first crossed his face only to be replaced by something akin to pride. The look of pride didn't last long, however, as he sank into disapproval that (with luck) would one day be corrected. Her heart hammered in her chest as she finally looked back at her daughter who was still playing with all the fever of an artist and all the ability of a professional. Then, quite suddenly, both husband and wife ripped their bows from the strings, making them screech just a little bit as they began to sing in the little girl's place.

A wondering existence we'll live on the sea,

And everywhere we travel together we'll be.

On all the rivers, the canals, and streams,

We'll wonder the open in every extreme.

The sea our teacher and our love our guide,

We'll sail these waters for the rest of our lives,

And discover a world,

That only we would dare to explore.

The song cut out as the rest of the tavern took over, replacing Kagome and Inuyasha's voices with the chorus.

We disappeared into the deep blue sea,

We weren't made for land.

Inuyasha lowered his violin to his side and opened his arms for the tiny girl on the table. She practically threw herself at her father and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck in a hug as the man laughed. She pulled away, and her mouth moved rapidly with words covered by the loud singing all around her. As she spoke, her eyes darted to her mother, and she reached for the woman almost desperately. Kagome laughed and opened her arms to the child as she deposited the violin on the table nonchalantly. The little girl jumped from her father's arms to her mother's, and she smothered Kagome in kisses while her father said something that was also covered by tavern noise. Without warning, the dog demon dropped his own violin on the table and enveloped both his wife and child in a hug. With their daughter sandwiched between them, the couple kissed briefly before dropping their lips to the little girl's head while she tried desperately to separate the two adults with her tiny hands.

We disappeared into the deep blue sea,

One day we'll come home again.

Both mother and father spun around with their daughter held tightly between them as the song faded replaced by exhilarated cheers and shouts. The little girl was laughing with all the glee and happiness that comes from seeing one's parents after they'd been away for an extended period of time.

"Come on." Miroku tugged on Mrs. Dresmont's arm and sent her brother, Kohaku, and Souta imploring looks. "We're going to have dinner."

"Dinner?" Mrs. Dresmont repeated with her eyebrows practically in her hairline.

"If we're lucky." Sango stood up from her chair and stretched a bit. "They'll be stew."

-break-

And there was. There was stew and bread and thick beer and wine for those who were so inclined. The table they sat at was completely full with food and around its edges every sort of person. Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango and Miroku, as well as Paedar, Aengus, and Eion were eating the thick stew with abandon and sipping on the beer on one side of the rather large kitchen table, while on the other Souta, Elizabeth, and Therald ate with proper table manners and Kohaku ate somewhere in between (having been in prison most of his life, he really didn't care how he ate as long as he did). Of course, the family kitchen wasn't exactly designed for proper manners and thus, eating with them was considerably hard. Although they had napkins and the proper amount of plates, forks and spoons, they did not possess the proper amount of knives. So, awkwardly, there were not enough to go around.

That didn't bother Sango and Miroku or Inuyasha and Kagome, however, and they proceeded to horrify the other side of the table when they shared knives to cut down bits of meat. Therald actually stared opened mouth as Inuyasha nonchalantly handed his own fork over to Kagome with a juicy carrot on the end. Therald snapped his mouth shut and swallowed violently when Kagome bit the carrot off the fork and thanked her husband heartily for giving her the choosy bits. Elizabeth, for all her new found open mindedness, nearly spilled her wine when Miroku and Sango shared a piece of bread biting off chunks of it right where the other's mouth had been.

"Sorry it's a bit crude." Eion apologized as he looked at those equally horrified faces. "Suppose ya aren't used to places like this, huh?"

"Hardly." Therald cleared his throat and glanced down at his stew with one eyebrow raised. Although he didn't care to admit it out loud, he found the peasant stew quite delicious, but he couldn't let anyone know such a thing.

Paedar leaned back in his chair, pausing from eating his stew and studied the man absently. After several minutes of watching him pick at his food, he smiled thoughtfully and leaned forward placing his elbows on the table. "After supper we'll have some brandy me thinks," He watched as Therald raised his head with a bit of surprise on his face. "I have a decent store below," He looked over at Inuyasha and winked at him. "And a good boy to fetch it up."

"I thought I was passed that point in my life," Inuyasha grumbled good naturedly as he used a piece of bread to mop up some of the remains of his stew. "Get Shippo to do it."

"Hey!" The boy himself cried from behind them on the ground. "My job's big enough already."

Inuyasha laughed and glanced behind him at the children on the floor. They were gathered in a circle with Shippo at the epicenter. Their bowls were pushed to the side, half eaten, and they were munching on their bread as they practiced their letters and numbers on some parchment Shippo had snagged. "Alright," Inuyasha told him as he glanced at his daughter. She was lying flat on her stomach as she wrote; her tongue sticking out the side of her mouth in thought. He smiled. "I'd rather fetch than give a writing lesson."

"I'd rather give the writing lesson." Shippo countered; his speech was so much more fluid now after ten years of being educated under Inuyasha and Kagome. Besides even that, he spoke a few other languages because of his time spent in Nippon and Ireland. He was becoming a dangerously handsome young man as well with his fiery red hair and bright green eyes. Soon enough, though, he would take those looks out the door and into the world or, at least, that's what they both hoped and feared.

Inuyasha plopped the last of his bread into his mouth and stood up from the table as he chewed. Quietly and efficiently, he gathered up some of the dirtied dishes and turned to drop them into the sink.

"Yer ta wash those in the morning, me boys." Aengus called over his shoulder.

"Which boys?" Inuyasha looked back at the man as he dropped the dishes in the sink.

"Not ya, boy," Aengus turned and looked behind himself, but not at Inuyasha. Instead, he looked down at the twins who were busy attempting to make a boat out of a sheet of parchment. "Those boys."

Richard and Taisho's heads snapped up with such speed that the adults at the table were surprised their necks didn't snap. "That ain't fair!" Richard said with a huff and pointed at the little girl next to him. "She ain't washed the dishes but once since Mama and Papa left."

"She's too short to reach." Sango called towards her annoyed sons who both pouted.

"If I chop my legs off, do I have to do 'em?" Taisho muttered and before any of the adults could say a word to him, Eliza replied.

"Yes," She spoke without looking up from the parchment she was writing on. "But you'll have to use-e a stool to get at 'em." Her legs kicked back and forth in the air above her as she giggled.

"Izzy!" Taisho growled even as his twin fell back on the ground laughing.

The adults at the table joined in, all except Elizabeth and Therald. Both stayed silent for two different reasons: Therald because he had never seen children allowed to speak in such a way, and Elizabeth because she couldn't believe that little girl was able to speak that way.

"Now," Inuyasha grumbled as he walked over to the children on the floor and knelt down amongst them. "If you behave yourself," He grunted just a little as he lowered himself down on the carpet. "I've got gifts."

"Really!" All three of the little children spoke at once as they tackled the dog demon. Within seconds, the two boys were hanging onto his neck (even though they were ten and much too old for such things) and the little girl was practically sitting on his shoulders. The dog demon didn't seem to mind as he laughed and wrestled the twins down and knocked the girl backwards onto the carpet.

He mock growled at all three of them, but the sound didn't detour them in the least. Richard grabbed for one of his grandfather's wrists, yanking it down as if to hold him in place. "Tai!" He called to his twin as he struggled to hold the wrist down. His twin brother immediately caught onto the plan and grabbed for Inuyasha's other wrist in an attempt to disable the dog demon's hands.

"Izzy," Taisho begged the little girl who was already jumping back up from the ground. "Get his pockets!"

"Hai." The girl dove downwards and tried to get her hands into her father's pockets, but she couldn't.

Right before she even came close, Inuyasha nearly dislodged both boys by jumping upwards. They dangled from his arms for a moment before he lightly shook them off. They fell in a heap on the ground, and Inuyasha spun around to grab his daughter under the arms. He pulled her up above his head and spun her around once before literally falling head over heels on purpose. His daughter tucked in his protective arms squealed with delight as they summersaulted. Finally, her father fell flat on his back and gently deposited her on top of the twins who laughed ridiculously.

"Shippo!" Taisho wormed his way out from underneath his brother and, well, aunt. "Get Jii-chan!"

"Like hell I'm gonna get in the middle of that." The fox spoke bluntly as he jumped up from his place on the ground and stole his father's chair.

"Ha!" Inuyasha gloated and sat up, but his celebration was short lived as his daughter jumped on his back once more and covered his eyes with her tiny clawed hands. "No, I'm blind!" Inuyasha fell sideways on the carpet, while his daughter giggled madly but kept her hold none the less. "Kagome!" Inuyasha moaned as he shook his head back and forth. "Save me from the children."

"You got yourself in," Kagome sipped her wine and leaned back in her chair clearly amused. "Get yourself out."

"I can't!" Inuyasha mock cried as he wrapped his arms around his middle. "Woe is me." He quoted and for the irony added. "T' have seen what I've seen; see what I see."

"I can't take Hamlet." The girl cried and fell back on the ground letting go of her father as if wounded. She rolled on her side clutching at her heart like she was suffering a heart attack and groaned. "A horse—a horse—.

"My kingdom for a horse!" The two boys chimed in, and the adults at the table all shook their heads with either exasperation or perfect amazement at what they were witnessing.

"No Richard the Third." Inuyasha shook his head, and chuckling, he sat up on the carpet. He held up a hand to signal the children that the game was over and surprisingly, they took the hint well. They rushed to sit in front of him, forming a semi-circle, as it were, at his feet. "Alright, alright." He reached into his inner pocket, rummaging for the small presents he had brought back.

Watching all of this with perfect amazement, Elizabeth Dresmont looked towards her daughter thoughtfully. "Cherie?"

Kagome blinked slightly surprised to hear her mother speak and glanced at the older woman. "Yes Mama?"

"Ze children," The woman glanced at her brother who was also looking at the kids with wide eyes. "Zey know of Shakespeare?" She paused for a second and looked towards the kids as Inuyasha pulled out the first of the gifts for the boys. "So young?"

Kagome shrugged as the twins squealed over their present, which was two marbles Inuyasha had found in Bordeaux. "Inuyasha insist on a good," She replied evenly as she looked towards the two boys who were hugging their grandfather with perfect appreciation. "And through education."

"Personally," Paedar spoke from beside Kagome as he took a sip of beer. "I think he should've skipped Hamlet." He looked towards his great grandson who had an ear turned towards him with irritation. "The histories are far more important than ta frivolity."

"Says the man who read them Mother Hubbard before bedtime yesterday." Eion spoke slowly as he looked at his brother with a mocking smirk.

"Alright." Inuyasha spoke loudly so as to cut off the conversation before turning back to the little girl who was sitting before him with anticipating grey eyes. "And for my love." Inuyasha picked up the little girl and kissed her pudgy cheek affectionately. She wrapped one arm around his neck while she looked down into his jacket with anticipation.

"Like you promised?" She asked him and Inuyasha smirked as he dipped his hand back into his pocket.

"Same as I promised." He pulled out the little coin he had picked up off the street and held it out to the tiny girl on his lap.

"A livre!" She grabbed hold of the coin tightly and looked up with giant grey eyes towards her father. They seemed to sparkle as she kissed his cheek and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Arigato Otou-san."

"So she's the mistress." Kohaku muttered, and the table of adults promptly broke into laughter with the exception of Shippo that is.

The young fox demon crossed his arms over his chest and grumbled with irritation from his father's chair. "Where's mine?"

"You're old enough," Inuyasha told him as he pushed himself up to his feet, his daughter still in his arms, and glared at the boy good naturedly. "To get your own." He reached over and ruffled the boy's hair affectionately.

"But not old enough to go along." Shippo tried to sound irritated, but the smile on his face contradicted his irritation completely as he watched Inuyasha reach into his jacket and produce one more thing.

"Still—doesn't mean you don't get nothing." He handed Shippo a small pocket book no bigger than the palm of his hand. The edges were a bit warn and burnt as well, but the boy took it with care and amazement he couldn't hide.

"Le Malade Imaginarie?" He raised up his eyebrows as he spoke the words. "My first French book."

"You've been working so hard on the grammar." Inuyasha told him as he tried really hard not to open his arms to hug the boy. Shippo was getting a bit too big for hugs. "It's time to actually read it."

"I'm going to go right now." Shippo looked up at him with excited green eyes as he clutched the book tightly in his grip. "Thank you!" His smile split his face as he turned, sprang from the chair, and darted towards the door. He stopped abruptly at the threshold and turned around hastily with a slight bow. "Good night—sorry—um—may I be excused?" He finally managed to ask and at Inuyasha's nod smiled even wider. "Thank you!"

"Don't waste the candles!" Eion yelled after him as they listened to his feet hit the stairs loudly.

"He's going to be up all night." Kagome commented as she finished off her glass of wine and turned towards her husband with an eyebrow raised. "And tired tomorrow for his chores."

Aengus made a tisking noise at Kagome's entirely accurate assertion and glared at his great-grandchild. "You spoil that boy."

"I spoil all my children and," He looked down at the boys who had started a game of marbles. "Grandchildren equally."

"I would like to point out that I was never spoiled." Miroku called from the table and Inuyasha snorted in return.

"Don't lie." His father replied with a smirk. "It makes you ugly I hear."

Miroku slammed a hand down on the table and pushed himself up to his feet. "I'll tell you—."

"Alright." Sango stood up from the table and shook her head sadly from side to side. "On that note, Richard—Taisho," She glared at the two men before looking towards her children. "It's time for bed."

The boys looked up at their mother horrified by what she had said. "No!" They both cried out as they looked at the game of marbles on the carpet. The two shinny blue ones their grandfather had given them sparkled in the candle light.

"We just started." Richard told his mother who sighed unamused.

"I'm not going to listen to you argue." Sango stepped towards the boys, and they coward just a little as she towered over them. "Time for bed."

Taisho opened his mouth as if to argue, but it was his grandfather's voice that stopped him.

"Don't you talk back to yer mother," Inuyasha glared down at the boy as he hugged his daughter to him. She was still looking the new coin over in her hands and didn't seem to care that it was bedtime in the least. "Time for bed."

"Jii-chan!" Richard attempted to whine, but his grandfather shut him down with only a raised eyebrow.

"Not another word." He was firm but there was a smile already forming on his face. "Now," He cuddled his daughter and turned towards the door. "Grab hold of my legs; I'll drag you myself."

The two boys immediately turned to each other with wide grins and laughed with near hysterical sound. Within seconds, they launched themselves at their grandfather's ankles; their legs trailing out behind them. The dog demon didn't seem to care and started walking with the twins as his shackles. The boys went into a fit of laughter but didn't complain again as Inuyasha dragged them out of the room and down the hall.

"Well," Eion pushed himself away from the table as the sound of the twins' laughter echoed down the hallway and into the room. "I've got to go check on the front end."

Aengus smirked as Eion began to head towards the door. "Ya just wanna check on that little fit creature at the bar."

"Leave me alone Aengus." He sighed loudly but didn't deny that his intentions did center around a certain bar maid.

"I'm going to go make sure the boys aren't hogtying their grandfather as we speak." Sango chuckled as she rose as well. Miroku followed suit only moments later.

"I'd be more worried about Eliza." The man said as he glanced towards Kagome who chuckled with amusement at his implication. "She has a way with him."

"A dangerous way." Paedar agreed as the two slipped out of the room leaving the majority of the guest behind. "The guest rooms are prepared for you." He stood up from the table as he spoke; his eyes focused on the four strangers at their table. "I'm sure after such a long journey ya would appreciate a good soft bed." He looked specifically at Therald in that moment. "We saved the nicest ones fer ya."

Therald didn't look as if he knew what to say to Paedar's calm words. Finally, he settled on the only thing he could think to say. "Thank you."

"Of course." He turned towards Kagome's mother and smiled at the woman beautifully. "Yer daughter shall take care of ya Lady Dresmont," He glanced at Kagome who nodded her agreement. "Well then—come with me." Paedar motioned towards the door and bowed slightly (although the gesture was obviously mocking to Kagome) to Therald. "I'll get ya set up. If ya would still like the wee nip of brandy, I'll get ya some."

"Oh—yes—well," Therald pushed himself up from the table awkwardly and wrung his hands in front of himself. "Thank you most kindly."

"Me pleasure." Paedar glanced towards the two younger men and motioned to them to follow with just his chin. "You boys will have to share—my apologies."

"No bother." Kohaku stood up from his chair slowly; Souta reached out to help him without a thought. "We're used to it as long as we have two beds that is."

"That we have." He began to walk towards the door only to stop and look behind him once more. The only people left at the table now were Aengus, Kagome, and Elizabeth Dresmont. They seemed like an odd group to be seated around such an odd table. Aengus a man with no social standing, Kagome a girl of adventure, and Elizabeth Dresmont an odd creature somewhere in between adventurous and demure. He cleared his throat as he looked at the group and locked eyes with his mate. "Aengus, you show the boys to their rooms, so I can get that brandy, ya?"

Catching on to Paedar's hidden meaning instantly, Aengus pushed himself up out of his chair and nodded. "Tat I can do." He walked briskly passed the boys and his mate without looking back for even a second. "Follow me." He looked backwards for only a second, catching Paedar's eyes long enough to send the other man a wink.

"Yes sir," Souta bent down and kissed his mother and sister good night quickly before reaching out to help Kohaku. "Take your time." He instructed the other man who smiled at him gently before nodding.

"Time is something we have now." Kohaku told him as he used Souta's forearm to pull himself up from the chair. Keeping a hand on Souta's arm, he shuffled slowly out from behind the table and bowed his head towards Kagome and her mother. "Thank you—," He spoke carefully as he looked from mother to daughter with the gentlest brown eyes either had ever seen. "For both your kindnesses."

"Of course." Mrs. Dresmont reached out and touched the back of Kohaku's hand. "I only vish, I could do more."

"That's quite all right." Kohaku brought his hand up, taking the woman's hand into his grip so as to kiss it formally. "Even the smallest kindness," He lowered the hand as the woman smiled up at him as if he were her own son. "Means the world to a man like me."

Mrs. Dresmont blushed at Kohaku's words and squeezed his hand in return while Souta rolled his eyes.

"You're such a lady's man." He told his friend as Kohaku dropped Mrs. Dresmont's hand and turned to Kagome.

"To you as well Ms. Kagome." He stopped and cleared his throat as he tried to find the proper words. "I owe—."

"Don't say you owe me." She told him bluntly, but she smiled none the less. "I only did," She found herself hesitating as the words formed in her mouth; they were ominous. "What was right." She didn't stutter even though she felt she should have, and she didn't clear her throat afterwards even though she felt the urge to.

"Come now boys." Aengus cut in as he looked at the girl who had been in his family for nearly a decade. He knew her well, and he knew, by the look on her face, that something was troubling her. "To your room." He held the door opened and Kohaku and Souta made their way slowly through the threshold as he waited patiently. Once they were through, he glanced towards Kagome and her silent mother and bowed his head slightly. "Have a good night, then."

"You as well." The two women replied in unison, the similarity between the two, striking.

The door swung closed behind Aengus, and Kagome and Elizabeth Dresmont were left alone for the first time in ten years. The silence of the room was deafening to both, but neither mother nor daughter could find the right words to open up the conversation. Both of them had been dreading this moment; both of them had been anticipating it. This was the moment when mother and daughter finally talked about everything that had ever happened. Yes, in France ten years prior they had conversed but that conversation had a time limit. Now, as Kohaku observed, time was endless.

Kagome looked at her empty wine glass and fidgeting stood up from the table. "I'll make tea." She said for lack of something else to voice.

"Merci." Her mother acknowledged as she too looked at her empty wine glass while Kagome moved towards the stove.

A fire was still burning in it and the kettle was clean, so it took her only a few moments to put water from the jug into the pot to boil. Her mother listened to the shuffle without turning around to look at the person causing the sounds. The woman reached out and touched the wine glass awkwardly. It wasn't a fancy glass; it was relatively modest. Yet, the glass was clean, and the home was clean. And even though the table was small, she had felt at home when the countless people she barely knew had surrounded it. Awkwardly, she shifted as she thought of those people and turned just her chin around so she could glance at her daughter over her shoulder. The girl (the woman) was standing in front of the kettle, staring at it. Her grey eyes, just like her father's, were lost in thought.

Elizabeth pursed her lips and wrung her hands before nodding to herself decisively. "Cherie, s'il vous plaît." She hesitated for a moment as Kagome stiffened, but she didn't let her daughter's reaction stop her. "I—I vant to know." She let the words hang in the air and didn't add even another syllable to them.

Kagome continued to stare at the kettle. Even though her mother had been surprisingly accepting, she still felt the sting of years, upon years of disappointments. "What do," She forced herself to speak, and it took all her will power to get the words out. "You want to know?"

"Everyt'ing." Her mother replied evenly. "I vant to know everyt'ing about ze girl I raised."

Kagome blinked at her mother's words; she wasn't sure entirely what they meant. The water in the kettle was beginning to roll as it came to a boil. She stared at it as the steam came up the spout. "That's a rather," She looked to the left of the stove and spotted a few mismatched teacups in the opened cupboard. "Extensive subject."

"A subject," Her mother watched as her daughter grabbed the teacups from the cupboard. "I am very interet in."

"Mama," Kagome turned towards her mother not knowing any longer what to do or say. "I don't even know where to start!" She stared at the woman as she held two teacups in either hand. "Or what you want to hear—I've," She froze and looked down at the ground. "I've lived a—a very—strange," She looked up as she said the word, as if daring her mother to say something against it. "Life."

"And I envie it."

Kagome didn't stop her mouth from opening with surprise as her mother's ice blue eyes stared at her openly. She remembered vaguely that same look when she had gone to France, before she was married. Her mother had looked at her with all the longing in the world. "She—wishes she had my life." Her brain tried to process the information that she already knew was true.

"Now, Cherie, s'il vous plaît." The regal woman held up her chin a little higher. "Finish the tea et start."

Kagome nodded and without saying a word, she turned back to the cupboard realizing she needed the actual teapot. Mechanically, she set down the teacups and reached for the little case of tea leaves as well as a spoon. She grabbed the lid of the teapot and opened it as her mind raced trying to figure out when and where she should start or if she should start. She didn't pay attention at all as she placed a few teaspoons of leaves into the tiny teapot; she didn't even realize when her hand reached for the kettle and poured the boiling water into it. She barely registered setting it on the table or grabbing the teacups without saucers. When she finally sat down at the table, the tea steeping in the pot, she felt as if hours had passed, but it had only been minutes. She placed her hands in her lap as she waited for the tea to steep and grabbed hold of her pants tightly.

"I," She began slowly as her mind raced. "Um—how much do you remember from before?" She asked her mother, referring to the time she had met with her mother in Bordeaux.

"A bit," Her mother inhaled slowly and then exhaled just as slow. "S'il vous plait," She lowered her head down so she could catch Kagome's eye. "I vould like it if you started from ze beginning, oui?"

"Oui." Kagome didn't know what else to say, so she agreed and raised up her chin as she started in the only way she knew how. "Inuyasha," His name was a burden to her lips at first, but she knew starting with him was much easier than starting with her. "Was as bad as pirates came," She glanced towards her mother who was looking at her as if she were a goddess. "Or—that's what the story tellers always said—."

-break-

Birds chirped in the window; the sound of their little voices greeting the day beautiful albeit annoying to the dog demon that was attempting to sleep. Inuyasha's ears twitched from the sound, and he growled slightly with exasperation. In an attempt to sleep just a little longer, he brought one of his arms up to cover his ears. The noise was muffled but not blocked completely. A wren, right outside the window it seemed, let out a shrill greeting to the dawning sun, and Inuyasha's eyes snapped open with complete irritation. He held back a snarl as he set up in bed and glared at the opened window.

"Why the hell did I leave—!" He snapped his mouth shut as his eyes happened to look down at the bed he normally shared with his wife.

In his wife's place was a little bundle of child. Eliza was stretched out halfway across her mother's side of the bed; her arms flaying around her head and her mouth wide opened as she released tiny snores. She had kicked off the blanket during the night and thus curled her legs up close to her body for warmth. She was an adorable half ball, half stretched out dog with her arms above her head, and her feet practically tucked to her chin. All irritation melted at the sight of his daughter sprawled out across the bed still completely unaware of the coming day.

"I wish I could sleep like that." The father whispered as he reached for the covers and brought them up around his daughter fondly. The girl responded by mumbling something in Nihon-go that's sounded suspiciously like 'gohan' or breakfast. Shaking his head, he glanced at the room around her trying to find some sign of his wife, but his eyes came up empty. "I guess—she stayed with her mother all night." He told himself and looked back down at his passed out daughter.

The girl grunted and screwed up her face. Still asleep, she rolled and pulled the blankets up around her as if she were trying to cocoon herself. Inuyasha couldn't help the way his heart tightened with love in his chest. He reached out a hand and gently moved her hair out of her face revealing Kagome's jawline to his eyes. The sight gave him pause and without meaning to his mind flashed back to this same girl as an adult in the world of white. He could still picture her clearly; the perfect combination of mother and father. Yet, the thought of his adult daughter didn't make him feel warm; instead, it made him feel cold.

"Was I—selfish?" He found himself wondering out loud before he could even stop the thought from leaving his head. His daughter grunted in her sleep, and her entirely human ears twitched just a little like her father's. The sight was adorable but not enough to take his mind off the question. After all, it was something he had often thought of over the years. "I wonder if this Eliza is different than the other one?" He asked himself as he stared at the little girl; the same doubts that always rested in the back of his mind beginning to surface once more. "Did I change her by living?"

He shook his head as he tried to make the thoughts leave his brain, and he crossed the room towards the chair where his shirt awaited him. He had slept half-dressed the night before and thus had his pants on already. He grabbed for the shirt and effortlessly yanked it over his head while his feet sought his boots beside the chair blindly. He hit the edge of them with his toe, and with a yawn, he managed to shove his foot into one. He rubbed his face with one hand while the other reached down and pulled the boot on completely before reaching for the other one. His eyes glanced ever so briefly at his daughter as he wedged the second boot onto his foot and then blinked with realization.

Turning his eyes away from the girl, he glanced at his socks that were still lying beside the chair. Annoyed, he growled to himself and stood up. "Too tired." He told himself as he headed towards the door with his shirt still untucked. He exited the room as quietly as possible so as to not disturb his daughter and made his way down the hall. His ears twitched as he passed the various rooms that lined the corridor. It seemed that everyone was still asleep by the lack of sound. "Makes sense," He told himself as he passed the nursery where Eliza should have been in bed. "It can't be more than six or so."

The thought left his head as he noticed the nursery door was slightly ajar. He paused in front of it and carefully grabbed the handle. He peeked his head through the small space and smiled as he caught sight of the twins. They were curled up together in the bed they shared; their tiny bodies practically intertwined as they snored childishly. Eliza's bed, obviously, remained vacant underneath the window; the sheets were just slightly disturbed.

"I wonder when she ventured into our room last night." The dog demon thought as he pulled the door closed and continued down the hall. His nose twitched as he scented the air searching for any sign of his wife. As he headed down the hallway and towards the staircase that led to the kitchen, her scent grew stronger (as he had suspected it would). The stairs squeaked as he walked down them, and his ears twitched as he picked up the sound of faint speaking. He reached the hallway that led to the kitchen just as he caught his wife's voice.

"So—I don't age, anymore." Kagome cleared her throat. "Does that make any sense at all?" She sounded nervous and just a bit confused herself.

"Oui." Elizabeth responded; her voice sounded tired but oddly exhilarated. "Eliza stopped you from aging."

Inuyasha froze as the words drifted from underneath the door. The image of his adult daughter smiling at him filled his brain.

Kagome chuckled, and the sound hit Inuyasha as he came to stand just outside the kitchen door. "I know it doesn't sound possible," She inhaled deeply and then exhaled long and low. "But she saved us."

"It iz more zan impossible, Cherie," Her mother's voice was adamant and full of some combination of pride and envy. "It iz amazing zat your daughter could do such a t'ing."

"I know—I wonder about her all the time." Kagome whispered; her words made a lump form in Inuyasha's throat as he looked at the door that separated him from the conversation. "I mean—I wonder what happened to her; if she was really from—oh dear—," Kagome seemed to shake her head back and forth by the sound of it. "The future or if she was an illusion or—I don't know what."

Inuyasha turned the handle on the door as quietly as he could so he wouldn't alert the two women and pushed it opened just a hair. Through the tiny crack, he could see Elizabeth Dresmont with bags under her eyes. The proud woman was staring at his wife and despite how tired she must have been, those blue irises shined.

"Either way," Kagome looked towards her mother and laughed awkwardly. "She was something; an amazing woman." She watched as Mrs. Dresmont smiled and nodded her head. "And I hope our Eliza here will be the same."

Inuyasha frowned at those words as the fear and guilt he had battled for nearly ten years resurfaced in his brain. "If I'm here, will she be the same strong girl I met?"

The words had no time to solidify in his mind because Elizabeth's voice cut into the air before they could.

"I vant to say somet'ing Cherie—." Elizabeth's voice was faint, but Inuyasha could hear every word. "Vhen you were a little girl, you vanted t'ings little girls should not." She looked towards the table and pursed her lips. "T'ings I did not allow you to 'ave." For a moment, she just stared at the unpolished wooden surface before she smiled. "But—over ze past decade I 'ave 'ad much time to t'ink." She closed her eyes and for a long moment said nothing and looked at nothing. "And I vonder," She spoke clearly as she finally said something she had wanted to say for over ten years. "Vhy does ze little girl not get t'ings?" She opened her eyes and they were deep, deep blue. "Vhy does ze girl sit still—listen—mind?" She stared openly at Kagome. "Iz it ze vill of some greater autorite?" She spoke and the question was not for her daughter but for the whole world. "Or iz it because she is taught it iz not her place to t'ink?"

Kagome had nothing to say as she looked at her mother perfectly amazed.

"I 'ave t'ought long and 'ard on zis." The older woman couldn't look at her daughter any longer and pulled her eyes away. "I connect it to ze peasants zat revolt in Paris streets." She took in a deep breath and brought her hands up on the table. "Zey are trampled on as ve are." She smoothed her hands over the rough wooden surface. "But zey 'ave finally found a voice, and zey speak out against such 'orrible crime." She laid her hands purposefully flat and stared at them. "Zey want to change fate."

Kagome felt her heartbeat quicken as her mother's words touched something deep within herself.

"And you, Cherie, you changed it." Her mother looked up from her hands and made eye contact with her daughter. "You vill show zat girl her w'ole life zat fate can be changed." She spoke bluntly and all the love in her heart came through her eyes. "And she vill grow to be more zan amazing, I promise you zat."

"I—?" Kagome tried to find her voice, but it fell away from her again.

"Kagome—you are ze mother I vish I could 'ave been." Her mother reached across the table and grabbed Kagome's limp hand in her own. "Merci," She smiled brightly at her daughter as she clutched her fingers tightly. "For showing me, your daughter too, zat women can be free." Her words were so crisp and affirming that even her accent left as she said them.

Inuyasha stared at the two women as he watched Kagome's eyes fill with tears. He stared as her lip trembled, and the little drops that filled her eyes burst making rivers down her cheeks.

"Mama." She whispered as she sniffled and brought her free hand up to cover her eyes. "Thank—." She couldn't finish the words, but she didn't need to anyway.

The dog demon smiled faintly from the heartwarming moment, and then he frowned. His hand on the door handle clutched a bit tighter as did his heart in his chest. His mind turned towards Eliza, and he closed the door without a word.

-break-

Kagome entered the bedroom she shared with her husband only fifteen minutes later. Her mother's words rang throughout her brain as she closed the door softly behind her. Sitting at their writing desk was her husband. The livre was in his hand, and he was using the edge of his sharp claws to slowly drill a hole into the tiny coin. In front of him, their daughter's small necklace, filled with coins from various countries glittered in the early morning light. He glanced towards her as she crossed the room and sat in a small rocking chair that was close to the window and only two or three feet from Inuyasha's own chair at the desk.

He looked up at her as she sat and studied her red face for a second; it was blotchy from her tears. "Long conversation," He whispered aware that their daughter was still sleeping soundly in the bed. "Huh?"

"I'm exhausted." Kagome sighed heavily as she rocked back and forth in the chair absently. She glanced at her still sleeping daughter and smiled with absolute fondness. "She'll sleep in today."

"She was up way passed her bedtime." Inuyasha agreed as he looked towards the coin he was working on. It would only take another minute or two to finish making the hole. "Was it a good talk?"

"Very." Kagome answered cryptically as she continued to rock herself in the old chair. It had a bit of a history; the chair did. It had been made by Totosai when they had lived in Nippon, and Kagome had used it all throughout Eliza's babyhood. She had rocked her, nursed her, comforted her, and read to her from the confines of this chair as had Inuyasha (with the exception of nursing that is). "I told Mama," Kagome began again as she continued to sooth herself by rocking. "Everything."

Inuyasha paused at her admission and looked up at her as nonchalantly as possible. "Really?"

"But I guess you know that already." Kagome paused in her rocking and quite suddenly stood up from the chair.

"Yes." He couldn't help but smile. He had known all along that she would be aware he had come sneaking around.

Without replying to his admission, Kagome walked towards the bed and reached for her daughter. The little girl didn't flinch as her mother wrapped her arms around her tiny frame. Even though she was nearly nine years old, she was a tiny girl, which seemed surprising because they knew how big she would become. Cradling her daughter against her, Kagome carefully made her way back to the rocking chair and lowered herself back down into the well-used seat. Her feet touched the ground, and she slowly began to rock back and forth as she held the little girl across her lap. The child sighed and snuggled into her mother's warmth. The instincts of the dog demon race took over her, and she proceeded to inhale her mother's scent as she buried her face against her mother's side. Kagome smiled sweetly at the girl.

"She actually believed me," Kagome touched her daughter's cheek with just the tip of her finger. "When I told her Eliza saved us."

Inuyasha looked down at the little girl who looked so much like her mother and frowned. "I heard." He looked down at the tiny sleeping face as his heart tugged just a little in his chest.

Kagome looked up at him as his emotions seeped underneath her skin and frowned. "You're thinking about it again, aren't you?"

"Huh?" He looked up quickly and tried to feign innocence. "About what?"

Kagome shook her head and tried not to roll her eyes. "Don't play innocent with me."

He tried to think of something witty or snarky to say back to her but nothing came to mind. Instead, he sighed almost hopelessly and looked down at the coin in his hand. He turned it over in his hand and studied the hole he was making absently. It wouldn't be long before he broke through to the other side at all. "I was wondering, you know, about her life." He pushed his claw hard against the back of the coin and didn't even change his expression when it poked through the other side just as he had predicted.

"We've talked about this." Kagome whispered as she patted their daughter's bottom absently while she rocked.

"I just wonder Kagome," He looked up at Kagome quickly before turning his eyes back towards the coin. Even though he had managed to break through to the other side, he still needed to make the hole a little bigger. "I wonder if I did the right thing." His claw stopped working without his consent as he grew more contemplative. "Is this—I mean," He sighed and gave up on making the whole in the coin larger. "Was her other life better?" He looked up at his wife feeling a bit anxious as he looked at her patient grey eyes.

Kagome, honestly, didn't quite know how to respond to the question. To her, it seemed obvious. This life had to be better but was that the truth? Was the truth even provable?

Unhindered by Kagome's silence, Inuyasha continued on. "Do I make that much of a difference in her life?" Inuyasha deposited the coin on the desk next to the necklace of coins it would soon join. It made a slight thud and then a strange rolling sound as it bounced against the desk. "Even this necklace." He stared at the pile of coins. "She made it herself when she didn't have me." He looked towards Kagome and shook his head. "She doesn't need me—my presence in her life might even make her weaker."

"I don't believe that for an instant," Kagome held the girl a little closer to herself as she tried to find the right words. "Her daddi gave her that necklace in this life." She began slowly using the Gaelic word for father because she knew it was far gentler than any other term. "And that gift shows her that she can have the whole world in her hands." She watched as Inuyasha's face shifted between understanding and disagreement. "A place she can explore and know and love." Kagome tried to make her voice shine with the confidence she felt in her words. "You opened that door for her."

"She could have opened it herself." Inuyasha fired back quietly and leaned his elbows on his knees.

"But it's so much more precious," Kagome tried again; her voice was soft and surprisingly not irritated with him. "When you show her that you're okay if its open." She didn't wait for him to say anything or even acknowledge her words. "I lived with a father who kept that door closed tightly, and it hurt so much to know he didn't want it to be opened." She lifted her head up to look at him, and the look on his face made her pause.

He was staring at her with tense, focused eyes that reminded her of a time so long ago it seemed like centuries since it had passed. Without her realizing it, she found her mind drifting back to the cabin of the Shikuro. She was standing in front of his bed, and he was looking at her with a combination of pity and hatred. She could almost see his lips move as he asked her the proverbial question that he had asked a thousand people before her and after her. Her heart tightened and before she knew it, her lips were moving again.

"A long time ago," She planted her feet on the ground and pushed herself up out of the rocking chair. "You asked me a question."

"What are you talking about?" He looked at her as if she had suddenly grown a second head, but Kagome didn't seem all too concerned with his look.

"Do you have something to live for?" She whispered the question as she came to stand in front of him with their daughter tucked in her arms securely.

"Oh." He whispered as he looked at her with a face marked with both confusion and curiosity.

"Ask me again." She encouraged as she leaned over and deposited the sleeping child into his grip.

He took Eliza without question and smiled faintly when the little girl inhaled his scent and whimpered out 'Otou-san' under her breath. "Do you," He looked up from his daughter's sleeping face to Kagome's patient expression. "Have something to live for?"

"I live to make her world a better, fairer, nicer place." She spoke firmly and softly as she looked down at their child in his arms. "A place where she can be anything she wants." She reached out and gently petted the girl's head. "Can do anything she wants to do or say any thought that happens to jump in her head." She smiled at her own words and never took her eyes off their daughter. "I live so she has the right to speak." She traced Eliza's human ear with the tip of her finger. "I live so she knows her voice is valuable." She traced the little girl's tiny jaw. "I live so she never has to think: I wish I had been born a boy." She closed her eyes and dropped her hand away from Eliza as she took a deep breath. "And I know that you live for that also." She opened her eyes up and looked directly into Inuyasha's face. "And that is why she needs you." She spoke bluntly and forcefully without ever raising her voice above a whisper. "Because I lived with a father who made me wish I was a boy." She reached out and caught hold of his chin. "And Eliza—Eliza lives with a father who makes her glad she was born a girl." She smiled at him and he couldn't help but smile back. "And that—that makes her life wonderful."

"What will happen to you?" He remembered asking the adult version of Eliza just as vividly as he remembered her tearful response. "Wonderful things."

"We live, Inuyasha." Kagome leaned forward; he closed his eyes as she rested her forehead against his own. "We fight, Inuyasha." Her voice was gentle as she pulled away and kissed his forehead. "To change her world."

He looked up at her determined eyes and his doubts fell away. "And we will." He told her as he freed one hand, so he could reach up and cup her cheek. "We will change her world." He pulled her head down and pressed his lips softly against her own. They held the kiss for several seconds as the child between them slept soundly protected by parents who wished the world for her. "For the record," He mumbled as he pulled away from her. "I'm so glad you weren't born a boy."

Kagome laughed and kissed him again gently. Her lips lingered against his own for just a second before she pulled away. "You know what?" She looked at him with all the love she possessed brimming in those grey eyes. "So am I."

Do you have something to live for?

-The End-

Please Review

A/N: Five years ago I started this story on a whim. It was originally filled with all my own characters, and I adapted it to Inuyasha fanfiction because I was too scared to attempt publishing. It was inspired by countless things including my own car (I like to drive and make up stories as I listen to music). It was inspired by songs such as Brothers in Full Metal Alchemist, Wake Me Up, Pathetique by Beethoven, and even Talking Body (last chapter). It was inspired by a dream also, but I won't get into details.

It was written while I was on the road driving (in my head, I wasn't driving and typing) and in airplanes flying. It was written from three different apartments. It was written on at least five different computers. It was written in a karate dojo that I was head instructor of, and it was written from a middle school classroom in which I am still the teacher. It was written in various homes ranging from Chicago to Pittsburg to Texas. It was starting when I began one Master's Degree (Humanities with an emphasis in Ancient and Medieval Literature), and it continued after I finished it. It was written and now finishes as I continue educating myself with a second Master's Degree (in educational psychology because I'm insane). Surprisingly, it was written during one continuous relationship that is still going strong. Never changed boyfriends.

It has consumed my thoughts, been placed on the back burner, driven me insane, caused my sleepless nights, and inspired me endlessly. You will never know how much I loved writing this story, and you will never realize how amazing your words, kindnesses, and even criticisms are to read. I hope you have enjoyed my fantasy and fallen in love with these characters as fully as I have. I hope one day to make this story bigger (no longer by any means but to make it what it was intended to be), but when my confidence will rise, I cannot say. Either way, it's been a wonderful experience, and I appreciate those who have stayed with me over the past five years.

With love, kind regards, and much appreciation,

Inuma Asahi De

Thank you for reviewing last chapter, I wish to acknowledge everyone who ever reviewed but I would have to shift through a lot of chapters. Still—thank you everyone who ever left me a kind thought, praise, or the occasional flame:

Princess-jess, NarakoSon, DGirlWithWings11, Ichigo to Hana, VEENA4, InbredSuzy, SilverRomance, SweetHunniiBunnii, Glon Morski, sesshylovr, RedViolet11, Inuriotgrrl, mylilkai, kan78

UNEDITED

POSTED

3/8/2016