Epilogue: Windows on the West
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha.
With a deep sigh, Kagome knelt at the monument for her family, ready to say her final goodbyes.
Her brother, Souta, had finally passed on last week, and his funeral had been yesterday. It had been really hard for her to watch her family grow old and pass on, one by one – her grandfather, then her mother, then finally her brother.
Surprisingly, Souta had chosen to train as a priest and run the shrine after their mother had passed on, despite the fact that he'd sworn he wouldn't as a child. He'd married, and had one child, a son, who would now take over the care of the Sunset shrine. The only thing Kagome had been concerned about had been the well, and she'd sealed it, just to be safe, once she'd come back to her family through time.
Now that her brother was gone, she would be leaving the human dominated world, never to return, and that was why she was here in her family's graveyard plot – to say her final goodbyes to them.
Sesshoumaru had listened to her stories of her world, and its dangers and pollution, its lack of clean air and room to roam, and had decided that his lands, at least, would not fall to such a fate. Between he and Bokuseno, a spell had been developed – a spell of power that would take the Western Lands in their entirety and fling them into a new dimension – one with only one temporary tie to reality... for Kagome's sake.
He had known of her desire to see her family again, and so had left a sort of window open as a link to their world of origin so that she could. But in return, she had agreed that once the last member of her immediate family was gone, Sesshoumaru could then cut all ties to that world.
And now that time had come.
"Mama, Ji-chan... Souta," she said, tears running down her cheeks. "I've come to say my goodbyes. It's time for me to go, just as we talked about when you were all still with me. But though I won't ever be able to return to pay my respects to you here, you will always be in my heart, wherever I am. I still miss you guys... and mama, sometimes it's so hard – I really miss your arms when I'm tired or sad. And your oden." She smiled through her tears up at the male that had moved forward when she began crying and put a hand on her shoulder in support, and laid her own hand over his. Then she looked back down at the flowers she'd placed for her departed family. "But Sesshoumaru takes care of me, and he always holds me when I need it, so I will be okay. Tell Daddy that I love him and miss him, too." She bowed her head for a moment, her tears falling and hitting the ground, dampening the dry earth around the flowers. "Goodbye, mama. Goodbye ji-chan, goodbye, Souta. I love you always," she whispered, unable to speak any louder around the lump in her throat.
The hand on her shoulder tightened for a moment, as if he could feel her emotions, and then Sesshoumaru stepped back and tenderly helped his mate of five centuries to her feet. He knew this day was difficult for her, as he'd always known it would be once it became clear that she would outlive all others save him, including her family. But that was why they had each other and clung to their other half with an unbreakable grip – because in the end, they were all they, together, had, along with the family they'd created, though even parts of that had passed on, too.
Rin. She'd grown up to be such a beautiful woman, and Akitoki's son had noticed that one day when their paths had crossed. He'd made up many excuses to come to them and visit, and had wooed Rin with an open heart. When he finally became the Lord, he came to ask for her hand, and Rin, having spent enough time with the young man to know her own heart, had begged Sesshoumaru for his permission, which had been granted. Kagome couldn't help the amusement that had made her chuckle at the realization that she'd raised the girl who had become her schoolfriend Hojo's ancestress. It truly was a small world.
She and her Hojo Lord had lived long, happy lives, but eventually, they both grew old, and passed on within a day of each other, surrounded by their children and grandchildren – and Sesshoumaru and Kagome. Sesshoumaru had taken her death hard, in his way, closing himself off for a time to everyone but Kagome.
That was why he could be there for her, now, as she said goodbye to her family, as he'd said goodbye to his first child. Though she hadn't been his by blood, he'd cared for her as a father would, not even his own children loved any more than he'd loved the devoted little girl that had followed him faithfully for so many years. Though he'd never said it, Rin had known, and when he came to her on her deathbed and tried to get the words out through a throat tight with grief, she'd put a delicate and shaky hand up to his lips to stop him, shaking her head with tears in her eyes. She told him that she knew, that she'd always known, and that she loved him, too.
For a while after that, Kagome wasn't sure he would ever recover from her loss... she was, after all, the very first thing Sesshoumaru had loved after he'd turned from his father. She was what had begun his lessons in learning to love again, and that wasn't something Kagome would ever forget, because Rin was what had allowed her mate to open up to her and love her, as well.
Life inevitably moved on, though, and Kagome gave her amorous mate several children to fill up his life and his heart and soften his grief. Shippo made an excellent older brother and protector, becoming a dangerous opponent to anyone that tried to harm those he cared for – just like his teacher. Still with them to this day, the kitsune had yet to marry... though there was a sweet female kitsune that was certainly determined to catch him.
Sesshoumaru found that extremely amusing and had a bet with his wife that the female would, eventually, get her way, no matter how hard Shippo tried to escape.
Their pack had also grown with the addition of Inuyasha, who took his role as uncle seriously and loved his niece and nephews as he'd never had the chance to love his own children. Sadly, Kimi had gotten pregnant only once, but the babe had died in childbirth, and Inuyasha was too grief-stricken to want to try again, especially as Kimi had also almost died.
And so he had stayed by her side until she had finally passed on, and unwilling to marry a human woman again and go through the loss, he had buried his wife and then gone looking for his brother's pack. They were all the family he had left, now, and though he and Sesshoumaru were not as close as her own sons were, they were a lot closer than they'd ever been, and the daiyoukai could not turn his brother away.
He had aged, some, though he was only what would be considered middle-aged, now, and Sesshoumaru had finally admitted to Kagome a few years ago that he dreaded the day that his brother died. Kagome could do little but agree, because she still loved the hanyou who had always been her best friend, and his death would leave her heartbroken, as well.
She had given her husband, her mate, three children so far – two boys, and a girl who was the apple of her father's eye. Yuzukiko, superior moon child, certainly looked the part – she looked just like her father, down to the exact same markings as her sire carried. In fact, she was a copy of her grandmother, who looked just like a female Sesshoumaru. This was something that Satori absolutely adored, and she spoiled the little girl rotten.
Of his sons, one looked like him, by name Nishirou, or western son, and one looked like Kagome, by name Yasu, for peace – he looked completely human, though his scent was anything but. His lifeforce was the same as his other siblings, it was only his looks that were not, to his parent's relief. Neither could stand the thought of losing a fully human child to aging and death.
Wiping the tears away with her hands, Kagome took a camera from her purse and took a picture of the monument so that she would always have it, planning to stop and get it developed on the way back to the West so that she would always have a reminder of her family's resting place. With one last long look, she turned and left the graveyard, her hand held tightly in her husband's as he supported her in her time of need, just as he had for the last five hundred years.
"Thank you, Sesshoumaru," she said softly, and he glanced at her and inclined his head, his eyes soft upon her in love and understanding.
After their stop to get the pictures on the camera developed, they headed out of Tokyo, and it didn't take long for them to reach the last tether between Japan and the Western Lands. Both of them looked around one last time before looking at each other and smiling, knowing they would not miss the real world that was slowly dying away, and then Sesshoumaru took them through the passageway back into the new demon realm – the dimension he'd created as the best way to protect not only his lands, but his family.
Once they stood safely on Western soil, Sesshoumaru looked to that window into the real world one last time, and with an enigmatic smile, he reached out and closed it before sealing it, breaking the final tie to the world that had birthed them.
There would never by another window into the west again... and so we must end our tale, leaving it to faith that they continued to live long, happy lives there in their world beyond our sight and knowledge.
A/N: And it's time to say goodbye to another tale that I can label complete and file away, proud to be able to say that I finished it, and that it was yet another story that was finished and not abandoned as I have promised never to do unless I'm dead.
I hope this last chapter pleases, but honestly, right now I'm too sick to tell. Got food poisoning last night along with one of my daughters and so the phenergan is knocking me out - I keep falling asleep even while I'm typing. Anyway, hope everyone enjoys it nonetheless.