Blanket Disclaimer:

Inuyasha, and the characters therein, are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I am in no way affiliated with Takahashi, or VIZ Productions.

Chapter 8 – Second Chances and First Impressions

Holding his breath, Inuyasha emerged on Kagome's side of time without issue, releasing a sigh of relief as he glanced up to catch immediate sight of the well-house roof overhead. She'd done it. Whether or not the task had depleted Kikyou of her miko powers he would hopefully never know, because provided that Kagome would still welcome him back into her life in some capacity or another, he had no intention of ever returning to the Feudal era. He'd said his goodbyes. Hell, he even had a pack with a few letters from the others wishing he and Kagome well for the miko to read, provided she didn't have a husband that knew nothing of her time-traveling history and would freak at the sight of a hanyou on their doorstep. Even if she had moved on, though, he was sure she would still like to see him again at least as a friend, and she would definitely want to hear word of how the others had been doing for the last four years. Especially Shippou.

The kitsune had been spending more and more time hidden away with the rest of his kind, but Inuyasha had managed to track the boy down to tell him of his decision to go back to Kagome's world. He'd contemplated asking the kit to seek out Kagome for him in the future and give her the heads up that he would be returning for her, but as underhanded and sneaky as that was, it hadn't been the lack of honor in unfairly eliminating potential competition that had stilled his tongue. Inuyasha just hadn't been able to put such a burden on the runt's shoulders, especially since nobody knew the exact year Kagome was from; even he could understand the importance of not accidentally showing up too early and screwing with history. Besides, five hundred years was a long time, and who knew where the boy would be or what he'd be doing? That wasn't to say that Shippou had been content with 'goodbye forever' from the hanyou, though, having decided to take advantage of Inuyasha's return to Kagome's world to give him one of his acorns charged with a magic spell, a spell that would still be going strong five centuries later since going through the well would mean that to the acorn it was like no time had passed at all. When buried, it would send out a special burst of youki that only Shippou would feel, that he would be able to recognize no matter where he was, like seeing a beacon in the sky. Shippou had asked Inuyasha to bury the acorn as a means of calling for him once his reunion with Kagome had settled down, because while he didn't want to risk accidentally interfering with Kagome's life and/or the timeline in an irreparable way, he would definitely like to see the both of them again once he knew it was safe to show himself.

Exiting the well-house with a feeling of butterflies in his stomach, Inuyasha cursed his rotten luck when the strong scent of fresh rain hit his nose, masking just about every other scent in the area aside from the nasty stink of pollution that he quickly realized he'd have to get used to. Taking a deep breath, the mouth-watering aroma of grilled pork tickled the back of his tongue, but that didn't tell him anything except what the Higurashi family had had for dinner. He couldn't tell if Kagome was presently at home, or even if she still lived here, not that he imagined she would have moved out. Stealthfully creeping around to the side of the property, he spotted a window with open curtains and immediately started scanning the interior of the home for its current occupants.

It started to rain again, and he cursed his luck a second time as his hearing was immediately muddled, having to flatten his ears against his head to keep the falling water out while the drops hitting the backs of his ears were like tiny drum beats against his skull, causing the show inside the house to be a silent one. He could see Mrs. Higurashi walking into the living room from the direction of the kitchen, her father-in-law apparently talking to somebody watching the moving picture box, though he couldn't make out who because from his angle it didn't look as if anyone were actually sitting on the couch. Then he saw her, Kagome…his Kagome…she was all grown up now. Exiting the kitchen, the miko hugged her mother briefly before moving over to the couch…and the bottom fell out of his stomach at the sight of the small child that jumped up to hug Kagome before the miko scooped her up in her arms, disappearing with her out of the room.

"No…" he murmured quietly to himself, unable to believe his eyes. "Damn it!" he cursed, crouching and punching the muddy ground, his aura flashing in his anger for only a moment.

There was no way Mrs. Higurashi had had another child…her husband had perished and as far as he knew there had been no other suitors. Judging by the child's age, she would have had to have been conceived shortly after Kagome's return.

Feh…wench sure didn't take long to get over me… he thought bitterly as tears began stinging the backs of his eyes. He could let them fall; he would just blame them on the rain.

Still, he knew it was hypocritical of him to be jealous, considering whom he'd spent the last three-plus years of his life with. He had sacrificed too much, and Kikyou as well, for him to so quickly abandon his plan of returning to Kagome. Maybe he was jumping to conclusions. So far he hadn't seen any strange men wandering within the household, so maybe the child wasn't actually hers. Maybe she was merely…what was the term? Baby-sitting? One tiny possibility occurred to him for the briefest of seconds before he immediately pushed that nonsense aside. The kid was human. Even though he couldn't hear or smell anything through the pouring rain, his demonic senses were working just fine, and if she'd had even the faintest trace of youki in her he would know it.

Sensing a sudden spike in reiki coming from within the house he quickly ducked out of sight and did his best to calm himself in order to mask his aura, not wanting Kagome to know he was there just yet.

The miko ran outside barefoot, bow and arrow in her hand, the frantic pounding of her heart somehow reaching him even over the ruckus of the raindrops hitting his ears. So…she'd sensed his youki when he'd gotten angry but hadn't recognized whom the demonic aura belonged to. It was just as well.

"Kagome! Darling, is everything all right?" Mrs. Higurashi asked with noticeable worry in her voice as she rushed out after her daughter, stopping halfway when Kagome raised a hand to still her mother's approach.

"I swear I sensed a burst of youki…but my mind must just be playing tricks on me. It's gone now."

The sound of her voice nearly did him in and had him revealing himself right then and there, even if she fired her arrow at him. Gods, he'd missed her so much.

"Mama…?" a tender voice called from the open doorway, the girl clearly frightened and obeying the order to stay inside.

So much for the brat belonging to somebody else… he grumbled, his ears lowering even closer to his head, despite the rain letting up again.

"It's all right baby…" Kagome called back over her shoulder, relaxing her hold on her weapon.

"Was there a youkai?" the child asked with a shaky voice, which caused Inuyasha to arch an eyebrow from his hiding place in the bushes. If Kagome had moved on and settled down with a human man from her time, why would she have taught their child about youkai? There weren't any youkai in Kagome's time…were there? Had history been changed somehow and now there were still youkai around that the humans had to be wary of?

"Don't worry, Izayoi…" Mrs. Higurashi said then as she went back to the doorway and reached for her granddaughter's hand. "Your mama won't let anybody hurt us." With that, she nodded toward Kagome, who nodded as well, making her way back inside though she detoured toward the back door so she could clean the mud off her feet before entering.

Inuyasha was too frozen to go after her, even as a part of his mind was grabbing Kagome and laughing while twirling her around in circles.

Izayoi…? he thought vaguely, the edge of his lips curling up into a half smirk.

Suddenly, it no longer mattered that the girl appeared human. There was only one reason why Kagome would have named her daughter after his mother. Seeing the light click on in Kagome's bedroom he finally got his ass in gear and ran around toward that side of the house, leaping up into the nearest tree that would grant him a view inside the miko's bedroom, provided the curtains were open, which they thankfully turned out to be.

What he saw took his breath away.

She…she never forgot about me… he realized, seeing the way her walls were littered with sketches of himself and their other friends.

One curiosity, her desk didn't seem to be in there any more; in fact he couldn't see any furniture from his angle, and his curiosity finally got the better of him when Kagome came into the room but then after changing into her pajamas, a sight that had his cheeks feeling warm, she ducked down out of sight as if she had sat down on the floor. Deciding he'd kept himself hidden long enough he quickly jumped down from his perch in the tree across the way, crossing the yard in a single bound and landing without a sound on the roof ledge above her window. It had stopped raining altogether, at least for the moment, which meant his hearing was presently unobstructed. Kagome was humming, a peaceful, soothing lullaby.

Daring to creep towards the edge of the overhang and peer down, his heart started thundering loudly in his chest at the sight before him, upside down though it may be. Kagome's room was completely void of the furnishings it used to possess. In their place was a futon and chest that would have looked right at home in Kaede's hut. Kagome was sitting cross-legged on the futon behind her daughter, gently brushing her hair. The girl still looked and felt fully human, but he knew he hadn't been hearing things when Mrs. Higurashi had addressed her by that name, and even if he had somehow misheard, there was no mistaking Kagome's intent by removing her futuristic furnishings or lining her walls with sketches of himself and everyone else from his time. She was even still wearing the kotodama.

She hadn't moved on, she hadn't moved on at all, living as happily as she could as if his widow while possessing the inner knowledge that he was actually alive and well; her gift to him so that he didn't have to end his life prematurely. She was going to lose him either way, and she'd known it. Leaving his world forever and losing him that way had been preferable to him going to Hell. He couldn't argue with her there. True, he doubted having a child had been intentional, he doubted she'd known that she would get pregnant. Hell, he'd even checked her scent for fertility himself before agreeing to be with her! It must be true after all, then, that his seed was more resilient than that of a human man. But he was proud to see what had become of that unexpected miracle, a little girl who knew of youkai and knew her father's face. Kagome's sketches were good.

Not wanting to frighten them, but also not wanting to contact the family downstairs first to have Kagome's mother tell her the good news out of a desire to keep the miko and child all to himself for the moment, Inuyasha allowed his youki to pulse again, though this time with no hostility behind it. Perhaps she would be spooked again, but only for a fraction of a second.

Kagome gasped and looked up immediately at the sensation, and not moving to hide, she instantly noticed the set of golden eyes peering in on her through the window. She had already started rising to her feet on instinct, immediately tripping over herself as recognition dawned, causing the three-year-old to question "Mama…?" with a worried tone.

"It's all right baby…" Kagome murmured as if in a daze, which she was, as she pulled herself up and got to the window, unlatching and opening the glass.

Inuyasha immediately jumped down onto the sill, carefully avoiding the spot that still bore his carving for fear of damaging it with a claw.

"I must be dreaming." Kagome stated more to herself as she raised up a shaky hand, placing it carefully on his cheek. He immediately leaned into her touch, raising his own hand to hold hers against his face.

"And I've finally woken up from my nightmare." he all but whispered.

Shaking as much water off of himself as he could before jumping down into Kagome's room and crouching on the floor, he gave the wide-eyed child a hesitant smile.

"Hey kid…" he greeted softly.

Izayoi blinked at the inu-hanyou sitting across the room from her for a few more silent seconds before suddenly, her face lit up into a huge grin, as she squealed "Papa!" before rushing him, jumping into his unprepared embrace with no concern for his wet clothing. She would have knocked him over if it weren't for his youkai reflexes.

So much for keeping them to myself… he grumbled playfully in his mind as frantic footsteps were quickly heard rushing up the stairs followed by rapid knocking on Kagome's bedroom door.

"Come in." Kagome called, turning her head slowly to meet her mother's surprised and amazed eyes with a look of absolute peace and serenity in her own.

"Inuyasha…? Are you…?" Mrs. Higurashi started, though she didn't know how to finish the question. She didn't have to.

"I'm here to stay." he confirmed with a light nod as he gently released the child, quickly turning back to meet Kagome's gaze as he added for honor's sake, "That is…if I'm welcome?"

"Baka…" Kagome chastised playfully before falling to her knees, reaching for his forelocks and yanking him into a kiss.

"Ewwwwwww…" Izayoi teased with a giggle while Mrs. Higurashi murmured through a chuckle that she'd leave them alone and they could all talk in the morning.

Pulling back from the kiss, Kagome opened her mouth to launch into a million questions but shut it again just as quickly, smiling softly at the look of wonder in Inuyasha's eyes as he took in the sight and smell of his daughter. Now that the rain from outside was no longer clouding his nose, there was no denying it, she smelled like him. He knew his own human scent, the lingering scent transfer of his human-self didn't fade at the flip of a switch when dawn breeched after the new moon; Izayoi smelled of his human form and Kagome…a perfect blend. He didn't know how he'd sired a human child while in his hanyou form nor did he care. Perhaps it was just her human night? His luck had been rotten enough since coming through the well that he wouldn't put it past the fates to have chosen his daughter's night of weakness on top of the rain, just to fuck with him a little; the kami knew he deserved it. Still, now that he was there, in their room, he felt like the luckiest man alive.

"Izayoi…" he murmured, more to himself than addressing the girl who sat quietly less than two feet in front of him, staring back at him with an equal look of wonder.

"So…that was you I sensed earlier. You were past the tree line, you heard Mama call her by name."

Nodding, he shifted his eyes back to Kagome's gaze.

"If I had known-"

"It's all right…you're here now and that's all that matters." the miko interrupted, refusing to become angry with him when ultimately, he had clearly left behind whatever kind of a life he'd had in his world to come to her. How had he done it, though? The well shouldn't have let him through without the sacred jewel. He had come through the well, hadn't he? He didn't look a day older than when they'd parted, and while she could easily believe that four years wouldn't have been enough time for him to age, at least noticeably, five centuries would be a different story, she was sure. He also probably wouldn't still be wearing his fire-rat kimono with Tetsusaiga on his hip if he'd had a few hundred years to get accustomed to the modern world.

"I am curious, though." Kagome spoke up then, scooting herself over to sit down right beside him, gently brushing back the raven locks of the little girl who quickly crawled into her mother's lap.

"I'm afraid you'll become hurt or angry if I tell you the story." he confessed quietly, leaning forward to gently peck a kiss upon his daughter's forehead.

Kagome was surprised by the unexpected admittance, not to mention the display of affection, and quickly realized that despite his physical appearance, Inuyasha had definitely matured over the last four years.

"I'm sure I can fill in most of the gaps without you needing to say anything." she spoke up then, wishing to go easy on him. "I knew what I was doing when I decided to give you two the jewel to restore Kikyou to life."

He sighed, feeling his stomach twist into knots as twin sets of chocolate eyes gazed up at him expectantly.

"She and I…it took a while, for me to get over you, and she knew…she knew how I felt about you, but of course you knew how I felt about her, too…" he began, seemingly talking in circles yet Kagome understood him perfectly. It had to have been so hard on him, loving them both.

"We've been together about three and a half years now, but it…it wasn't right. I wasn't really happy, at least not as happy as I should have been, and neither was she. I thought I would never see you again, I was just trying to live my life, but the fates had other ideas, it would seem."

"What happened?" Kagome asked, clarifying at his worried expression, "I don't mean during the last three and a half years of your relationship with her, you don't have to share that if you don't want to, but what happened just now, today, yesterday? What happened that led up to you showing up in my room?"

Taking a slow, calming breath, Inuyasha shared with Kagome how Kikyou had fallen for another, and how they had decided to go their separate ways. How he had been willing to give her up, for her own happiness, how the irony of the situation had not been lost on him, and how she'd thrown him for a loop by confessing she had the ability, at least once, to open the well for him. He quickly explained why he hadn't returned to her before now, that even if he had known earlier that Kikyou possessed the ability to send him through, this was a one-way trip and if he went back to his time he would most likely never be able to return again; he had agreed with Kikyou's logic for withholding the knowledge of her ability to activate the well in that there had been no point in merely saying goodbye a second time. That was why he had told her mother that he was there to stay, because he was. The well wouldn't allow her to return to his time, because her mission in his world was over. Kagome had known that before and she'd been right. Kikyou had managed to force the well open long enough for him to get through this once, but she had done so under the pretence of him leaving the Feudal era forever. He had planned only on returning to his world because that would be a safer time for him than her future if she had moved on in her own personal life to the point where he wouldn't be welcome with her, even as a friend. Everyone back in the past had playfully told him that they hoped they never saw him again, because they knew that his continued absence in their world would mean that he had found at least some form of happiness with Kagome in her own.

While he hadn't even contemplated the possibility that Kagome had become pregnant, at least not for more than a few fleeting seconds at a time before the absurd notion had been swiftly buried away, Inuyasha absolutely refused to gamble on the presence of Izayoi somehow miraculously granting all three of them access back into his world. Besides, he had no intention of ripping his daughter away from her grandmother, great-grandfather and uncle. He knew how important family was. He'd even tracked down Sesshoumaru to say a swift goodbye before leaving his world, just to be polite, though the daiyoukai hadn't shown much interest in his half-brother's plans other than mild approval that he was at least no longer allowing himself to be house trained by the same miko who had betrayed him. Inuyasha wondered briefly if Sesshoumaru was still around himself somewhere, though shaking that thought free he knew he didn't really care what had become of the rest of the youkai of the world. He would gladly live in hiding with Kagome and his daughter for the rest of his life. He'd wear a hat; heck, he'd even wear a wig if the silver hair was too much. He'd wear different clothes, including shoes; he'd do whatever it took to become a part of Kagome's life, and he told her so in that moment. Ultimately, he knew that Kagome's world was definitely the safer of the two to raise their daughter in, seemingly human though she may be.

"Oh, just you wait until sunrise." Kagome replied with wink as Izayoi giggled.

"So tonight is just her human night, after all?"

"Every night is her human night. She loses her powers at sundown and gains them at dawn everyday."

"Huh…" he murmured, deciding it made sense that her youkai side would be weaker than his own since she was three-quarters human.

A huge, tongue-curling yawn from the girl in question quickly signaled the end to that night's discussion, though there wasn't really all that much more that Kagome needed to know. She didn't feel second best or cheated in any way. She knew Inuyasha's love for her was genuine; he'd carved it into her windowsill after their night together, after all. She had been his first, at least in the physical sense, and she most certainly did not regret that decision, even though the last four years of her life had been difficult. Her life would have turned out so much differently if it weren't for Izayoi, and who knew where she might have been on this night as Inuyasha came back to her? He would have probably still done so, assuming his relationship with Kikyou had still gone along similar lines and the older miko had still eventually ended up falling for that other man. Inuyasha's love for Kagome wouldn't have faded any faster over time if they hadn't shared their night of intimacy, and he most certainly would have still taken Kikyou up on her offer of allowing him to return to Kagome's world, but then what he would have found was anyone's guess, the future-born-miko realized with a shudder. She was glad the kami had been on their side, arranging things to play out the way that they had.

Inuyasha had been forced to experience a taste of his own medicine, something she figured had probably done him some good, but ultimately nobody had lost; even Kikyou had been given a happy ending with whichever human villager had struck her fancy. Kagome couldn't believe that it had actually been her predecessor's suggestion that Inuyasha return to her, though, then again, she supposed that act did prove that at least some part of Kikyou had genuinely loved him, even if she hadn't been able to have a family with him. If they had had kids, though, then there was no way Inuyasha would have left them, not knowing he had already done so once before, so truly, everything really had worked out the way it was meant to.

Leaning Tetsusaiga against the wall, Inuyasha reached into his robes and pulled out a small leather pouch, telling Kagome that it contained some letters and well-wishes from the others. She took the satchel from him and placed it on top of her wooden chest, saying she'd look at them tomorrow. He also told her about Shippou's acorn and how he could use it to summon the runt, supposing he was still around somewhere, explaining why the kitsune hadn't already taken it upon himself to show himself, because he was waiting for Inuyasha to send the signal.

"I'd like that." she replied, doing her best to stifle her own yawn as she got Izayoi changed into some dry pajamas before crawling into bed with her daughter.

Correction, our daughter… she thought with a smile, holing the blanket open in blatant invitation.

"Come on, Otou-san, it's time for bed."

Grinning, Inuyasha shed his fire-rat hakama and suikan, the outer layers having kept his kosode reasonably dry, which he left on for propriety's sake as he crawled into the large futon behind Kagome, relishing in the sensation of wrapping his arms around her smaller form.

How had he gotten so lucky?


A few minutes before dawn, Inuyasha was already awake, lying peacefully still while still holding the slumbering miko, who was holding their slumbering daughter. Their daughter. He had a daughter.

I'm a father… he thought in wonder.

He would do right by Kagome, in whatever way possible. He didn't know how, but he would find a way to help support his family. Surely there was some kind of work he could do in her world without the need for going to 'school' and while keeping his hanyou features hidden; some kind of manual labor where they didn't care if you could read or write. He would become a woodcutter, a stonecutter; hell he'd even dig in the iron mines. He knew her world was all about earning money, about doing work for other people who paid you to do that work, and then using that money to buy the things you needed, like food. It was different from the world he'd come from, but that didn't matter. Her world was his world, now.

As the sun breached the eastern horizon he felt it, the strong pulse of youki that signaled the end of Izayoi's time as a human. The girl in question immediately murmured something in her sleep and rolled over, though Inuyasha could sense that she was for the most part awake now. He supposed it made sense that experiencing it every single morning for her entire life had enabled her to get used to the sensation to the point where she wasn't bolting awake as if startled day after day. Sitting up quietly, he peered down to her still form, watching in wonder as her hair bled to silver and her ears morphed in shape and position, becoming smaller versions of his own canine ears that flicked toward the sound of his rapid heartbeat. Cracking her golden eyes open, Izayoi offered her father a tired smile before closing her eyes again, seemingly prepared to drift right back to sleep, though he couldn't miss the way her tiny nose started twitching faster and faster. Soon her eyes were open again, as she sat up as well, thoroughly taking in the scent that was her father, memorizing it for all time. Even if she hadn't known who he was while in her human form by recognizing his appearance from her mother's stories and sketches, she would have immediately known he was her sire in that moment by instinct alone. Holding his arms out in open invitation, Izayoi carefully crawled around her sleeping mother's form and snuggled herself into her father's embrace. Rolling over so as not to disturb Kagome, he lied back to back with the miko of his heart while cradling the miniature, female version of himself in his arms. She was perfect.

Kagome finally roused about a half hour later, her smile growing wider and wider as Inuyasha immediately started promising that he would do whatever it took, learn whatever was needed, to be able to support her and their child. Kagome informed him that they were all right in the financial department, that she had a job she loved down at the history museum, and that just being there, just coming back to her, was all she needed from him.

Breakfast was both a peaceful and hectic affair. Mrs. Higurashi had already told her son and father-in-law of Inuyasha's impromptu arrival the night before, so they were not startled by the sight of the adult inu-hanyou as he headed downstairs with Kagome, Izayoi hoisted up in his arms with her arms wrapped around his neck, though that didn't mean they didn't have a thousand questions each. Watching the way father and daughter interacted throughout the morning meal, Kagome imagined those two would be inseparable for quite some time, which was just as well because they could bond while she went to work. Inuyasha was a little disappointed to learn that she had to go into work, but he wasn't about to ask her to call out for his sake, knowing that working a job was different and more important than studying lessons with a tutor. While she was gone, Mrs. Higurashi took the time to fill him in on some things he would need to know about their world. Nothing too over his head, like how a microwave worked, but just how Kagome's life had been for the last four years, the precautions they had to take because of Izayoi, and the precautions they would need to take with him, as well.

He learned that Kagome's closest friends knew the half-truth of Izayoi being a result of the two of them saying their farewells before he moved away, supposedly never to return, which meant that it would be easy enough for him to come back into the picture by miraculously having just decided to move back, surprised to find out he had a daughter waiting for him. If you left out all of the youkai and time travel stuff, then that was basically the truth. He understood why the people Kagome worked with but weren't too close to her had been told a different story, of him having perished, to save her honor, and supposing he ever ended up meeting any of them, which he doubted he would anyway, he could easily pretend to be a new man in her life to save her image for honor's sake where she worked.

That afternoon, a couple hours before Kagome was due back from work, he planted Shippou's acorn. The kitsune arrived later that evening and was quickly invited to stay for dinner. Both Kagome and Inuyasha were enthralled to learn what had happened to most of the youkai of the world over the last five centuries. The beastly, brainless monsters had died out, some hunted to extinction, others just fading away until there were none left. The only youkai that were still around were the ones who could pull off pretending to be human, or some other animal, and for the most part they lived as far away from the big cities as possible. Most kitsune stayed in their fox form in that day and age, blending in with their mortal counterpart, he told them, apologizing to Kagome for not coming to her sooner. He would have, had he known about Izayoi, to assure Kagome of Inuyasha's eventual return to her, but he hadn't wanted to risk complicating matters should he have guessed the year wrong and her past-self had managed to sense his youki, believing him after her jewel shards. Kagome easily forgave the boy, who was truly no longer a boy but a very powerful, four-tailed kitsune. He had done what Inuyasha had told him he would have to do prior to the final battle with Naraku, should none of them have survived; he'd become a daiyoukai.

Speaking of daiyoukai, Shippou said that the last he'd heard of Sesshoumaru, the second Inu no Taisho was still out there, somewhere, but that he was so well hidden they probably had no chance of ever finding him. If it struck Sesshoumaru's fancy, then he would eventually seek them out. Shippou also said that the shrine was the best place for them to live because nobody would ever think to look for a family of hanyou on holy ground, stating that he could feel the spiritual presence of the place, thanks to the ancient power of the Goshinboku that watched over them all, though the power was benevolent and seemed to pose no threat to youkai. Or at least, not to any youkai who were dear to Kagome's heart.

Taking his leave with the promise that he would keep in touch, Shippou told Kagome to read the letters Inuyasha had brought her from the others, first, and then he would fill them both in on the rest of Miroku and Sango's lives afterwards. As days turned into weeks, Inuyasha felt fortunate that his daughter was still so young, because not only had he not missed out on much of her life, since Izayoi was still new to the world and just barely in the process of learning everything, that meant that he could now share in his daughter's lessons and learn everything right along with her. It was a little harder for him to grasp some things, since a child's mind picked up new concepts so much easier, but Inuyasha quickly decided that he didn't need to know how some things worked, like the TV, just so long as he knew how to work them.

It didn't take long for Jii-chan to start speaking of he and Kagome becoming properly wed, an idea that greatly appealed to the hanyou. Even though he and Kikyou hadn't had any sort of formal wedding ceremony, he did know of formal weddings, since they already existed in his time for the higher class, and he easily agreed to participate in such a custom with Kagome since in her time, it was apparently what was done no matter what station you were at in life. It was a private ceremony; the only people who were invited were Yuka, Eri, Ayumi and Hojo, to avoid any complications with having to juggle two different stories. Everyone present knew he was Izayoi's real father, and he took their tongue lashings like a man. When it was finally his turn to speak, he told them only that he had thought he was doing the right thing by leaving Kagome, that he was no good for her, but that he just couldn't help himself because he loved her too damn much so he'd eventually decided to come back, and how he never ever would have abandoned her in the first place if he'd known they had a child together. While it was clear her friends were still angry with him for ever having left in the first place, they did express their relief that he had returned and planned on doing right by Kagome, an intention which was obvious since he had just married the girl.

In honor of their wedding night, and knowing that the couple had been sleeping together with Izayoi as Kagome herself had been doing for the last four years, something Mrs. Higurashi wouldn't argue with her daughter about since it was the custom of Inuyasha's time period, she decided to treat her daughter and new son-in-law to a weekend in a hotel room. Izayoi didn't really understand why mommy and daddy wanting to spend a couple of nights by themselves without her, but she did eventually calm down when her grandmother explained merely how some things were for adults, reminding Izayoi of how she knew that some TV shows were adult TV shows, or how some conversations were adult conversations, and how her parents wanted to have an adult conversation because they had so much they needed to tell each other, and that it had nothing to do with her personally.

Thanking her mother, Kagome really enjoyed getting 'reacquainted' with Inuyasha. Not that she wouldn't love to have a second child, though she wasn't ready to just yet, she introduced Inuyasha to the concept of condoms, something he found more pleasurable than he'd believed he would. Perhaps it was the way Kagome writhed beneath him, crying out his name in her passion that had him dismissing whatever minor sensitivity was lost through the latex. The story told to Izayoi about them having an adult 'conversation' wasn't a lie, though, as they spent nearly as much time talking as they did making love. Inuyasha felt he had to confess some things about his relationship with Kikyou, for fear of the guilt eating away at him were it like he was keeping a secret, and Kagome assured him over and over that she forgave him. Yes it stung, she wouldn't lie to him, the whole thing had started because of Kikyou's insistence on dragging him into Hell, after all, so that was cause for some mild resentment right there, that the miko had put her in such a position with her refusal to let Inuyasha go, but her forgiveness was genuine and he finally learned to stop beating himself up over it. What was done was done, and ultimately, they had each been granted their happily ever after.

Kagome told Inuyasha how she was grateful he had come back to them for another reason, too, because she had feared what would become of Izayoi decades from now, after her passing. She was only mortal, after all, and she had no idea what her daughter's lifespan was, if she would suddenly stop aging at a human rate after passing through adolescence, as was the case with hanyou. While Kagome had known that she would at least get to be there for her daughter's entire childhood, as so far Izayoi seemed to be growing up at a steady, human pace, she had felt sad knowing that her baby girl would possibly spend the last several centuries of her life all alone, just like Inuyasha had been alone after his own mother's passing. It was then that the hanyou surprised Kagome by revealing the power of the soul-bond, something he hadn't wanted to do with Kikyou and had never told the other miko about for multiple reasons. Kagome was ecstatic to learn that such a spell even existed and readily agreed to perform it. She saw no point in waiting, especially since she wasn't getting any younger, so Inuyasha performed the spell right then and there, in the privacy of their hotel room. Prior to leaving his world, he had also sought out Myouga and made sure he'd learned every detail of the spell the flea-youkai had previously only mentioned in part, not wanting to risk getting anything wrong on the off-chance that Kagome actually would want to perform such a bonding with him. He had no idea if his old retainer was still around somewhere hidden in Kagome's time, but if he was and he ever saw the flea again, Inuyasha knew he owed him his thanks.


As months turned into years, Inuyasha proved to make himself useful in Kagome's world, after all, though to say he was a homebody would be an extreme understatement. Even though he had absolutely no idea what the Internet really was, or how a computer really worked, he learned how to go through the motions of taking pictures and uploading images onto a website. He fumbled through learning Romaji writing and English, something Izayoi helped him with as the child had picked up reading and writing much faster than he had, and so with his daughter's help a little bit here and there Inuyasha was able to contribute to the family income by producing and selling statuary that was for sale on the shrine's sparkly new website, something it had taken a great deal of convincing on Mrs. Higurashi's part to get Jii-chan to allow, since he didn't deem such a thing 'traditional'. But if there was one thing Inuyasha was good at, it was working with his hands, and so he carved small wooden statues and figures, kami and tanuki, and various other things related to the shrine that could be sold at 100% profit since their cost was zero. He went on occasional runs, promising to stay hidden from sight, since he couldn't just sit around doing nothing day in and day out, and so the wood he gathered for his carvings came from the wild. He was also dabbling in stone carving, and Kagome was coming up with a line of necklace pendants that were easy for him to make a lot of in short order. It sure beat selling fake Shikon no Tama charms out in their shop on the shrine grounds.

They lived happily at her family shrine for several years, allowing Izayoi to grow up with her entire family, but knowing that they couldn't stick around forever and wanting to leave before people started to notice how neither Kagome nor Inuyasha seemed to age, they moved away to a more rural location after Izayoi was finished with her schooling. They kept the online store going, Kagome transferring most of the money into her mother's account after taking only what they needed to support themselves, though her family's expenses at the shrine had decreased dramatically once they were no longer feeding the appetites of two hungry hanyou. Souta had also started helping out once he'd gotten old enough to get a job, so Kagome had confidence that her family was doing well. Not that they had lost touch, since they spoke via cell phone all the time. The fortunate thing about living in the 21st century meant that even if you were out in the boonies in the absolute middle of nowhere you were still just a 'send button' away from the rest of the world, provided you had satellite service, which they did. Shippou came by to visit often, and to Kagome, in their little cabin out near a stream on the edge of a quiet fishing village, it was almost like they were back in the Sengoku jidai. Life was good.

~ The End ~

(until further notice)