The Scent of Despair

Written by Catrina Winner

Finale

The glittering lake caught the early-morning rays from the sun and shone like a beautiful sapphire jewel.   Birds warmed up their voices as the day began, fluttering from branch to branch under the protective dome that surrounded the village.   Children dashed underfoot, ignoring the scolding from their parents, aware they were simply to caution them, and rushed away through the cool air.   Waves rippled under a light breeze, rocking a small fishing boat that floated amidst the weeds.   The morning was calm, shielded from the hustle of the modern world, relaxed and gentle.   

Kohaku bumped into a tree beside the leg, scrambling to catch up with the smaller Sota.   "Zoom!" shouted Sota, dipping his Lego plane into the waters of the lake with a triumphant smile.   "I win!"

Kohaku caught up, gasping for breath.   "That's only 'cause you cheated," he mumbled.   Sota pushed him into the lake and laughed when he was pulled in, too.   The water was crisp and cool, but the air was warm, and it hardly made him shiver.   

"Okay, c'mon, I'll race you back to your house!" Sota said, slipping and sliding on the muddy banks of the lake to get his head start.   He began to run towards the home on the hill where Kohaku stayed with Sango and Miroku.

"Uh… let's race to your house, instead!" Kohaku yelled, running up the other side of the bank, all ready far ahead of Sota.   The house he ran towards was not completed, but it promised beauty.   Great arches shaded the front doors and the interior was cozy, but hardly small.   

"Ah!  Hey, that is cheating!" Sota whined, tripping towards Kohaku's receding figure.   Kirara twitched her ears back as Sota ran by her.   

"Hey, wait for me!" said Shippo; so far behind now he could hardly see the other two.   He plopped down besides Kirara and Buyo, mumbling.   "Those two run too fast.   I'm gonna hang out with you guys until they slow down, okay?"  Kirara mewled at him and nudged a kitty treat his way.   Shippo wrinkled his nose.   "Ew, you guys can be so gross, sometimes!  How can you eat that stuff?" he asked, walking towards his parents.   

"Hello, Shippo," his mother's sonorous voice greeted him.   "Where is your sister?"

"Kagome?  Bah, I donno.   She's probably off with Inuyasha somewhere."  He crawled onto his father's shoulders. 

"I think we made a good decision, making that child ours," Harusame murmured.   His wife smiled in his direction.   

"Of course it was, darling.   She was already too much a part of this family to leave her without conformation."  Harukaze tweaked Shippo's nose.   "Besides, we all love her too much, now, don't we, Shippo?"

"Uh huh!" the little kitsune responded, bouncing on Harusame's shoulders.   

"I didn't mean her.   We both knew we had to make her a part of our family.   I meant the other little one, Sota."

Shippo crawled down, latching onto Sota's arm as he rushed by, squealing with delight at the thrill of the race.   

"Ah, yes, him too," Harukaze smiled. 

Sota ran under Miroku's robes, ducking here and there to escape Kohaku's eyes.   "What are we doing?" Shippo asked.

"Hide-and-Go-Seek!" Sota yelped as Kohaku spotted him and took chase.   Shippo grinned at Sango's swelling belly before he was whisked away by Sota.   

"Soon we will have a few little devils of our own," Miroku smiled.   Sango laughed.   

"Yes.   By the time you're through, we'll have repopulated the whole village!"  Miroku smirked and laid his chin on her shoulder.   

"But it will be nice, won't it?" he asked, rubbing a hand over her stomach.   

"Of course it will, houshi.   Of course," her eyes were watching the couple beside them, hidden partially under the trees.   

Kagome ran her fingers over the marks that Inuyasha had placed on her neck the day they had been married.   She leaned against his strong body, smiling.   Inuyasha had listened to Kagome's story, of his deaths, and was learning to be calmer and sweeter.   He touched the prayer beads around his neck that she had given him before this adventure had started.   Kagome's smile lit up his own features as she turned towards him.   A light kiss upon his lips let a fang loose in that goofy grin of his.

"Kagome… I-"

"Shhh," she whispered and tilted her head, leaning in for another kiss.   Shippo's head popped between the two of them with a smile.   Kagome yelped and fell backwards.   

"Hey guys!" he said cheerfully.   Inuyasha growled.   "Look, I was gonna ask for a favor!" he said.   Kagome smiled at him.

"What would that be?" she asked. 

"Well, me and Sota and Kohaku were hoping you two would get busy and start having kids, 'cause we need some more kids to play Shikon Jewel Hunt with." 

Kagome stared at him openmouthed.   Inuyasha blinked. 

"Oh yeah, I'll leave.   You guys should make a kid right now!"  Shippo bounced off of them and dashed back to the game.   Kagome and Inuyasha both felt the burning blush spill over their features.   Miroku snickered at their looks, inching over to get some good fun in.   Sango pulled him back.

The lake sparkled as the morning went forward.   Inuyasha could only smell joy on Kagome now, and it made him happier then he dreamed he was capable of. 

"Mmm… Inuyasha," she said, snuggling under his arms.   

He smiled and held her tightly to him.   Everything was going to be just fine.