Summary: Breaking old ties and Happily Ever Afters.
~ooO Closures Ooo~
At dawn the subdued hanyou and ookami roused. They hadn't slept a wink all night, their enhanced senses made it impossible to ignore what occurred less than two hundred feet away. Their actions woke the rest of their party.
Miroku frowned as he quickly rose and crossed the clearing to test the barrier. "The barrier is gone."
"The bastard is coming this way." InuYasha announced gruffly. His hand clenched on the hilt of Tetsaiga. He wanted so badly to draw the fang, to hack and slash and draw blood, to kill the bastard. The only thing restraining him was the knowledge that if he did Kagome would forever hate him.
And then the couple emerged from the dapple shadowed forest. The scent of their mating was still on them, but reduced; they had bathed since their last coupling.
Sango blushed; she couldn't understand how Sesshoumaru could maintain such an emotionless façade, especially after what they had heard. She looked at Kagome; she was nestled into her mates side, the white pelt usually on the daiyoukais shoulder was wrapped around her.
Both of their attires were crushed and wrinkled but it did not detract from the picture they made. She was almost glowing, radiant with contentment and pleasure. He was stern, protective and possessive all in one; but she welcomed his actions and ignored his warning growls towards the two intruding males.
Whenever InuYasha acted in a similar fashion towards Kouga in their Shard hunting days Kagome had yelled at the hanyou about his rude behavior. But instead of yelling at Sesshoumaru both Kouga and InuYasha saw her actually purring and nuzzling her face into the Western Lords side. Her actions were reciprocated by her mate who nuzzled the top of her head, inhaling deeply to catch the fragrance of her hair and rinses. She tilted her head up and brushed her lips against the underside of his jaw; a reassuring gesture before she turned to her old friends.
"Kouga, forget about what you imagine you want. Do your duty to your tribe and mate with Ayame. There can never be anyone else for me." A small toss of her head revealed a navy blue crescent on her forehead, a crest that matched the one on her mates brow, a mark indicating her new status as the Lady of the Western Lands. Her soft eyes sharpened dangerously. "Any male who imagines he can claim me by killing my mate and pack will be the first to die a painful death at my claws."
Kouga bowed his head and nodded briefly before running off, away from the memories and repudiating words.
Satisfied Kagome turned to InuYasha and made a brief gesture. InuYasha cried out as the rosary, the subduing necklace about his neck, broke spilling round black beads and white fang shaped beads into the grass. Kagome had never used it to control the hanyou after InuYasha mated Kikyo but she had not removed it either. InuYasha had grumbled at first but when Kagome did not use the subduing command he had not pressed her to remove it.
"There is nothing that ties us together InuYasha. You have made your choices. I have made mine. We walk different paths now."
InuYasha glared at the miko turned inu-youkai. But there was nothing more to say. He had been the first to make his choice, to break ties.
Kagome glanced at Kikyo, her once incarnation. "You are nothing to me. Your soul, as small as it is, is no concern of mine. Keep your mate away from me and mine and all of us will be the happier for it."
The older woman flushed but nodded. There was no malice or ill-intent from Kagome, only well-meant warning. Kikyo knew Kagome had given up on InuYasha long before she turned inu-youkai, even before Kagome had used the Shikon to bring Kikyo to flesh-and-blood life. The miko would have given InuYasha higher priority due to their long-standing relationship. The inu-youkai was now loyal to her mate, their pack, and her trusted allies. InuYasha and Kikyo did not fall into either of the last two categories.
Then Kagome turned to Miroku and Sango with a warmer smile. "You do not have to worry about me. I have a new protector, a mate who treats me with respect and honor, someone who understands Kagome. Please be happy for me."
Sango blinked tearily but nodded. "Hai. I will visit at least twice a year. You are my hearts sister."
"Of course." Kagome turned to Miroku. "Miroku-kun, please look after Sango-chan. She is strong but even the strongest would welcome a helping hand."
Miroku bowed his head. "Of course Kagome-sama." He looked at the daiyoukai. "I hope you will not mind having ningen visitors. It might be a few years before Sango is certain. Naraku slaughtered Sangos village and family; she still has concerns for her new family of friends."
Sesshoumaru inclined his head. "This Sesshoumaru sees no problems provided a few days notice can be provided."
Miroku nodded. "Of course."
With that the two inu-youkai left the ningens and hanyou in the clearing still charged from the residue of their Bonding.
Sango glanced at Miroku. "Come on houshi-sama, Kaede will want to know what has happened. Kilala!"
The neko mononoke growled and transformed into her battle form. Gracefully Sango mounted and shifted allowing Miroku to sit behind her. Sango did not need to speak as Kilala leapt in the air and towards the village that would become Edo. They left behind a trembling hanyou and his concerned mate.
"InuYasha?" He did not respond. "Kagome is right. She is not yours. You chose me. Did you truly expect her to remain alone for the rest of her life?"
"Why did she have to choose him?"
Kikyo snorted. "Don't be a fool! You might hate your brother but any female with sense would desire a mate like him. He is wealthy, powerful and attractive. Why would Kagome Not like him?"
"He tried to kill her!" InuYasha shouted.
Kikyo shook her head. "So did you InuYasha. He only tried to kill her body. You and I tried to destroy her heart and soul."
InuYasha stared blankly at his mate. "Let it be InuYasha. She has a mate and you do not get along with him. If you interfere Sesshoumaru will kill you."
InuYasha bristled. "Feh! I can take him!"
Kikyo raised a brow. "Tetsaiga did not transform last night. How do you know Kagome will not duplicate the same feat if you attack her mate?"
The hanyous eyes widened. "She wouldn't do that to me!"
"The Kagome you knew was ningen. This Kagome is inu-youkai. She owes her first loyalty to her mate, her children, her pack. You do not fall in any of those categories."
"But she has the Shikon!" InuYasha grumbled.
Kikyo glared at her mate. "That wretched jewel killed me! If you dare go after it I Will repudiate you!" The hanyou started. Rarely had Kikyo ever been so forceful. "I do not want anything to do with that cursed thing! It came from Kagomes body so let it be her concern. Besides Sesshoumaru is one of the few youkai who has no interest in it. Since she is his mate let him help her protect it."
InuYasha shifted and considered the matter. Chase after an elusive dream or hang onto what he had within his grasp?
He said goodbye to his dreams. Besides his bastard half-brother would rip him to shreds before dissolving the remains with poison if he ever suspected InuYasha was interested in the jewel that rested within his mate.
"All right Kikyo. Lets go home."
It wasn't a fairy tale. It wasn't a perfect ending where everyone was happy.
Kouga eventually took Kagomes advice and mated Ayame. At times he wondered about what-ifs and dreamed of a miko he had once Claimed as his own. Then he remembered her cold words, and the frigid power of her mate; deterrents to keep him from acting on his desires.
InuYasha and Kikyo lived the ordinary life Kikyo had so yearned for when she was a miko. She had not imagined it being so tedious and mundane. InuYasha had chafed under the restraints of village life. They found a balance where InuYasha traveled frequently, as a bodyguard for merchants or the occasional daimyo, leaving Kikyo to live the peaceful life of an ordinary village woman.
Sango and Miroku fought often and made up just as frequently. They raised a large brood of children and formed a free-lance taijiya team based out of Edo Village. It was many years before Sango forgave InuYasha enough to allow him to join the group on their exterminating excursions.
Sesshoumaru and Kagome had their own tiffs but using her experiences and mothers advice Kagome never allowed the situation to remain unresolved for long. Unspoken words and imagined slights had poisoned wiser souls and Kagome was determined not to let such things taint her mating bond. Sesshoumaru had not accepted her 'modern' views easily but as time passed both of their personal beliefs evolved, giving way and shifting to fit with each other. Sometimes he would wonder if it would be better to have made a political mating for just heirs; and then he would look upon his mate and offspring and come to the same answer. No, it would have been worse; it would have been cold and lonely, barren of the affection and welcome he found in her body and mind, heart and soul.
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