I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi

A Tale of Ever After

A/N What is this? Knittingknots is starting another chapter fic? Indeed. This story is going to be, perhaps, my ultimate post-manga telling of the world I've created for InuYasha and Kagome after she returns to the past. It more or less follows the timeline sequence I started with all my endless one shots and drabbles, but unlike those, this is by no means a series of snapshots. Some of the material might seem familiar, but much of it has appeared nowhere before, except in my own head. The one thing I can assure you of, is that it is going to be long.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

Chapter One

It was getting near the end of a rather remarkable day.

Sango rocked her infant son as she watched one of the twins sitting on the lap of the friend she had thought she would never see again. The toddler was nodding off, nestled in the crook of Kagome's arm.

The light from the fire pit flickered over their faces, and on the silver hair and face of the man who sat next to Kagome. Since InuYasha had helped her out of the well earlier in the day, the two had been inseparable. Through all the visits with Kaede and the villagers, and through dinner when she and Miroku had caught their friend up with the high points of their lives since they had last been together, InuYasha had been remarkably patient, but no one could get him to take more than a few steps away from his miko.

And from the looks of it, Sango decided Kagome was perfectly content with his nearness. The three-year separation they had been through seemed to have not lessened their feelings for each other. In fact, it was just the opposite. They had been sneaking glances at each other and little touches all day. It continued through dinner as they sat next to each other, touching hands, sometimes blushing. Although Kagome seemed happy to listen to Miroku's stories, and was trying to pay attention, from time to time, her eyes would meet InuYasha's, and the two of them would be lost to the world around them.

Sango looked down at her sleeping baby. It had bothered her for a long time how it seemed that everybody else got to have their happy ever after except for the two who were most responsible for Naraku's end and the destruction of the Shikon no Tama. Even Kohaku had found peace and a way to make up for having been one of Naraku's tools. For the last three years, InuYasha had been wrapped in a sorrow he really tried to hide, but she could see it peeking through when he thought no one was looking. Sometimes, as she and Miroku had started their life together and raised their children, she felt guilty at her happiness when she knew he deserved more. But today, all that had changed. Sango couldn't remember when last she saw her hanyou friend with such an aura of peace. All the sadness had simply vanished the moment he pulled Kagome up out of the well.

The reunited couple had been generous today, giving up the afternoon to their friends and the villagers who were happily surprised at Kagome's return. But now, Sango thought they needed some time for themselves. She put her son in his basket cradle and looked at the sleeping child in Kagome's arms, then back at Miroku. He must have been thinking along the same lines, because he nodded at her.

"I think it's time for the little ones to go to sleep," he said, picking up his other daughter from where she had curled up to sleep next to his thigh. "You are welcome to stay here tonight, Kagome-sama, if you'd like."

"Thank you, Miroku. But I told Kaede that I would be staying with her and Rin." Kagome smiled at her friends, and handed the sleeping child back to Sango. "There's so much to catch up on! But it's so good to be back."

That woke up a drowsing kitsune. "Can I come with you?" Shippou asked. He hopped from his place on the floor to Miroku's shoulder.

Before InuYasha could say anything, Miroku grabbed the boy with his free hand. "No, not tonight, Shippou. Remember our talk this afternoon?"

The kitsune's face fell, but he nodded. "Yeah. I forgot. I'm staying here tonight."

"That's right. I need you to help me in the morning," Miroku said. "You have to keep Chiya-sama's daughters amused while I talk to her about the temple. Plus, I think her youngest daughter likes you."

Shippou blushed a bit. "You think so?"

"Yes," Miroku said. "You don't want to disappoint her by not being there, right?"

"Right," the kitsune said, perking up. "And you're not going away again, are you, Kagome?"

"Nope," Kagome replied. "I'm here for good."

She caught InuYasha's eyes as she spoke. A small smile touched the hanyou's lips, nowhere near a smirk.

Sango picked up her daughter. "Be sure you come by tomorrow. I have some stuff I would like to give you, some clothes and other things. Or maybe I'll just have Miroku bring them over later tonight."

Kagome nodded as she stood up. "Thanks. I really didn't have time to bring anything with me except what I have on."

"We're just glad you're here," Miroku said. Shippou jumped off his shoulder as he stood up. "Whatever we can do to help you get situated, we'll do it."

"Yeah," InuYasha said softly. For some reason, that soft word made Kagome blush prettily.

He and Kagome walked to the door, and after a few more words, they left. Miroku and Sango stood there with their daughters, watching the couple walk down the path.

"She's grown up," Miroku commented.

"I was so afraid she'd never come back," Sango said, leaning against her husband's shoulder.

"InuYasha knew, I think," said Miroku, wrapping his arm around his wife. "Even though he was willing to give her up forever if it would make her happy, I don't think he ever really doubted."

He gave Sango a little squeeze. "I suspect the next few days are going to be rather interesting."

"Don't you tease him, husband," Sango said, going back into the house.

"What, me?" he said, trying to look innocent.

"Yes, you." Sango replied. "He, both of them, deserve some happiness."

"That's true," the monk replied, and he followed her back in and slid the door closed.