Obligatory Disclaimer: I clearly do not own any of the characters within (even those who may or may not be originals), any of the settings, concepts, or other potentially copy-written works within this piece. I am merely a vessel; A messenger who conveys a story, nothing more, nothing less.

Once, before time knew any meaning, in a place that is neither near nor far – a girl met a boy.

He rushed through the trees, pushing himself as he ran after his prey. A pretty doe had his arrow in her, the object of her impending doom grazing just before her heart. It was a poor shot, as far as he was concerned, but he knew that this was not the time for such worries. She would lose consciousness soon enough, and when she did, he had to be there to assure her end was swift. He paused to check the trail, frowning slightly as he noticed that the deer had darted into an orchard. Letting out a deep breath, he ran after her, assuring that he was not losing her.

When he caught up to her, the fallen doe was gasping for breath on the ground, he began to stalk over to her slowly. Her eyes darted about, as if someone or something would come save her. He smirked lightly, knowing what she did not. No being would dare interrupt his hunt.

Unfortunately for him, at that moment someone did.

Just as he was about to reach for the deer, ready to snap her neck and end her suffering, he heard the thick sound of branches snapping followed by a feminine screech. Something fell on him. That something happened to be a girl.

"Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to..." Her words trailed off as she moved from atop him and their eyes met for the first time, a delicate blush coming to her cheeks.

They simply stared at each other for some time. Normally, he would have scolded her for such inattention and clumsiness. Normally, she would have apologized more. Of course, normally they would have never met. Neither was ignorant to the possibilities of who the other was.

He was a war god's son, full of power and destruction.

She was a daughter of the very light itself, a life-giving goddess.

There would never be any logical reason for them to meet, let alone fall in love.

Yet when she looked at him and he at her, that is exactly what they did.

Love was not uncommon among the gods and goddesses, it happened all the time. In fact, they enjoyed the emotional bond so much that it was highly agreed that it should be shared with the mortals. What was life and death without love? Meaningless. What of love between life and death? Could it ever work?

No one could say for certain. Everyone had an opinion, of course, but most allowed the young god and goddess their time. It touched them that two very different souls were drawn to one another and even brought up debate on the common conceptions of love at that time.

There was, of course, a problem. With love there always is.

This problem came in the form of the god's younger brother. The younger brother pined for the young goddess, too, and wanted her for himself. When he went to his father, the war god, for advice the only advice his father could give him was: "All is fair in love and war, my son."

The younger brother decided to take the goddess for himself, and flee with her to the world of mortals. If they managed to slip through the veil between worlds before his brother knew what was happening he would surely win. The elder brother was not fond of mortals and rarely bothered to look upon humans and their kind. He just had to wait for the perfect opportunity.

Opportunity knocked when the young couple announced they were to wed. Many came to witness their union, several taking bets on how long such an odd pairing could last. When the goddess spoke first in their vows, breaking custom and shocking all there, several felt they were doomed.

The goddess explained to her lover that she wanted him to see her as his equal, that she would not walk behind him – but beside him. He was unsure if this was the right way to approach things, but decided it couldn't hurt. They were already an unusual match.

Her actions had consequences. Their firstborn child was not fully immortal. Weak for a war god's child.

When asked what they could do to set things right, it was explained that they should wed again. This time, the goddess would have to defer to her mate and allow him to speak first. Otherwise, their marriage would be void and their offspring would continue to be diluted with mortality.

The god's younger brother knew he had to act fast. He met with the young goddess, distraught over her lover's behavior, and consoled her.

"Are you not happy?" He asked.

The goddess looked up, surprised that he was there, and shook her head slightly. "I am simply disappointed."

"Because your child was born with mortality?"

Her eyes widened, she shook her head. "No! I..." She trailed off, biting her lip and looking away before letting out a sigh. "I am proud of my child. I only wish his father could be, also."

He shrugged. "My brother will not be happy until he has an immortal heir."

She paled, and he smirked slightly before reaching into a pack at his hip for something which he held out for her. "You look ill. Eat this. It should help you feel calmer. Don't bite into it, as the inside is rather bitter. Swallow it whole and let it soothe you."

For several lengthy moments he waited with anticipation before she finally reached out with trembling fingers to take up the chocolate covered jewel and forcefully swallowed it down, her eyes closing tight from the strain.

That afternoon he watched as she took shaky steps towards his brother, circling the large ritual pillar. She paused, bracing against the white marble as sweat rolled down her face. With a few shallow breaths, she collapsed.

Hours later, while his brother discussed the situation with their father, he crept into her room and carried her off. By the time his elder brother learned of her disappearance, they were both past the mortal veil.

The god rushed towards the veil, following the trail that his younger brother left behind and stopping just before it. His heart lurched. His beloved was now just beyond his reach. He took a step forward and was stopped by a firm hand on his shoulder.

"No one knows what will become of you if you go, my son. Is this girl worth the chance that you might never be able to return here again?"

The god hesitated at his father's words, frowning slightly before taking a deep breath and marching through the veil with determination. She was worth whatever it took.

When he stepped through, things did not go as he expected them to. He thought that he would simply step from one side to another, unchanged and no different. Instead, he felt light and incomplete. A white mist surrounded him on all sides and as he stepped through it, into the bright sun of the day, he felt the most astounding pain he had ever known. For the first time in his existence, the young god screamed.

"A healthy male. Congratulations, my lady!" A woman's voice rang out.

The god opened his eyes, squinting at how the light hurt and trying to focus on the face above him. It was too far away. Then he was lifted, carried and placed into the cradling warmth of a pair of arms. This face moved close to him, a gentle smile gracing the female's face. She was unusual, and her head was enormous. Her hair was white, eyes a deep amber, and her brow and cheeks had the oddest markings.

"What shall you call the young lord, my lady?" That same woman's voice came from... somewhere.

The face above him looked away, blurring his vision of her and for a moment he felt empty and lost, before she returned her gaze to him with a pride filled expression. "Sesshomaru."

It was then that the young war god realized what had happened to him when he passed the mortal veil. He was born.

"Is she ill again?"

A young miko nodded to the priest as he questioned her, understanding that he was talking about her fellow priestess. Midoriko had come to them when she was very young, an orphan. Her parents were poor and sold her to the shrine, knowing she would have a better life. Luckily for her, she was very sensitive and strong, able to purify evil with ease. All the other miko training at the shrine were jealous and often gave the young woman the most difficult assignments.

Recently, she had been out for a week – four days of which had rained heavily – while tracking a particularly strong youkai that had begun to show around the forest. Most youkai were ignored until they were a problem, but this one took a humanoid form which meant it was strong and likely very dangerous. The people of the village were growing restless.

Midoriko did not walk far. In fact, she barely went past the tree line. At first, the other miko grumbled at her laziness. She was clearly just trying to get out of work. All she did was stand there, just within the forest, staring at the trees as if this youkai would simply show up before her because she willed him to!

That night it began to rain and most of the girls expected her to come back inside, forsaking her mission and taking her punishment from the head priest for failing. Instead, she remained where she was – waiting. Midoriko stood where she was, for days. She did not eat or rest, simply trusted that this youkai would willfully come to his death.

On the seventh day, their eyes met for the first time. Her lip twitched before she bowed respectfully. "You heard my call. Thank you for responding."

Sesshomaru stared at the girl, unsure why her strange comments made total sense to him. Obviously, she had not actually called him. Yet somehow he found himself drawn to this spot – drawn to her. Even when he sensed the danger of their proximity, he was unable to deny his deep desire to see the one who pulled him to her.

She was dressed in traditional miko garb, clothing he knew well. It was a sign to his kind that these weak humans felt they were hunters and could make youkai prey. Still, she was very young. By appearances, she seemed to be no older than ten years old. Despite his much longer lifespan, he stood only a head taller than her. Here she stood, soaked thoroughly by the rain, looking like a wet puppy. Appearances were highly deceiving.

"Do you expect this Sesshomaru to accept death?" He felt there was no need to pretend that wasn't why they were both here.

Midoriko surprised him with a small smile and a shake of her head. "I would rather not kill you."

"What is your intention?"

She shifted uncomfortably, sore from standing for so long. "I would rather be your friend."

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow at that. Was this female insane? Not only was she human but she was a priestess – they were enemies. How did she expect them to be friends? For some reason, none of these thoughts escaped him. Instead he asked: "Why do you want to be friends with this Sesshomaru?"

Midoriko swallowed hard and looked away for a few moments, before returning her gaze to him. "It just seems like the right thing to do."

He couldn't argue with her on it. Not that he wasn't capable, he had a million reasons why he should rip her heart out of her chest right there. Her heart, the one he could hear beating against the rhythm of the rain falling. He liked the sound. Sesshomaru closed his eyes for a moment, trying to regain his composure.

The fact was, despite all those reasons why he should kill her – he didn't want to either. It was entirely illogical and likely would lead to both of their deaths. There was just this little voice in the back of his head that told him he should agree to her proposal. He decided the best course of action would be to leave and try to kill the random voice in his mind, instead.

Midoriko watched him walk away, giving off a heavy sigh before turning and going back to the shrine. She knew if the head priest ever found out what she did they would likely kill her themselves. They would never understand the connection she felt when she first sought the youki of this powerful inu. The warmth that spread through her as his power brushed against hers sent chills down her spine. It was tantalizing and foreign and yet... comforting.

As she lay to sleep, Midoriko knew she was playing with fire. Sesshomaru was very strong and could be a powerful opponent. If they were to battle, it would likely end both of them. Still, she couldn't help the childish smile that fluttered across her face as she thought of him as her friend and not her enemy.

She was ill for two weeks, a result of her standing in the rain. The priests of the shrine assumed that she had exhausted her power, thus reducing her ability to heal herself from the strain of her ordeal. None of it mattered to her. She was the happiest she had ever been. For so long, she had been without a friend and now she had one. A true friend, not someone who tried to call themselves that simply because of her power. No, if anything, Sesshomaru was more inclined to call her an enemy because of that.

They met many times after that, always in secret. Years went by as their friendship grew. He taught her how to track animals. She showed him how to dance – he refused to participate. Both spoke with ease, feeling the most comfortable around one another than they did with any other living creature. He introduced her to his pet dragon, Ah-Un, and when she expressed a desire for her own pet he found her one – a little two-tailed cat demon.

Had anyone known of their meetings, they might have assumed the two were in love. Midoriko and Sesshomaru were near inseparable, finding they were unable to deny the magnetic pull of their souls to one another. Eventually, they were so friendly that she was leaning against him for a quick nap as he watched the flowers sway in the breeze. He trusting that she would not harm him and she trusting that he would protect her.

What he could not protect her from was their own folly. As Sesshomaru dozed off himself, resting his head against hers, Kirara curled up in her lap and Ah-Un resting behind him, a man from Midoriko's village found them. This man did not scream out and call her names, as one would expect him to. Instead, he watched for a while before leaving.

That evening, as Midoriko returned to the village, the same man stopped her and demanded she marry him in exchange for his silence. He would not tell the priests of her traitorous behavior if she simply gave into his desires. She refused him. She could always say he was a liar. What proof did he have?

The man grew bitter. He had lusted after the priestess for some time. Just when he found a way to ensnare her, she denied him. He knew he had to use extreme methods. If she was not against being with a youkai, perhaps he should become more powerful? The darkness ate at his soul, corrupting his heart, and he gave himself to the youkai.

Midoriko woke to bells ringing, a warning sign that danger was approaching. She rushed to prepare herself, throwing on her armor and taking up her sword as the other priestesses ran past the doorway in fright. Their screams echoed through the building as more filled the night sky. As she came outside, she watched the sight in horror.

It was an ambush. Hundreds of youkai swarmed the village. Gritting her teeth, Midoriko launched herself forward, slicing into the youkai as she ran through the homes. Hours passed as she fought, blood drenching her clothes and sweat covering her brow.

Days went by as she continued to fight, many of the others having abandoned the village for presumed safety. Midoriko pressed on, knowing it was her duty to protect the villagers. As her strength began to wane, the man – now a hanyou – came before her and demanded she be his lover. When Midoriko refused, he attacked and with the last of her strength she sealed him, herself, and many of the lower youkai in the village into a small jewel that she had carried her whole life. Her last words would haunt Sesshomaru, as if she knew he was watching helplessly from the background.

"Forgive me."

He wanted to forgive her. He really did. Yet as he watched her disappear before his eyes, he found himself unable to grant her desire. All he felt was empty and torn.

Sesshomaru hated her for giving up, for leaving like she did. He hated himself more for not saving her. He could have at least rescued her, taken her away from there, done something. Instead, he watched like a fool as she sacrificed herself to save her people.

"What is wrong, my son?" The Inu no Taisho asked as he sat next to Sesshomaru who was staring out at the horizon with a lifeless expression. For days now, the boy had been more introverted and withdrawn. He spoke little and showed even less. His son seemed to have become emotionless, and that idea hurt him greatly.

"Do you know of someone who can forge magical weapons?"

It was an unexpected question, but the father nodded in response. "Are you seeking something specific?"

Silence hung in the air as Sesshomaru watched the sun begin to dip down into slumber. "A sword that can kill many youkai at once."

His father's eyes widened at that and he, too, looked to the sky. "Why would you need something like this, Sesshomaru?" Sesshomaru did not answer, standing and walking away. His father's voice caused him to halt and he stiffened at the question that hung in the air. "Do you have something to protect?"

The crickets chirped as silence filled the void between father and son. Finally, after what seemed like ages, Sesshomaru spoke. "Not anymore."

Years would go by and the Inu no Taisho would commission two blades. His conversation with his son had moved him in a way that he was unable to explain. He, too, wanted something to protect. He found that in Izayoi and they had a son, InuYasha. Sesshomaru hated the hanyou from his first breath.

It had become apparent over time that the young lord despised humans.

Many felt that he hated them because of the Inu no Taisho's death. Some wondered if it was simply because they were weaker.

His hatred of them only grew when he was drawn to yet another priestess. A young woman named Kikyo. That same magnetic pull that he felt when Midoriko called to him tugged at his soul, urging him to go to her.

For years he ignored it, feeling bitter at the idea of becoming close to another human only to lose her due to weakness. It was pointless and inevitable pain. He refused to be weak.

Of course, he couldn't battle himself forever. When he finally sought her out, his anger only grew. For there she stood, in the arms of his half-brother. The sight caused a sickening sensation deep within him and he decided he would leave them both to whatever fate they found themselves in.

She would die at InuYasha's hand but not before she cursed him, pinning him to a tree for fifty years.

Fifty years of bliss.

Fifty years of silence.

Fifty years of forgetting human females, forgetting the pull of another on his soul.

Then, one day it hit him like lightning. Not the faint pull of Kikyo or the curious draw of Midoriko – this was demanding, vibrant, insistent. Whoever this was, they were powerful and practically desperate for his presence.

He took his time in going to her – he knew it had to be female, they always were – only to find a similar situation as before. She was with his half-brother. Worse, when he made a move for the sword that was so obviously his, the one his father had created based off his idea, it protected her! To add insult to injury, she gave the sword to the idiot!

Sesshomaru never felt more conflicted in his life. Midoriko had been a good friend of his, someone he trusted. Part of him even loved her, an entirely foreign concept for him. Yet, each time he felt that similar pull he relived that helpless moment of watching her throw her life away – and for what? Humans.

How he hated them. How he hated every one of them. He hated how weak they were and how he felt compelled to them.

When InuYasha cut off his arm, declaring he would protect the girl, Sesshomaru felt something inside of him shatter. As if he had lost a battle he wasn't even aware he was in. Perhaps it was the shame of running away, or the loss of dignity at having his weaker half-brother injure him so thoroughly.

Whatever the reason, what he had never expected was to feel another pull from that same soul on his. This one smaller, curious, unsure of what it was seeking. A child came before him.

He tried to ignore her. He tried to leave her behind.

Yet, when he saw her corpse there on the ground something in him shifted and he knew he could not leave her like this. Sesshomaru had no idea what to do with her. His mind never went that far. He revived her, and then would go his own way. He never expected her to follow him.

The years went by and he found himself content with Rin by his side. She made him calm. She understood his wordless demands and never complained. Eventually, he realized he loved her as he had Midoriko. He also realized that she was far too young for him. She was innocent and pure and if he were to shatter that he could never forgive himself.

He left her in the village his half-brother claimed, knowing she would be upset but would also live a happier life among her own kind. He wasn't stupid. He also knew it would make it easier. When she died, he would not have such a strong attachment and it would lessen the blow.

Sesshomaru accepted a life of constantly feeling two pulls, one tiny and innocent, the other forceful and lonely. Out of nowhere, the demanding pull stopped. For three years she did not call for him. Just as he was beginning to miss it, she returned.

When Kagome called him her elder brother he wanted to hit something. He decided the best course of action was to ignore it entirely. If that was how she wanted things, he wouldn't argue with it. He knew her fate would be like all the others. She would die.

He wasn't sure why he was so surprised when he happened upon her corpse.

Kagome had walked right into a trap. A youkai hunting party had gone after her, not for fear of their own lives – but for sport. When she died they laughed and left her mutilated body in the wood for all to see.

Sesshomaru felt a familiar tug at his soul and decided he would revive her, not because he particularly wanted her alive, of course, but because her stench was making him sick. He told himself that was the only reason.

When he drew Tenseiga and found no underworld minions to destroy, he let out a small sigh. She would have to make things difficult, wouldn't she? Human women were so predictable.

With an angry slash, he cut through space and created a wide portal, entering into the darkness of what many called hell itself. Just because he had to finish what he started, of course.

Sesshomaru walked through the thick darkness, unafraid. He had taken such a journey before. This would be no different. He would find what he sought and bring her back with him.

Unfortunately for him, someone had other plans. When he found Kagome she was chained to the floor and the chains were glowing with a faint blue light, enchanted. As he reached for them, an electric shock raced through his arm and he withdrew, frowning. She looked up at him then, their eyes meeting for the first time in years.

Surprise darted across her face, her eyes widening in surprise. "Sesshomaru?"

When she said his name a small spark inside him lit. It was just an ember of warmth, but he knew then that he had to save this woman no matter the cost. He had no idea why. He simply knew he must. "This Sesshomaru will cut the chains. Stay back."

Kagome nodded, pulling back from where the chains were shackled to the ground and turned away, waiting for him to strike down on them.

"That won't work, old friend." A voice came from somewhere in the darkness. Kagome and Sesshomaru turned to stare at the unknown male who stepped into the dim light of the area, a smirk on his face.

Sesshomaru's gaze narrowed and he stood. "This Sesshomaru does not know you."

The dark haired male laughed and shrugged. "Memories are such fleeting things for mortals. It's alright, I won't hold it against you if you don't remember me, my friend!" He looked over to Kagome and sighed. "She certainly has caused a great deal of trouble for you, though. Don't you think it's time you let her go? You can come back home. Your father has been waiting anxiously for your return. He's rather proud of how you've been honoring him so much, despite not remembering him."

"Release the girl."

"Always so protective of her." The unknown male gave a sigh and went over to Kagome, kneeling beside her and cocking his head to one side. "I don't understand what you see in her. She is beautiful and from what I remember she has spunk, but to throw your entire existence away for a woman?" He stood, shaking his head. "I cannot let you continue this."

Kagome frowned, completely confused by now. "What are you talking about? I never did anything to Sesshomaru!"

At that, the stranger laughed. "Oh my dear girl, you have done everything to... Sesshomaru."

Sesshomaru was becoming aggravated. "Release the girl." He hated repeating himself.

"What if I said that giving her up would mean a life among the gods? You could have anything you desire. You would have ultimate power. Would you still insist that I give her to you?"

The white haired youkai stiffened and looked down at Kagome. She smiled faintly and shook her head. "It's okay, Sesshomaru."

As her head lowered, as if accepting her fate, Sesshomaru frowned. "Release the girl."

Kagome gasped and looked up at him, her confusion multiplying by the second. The stranger went to stand next to her, taking the chains in his hand and giving a sigh. "Fine. As you wish. There are, of course, conditions. She must follow you and no matter what you see or hear, you must not look back. Do you understand?"

Sesshomaru nodded and instantly the chains fell from Kagome's wrists. Before she could say or do another thing he reached down, lifting her and dragging her away from the unknown male. Kagome's face flushed deeply as Sesshomaru held her hand firmly, as if he knew she would get lost without a physical guide. His hand was warm and slightly calloused but gentle enough that she did not feel like he was forcing her to comply.

Both remained silent, unsure what to say. Their minds were on what the stranger had said. He acted as if Kagome and Sesshomaru had known each other before. As if they had forgotten something important.

He was finding it difficult to keep looking forward. Normally he had no problems with such a task, looking back was not his style, but this once his mind was preoccupied. He wondered why he would have a place among the gods. He wondered what made this female so valuable that he abandoned such a lucrative offer for her sake? Perhaps he was losing his mind.

Suddenly, she screamed and he spun around to see her, looking unharmed but with a shocked expression on her face. There, before him, she faded into nothing. The emptiness surrounded him and he heard the stranger's voice float to him in the void. "Such a pity. You never did listen well."

When Kagome came to she was standing in the abandoned well, back in her own time. Her brow furrowed as she thought over everything that had happened. Why had Sesshomaru come for her? Why would he give up the chance for absolute power just to save her? Why did he turn around, knowing he shouldn't?

Years went by. Kagome resolved herself to stay home, the well never worked again anyway. She took over the shrine for her aging mother, watched her younger brother marry and have a child, and buried her grandfather. Time was going quickly, so many things were happening that she was having a hard time remembering her time with InuYasha and her friends.

When she was sentimental, her thoughts lingered on Sesshomaru and that ever nagging question of why he had come to rescue her. She never could figure it out. Sometimes, she wished she could see him again, just to ask.

As she went about her daily chores, she passed a tiny baby bird. It had fallen from its nest up in the god tree. With a sigh, Kagome picked up the bird and tucked it in her pocket before looking at the tree. After a few moments of consideration, she found a route up and began to climb. Hopefully, no visitors would come that day.

She found success as she deposited the bird back in its nest, shaken but generally unharmed. As she turned to try to climb down she lost her footing and slipped with a screech. Kagome closed her eyes tightly, waiting for the painful landing she knew would come.

It never did.

Instead, she landed on someone who took the brunt of the fall for her.

"Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to..." Her words trailed off as she moved from atop him and their eyes met for the first time, a delicate blush coming to her cheeks.

They simply stared at each other for some time. Normally, he would have scolded her for such inattention and clumsiness. Normally, she would have apologized more. Of course, normally they would have never met. Neither was ignorant to who the other was.

He was Sesshomaru, once a regal youkai lord.

She was Kagome, once priestess of the Shikon jewel.

There would never be any logical reason for them to meet again, let alone fall in love.

Yet when she looked at him and he at her, that is exactly what they did.

Kagome's face flushed deeply and she let out a nervous laugh, reaching up to tuck a strand of her hair behind an ear. "Hello, Sesshomaru."

"Hello, Kagome."

Years went by. They stayed with each other, never fully understanding the strong pull they had with one another but neither willing to fight it anymore. They only knew that being together they felt content, at peace, and for once in their lives – happy.

She passed on before him. He would raise their children and care for her family shrine. On his death bed, when one of his grandchildren asked what he would miss most in life he simply replied that what he missed most was waiting for him. He instinctively knew that he was the one always chasing her. Always waiting for her to fall on him, to call him to her.

As he stepped through the mortal veil, returning to his home for the first time since he last left, the god was greeted by a young goddess, a light smile on her face as she bowed lightly.

"Welcome home, my love."

He went to her, pulling her close and giving her a gentle kiss.

"So you return, my son!" The booming voice of the war god came from behind them and the young god and goddess turned to greet him. "It is good to have you back! There is much to discuss!"

The goddess held onto her lover's sleeve, a pleading look on her face. He turned to her, raising an eyebrow. "What is it?"

A crooked smile came to her face. "Being mortal is exciting and adventurous. I wish to return."

They stared at each other for some time before the war god spoke. "Surely you must not be serious! My son returns to me and you wish to leave, taking him with you once more? You may go but he will stay!"

The young god shook his head, turning to his father with a sigh. "I cannot stay if she returns, father."

"I cannot let that happen!" His father screamed, anger and hurt evident in his voice.

"You won't convince him. I already attempted many years ago. Your son is as stubborn as can be." The dark stranger, one he now recognized as his good friend of many years and a god of death, spoke from behind them.

The goddess spoke, a hint of sorrow in her voice. "You do not have to go with me. I will not require you to. Only know that I will go." She turned away, head lowering as she waited for his response.

The young god shook his head and looked to his father. "Please understand. I love this woman. I will return to chase after her, answer her calls, and catch her when she falls. No matter how many times it must take to make her happy."

The war god frowned and gave a heavy sigh. "Very well, you are determined. Before you go, there is someone you should meet. Someone you abandoned when you went after her the first time." He gestured behind him for someone to step up and a young boy came forward, giving a bow before the two. "I believe you knew him in one of your mortal lives. He was stubborn and once he found out that you both were in the mortal realm he chased after you."

The goddess stepped forward, bringing her hands up to cup the boy's face and looking down into wide, innocent eyes. "You were... Shippo?"

"Yes, mother. I sought you out and found you quickly. I only wish you had stayed with me the whole time."

They embraced for some time before the war god spoke again. "Does your son change your opinion? Will you remain where you belong?"

The goddess shook her head, placing a small kiss on her son's forehead. "I will go. Forgive me, my son."

At that, the boy shook his head. "I will go with you."

With those words, the war god knew his plans failed. His son would leave him again and be born to a mortal who he would call father. He would suffer and die once more. Such pain for the sake of a woman. "I cannot convince you. I see that now. I will watch over you."

"Thank you, father." The young god said before turning to his lover and their child. "Are you ready?"

The goddess smiled, a vibrant smile full of the possibilities that lie ahead. "Always."

He took her hand and followed her through the mortal veil again, returning to be born once more. As he did so, he knew that he would never regret it. She would call him. He would find her. They would love again.