Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.


Five hundred years later . . .

Kagome hesitated on the first step, her eyes following each one up to the top. "I don't know if I can do this."

"You've waited for this moment for centuries, and you wish to give up now?"

Feeling like a schoolgirl once again, Kagome fidgeted under her mate's gaze. "No . . . But now that I'm here, I'm not sure what to say. What if they don't recognize me?"


"Or they don't want to see me."


"Or they-"

"You will cease your irrational fears."

His comment brought a small smirk to her lips. "Is that an order?"

He returned her smirk. "If it must be."

Kagome looked back at the steps, her eyes fixated on the archway at the top. "Stay with me?" she pleaded.


"All right," she consented, placing one foot in front of the other and slowly moving upwards.

He still disliked displaying affection publicly, but she really needed something right now. Biting her lip, she glanced discretely at Sesshoumaru's swinging hand out of the corner of her eye. He would probably allow it. Maybe. Most likely. She heaved a breath and shook her head. I must be nervous; I would normally never think twice about this! Kagome was snapped out of her reprieve by a warm hand in hers. She looked down to realize that he had anticipated her need.

"You're thinking too much."

"I know," she sighed. "I can't help it."


Kagome rolled her eyes briefly. "I can't," she asserted.

Sesshoumaru wisely remained silent.

The sky was painted blue and punctuated by large, puffy clouds. If Kagome had not been so nervous, the bright weather would have cheered her. Although the weather was a sign of the passage of time, something Kagome had learned happened both quickly and slowly in turns, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, the change in seasons was still one of her favorite things to watch. No season was ever like the one the previous year, and yet, the seasons had been one of her only constants in the past five hundred years. Seasons always came; they did not die or disappear like so many other things in her life.

The fall wind blew in gusts around them, lifting and tangling Kagome's black hair. Sesshoumaru's hair, shorter and tied at the nape of his neck, but still silver, was saved from the wind's attack. Slowly but surely, the shrine grounds came into view, and Kagome was given her first glimpse of her home. Her hand tightened reflexively around Sesshoumaru's, and he waited as she took it all in before following her lead towards the house.

Kagome gently knocked on her childhood home's door, wringing her hands together as she waited for a response.

A woman Kagome hadn't seen in five centuries opened the door. She looked surprisingly unchanged, Kagome thought, for all the change she herself had gone through. She took in her mother with older, wiser eyes. There were deep laugh lines around her eyes and mouth, her hair was black with a few stray strands of grey, her frame was thin and frail.

She didn't remember her mother seeming frail. Probably thirty years left, her mind supplied. Kagome shoved the thought back; it was a reaction formed by centuries of watching humans live and die while she lived on. But she never wanted to think of her mother in that way. The thought brought tears to her eyes.

"M-Mama?" her voice shook with emotion.

Kagome watched her mother's eyes widen. "Kagome?"

"Mama," was all Kagome could get out before bringing her mother into a tight hug, tears flowing down her cheeks.

"Oh, Kagome, we've been so worried! It's been nearly six months, and . . ." she trailed off as Kagome's sobs grew. Confused, she held her daughter tightly for a moment before slowly moving back to look into her eyes. They studied each other, and Kagome's eyes belayed the age and experience her appearance did not while she drank in the sight of her mother like water in the desert.

"But it's been longer for you," her mother said uncertainly, looking between Kagome and the man with her, "hasn't it?"

"Yes, Mama," Kagome wiped the falling tears from her cheeks and felt Sesshoumaru's concerned hand on her lower back. "Much, much longer."

The End.


A/N: I want to express my gratitude to those of you who have favorited or alerted this story; I'm so glad you enjoyed it. A special thanks to each and every one of you who reviewed with encouragement, questions, critique, and comments, whether I was able to respond to you or not.

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