Life doesn't believe in letting me write, apparently. I really wanted to have this chapter finished up and posted...well, weeks ago...we see how well that went don't we? Anyway, it looks like the sudden burst of crazy that's infiltrated my very carefully crafted shield of self-delusion, not even the potent cover-your-ears-close-your-eyes-and-chant-LA-LA-LA technique could keep life from bullying its way in, and I won't be very active for a while :( I'm hoping that things will settle down in the next few days (did I mention I'm good a self-delusion?) and I'll be back to being able to write a little more constantly. Though my next update will probably be for Behind Ourself Concealed, as I've been in a mood that works for writing for that bad boy...
In any case, here it is! Baby!Jaganshi finally - FINALLY - has a name! It only took what? Seven chapters?
All my love and devotion to Dueling Fire Demon, sKyLaR KnIgHt, Just 2 Dream of You, heartluv, and of course lovely ReaperDemon for being so wonderful and kind as to review.
Readers are loved dearly, reviewers are worshiped and concrit is - as always - my very lifeblood :)
I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho or any of its characters, most unfortunately.
Shodo - Japanese Calligraphy, in this case the items used for it
Sumi - A chunk of black material that is rubbed into water to make in, made in the Suzuri (ink well).
Fude - The Brush used for writing in Shodo, there is usually a large one for writing and a smaller one usually used for the artist's signature.
Imiko - Cursed Child, the title given to Hiei after his birth by his mother's people.
Koishii - beloved/dear/darling
Notes: Oshichiya Meimeichiki ("Seventh Night" though I'm not completely certain on that translation) is the name of the baby naming ceremony in Japan. The ceremony happens (traditionally) seven days after the baby is born and is performed usually by the father who writes the baby's name in calligraphy on a Meimeisho (name certificate) along with the time and date of the baby's birth. I actually found a pretty awesome old film on line that shows a naming ceremony (and I do mean old, it's an old silent film which just make's my film geek go crazy with happiness haha) and would be happy to PM it to anyone curious to see. The full ceremony involves the mother and grandmother taking the baby to a local shrine to have the priest right the name down in the shrine register and to bless the baby and mother. From what I could find it is also common for the naming ceremony to be something like a baby shower as well, were friends and family present gifts and a big celebratory meal is eaten.
I didn't list the baby's name in my translation list for two reasons, the first (and most obvious being) I don't want to ruin the surprise :) The second of course is that the translation is actually given in the chapter and is, in fact, a part of the story.
So I'll smile
I know I'll feel this loneliness no more
All of my days
For I look around me
And it seems you found me
And it's coming into sight
- "All My Days" by Alexi Murdoch
The soft, unintelligible noises of her daughter and the deep timber of her Mate's voice rumbling at her side winding together in the lull of the early morning was a sound she was happy to wake to every morning for the rest of her life.
The sunlight was warm as it danced in lazy swirls against her exposed skin, despite the chill of the winter world outside the Shrine's protective walls, and it played gently against the silhouettes of the two she loved most in the world like a happy child in a summer's field. A languid, satisfied smile pulled at her lips as she watched her lover gently toy with the wispy black strands of their daughter's hair while their child babbled nonsense to him in the cradle of space between her parent's bodies. Her demonic blood gifted their daughter with more motor control than any other infant her age, but just barely. She was capable of shaking her tiny fists up at her parents, of kicking her little feet in excitement or annoyance, and even upon occasion squirming about the bed when it pleased her to do so. Impressive for a child a week old.
Exactly a week old.
Her stomach fluttered excitedly at the thought, at the meaning of the morning she had awoken to. Her mate's eyes gleamed down at her at the swirl of emotion stretching across their link from her to him, his gaze danced over her sleepy form with the air of someone happy with what they saw. The sunlight, as giddy as she felt she suspected by the way it seemed to dance to easily around the room, slipped into the prism of his gaze and fanned the glowing embers of his scarlet eyes into a roaring flame of too intense reds and soft yellows and heated oranges. The sense of being cradled herself in the open warmth of such an open look overwhelmed her and made her feel weightless and detached from the world. Her hair was loose and wild around her, spilling over the fabric of her pillow and onto the mattress carelessly and with quiet fascination she watched as he carefully detangled one hand from their daughter's fascinated hands to slide his fingers through her long blue tresses.
"Morning." His voice was the warm rumble of waves crashing onto the shore and infinitely more powerful, it rolled over her and sent her head reeling with a dizzy sort of contentment. Her lips pulled and stretched into a lazy smile, her hand slipping out from beneath the cool down of her pillow and catching his hand with hers, twisting and twining their fingers together into a familiar pattern. "It was my intention to let you sleep. It is going to be a long night; the Oaf has already come by with his sister to help." A frown pulled at his lips, causing her own to curl in amusement at her mate's usual response to the red headed psychic. She moved to trap his much larger, battle worn hand between her own smaller ones, fingers tracing the subtle lines and angles with a fascination that had not diminished since they had become Mated. His expression turned from sharp annoyance to quiet wonder, clawed eyes transfixed as he watched her careful movements. Her gentle touches and lingering attention had not been anything knew, but the ease and openness she had begun to show with such acts of affection had grown over the past weeks, seeming to surprise him with such small shows of her love. She had silently vowed to change that unfamiliarity to herself when she had first noticed it, he was the more possessive of the two of them – a lifetime of losing the things he held dear making his hold on what he had left tight and unyielding – but she had made just as much of a claim upon him as he had her. He would not be a stranger to affection so long as he was hers, of that she was certain.
"You need sleep too," She tugged his hand to her lips, pressing them against his warm calloused palm and smiling against his skin. With a small sigh she let his hand go and slowly lifted herself up onto her elbows, eyes dancing over his seated form warmly – taking particular care to the subtle smudges of darkness beneath his eyes. Neither of them had had a full night's sleep since their daughter's birth and she knew that there were circles beneath her own eyes as well, she hoped that their active child would be quick to finding a sleep schedule – she doubted either of them would be able to handle such impossible for much longer. "How long have you been up?" Her eyes danced to the window, dawn had come and gone but it was still early in the day. She was almost surprised that Kuwabara would have made the trek to the faraway Shrine so early, but then considered the fact that it would most likely would have been Shizuru who had dragged her younger brother out with her, rather than the boy actually managing to get out of bed on his own so early.
His shoulders raises in a small shrug and moved to brush some of her long, bed-frizzed hair from out of her face, fingers taking extra care as they curled down the apple of her cheek. "A while." She could hear the unspoken truth in his voice, that their child had awoken and – wanting to let her rest – had tended to their little bundle of screeching joy on his own. A flutter of warmth filled her chest, bringing her to sit up fully so she sat eye to eye with him. Between them their daughter kicked, a small gurgling growl annoyance with the lack of attention they were paying her. Her eyes were brought down to the little bundle resting between them, smile curling with amusement as she reached out to brush a gentle fingertip over the impossibly soft skin of their child's cheek. Their daughter turned wide, red eyes to her mother in the far unfocused way of the very young and snatched at the finger with tiny clawed hands excitedly. She was beautiful, their little daughter, the loveliest child she had ever seen – despite her propensity to wail and scream when she felt she was not the center of the room's attention. She had been overjoyed when her daughter's gaze had turned to the sharp beautiful red of her mate's. "Yukina made us breakfast."
She caught his dark head tilting towards the desk upon the far wall beside the shoji door, two plates resting their patiently beneath covers to keep the meal warm. Twin cups sat nearby, steaming slightly with tea. She wondered when he had gone to retrieve them, or if Yukina had slipped by and brought them herself. She nodded in response as her daughter tugged her captured finger to a tiny mouth and began sucking hungrily upon her knuckle. "It seems someone else is looking for breakfast as well." She retrieved her hand from her daughter's insistent hold and moved to tug the loose nursing shirt she had worn to bed down before carefully scooping her hungry child up. Her mate reached out to brush gentle fingers over the downy head of their daughter; his eyes sharp as he watched her carefully arrange their child in her arms. His hand moved to brush soothingly over her arm as she winced at her child's brutal attack, and she was thankful – not for the first time – that her daughter had yet to show signs of growing her father's sharp fangs.
He moved to sit by her, angling himself so that her back could rest against his chest as their hungry daughter had her fill. His arms moved to wrap around her, one curling supportively beneath where she held their daughter as he moved his other hand gently to rest atop their daughter's wispy dark hair, his head moved to settle upon her shoulder, his cheek brushing against her cheek. She relaxed in his hold, eyes dropping closed as her daughter eased up on her fevered assault and the warmth of her Mate seeped into her. A low, comforting growl rumbled through his chest and into her, absently she began humming in response to his wordless lullaby, some old song she could almost remember from a life she almost was able to forget from time to time. His head tilted, his mouth grazing over the curve of her cheek and down the slope of her chin with a lazy sort of enjoyment, hand moving to brush lazy circles over the skin of her arms. "It's been seven days." A swirl of giddy warmth slipped through her veins at his words and actions, the excitement she could feel thrumming through him slipped over through their shared marks and feeding her own eagerness. Her smile widened and her eyes danced at the thought before jumping down to their tiny daughter who squirmed lightly in response.
She turned her head to press her lips against his happily, the giddiness singing through her veins like a drug. His eyes were bright when she pulled away to look at him, his mouth pulling at the edges in a small smile that meant so much coming from him. "Have you told anyone yet?" She brushed her cheek against his, her daughter squirming in her arms and pressing tiny hands against the swell of her swollen breasts as she adjusted her tiny body. "What we've chosen for her?" She turned her head to look down at her daughter, the infant's eyes closed in concentration as one tiny hand fisted in strands of sky blue.
Hiei's voice rumbled through her as he spoke, his hand at her waist stroking absent circles as he followed her gaze down to their daughter. "No." Their daughter finished, yawning loudly as her large eyes blinked up at her parents, and gave a small tug at her mother's hair. Her mate's smile warmed even further as he reached down to brush a clawed finger over her tiny hand. "Kurama seemed particularly incensed, nosy fox." He untangled himself from her, allowing for her too clean herself and their daughter up from the morning's meal as he wandered over to the short desk where their food lay. With movements that were becoming more familiar as time wore on, she pulled her shirt back up and – snatching a small towel from the bedside table – settled her daughter upon her shoulder gently.
With a swirl of excitement, she saw him collect the items needed for Shoda and a scroll of fine parchment she knew Kurama had collected from Makai special for the very occasion they were preparing for. Patting her daughter's back gently she shifted on the bed, preparing to stand to join him on the place he was readying upon the floor. Her daughter made a soft noise of wonder, sensing the excitement in her parents once again, and squirmed in her mother's hold. Their daughter was an energetic creature, much more than what she had even expected when she had been pregnant, and her natural curiosity with the world around her was nearly on par with the red headed fox.
Shifting their daughter so that she was cradled in the crook of her arm she slowly shifted herself down beside her mate, watching his slow precise movements with a fascinated gaze. The precise control of his every motion had long been a source of amazement and awe for her, the way that every action he took seemed ethereal and effortless. When the team had still been together, officially bound to one another for the bidding of Reikai, she had taken pleasure in observing his training. There was something about the intensity he showed, the focus and dedication, that made her feel as if she was watching some ancient Kami at work. Seeing him in that moment, with his focus not on his sword or an enemy, but upon the naming of his child, made a flush of joy seep through her frame. Watching as he carefully rubbed the Sumi into the water, she settled her head upon his shoulder, her long blue locks of hair spilling over his shoulder. A content silence settled between them for a long moment, broken only by the soft murmurs of their daughter and the sound of the water being carefully mixed into ink.
"Did you ever think we would be here?" She hadn't realized she had spoken until his paused in his work, red eyes flicking to her in silent question. She brushed her thumb over the soft skin of her daughter's hand and considered her own question, eyes settled upon her Mate's strong hands as he returned to his task. "All those years ago…when this, when we, started…did you ever think it would turn out like this?" Her hand moved to brush the mark upon her neck, fingers tracing the scar with a deep sense of reverence for what it represented. "Us mated? With a daughter?" She watched as he set the Sumi to the side with a definitive air, head turning to look at her carefully. She offered him a smile, though she knew the curiosity was shining clearly in her eyes for him to see. She had never imaged it, not then. Not even until the morning, she they had become Mate's not a scarce two months previous, sometimes she still wondered – though her Mate was rather adept in chasing those rogue thoughts from her mind.
"Honestly? No." He reached out and gently pushed some of her messy strands of hair behind her ear. "We were strangers then, and…we were rather good and not getting along. Still are, I suppose." She felt the smirk in the words even as his lips moved to rest upon her forehead. "But I am glad that it turned out as it has. Not having you, both of you…" The arm that had slunk around her pulled her close to his side, protective and possessive. He didn't finish his sentence, and didn't have to. After so long, after so many secrets shared and concealed in the hearts of the other, she knew what it was that he was not saying. She felt the very same way. "Sometimes I even forget that I am the Imiko, with you."
Her eyes burned and stung at the soft, painful cadence of his words. The reminder of the harsh life he had been born to, the pain of his childhood, the soul-deep knowledge of being rejected by those who were meant to protect and love him. She closed her eyes to the tears, fighting them for the moment though she desperately wanted to let them fall freely. Her Mate despised her tears, and this was meant to be a happy moment in their lives, for all three of them, she would not stain it so carelessly. She opened her eyes and met her Mate's gaze, offering a small, watery smile in response to his carefully guarded expression. "You are not an Imiko, koishii." Her words were strong and certain, always felt but never given the life of her breath before. She sat up, cradling her daughter with the utmost care against her chest as she lifted a hand to rest against the smooth plane of his cheek. The fire of his gaze was tempered by old wounds, injures driven into his very soul years before she had ever known him, with anxiety for the fate of their own complicated child. He had never spoken his worry on the matter, but she had always known, always felt it in her heart and in the strong tether of their linked souls. The concern that he would, unintentionally, pass on the title of the Forbidden Child to their fledgling daughter and sentence her to the same lonesome, painful existence he had been born to. Their union, like his contrasting parents before them, had been ushered into light despite the forcible ways of their differing worlds. Their daughter was an anomaly. Not human, not demon, not spirit, but – impossibly – all things at once. She could not lie and say that their child would never face hardship because of the choices of her parents, but she drew strength from knowing their daughter would never have to face the Three Realms alone. She was loved, and protected and always, always would be. "And neither is she. She had us, koishii, she will be loved. She is loved." She leaned forward and pressed her mouth to his, an affirmation for the both of them. When they finally broke for air she rested her forehead gently against his, sighing, breath mingling with his as their daughter shifted in wonder between them. "And so are you."
He lifted his hand to hers, thumb dragging over her knuckles as he squeezed her hand and pulled it away from his cheek. The shadows of his eyes, at least for the moment, had been driven back and allowed for the flames to roar on in their full brilliance. He leaned back, kissing her palm lightly, before bowing low over their unusually quiet daughter and pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead. The infant made a small, joyful babbling sound and reached out with tiny hands to slap happily against her father's face. He rose, an honest, open smile upon his face, and turned his attention to the parchment and ink waiting for him.
A small, warm smile touching her lips she watched as he slowly dipped the fine haired Fude into the fresh made ink, careful to remove the excess before turning to the awaiting paper. With the same precise strokes he used when practicing his sword, he methodically brought the brush down upon the large unraveled scroll and began writing. She watched, entranced, as her Mate – she would happily say lovingly, for she knew him well enough to see it – carved their daughter's name down upon the paper. In her arms, as if knowing what was taking place, her daughter squirmed in excitement, eyes large and bright and beautifully red as she stared out unfocused at the world around her. She smiled down at her child, mouth curling around the syllables of the name their daughter was being given with an ease that was almost surprising, her voice steady and certain as the name left her lips and filled the room.