Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or the characters.

Author's Note : I found this recently. I had written it for another website ages ago and figured I might as well post it here.

I watched as she fell in love with Inuyasha. I watched as she got her heart trod upon and shatter, over and over. I watched as she swept up the pieces and hid them from harm ever coming to the pieces again. I was there to watch as her smile that was open, innocent, and bright began to descend into desolation and depression.

Maybe he did it to protect her. Kagome was, and still is I guess, the heart of our group. Every one of us would die for her. Too bad Inuyasha wouldn't live for her. Oh, he's alive. But, not for her. No, Inuyasha lives because he is too stubborn to die. When Kikyo breathed her last, again, she did it too far away for Inuyasha to follow. So, instead of following her to hell as promised, he lived. He led. He conquered.

Naraku fell three months after the sliver of soul Kikyo possessed returned to Kagome. Inuyasha was relentless in tracking him down. He wouldn't allow for Kagome's return home, he wouldn't allow lunch breaks or sleeping past sunrise. But he found him.

Sesshomaru had been traveling in a path parallel to ours. Kouga traveled a mile behind us as Inuyasha would not bend enough to allow the wolf prince to travel with our group. Six months before then, perhaps Kagome would have sat sense into Inuyasha, but by then she was already living as a shell of herself and didn't even attempt to persuade Inuyasha. Kagome was most like Kikyo as I'd ever seen her those last few months of hunting Naraku.

Kagome had left Shippo with Jaken and Rin at Kaede's village. He was a child she said. He needed to be safe. Rin needed to be safe. Sesshomaru had nodded and told Jaken and Ah-Un to remain behind and guard the children from harm. Jaken squawked and let out a protest. Kagome's glare was oddly reminiscent of Sesshomaru's and for once the smelly guy listened to her. Sesshomaru only raised an eyebrow at Kagome's presumption to order his vassal around. It was amusing.

That was two months before Naraku fell. Kagome hadn't seen her family in a month and a half at that point and you could see mourning in her eyes as she gazed back in its direction as we departed without her hopping down into its depths.

Sango informed me that Kagome rarely spoke in their baths as she used to. Only time my dearest Sango ever mentioned a bath without abuse.

"Kagome-sama!" Rin squealed as she darted out of the forest and into the Miko's arms. I watched with a small smile as they reunited. Kagome always had a smile for the children. A real smile. I turned towards the figure gliding out of the coverage the trees created.

"Sesshomaru-sama." I bowed to him. He glanced my way and a small nod was my acknowledgement.

He stopped several paces from Kagome and waited for her to acknowledge him. She glanced up and I saw a true smile. And suddenly, pieces starting falling together.

Before I could finish assembling them, Kagome spoke up and interrupted my thoughts.

"Hello, Sesshomaru-sama." She bowed to him and stood after he acknowledged her with a nod. She turned to Rin, "Sango and I were just going for a bath, would you like to join us?"

Rin looked to Sesshomaru for permission. He gave his permission by simply not acknowledging Kagome's question. He flipped his hair back with his left, regrown, hand. Then he turned his head and watched Jaken come out of the forest with Ah-Un following, heads held as high as possible without lifting him off the ground. They seemed to be having fun. Jaken didn't.

"Ah-Un. Jaken." Kagome greeted, she gave me a stern glance (hey! I'm innocent here!) and turned with Rin in hand towards the hot spring.

Sesshomaru raised his eyebrow at me in question. I simply shrugged and turned towards our makeshift camp. I really was innocent.

"This will be Sango's and my last trip for awhile." I told him.

"Hn." Was his response. That he acknowledge my comment verbally was permission to continue. I waited for him to get comfortable as he settled at the base of the tree we'd set our camp near. He took his swords off and laid the hilts on his right leg as he bent his left knee towards the sky and rested his left arm on his knee. He looked at me.

"She'll be too far along to keep traveling by the time we return. We'll stay until she births the child, perhaps within a year we can travel, but not without companions."

He nodded. His gaze traveled up and he simply looked at the darkening sky. Night would fall soon and the rest of our companions would join us. Inuyasha would be surprised; his brother wasn't due for another two weeks. Then again, he may already know he's here.

I poked the fire. Then I sighed and looked back up to Sesshomaru.

"Rin-chan is welcome to stay with us at the village." I glanced away and shifted.

"No." Sesshomaru shifted his gaze back down and to me. I felt his eyes rather than saw them. I looked up to let my eyes meet his.

"She would have female companionship. You, of course, would be welcome to visit anytime you pleased, or even stay." If I could get Rin, perhaps Sesshomaru would be there more often. Kagome would smile more.

"Rin will continue to travel with this Sesshomaru." He tapped his fingers on his knee and then shifted his gaze towards where the girls were bathing, "She will continue to visit the miko once a month and any time our courses intersect. With the miko be staying with you in the rebuilt village?"

Wow, long speech for him.

"Perhaps." I sat up straighter and stopped playing with the stick, "She will be staying until the child is born, probably after for a few weeks as well. After that, she has not promised anything. She must gather the rest of the shards, and she wishes to find more people for our village. She will not wait forever."

Sesshomaru blinked.

It's been almost a year since Kikyo's death. Kagome hasn't gone home for a year. The well was destroyed in the final battle. That's where we caught up to Naraku, actually. He'd seen her disappear down it through that wretched mirror the pale child carried. He wished to inspect it and steal its power for himself. We stumbled right over him. Three month's we'd been traipsing all over Japan with hardly a rest and there he was. Less than a mile from the village we considered our home base.

Sesshomaru had flashed to Kagome's side and Kouga had barreled out of the woods to her other side. Inuyasha stood in front of her, shielding her from Naraku's sight. Inuyasha protected her fiercely when it came to her body and health. Too bad he couldn't apply the same protectiveness to her heart. Sango watched Naraku rip the shard from her brother's back. The cry that ripped out of her throat had been heartbreaking.

There had been casualties on both sides by the time the battle was over. In a surprising act of compassion, Sesshomaru revived the dead on our side. Kouga , Ginta, Hakaku, and myself. I was the first to die. How lame is that? I'd been expecting to die from my wind tunnel, but I didn't. Probably a good thing, though. No, what killed me was a tentacle from Naraku. I'd pushed Kagome out the way; she had been kneeling over Kohaku's body, protecting it for Sango. I don't know exactly what happened after that, but from what they said, and didn't say, Sesshomaru and Kagome killed him while Inuyasha distracted him.

Sango apparently had been distraught and fell out of the battle after my death. I remembered her catching me as I feel off that slithering tentacle, but nothing after that.

I also don't believe Inuyasha meant to be a distraction. I do know that Kagome and Sesshomaru combined their powers, almost purifying Sesshomaru in the process I think, to destroy the evil bastard. Inuyasha destroyed the well with his distraction though. He'd sent his biggest blast at Naraku. Naraku had been standing in front of the well, but when he'd dodged (right into Kagome and Sesshomaru's attack) the blast had obliterated the well.

The rest of our slightly enlarged group showed up and interrupted my little reverie.

"What are you doing here?" Inuyasha didn't quite snarl at Sesshomaru as he dropped his kill next to me.

"This Sesshomaru does not answer to the likes of you, hanyou."

"Keh."

Kohaku smiled shyly at Sesshomaru and sat next to me preparing the deer for skinning. I looked up at the two men with them. Two brothers we'd picked up on the journey back to Sango's home village. She was rebuilding it, but she would need to repopulate it. These were our first new members.

I, of course, would attempt to build up the population with our offspring. My wife doesn't see eye to eye with me on that.

"Hello." Said the older brother, Akito.

"You will not address Sesshomaru-sama without his permission!" Jaken squawked as he scurried between Akito and Sesshomaru. I'd almost forgotten about him.

Akito raised his eyebrows at Jaken. His brother, Kaito, squinted at the green youkai.

"Jaken." Sesshomaru said. I'm not sure if it was an admonishment or not.

Jaken looked at the brothers, harrumphed, and stalked back towards his position against Ah-Un.

Sesshomaru looked at the brothers and nodded. Then he looked back up towards the sky and ignored the whole lot of us.

Inuyasha flopped down on the ground across from me, but I watched his ear swivel towards where the women and children had gone. They must be on their way back. I'd have to say that was the shortest bath on record.

Sure enough, Shippo and Rin came bounding into view, just as the sun fell under the horizon. Kagome and Sango appeared and I watched as Kagome sent a shy smile to Sesshomaru and blushed when he returned her nod with a soft look. Then she turned to whisper something to Sango before shutting down again. I could kill Inuyasha.

"Sesshomaru-sama! Look what Kagome-sama gave Rin!" Rin trilled to the daiyoukai. Rin thrust her wrist forward. On it was a bracelet made of thread, beads, and I'm pretty sure hair. Black hair and silver hair. Could it be that she'd used Sesshomaru's? I couldn't see Kagome giving Rin a bracelet that contained Inuyasha's hair.

"It has a protection spell on it. I used the hair you gifted me to alert you if she's in danger when you're away from her." Kagome explained to Sesshomaru's furrowed brow. She understands his wordless talking as well as Rin does.

"Kagome-sama also put her hair in it!" Rin exclaimed exuberantly and rushed to give Kagome's thigh a hug, "She said she would always know where Rin is! And if Rin is in trouble, the bracelet would tell her!"

"Thank the miko for your gift, Rin. It is powerful and should not be accepted lightly or without appreciation."

"Oh, Rin did!" Shippo piped up. Then he hopped over to Sesshomaru to show him his bracelet. It was almost identical to Rin's. I'd seen him wearing it for a few days, and knew Kagome gave it to him. There was power, but I thought it was just a protection bracelet.

"Kagome made this for me!" He shoved his hand close to Sesshomaru's face as well, "She said that if she could not come to my aid, you would be able to sense my need."

I watched Inuyasha grind his teeth. It must hurt, knowing that your protection had been usurped by your older brother. Not that he necessarily didn't deserved it. He played lose and cruel with Kagome's heart, but like I said, she was always well protected otherwise. Including the kitsune.

"It also has Inuyasha's hair." Kagome spoke up.

Inuyasha relaxed.

"Your control his improving, miko." Sesshomaru commented. I watched Kagome's eyes light up for a second before they dulled again. Damn.

Sango strode around Kagome and settled at my side, where she belonged. I took her hand in my left and pressed my right at her slightly protruding belly. My child rested in there. What a wonderful thought.

She smiled at me, squeezed my hand, and then peered around me to look at Kohaku.

"Hello, brother." She looked at the meat he'd cut off the deer to cook. "Dinner?"

"Yes." Kohaku looked up from his preparations and smiled slightly at her, "Akito caught a few rabbits and Kaito some fish. We should be good on meat for the remainder of the trip."

Kohaku didn't catch anything. He couldn't stand killing anymore, not after what Naraku made him do. He could handle dealing with the animals after they were dead. He could skin them, prep them, cook them, and eat them, he just couldn't kill them.

The girls always set up camp and the men hunted with Kohaku gathering edibles from the vegetation. Actually, Kagome set up camp while Sango protested and tried to help as our miko brushed her off and forced her to relax. I set up protections while she did that. Shippo 'helped' whoever he'd picked as his victim of the day.

Kaito and Akito folded to the ground on Kohaku's other side and Kagome took a seat near Sesshomaru. Sango and I watched as both children climbed into her lap and she told them a story from her time. Kohaku finished dinner, as it was his night, and we ate. Sesshomaru turned his nose up at the offer, as did Jaken. Rin tore at her food. The meal was consumed in silence.

"Will you travel with us the remainder, Sesshomaru-sama?" Kagome asked politely once she returned from washing the dinner utensils with Akito.

Sesshomaru glanced at her and then at Rin, sleeping cuddled with Shippo on Kagome's sleeping mat. He nodded his assent and went back to gazing at the stars. Kagome watched him for a second and took the meat Kaito, Inuyasha, and I had been prepared as travel rations to store them for travel in the morning.

Kohaku let out a soft snore from where he was curled asleep near Sango. That seemed to be the signal for the rest of us to bed down and sleep for the night. Inuyasha sent a glare to Sesshomaru before hopping into the tree the daiyoukai was resting against. Akito yawned and crawled into his makeshift bed situated next to Kaito's. Kaito set another log on the fire and turned to join the rest in sleep. I rose to join my wife.

I watched as Kagome scratched Un's forehead and then kissed Ah on the muzzle. Un narrowed his eyes and shoved his face into Kagome's so he could receive his as well. She giggled. Yes, giggled! Then she kissed his muzzle as well.

She turned and smiled a small smile to Sesshomaru and approached the children. She gently scooted them to the side so she could have room and then shimmied in next to them. She sighed, glanced at Sesshomaru, and closed her eyes for the night.

Sesshomaru watched her. He nodded and then I saw his lips curve up. I think I did anyway. The gentle smile was gone before I could blink. When he shifted towards Kagome and settled down to watch her for the night, I knew his smile hadn't been my imagination.

I'd watched her blossom into a powerful miko. I'd watched her fall in love. I'd watched her have her heart shattered, lose her only way home, and I'd watched her shining soul dim to a shadow of her true self. Now, I think I will watch as she gives her heart to the older brother of her first love. I will watch as Sesshomaru puts her heart back together and brings out the Kagome that the world yearns to have back.

Author's Note : Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!

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