Second Alliance is finished.
I just needed to take a moment. I am proud of all that I accomplished with that work, even if it is based on a universe not my own. I am also overwhelmingly gratified by the support and praise offered by the online community. You have made writing a joy. Thank you. To express how much that means to me, I am finishing up something that has been requested – an epilogue. I won’t guarantee that it will be published with any kind of regularity, as I am working on original ideas right now, but please know that the dedication of readers like you keeps me writing.
Epilogue: Choices Design Fate
“It’s sealed,” Kagome said quietly.
Sesshomaru pulled her back to lean against his chest, breathing in her scent. She smelled of sadness. The camphor stung his nose but the salt of her tears was light. She was not in danger of sobbing. More vibrant was the scent of freshly cut cherry wood and magnolia blossoms, barely open and heavy with dew. She sighed and allowed her weight to sag against him.
The breeze was slight and cool, the weather unseasonably warm. Spring would come early this year – so Bokuseno had told him. The sap was stirring, the world ready to breath deep and begin to repair the wound left by Ryukostokken. Nearly a month had passed since the battle, and Sesshomaru was tired of the endless meetings and ceremonies. They were worth his time, however. Each night since they had returned to the Western Palace, he excused himself when the sun set. Regardless of the state of the discussion or the importance of his guests, he returned to his private quarters before the last glow of orange had left the sky.
There Kagome was always waiting for him. The pups would be finishing supper, and implore him to eat with them. And she would smile and offer to fill his bowl. Or they would be preparing for bed, and Kagome would watch as he patted heads and left the mark of his youki upon them. Or, as the days grew a bit longer, she would be reading quietly, and set down her scroll or book when he came in, offering tea. And then, he took her to their rooms, and showed her how much he cared for her. Never had Sesshomaru felt so at peace.
Their mating, the official ceremony, was to take place on the next full moon. Sesshomaru knew she was missing her family, thinking of the human ceremony that would have been theirs if time was not an obstacle. He had nearly had to force her to come to the well, on the first new moon after the battle. She insisted that she wouldn’t try it, even if the magic was still active, but he wanted her to have the opportunity. He thought she should go see her family, even if the well would not accept him, and let them know that she was safe, and that he would protect her. Until they could be together again.
“That’s it then?” Inuyasha asked abruptly. He perched on the edge of the well, his dark hair falling over the ancient wood. His pose was not encumbered by the loss of a limb, which he refused to allow Kagome to heal. The hanyou bluffed that she would burn him, which was most likely untrue, but Sesshomaru was thankful for the reprieve. His miko had been pushing herself hard since the war to deal with injuries and youkai seeking assistance to conceive.
“Is that it? Idiot! Try to be a little more sensitive!” Kagome slapped at his half-brother’s arm, and the hanyou scowled.
“Ow, hey that hurts when I’m human!” He rubbed his arm, but his face softened. Sesshomaru had begun to notice that Inuyasha was far more open and emotional when his youki was suppressed. “Sorry, Kagome. Me and my big mouth. I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s okay,” she sighed. “I’ll just miss them. I should feel grateful.” She turned her head up to stare at him, and he was lost for a moment in the sparkle of stars in her blue eyes, “and I am, so much.” Her voice was soft and her scent full of the sweet smell of carnations and warm gardenias. She turned back to Inuyasha, “But knowing that I might live to see them again doesn’t make the distance any easier.”
“I miss ‘em too,” Inuyasha said gruffly. “’Specially your mom. And her cooking.”
“Inuyasha!” Kagome began to laugh, and Sesshomaru relaxed. She would be all right, and she would meet her family again, he swore that to himself.