InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Blackout ❯ Paradise (Epilogue) ( Chapter 48 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Disclaimer: I don’t own Inuyasha or any of the publicly known characters, plot, etc.  I’m just renting them from Rumiko Takahashi, Viz, etc.   I do own the plot of this story and any original characters I’ve created.  I will make no money from this fic; I write for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of my readers.  

Paradise (Epilogue)

Kagome was roused from slumber by her husband kissing the side of her neck and softly rubbing her shoulder.  It was his way of waking her gently, and it usually meant that their son was awake and ready to be fed.  Sure enough, Kagome could sense the small motions of the tiny body lying next to her on the bed.  By this point, the baby understood that he didn’t have to cry when he was hungry in the middle of the night; his father would sense his alertness if he moved around or fussed a little.  He made a contented cooing sound as she drew him close to her chest and pulled aside the fold of her sleeping yukata.  She sighed in bliss as he latched on, her breasts no longer sore as they had been for the first couple weeks.  It was times like these, feeding her baby in the peace of the night with her husband by her side, that she enjoyed motherhood the most.  

Little Shoichi was almost three months old now.  His name had not been chosen as a tribute to anyone in particular, but because it had been one of the few which both of his parents liked.  Written one way, it meant ‘soaring first son,’ which seemed appropriate for a variety of reasons.  In the physical sense, his youkai blood would one day allow him to ‘soar’ in the same way his father did.  Also, both Inuyasha and Kagome had faith that as long as they raised him right, he would grow to become a great man.  Who knew the heights he would reach?  

Kagome sensed him nodding off and gently shifted him to her other breast, encouraging him to finish feeding.  If she didn’t, she knew from experience that he would soon be awake and hungry again.  It was far better to have him fill his belly in one feeding, because then the chances were good that he would sleep until morning.  Shoichi only waking up once during the night was a recent development, and a most welcome one.  With cautious optimism, Kagome could imagine that the worst of the restless nights were behind her.  

It had taken her and Inuyasha some time, and quite a bit of arguing, but they had finally come to a consensus on a parenting strategy for the evenings.  Kagome would feed the baby when he was hungry, but Inuyasha would handle everything else.  Most of the time, the miko didn’t even need to open her eyes, which made it that much easier to fall back to sleep.  If the baby needed to be changed, Inuyasha would take care of it, at least while the sun was down.  During the day, that job fell on Kagome as long as she was nearby.  It was a fair compromise, and she couldn’t begin to guess how much extra sleep it had earned her.  One of the benefits of having a hanyou for a husband was that he could function on significantly less sleep than she could.  

Inuyasha’s lips on her neck roused her with a slight jolt, causing her to realize that she had been nodding off herself.  She shifted Shoichi again to encourage him to finish.  Then she turned her head to the side with a grin, a silent signal which her husband almost never missed.  His kiss was wonderfully tender, intended to help her relax rather than arouse her.  It was exactly what she wanted.  Shoichi released her breast, and Inuyasha pulled away from the kiss soon after.  Kagome didn’t even need to ask if Shoichi was wet; her husband getting out of bed provided the answer.  He walked around to her side of the bed and she leaned back to make it easier for him to scoop up the fidgeting infant.  

“Hey, little man,” Inuyasha greeted as he straightened his back, Shoichi held securely in his arms.  “You need to be changed again?  I thought I told you to quit going whenever you pleased.”  

The baby chirped happily in response to his father’s voice, bringing a smile to Kagome’s face.  Inuyasha didn’t do baby talk.  You would never hear him cooing to the infant or making nonsense words in a high-pitched voice.  But he loved talking to his son, especially when they were alone or it was just the three of them.  Inuyasha was still shy about outwardly showing affection in the presence of others, but when no one else was around, he would speak to Shoichi in this voice which Kagome had never heard him use with anyone else before.  It was so tender, and so revealing of how much he loved his son.  If she had any doubts, that voice would be all the evidence she would need to know that Inuyasha was going to be a great father.  

“All right, let’s get you changed,” he said as he strode over to the changing area in the corner.  “Just remember, no crapping until your mother wakes up tomorrow morning.”  

Kagome chuckled and shook her head.  Urine didn’t bother him so much, but Inuyasha had a particular aversion to soiled diapers, as anyone with an especially sensitive nose might.  He would often try to persuade the baby to only defecate when it was her turn on diaper duty.  Of course Shoichi didn’t care; he went whenever he felt like it.  But other than some half-hearted grumbling, Inuyasha never truly complained when it was time to roll up his sleeves.  His unending attentiveness and patience with Shoichi might have surprised someone who didn’t know him as well as Kagome did.  Even when being a parent became more frustrating than rewarding, such as those few bad nights when they had been unable to get the baby to settle down, Inuyasha had never been anything less than loving.  

Yawning, Kagome settled on her side and tried to go back to sleep.  Shoichi was in good hands.  If the baby seemed drowsy, Inuyasha would probably put him back in bed next to her.  If he was alert and wasn’t ready to fall asleep right away, then Inuyasha would stay up with him for a bit and eventually put him in the basket on the floor on the other side of the bed.  They had made the basket a very comfortable place for him to sleep, and though Shoichi seemed to prefer being in bed with them, he didn’t mind the basket too much.  But Kagome loved falling asleep next to the baby in the evening, and it was practical for breastfeeding.  The basket came about as a way to help her sleep better after his nightly feedings, and so far it was working like a charm.  Eventually Shoichi would learn his lesson—if you want to stay in bed with Okaa-san and Otou-san, then go right back to sleep after you finish eating.  

This was the first of many lessons which she and Inuyasha would attempt to teach their young son.  They were continuing to grow together as parents and learned something new almost every day.  It had not been, nor was it ever going to be, completely smooth sailing.  But Shoichi was a happy, healthy infant who spent most of his waking moments brightening the day of whoever he happened to be around.  She and Inuyasha were doing just fine so far, and she had no reason to believe that would ever change.  

* * *

“All done,” Inuyasha declared quietly, picking Shoichi up from the changing table.  “So what do you think?  Ready to go back to sleep next to Okaa-san?”  

Shoichi just stared at him with those big golden eyes of his.  They were a shade darker than his father’s, but it was obvious just from looking at them that they were closely related, despite the tuft of raven hair which he had inherited from his mother.  Then he started kicking his little feet, causing Inuyasha to chuckle a bit.  

“Wide awake, huh?  All right, settle down.  Otou-san knows what you want.”  

Shoichi loved to be outside at any time, but especially at night.  Inuyasha could understand why.  It was quiet; there was no one bothering him or vying for his attention.  It was just him and his father, sharing something which only they could enjoy.  To those with adequate senses, the night was full of sights, sounds and smells which one could never experience while the sun was up.  Shoichi loved staring up at the moon and the stars, his furry ears swiveling to and fro and his little nose twitching.  It was stimulating for the baby, but the tranquility and darkness also encouraged him to go back to sleep, which he usually did in relatively short order.  

Inuyasha leapt up to the roof of their home and sat cross-legged, settling Shoichi in his lap.  Then he simply watched his son, marveling at the little quarter-youkai’s innocent fascination with his surroundings.  A firefly fluttered into Shoichi’s line of sight, and the baby attempted to follow it with all of his senses, even making an uncoordinated grab for it with his hand.  Inuyasha used both of his own hands to catch the insect in a makeshift cage.  When it settled on his palm, he removed his top hand and held the other flat so Shoichi could see the tiny insect, its tail still flickering brightly.  A few seconds later the firefly took off again, and Shoichi watched it go, burbling happily.  Then an owl hooted in the distance, and his ears swiveled in that direction, the firefly completely forgotten.  

Inuyasha’s perennial smile faded a bit.  Part of him had been secretly hoping that Shoichi would be born with human ears, so that he could easily pass for human.  The inability to do so had caused Inuyasha much suffering during his younger days.  He had to forcibly remind himself that Shoichi’s circumstances were drastically different.  He actually had a father, a role model with youkai blood to guide him as he grew up.  And he would be raised in a village which more or less accepted his kind, rather than a hostile castle where the only refuge from ridicule and hatred was his mother.  Still, there would be times during Shoichi’s life when he would wish for the ability to blend into human society without a disguise.  

Then again, perhaps having inu-style ears would not prove much of a hindrance for him at all.  Perhaps he would take pride in being different and live his life accordingly.  Inuyasha had only recently begun attempting to live by the same creed.  After growing up the way he had, it was definitely a work in progress.  He had faith that his ‘soaring first son’ would do better than he ever could.  He often wondered what Shoichi would be like, both in personality and in physical makeup.  Some of those questions had already been answered—for example, it was clear that he would exhibit most of his father’s outwardly inhuman traits.  The only exception was his hair color.  And he definitely seemed to possess enhanced senses, though whether they would be as strong as his father’s remained to be seen.  

As did a lot of things.  As far as he and Kagome knew, Shoichi was the first quarter-youkai in history.  So much was unknown, a whole lifetime of mysteries which the young family would need to solve together.  How strong would Shoichi be?  How would the dilution of his grandfather’s youkai blood affect him?  Would said youkai blood need to be sealed, as his father’s was?  When the boy was older, Inuyasha would consult with Myouga and Totosai about sealing Shoichi’s blood, as his father had done for him.  If there was any doubt that the quarter-youkai would be able to maintain complete control when his life was in mortal danger, then they would fashion a sealing sword or some other object for him.  In this instance it was far better to be safe than sorry.  

As for whether Shoichi would experience the other state of transformation which afflicted his father, the answer was most definitely in the affirmative.  Inuyasha cringed at the memories.  To say that Shoichi hated becoming human would be an understatement.  Everything about his body felt wrong.  He couldn’t smell his parents anymore, and he could barely see or hear them.  His transformations always occurred at night, which meant a miserable evening for all three of them.  The only thing which would console him was Kagome’s breast, which he tended to latch onto more for reassurance than for nourishment.  If they kept a fire going for light, they could sometimes get him to fall into a fitful sleep in between them, and perhaps get a few hours of shuteye themselves.  But they would never plan on Shoichi’s human nights as being restful, at least until he was old enough to understand what was happening.  

Though frustrating, his times of weakness were also illuminating.  Unlike his father, Shoichi’s internal clock did not seem to be synchronized with the lunar cycle.  Rather than occurring every twenty-nine to thirty days on the new moon, his times of weakness seemed to take place every twenty-one or twenty-two days, regardless of the phase of the moon.  The likely reason for this made sense to Inuyasha.  He became human once a month because the strain produced by his youkai blood became too much for his half-human body to bear.  Shoichi had less youkai in him, but his body was also three-quarters human, meaning that his youkai blood overstressed his body in a shorter period of time.  Obviously, the youkai blood was dominant over the human—Inuyasha’s own experienced told him as much.  Because his father was an insanely powerful daiyoukai, he himself was stronger than most full-youkai, despite being a ‘mere’ hanyou.  If youkai and human blood truly merged on equal footing, then his full-youkai half-brother would be twice as strong as he was.  And that was certainly not the case, as their history had shown.  

So if he had to guess, Inuyasha would say that Shoichi would not be as powerful as he was, but that his physical abilities would be much closer to his father’s than to an average human’s.  Power didn’t matter to Inuyasha, except as a survival tool.  His children needed to be strong enough to survive in a world filled with hostile youkai and humans who hated their kind.  In case something happened to him, they needed to possess the strength and fighting ability to protect their mother and their home village.  That was their responsibility as inheritors of the blood of the Inu no Taisho.  As long as they could protect the ones they loved, then Inuyasha didn’t care if they ever surpassed him.  On the contrary, he hoped they never had to.  

Thinking about Sesshoumaru reminded him of their recent confrontation.  Though given their history, what happened a couple weeks ago could hardly be called a ‘confrontation.’  The daiyoukai had suddenly shown up at the village one afternoon with Kagura and Rin in tow.  He appeared to be fully healed from his brush with death against Hakago, an experience which had perhaps humbled him a bit.  Inuyasha had been on high alert, unsure of his half-brother’s intentions.  But Sesshoumaru did not seem to be interested in fighting.  On the contrary, the primary purpose of his visit had ostensibly been to determine whether the village was a suitable place for Rin to finish growing up.  The little girl had departed with him, but no one doubted that she would soon return on a more permanent basis.  

Of course, if Inuyasha had provoked Sesshoumaru, say by being arrogant or reminding him of the battle, then he was sure the daiyoukai would have attacked him.  Whether that would be with killing intent or merely to teach the upstart hanyou a lesson, Inuyasha couldn’t say.  In any case, with a wife and infant to protect, he hadn’t seen any reason to prod his irritable half-brother.  Especially when he still felt guilty about the whole thing.  It was one thing to severely injure a relative in self-defense.  It was another to nearly kill your only brother because you were stupid enough to allow an enemy to possess your body.  He was extremely glad that Sesshoumaru had managed to escape that day.  

And so it came to pass that for one of their first times in their lives, the two half-brothers were civil to each other.  It was clear that they didn’t especially like each other, and that would probably never change.  And while Sesshoumaru had not held Shoichi, he had studied him in Kagome’s arms for a moment before departing with a short nod, as if to say ‘he is no more unworthy of Chichi-ue’s blood than his father is.’  Keh.  Arrogant jackass.  Still, as long as Sesshoumaru was nice to Shoichi, he wouldn’t object to the quarter-youkai establishing some sort of relationship with his uncle.  He was likely the only uncle Shoichi would ever know, after all.  

Inuyasha sighed dejectedly at the reminder that while he and Kagome were blessed with a healthy baby and a wonderful place to live, not everything had worked out as they hoped.  Purifying the Shikon no Tama had been surprisingly simple, almost anticlimactic really.  After working tirelessly for an entire day to make the jewel as pure as possible, Kagome wished for it to disappear.  And so it did.  The wish was the only completely selfless one they could think of, and it had worked perfectly.  Unfortunately, as the power of the Shikon no Tama vanished from this world, so did the temporal abilities of the bone eater’s well.  Kagome was still dealing with the repercussions, a wound which would fade over time but which would never completely heal.  She was glad that her family had spent a few wonderful weeks getting to know Shoichi.  Even though he would likely never remember his family from five hundred years in the future, the memories of that blissful time would live on in the hearts of his parents and those loved ones kept from them by the indomitable wall of time.  

Kagome also drew comfort from a solemn promise which Inuyasha had made to her.  That is, if he survived for the next five hundred years, he would go and visit her family.  Even if his appearance made Jii-chan look like a middle-aged man in comparison, he would go and tell their story.  And if he didn’t live long enough, he would pass that duty on to a trusted descendant.  No matter what, Kagome’s family would know what had happened to them.  

This topic had led to a rather poignant discussion about something which he and Kagome had never really talked about—the difference in their lifespans.  Given the trials their relationship had gone through, it was no surprise that this unpleasant subject had been pushed to the proverbial back burner.  But now they were in a committed relationship; they had to discuss it.  Predictably, Kagome expressed sorrow that she would age and die long before he did.  But Inuyasha was sincere when he promised that he would cherish the time they had together with no regrets.  A human lifespan with her was infinitely better than not having her at all.  Besides, it was not as though her life would flash past in the blink of an eye.  Kagome probably had at least thirty reproductive years left.  There were no certainties in life, but some humans lived to Kaede’s age and beyond.  Even if in her advanced age Kagome became unable to physically express their love, he couldn’t imagine anyone he would rather spend his days with.  He had known exactly what he was committing to when he made his improvised vows and married her.  Even when death parted them, he would have no regrets.  

Kagome would always hold sadness in her heart for him, and he would always assure her that she had nothing to be sorry for.  He would gladly suffer through an eternity of loss and grief in exchange for a single human lifetime with her.  And he would never truly be alone.  In his own words, ‘someone has to keep an eye on our mischievous brats.’  If they grew up to be anything like their father—or their mother, for that matter—then trouble would find them, or vice versa.  Inuyasha could imagine himself as the patriarch of an ever-growing extended family, guiding his descendants through the annals of history.  Based on lessons carefully learned through his wife, he would tell them when it was safe to live in Japan, when to retire to the more remote parts of the country, and when it might be best to leave the country altogether.  They would do their best not to interfere with the course of history, but that did not mean that they needed to be ignorant of it.  

That, however, was all in the distant future.  For now, he would treat each day as a new paradise, a blank canvas to paint with great strokes and add to the grand tapestry of their marriage.  Kagome would continue her training as the village miko and healer, successor to Kaede.  And he would maintain his roles as protector of the village, youkai exterminator, and a jack of all trades who was willing to learn almost anything in the service of his community.  They would raise their children and help them find their own places in this ever-changing world in which they lived.  And when the inevitable conclusion of his own life drew nigh, he would look to the afterlife with a smile, knowing that his soul mate waited for him on the other side.  

A soft sigh drew Inuyasha from his musings.  Shoichi was nodding off, his eyes heavy-lidded and drooping.  Inuyasha picked him up and began to gently rock him, knowing that this would accelerate the process of lulling a tired infant.  Sure enough, within a few moments Shoichi was sound asleep.  

Inuyasha vaulted gingerly down from the roof, careful not to jostle his precious cargo.  With one final, contented glance up into the night sky, he went inside to rejoin his wife.  

The End

A/N – I always get a little misty-eyed when a story comes to an end.  But what a journey it has been!  I initially didn’t expect the story to be anywhere near this long.  I estimated 20 chapters, which seems ridiculous now.  To say it ran away with me would be an understatement.  I delved in great detail into certain portions of the story which surprised me—the Shichinintai arc and Inuyasha and Kagura’s adventures in the youkai graveyard to name a couple.  The story became as much about those scenes for me as the main storyline.  But of course, it was always an Inu/Kag romance at heart.  And I hope the ending did that justice, with all of the trials and tribulations they went through.  I know many of you wanted the bone eater’s well to remain open, but mirroring the canon ending seemed to be a fitting way to conclude this story.  

As per usual, I don’t know where I’ll go from here.  I never know if an Inuyasha story will be my last, or if some new inspiration will strike me.  I’m always open to the possibility.  Thank you to all of the reviewers, even the negative ones.  I don’t always agree with what is said, but I do read and consider every comment.  They encourage and influence me, and ultimately, I think the result of the positive and negative feedback is a better story.    

King Baka