Open Heart by Chiaztolite

Open Heart

A/N: This work features heavy subject matters such as: miscarriage, death of a child, grief, bereavement, and thoughts of suicide. Please be forewarned. MA rating for mature subject matter, not necessarily for smut. 


Kagome gazed upon the blooms in their buckets, clustered together to form an enticing display inside the flower shop. The smell of roses and lilies filled her senses, intermingled with other blooms and foliage. They were so fragrant that she had to take a deep breath and smile.

She grimaced almost immediately. Even now, it felt strange to smile. Her lips felt frozen from disuse, and the stiffness in her cheeks made her flinch.

Kagome approached a bucket of peonies and gently touched the lacy blooms with her fingertips. There were various colours, but she always gravitated to the pinks and the purples, the roses and the peonies.

Somehow, in her imagination, her daughter would like them best.

Kagome gathered a few stems of pink peonies and ivory blush roses in her hands. Her eyes scanned the shop to find an attendant until a sight stopped her in her track.

Sesshōmaru was standing only a few steps away, a bouquet of deep purple larkspur in his hand. From the look of it, he had just finished paying for those flowers.

He had seen her, and he looked just as shocked as she was.

Twice a month, Kagome visited their daughter's grave without fail. She always stopped by this florist beforehand to purchase a bouquet of blooms; yet, she had never encountered him here.

She had come to think of this flower shop as her safe space. Her haven. A place where nothing terrible could happen. A place where she could count on always being surrounded by beauty, grace, and everything nice.

His presence here was an unwelcome intrusion on these idyllic moments, rare as they were since the accident.

"Have you always come to this florist?" Kagome asked, aiming for a neutral tone, even if turmoil shook her insides and made her balk at the sight of him.

His lips thinned as he looked away. It seemed that the sight of her had the same effect on him.

"I wasn't aware that this flower shop lay within your half of the town," he intoned.

His waspish attitude irked her. "Well, now you know," she snapped. "For next time."

The look in those golden eyes chilled her. His pale, silver presence inside the small shop bursting with colours was a peculiarity. His magenta markings were bright against the paleness of his skin. Kagome noticed he had stopped wearing glamour since the accident.

Without a word, Sesshōmaru turned away.

As Kagome watched him moving away, echoes of her old life resonated. They had been together many years before they separated. Decades. Each of them was filled with so much love and laughter. It had all changed within the blink of an eye. And everything good that they shared gradually rotted and deteriorated until they became what they were today: less than a pair of strangers who could not even bear to be in each other's vicinity.

"Sesshōmaru, wait," Kagome called. He stopped. Hesitantly, he turned around.

She took one step closer, but no further. Her fingers idly played with the teardrop-shaped ruby pendant at her clavicle. His golden eyes rested on the deep red stone for a brief moment before he looked away.

Their daughter had been born in July, and Kagome wanted a little something to remember her by. She had decided on the ruby, which was their daughter's birthstone. She had gotten used to wearing it every day since the accident, and today was no exception.

"I was going to… contact you," she said. "There are some things I wanted to pick up from the penthouse. Some… baby things I left behind. Let me know when it is convenient to do so."

Sesshōmaru barely spared her a glance. "Anytime. Just send me a message before you drop by."

Kagome chewed on her lower lip. This had been a task she kept putting off because she dreaded going back to the penthouse. Now, she would rather get it over and done with before she lost her burst of courage.

"What about tonight?" She asked before she changed her mind. "Can you vacate the penthouse while I'm there? I just need a few minutes. Half an hour at the most."

He flashed another cold look at her. "As you wish," he intoned.

As he walked away, she saw him hesitating by the bucket of purple larkspurs as though he was going to put them back. Yet, he did not.

Bouquet in hand, he walked out of the florist and into the crowd.


Later that evening, Kagome sent a text message to notify Sesshōmaru an hour before her arrival. He had replied with an 'OK', but nothing more.

An hour later, she arrived at his apartment building where they had lived together before everything irrevocably changed. The concierge at the lobby's front desk still recognized her, even though she had not stepped foot inside it since they separated nearly two years ago. Nevertheless, he permitted her to take the private elevator to the penthouse floor.  

Kagome let herself into the apartment with the copy of the key she still held in her possession. She fully expected Sesshōmaru's absence, as they had agreed upon. But, as soon as she stepped into the apartment, she saw him standing in the hallway, putting on his coat.

The sight of him disarmed her yet again. Uneasiness filled her chest, and she suppressed it with all her might. This was not what she wanted. She did not want to see him. She wanted to go through the baby's things in peace and leave.

"Do not worry," Sesshōmaru said before she had the opportunity to utter a word. "I am about to leave."

Kagome nodded stiffly.

"Good," she said.

And then, the whole building went dark.


Minutes later, Kagome stood in front of the windows and watched the city below, marvelling at how dark everything was. Tokyo was a city full of lights, and seeing nearly the entire metropolis shut down was surreal.

On the other side of the room, Sesshōmaru paced as he talked with the concierge downstairs on the phone. It was difficult to discern the scope of their conversation, as he only uttered one or two terse words every so often.

When he finally ended his phone call, she asked: "What did the concierge say?"

"Several districts lost electricity, and there is no telling what the cause is or when it will come back on."

"Is the elevator working?"

He stared at her. "It runs on electricity, so… no. It is not."

Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach, only to lay there like a lump of cold coal. "So… I am trapped here?"

His lips pursed, thinning into a moue of distaste.  

"Unless you want to go down the emergency stairwell, it seems we are both trapped here."

"Is it illuminated?" She asked.

"The concierge said the backup generator that was supposed to power the emergency lighting malfunctioned. The stairwell is completely dark."

Kagome shook her head and sighed, turning back to observe the darkening city outside as she bit her inner cheek so hard she could taste blood.

For some reason, the massive penthouse felt much smaller in the darkness. So suffocating. It was getting increasingly more difficult to breathe.

All their unspoken issues lurked in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to pounce. The soft hairs on her nape and arms rose to attention as if readying a fight or flight.

She shook her head angrily.

Anywhere else is better than here.

Kagome rushed past Sesshōmaru and snatched her purse on the way out. As he had said, the corridor that was always pleasantly lit was now utterly dark. She hesitated but for a moment before she rushed out.

It had been two years, but Kagome remembered the floor's layout well. She crept along the wall towards the fire exit stairwell, her hands feeling the smoothness of the wallpapered wall until she found the door jamb. She felt around some more until her fingers curled around the cold metal of the handle and pushed the door open.

Kagome faced the yawning darkness. She felt the eerie caress of the wind rushing up from down below. It was like the large mouth of a giant beast, so colossal that all she could see was its giant maw, sucking her in.

She felt suddenly chilled. Cold sweat beaded on the nape of her neck. Swaying unsteadily on her feet, she would have fallen down the stairwell had someone not caught her.

Sesshōmaru's forearm resembled a steel bar underneath her breasts as he pulled her back into the corridor. Kagome shook and panted as she struggled to find footing on the carpeted floor.

"What do you think you are doing?" He hissed in her ear. "Is the prospect of getting stuck with me inside a room so unbearable that you'd rather hurtle yourself down the stairs?"

Kagome's fury surged, white and hot inside her. She whirled around and pushed him. His pale, silvery form was shrouded in shadows. When he did not budge, she pushed him again, and again, until she nearly punched him in the chest.

She wished she could use her reiki to blast a massive hole in the walls. Then, at the very least, this damn corridor would not feel so claustrophobic.

Her breathing was laboured, echoing within the hallowed corridor of this place she despised so. Her body trembled. How dare he. How dare he. After the accident, life had been so unbearable that there were days all she could think about was joining her daughter.

But even in her crazed state of grief, she knew: it would not have been what her daughter wanted.

And so she picked the pieces back up, dusted herself off, and tried again. Every time she fell apart, she tried again. Until hours turned into days, and days turned into months, and months turned into the two years during which her life became a collection of breaking and mending. Breaking and mending, over and over.

There were hairline fissures all over her. And yet she lived.

And for him to carelessly assume she would so easily throw herself down the stairs for such a trivial reason…

"Do not touch me," she hissed back and stormed into the penthouse.


Sesshōmaru remained in the corridor, still shaking with a mixture of rage and fear. When he had seen Kagome teetering over the edge of the stairwell landing, he had thought she was about to throw herself down the stairs.

Only he and the gods knew how often the same idea had popped into his head.

If only he could be sure the fall would kill him clean.

Seeing Kagome there made overwhelming fear wash over him, and he moved by instinct, wrapping his arm around her midsection to forcefully pull her back into safety.

He knew she despised him. He knew she did not wish for his touch upon her. Yet, he did it anyway, because the thought of her gone too…

Sesshōmaru clenched his jaws and curled his claws into the center of his palm. His chest was so tight that he could scarcely breathe. He did not care that his acidic poison burned his flesh; he barely felt the pain.

The thought of her gone too had been so unbearable, he would rather endure her hatred than truly lose her.

He took a deep breath to steady himself. Then, another one. His chest still hurt, but everything hurt these days.

With a heavy sigh, he followed her back into the penthouse.


Two years prior

The accident was his fault.

They were taking a road trip to a cabin by the lake they had rented for that weekend. Kagome had been seven months pregnant, and she wanted one last bit of adventure before their days were filled with nighttime feeding, diaper changing, and utter exhaustion.

In just a couple of months, the child they had been waiting for years would arrive. And they both could not wait for that part of their lives to begin.  

They were driving along a lonely countryside road, surrounded by tall pine trees. Kagome had said something that made them both laugh. Sesshōmaru had taken his eyes off the road for just one second to stare at her, to admire the late afternoon sun of the golden hour shining upon her hair. She was smiling at him, her face open and bright, and her eyes glittered with so much love.

For him, for this life they had built together. For the new life that was about to come — in a couple of months. A few short weeks.

'You look so beautiful,' Sesshōmaru wanted to say. The words were already at the tip of his tongue. 'You've always been lovely without compare. But with our child inside you, you look even more beautiful.'

A truck slammed into the side of their car. It sent their vehicle skidding across the narrow road, spinning before colliding against a retaining wall that partitioned the street from the adjacent wilderness.

He had been wearing glamour, and the impact had knocked him unconscious for a few minutes. But when he awakened, amidst broken glass and scorched metal, he saw he was shielded inside a translucent green sphere.

Bakusaiga. By then, he had discovered a way to put the sword back inside his body, ready to be summoned when necessary.

A split second before the crash, the sword had acted on its own and protected him.

But it did not protect Kagome.

And it certainly did not protect their child.

Somehow, the collision had ripped off the passenger door. Rusty metal rebars had protruded from the retaining wall that cracked and shattered and punctured Kagome in multiple places.

At that moment, amidst the roaring in his ears and the beast's enraged howl inside him, he frantically searched for the sounds of her heartbeat and the baby's. The scent of her blood and imminent death was thick and cloying. He had been too frightened to move her, afraid she would bleed to death had he removed the bars that punctured her.

What happened next was a blur. Help came. The paramedics rushed Kagome to the nearest hospital, where the doctors immediately brought her into the operating room.

The longest wait of his life began. Their child had barely reached twenty-eight weeks inside her womb. The doctors performed an emergency C-section, pulled her out of Kagome's shredded stomach, and tried to save her.

But she was too small, and the damage to her system was too severe. In the end, after what felt like hours of surgery, there was nothing they could do except ease her pain.

Much later, the police officer investigating the accident informed him that the truck driver had been speeding and had lost control over the vehicle and that there was nothing Sesshōmaru could have done to avoid the collision. There had not been any room to swerve. Their little car would have been crushed nevertheless.

Those were kind and generous words to say to a grieving father and husband, but Sesshōmaru did not believe a single thing that came out of the officer's mouth.

He was a daiyōkai of nearly a millennia-old, capable of doing things beyond a human's imagination. With the help of a sword, he could bring souls back from the dead, for fuck's sake.

Just not his daughter's.

After the officer left, he sat for a long time, going over the accident in his head. Over and over and over, replaying every detail, seeking ways to change what could not be changed.

He should have been able to stop it. There must have been something he could have done.

Yet, he did nothing.

And they lost their daughter because of it.  



The scent of Kagome's anger and grief slammed into Sesshōmaru as soon as he stepped back into the penthouse. So acrid and bitter and so overwhelming, he could almost taste them at the back of his throat. These were the nostalgic scents from the days following the accident, and they deeply saturated every fold of his memory.  

Kagome was pacing in front of the windows. Her energy crackled around her. It was the kind of fury that would never lessen with time.

And the hatred he sensed in it burned his eyes.

"It is your fault that we are living like this," she hissed as soon as her fevered gaze found him. "Childless. Grieving. Bitter."

He had no recourse or defence. In those few seconds, if he had not taken his eyes off the road to gaze at her, perhaps he could have prevented the collision with the truck.

"You are correct. It is my fault," Sesshōmaru whispered.

He should have protected her and their child. Saved them both, but he failed at his most innate duty as a male, a mate, and a father.

He had failed his family.

"Kagome, you can rage at me. Rile at me. Scream. Curse. Claw my face. Beat at my chest. Slice open my veins. Plunge a knife into my heart. Anything, and I would have fallen on my knees, prostrate myself before you, and begged for forgiveness. Anything, except this cold, barren wasteland you resigned us to."

He would have borne it all: her fury, her grief, her tears, her hatred and disgust she reserved for him and his failures.

So as long as she did not turn away from him as she had.


Kagome turned away and angrily brushed the tears that had gathered underneath her eyes.

Forgiveness? He wanted forgiveness? Would it turn back time? Would it have brought their daughter back?

"You didn't understand, and you never would." A guttural sob emerged from her throat. It carved deep runes into her heart. "You wouldn't understand how it felt… to have life growing inside you every day until you woke up at the hospital from what felt like a long, horrifying nightmare, and… nothing. The pulse of her heartbeat. The movements of her hands and feet. All gone. There was nothing inside me."

Sesshōmaru did not speak for long moments, though his breathing was heavy.

"Kagome," he finally said, as though it took him several minutes to gather his strength to speak. His voice was barely above a whisper. "She was my daughter too."

Those words slammed into her like it was another collision. She had berated him for not understanding. And yet, at that moment, as she glared at him, the thing that struck her the most was how at this moment, he looked the way she felt back then. All the colour and energy seemed to have drained from him, leaving him an empty, broken shell.

"When she died, a big part of me went with her." He lost his voice for a moment. "Kagome. The two of you were my life. Without you or her, I am bereft."

Kagome began to shake her head. No. No, she did not want to hear this. The emotion she heard in his voice cleaved her into two. Deep down, she knew: if he felt even half of her crushing grief, he would need comfort and someone by his side. She knew he needed her, but she could not summon herself to even look at him.

"I needed you," he said. His golden eyes bore into her like a pair of gleaming amber. And for the first time since the accident, she truly saw him and what lay inside the deepest recess of his heart: his fury, his guilt, torment, and suffering.

He took one step closer, but no further.

"I. Needed. You," he repeated, his voice cracking. "And I wanted to be there for you, yet you turned away from me. We were supposed to be there for each other, weren't we? To have and to hold. For better or for worse. For the rest of our lives. Isn't that what you said before we became mates? But in the end, you betrayed me, in the worst possible way."


Two years prior

While Kagome was under the knife, fighting for her life, the doctors tried to save their daughter. When they finally told Sesshōmaru they had exhausted all efforts, that there was nothing else to be done, and that she would most likely breathe her last within the next few minutes, he asked if they could take her out of the incubator unit where they had placed her.

They hesitated, and he told them: "I would like to hold my child."

The doctors looked at each other but did not deny him in the end. They picked her up from the glass enclosure and transferred her gently into his arms.

Then, they left him alone so he could be with her during her final moments.

Before she went, she needed to know her mother and father loved her.

She needed to know she was not alone. Never alone. And that she was loved.

So he held her and rocked her against his chest. He cradled her and brought her to the window so they could both look outside. It was still dark, but dawn was approaching. He summoned his mokomoko so that he could wrap it around her tiny, tiny body and keep her warm.

As he swayed her gently, he heard the soft wheeze of her laboured breathing. But somehow, he knew: she was fighting too. Until the last minute, she would fight.

Because she was a fighter, wasn't she. Like her mother, like her father. Like her grandmother and grandfather, and all her predecessors who had come and gone before her.

"My little warrior," Sesshōmaru murmured against the silky tufts of raven hair. "It's okay. It's okay. Your father is here. Your mother is fighting too right now, and she cannot be with you. But she also loves you very, very much…"

Then, her breathing became so tiny and imperceptible that he realized: she was going.

Panic seized his chest. His chin began to tremble as the beast inside him howled and howled in mourning. Not yet, please. It was too short. Yet, in the end, there was nothing he could do but continue to hold her.

He bent to kiss her on the forehead; tears came unbidden now.

If only his love could keep her with him…

"Forgive me," he sobbed against her head. "Forgive me. Forgive me…"

Sunrise came. She opened her eyes a little when she felt the first light on her pale cheeks. Just a crack, enough for him to see her blue eyes.

Blue eyes the colour of brilliant sapphires. Like her mother's.

He pressed her to his heart and wept in silence.

It was a few minutes past dawn when his daughter breathed her last, forty-seven minutes after he took her in his arms for the first time.

Tenseiga never stirred.


He knew Tenseiga's power was never guaranteed. The sword was indiscriminate with the souls it decided to revive. But still, Sesshōmaru could not stop himself from hoping, and he had brought the sword with him, hidden inside a black case.

The old blade turned out to be useless.

After the accident and the major surgery she had to go through, Kagome lay unconscious at the hospital for over a month. It broke him that she could not say goodbye to their daughter, to send her off properly to the other side. It broke him that Kagome had missed her completely.

Sesshōmaru hardly ever left the hospital back then. Every day, he sat by her bedside, holding her hand and waiting for the moment she would open her eyes. Many had offered to sit in his place so he could go home and rest, but he denied them all. He wanted to be by her side when she awakened. She would need him when she learned of their daughter's death.

Just as he had needed her.

But, when Kagome finally awakened, she was not the same. Nothing was. She took one look at him as her hand travelled to her stomach. Her now flat stomach, and she knew.  

At that moment, he witnessed her love for him splintered into tiny little pieces, never to be put back together again. And in the very depth of his soul, he knew she no longer saw the male she loved with her whole heart and soul whenever she looked at him. Her mate, husband, friend, lover, and anchor in the storm.

She saw only the one she despised — the one who had caused her so much heartbreak and suffering.

The one who killed their daughter.

He wanted to think he had tried everything to bring Kagome back to him. But no words of apology, love, pleading or begging could make those ice-cold eyes soften and melt.

Her hatred for him was carved from stone, and this stone never softened. Instead, it hardened, and hardened even more.

Like the threads of a frayed hem, they pulled apart.

Until one day, she just left.



Sesshōmaru stood before the window and watched the world go by outside. It was strange to see the relentlessly bright metropolis plunged into darkness. The sky was clear, and the stars came out to play now that the lights were extinguished.

After their heated exchange earlier, Kagome had not spoken. It had been many minutes since the silence began.

Although she was silent, he was viscerally aware of her every movement. Every little sound she made. He could sense her shifting, fidgeting, tucking an errant lock of hair behind her ear before she wrung her hands on her lap.

When she spoke again, her voice touched him the way no other ever could.

"Tell me," she whispered from her end of the room. Her voice was small, but Sesshomaru heard it as though she was standing beside him. "About her."

The question shook him. Kagome had never asked about their child before. It was as though, to protect her grieving heart, she would rather not know. As though the real knowledge of their daughter would shatter her already broken heart.

And secretly, he was relieved that she had never asked.

Because his own heart balked and rebelled at his attempt to relive those memories of the little time he spent with their daughter. Those forty-seven minutes were all he had.

But Kagome had none with her.

Sesshōmaru swallowed the lump in his throat. Regardless of the pain, he dug up the memories, and they made him bleed inside once again.

"She has… your hair and your eyes," Sesshōmaru managed to say. "Your… beautiful blue eyes. The tiniest, most darling pair of fuzzy ears you'd ever see. But her face—" His vision blurred. Suddenly, he was unable to see anything past the tears. "Her face… was mine."

Surreptitiously, he wiped away the wetness that gathered beneath his lashes.

"I named her," he said. "Akino. The rising sun, because she lived to see her first one."

"Akino," Kagome murmured, testing the name. "Akino. How beautiful. I like that."

For the first time since the accident, a wistful smile curled upon his lips. Then, slowly, he turned to face her.

"Kagome. She was so beautiful," he told her. "She was strong too. She fought till the very end. You would've been so proud of her."

Her chin began to tremble as she held herself rigidly. She set her teeth on her lower lip to stave her tears.

"Sesshōmaru," she whispered. "Akino would have turned two next month… We would have been a family."

The reminder of what it could have been was almost too painful to bear. A family. A family. Something he never had before and thought was elusive and was not for the likes of him.

Until he met Kagome and began to know her, loved her, and dared to dream.

"We would have been very happy together," Kagome whispered. "And now, it is forever lost…"

Sesshōmaru strode to her side and knelt before her, dying to cup her face in his hands and tell her: No, it is not lost yet. You and I, we could still be. I promise. So please…

Don't leave again.

If he asked her to stay, would she? Both of their hearts were open wounds, raw and exposed. His arms ache to embrace, to at least touch her. He wanted to feel the warmth of her skin, and for her to feel his too. He wanted to have some physical connection with her, no matter how small.

She stared back at him. Her blue eyes glittered in the darkness of the night with unshed tears, spiking her lashes.

"After the accident, I was so angry," Kagome said. "I was so angry at life, fate, and everyone who was pregnant or had children… At the gods for taking her away." She drew a shaky breath. "I was angry at you too. As unfair as it was, you bore the full brunt of my rage."

The strain in her voice tore him apart, but it was the most honest thing she had ever told him since the accident.

"I know," he said. "You have every right to feel so. I was angry at myself too. I hated myself too."

She looked at him. Her eyes were tearful, but her gaze was steady.

"Sesshōmaru. The accident was not your fault. You were careful, and you always have been."

He shook his head repeatedly. "Kagome, I was the one behind the wheel—"

"And I was right there with you, beside you. If you were to blame, I was to blame too."

This absolution felt so undeserved, it was painful. He could barely breathe for all the tightness filling up his chest cavity.

"I realize now… that I pushed you away." Kagome paused to wipe her tears away angrily. "I wanted to deal with only my emotions because it was much easier than facing your grief too. I knew it was selfish, but I could not help but wish it all the same."

"Kagome, you were grieving," he told her hoarsely. "We both were."

"Back then, I couldn't admit that despite everything, I wanted you by my side so badly, to… hold me and tell me everything was going to be alright."

Her tears started to fall, and each one struck him like a physical blow to the heart. In the face of her despair, he felt his composure crumbling to bits. The need to console her swept over him.

In the end, he touched her. He peeled her hands away from her face to cradle her against his chest. She offered no resistance. She tucked her head under his chin and wept with such sorrow that soaked his shirt. When he felt her body trembling with the force of her grief, he could not hold back any longer.

He pressed his face against her hair and wept with her.


There was strength in his arms. It seeped into her skin, working its way into her bones and muscles, relaxing her and anchoring her when she had felt drifted and aimless for so long. He pressed her close to his chest, cupping the back of her head as her tears soaked his shirt.

She sighed and melted into his embrace. Then, finally, she realized: this was what she needed. This was what she had been missing for so long.

He said he was sorry, over and over. Her own heart echoed the same remorse back to him. She was sorry for ignoring his grief, for abandoning him when he was just as broken as she was, in need of comfort and solace.

For not being there for him. For leaving.

When he pressed his face against her temple, she felt the wetness there and knew he was weeping too. His heart was breaking just the same, and she held him as fiercely as he held her.

Now she understood: their kind of grief was not meant to be carried alone. How good it felt to share it with him. In his arms, all that burden she had carried for two years spilled out in a long exhale. Instead of emptiness, she felt the lightness inside her, the relief she had sought but never found.

They stayed together on the floor for a long time, tucked in each other's embrace. She plastered herself as close as she could to him, not moving except for the gentle rise and fall of her breathing. She felt the corded strength of his arms and chest as he enveloped her fully within the shelter of his body.

After a while, she felt his fingers running through her hair, gently massaging her scalp. The firm press of his lips at the top of her head as he kissed her several times. The tightening and releasing of his muscles as he shifted her and rearranged her into a more comfortable position.

It felt too good, too serene. Any desires to move away dissolved in his embrace.

During the two years without him, she had only been half complete. During the two years they were estranged, she had only been going through the daily motions of mundanity, but was never truly alive.

As Kagome finally shifted to look up at him, she felt the stirrings inside. She dared herself to lift her hand and caress his cheek, and those battered parts inside her rose back to life. Sesshōmaru was just as affected. He gasped as though her touch burned him. Then, he closed his eyes, as though to focus all his senses on her touch.

"Kiss me," she pleaded.

He did not hesitate. He kissed her like a man starving for air, for sustenance, and she returned each one with her own desperation. His hands were on each side of her neck, angling her head for his kiss. Her fingers longed to touch, to feel the solidity of his body, and so they did.

She touched him everywhere. With her palms, she mapped him to memory, finally realizing he was still the same. Her husband, mate, and lover. Her pillar of support and anchor in the storm. He had been broken by death, bent by grief, just as much as she had.

And now it was time to put themselves back together.

When he entered her, she felt as though a piece of the puzzle she had been missing finally slid into place. When they moved together, it was in unison, both of them finding each other's rhythm as if they had never been apart.

For the first time in a long time, everything was right. Everything was perfect. She was where she was meant to be: beneath him, around him, sharing this moment with him. She could hardly breathe and was even more powerless to speak, but she cupped his face and brought his face down and kissed him again.

In that one kiss, she poured everything she could not say and everything she wanted to say. The bitter and the sweet, the regret of parting and the joy of reunion. He kissed her back, melding their lips, tangling their tongues. Their hearts soared together, joining as tightly as their bodies did.

It did not take long before her climax crashed into her, a powerful current that threatened to sweep her away. He was there to anchor her, clasping her hands, their fingers intertwining. He never stopped moving, and he took her to a faraway place where the pain was nothing but a dim ache. She clung to him as wave after wave of pleasure washed over her, her ankles locking on the small of his back.

Her name was upon his lips, whispered over and over in her ear like a benediction, prayer or supplication. She raked his back with her nails as she bucked and writhed with the force of her release. Then, with a hard snap of his hips and a harsh shout of her name, he reached his peak, spilling inside her.

She clasped his body tighter to hers, never wanting to let go.


Afterwards, they lay together on the floor before the windows. The light streaming from the outside cast moving shadows across their bodies. Sesshōmaru had summoned his mokomoko to wrap around them and keep them both warm. Kagome laid her head on his chest, listening to his steady heartbeats as they soaked up the silence.

The most comfortable, most natural silence since they had separated.

"Did you get to lay your flowers on her grave?" Softly, she asked.

He was quiet for a while. "I placed a bouquet of white gardenias on her grave early this morning," he said. "But the larkspurs I picked up at the flower shop… they were for you."

Kagome gazed up at him, her eyes widening with surprise. He nudged his chin towards the direction of a nearby sideboard, where she saw that same bouquet arranged inside the vase.

Larkspur. In the flower language, the tall, delicate purple blooms meant an open heart, symbolizing one's romantic feelings.

Sesshōmaru touched her cheek, and Kagome lifted her lashes to look at him.

"I never stopped loving you," he murmured.

"I never stopped loving you too," she said. The moment those words left her lips, she knew it was the truth.

The heart that had been so empty for the past two years was now filled again. It was so full that her emotions spilled from her eyes in teardrops. Soon, she was sobbing again.

"Kagome," Sesshōmaru whispered, leaning over to kiss her forehead, eyes, and cheeks that were wet with tears. "Kagome. Don't cry anymore."

He held her as she wept another cleansing bout of tears on his chest.

It had hurt to bring Akino up. It hurt to even think about her now. Kagome suspected she would carry this pain for the rest of her life, but she accepted it, for she knew it was a fair price for keeping her memories of their daughter.

But, as she closed her eyes, she knew she would be alright. Maybe not today, not tomorrow, not anytime soon. But together, they would be.

And that, too, was the truth.


Electricity returned in the morning, and the elevators were operational again. It was the same penthouse. But, in the light of the sun, everything was different.

As Kagome looked outside, she noticed the things she had almost forgotten: how blue the sky was, how beautiful the glittering water of Tokyo Bay looked, and how the sight of the snow-capped Mount Fuji always warmed her heart.

Sesshōmaru accompanied her downstairs to the lobby. Inside the elevator, standing side by side, they were both silent. It was as though they were shy with each other, like a couple at the end of their first date.

They did not speak again until they were out on the street, standing in front of the apartment building.

"Well, then," Kagome said, looking up at him. "I'll… see you around."

His face was carefully blank as he nodded stiffly. "See you."

It was not until this moment that she realized: she was hoping for more. When none came, and Sesshōmaru did not look like he was offering any, she swallowed the lump of disappointment and began to walk away.

It was surreal to leave him after everything they had been through last night. But perhaps, they both needed time. To think. To reflect.

To decide .

Kagome heard rapid footsteps behind her, and hope soared when she felt a warm touch on her hand. She turned around and found him behind her. Strong, warm fingers curled around hers.

"I… forgot to ask," He said, sounding a little breathless. "What about breakfast?"

At that moment, all the sweet, happy memories they had ever shared during the duration of their lives together flooded her, and she remembered.

She had loved him so.

And she loved him still.

Slowly, Sesshōmaru's hand squeezed around hers as though he knew.

And, after what seemed like an eternity, it finally felt natural to smile.

"Breakfast—"Kagome replied in a watery voice. "— would be wonderful."


One year later

The hospital had given them a spacious private room, but it was filled to bursting with flowers, balloons, and all kinds of stuffed animals, including a gigantic teddy bear Inuyasha and his wife sent all the way from Singapore.

Shippō sent not just one fox plushie but six, of varying colours and sizes.

Kōga and Ayame sent twice as many wolf plushies, and twice as large.

His mother had gone utterly insane and ordered huge vases after vases of roses, peonies, lilacs, and hyacinths, all the flowers she said Kagome loved. They occupied every available surface and corner. The room now smelled more like a perfumery than a maternity ward.

In an ordinary circumstance, the clutter would have irritated Sesshōmaru to no end.

But today, he could not bring himself to care. Not even with the knowledge he might have to hire a moving truck to haul all these gifts back to their home.

Their second daughter was born at midnight, a little over a year after he and Kagome reconciled. She was the most perfect thing there could ever be. Ten fingers and ten toes, a healthy set of lungs – as the entire floor could attest to, mere seconds after her birth, and the most beautiful scrunched-up face he had ever seen on a baby, indeed.

Kagome was sitting on the bed, gorgeous and glowing despite ten hours of active labour. His mate had been a champion. She was strong, fearless, and utterly magnificent.

As she sensed him approaching, she looked up at him and smiled.

"Sesshōmaru, look," she said in a soft, hushed voice. The wonder, the amazement, and the disbelief were palpable in her tone. Gently, she rocked the baby in her arms, wrapped up tightly in a pink swaddling blanket. "Our second daughter is here."

Sesshōmaru sat on the bed beside Kagome and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, enveloping his mate and their newborn pup.

"Look, Hoshiko," Kagome whispered to their baby, nuzzling her soft silver hair. "Papa's here now."

Hoshiko — the child of the stars — had opened her eyes just enough for her parents to see that she had golden eyes before closing them and going back to sleep, safe and comfortable in her mother's arms.

The glint of a delicate gold chain around Kagome's neck and the teardrop-shaped ruby pendant that hung from it caught Sesshōmaru's eye. He had begun wearing a matching pendant soon after their reconciliation. The ruby, a remembrance of Akino, never strayed away from his chest.

There were three of them inside the room, but Akino would forever live in their hearts. And when Hoshiko was old enough, they would tell her about her sister so that Akino could live in her heart too.

When Kagome looked at him, he saw the glitter of tears in her eyes and her love for him, for their children, shining brightly. Staring into those blue depths, he could gaze into her soul and see the doors to her heart — wide open, no longer shuttered.

She raised her chin to kiss him. Then, she brought herself and Hoshiko closer to his chest so that Sesshomaru could kiss the top of their heads and wrap his arms around them.

"I love you," Sesshōmaru told her, his voice breaking just a touch. "I love you. All three of you."

Kagome smiled through her tears. She buried her face in his collar and murmured, her voice reaching deep into his soul and held still. 

"We love you too." 


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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