Kagome had broke the news to Sango that she and Inuyasha had decided to just be friends when they had gone out on their picnic. Little Ichiro slept peacefully in Kagome's arms while the other kids ran around enjoying the warm day.

Sango had her head leaned into her hand and she hummed as she snacked on various foods. "Well I am not surprised. Honestly, I was shocked you kept your love for Inuyasha going as long as you did." Sango caught Kagome's sideways look and said, "what? Come on, you know he was a jerk before. But are you sure this is what you want? Not pressuring you into a relationship at all but… men do not think like you in this time Kags. They will not look at you as an equal, they will only want you to be their property. Their childbearing property. Which I understand is not how you were raised. So you might not find another man for you. Are you okay with that?"

Kagome chuckled and rubbed Ichiro's back soothingly. "Inuyasha was an ass before. At least he's semi-mellowed out now. And hey, not all men are crap, you got Miroku. And though you are definitely rearing children, I think that's more because he can't keep his hands off you. He doesn't think you're property." Kagome's attempt to downplay the conversation was met with Sango's knowing, sad eyes. She spoke the truth, Kagome would probably be alone for the rest of her life. But if she had to grow old alone, the least she could say was that she did her best to give those around her a happy life.

Looking down, Kagome sighed. "I know I'll probably be alone, and that does hurt, but I didn't come back for love. I came back because it felt right." She took a deep breath, pushed the tears away, and grinned at her best friend. "Plus I'll just get to be the fabulous aunt who spoils all of your cute babies." She gently waved a hand towards the baby sleeping in the crook of her arm. "I mean, look at this boy. How can you not want to spoil him."

Sango laughed, allowing the conversation to pass on, knowing it was a painful subject. "We all know the kids get their cuteness from me."

A deep voice sounded from behind Kagome with the faint jingling of bells. "Hey. I'm pretty too. After all, we know you married me for my gorgeous looks." Miroku winked at Kagome and carefully placed his staff down next to him. Holding his arms out, he smiled when Kagome placed baby Ichiro in his arms.

Sango rolled her eyes and leaning over to Kagome, fake whispered, "I actually married him for his nice ass."

Kagome had to fight the bawdy laughter that wanted to escape her lips. Miroku smirked at his wife and she could see the mischievous sparkle in his eyes. "Don't temp me My Love, otherwise we might end up with another of these sooner than we'd like."

Sango's face grew serious and she said, "you aren't even touching me again until he's a little older. I need a break."

Miroku laughed and said, "fair," before looking back down at the baby who had grabbed a hold of his father's finger while dozing. Kagome's heart ached for her own, but she knew that wouldn't happen.

Oh well. At least I can hold Sango's babies. And who knows, maybe Inuyasha will eventually find someone for him. Or Rin for that matter.

The young girl had definitely developed a fascination with an older boy in the village, but personally Kagome hoped she stayed away from him. The boy didn't treat Rin well enough, and she was still far too young for dating.

Rin was barely twelve by Kagome's best guess, and though girls did get married at that age in this time, it still made her uncomfortable. Sure people had to prioritize having children, because you generally didn't live long, but they were children. Not somewhat, no, they were children. They were barely developed enough to bare children. And most died from it anyway. She should know, she'd helped already Kaede in birthing for several women, and it didn't always end happily. I have the nightmares to prove it.

So if it were up to her, Kagome wouldn't let a man touch Rin until she was eighteen or nineteen, but it wasn't her choice. Sesshoumaru was Rin's guardian and ultimately, it was the stoic taiyoukai's choice on when Rin could marry, and who she could marry.

Maybe the taiyoukai's overprotective pack instincts would make him keep all the unsuitables away until Rin was old enough to put her foot down.

"Hello? Kagome? It is getting dark, we are gonna head back. Are you coming with us?" Sango waved her hand in front of Kagome's face and brought her out of her thoughts.

"Momma? Are you tired from all the playing today, did you fall asleep?" Shippo bounced into Kagome's lap and she could tell who was tired, as Shippo tipped from side to side as he looked at her. His blinked heavily.

Kagome looked up and around and realized it was indeed dusk and the light was quickly fading. She knew she should go back into the village with the rest, but she felt like being alone tonight and absorbing the day's events. She'd be fine this close to the village anyway.

"Mmm, give me a while Sango. I'll head back after a bit. I wanna sit and enjoy some quiet. Get my thoughts back in order." She scooped Shippo up and hugged him. Giving him a kiss on the top of his head, she whispered, "I'll be right there Shippo. I'm just gonna have a moment of peace, then I'll come back and go to sleep with you."

Kagome caught Inuyasha's eyes as she spoke and nodded at him. He narrowed his eyes and then shrugged. She caught the mouthed words, "if ya need me, scream" before striding off with the sleeping twins in his arms. Kagome handed the sleepy kitsune off to Miroku and waved them all off down the hill.

When they were gone, she sighed and laid back.

Today had been a good day, she had resolved a lot of the things that had been bugging her since returning, but now, the sorrow of loneliness hovered over her instead. I'll never find a man for me huh? Probably not. But that's not entirely the men's fault. Momma did say that I had too high expectations for most men.

Kagome's eyes drifted closed.


"If you're lonely Kagome, why don't you go on a date with Tojo? He's a nice boy and he definitely likes you, he's been pursuing you for years now." Mrs. Higurashi smiled as she placed a cup of tea in front of her daughter and sat down to sip her own.

Kagome, now eighteen and nearing the end of her school days, shrugged and leaned back in her chair. "I can't say anything but that I don't want to momma. Tojo is nice, but I just don't like him. A date won't fix that and it'll just keep his hopes up."

Mrs. Higurashi watched her daughter's face carefully. "Is it because of Inuyasha? Do you still wish for him?"

Kagome's face drooped with sadness but she shook her head. "Not dating isn't because of Inuyasha, though I do miss him, it's because every guy I meet doesn't fit. I'm a fool, I'm sure, but momma I want the prince. I want the fairy tale. I want someone who will drop everything for me, who doesn't expect me to be just his pretty doll. I want the person it feels right to stand beside and support."

Mrs. Higurashi chuckled. "Well dear, you are certainly looking for a needle in a haystack then. Men are dumb, and they can be very very selfish, no matter the time. It will be hard to find that person for you." Kagome cringed but her mother took her hand and softened her voice. "But I don't think it's a foolish wish. I believe every person was made with someone out there to love them perfectly. So though you have high expectations, it just weeds out all those who don't fit. Your man is out there, and you'll find him. It'll just be a little adventure in love."

Mrs. Higurashi's smile was brilliant, but her eyes were sad.

Kagome opened her eyes and sighed.

The red string of fate. That's what her mother meant. She believed that everyone was tied with their fated person, that string pulling them together until they finally reach the person at the end.

But Kagome had been being pulled along for a long long time, through centuries of time and back, so if she hadn't found her person yet, maybe she wouldn't. Maybe the time-slip had broke that string for her.

Forever alone. Was it bad that her first thought was the song lyrics, "all by myself..."? Probably. Well, humor was a form of defense.


The deep, spine-tingling voice, gave Kagome pleasant chills and drew her awareness back to her surroundings. What was he doing out here?

Tipping her back and looking up at the tall, intimidating taiyoukai standing behind her, Kagome smiled. "Why hello Sesshoumaru-sama. What brings you out to Inuyasha's Forest this fine evening?"

Sesshoumaru's face remained impassive, but he continued to stare down at Kagome. Maybe he wanted her to stop acting goofy and greet him properly, but Kagome was stubborn, and Sesshoumaru was far too focused on propriety. Kagome stayed exactly as she was.

She saw a faint flicker of emotion cross his face before he looked away from her and Kagome silently cheered. I win!

"Miko, it is dangerous to be out at night. Youkai often hunt for those dumb enough to wander." His monotone drawl did nothing to disguise the pointed insult. Well, I guess that's what I get for trying to play with him.

Sitting up and looking ahead, Kagome said, "Well, Sesshoumaru-sama, I thank you for your concern but I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Plus, no one is going to come close to me with you here." Kagome looked back and smiled, "so thanks for taking care of me."

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, blatantly this time, and turned to stride away. Kagome was left wondering what in the hell that was about.

She also realized that he was wearing a handsome white kimono with bold stripes of blue and black criss-crossing it. Huh. That's different.


A/N: Yaaayyyyyyy. Chapter six!

I hope you all enjoyed! There's our first meeting between miko and taiyoukai. Sesshoumaru will warm up eventually. ;D

And for all of you that I'm sure are not wondering (but I don't care :D), yes, I did listen to Celíne Dion's "All By Myself" while writing this. And now it's gonna be stuck in all of your heads as well. You're welcome.

My brain randomly supplies lyrics for my thoughts, so now Kagome's does too. Also, thank god it supplies music applicable for the time period Kagome would've grown up in. *Wipes forehead*

Also, about the old story, I know those many of you that have been reading since the beginning are like, "what the hell Tempest, you've condensed around fifteen chapters into six" and yes, yes I have. I'm in a new groove of rewriting and all those other chapters are really unnecessary with the new direction I have taken in writing Strongest Woman right now (no major plot changes, just small things that I didn't really like before, now they make more sense, at least to me). But good news is, it gets into the nitty-gritty of Sesshy and Kagome's slowly developing relationship sooner. So that's good. Right?

Thank you all for reading! I love you all! XOXOXOXO


Chapter Song: Stubborn Love by Lumineers.

Not saying the lyrics fit, but for one, I love this song, and two, both Sesshy and Kagome are stubborn as hell. Kagome is being stubborn about being alone, she's not refusing to love, she's refusing to let not having love rule her. And Sesshy? Well Sesshoumaru denies his feelings often. So there we go.