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Morning Light

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It’s early when Sesshoumaru wakes her.

Sleep-flushed and bleary, Kagome rubs at her eyes as he takes her hand and leads her outside. It’s cold, and the rush of the predawn chill makes her shiver. But he sweeps her up, and his arms are warm, so she lays her head against his shoulder and sinks back toward sleep.

He walks.

She doesn’t register the passage of time, doesn’t see the veil of night melt away. His ambling gait lulls her, and she dozes, caught in between sleep and awake as he carries her.

When he stops, she clings, mumbles. “No, not yet.”

Lids still shut tight against the morning, she hears him chuckle, and he sets her on her feet, ignoring her protest. “Open your eyes, Miko.”

The ground is unsteady beneath her feet, sleep-weakened muscles protesting her weight, and she wavers, pouting. Still, she does as he says, and a moment later, her eyes snap wide.

“Oh, wow.”

Color—brighter, more saturated, unrestrained—paints the sky with the morning’s zeal and renders her speechless.

From the top of a mountain, bright bursts of pink and indigo pierce the clouds, the first rays of light pushing them through, underpainting everything in fiery orange hues. Everything burns, its vibrancy like shattered jewels scattered across the heavens, and she wavers again, though this time it’s not from fatigue.

“It’s beautiful,” she breathes.

“Yes.” But he’s not looking at the sky.

The honesty in his tone pulls a shy smile from her lips, and she glances back at him over her shoulder. “Why are we here?”

Eyes that blaze like the sun turn to the scene before them. His cheeks are flushed with the morning coolness, a lighter pink than the vivid shade brought by daybreak. But it is no less beautiful, no less meaningful, and she watches the rise and fall of his chest as he inhales and then slowly lets out his breath.

“New beginnings.” His voice is quiet, as if unwilling to disturb the emerging morning.

She furrows her brow, but then he’s reaching into his kimono, searching for something. “Sesshoumaru?”

There’s a small smile on his face as his hand abandons his sleeve, and a small, delicate ring emerges pinched between his fingertips.

Her jaw drops, and she shakes her head, not quite believing what she’s seeing. “What…how?”

He comes closer, takes her hand. His fingers glide along hers, coaxing them to stretch out. “You said it was a tradition from your time.”

Tears prick behind her eyes, and Kagome unfurls for him, swallowing back emotion as he sets the thin, silvery band at the tip of her fourth finger. “How did you—”

“Allow me some secrets.”

Another smile.

Choking on her tears, she laughs, and he slides the band into place.

He doesn’t really ask, and she never really says yes, but for them it’s enough, and understanding has never been particularly verbal between them anyway.

“It fits,” she says, and the light catches the stone, scattering the moment across her skin.

His hands close over hers. “It fits.”

Then she begins to smile. Brighter, wider than she has before, it splits her face, blue eyes sparkling under its brilliance as the sun just finishes coming up over the horizon.

And when, laughing and crying, she flings herself into his arms, he catches her.