AN: here's the epilogue I sorta promised - to tie off those loose ends you all wanted to know about. Last chapter!!!! Longer than the average chapter to make up for the time it took to write ^_^;; Sorry about that ^_^

Soul Exchange


A Wedding

"I look stupid..."

"You look fine."

"I look like a twat."

"No, you look like a King." Inuyasha's mother admonished. "Though that doesn't make you any less of a t-"

"Mom!" Inuyasha stared at her in shock.

"Temperamental, neurotic head case." His mother finished with a placid smile. She stepped back and looked him up and down critically. "Hm... well... it's the best I can do..."

"Thank god I only have to wear this once." Inuyasha tugged at his collar.

Lady Inu smacked his hand away. "Stop it, you'll mess it up again." She brushed down his formal jacket before moving her hands up to tug at his face.


"Where on earth did you get those awful bags?" Lady Inu peered at him. Actually, standing back and looking at him she could see that Inuyasha didn't look at all that well and healthy as he usually did. If the bags under his eyes were any indication, he hadn't been getting enough sleep lately. He was literally swaying slightly as he stood before her, eyes half closed and an unfocused gaze trained on the floor behind her.

Inuyasha was about to answer her question when a yawn interrupted him and he lifted a hand to stifle it.

"You better not do that during the wedding." His mother told him sternly. "That'll look good won't it - halfway through saying the vows and you break off to yawn. As if you wouldn't look bored enough already."

"I'm not bored..." he rubbed his right eye. "Just tired..."

"And why would that be? What have you been doing all night?" she demanded. "What's your problem? There's nothing to stress over anymore - Sesshomaru is holding off for the time being, Naraku is now a scattering of fertiliser dust on my tulips and Kouga got bored and wondered off to god knows where - hopefully off a cliff."

Inuyasha stifled another yawn.

"Knowing you, you've probably scraped the bottom of the barrel to find something trivial to worry over." She rolled her eyes and folded her arms. "You haven't been worrying about the wedding have you?"

Inuyasha scrunched his face up to show what he thought of that idea. "Like hell."

"Now there's something new. I thought you were against the whole idea of a wedding at first." His mother started plucking at his hair, trying to set it straight.

"Well I changed my mind. It won't be as bad as I thought..." he shrugged, pushing his mother's hands away irritably. He looked down at himself. "Hell... everyone's gonna be staring at me..."

"No - everyone's going to be watching our little bride." Lady Inu beamed. "She'll be the more beautiful one there."

"I guess..." Inuyasha grumbled.

His mother rolled her eyes. "Oh don't look too depressed." She told him flatly. "It's not the end of the world!"

"I guess..."

She rolled her eyes again at his obvious boredom. She sighed and turned towards the door to leave. "I better go see how our little bride is doing."

"I guess..." Inuyasha yawned as she walked out and slumped back onto his bed. Ok... maybe he could get a bit of shut eye before the ceremony...


"Up or down?" Kagome queried Sango who stood over her as she pushed her hair into various styles. "What do you think?"

"Up, of course." Sango told her around the pins she held between her lips. "Now would you keep still, this is easier to do on Kiroi..."

"Sorry..." Kagome muttered and tried to stop fidgeting as Sango carried on manipulating her hair. But she couldn't contain it for long before she broke out into a happy squeal. "I can't believe it! I'm so excited! I don't think I've ever been so happy in my life!"

"Really?" Sango smiled at her enthusiasm.

"Aren't you happy?!" Kagome tried to turn and see her but Sango pushed her firmly back into an upright sitting position, facing the wall.

"Of course I'm happy..." Sango shrugged. "It's just I guess it was inevitable. It's not such a surprise for me."

"Inevitable?" Kagome echoed and smiled when she heard Sango laugh.

The door slid open and Lady Inu entered with an ill concealed grin. "So... how's my bride?"

Sango looked up smiled back. "She's great!"

"And so excited." Kagome nudged Sango.

"You go get ready Sango, I'll finish off with Kagome." Lady Inu waved the girl off.

"Ok then, see you at the ceremony, Kagome." Sango patted her shoulder and walked off, closing the door behind her.

"Have you seen Inuyasha yet?" Kagome asked as Lady Inu took over Sango's work on her hair.

"Yes." Lady Inu said lightly.

"And...?" Kagome pressed for more details than just a one word answer.

"He's fine."

"Ok..." Kagome frowned slightly and looked down into her lap.

After a moment's quiet Lady Inu sighed. "He's tired, Kagome. I don't think he's been getting enough sleep recently. You wouldn't have anything to do with that would you...?"

"Unfortunately... no..." Kagome blushed slightly. "Why do you think he hasn't been sleeping?"

"I don't know... worrying about some trivial dribble I suppose..." Lady Inu snagged a knot in Kagome's hair, making her hiss in pain. "Sorry! Anyway... I think all he needs is a healthy dose of Kagome and he'll be ok..."

"It doesn't work that way anymore." Kagome mumbled.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Lady Inu paused her work.

"Nothing." Kagome brightened. "So do you think Miroku will show up today?"

"He might." Lady Inu laughed and stood back suddenly as she finished putting the final touches to her hair. "There you go... you look stunning!"

"Thanks..." Kagome moved to touch her hair.

"But don't touch it or you'll look disgusting." Lady Inu told her sharply with an affectionate smile, making Kagome drop her hand at once. "Well... you go get your clothes and I'll go make sure Sango is getting ready too..."

"Ok!" Kagome said cheerfully and toddled off to find the seamstress.


"This isn't exactly what I'd call traditional, but I suppose it will do..." Miroku said, looking over the loitering guests around the repaired throne room.

"Sorry we couldn't get the belly dancing elephants like you expected." Inuyasha told him dryly. "We're not humans, Miroku, we don't do weddings the usual way."

"Over on the mainland only close relations attend the actual ceremony." Miroku told him as he adjusted the neckline of his black kimono slightly. "We're running short on family these days..."

"Well... I got my mom..." Inuyasha stifled another yawn.

"Oh that's ok then. We have your mother!" Miroku sighed, somewhat sarcastically.

"Slightly touchy today aren't we?" Inuyasha raised an eyebrow at him.

"I'm fine... just remember your lines and we'll all be ok." Miroku patted his shoulder and wondered off.

Inuyasha sniffed slightly and walked backwards until he all but collapsed into his chair (a new throne since the old one got obliterated). He started trying to remember his vows in his head... it was so easy to forget! "Kami bless this... union... of souls... and... uh..."

"My lord - we've run out of Shiitake mushrooms."

"And Kami bless us with more... mushrooms..." Inuyasha skewed a glance at the approaching advisors... well this ought to be good. "What do you want now?" he demanded as they arrived before him.

"We've run out of Shiitake." One the of the men gushed straight away.

"Then get some more." Was the simple solution.

"But there is no more-"

"Then we'll do without the mushrooms." Inuyasha shrugged.

"And may I also add, your highness, that the wolf leader Kouga is waiting outside to see Miss Kagome." The second advisor jumped in with the second problem. "What should we do?"

"Don't do anything - don't open the gate." Inuyasha told him shortly.

"But... we already let him in." the advisor winced.

"Oh for crying out... ok... just distract him until the ceremony is over - I don't want him screwing this up." Inuyasha snapped. "And in future - NEVER let him in - you see him coming and you close that gate close so fast he'll be like a bug on a fly swot."

"But he can just jump over it..." the third advisor pointed out. "Can't he?"

Inuyasha stared at him before pulling a face. "I'm very tired... leave me alone..." that was his excuse for his slip ups, and he was sticking to it.

"And there's also that problem with the financial crisis of the western towns fishing industry and-"

"We're in the middle of a wedding - that can wait!" Inuyasha snapped, slapping a hand down on the arm rest beside him. "Get lost and bug me later, I'm busy."

He didn't look particularly busy, sitting in his throne and staring off into space... but they decided to take his word for it and scuttled off to find out more problems to trouble the king with later on.

He didn't get much of a chance to revise his lines either, as it was only a few seconds before Lady Inu entered and made a gesture for everyone to find their seats as music started playing behind Inuyasha... He groaned inwardly. The guests split themselves into two sides of the room, sitting facing each other. One side of guests acquainted with the bride, and the other with the bridegroom.

Lady Inu sat herself down on the bride's side of the congregation. She darted Inuyasha a quick look before mouthing the word 'smile!' and grinning broadly to demonstrate. He returned her look with a blank one before finally pushing himself to his feet so at least he was standing before the ceremony.

Any minute now... where was Kagome...?

The door opened and everyone glanced over with a hushed gasp as Kagome poked her head around the door. She winced as she saw everyone staring at her. "Sorry!" she whispered.

There was a collective sigh of disappointment and Inuyasha rolled his eyes as the human girl quickly closed the door behind her and hurried to join Lady Inu's side in the gathered guests. Late as usual... now where was the happy couple?

They weren't kept waiting long before the doors were pulled back slowly by hand maids in pretty peach coloured kimonos. This time everyone 'aww'ed and rose to their feet in respect upon seeing Sango stood there, beaming like a mad thing, with her arm linked with Miroku's, looking very proud indeed.

Lady Inu was crying already.

Inuyasha couldn't help but smile slightly to see how happy Sango seemed with Miroku... no... he wasn't opposed to this wedding anymore.

The music changed to a different melody and Miroku began leading Sango into the throne room, down the clear division between the guests. At once Inuyasha shifted nervously, he just knew he was going to screw up the whole thing. They hadn't been able to get a Shinto priest, in fact the only person closest to that would have been Miroku... and he wasn't technically allowed to marry himself to Sango like that.

So it had been Kagome's brainy idea for Inuyasha to do the joining, seeing as he was king and all...

Sango sent Lady Inu and Kagome a grin and a wave as she passed by, looking like she half wanted to stop and chatter on about the best day of her life - but Miroku wouldn't let her and kept them moving until they arrived before Inuyasha.

The music stopped and Inuyasha's mind went blank. What was he supposed to do again? He darted a glance between the pair and saw them watching him with anticipation while the guests in the background continued to watch the couple.

Something about... blessing, wasn't it? "Uh..." he drew himself up and gave them both a good impression of his usual smile. "By the power of Kami, may you both be blessed and..." he broke off as a yawn fought it's way to the surface. He had to raise a hand a stifle it as he heard his mother groan loudly from the audience while Sango looked like she was about to kill him with a death glare. He quickly dropped his hand and tried to look awake again.

"By the power of Kami may you both be blessed." Inuyasha repeated, a little more quickly than before. "And may you both find new love, happiness and devotion towards one another as fresh as the spring season we enter. Emphasis on DEVOTION." Inuyasha shot Mir0ku a pointed look who rolled his eyes.

Lady Inu shook her head and gave a small strangled sound in her throat. Kagome cocked her head with a frown before whispering. "I'm sure those aren't the traditional verses..."

"Anyway - god bless ya both and may you grow old and... dandle brats on your knees and... so on so forth..." Inuyasha waved his hands in a vague manner. "Both be happy basically. Now you go." He patted Miroku on the shoulder as he stepped down from the throne and headed to stand between his mother and Kagome.

"Now you go?" Miroku echoed quietly, shaking his head in disbelief. Inuyasha received a hard jab in the ribs from his mother's elbow, while Kagome clamped a hand over her mouth to keep her giggles silent.

Miroku turned to take Sango's hands in his own and gazed lovingly down on her. She smiled back, squeezing his hands to encourage him. "Sango... I know in the past that my actions may have seemed without love and with desertion... but I promise to you before all these witnesses that from the minute I held you in my arms I never stopped loving you..."

Kagome strained to hear what was being said, like Lady Inu. Miroku was speaking so quietly that really only the Inu Youkai could hear. But whatever he was saying, it looked like it was sweet.

"From now on every step I take away from you, it will only increase my desire to be closer to you." Miroku could see Sango was finding it difficult to keep the tears at bay. "Every time I sleep I want it to be by your side, and every time I breathe I want to breathe in your warmth and purity."

Inuyasha's hand went up to rub his eyes. "I think I have something in my eye."

Kagome glanced up at him with a coy smile. "Aw, you big baby."

"No really - it hurts!" he whispered back, his eyes watering. "I think it's an eyelash..."

Miroku finished his vows to Sango, and they sealed it with a quick chaste kiss. The few Miko in red and white robes stepped forward and handed the bride and groom small dishes of sake to drink in order to bring the ceremony to a close.

The serious part of the ceremony was over and the guests broke out in quiet cheerful chatter as they watched Sango delicately sip at the liquid, followed by Miroku. Inuyasha finally managed to rid himself of that pesky eyelash and looked up to see what was going on.

When he felt Kagome's hand slide innocently into his own he glanced down at her in surprise. She wasn't watching him though, she was watching Miroku and Sango finish up. He quickly returned his own gaze back to the newly wed couple and tightened his grip somewhat around her hand, feeling her squeeze back.

Miroku took the last ninth sip of the sake and gave the dish back to the Miko by his side. The whole room burst out into applause and Sango seemed unable to contain herself any longer as she threw her arms around Miroku's neck and hugged him tightly.

Inuyasha and Kagome had to drop hands in favour of applauding along with everyone else.

Suddenly a late arrival came storming through the doors, halting all applause rather quickly. "I oppose this marriage!"

Everyone turned like a Mexican wave towards the doors, and Kagome couldn't help but gasp. "Kouga!"

Inuyasha spun around shortly and glared heatedly at the wolf. Hadn't he told his advisors to keep that moron occupied?

"Why do you oppose the marriage?" Lady Inu asked reasonably through the quiet of the room.

"Kagome is MY mate - not that mongrel dog-turd's!" Kouga snapped angrily.

"Careful, wolf, that's treason. You could be done in for that." Inuyasha snapped shortly, bringing Kouga's attention towards him. He then also spotted Kagome standing beside Inuyasha, looking rather surprised. He jerked his gaze to the front of the hall where Miroku and Sango stood looking mildly surprised at the interruption.

Wrong wedding...! Kouga snapped his fingers in realisation before breaking out into a grin and waving as he turned back to the doors. "Never mind then! Till next time!" he mooched off happily.

"I don't believe that pompous little windbag..." Kagome muttered.

Well, the interruption was forgotten quickly as applause broke out again, directed at the newly weds. People moved forward to congratulate them, Lady Inu among one of the first to embrace Sango - and Miroku as her new son-in-law. Inuyasha was about to go join his mother when he noticed Kagome wasn't with him.

He looked around for a moment, trying to see where she'd gone in the crowd... but she wasn't in the hall anymore. He noticed the open doors of the throne room and scowled... how much did he want to bet that she'd gone to see Kouga?

Well... only one way to find out.

He separated himself from the crowd and slipped out the open doors and followed his nose in the most recent path Kagome seemed to have taken. He didn't have to go far until he heard quiet, hushed tones being spoken around a corner.

Inuyasha stopped out of sight and listened.

"Kouga... you have to stop this..." he heard Kagome sigh with a frustrated tone.

"I can't Kagome - you're mine - I found you first-"

"That has nothing to do with it! Who found who first doesn't matter!" she snapped.

"I have a claim on you he should respect! I won't give up on that!" Kouga persisted.

"Kouga... it's like you gave up on me once, but then again, it's like you won't give up at all! I thought you'd accepted this - I'm not going home with you - my home is here now! Why can't you understand that?!"

"Because you can do so much better than this guy - you can do me!"

"Kouga!" Inuyasha heard Kagome stamp her foot in anguish. "Are you even listening to me! You and I are through! You left me in the lurch to go chase a war rather than stay and honour my sacrifice to save your life! I'll never forget that! Inuyasha would never do anything like that to me!"

"How can you be so sure he won't?" Kouga said quietly.

"Because Inuyasha is better than you and me..." Kagome answered in an equally quiet tone. "Now stop coming here - you know how antsy Inuyasha gets when you come around - and I have a hard time trying to convince him that you aren't coming for secret lover meetings with me."

Kouga started in a new slick tone that had Inuyasha's hackles raising. "You know, we could always make these meetings little-"

"Drop that tone this minute!" Kagome snapped at once. "Do you know how much Inuyasha hates me because of what Naraku and Sesshomaru put us through - I do NOT need you messing up my chances to mend our relationship!"

"What relationship?" Kouga demanded. "So you admit there is something going on?"

"I don't know!" the sound of pacing footsteps could be heard. "Right now there's nothing... not since... he won't... I mean, that is if... uh..."

A few beats of silence passed before Kagome cleared her throat, obviously having been on the verge of getting emotionally. "The way I see it is that all my problems come from you Kouga - if you hadn't abandoned me then I would never have hurt Inuyasha!"

"If I'd never abandoned you, you would be mated to me - not him!" Kouga retorted.

"You don't know that..." Kagome sighed. "And I'm not mated to Inuyasha. But look... you and me weren't meant to be together... so I think it's best that you just go and don't come back, yeah?"

There was another silent stretch before Kouga spoke. "But don't be so sure that you and Inuyasha were perfect for one another... you'll see."

"Kouga, just go." Kagome responded huffily. "Before I loose my temper with you. I like you Kouga, but you make me so angry sometimes that I swear I might have to hurt you."

Inuyasha heard Kouga give a very arrogant like snort. "Fine, be that way. I was only trying to give you a better life than this war zone."

"This is a good life thank you very much." She snapped back. "Good food, nice sleeping arrangements, friends... I'm happy where I am. You don't need to help me."

"Have it your way." Kouga's retreating footsteps could be heard. "But remember - one little mistake - one little dainty foot wrong and the bastard will throw you out of here so fast you'll get whiplash."

"I know..." Kagome muttered quietly.

"So you better not tell him you were talking to me just now - he might take it wrong." Kouga laughed and turned down another corridor, out of Kagome's sight and out of Inuyasha's range.

He waited for a moment... waited for Kagome to walk off now that the conversation was over. But it was very quiet, and he couldn't hear any footsteps walking away. Was she still there? Or had she left without him noticing?

Just to make sure and pushed away from the wall he was leaning against and stepped out into the junction of the corridors, looking down the hall which Kagome and Kouga had been conversing in. She was still there... leaning against the wall, crumpled on the floor with her hands pressed tightly to her face with her shoulders shaking silently.

She was either laughing or crying... and considering the circumstances weren't so humorous, he was willing to reckon she was crying. It had the same affect on him as though his mother was crying... he felt like a monster, and that somehow it was his fault.

"Kagome." He called her name and saw her jump as he startled her. She snapped her head up to see him and at once he realised he'd been right... her cheeks were wet and she look slightly red.

She stared at him for a moment, trying to battle back the tears and pretend everything was alright. She didn't like to cry in front of him... the last thing she wanted was for him to see her as a mopey little cry baby. But she failed and she dropped her head back in her hands as small quiet sobs wracked her frame. "Snap..."

"What?" he frowned at her in confusion.

"There goes... my rubber band theory..." Kagome sniffled into her hands. "I knew it was going to good to be true..."

Inuyasha still didn't seem to know what the heck she was on about, given his puzzled expression. Kagome looked back up at him and tugged her sleeves over her fists to wipe her eyes. "My theory... things were going great... you decided to stay... I found my money purse that I lost..."

"You mean my money purse?"

"Don't make it worse!" Kagome snapped, though her voice shook. "I found the money and then Sango and Miroku decided to get married sooner rather than later - I'm maid of honour - and SNAP! The day they marry and everything seems perfect Kouga turns up with his 'you're MY woman' routine and then you come and now you're gonna kick me out because I was talking to him... and... I should have known you didn't trust me..."


"That's just like you isn't it!" she suddenly jumped to her feet to point an accusing finger at him. "You were SO ready to believe I'd betray you again - SO eager to think me and Kouga had a thing!"

"Kagome will you just calm down for one fucking moment?" Inuyasha snapped his fingers before her face to get her to shut up. "I don't care what you think I think, but I don't think that you're seeing Kouga behind my back."

"Ya think?" Kagome carefully tried to wipe the tears from her face without smudging the make-up (a bit late for that Kagome).

"It's obvious the guy bugs you..." Inuyasha cocked his head to the side. "You gonna come back to the wedding now?"

"It's over isn't it?" Kagome blinked.

"Well... there's still the party after to go to." Inuyasha winced slightly... he was in no mood to party considering he felt dead on his feet.

Suddenly Kagome burst out crying again.

"What?" Inuyasha jumped as fresh tears rolled down her face.

"They're married!" Kagome said in a shrilly voice. "I'm so... *sob*... happy for them!"

"If it's not one thing it's another, isn't it?" Inuyasha sighed and slipped an arm around her shoulders to pull her into his side in a comforting fashion. "Don't sweat it."

"I'm not sweating anything - just crying." She sniffed.

"Come on." Inuyasha started walking in the direction of the throne room again. Suddenly he stopped and looked around to make sure no one was around before leaning down and whispering in Kagome's ear. "You up for another round tonight?"

Kagome pulled a reluctant frown. "I can't... I have to look after Fushi."

"Why?" Inuyasha scowled.

"It's Miroku and Sango's wedding night." Kagome pointed out bluntly. "They obviously don't want a baby around when they s-"

"Alright, alright." Inuyasha said quickly.

"Secure their marital vows. Consummate the relationship. Again. Sex each other up. Am I making you uncomfortable yet?"

"Hardly." Inuyasha snorted. "Anyway - why don't you give Fushi to Mom."

"That's sorta cheating on my role of trustworthy friend to Sango." Kagome said seriously. "I'm not sure Lady Inu would appreciate it either."

"Oh no, she'd love it! Babies make her feel like a valued mother - something she won't get often." Inuyasha squeezed her shoulder. "Go on. Give Fushi to Mom tonight then we'll have ourselves to ourselves."

"Alright." Kagome gave in with a resigned sigh. "Same time as usual?"

"Hour of the tiger." He nodded.

Kagome watched him. "Inuyasha, are you sure about this? You look wiped out... I think I'm wearing you out here..."

"Never!" Inuyasha straightened and forced himself to look alert and awake, despite the little baggies under his eyes. "I have WAY more stamina than you."

"Then how come you have garbage carts under your eyes and I haven't?" she grinned.

"Because..." he fought for an excuse. "You get to sleep in on the mornings - I have to get up early. Hah!"

"But still... maybe you need to take it easy tonight." Kagome raised an eyebrow as he turned away in a very poor attempt to hide a yawn.

(It's funny, every time I write 'yawn' I actually yawn myself)

"Nah, I'm good." He turned back and gave her an affectionate push in the direction of the throne room. "Go on, don't want to miss the party do you?"

"Aren't you coming?" she asked, seeing he was making no move to follow her.

"I think I'll just go... check my eyelids for holes..."

"You mean, sleep?"

"Yeah." He nodded and wondered off.

Kagome smiled to herself and quickly trotted back in the direction of the throne room.


"God... I am exhausted..." Kagome muttered as she threw open the door to Inuyasha's room.

Inuyasha sat up bolt upright on his bed. "I'm awake!"

"Good evening, sleepy head." she smiled and closed the door a little more quietly than before. She padded over to the bed in her socks and leaned against one of the posts.

"What time is it?" Inuyasha slurred, slumping slightly to rub his face.

"Hour of the tiger."

"Really?" Inuyasha peered at her. "I didn't plan to sleep that late..."

"Don't worry about it." Kagome smiled. "The party's still going on - Fushi's being watched by your mother and Sango and Miroku snuck off a little while ago."

"You sure we won't get interrupted?" Inuyasha yawned and stretched until his bones cracked. He slipped off the bed and clung to a post for support.

"Not this time." Kagome looked at him with concern. "Inuyasha, I really think we should give it a rest tonight... it's killing you to stand!"

"I'm fine!" he protested.

He suddenly grabbed her by the shoulders and marched her across the room to force her to sit down in a plain chair situated beside an old desk. "Now. Write your name in Hiragana like we practised, ok?" he pointed to the ink brush beside an ink block and pile of flat paper scrolls.

"But we did that last time - I want to move onto Kanji tonight - you said we could!" Kagome protested.

"But it's difficult, Kagome. You write at a seven year old level." He pointed out.

"Maybe compared to you nobles!" Kagome huffed. "I know how to do katakana and hiragana - let's move on!"

He sighed and gave in, really in no real state to argue with her. "Fine, do you know any kanji now?"

"A little." She shrugged.

Inuyasha pulled up another chair and sat down beside her. "Show me."

Lots of nagging, dictating and ink fights later, Kagome sat back and picked up the scroll she'd been writing on. She absently wiped at an ink splash Inuyasha had put on her face before handing the scroll to him. "How's that?"

He held the scroll up in one hand while employing the other in propping his chin up. "Beautiful characters... except it says 'The rain in autumn falls mainly on the Chinchillas'." He skewered her a glance. "Nice..."

"Well what's the kanji for mountains?" she asked.

Inuyasha took her brush and pulled another scroll towards him. He was about to quickly dash out the word on the paper... but his eyes wouldn't focus correctly, and he blinked for a moment, trying to set it right.

Kagome darted a glance between him and the scroll before him. He didn't look too good... With a sigh she reached over and plucked the brush from his grip. "Let's leave it for tonight."

"But we've barely even scratched the surface!" he protested.

"That's ok - we have plenty of time to do this later." She was standing and helping him to stand up as well. "We'll squeeze some time into your busy schedule, your highness."

"The only spare time I have is at night." He muttered thickly.

"Yes, but that time should be taken up by catching some sleep." Kagome guided him towards the bed. "I think we should put these midnight writing lessons on hold."

"Your loss." He sighed as she ushered him into the bed, holding the covers up so he could slide underneath. Once he was settled down she tucked the blankets around him flipped a few bangs of his hair aside, smiling when she saw him drifting off already.

"Sweet dreams." She turned and started to head for the door - or would have if his hand hadn't snapped out to grab her by her waist sash and yank her back down onto the bed. She yelped in surprise and landed stiffly by his side, eyes wide in shock when his arm looped around her waist and dragged her precious inches closer.

"I-Inuyasha?" she stammered.

"You can stay here tonight." He responded without opening his eyes.

"But - I have my own bed - it's ok." She rushed to say.


"So..." Kagome pondered for an excuse. "I'm slightly cold here like this."

Inuyasha cracked half an eye open as he proceeded to pull the blankets back to allow her to get underneath. When she didn't take the initiative to get in, he sighed and dragged her underneath and covered them both up again. "Better?"

Kagome stared at him as he began to settle down to sleep again. "Aren't you worried I'll stab you in the back while you sleep?" she asked, a little pointedly.

Inuyasha gave a small barely perceivable shrug. "Then I'd stab you right back, what's your point?" he pulled her closer, vaguely wishing she would just relax and warm up. "Just go to sleep, it's late.

Kagome kept quiet, but didn't relax any. After a moment she twisted in an effort to see him. "Inuyasha, you-" she stopped herself short when she realised he'd slipped off into the land of nod already. She bit her lip to keep quiet and... since he wasn't awake to know... she shuffled closer and leaned her head against his chest. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, savouring the smell of male musk and pine forest that seemed to emanate off him.

Finally, she allowed herself to relax enough to enjoy the situation. She rarely had much of a chance to be alone with Inuyasha over the past month or so. He was always busy during the day unless he actually made time to be with her... and he didn't really make the effort to do that. Instead she'd had to settle for these late sessions, in which she'd managed to talk him into teaching her how to do calligraphy.

He never really let her get as close as they were now...

Either he was too tired to realise... or he was beginning to forgive her. Kagome sighed deeply, feeling frustrated and angry at herself... but at the same time happy that she was getting somewhere with him.

From her point of view, what she'd done had in no way been her fault. She'd done her best to protect him... but she wasn't as strong as Inuyasha... she hadn't been able to defend him and herself from such strong forces like Naraku and Sesshomaru.

But from Inuyasha's point of view, what she'd done was unforgivable. In all truth, he had no reason to give her a third chance. The only thing he had to go on was her word that she hadn't meant to hurt him... and her word was only that. Just words...

It was good of him to give her the chance to redeem herself... she couldn't begin to express how glad she was that he'd decided to stay. She really wasn't sure what she would have done with herself if he'd upped and left. Drown herself in the lake maybe...?

But that didn't matter. He was here with her, and that was all that mattered.

She smiled when she felt his arms tighten around her waist, pulling her closer and tucking her head under his chin in his sleep.

He may not trust her completely yet... but she had a life time to make it up to him. That was time enough to break the ice around his heart again...

AN: There. All done ^_^ Now remember to review and tell me what you think.