Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha & Co. They belong to Rumiko Takahashi. However, Kohana, Toshiro and Miki are mine, so please don't use them without asking me first.

New Beginnings

Chapter 11 - The Showdown

south meets west in a battle to end all battles

Toshiro narrowly dodged Sesshomaru's impromptu attack. He leapt away gracefully and turned an icy stare on the dog demon. "You are willing to condemn the miko to a slow and painful death, then." Sesshomaru's answer was an angry snarl and another lunge at the panther.

"This Sesshomaru will kill you today." He said, a furious growl infused with his voice. Sesshomaru's claws were dripping deadly poison, which had responded to his anger. With a speed that bordered on impossible, the two demon lords flew at each other, meeting in a tangle of claws and snarls. Toshiro paid no heed to the poison burning his skin as he slashed at Sesshomaru's chest, breaking through the bone armor. Sesshomaru jumped back and released a bright whip of poison and energy that sliced through Toshiro's thigh.

The panther demon hissed as he felt the poison flow through his bloodstream. Then with a smug look, he pulled out a small bright pink stone and clenched it in his hand. Sesshomaru stared impassively at the other demon. Soon Toshiro's body was completely cleaned of Sesshomaru's poison. "Your poison does not affect me, mutt." He held up the pink glowing stone. "This is complementary of your little miko." Toshiro sneered. " 'Know thy enemy.' I didn't really think you would sacrifice your lands for a human bitch."

Sesshomaru's eyes glinted dangerously. "You should watch your tongue, or I shall cut it out for you!" The taiyoukai let his anger swarm over him, his youki expanding at an alarming rate. Toshiro took an involuntary step back at the extent of Sesshomaru's power. "You think you are a match for ME? The son of the great InuTaisho? The Lord of the Western Lands?" Sesshomaru's voice boomed furiously, his power still rising. "You are nothing but an insignificant speck. A nuisance that I would gladly rid this world of." He took a step towards the stunned panther. Sesshomaru's youki was beyond anything Toshiro had ever experienced before and it was still expanding.

Toshiro took another step back as Sesshomaru advanced, his eyes gleaming crimson. 'I was a fool to think I could match his power. But now… it's time to play dirty…' The panther demon gathered his own youki and it swirled around him. In moment a huge black panther was snarling down at Sesshomaru, who continued striding forwards as though nothing had changed. Toshiro pounced at Sesshomaru, slashing with his razor sharp claws. However, he hit only air. Toshiro hissed and spun around to see Sesshomaru standing calmly behind him.

"You are no match for this Sesshomaru." And he jumped up and scored Toshiro's back with his claws, the cuts left behind gleaming with poison. Sesshomaru landed back behind Toshiro and he looked impassively at something in his hand. Toshiro screamed in agony as the poison entered his bloodstream. He turned furiously and glared at Sesshomaru, who held up the pink stone. "You should be more careful with your belongings, Toshiro."

A familiar sounding scream rang out, distracting Sesshomaru for a mere instant of time. But in those few seconds, Toshiro leapt at the other demon and bit down on his shoulder, breaking through the armor easily. Sesshomaru gasped in pain and surprise before ramming his hand into Toshiro's eye, causing the panther to jump back and paw at his eye in agony. Sesshomaru held his crushed shoulder and glared murder at Toshiro.

Kagome screamed as Horace clawed at Kohana, his talons raking across her chest and tossing her away from the miko. Miki snarled, the angry look foreign on his face and he shot a blast of pure white power at the hawk. However Horace dodged and jumped up to land behind Kagome. He grabbed her around the neck and pressed his talon-like claws to her throat. "Not another move." He rasped in Kagome's ear.

Miki froze where he was and glanced at the fallen Kohana, who was bleeding profusely from her chest wounds, but had her head raised and was glaring heatedly at Horace. Tears coursed down Kagome's face as she saw Kohana. An audible crack sounded through the air as something snapped deep within Kagome. Her rage knew no boundaries and she glowed a light pink in her anger.

"I am sick and tired of people pushing me around and threatening my life and the life of my friends." Kagome rammed an elbow into Horace's stomach, surprising the hawk into letting her go with the force of it. "I am through with constantly being the burden." She spun around to face him, glowing even more brilliantly, furious power danced along her features, crackling like lightening along the ground. "I will not stand for this a moment longer. You have no control over me, youkai. I will end this now." Horace smirked at Kagome's words, yet inwardly he quivered in fear.

"Go ahead and try… girly." Horace's sneer turned into surprise and Kagome lifted her hand and a dangerous bright dagger of power formed in her hand. He barely dodged her quick attack, the girl's speed had certainly been enhanced from her powers. Horace jumped away from the enraged miko. As he landed, the hawk felt the sting of an injury in his side and looked down. Horace was alarmed to see the gaping wound on his abdomen, faintly glowing with purification, causing his entire body to ache with every beat of his heart.

"Miki." Kagome said abruptly, not moving her gaze from the hawk's. "Please get Kohana out of here." The celestial gave a sound of confirmation and rushed off to the other youkai and picked her up. He looked one last time at Kagome before rushing off into the surrounding forest. Then Kagome smiled nastily at Horace, her power glowing even brighter, forcing the demon to look away for fear of getting blinded from the brilliance of it. The chi dagger in her hand dissipated back into pure energy and Kagome spread her arms wide as her power overflowed from her. The blinding white aura licked at her limbs and at the ground around her like fire. Horace found himself unable to move as he stared, transfixed at the brightness of Kagome's power.

Kagome stared straight at Horace, her blue eyes a milky white from her power. "You will never harm another living being again. I will make sure of that." Her voice fairly radiated with power and authority, leaving the hawk demon shivering involuntarily. A glowing white dome spread from Kagome, enveloping Horace and purifying him completely before he even had the chance to scream. The energy extended throughout the entire castle, flowing over everything in sight. Flowers and other plant life bloomed spectacularly, while the evil residents of the castle vanished without a trace. Within seconds, Toshiro's castle had been transformed from a dwelling of evil and corruption, into a palace of stunning beauty. After the light retreated, Kagome fell to the ground motionless. Her face as pale as moonlight.

Sesshomaru shielded his eyes with an arm as the light covered the castle. Fortunately for the two battling demons, the dome of purification halted mere inches from their battlefield. As the light faded, Sesshomaru smirked at the panther. "You are mine." And as the threat to Kagome no longer existed, he was free to unleash his full power. Youki swirled up in great bursts from Sesshomaru as he transformed. Within seconds, in his place stood a gigantic regal white dog. He towered over the panther and snarled menacingly. 'It's over…' he growled. Sesshomaru sprung at Toshiro, locking his huge jaws around Toshiro's throat. The panther thrashed wildly, scratching at the great white dog with his sharp claws. But it was to no effect. Sesshomaru was immovable and Toshiro was soon seeing black around the edges of his vision. Mere moments later, the evil demon went limp and Sesshomaru could smell the life leaving Toshiro's body. He finally released the panther and reverted into his humanoid form. Sesshomaru stared impassively as Toshiro's body disintegrated into the wind. He turned and walked slowly towards where Kagome's scent came from. Wounds covered his back and were dripping blood, but the Western Lord paid it no mind. He was accustomed to pain.

As Sesshomaru grew closer to Kagome, he felt his chest constrict painfully with a strange emotion akin to dread. Her scent was off, almost as if she were… "No!" A hoarse rasp burst from Sesshomaru's lips and he broke into a run. Skidding to a halt besides the fallen miko, Sesshomaru grasped Kagome's hand between his own. "Kagome! Kagome, please… open your eyes…"

Kagome's eyes fluttered open and she gazed wearily at Sesshomaru. "Hi…" she said weakly, exerting a slight pressure on his hand with her fingers. She took a shuddering breath. "That one took a lot of me." She smiled faintly.

To Sesshomaru's eternal surprise, he felt an emotion that he hadn't felt since his mother's death. His eyes misted over at the thought of losing Kagome. "Kagome…" he choked out as he gathered her limp body to his chest. "Don't speak… you must conserve your strength. I swear that everything will be fine." Even as the words left his mouth, deep down, Sesshomaru knew that Kagome had expended too much energy with her last attack. A single tear slid down his dirty cheek as he felt the life beginning to leave Kagome. Suddenly hope flooded back into him. 'There is something that I can do!'

"Kagome… stay with me a little longer…" He placed his palm on her cheek, almost flinching at the cold that radiated from her skin. "You must trust me."

Kagome laughed softly. "I trust you Sesshomaru… You should know that by now. I…" She grimaced with the effort it took to speak. "I love you."

For the first time since before his mother's death, a true smile split Sesshomaru's lips. If he had been handsome before, it was nothing to the way the smile transformed his face. Kagome's breath shuddered at the raw emotion in his eyes. Sesshomaru pressed his lips to her gently. "I love you as well, Kagome." Tears leaked from the corners of Kagome's eyes at his words. She had been waiting so long for those words, though she would never have expected them to come from Sesshomaru.

The dog demon held his own wrist up to his mouth and tore it open with his fangs. "Kagome… you must drink this." Sesshomaru held his bleeding wrist up to Kagome's lips and she tentatively took in his blood, grimacing at the coppery taste. Sesshomaru hoped with every inch of his soul that Kagome's spiritual powers did not reject his blood. It was the only way to save her now. Tensaiga could not restore lost energy. Pulling his wrist away, Sesshomaru used his sleeve to wipe Kagome's mouth and chin of his blood. Within seconds, his wrist had healed and he held her face between his clawed hands. Pressing his forehead to hers, Sesshomaru whispered a prayer to the spirit of his mother and father to heal Kagome, something he hadn't done in centuries.

He picked Kagome's limp form up in his arms and summoned his fastest mode of transportation. Soon, both Sesshomaru and Kagome were enveloped in a bubble of light that sped across the land faster than the eye could see. It took mere seconds for Sesshomaru to reach his fortress and get into his room. He gently placed Kagome on the bed and smoothed her hair from her forehead. He knew that it would take at least a day for his blood to kick in. Sesshomaru never even bothered to change out of his dirty and bloodstained clothing. He refused to move from her side until she woke up.

The next day, Kagome stirred from her sleep, and opened her eyes to find a disheveled dog demon fast asleep at the foot of her bed. She sat up and blinked at how… good she felt. It was as if she hadn't used all of that energy in the first place. In fact, she felt better than she ever remembered feeling. Kagome gasped as she remembered Miki and Kohana. Where were they? She hoped that they were happy, wherever they were. She smiled and placed a hand on Sesshomaru's head. He looked so peaceful. His eyes fluttered open at the touch of her hand, and his gaze went immediately to her. A beautiful smile spread across his face, and he sat up and gathered Kagome into his arms, holding her to him as if he would never let go.

"Kagome…" The way he whispered her name made something clench in Kagome's chest. She loved him so much. Sesshomaru pulled back enough to press his forehead against hers. "Will you be my life mate…?" The breath caught in Kagome's throat and she stared straight into Sesshomaru's gorgeous golden eyes. Tears filled her own and a happy grin spread across her face.

"Yes!" She cried, flinging her arms around his neck. Sesshomaru hugged her back, raising his face to the sky and silently thanking his parents for sparing Kagome.

A week or two later, Sesshomaru and Kagome traveled to his cousin's home to collect Rin and Jaken. Now that the danger had passed, they could all live as a family. Kagome received a letter from Kohana thanking her for being a great friend and for helping her to find Miki. The two of them were living in the ancestral land and were very happy. Kagome had two sons with Sesshomaru. As time passed for the happy inu family, the forms of a certain monk, slayer, kistune and hanyou could be seen in the heavens, watching over their friends.
Wow, I am so sorry to have kept that one for so long. I just felt like I couldn't get it right! And honestly, I am still now very happy with it. Perhaps when I finish with the other stories that I am working on, I will come back and edit this one, and write out a proper ending. But I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

(For the record, and this is in response to a particular reviewer, I don't write lemons. Sorry )