A/N: Well folks, here we are, the final chapter of my story. It's been so much fun writing this, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I have! You've all been the greatest readers that any author could have ever asked for. I'm announcing now that there is going to be a sequel! (Yay!) But it won't come out until after I finish Curse of the Gypsy and this Rurouni Kenshin story that I've written. Read at the end of the chapter for a preview of the sequel!
Dedication:For Chase. I hope you've found what you were looking for.
Disclaimer:Alas, I do not own Inuyasha, but I hope to one day, in the far, far future.
A Fighter's Story
Epilogue: What shall be, shall be
She saw only in shapes and shadows, barely knowing what was going on around her. She remembered the voices--not words, just voices--and she remembered being lifted and carried into a car. She remembered moving and finally slipping back into darkness again.
Now Kagome was at rest once more. Long before she opened her eyes, she could smell things around her. She could smell disinfectant and fabric softener, bad food and a hint of fruit juice. There was also the sweet, sugary smell of liquid medicine. Hospital smells. That was when she opened her eyes on the world and was nearly blinded by white.
When trying to sit up, Kagome felt sharp pains biting into her from several places. She was sore and tired and weak. She hated hospitals, but this would have to do until she was ready to get out of the bed. With a sigh, she lay her head against the pillow again. It was only then that she focused in on the room around her. There were some flowers on the tables around the room, and there was another person occupying the chair next to her bed, fast asleep, using his folded arms as a pillow. Inuyasha.
Kagome smiled to herself. She saw that his leg was propped up, and his knee was in a brace. A crutch lay against the wall. Like the stubborn ass that he was, he wouldn't leave her side until he was sure that she was all right, then he'd look after himself. It made that little place in Kagome's heart feel warm and fuzzy. Turning on to her side, Kagome snuggled into sleep, content and feeling better already.
Kagome spent a week in the hospital, much to her annoyance. When they finally released her, Yusan arrived to pick her and Inuyasha up and bring them to the airport. They had missed their scheduled flight home, so the infinitely wealthy Dovon had bought them passage home on another flight. What was even more surprising was that the Dovon himself was waiting in the car as the two Americans got in.
"It does my heart good," he said when they sat opposite him and Yusan, "To see you both looking so well."
Kagome bowed her head because any lower would cause her torso a lot of pain. "You honor us with your presence, Dovon."
Inuyasha nodded. "What she said."
The Dovon smiled warmly. "I am afraid that this is really a matter of business."
"Oh?" Kagome said. "This…doesn't have anything to do with…my match, does it?"
"Precisely," the Dovon said. At Kagome's fearful look, he reached over and patted her hand. "Do not worry, my girl, this isn't a reprimand."
"No," Yusan interrupted. "What Naraku did was beyond the breaking of rules. Pursuit outside of the ring is forbidden under any circumstances. You were only defending yourself, Kagome."
"If I'm not being punished for continuing my match outside the ring, then what business do we have?" she asked, confused.
"A matter of awarding the winner," the Dovon continued. "Naraku legally won the match, but by breaking the rules of forcefully pursuing a disqualified fighter, his win is void."
"Hold it," Inuyasha said, looking for confirmation. "Are you saying, Kagome won?"
"Precisely," the Dovon said with a smile and a nod. "Congratulations Mr. Dai, Miss Higurashi. You've done America proud."
Kagome was shocked, her hands brought up to cover her mouth. Inuyasha openly cheered. "Oh, Lord Dovon," Kagome said, her eyes filling for joy.
"And that's not all," Yusan said, his grin contagious. "Not only are you awarded with the title and prize due to the champion of our tournament, we have also made a few changes around here."
"And that would be…?" Inuyasha prompted.
"As of now, and forever more, women are now eligible for entrance in the Kiyomatsu Tournament," the Dovon quoted in his most regal of voices. Kagome's eyes really did overflow at that. She had done it. Because of her blind stubbornness, she had changed four centuries of tradition. It was a good feeling.
"Also," Yusan said, only just remembering something. He dug in a briefcase, pulling out a small stack of legal documents and handing them over to Kagome. "These are for your committee of martial arts in America. If they still refuse to let you fight professionally, then we officially invite you to fight for us. And you as well, Mr. Dai."
There were no words that could describe the happiness in that car. Inuyasha and Kagome read over the papers quickly, blue and gold scanning black and white as fast as they could comprehend. There were a lot of incomprehensive sounds, mostly signaling joy. All they could do was shout, hug each other, then hug Yusan until everyone was laughing hysterically. It was, officially, the best day of Kagome and Inuyasha's lives.
Upon the arrival of their plane, Kagome and Inuyasha were met by the Houshi family. Rin and Shippou quickly scrambled over, yelled and hugging and jumping up and down. Kagome embraced Sango, and then Miroku, quickly telling both of them in the least words possible about what had happened. Inuyasha filled in the gaps. Soon, the family was all cheering, singing, and planning a huge celebration party in Grand Lake.
That would be tomorrow. As of right then, Kagome and Inuyasha having spent countless hours on a plane, wanted to do nothing more than go home and sleep. The Houshi family drove them to Kagome's place, saying they'd make it no further. Once dropped off, Kagome had no doubt in her mind that Sango would be rushing over the legal work around the papers Yusan had given her, and Miroku would be calling everyone and their grandmother--telling how his two friends had won a famed tournament, and were now the proud owners of the Shikon Jewel, the rarest of all gems in the world.
"We're never going to hear the end of it now," Kagome commented after she took a hot shower and dressed for sleep.
"Did you expect anything less?" Inuyasha asked--already clean and changed. He lounged on her couch leisurely, flipping through the channels on the TV with disinterest. His eyes were drawn to Kagome every few seconds, so he just turned it off.
"No, not really," she confessed. Kagome happily collapsing on to the couch next to him. She had taken a painkiller before, when her stitches started hurting, but now she was feeling blissfully numb. As it was, the doctors forbad her from any time of strenuous physically activity for at least three weeks--a week after the stitches were taken out. That pretty much banished the wicked ideas floating inside her head. With a sigh, she snuggled next to Inuyasha, her arms loosely around his waist and her head on his shoulder. "I could sleep for a week."
"You and me both," he agreed. Mindful of her injuries, he circled his arms around her and sighed. "But we'll have to make the rounds tomorrow."
"Well, you know," he said with a half-shrug. "Your dad, Sango's family, Miroku and the kids. They'll all be clamoring to congratulate us."
"Well, we did win a hefty sum of money, and the coveted Shikon Jewel…which has to be worth a few grand."
He snorted. "We're not pawning it, no matter how much booze you want."
"No," Kagome denied. "I've given up the booze. Honest."
Inuyasha pulled back enough to look her in the eye. "I have your word on that? No more binging?"
Kagome held up two fingers. "Scouts Honor."
"You know," he smirked. "I seem to recall that." Kagome only grinned back and him, then laughed.
"Okay, okay, seriously. I promise."
Satisfied, Inuyasha nodded and brought her close to him again. "Good. Can't have you getting tipsy at the engagement party."
Kagome blinked, pulling away from him with a confused. "Pardon me?"
"Shit," Inuyasha cursed himself, covering his face with his hands. "I wasn't going to ask you until tomorrow."
"Ask me what?" Kagome prompted, eagerly sitting in attention and leaning closer so that her face was inches from his. Her heartbeat had sped up considerably. "Ask me what, ask me what?"
Inuyasha looked at her with an adorably apprehensive expression, biting his bottom lip in hesitation. Kagome smiled encouragingly and he sighed. "You seem, I'm a little nervous right now," he explained rationally. "I want to ask you to marry me, but I'm a little scared about it. Considering both of our histories, we're not the greatest when it comes to the love thing. You've been married, I was engaged…it's a little intimidating."
"Well," Kagome said, taking a few deep breaths to steady herself. "If it helps, I'm going to say yes."
"That helps a lot," he said with a relieved smile. "So, Kagome Higurashi," he said dramatically. "I would gallantly fall to one knee but I'm a little indisposed, you understand." Kagome laughed and nodded, waiting for him to continue. "I don't have a ring or anything, not now anyway, but it would…mean more to me than I have words to say…if you would marry me."
Kagome paused a moment, just to make him sweat, to look pensive. She acted as though she really had to think it over. After he fidgeted for the third time, she resisted no longer. Tossing her arms lazily around his neck and pulling him in, she let her kiss speak for her. And that was how they got engaged.
They were married a month later, in Grand Lake, in Kagome's very backyard beneath her mother's lilacs. It was a very simple ceremony. Sango stood as Maid of Honor, Rin was the flower girl, Shippou the Ring bearer. Miroku and Kohaku stood as Inuyasha's groomsmen. Souta was there, with Hiko and Tekkai Ataris, come from Japan on Kagome's heartfelt request. Even Cow, Kagome's beloved dog, stood in attendance, a white bow about his neck.
Toutousai gave the bride away, but before he did, he pulled her aside for a final moment of father-daughter wisdom.
"Are you sure that this is what you want Kagome?" he asked, searching the sapphire depths of his beloved daughter's eyes.
"Yes Daddy," she said without a moment's hesitation. Her entire form radiated pure happiness. It did a father's heart good.
"You know I don't like him," he said gruffly. Kagome threw her arms about him and hugged her father. As he held her, she whispered in his ear, "You liked the last one. I'm allowed one bad boy."
"But I didn't expect you to marry the bad boy," he grumbled in response, releasing her.
Kagome beamed. "You always said I was an unusual girl."
Toutousai shook his head and laughed. "Be happy Kagome."
"I will, Daddy."
And so he walked her down the aisle to meet her future. A future that was found in Inuyasha. Everyone agreed that Kagome was a beautiful bride and Inuyasha was a dashing groom. No one could deny that they loved each other beyond doubt. It was especially strong because it had been so hard won. Now, with darkness behind them, they looked ahead for a new beginning. This time, there would walk the lonely road of life with someone at their side.
A/N: *cries hysterically* It's over! *sniffles* I can't believe it. After so much work and love…it's over. I dunno if it came out as good as I wanted. What do all of you think? Remember, this is not the end…it is only a beginning. As promised, here is the preview for the sequel--once again, the sequel won't be started until after I finish Curse of the Gypsy, and possibly another story I'm planning.
Preview for: Another Fighter's Story
Inuyasha and Kagome have been enjoying the first year of married life without much incident. Their careers have flourished since Kagome's reestablishment and Inuyasha's return from retirement. Life works in unexpected ways sometimes, and theirs is a life that never runs smooth. Toutousai--Kagome's beloved father--has finally pushed his injured back to it's limits and gone over. Kagome must return to Grand Lake, where the people still think of her only as a disturbed and unnatural girl, in order to save her family dojo from being taken over by a committee sponsored chain headed by a mysterious ex-fighter. It seems that Toutousai has been keeping more than poor health from Kagome when she discovers how deeply in debt that the beloved martial arts school is in. Now, she and Inuyasha must face foes both inside and outside of the ring to protect Kagome's home and her father's legacy.
Notes:I received a request that no kids be in this story--apart from Rin and Shippou, their won't be. Also, for all you Sesshomaru fans--yes, he will be in this one! *yay!* Suggestions are welcome!
Special thanks to all my readers:Anonymously Anonymous
NajouLeomae LilNezumi LilInu Deadly Tears
JosieKireiHanyou Ko SilentSlayer
IridescentEverdreamInuyashafanaticlmv setsuna-3000 blah-girl-bored2death Kali the Goth Goddess hyperchica11 Chitiko celestial-x Miko Sakura-sama
...wyldwolfrose03 fuzzy purple people (Sierra) midnight43 inuphoria sweet little country girl
bbeeffffccaakkeeName1 Eclipseon Anti [.] Poptarts Kaze no Kizu Solin Paper stars
chibileeNite1 Paper stars
hihistar0704 Sparrow of the Damned
yasha21jschu25 WitchChild425 Angel81
blondechik736Sakura onto Hitomi
painPinky4 Crystal jade2
sizzlinghotcatamberescence Geminia Peanut Gallery - Alaska's Own Enchantr3ss Zonza Michi-Chan6 Blackdragonrider Silver Magiccraft
angel of light and darknessRiath Green Bird 2071
lazy shatteredjadeTerenity Rose
^___^hyperchica11 FireBringer drake220
ashaomeLonewolfsblossom KharmaSmack Hana-maru285 Love-Inuyasha shatteredjade
AllisonBlood Unicorn 15 LadyCatBailey SimplyTurquoise Moonlight Shadow4
arkygurlAkai Kiniro inutikidudez
To anyone I may have forgotten, and to everyone who read but never reviewed, thank you anyway! Special Thanks to Switchfoot for their horrifically awesome song 'Dare you to Move' after which I wrote this song. And, I do hope you all will come back and read my future works. Love ya all, my readers! *cries tears of joy*