Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha (damn), Sesshomaru (damn, damn, damn), Kagome, Kikyo, Sango, Miroku, or any of the other characters from the Inuyasha series. And please give the great artist Druihd her much needed thanks for inspiring the one scene in this final chapter between Kagome and Inuyasha. I saw her picture "Fading Memories" on and fell in love with the concept. Thank you to all who supported the story and much thanks to those of you who actually reviewed it! Neveada Sierriana

Epilogue

"I'll leave my love behind within you..." Day Break

The sweet scent of sakura blossoms filled the air. A gentle breeze flowed throughout the valley. Happy villagers surrounded a well once forgotten. Kagome stood proudly aside of Sesshomaru with an excited kitsune in her arms. Rin sat in front of her feet, holding a bouquet of white flowers, with petals as smooth as pearls. By the Bone Eater's well

Miroku and Sango had finally made it. Though an odd pair and seemingly unlikely to last, Kagome knew their love for one another was true. It would never die. Her belief was proven when the priest proclaimed the two as husband and wife. The way they looked at each other in that moment made Kagome sigh with joy. Then they kissed and a loud cheer spread through the crowd.

Sango's hair was intricately braided around her head, forming a crown that was dotted with several smaller versions of the white flowers Rin had collected for her arrangement. Her dress was a modern day wedding gown that Kagome, Mrs. Higurashi, and Sango had picked out. The money that they had bought it with was actually what the Higurashi family had been using to save up for Kagome's college fund, but since her life in the feudal era had taken on a romantic twist, Kagome had willingly given it to Sango's wedding.

They had also taken Miroku to get a tux. He had not been pleased that Sango was able to see him but he had not been allowed to tag along with her on her shopping day. Kagome and her mother had to explain over and over again the wedding traditions such as the one that stated the groom didn't get the chance to see the bride until the wedding, which the monk had deemed idiotic. However, he had found the tossing of the bouquet to be most appealing. After long months of preparation, the day had finally come.

Who would have though? He finally decided to become a man, and just some groping pervert.

Even before she turned to see him, she knew he wouldn't be there. Inuyasha had gone. She had wished on the Shikon Jewel once, but the hanyou had never been given his full chance. So, that day in the forest, after the terrible battle where he had lost Kikyo, Kagome had given it to him.

He had surprised her. Of all the things he could have wished for, the miko never would have guessed he would do what he had done. Inuyasha had given up his life for her happiness. He wished upon the Jewel of Four Souls to grant her many long years of life with Sesshomaru.

"There's nothing left for me here," he had told her. "You always are working for the happiness of others, Kagome. When will someone be able to give good things to you?"

She had hugged him then, knowing he would die for what he was willing to give up. He had not been fully human. He wouldn't have outlasted Sesshomaru, but he would have survived far longer than Kagome. With his passing, she had been given several hundred years by her lord's side instead of only several decades.

"It's not much," he had continued, "but it's all I can you now." He had drawn her into his arms, gently kissing her forehead. "Take care of them all, even that runt of yours," he had been referring to Shippo. "I will miss them."

"Stay," she had begged him, not wanting to lose such a dear friend.

"No," he had stubbornly insisted. Then he had made the wish and was gone. Then life had had left behind was thrust into Kagome, knocking her unconscious. She had laid there in the forest until Sesshomaru had come to find her, fearing something was amiss.

"Are you alright, momma?" Rin tugged on Kagome's kimono.

"Fine," she smiled, patting her surrogate daughter's head. She felt Sesshomaru's eyes upon her form. "I'm fine," she repeated to him, giving him a look. He didn't seem satisfied. Since the battle, he had been extremely protective of her. If had had no fear before, he did now. When she had died, things had come full circle, forcing him to believe what he had been fighting against all along. He loved her.

Sango was crying as she walked down the aisle on Miroku's arm. Being her closest friend, Kagome knew the tears weren't just from joy, but also from sorrow. She had always wanted her family to be present at this milestone in her life, especially her father and Kohaku. But they were gone and though she was over joyous to finally be with Miroku, the small seed of sadness still grew in her heart.

As she passed by, she clasped Kagome's hand. "I wish they were could have seen this," she whispered.

"They did."

She considered it for a moment, her eyes taking on a far away glaze. Then, getting a mischievous grin upon her lips, she said, "Be the one to catch the bouquet, then Sesshomaru will be forced to propose."

Kagome shook her head, smiling. "I don't think it works that way," she replied.

"Oh, I do," Sango beamed, turning away to catch up with Miroku.

Pondering over her friend's words, Kagome felt the breeze pick up. The Shikon Jewel, that she still wore on a necklace around her neck, dull from lack of power, thrummed against her skin. There was something happening. She watched the trees, seeing which way the wind was propelled. It was traveling to the west. Around her, the townspeople were scattering to the reception that was being held back in town. Rin and Shippo were already racing after their godparents. Sesshomaru was the only one who still stood near her.

"I'm going for a walk," she informed him, planting a quick kiss on his lips.

He caught her wrist, forcing her to stay in the same spot. "Can't you feel it? I can smell the stench?"

"What are you talking about?"

"The hanyou is still alive," he growled, his ears twitching back.

"Naraku is dead," she inserted, staring up at him, worried.

"Not that disgrace, my brother."

Inuyasha? Kagome pulled away, running with the air current and blending into the woods. She heard the demon lord's yells behind her ears. The reason why he was unable to keep up with her eluded her, but she was glad he wasn't following. She continued to run until she broke into a clearing. There, by a small broke, surrounded by dense walls of sakura trees, was Inuyasha.

Slowly, she approached, not understanding how he could truly be there. I must be dreaming, she thought. Her foot crushed a small twig, causing a crisp snap to shatter the peaceful atmosphere in the glen. He turned, smiling at her and she noticed the color of his hair. It was black, as it had always been in his human form.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, coming closer to him.

He stepped toward her, his eyes showing her what he had never been able to tell in words. "I've been given a chance to come back and finish what business I left undone."

"You're a ghost?" she questioned in disbelief.

"No," he shook his head. "I've only come for one visit, not to linger around."

Another presence entered the clearing. Kagome spun around, gasping at the sight before her. Kikyo stood there, shining in a brilliant white angelic light. She appeared different from any other time Kagome had seen her. This had been the Kikyo that Inuyasha had fallen in love with. She smiled at her reincarnation, and Kagome returned the facial gesture easily.

"Kagome." Inuyasha's voice drew her back to him. "My time here is short." She nodded. "I came to thank you for your friendship, your courage, and for loving me enough to stay by me until the end. You believed in me, made me stick with this quest, and in the end when I betrayed you, you still took pity on me." He paused, taking a breath. "I love you." She stared at him, shocked by his confession. "That is the reason I had to come back. I needed to tell you."

"Inuyasha," Kikyo called.

"Goodbye Kagome," he whispered, taking her hands in his own. He kissed her. "I will always watch over you." He kissed her again, this time fading away as he did, Kikyo fading with him.

Suddenly, Kagome was alone. She blinked, glancing around. The glen had changed. The daylight had dimmed so that it appeared dusk was fast approaching. The brook had vanished. Along with it had gone the woven pattern of sakura trees. The area before her looked nothing like it had where she had been seconds ago.

"KAGOME!" Sesshomaru's voice came from her right. She darted in the direction of the sound, only pausing once to make sure no one was still in the glen. "Where did you go?" he asked, when she reached him. "You smell of hanyou."

"To say goodbye," she replied. He didn't say anything, just silently escorted her back to the party, knowing in her own time she would tell him.

They reached the town, where fires were lit to give light throughout the nighttime's festivities. Sango and Miroku were dancing, as well as most of the villagers. When Sango caught sight of them, she announced that they could finally go through with the throwing the bouquet. All eligable women lined up, not including the really young ones, such as Rin, who Sesshomaru would not allow to partake in such frivolous human activities anyway. Sango threw the flowers and they went soaring through the air. Kagome closed her eyes, reaching out for them.

Something touched her palms. Opening her eyes, she saw the bouquet in her hands. Miroku was suspicously close by and Sango was staring at them both with a relieved expression. Kagome cocked an eyebrow. She opened her mouth to ask them what they were up to, when someone tapped her on her shoulder. It was Sesshomaru.

He glared at Miroku, who only gave him a silly grin and shrugged, then at Sango, who was standing there impatiently with her hands on her hips, then finally at Kagome. He knelt down before her, taking her right hand. "Kagome, I would be honored if you would agree to be my mate."

From somewhere in the sea of people, a familiar voice shouted, "Kagome's my woman!" But somehow Miroku's staff made contact with said wolf demon's head, rendering him unconscious. Kagome laughed, and Sesshomaru's face stayed the same.

"I do."