A/N: It is finally here, the very last chapter of this story. I can't believe it took me this long to finish it! But at last it is done, so once again, big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on this story. I probably wouldn't have made it this far without my readers, because you guys are really worth writing for! I hope you continue to read my future work as well!
And because I'm so proud of it...I got fanart! It's so cute, too! Thank you so much Azelle! I'll try to post a link to it on my profile if anyone is interested...
Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape or form responsible for the end of this chapter. So Sesshoumaru doesn't need to get revenge on ME, because it's all Inuyasha's fault, I tell you! (Do I blame everything on him? Oh well, he doesn't mind, I'm sure!) Oh, and I don't own the characters...
Big Trouble Comes in Small Packages
Winter, three years later...
Christmas was only a few days away.
"Inuyasha, would you please pass me the tape?"
"Keh! I'm using it right now, so just wait your turn."
Kagome watched doubtfully as her husband carefully placed ten pieces of tape across the crooked seam of the Christmas present he was currently 'wrapping', if you could call it that. She wasn't really sure who the gift was for, but she could only pray that it was for someone with patience and a good sense of humor.
"Dammit, why won't this thing stay closed like it's supposed to? I'm running out of places to put the tape!"
Half amused and half exasperated, Kagome let him continue to fuss with the present without saying anything, because she knew he wouldn't listen to her. 'One would really think that after three years of spoiling Rin with gifts just to annoy his brother, the stubborn idiot would have learned how to wrap a present decently...'
Inuyasha cursed again after getting another piece of tape stuck in his hair, causing Kagome to giggle. 'Okay, so perhaps that would be too much to hope for. At least he means well.'
After leaning over to save him from going bald by gently extracting the tape from his hair instead of letting him yank it out, as he was prone to doing, she took the package from him before he could do any more damage. "Are you sure you don't want me to finish by myself? I did last year and you know I enjoy-"
He cut her off by snatching the box back and holding it away from her as if he were afraid it might explode if she touched it. "But last year you weren't...weren't...!" Growling in frustration and knowing anything he might say would probably get him in trouble, he finally settled for staring at her pointedly.
"So? What does that have to do with anything?" She stared back at him flatly.
"I just mean that you shouldn't strain yourself!" He glared at her, as if daring her to argue.
The looks she was giving him told him clearly that she thought he was insane. How could a person strain themselves by wrapping Christmas gifts, for goodness sake? The very idea was ludicrous.
But of course, Inuyasha refused to back down from the notion that wrapping a gift that weighed much more than a piece of paper might kill her, and continued to stubbornly insist that he would wrap all the bigger gifts that year, leaving her with only the smallest items. And she only got to keep those AFTER she threatened his ramen supply.
Kagome finally sighed in resignation and picked up a thin box that was about the length of her forearm. She planned to wrap it next after Inuyasha finished with the tape, but she was beginning to wonder if there would be any left by the time he was through.
Idly looking around the room while she waited, Kagome smiled as her eyes took in the space.
It was the couple's second Christmas together since they'd been married, though it was the first that they would celebrate in their new apartment. It hadn't even been two months since they'd moved in, but already the place was feeling much more like home than Inuyasha's tiny apartment had. It was much larger, and it wouldn't be too much longer before the additional space would come in handy.
Kagome smiled and rubbed her suspiciously round stomach affectionately. Thank goodness Inuyasha had finally given in and started working for Sesshoumaru again not long after Rin had gone back home. While working with the company he'd managed several promotions on his own merit, and had even started working on a degree in his spare time while Kagome worked as a pre-school teacher.
Everything finally seemed to be falling into place for the couple, including Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru's 'relationship,' if it could be called that. Most of the time it was more like an exchange of petty revenge tactics. But really, Kagome seriously doubted that the two brothers would ever have anything close to a normal sibling relationship. At least Inuyasha seemed to be over his stubbornness when it came to rejecting all ties to his family.
"Inuyasha, would you please just give me the tape? We aren't going to have enough left to finish wrapping everything if you keep it up!"
"Fine, whatever. I'm done anyway." He grinned and held up the package for her inspection - though he was still careful to keep it out of her reach.
"Very...nice." She struggled to keep a straight face, not wanting to hurt his feelings. "Who is that one for?"
His face went blank. "Uh..."
"Inuyasha..." She resisted the urge to start laughing...barely. "Don't tell me you've forgotten what it was! Did you write it down somewhere?"
"Of-of COURSE I remember what it is!" He shook the box slightly in an attempt to identify what was in it, obviously hoping she wouldn't notice the movement. "It's...it's...a gift for the runt!"
Kagome couldn't help but laugh this time as she set down the small box she'd been holding. "I take it you made that educated guess from the fact that most of the gifts here are for her?"
He scowled at her, and she knew that she'd guessed right.
With a little work, Kagome managed to slide across the floor and over to the hanyou sitting across from her. At first he looked suspicious that she was trying to take the package from his again, but relaxed when she hugged him. "You're so pathetic that it's cute, you know that?"
Laughing, Kagome pulled him down and gave him a peck on the cheek, and managed to snatch the box out of his hands while he was off guard. "GOT IT!"
Shocked, Inuyasha didn't react as quickly as his demon traits made him capable of, and all he could do was yell at his sneaky wife as she made off with the gift he'd tried so hard to keep away from her. "Dammit Kagome! Give that back!"
Evading his hands, she scooted across the floor and shook the box herself. "Actually, Inuyasha, I think this is the toaster I bought Sango and Miroku as an early wedding present/Christmas gift..."
The hanyou stopped in mid-grab and had the good grace to blush. Okay, so he'd been waaay off the mark with his guess. But hey, it probably wouldn't have been so bad. Maybe Rin secretly wanted a toaster of her very own?
Or maybe not.
Grumbling under his breath, Inuyasha grabbed the box out of her hands and replaced it with a pen and some gift tags. THAT was something he figured she could do without straining herself.
After the gift had been properly labeled as belonging to Sango and Miroku, Kagome went back to the long, thin box she'd been planning to wrap earlier. Inuyasha watched her picked up back up with a wary look on his face.
"I don't remember that box. What is it?"
Kagome understood what he was really trying to find out, and rolled her eyes. "It's a gift for Kagura, and no, it's not heavy at all." She slipped the lid off, and pulled a beautiful, hand-made fan out of the box. "See? Isn't it just perfect for her?"
His face showed his confusion. "But I thought she already had a fan made for her demon powers. Why would she want another one?"
"Because, silly, she can't kill anyone with this one, and I promised Sango that I'd find something for Kagura that she could use to keep Miroku in line with that wouldn't be life-threatening. You know how much that poor woman deals with, having a boss like that. She should probably be the one running the place, not him."
Amused, Inuyasha couldn't help but ask. "How would she use that to keep him in line?"
Without answering him, she swiftly folded up the fan and used it to rap his knuckles.
"Ouch, woman, that hurt!" He rubbed his hand while giving her his injured puppy face, the one she could hardly resist.
Instead of babying him like he was hoping she would, she just laughed. "See? If it can make a big, strong hanyou whine, then it will keep Miroku in line. And if she hits his hands hard enough, they'll be out of commission for a while. That thought alone should be enough make him behave."
Inuyasha smirked, the 'big strong hanyou' line having quickly put him in a good mood again. "Not being able to grope Sango? Now that could be funny!"
The two continued to talk and laugh, speculating on what life would be like if Miroku suddenly lost his ability to grope anyone.
"Hey, I bet if Kagura had just broken his hands a long time ago, Miroku and Sango probably would have gotten together a lot sooner." Kagome paused in her wrapping to think for a moment about what Inuyasha was saying. "As it is, they may have become 'official' before us, but we'll have been married two years before they even make the six month mark."
"Yeah, but Sango moved in with him when we got married and I moved in with you. So they've been together just as long." Kagome reasoned.
"Keh. Not if you count all the times one of them ended up staying with us because Sango either left or kicked him out of his own apartment. Those two fight more than anyone I've ever met! I get along with 'Sessy-poo' better than that!"
Kagome giggled at the nickname for Sesshoumaru that Inuyasha refused to let die after hearing the name of Rin's stuffed bear. "Oh, but you know they love one another. Sango just doesn't love his bad habits."
While they had been talking, Kagome had finished wrapping Kagura's gift and had moved on to the next item Inuyasha had allowed her to keep. It was a book, barely bigger than her hand, and the cover promised readers 101 practical jokes to play on your friends.
Of course, the gift was for Shippo.
If Inuyasha had bothered to notice what the books was about, he probably would have put a stop to any such thing being given to the mischievous kitsune. After all, he was bad enough as it was, and tended to focus all his trouble making abilities on the unlucky hanyou.
Not that he didn't deserve it, though.
At every opportunity, Inuyasha would rub it in Shippo's face that he'd married Kagome, the one girl Shippo'd ever had a crush on. And even though Shippo was younger than she was, and had pretty much known from the start that he'd had no chance with her, he still couldn't stand that fact that Inuyasha of all people was the one she'd chosen.
So whenever the subject came up, which thanks to Inuyasha was far too often, Shippo would tell the half-demon that it was a momentary lapse of sanity on Kagome's part, and that she'd come to her senses any day now and divorce him. And needless to say, Inuyasha didn't like that at ALL, so more often than not the old ladies in the cafe would have to beat him down with their brick filled purses in an attempt to protect the poor boy that was like a grandson to them.
Shippo enjoyed those moments. A lot.
"Inuyasha, quit glaring at me! What did I do this time?" Kagome stopped in the middle of tying a ribbon around Shippo's gift and gave her now glowering husband a confused look.
"Did you HAVE to buy that brat something?" he grumbled. "If you ask me, all he deserves is a good swift kick in the-"
"Inuyasha! Don't say things like that about Shippo. He's so sweet!"
"Yeah, to YOU maybe."
Sighing, Kagome realized that she would probably have to play dirty to get Inuyasha out of the foul mood he was currently in. After living with him for a couple of years, though, she couldn't help but be an expert at it.
"Inuyasha..." Her voice was so suddenly sweet that he couldn't help but be momentarily suspicious. "Let's take a break, okay?" She held out her arms and he gave in immediately, never one to turn down any kind of cuddling or attention from his wife. Sometimes she felt like she already had a child with the way he acted. She giggled at the thought.
"Oi, what's so funny?" He grumbled, but there was no real heat behind it. He was far too relaxed, leaning with her up against the sofa as her hands made quick work of turning him into a big pile of goo. She could give the BEST ear rubs...
"Oh, nothing." She hummed as she found a particularly sensitive spot that made his ear flick. "I was just thinking about how cute our baby will be if it's anything like you."
"I'm not 'cute'!" He protested, though very half-heartedly.
Smiling, Kagome didn't bother to argue with him. Instead she just concentrated on what she was doing because she knew how much he was enjoying it.
By this point he was nearly in a mindless stupor. "Damn, that feels good. I knew there was a good reason why I keep you around."
"What, you don't keep me around because you love me?" She pretended to be hurt.
"Well...there is that, I guess."
"You 'guess'?" She stopped rubbing his ears.
"Okay, okay! I keep you around because you're the most wonderful woman in the world, and I could never love anyone as much as I love you. Is that better?" He cracked open his eyes to peer at her hopefully.
She laughed. "I suppose that will have to do." Kagome began rubbing his ears again, much to Inuyasha's pleasure. He'd learned early on to say whatever he had to say for a good ear rub. His pride as a man would just have to suffer for it.
"Really, I meant it, Kagome. I dunno what I'd do without you." He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.
"I know, Inuyasha. I love you, too, and you never could do anything right without me, could you?" She laughed again when answered.
"Damn right I can't. Move your fingers a little more to the left..." He sighed blissfully.
Kagome worked silently for a few moments, before breaking the peace with a sudden question. "Do you want to finish wrapping the gifts now? We need to get them sent off today if we are going to have them there in time for the holiday."
Inuyasha waved her off. "I don't think it'll matter if they are a day or two late. I already sent her an early gift."
Kagome froze, a suspicious look on her face. "You did? You never told me that you were planning to send her something early. What did you get her?" She had a bad feeling he didn't tell her about it because it was something that she probably would have stopped him from sending.
An evil smile broke out on her husband's face, confirming her suspicions. "Oh, nothing much..."
He was going to kill his half-brother...slowly and painfully...
Sesshoumaru was sitting in his favorite chair, and though he had a tendency to sit very formally and with good posture, he seemed much stiffer than usual.
"Jaken. You will remove this offending object. Now."
There was a hard edge to his voice that his minion knew better than to ignore.
"Right away, Sesshoumaru-sama!" The little toad demon rushed to grab what was upsetting his lord, while Rin stood off to the side, giggling. "AAGHH! It bit me, Sesshoumaru-sama!"
"I will do far worse to you than bite you, if you do not get it away from me." Sesshoumaru's voice was deadly serious, though it only made Rin laugh more.
Oh, she couldn't wait to tell her Uncle Inu about this!
"O-Of course, my lord!"
Fear of the demon lord spurred the little green creature back into action, and he made another grab for whatever had bitten him a few moments before.
"Gah! Let go of my hand, you little monster!" Jaken shrieked and shook his hand, but nothing he did could dislodge the offender.
"I'm trying, Sesshoumaru-sama! Please don't kill me!"
The little toad youkai reached out with his other hand and grabbed what was quickly becoming the bain of his existence, causing it to yowl from his tight grip.
Rin abruptly quit laughing. "Stop it! You're hurting Fluffy-chan!"
Hearing his charge near tears, Sesshoumaru closed his eyes and caused his face to take on an expression as close to long-suffering as it would probably ever get. "Jaken, let it go."
"You heard me. Put it down."
Baffled, Jaken did as his Lord commanded and dropped the kitten back in Sesshoumaru's lap where it had previously been. Happy that it was no longer being removed from its favorite sleeping spot, the kitten now known as 'Fluffy-chan' curled back up and began to purr loudly in complete contentment.
"Awww!" Rin squealed happily, a complete about-face from a moment before. "She likes you, Papa Sess! Aren't you happy?"
Sesshoumaru didn't bother to respond, so Jaken decided to do it for him. "Are you that thick-headed, girl? Sesshoumaru-sama is a DOG demon! It's degrading for him to have any association with a lowly, feline creature such as that one!"
"Be quiet, Jaken."
Though it seemed impossible, the toad man's eyes bulged even farther out of his head than they had been previously. Had his noble dog-demon Lord actually stopped him from explaining why the little fur ball was unworthy to reside in the lap of such greatness?
The room was quiet for several moments as Jaken took the time to understand the situation with his tiny mind. It was incomprehensible that a demon of Sesshoumaru's status would just accept defeat after being subjected to one of his half-brother's immature pranks. Surely his Lord would fight back and teach that scoundrel a lesson!
"Jaken, pack Rin's things."
Both the other occupants of the room turned to stare at Sesshoumaru in surprise.
"Papa Sess, why do you want Rin's things packed? Are we going on a trip?" The little girl looked merely curious. She had no fear that her beloved caretaker would ever attempt to send her away for good.
"Actually," the smallest hint of a smile could be seen on the demon lord's face "How would you like to visit your Uncle Inuyasha?"
Rin's face lit up. "REALLY? Do you mean it?"
"Of course." The ghost of a smile was gone, and he was once again all business. "Jaken, make sure Rin's entire collection of hair accessories are packed, and procure a pet carrier and all the items needed for Inuyasha's 'gift' to travel along with her. I suddenly feel the need for another 'business' trip..."
"Right away, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken rushed to do his Lord's bidding with tears in his bulbous eyes. All his beliefs weren't shattered! His Lord would continue to fight!
Suddenly, the world seemed much brighter to the little green toad.
A/N: Sadly, that is the end. No more. I don't plan on a sequel or anything, but I thought an ending like that would be amusing. So all of you can imagine for yourselves what kind of terrible torture Rin and 'Fluffy-chan' will put Inuyasha through! Poor guy...anyway, thanks for reading! I am really going to miss this story...so be sure and leave me a few words in honor of my dearly departed story, okay? It will bring me comfort...lol...