Thank you's are located at the bottom. It's the complete list my dears. Check my profile/bio for my wesite. Thanks for everything and please enjoy the story.

Thread Bound

Epilogue

The End

Once upon a time there was a child who wanted to know more about the world…

Once upon a time there was a vain peacock that fell in love with a gentle dove…

Once upon a time there was apple that fell from a tree and became something greater…

Once upon a time there was a puppet that learned to feel and discovered that there are puppets more helpless than he…

Once upon a time there was a naïve spider that was consumed because he trusted his wife…

Once upon a time there was Prince who was a monster and a human girl who loved him…

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who met after many years and brought about what should have been…

Once upon a time, a story came to an end…

Or did it?

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There were very few times that hands – that weren't intent on harm - had been placed on her.

She had yet to determine of this was one of those times.

She opened bleary eyes and attempted to move away from the hands, preferring to be safe rather than sorry but they were insistent.

"Don't be such a pain Kagura," came a familiar voice.

Hiten her informed her.

She swallowed what felt like nails going down her throat – it was so dry – and croaked out.

"I thought you were dead."

"Yeah, well I always seem to find a way to survive," he replied though she thought his voice sounded just a bit pained.

Another set of hands were added to the others and she bit her lip hard enough to draw blood as they painstakingly – and excruciatingly – brought her upright. One hands slipped away while the pushed her forward, settling her on a thin back that could possibly have belonged to a man. Except maybe Jakotsu she thought with a grin that came out as a grimace.

"Yura?" she murmured.

The back she was on vibrated as the other woman spoke, "Yes, it's me. I'm here. We all are. But I'm the only one fit for grunt work like carrying your sorry behind around. I tell you Kagura, you came just a few millimeters close to dying. Care to tell me why Onigumo got trigger happy?"

She deliberately mumbled something incoherent and settled her head again the other woman's back in feigned sleepy-ness – not that she could even dream of sleeping with the amount of pain coursing through her system. There was no way in the world she was telling Yura that she had taken a bullet for her ex who still hated her. Her friend would definitely tell her that that was a weakness that she had yet to route out of her.

Speaking of Onigumo…

She opened her mouth to ask one last question, her voice as quiet as a sigh.

"Onigumo…?"

"Too dead to bother us or anyone else…as are his cronies," her voice paused at the latter reference to her cousins' henchmen. The part of her mind that seemed to be functioning without her consent told her in vague terms that if Hiten had gotten Bankotsu then she must have gotten Jakotsu. Were't they cousins or something like that? She never had been able to figure out how the two were connected.

Funny how she could think all of this while she was close to passing out and had the body movement of a paraplegic – or was that a quadriplegic? In the grand scheme of things it hardly mattered.

"Good," was all she could manage before darkness rose up to claim her for its own.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Sesshoumaru."

He stirred, someone was calling his name but he didn't want to wake up - he was floating in a nice, cushy world that urged his to stay asleep.

"Come on Sesshoumaru darling. I need you to get up."

"Don't wanna'," he said, frowning when his words came out sounding childish and slurred.

"Ooh, you're just too cute sometimes but, seriously, you need to get up. Rin wants you to wake up too."

"Rin?" he perked up at that and slowly cracked his eyes open. His first impression was of white. A white room to be exact and an angel standing over him.

This scene was familiar, as was the angel.

He searched his befuddled mind and came up with something similar. He had tried to kill himself before…but he'd been saved by…a girl. Yes, a girl. And that girl's name had been…

"Rin," he spoke the name, his eyes moving over what he now recognized as a hospital room.

The angel hovering over his bedside moved away and he remembered her name as well. 'She's no angel' he thought, embarrassed that he'd actually called his step-mother that. Please don't let that burning in his cheeks be a blush, thank you very much.

It was of course because Izayoi made an exclamation as she moved to make room for someone else, "Will you look at those cheeks! Why it is that he has to drugged out of his mind to do something cute like flushing?"

He pointedly tried to ignore her but in his currently hazy state of being he imagined her words had taken visible form and floated just above hi head in a definite hallucination.

He actually had to fight the urge to giggle.

"Sesshoumaru," his wife's face entered his field of vision and he smiled automatically, she just had that effect on him.

"Hey, he never smiles at me like that," he heard Izayoi huffing in the background and tuned her out for the time being – successfully this time. Rin was safe and she was hovering right over him. 'Hovering?' She even had a halo around her form. He decided to mention that to her and she furrowed her brow, a chagrined look coming onto her face.

"Oh dear, I think that's the drugs talking. Izayoi," she called his step-mother over and he noticed for the first time that she had a bandage wrapped around her neck and her voice was a bit too husky. In fact, now that he looked at her, he noticed the fading bruises on her cheeks.

"Rin what happened to your neck and face?"

She brought her attention back to him briefly before looking away. "I…," she reached up and slowly rubbed her fingers over the bandage, "…fought back against Onigumo after he took me away. I got him a couple of times but he managed to get a grip on my neck."

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, apparently the drugs weren't quite enough to curb his anger. "I should have killed him, Rin."

"No, you shouldn't have," she replied sternly before her expression turned grave, "and there's really no chance of that happening now, if you would remember what happened two nights ago.

"Two nights ago? That long? Why am I here then, I don't recall being hurt."

"The doctor says it was the stress that got to you. Probably from spending so much time on your book…speaking of which," she narrowed her eyes in mock anger, "you have a lot of explaining to do when we get home mister."

He grinned back, there was the Rin he knew and lo…

Blinking he looked at her again and completed the sentence in his head with a smile.

"What's the look for?"

"Nothing, just thinking about what I want to do to you when I get out of the hospital. We haven't had our honeymoon yet."

She blushed and coughed shyly.

"What are the two love birds talking about now?" Izayoi broke in and he scowled at her before allowing it to soften into a look of tolerance.

"My goodness, he's looking at me as if I might actually be a human instead of the evil, fire breathing, monster he's painted me as for all these years."

Her eyes were warm as they gazed down on him and felt just a bit more of the cloud on his brain lifting.

"How much do you recall?"

"Naraku escaped and Kagura was shot I believe."

"Yes, the police are this searching for him but…Wait, Kagura was there!"

"You couldn't possibly have missed her."

"Well, hon, I think she must have got up and walked because the only bodies the police found were that of Onigumo and two men who were affiliated with his organization. I'm thinking that maybe she made her escape with the help of whoever took out Miyazawa's lackeys. Do you know what happened by the way? Don't tell me that…"

He shook his head, "No, that I remember clearly. I didn't kill him. He…killed himself."

"The police are saying that as well. Can you tell me what happened?"

"I…I beat him…," he began.

"Oh yes, quite badly in fact. He would have been in the hospital if he wasn't dead."

"I believe it. I was that angry at him…but Rin kept me from killing him and becoming a murderer," he looked at her and her blush deepened.

"So tell me, why would he have killed himself?"

"Because we backed him into a corner. He's always been the type of person who hates to have his plans go awry."

"Sounds like a certain someone that I know."

He pretended not to hear that remark as he continued, "He knew that if he didn't kill me first…then I would do everything in my power to take him out. It was either go to jail or be defeated by Sesshoumaru – even less acceptable. So…"

"So…?" she mimicked.

"…So he took the only way out."

"How very astute of you, not for beating him up but for knowing what he was thinking."

"No, simply take it from someone who's been in his position."

"Ah, I see," she said before giving Rin a look.

He himself was also giving Rin a look, but it was far less innocent than his step-mother's expression.

"Izayoi, I'm feeling less cloudy – and therefore less tolerant. If you would give us privacy I would very much like to spend some time alone with my wife."

"Hmm?" she looked between the two of them and grinned, her eyes turning sly.

"I see," Izayoi nodded, "Souta, now might be the perfect time for me to present my children with their wedding gift seeing as how they seem to be going through the three F's. What were they again? Flight, Fight, and…. "

"Here you go," her aide cut her off, much to the relief of everyone.

Souta stepped forward with two large gift bags and presented one to each of them. A card had been taped to each with the name of the recipient on each and he pulled his off, turning it around in his hands before giving his mother a warning look. He knew to beware of her gifts.

"Before I leave I want to tell you two how I want them to be opened. Sesshoumaru, you absolutely must open yours first and be sure to read your card out loud before you take a look inside. Then and only then is Rin to open hers? Understood?"

"This is asinine."

"Yes, you are an asinine sometimes but I still love you," she blew him a kiss and guided Kagome's younger brother from the room.

"Please try to show a little restraint. Remember, this is a hospital," were her last words before she exited the room, closing the door behind her.

"That woman really gets on my nerves sometimes," he growled after she left.

"Oh, everything gets on your nerves at some point or another. Could you scoot over a bit," she said as she kicked off her slippers and sat Indian style on his bed.

"Comfortable?" he raised a brow at her.

"Very," she replied with a smile, "now let's see what she got us."

He rolled his eyes but complied anyways.

Tearing open the envelope, he read out the card – which was cream and embossed with gold wedding bells.

It said:

Dear Sesshoumaru,

I hope you like my gift. Here's a little something for you to pass those cold winter nights.

Love,

Izayoi

Both he and Rin gave each other a look before he stuck his hand into the bag and sifted through a seemingly endless amount of tissue paper before encountering something.

A lacy, scrap of something that was attached to what felt like a hangar.

'I have a bad feeling about this' he thought before lifting the item free from the bag and staring at it in horror. In his hand was the most incredibly nonexistent lingerie he'd ever laid eyes on. It consisted of a white corset - sans the cups - and white see-through panties - sans the crotch. There was no way in the world he would be expected to wear such a thing but…he looked over at Rin, He would love to see her in it. He had to give his step-mom full marks for her taste in underwear.

"That's, uh, interesting," Rin said, her face turning a lovely pink.

"Isn't it though," he said slyly, mentally dressing her up in the scandalous outfit and very pleased with what he pictured.

"I wouldn't surprised if our gifts came as a set. Why don't you open yours Rin, I'm sure it's equally amusing."

"Um, yes, I suppose it is."

Slowly, she opened up her card - a match to his - and read out what it said.

It went:

Dear Rin,

I hope you like my gift. I know Sesshoumaru will. This is for you to wear so that you'll definitely enjoy those cold nights with Sesshoumaru.

Love,

Izayoi

"Let's see what it is," he urged.

"Yes…I guess," he watched as she stuck her hand into the bag, a look of consternation on her face that slowly deepened until it was coupled with a blush.

"Well…?"

She mumbled something and he frowned, trying to pick up what she said.

"What did you say?"

"I said…there's nothing here."

He stared at her before bursting out into laughter – real, honest-to-goodness laughter – that startled her so badly that she almost fell off of the bed. He quickly saved her from a fall and pulled her into his lap.

"It's not funny Sessh," she said petulantly, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Forgive me, dear Rin, but I beg to disagree. I do believe that these are the best gifts I've ever been given."

She stayed huffy despite his words…

At least, until he pushed her back and demonstrated to her just how talented he was at kissing…among other things.

Thread Bound

The End

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Done, done, DONE! I am well and truly finished with this story. More than a year and a half has gone by since I began. I just can't believe I've finished. Hope you all enjoyed this story. I also hope all enjoy my other stories and "yes" to all of you who have been waiting for me to work on "Ties of Blood" for so long. I apologize but I had to get this out because TOB was about to go in a VERY standard direction and I hate "standard." Hopefully I'll be getting it back on track.

Now for the thank you's.

Special thanks to Rikou Suiyou who supported me through this entire endeavor and help me improve on my grammar in leaps and bounds.

Also to Aisiteru Inu, even if you've probably lost interest by now, you've still supported me through and through and I appreciate that.

Thanks KitKat07 for providing me with excellent reading and exchanging encouragement with me.

Another to The J-man who is both a great friend and a constant reminder for me to "Finish." And my beloved big sister Xyjah who supports me.

One more to Alien Jin who is like a sweet younger sister to me, lot's o love to you. And to Nikkler and Drake220 who have given me plenty of support and helped me to maintain a decent standard in my writing.

And one, one more to the people who suggested music that would fit this story. It was very inspiring to say the least to listen to "Cold" by Crossfade and "Hey, Jude" by the Beatles as I was writing. Thanks for the love.

No less of a Thanks to (and please forgive me if your name isn't here, it wasn't intentional):

In alphabetical order…

Ladystar

1-Psycho-Kitty

412816

A Flower-sama

A Traveling MordSith

Aaaaaaa

Aaliyah

Abbil

Adraian Winter

Afloodfornewyork

Agrias-101

Airdreanna

Akeryou

Alien Jin

Amethyst Fluff

AngelAnita

Angellaggaine

Anhimals

Animemistress419

Anitisocial mint

Anna's pastime

Anonymous person

Anuri-Chan

Aoi-Arisu

Arc-an Angel

Arikitten

Arrowfire

Ashes of the Star Phoenix

Athar-Luna

Aura-serenity4

Aya792

Ayaia of the Moon

AznAnimeFanXP

Babegalanime

BeautifullyInsane

Bella Diva16

Bittanybook

Blackfoxdemon

Blahdiddlyblah

Blue Ookami

Blurry

Bob the Kiwi Dictator

Brittiny

ButterflyANgel64

Caitriona695

Cestunai

Chel bel

Chibitsue

Chiii-chan

Chineigurl

Choco-coco

Chranze

Clamsofmacabre

Cloud X-soldier

Countissa

Cristael

C-tesshin

Curry Vampiress

D.C. talk

Dangerous-beans

Danielle

Deadly Tears

Deity of death1

DemonSaya

Desi

Devon Masterson-Bond

Diana

Diana-sama

DiRtY pIrAtE HooKeR

Divine Wolf

Doughnuts of Miroku

DPM

Dragon's lair

Dreaming One

DXM Junkie

Eien-Neekyou

Ellia Silvermist

Ever Rin

Every single New Fan

Evil sqeede (Congratulation again)

Evilteddybear

Fae and Yero

Fantasy Cat

FFchick

FicheCeist

FireDemond

Firegoddess372

Forgotten-Heart

Foxglove

FoxyFire92

Friendlyreader

FrozenAngel6842

G27

Gaijinmononoke

Galenchia

Geckogirl33

Generosa

GoticFaye

Gunny

Haruya

Haruya

Hatake kashi

HawkAngel XD

Hibi

HikoCassidy

Hm

HoshiiNoTenshi

I.The Silence

Icygirl2

Iluvenis

Imagine-me

Immortalbreeze04

Indigochipmunk

Insane Dragoness

Inufire

InuObsessed o.o

Irivel

IYGU

Jade

Jade eyed neko

Jade Summers

JadedAkumu

Jayne

Jem

Jjah-Jjah

Katba49

Kawaii gurl-11

Kaze Kami

Kerichi

Kitten

Koalaburr

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Koruyuu

KuroNekoSama1990

Lady scorpio

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Lain

Lala

Lanowen

Lavender Tears

Lavender Valentine

Lea

Lin Yao Fang

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Lowland's ceres

LtSonya

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LukeShaehl

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Lyerial

Maggy d

ManonLeChat

Mari

Marnika

Matagot

Materiathief06

Me

Mimo

MindIIBody

Mini Nicka

MintlovesSR

Miroku's great ancestor

Mistukai-san

Miyako14

Mo-chan13

Moonglow gal

MoonPhoenix

Moonsiren06

MotRinsaltshaker

MsCongeniality

Mushi

Mushineko

Naoko2

Naoko2

Neko Celes

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Nicole

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Personification of Fluff

Phalon22

Picara71

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Psychotic Angel

Puppet-cat

Queen of Stupidity Land

RaD

Rainda

RangerDo'Urden

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Reader

RealityIntrovert

Rednight-rider

Ren

RenkonNairu

Retta

Riath

Ribbon Celonias

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Rin/Sess Pairing Rock!

Rin6

Rin-chan

Rosemary's Granddaughter

Rosie ReaL

RosieB

S A K U R A22

Sable-fahndu

SakuraBaby

Sara Angeldust

Sarah

Sarehptar

SarnaKiro

Sayori-chan

ScariMoi

Serryn

Sess rin cute!

Sesshy'zforevermine

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SessRin2003

SessXRin fan

SG

Shakie

Shaq

Shattered soul

Shii

Shiosho

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Silentxangel

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Sintar

Sioned

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SSRandomness

Starr Bryte

Still Smiling

SuKiss

SungFromARose

Swirly87

T

Tai-for-you

Taiki

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The anime freak

Theevilashleyness

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Tigeris

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Tony

Trinity

Tro the Voice of Reason

UnderTheCherryBlossoms

Unknown

Valefor-chan

Viet.angel28

Vik Vik

Vimpire-dogdemongirl89

Weinka (thanks for the reminder)

Werewolfpixie

WestFullMoon

WiCKeD ScHmoNesS

Wintergreen

Winterslegend

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Wolfite

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Yogi Mutoh

Youkai No Rin

Yrouna

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Yukitsune

Zanamra