The Blooded

AN: Sadly, the last story in the posting-spree… TB. God! It's over! It's finally over! J… j… (howls) Noooo! I don't want it to end! I had so much fun and… and… aww! Big group hug, everyone who reviewed! If it wasn't for you guys, I never would have had the encouragement to finish this story! (cries)

DarkHeartKeyBlade: Sorry, but Miroku is currently deader than a doorbell.

iLOVEcheese: ah... Yeah… (shifty eyes)

Fantastical Queen Ebony Black: Ah, Peter Pan… what can't Mr. Barrie teach us? Anyway, I am very glad you liked Sesshy as a bad guy. I feel like I can't writ bad guys, so to hear that he's hateable is a good thing.

Stripe: Ta-da! Epilogue, so you can find out exactly what the epilogue is yourself. (smiles)

Just another review: You know… I didn't get any flames for that chapter. It… amazes me. I mean, the people who always review my chapters are awesome reviewers whom I trust and who seem to support me and offer constructive criticisms, but I figured that there would at least get to the end and hate me for it. Apparently I misjudged them, for which I apologize.

Starzki: While I hate to feel like I'm copying the Bard, it's not Kohalu who lives to tell the story… it's Kouga! (You'll see, you'll see….) and um…. If you're at work, I apologize! A LOT!

Chad: But… but… this is the ending! And it's happy! And funny! I swear to god it is! And clichéd too! I… I know, I don't normally like clichés, and I'm trying to stay away from them as much as possible, but I really did want to give this story and happy ending and just the ending fit so well that I didn't care if it was clichéd!

Siren: I need more inspiration (and a plot) for the next MS story I'm planning on writing, so I'm afraid that for now all you're going to have to read is CiA and LR.

Enjoy, everyone! Thank you so very much for all the great reviews! (hugs and kisses for everyone!)


In the End

In the End….

Kohaku was never quite able to get over his sister's death. He kept telling himself: 'I was her twin. I should have known something would happen, that something was happening. I should have been there with her. I should have done something.' He knew that had he interfered, he could have died too, but such thoughts made him feel as if he could have made a difference, they consoled him, and so he cherished them.

He kept his promise to Sango. He looked after his mother. They were both helped along by Rin and Mrs. Higurashi, who were both in grieving themselves. Often, Rin wondered if she should tell her brother that Sango had died to make the world a better place, but she always changed her mind. If she actually said that, he would know she had some kind of involvement regarding the events of Sango's death.

Rin hated keeping the secret from him, but she, like Sango, wanted to keep him whole and untouched from the secret life of vampires. Some people could never deal with discovering it was real, and it broke them, and Rin didn't want to see Kohaku broken. She knew it would end that way, too. He had a special connection with Sango, and to know that his older twin had died and been reincarnated once again so that she could continue killing these monsters that lived along side them would break his heart.

Rin, as much as she loved Kohaku, knew she didn't have the power to fix a broken heart. No magic did.

But maybe love did...

In the end…

Love was what had helped Mrs. Higurashi. She had been nearly crushed by Kagome's death. First she had lost Souta, and then she had lost Kagome. She wondered what she had ever done wrong to deserve that kind of pain in her life, and she wondered if things made have been different if she had only done something differently. She wondered as Kohaku wondered. Such were the questions of a mortal life, a life with an end, without anytime or a chance to go through the same life again and be different, act differently, to see if it really would change the outcome.

Sango's mother helped her through it. They became as close as sister in the years after Sango and Kagome's deaths. They cried at night together, and they were silent together as they both worried and fretted, and they both encouraged each other to go back into the real world.

Mrs. Higurashi had been scared to open the shop. It remained closed for one full year after Kagome's death, and nearly three extra months. The following December, Rin had knocked on Mrs. Higurashi's door. She had answered with bags under her eyes and a mug of coffee in her hand.

Rin, much to her chagrin, looked very much like Kagome. Her hair was dark and covered in a layer of snowflakes. Her eyes had been bright, though brown instead of blue, and she was even wearing some of Kagome's clothes. Mrs. H had given them to her after going through Kagome's closet and finding things that Kagome would have loved for Rin to have. After all, she was such a sweet little girl, and she knew full well that Rin was a witch. Often, she had to remind herself, in the most painful, direct methods she knew, to remind herself that Rin wasn't Kagome.

"Mrs. H," Rin had asked with a smile, "when are you going to open the shop? I need things for my spell." She reached into her canvas bag and pulled out one of Kagome's more advanced spell books. "Tomorrow is the winter solstice. I'd like to be able to cast an intricate spell tomorrow, when the power of the Earth is at her most this time of year. But I need the ingredients, and I was wondering if you could help me."

Mrs. Higurashi smiled tearfully and she pulled the key off of the key holder in the hallway. She held the door open for Rin. "Give me a moment, Rin, dear. I need to get dressed. Then we'll go open up the shop and see what you can do."

It wasn't long after that when Rin came out of the broom closet. Most of the people she had called friends left her, but by this time she was attending the local college for nursing, and nobody else really cared. Kohaku and Kouga stuck by her. She had known Kohaku would stick by her. He always did, just like she was always there for him.

In the End….

Both Kohaku and Rin were there for Kouga as well. School, life, was different without his wisecracks and her smiling face. They had been shocked at how silent Kouga was now, without his beloved Kagome. Before, everybody had known him. He could strike up a conversation with the kid from the audio-visual room, or the coolest kid on campus, and no one would care. He had been an exception to every single school rule that had ever existed. But after Kagome left him, he kept his eyes down. He had started hanging out with Rin and Kohaku, who gladly accepted him. The doctors prescribed drugs after drugs to try and rid him of depression and nightmares. His most common one was where he was at Kagome's grave, digging there frantically and screaming that they had buried her alive, and that she wasn't really dead.

Eventually, he claimed that they stopped as he grew up. He became more focused on schoolwork and managed to get into college. Without prompting from Rin, who had been concerned about the bottles of drugs lining his medicine cabinet for a long time, he picked up every single one of them and threw them out. Kagome would never have wanted them to be putting so much shit into his body. And they weren't really helping. Shutting down parts of his mind wouldn't help him get over the fact that his best friend was gone. Facing reality would.

He went out, and he faced reality. He did everything he could to get as much reality as he could. He volunteered with Rin in the local hospital, in the kid's section. The kids loved him there, and that was when he decided that he wanted a whole litter of kids. He'd go out shopping just to get things for his visits to the kid's room, buying face paints and balloons. Through them, his life began to get better. And he felt good that he and Rin were even keeping an eye out for Sango's work, keeping an eye out for vampire marks and missing pints of blood. But they had never had another problem with vampires again.

His first day back at school had been hell, however, before Kouga could make such an improvement to his life. The first day that he had gone back to school after Kagome's death, he had run into the school and had expected to see her there with her treats for him, as she always was, and he was confused when he didn't see her in the hallways. Then he painfully remembered that she was dead. She would never been in the hallways again.

No more sweets before class. No more lunches in the library. No more wise cracks in science class.

He stuck close by Rin and Kohaku. The three of them were inseparable in their final years of high school. They didn't leave each other until after all of them had graduated and that final summer of freedom had passed. Rin stayed at home to study nursing. Kohaku and Kouga both went two cities away to attend university, the first studying child psychology and the second studying English and journalism so he could be a writer.

Kouga continued selling pot.

He did continue to smoke it, though he had cut back. He steered away from alcohol, as did Kohaku, but the two boys thoroughly enjoy their candy binges on a regular basis.

University was where he met the second love of his life. They met at a party for their floor in the dorm rooms. Kohaku was the one who persuaded him to get closer to her, trying every approach possibly. Eventually, Kouga decided that it was time to talk to girls again, and Kouga gave her some cheesy pick up line he regretted as soon as he had said it.

She had shaken her long red hair, which, he noted, she wore up in childish pig tails. It was cute, and her laugh was infectious. "Do you really expect me to all for that?"

"No. You're a University student, right? So you can't be that stupid. But it was the only way I could think of coming over here and making you smile at me, so I sacrificed myself on the wheel of dignity and decided to make an ass out of myself." He put down his drink and held out his hand for her. "My name's Kouga."

She didn't take it immediately. "I know you. You're in my introductory English class. You're the one who got into a fight with the teacher on the first day of class and she kicked you out." She smiled when Kouga blushed. Her eye were blue, though not as unadulterated or as bright as Kagome's had been. They kind of had this green tinge to them. "What was the argument again?"

"Ah… that she had a warped perception of feminism. The way that she was making the course sound, it made it sound like the whole course was feminist, but the kind of feminism that was anti-male. My argument was that real feminism wasn't anti-male, it was pro-eqaulity and that there was a difference between the two." For some reason, he left his hand out there, waiting for her to shake it. "Feminism should aim at raising women in society world wide on the same political, social, and education levels as men, because not all women get that opportunity. Instead, what she was proposing was that women were better then men because men were a bunch of slobbering assholes."

She raised an eyebrow, smiling at him. "That sounds a bit militant, Kouga. Are you thinking of changing sides?"

"I like having a penis, thank you," he said, retracting his hands. His smile vanished with the idea of losing his penis. That was an unfair blow, aiming a guy's genitals. But she laughed at him and he felt like maybe it had been worth the feeling of discomfort.

"I just happen to have known a lot of women in my life, and many of them could kick my ass. In fact, you see that guy over there? His girlfriend, Rin, at one point managed to wrestle me to the ground and pin me down and held me hostage until I told her where I kept my stash of sugar. No sex is better than the other. We all deserve to be on the same lines, regardless of anything. I mean, do you realize that in some places, if you say the word 'dark' in connotation with evil, like 'dark magic' you can get thrown in jail? And yet look at the things we say to women, about women, without any repercussions."

Ayame was surprised. She hadn't expected him to be so articulate. Kouga looked a bit like a hippy, with his baggy shirt and the glasses in his dark hair, and his goatee. But he opened his mouth and he alternated between being insightful and funny. She liked the combination. "Don't you think that's a little idealistic?"

He shrugged. "A guy has to have something to believe in."

She looked at him a moment and then put down her drink. Ayame slid up next to him, looking up at him with wide eyes and pressing her body against his. She spoke in a husky voice that almost made Kouga drop his drink. "In that case Kouga, what with believing in equality and all… I have to ask… how do you get into those pants? They're so tight. Better question… how do I get into them?"

He stared at her, and then he laughed, making her smile. He wagged a finger at her, winking. "Oh no, love, I don't do it with just any bird. I like knowing her name first."

"Ayame," she replied, nodding her head a little in greeting. His arm closed around her shoulders.

"Great. Now we can shag." Laughing, they disappeared from the party and headed for Kouga's apartment. When they got there, she saw his Spider-man collection and his X-Men collection and they stayed up to four am discussing Spidey versus the X-Men, both in storylines and characters, as well as how society saw them.

Kouga knew he was in love.

In the End…

The chief closed all the files regarding Kuranosuke, Kagome, Inuyasha, Kikyo, Sango, Miroku, and Sesshomaru. He couldn't clear anyone's name of anything, as much as he tried to. In the end, he found out the branch of government that Kikyo had come from, and sent them the files. They sorted everything out, or so they promised him.

Several years later, he was sitting and his desk and became curious. He began riffling through the computers, and he pulled up Kagome's file. According to the file, she had died of a broken neck and had been killed by a man named Ranma Saotome. He followed that lead and came to Ranma. The man in the picture had black hair, his eyes closed and his body white with death. The man had died by being stabbed.

He files went on and on. They were dizzying. The cop turned off the files, sipping his coffee and groaning as he got out of the creaking chair. He walked to the open box of donuts in the staff room. "I'm getting to old for this," he told himself, grabbing a plain donut and heading back to his desk to do some paper work.

He knew that if he dug into the files a little bit more, there would be some secret waiting for him, but his subconscious always stopped him from getting too far into things. That world was dangerous, and he was an old man. He didn't want his life disrupted by new things. New things were frightening.

He went on doing his mundane paperwork.

In the End…

Kohaku and Rin were married. Mrs. Higurashi gave the bride away, and the leader of the coven that Rin had joined performed the ceremony. Naraku would have been fit to be tied if he had seen his daughter getting married in a cedar grove as opposed to under a cross, but he had died the year before in a car crash and he could say or do nothing.

They had two children, an older boy and a young girl. They had happy lives, although they didn't get to spend many family moments together. Kohaku worked as a child psychologist, and he loved little kids, and often did some work with the police when therapy was needed for kids who had undergone traumatic events. Rin worked in the hospital, and was the cheeriest girl anyone had ever seen. Everyone loved her, and many asked her how she could be so cheerful all the time. She always smiled and told them it was because she had a lot for which to be thankful.

Ayame and Kouga didn't get married. They, has he had always preferred saying, mated. They had four kids, and Kouga was a stay at home dad as he wrote books. They never one any Pulitzers, but he wrote a story inspired by Sango and it was number one on the New York Times list. It stayed there for almost two years. Ayame was a teacher in the local high school, and they took over the farm. He was happy to have his kids grow up in the same home that he had.

They woke up every day and teased each other. Their house was simple, and money was always tight, but their house was filled with laughter and warmth.

Kouga even gave up pot for her.

He didn't need anything to distort his reality any more. He loved it, and he embraced it, even the dead of night when the wolves howled and Ayame bit him, he embraced it all, because it was his.

They all had their happy endings, but there was still a small fraction of them that hated themselves for having a happy life. After all, Kagome, Inuyasha, Sango and Miroku had never gotten their happy ending.

In the End…

Inuyasha was happy.

Kagome was happy.

They were together and they had an eternity.

That was all that needed to be said.

That, and Inuyasha was almost kicked out of heaven. He found out that trying to protect Kagome and the guilt he had carried and never voiced, had always counted for something. He hadn't been expecting to see Heaven, and as soon as he found out where he was, he looked at Kagome. "No fucking way!"

Heaven was always a little bit more interesting after that.

In the End…

Sango was reincarnated, as she always was.

And Miroku didn't go peacefully into the after life.

In the End…

Matt sat in a Tim Horton's. It was late at night, and he thanked all the gods he knew that somebody had decided to make the Canadian coffee shop open twenty four hours a day. He sipped a coffee from one of their mugs. The girls behind the cash eyed him, watching the way his long legs were wrapped over one another and stretched out under the table. His hands, as slender as they were, looked strong, and he held a book in his other hand, reading it. It was Kouga's book, the bestseller.

His dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail. His eyes scanned the pages of the book, and slipped up whenever he heard one of the waitresses say anything. They were a light shade of grey. Matthew always felt rather comfortable in his skin.

"He's like a large cat," one of the women purred to her coworker. "He comes in here just about every night. He orders the same thing, and then he sits there and reads a different book. He seems to really like books about vampires. Sometimes he laughs in the middle of one, as if it's the funniest thing he's ever heard. I think he's waiting for someone."

"I wish he were waiting for me," the coworker sighed dreamily. Sixteen year old Matthew smiled charmingly behind his book, hearing everything there were saying, but he did feel a little sad.

'I wish I were waiting for you too. Where is she? I know she should be here… I can feel it. Where is she?'

The door opened and closed. Matthew still had his nose stuck firmly in his book. The girl who entered didn't even glance at him, but his eyes followed her hungrily. They drank in her sight, her scent. He was swimming with happiness, watching her move, the swaying grace in her hips, the cute way her short, sandy hair danced as she walked. She pulled her change from her back pocket, drawing his gaze from her face. He sighed.

And she still had a great ass.

She ordered her coffee and she sat down, taking a break. She sat all the way across the room from him, and put her legs up on the chair beside her. He could see the steak hidden in her sock.

Closing his book, he took his drink and got up. He couldn't stop smiling like an idiot. He moved with gracefulness, the same way she did. Many people had thought Matthew was a dancer, and he would admit that he would have made a wonderful dancer. It was just natural, however, to move like that. He found it natural to move like a predator, to be aware of his own body, to smile and hold his head just so, to speak in a smooth voice without any effort, to be sensuous and almost careless-looking while being aware of his surroundings.

He didn't make a sound, but his shadow fell over her table as she was putting down her mug. She stared down at it, mad that she had been interrupted. He was already grinning as she turned around to look up at him. Matthew beat her to speaking first.

"You don't regret it, do you?" His mouth felt suddenly felt very dry as he finished. He licked his lips, sliding down across from her so that she didn't hurt her neck from staring at him. "Sango."

Her mouth had dropped open. She was staring at him with a look so close to being one of horror that he felt hurt. She struggled to speak, reaching out across the table as if to touch his face, and stopping at the last second. She began to look confused. "M… Miroku?"

"I'm called Matthew now," he told her with a wink.

Her eyes scanned her up and down. They were a wonderful shade of green, as hard as jade or emeralds, but when she looked at him they softened until they looked as inviting as a lush forest. He instantly loved green eyes. "But… but you're…" Her eyes danced around his broad form. He knew that she was examining his aura. "You're human."

Her hand was still reached out. He laid his book down beside him and took her hand in his. He pressed it against his cheek. Her hand felt clammy, but he didn't care. Her fingers caressed him back as she felt the warmth through his skin. "I came back."

She shook her head. "Why would you do that, Miroku? I mean…"

I laughed. "You can continue calling me that. You can call me anything you want, Sango. Can I keep calling you Sango? I love saying your name. Nothing could sound so beautiful that that name."

Sango didn't answer. Her tongue darted out, licking her bottom lip nervously. She leaned down a little more, her eyes glowing in the fluorescent lights of the coffee shop. "Why would you come back, Miroku?" He loved how she said his name. It sounded so perfect coming from her.

"There are three things that will keep a soul coming back again and again into this world, Sango. One is hatred, the kind of deep hatred that you have for vampires. The other is justice. We both have that. We both want to help protect this world, protect the laws and keep it safe for people. The other…" He swallowed hard, his eyes staring into her. She was surprised to see that his eyes looked so similar to how they had when he was a vampire. Back then they had been grey washed with violets. Now they were flecked with pieces of sapphire.

"The other is love, Sango. A love so strong that it makes someone crazy enough to come back into this world because they care for another soul deeply. They would risk all the pain in this life, all the ups and down in life, to make that person smile, to make that person laugh. They feel the need to be with that person no matter what, to tell them it will be okay, to fight beside them and help ease their burden, to be their best friend and their lover and whatever else they need, to remind them when the world becomes too much that there is something good out there in the world. That… that is what I have."

Tears began to roll over the curve of her blushing cheek. She lowered her eyes, and he reached over, lifting up her head so he could look at her. She looked beautiful when she cried. His voice was soft, deep and rolling as he stared at her.

"I love you, Sango. I have from the moment I first saw into your mind. I respected you from the first moment I met you. I was stupid. I did stupid things, said stupid things. I hope that you'll be able to forgive me, one day. Because I do love you. You're perfect for me. You're the only person, in seven hundred years, who spent time with me just doing simple things, not using me for your own gains. You challenge me, and I like being challenged. You… are so perfect."

"No," she sobbed quietly, "I'm not. I'm filled with hate. I'm bitter. I'm horrible for someone like you."

He felt a brief pain at her words. His gentle voice continued. "Then why did you tell me that you love me?"

"Because I do!" she cried, lunging across the table and holding him. He slipped around to sit next to her in their little booth, holding her gently. She cried tears of happiness. "I love you so much, Miroku! You say things, and you smile at me, and I can never hate you, never! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry! I'm sorry that I'm not perfect for you, but I love all the same!"

He kissed her hair, comforting her, they way he had been made to do. "Yes, you are Sango. I was made for you. There's balance in the universe, and you upset it, becoming the Slayer. It was only a matter of time before another one was born: someone to help protect humans, who could understand your hate, who could be whatever you needed, someone who could help shoulder your burden, someone who was your shadow, alike but similar to you. A fighter, and a lover; a male instead of a female; a human with powers of the night; someone as intelligent as you, someone to make you smile. Me, Sango. We were made for each other."

But she wasn't listening to him. She lifted her head, tear stains on her rosy cheeks as she tried to sort through her confusion. "Powers…"

"Well," he chuckled, "I couldn't be entirely human, otherwise I couldn't fight beside you, right? I still retain all of my original powers that I had when I died all those years ago. So I can still read your thoughts, Sango, and we can do all that stuff, all the things you wanted to do. We'll live a longer life. You can go to University and show up all your teachers. I'll kiss you again; trust me, I'll kiss you a lot. We'll fight vampires. I'll take you to prom. And I'll be there in the next life for you."

Sango kissed his cheek. "I missed you, Miroku. I really did."

"I missed you too. When I saw my first sunrise, I wished that you could have been there to share it with me. It didn't feel right, sharing something so momentous by myself."

They talked in whispered voices for a long time. She looked down at her watch when it went off and gulped down the rest of her coffee. "Sorry, Miroku, I need to go." She tried to get out of the booth, but he wouldn't move to let her out.

"You haven't even told me your name yet, Sango. How will I know how to find you again? It took me sixteen years to wait for you to get a coffee."

Sango laughed a little at that, looking at him with respect for his patience. She ran the words over and over in her head. "You waited for me to get a coffee?"

He shrugged, smiling that charming, slightly goofy smile, his grey eyes sparkling. "It seemed like a logical idea at the time, but the logic of a fourteen year old is quite different from the logic of a sixteen year old. Please, Sango?" She looked directly at him, and her mind brushed his. A name, an address, and a phone number appeared in his mind, drifting there gently, as if they had been blown with a kiss. He sighed. Miroku loved being telepathic. He stared at her, at the way her short hair curled around her ears, and he stroked her cheek, his eyes drifting her lips. "Jaenelle. I like it. It's beautiful."

"My friends call me Janie. I have friends again, Miroku." She loved the way he said her name, loved the way everything about him wrapped around them, tying them together inseparably.

"I don't like that, Sango. It's too much like Jamie, it's too ambiguous. Jaenelle is most obviously female, the same way you are." He came closer, and his lips touched hers. She closed her eyes, leaning into his kiss. It felt almost… inexperienced. It was shy, nervous, and sweet. It was so sweet Sango felt like she was dying of pure happiness. It was exactly the kind of kiss she had always wanted. He drew away, smiling at her with a wonderful smile, the kind of smile she had always dreamed of seeing after she had just received such a sweet kiss.

He slid out of the booth, and she followed. She fixed her clothes. Sango looked up at him hopefully. "You'll call me when you get home from school tomorrow?" He nodded and he kissed her cheek. The women behind the counter were almost swooning from the real-life love scene they were watching. Sango held his hand briefly, squeezing in thanks, and she grinned. "I want to get together and have that real, honorable fight you've been talking about. Maybe we could teach each other a few new moves?"

"I'd like that…" She turned to leave , but then he remembered something he had been meaning to ask her. "Jaenelle! Wait a moment!" He ran to the door, and he looked at her hopefully. He once again took her hand, holding it against his chest. "Jaenelle… Sango… now that I am human and I can finally have children again… would you do me the honor of bearing my children?"

She stared at him in shock. Then she lifted her hand, and slapped his cheek lightly. Sango, if she wanted, could have slapped him so hard that the sound of her hand connecting with his cheek could have shattered the windows. "Pervert," she snapped, turning away from him.

She walked out the building, and then turned back a moment later, narrowing her eyes at him, and looking a little sad as he stood there, rubbing his cheek. "You're still going to phone me, right?" He nodded, smiling deliriously. Sango smiled back.

Her future had never looked so good. He was right: they were made from each other. She'd never be alone again.

Even if she was stuck with a perverted ex-monk, she would never be alone, and she'd always be loved.