insert apology for not updating here

Here she is. My baby. The last chapter.

-sob-

This story, such a part of my life for so long, has finally come to an end. No more guilt over not updating, no more rush of emails flowing into my inbox right after, no more.

This is really sad.

Enjoy!

Oh no! That will be the last timeI ever bid people to enjoy this fic! -sniffle-


But I hope you like it. I had a good time crafting the last chapter of The Sound of her Voice, as I was looking forward to the conclusion for some time now.

I take my shower. It feels delicious to have warm water running over me, cleaning off all the crap. I think it's probably a psychological thing too… in that as I wash the dirt away, I wash the fear away too.

The nurses change my bandages so I can move a little more freely. That means (huzzah) that I can move my arms enough to sign. It's very nice.

So now it's just waiting.

Waiting and waiting and waiting for Kagome to visit.

Waiting in my small hospital room that has nothing to do in it.

Waiting,

Waiting,

Waiting…

After the clock tells me I have waited fifteen minutes (and there's something wrong with it… time doesn't run that slow) I feel like listing each and every swear I know and running away.

But I decide to do something a little more productive…

Which, I've decided, is changing out of this vile, uncomfortable hospital-dress-thing and into some decent clothes.

There's a little drawer full of new clothes that my parents brought. I pick out the nicest of all of them and venture slowly into the miniscule bathroom adjacent to my room and put on a red shirt and a pair of jeans. It takes longer than it should to get the shirt on, because I have to thread the tube that goes to the drip through my sleeve.

I'm slightly tired from this little adventure, and I hobble over to the bed. There, on the table besides my bed, something catches my eye.

It's the same color, roughly, as my skin, made of plastic. A cord snakes from the transmitter, with its box that fits to well behind my ear, to the microphone, which magnetically attaches to my head.

I grin. My parents must have had my implant fixed while I slept.

It's bizarre, the effect the tiny machine has had on my life. I dream in sound, and though I still can't speak or understand words, I can distinguish some things, and I feel a lot more normal.

And I met her because of it.

I sigh happily and reach for it, and carefully replace it on my head. As always, the change is immediate. The slight crackle of noise that is constantly there, the sound of the machines running, the footfalls of the nurse walking down the hall.

But other than that, it's pretty quiet.

I open a book. I don't really know what it's about, but the cover seems interesting anyways. It's a crime novel, about a blunt, intelligent, middle aged detective, who meets a sexy police officer. It's obvious by reading the first page that they're going to have sex by the end.

"Veronica's green eyes followed the movements of the man in the chair. Reynolds squirmed under her intense gaze.

"Where have you hidden those kids, you bastard?" she demanded, stepping on his toes as she paced. I noticed her long auburn curls brushing against her full breasts. Reynolds noticed it too. I slapped him in the face, just for looking."

There's movement in the hall. Startled, I look up.

It's her.

She's wearing a white dress that ends above her knees, with a green sash around her middle. Her eyes are wide and excited, and as I put the book down she runs up to hug me.

As she pulls away from the embrace, I tug her back towards me and kiss her, my tongue entering her mouth and exploring her tongue, her teeth, the crevices on the top of her palate. She tastes slightly bitter, but sweet at the same time, like the way my mouth tastes, only softer and prettier.

We break apart, and she smiles a huge grin, showing her pearly teeth. Her eyes are slightly unfocused, and I kiss her again, only on the lips, as she sits up on the hospital bed.

"How are you? Are you alright?" she signs, "I was going to ask you as soon as I got here, but I got… sidetracked." she looks at my bandaged arm and the drip, "You poor thing. I'm so sorry."

I laugh. "I'm fine. Don't worry."

She smiles at me, a genuine smile that radiates all of her warmth and compassion and inner strength.

"Kagome, Kagome!" I sign excitedly, "Miroku told me-"

"He told you already?" she signs, "That's a disappointment. I wanted to show you myself."

"Will you?" I ask, hesitantly.

She nods. "What do you want me to say?"

I shrug. I don't mind. The idea of listening to the sound of her voice sends shivers of anticipation and excitement down my spine. "Say… your name?"

Her face is confused, "You haven't heard it?"

"I couldn't recognize it." I reply. I most likely have heard her name somehow, in the conversation that fills my hearing days now, but never on its own. Her name has never been pronounced to me, and I've never learned it from overuse, like the way I learned my own name. Ee-noo-yah-sha became Inuyasha, over time, just as Heh-low became hello and the handful of words I've learned with Sango in vocal therapy.

"Okay," she signs, looking a little nervous. She gazes into my eyes with her deep brown ones, and opens her pink mouth.

"Kagome" she says. Her voice is whispery and uneven, and it's obvious that talking causes her some discomfort. But the syllables and sounds she makes with her soft mouth, with her cherry colored tongue, are the most beautiful sounds I've heard yet.

I grab her wrists and pull her into a hug. She laughs a little, and cuddles into my chest, grasping the fabric of my tee-shirt in her white, slim fingers. I hold her like that for a while, then she tilts her dark haired head forward and kisses me.

Her soft tongue pushes at my lips, and I open mine and let her explore the caverns of my mouth. She is insistent, but gentle, and our tongues embrace each other. Her lips are softer than I could have imagined, and she moves her hands from around my shoulders to caress my hair and my ears.

When we stop kissing (boo) we lean back on the hospital bed.

"That was much nicer than the other night." I tell her, smiling.

"Your experience was marred by the bullet in your arm." she replies, "I would have liked it much more if you weren't flitting towards unconsciousness as we did it."

We both laugh, and I kiss her soft lips again, only for a moment. She leans in for more, but I stop her when my hands start moving.

"Kagome…" I sign, thinking as I make the actions, "I thought your vocal cords were permanently damaged."

"They were." she replies, "You heard my voice. It sounds terrible."

"It doesn't" I sign, "I love the sound of your voice."

" It used to hurt a lot when I talked, so I learned to sign." she continues, ignoring my previous comment, "Once I started sign language, I realized I liked signing much more than I liked speaking. But my mother still made me go to vocal training and therapy once a week. It stopped hurting so much, but by then I didn't want to talk to people. I was more of a voluntary mute."

"And now you're talking again." I finish her story, gazing into her deep eyes.

"Because of you. Because I was worried about you and none of the policemen could understand. I---" She breaks off.

"Kagome?" I ask.

"Yes?"

"Will you say something for me again?"

"What?"

"Anything."

"Okay." She pauses for a moment, thinking, "Eye luv yoo."Her eyes are mischievous as she looks up at me.

"What does that mean?" I ask, beaming at her in my auditory innocence.

"It means I hate you and I wish you were dead and I want to kill your family, your dog, your goldfish, and your gerbil."

"That's a lot of words for so few sounds."

"It's an anomaly."

"You're a liar!" I sign, laughing, tickling her with my good arm.

"Fine!" she throws her hands up in the air in defeat, then hastens them down to make the next word, "Do you really want to know what it means?"

"Yes."

She makes a fist, then forms the phrase, concentrating on raising her pinky and her pointer finger, and making her thumb stick out perpendicular, "It means 'I love you'"

"Say it again!" I say eagerly, watching her mouth and turning up the volume on my implant as high as it can go.

"Eye luv yoo."

"Again!"

"I love you."

"Again!"

"I love you, Inuyasha!" she says in her quiet, hoarse voice, her eyes glittering at me like shooting stars.

"I love you too." I sign, and I pull her into an embrace, knocking my implant to the floor in the rush.

I let it lie there on the floor as I kiss Kagome and hold her in my arms, enjoying the silence.


End.

Oh! It's over, it's over! I'm really close to tears now, despite how many hairs I've lost due to writers block on the damn thing.

I want to thank all of you, each and every one of you who reviewed and offered feedback and support. Even those of you who didn't review, thank you for reading! This has been something I can fall back on when I'm feeling bad, because I know that a lot of people liked this fic!

I love you all.

No really, I do.

Really.

Love and Hugs (forever!)

Sugarsprite