One Ranch, Two Brothers: Finale (Written by KitKats and BelleDayNight all mixed up and thrown together in a semi-respectable fashion)
a/n: Sorry guys, looks like the story ends here. KitKats and I simply must end this amazingly great story with this chapter, but on the plus side it will be pretty long! So happy reading and we hope you enjoy!
Sesshoumaru had called the ER from the truck to warn them that they would be arriving shortly with a possible concussion. Upon arriving at the busy hospital, Kouga hopped out of the idling truck and picked up Kagome. He rushed inside the ER with the unconscious woman in his arms while Sesshoumaru found a place to park.
Kouga stood in front of the nurse's triage station, his expression grim and his eyes fiery. The nurse stood immediately and had him bring Kagome into the back. The ER nurse in that area checked her vitals and prepared her for IV needles while the physician was notified.
"What relation are you to the patient?" The nurse questioned. Kouga felt like he was being interrogated by the police. Why did she have to sound so suspicious?
"I'm her fiancé," he answered with some hesitation. The nurse looked pointedly at Kagome's ring finger and then back up to him. He shrugged, "I thought you might have to cut it off or something," he explained. "You can see the tan-line," he pointed out, grateful that the line she had from Inuyasha's ring had yet to fade. The nurse seemed to accept this.
Kouga stood at the bedside giving the nurse as accurate as possible summary of what happened and what he knew of Kagome's health. "It happened about a half hour ago. We had just gotten back from dinner and my brother and I had gotten into a tussle in the kitchen. She somehow ended up in the middle of it and a punch meant for me hit her instead and knocked her back so that the back of her head hit the island median in the middle of the kitchen," he paused. "The only past health history I know is that she had donated one of her kidneys to her brother and she doesn't take any medication regularly."
He stood within the curtained area for as long as he could before the nurse from the front took him by the arm and ushered him back towards the waiting room. She thrust a clipboard full of paperwork at him and he stared at it blankly for a good five minutes, not knowing what to do. Everything he saw was a blur.
He didn't even notice when Sesshoumaru sat beside him. His foreman took one look at Kouga then at the blank paperwork and took the clipboard himself and filled out the necessary details. Without a word Sesshoumaru turned in the filled out paperwork to the nurse at the front station before sitting back beside his boss.
"It will do no good to go into a coma yourself," Sesshoumaru warned.
"I'm in love with her," Kouga whispered.
Sesshoumaru's golden eyes grew marginally wide at the declaration. He had thought it possible, but he didn't think anything like this would happen so soon. He wasn't sure what to say to that. He knew what it was like to lose someone you loved, and then to be told they were not lost after all. He was confident Kagome would be fine even if she had some sort of hemorrhage. They had brought her to the ER in sufficient time to fix any such ailments. "Then snap out of it and you can tell her so when she's awake."
Kouga shook his head, trying to clear his fuzzy head. "Right," he agreed. He took survey of the other occupants in the waiting room. They consisted of a pair of children clutching their stomachs, an old man holding his wrist tight to his chest, and a teenaged boy with a skateboard and a bloody leg. He turned back to Sesshoumaru, "What did you say to Kagome?"
Sesshoumaru shifted in his seat, trying to find a more comfortable position for his large frame. "It was about my past," he too looked over the audience of the waiting room and deemed it harmless enough to disclose the information to Kouga. He seriously doubted if a kid with a sprained ankle cared about his family life. "Five years ago, I worked for the government. I had turned in my resignation because my wife and I wanted to raise a family and it was too dangerous of an occupation."
Kouga's eyes grew wide at the fact that Sesshoumaru was sharing his past with him. He had known the man for years now and had given up on knowing anything more than the basics. "You were married?"
"With children," Sesshoumaru confirmed. "I returned home to discover that my wife and two adopted children had died tragically in a fire. I was devastated naturally," he deadpanned.
"Naturally," Kouga agreed, trying to hide his amusement.
"I needed to disappear. I didn't want any dealings with the government and I had a great deal of capital thanks to my inheritance. My brother has always been greedy and I didn't want to deal with him. So I found you."
"And turned the ranch around into a profitable enterprise," Kouga said. Sesshoumaru nodded. "Did you find out some news?"
"Yes, an old associate of mine informed me that my former boss had attempted to have my family murdered, hence negating my reasoning for retiring from such a lucrative business. His thoughts were that if I had nothing to lose then I would work even more efficiently." He paused, cracking his knuckles and causing one of the small children to burst into tears.
Kouga offered the young mother an apologetic smile but she merely glared at him.
"The man is dead and it seems my family is alive. Kagome has, in fact, treated them at her clinic in the New York." Sesshoumaru turned towards Kouga, expression serious, as it always. "I wish to bring them back to Texas and live at the ranch."
"Of course," Kouga agreed.
"I want partial ownership of the ranch, considering I am the reason business is booming."
Again Kouga nodded, "Does an equal third sound fair?"
"It is acceptable," Sesshoumaru said extending his hand. Kouga shook it, making the contract binding for a verbal contract with a handshake was how things were legalized in the Lone Star state.
Kouga rolled back his shoulders and slouched in his hard, plastic chair. "If I murder Miroku you can have his portion. And then should I go to prison for it I guess the ranch would be yours."
"She'll be fine." Sesshoumaru shifted in his uncomfortable chair. "I already called my family and they are on their way now." Kouga looked at him blankly, he had nothing to say to that.
The minutes turned into hours and still there was no news about Kagome's condition. Sesshoumaru had left for some coffee in the hospital cafeteria and had brought some back to his business partner. "What are you going to do about Inuyasha?" Kouga asked upon his return.
"I am thinking of establishing a trust fund for him where I will give him a certain amount of money and he will allowed access to the annual interest," Sesshoumaru explained.
"That sounds generous."
"I am not without a heart."
Kouga grinned at him, "You're just feeling charitable because your family is still alive."
Sesshoumaru didn't argue, his lips merely thinned in annoyance.
"From the tabloids I doubt if an annual allowance will be enough to appease Inuyasha," Kouga pointed out.
Sesshoumaru's eye had a wicked twinkle. "If that is the case, our ranch is always in use of the occasion extra ranch hand."
The physician walked into the waiting room and hesitated before calling Kouga into the back to speak with him.
"You are the…fiancé?" Doctor Franks asked, quirking a brow.
"Yes, how is Kagome?" Kouga demanded agitated and worried.
"Kagome will be fine; it is good you brought her in so quickly. We ran x-rays of her face but there was no fracture from the impact. We also ran a head CT to check for any signs of cerebral hemorrhage. There was evidence of a small amount of blood but it stopped and there was no need to perform a craniotomy to relieve any pressure," Doctor Franks rattled off.
Kouga nodded along, not really sure what the man was saying. His eyes narrowed as he looked down at the doctor towards the end. "So what you're saying is…she's alright? Can I see her?"
"We'll be monitoring her for the rest of the night, but yes, in all probability she'll just have one heck of a goose-egg at the back of her skull to match her shiner," he gave Kouga a warm smile and patted his arm. "You can see her now."
"What about her cousin? He's been in the waiting room with me this whole time," Kouga explained.
"The white haired man?" Doctor Franks looked like he didn't quite believe the story but nodded anyway. "You may both sit at her bedside, but you must remain quiet and no more than two visitors, am I clear?"
"Crystal," Kouga replied with a toothy grin. He walked to the door of the waiting room and waved his arm for Sesshoumaru to accompany him. "He says she's fine but they're keeping her for observation."
The two men walked past the curtain that was closed around Kagome's sleeping form. Kouga sat on the edge of her bed, careful to avoid the IVs. Sesshoumaru looked down at the plastic chair, similar to the ones in the waiting room. "Perhaps we should donate some money to the hospital so they might acquire better seating arrangements," he muttered before sitting.
Kouga ran his fingers gently across Kagome's bruised cheek. "Hey sweet heart, can you hear me?" He called softly. His heart skipped a beat when her eyes fluttered opened. Sapphire never looked so good. "You put us through quite a scare."
Kagome's eyes looked from him to Sesshoumaru then to the IVs in her hand. "I'm in the ER?"
"Yes and all you've got to show for it is one heck of a shiner, you didn't even get to have any emergency surgery, can you believe it?" Kouga teased.
Kagome frowned at him before reaching her hand for her scalp. "They didn't have to shave my hair or anything did they?" She asked slightly panicked.
"I told you they didn't," Kouga said on a growl.
"No, you said they didn't do any emergency surgery," Kagome argued. She was about to say more when Kouga stopped her in the most effective way he knew. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers and shut her right up.
"Stop molesting the patient, Wolf," Sesshoumaru jeered from his view at the bedside.
"Hey, I'm her fiancé remember, I have permission to molest her," Kouga argued in a whisper, so as not to disturb the other patients.
Kagome's brow arched at the declaration. "When did that happen? Am I suffering from some amnesia?"
Kouga laughed heartily and kissed her again. "Its how I told the doctors we were related. Sesshoumaru is your cousin….again."
"Shouldn't I get some say in who my fiancé is?" Kagome asked, licking her lips and not missing the way Kouga's eyes traced the movement of her tongue.
"I'm a heck of a lot better than the last guy," Kouga argued. He looked over towards Sesshoumaru for support.
"That is true," Sesshoumaru agreed making Kouga's face split into a grin. "And since I'm still married, the best candidate is obviously out of the picture," he added, wiping the smile right off Kouga's face.
Kagome groaned and rolled her eyes. "I think I need a vacation after tonight."
"Let's go to Rio," Kouga suggested.
"Excuse me?" Kagome's eyes snapped back in his direction.
"Rio de Janiero, it's lovely this time of year. I could use a vacation. I'm about ten years over due. We might as well go together," Kouga looked back over towards Seshoumaru again. "That is the most practical thing to do isn't?"
"I suppose from a financial standpoint," Sesshoumaru concurred.
Kagome's eyes narrowed and she shoved Kouga in the chest, but it didn't hurt too much, so Kouga grinned and bore it. "You can't ask me to go to Rio with you because it financially makes sense!"
"Alright," Kouga placed his hands on either side of her face and touched his forehead to hers before kissing her softly on the lips. "Then we'll go together because it would be so much more fun to get to know one another along the river," he whispered against her lips.
"That's a much better reason," Kagome consented, as she closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep, the pain medicine kicking in.
Kouga looked back towards Sesshoumaru. "That sounded like she agreed, right?"
Spending the night driving had not been on Miroku's check list when he had started out his day, but by the time the sun had set, it had been clear that the only way to cool off, and escape a possibly brutal beating by his older brother, was to get out of the blasted town, and take a ride down the highway.
The good thing about Texas was that it had an endless supply of cities, and small towns. So, after using up a considerably large amount of gas, Miroku decided it was better not to live on the wild side when it came to driving on empty.
Normally, he would have just waited a little longer, and then called his brother if he happened to run out of fuel for the tank. Oops! He couldn't do that tonight, and Miroku was completely at fault.
He really hadn't meant to hit Kagome, or even his brother for that matter. The earlier encounter with Sango had stripped him down to being as low as a jerk, and with his dignity had gone his common sense. So, he had been brainless when Kouga had teased him, and hurt. He lashed out, and this was the end result.
Miroku exited off of the highway, and pulled his truck into a Shell gas station just a little ways down the road. The truck, at this point, was sitting dead on empty, and he counted his ducks that he hadn't missed the exit.
He hauled himself out of the cab of the truck, and set to the task of filling it up with the gas. The look on his face quickly turned into a bitter scowl as he took in the prices for gas. What was the world coming to? Pretty soon he'd have to hand over his first born for a tank of gas!
In which case, he would never be able to fill up his truck, as he was without a sweetheart and children alike.
Miroku's mouth quirked up at the thought of children resembling him running around the ranch, and if he had any luck, they would take on his habits, and walk like him.
It would drive Kouga up the wall.
"Uncle Kouga," He said thoughtfully, and quickly lost the ugly expression on his face. A wicked grin brightened up his face at the mental image of Kouga dealing with children in general, whether they were Miroku's, or his.
Digging his cell phone out of his picket, Miroku made a quick decision, and dialed Kouga's phone. It was time for him to apologize. They were men after all, and if this was settled over the phone, the likelihood of a pounding when he returned to the ranch was less likely to send him to the ER, and if he was lucky, just leave him with a shiner for a day or two.
The phone rang once, twice, and finally after the third ring, Kouga picked up.
"Kouga," Miroku began after taking a deep breath, "I'm awfully –"
"You're forgiven," the interrupted reply came.
Miroku blinked rapidly, and looked down at the phone in his hand. Had he dialed the correct number?
"What?" He asked dumbly.
The sound of giggling in the background caused Miroku to raise an eyebrow in an interested manner. Was that Kagome he had just heard?
"She's fine, and you're forgiven," Kouga said with little patience.
"Don't argue with me when I'm being generous, I have to go now…we are busy at the moment."
The sound of Kagome's laughter erupted over the line again, before the connection was ended. Miroku hung up the phone, and wasn't quite sure he even wanted to imagine what Kouga was implying by busy.
He threw a glance over his shoulder at the gas meters, and saw that the tank was now filled halfway. Miroku decided that he'd let it fill all the way up, knowing that the consequence of this decision would simply result in a hole in his wallet.
Giggling erupted from behind him, and when Miroku turned around to catch a glimpse of what it was, he was nailed in the face with a box of French fries. He teetered back five or so steps, and wiped at his face in shock. The impact hadn't hurt him, but simply shocked him.
Miroku nudged the spilt fries on the ground with the toe of his boot, as if to see if they would explode. When nothing happened, he glanced up and caught glimpse of two pairs of little feet hiding on the other side of his truck.
He squatted down, and peered under the truck, only to have his violet eyes meet those of two young children. They both clapped hands over their mouths, as if they hadn't expected him to find them so soon, and with a squeal stumbled backwards, and ran from the passenger's side of his truck.
Abandoning the gas pump, he gave chase after the little kids. Miroku was certain that he had probably frightened the two children, but at the moment he didn't care. He ran after them, but skidded to a halt when the little boy, and girl ran straight into the arms of a woman emerging from a car across the gas station parking lot.
"What is the meaning of this," She asked in annoyance as the kids clung to her.
"That mean man was chasing us," One of them hiccupped and began to sob in that way that only a child that has mastered the art of crying can.
She glanced up at him, and Miroku could see her changing from woman mode to mother mode. If he wasn't too careful, she'd beat him into a pulp for scaring her angels.
"I'm sorry ma'am," he said with a polite tip of his hat, "But these two youngsters were giving me trouble near my truck."
The woman raised an eyebrow in interest.
"We didn't really like our fries mommy," Began the little girl mischievously, "And this is the man that Daddy was telling us about, so we threw them at him." She ended her sentence with a giggle.
"Miroku," She asked suddenly, while ignoring her naughty child's behavior.
"That would be me," He said with a touch of confusion.
The woman released the child from her steel grip, and held out her hand, "My name is Touran, I'm Sesshoumaru's wife."
If Miroku was shocked, he didn't show it.
He took her hand, and shook it politely, "It's nice to finally meet you, Touran..." He trailed off as he took in the two children clinging onto Sesshoumaru's woman. That could only mean…
"And these," He asked after a moment.
"Are our children," She finished the sentence for him.
"Daddy told us what you did to the doctor," Rin said and shock her finger at Miroku, "Bad, bad, bad!"
Despite being scolded by a child, Miroku had to smile.
"Hush Rin," Touran said and gently glared at the little girl, "What brings you out here at this time, Miroku?"
"I had the need to drive around."
"As did we," Touran said with a small smile, "And everything was fine until our car broke down."
"Mommy hasn't put oil in the car recently," Shippo said smartly.
"Well, I'll be happy to give y'all a ride back to the ranch in my truck," Miroku said with a large smile.
Touran grinned happily, but shushed the children when they both began to squeal and jump up and down in place.
Miroku led them back to the truck, and after paying for his gas, they all squeezed into the cab of the car.
"Ooo, what's this?" Rin asked in wonder as she began to paw through Miroku's compartments.
"Mrs.Wastson, although it pains me to hear that you did not drink the milk you bought from my store in seven days, I cannot give you a refund for it spoiling," Sango said into the phone with a very large sigh.
"Let's be reasonable," She said after pausing to hear what the frustrated customer had to say in her defense, "When you buy milk, you check the expiration date. I put milk out that has at least a week's freshness, but it is not my fault if you buy it, and choose to not touch it until day eight."
"I'm sorry," She said at last, "If you wish to grocery shop elsewhere, then do so," Sango said in annoyance and slammed the phone down onto its cradle.
She was tired of being taken advantage of.
There was no reason to call up at seven in the morning to complain that the reason for not being able to eat breakfast was you and your spoiled milk products!
"Put on a bath robe, and come up to the store," She said quietly to herself as she wandered aimlessly around the store.
There was nothing for her to do at this hour. She had already put out the fresh fruits, checked the milk, set out a new basket of goodies, and mopped the floor until it had reflected her image on the floor.
She had been here all night.
Unable to sleep, work had been the only option for Sango, and she had simply thrown herself into making the shop look better than it ever had.
The bell above the door tinkled, and Sango halted as she caught glimpse of who had entered her store.
It was him.
"We're not open yet," She called as she wound her way through the aisles, and made her way to the cash register. He wasn't here for her money, no certainly not. Miroku just wanted to talk.
And at this moment, Sango would have picked the robber over discussing the night before.
"The sign on the door says seven, and it is one minute after seven, according to my wrist watch," His voice floated up from the breakfast aisle.
What was he doing?
"What are you up to?" She blurted out.
"Getting a box of pop tarts," He responded and brought the box up to the counter.
Sango rang it up for him, and told him the price. He handed the money over her, and turned to leave, but stopped.
"Sango…" He began and his shoulders slumped considerably.
"Yes Miroku?" She asked as she propped her face up onto her hand, and looked into his back.
"I was wrong; I didn't mean what I said last night."
She inhaled sharply, but said nothing.
"I love you," He said quietly.
"Don't say that," She reached across the counter with a sigh, and jerked on his shoulder.
He turned around, and the only thing she could read in his eyes was confusion. Miroku had said what she had been waiting for him to say, and yet here she was…telling him not to say it?
"I realized that what you said last night was correct, and that is why it was so hard to accept," Sango said all the while looking him straight in the eyes.
When Miroku said nothing, Sango continued, "There may be something between us, but it is something that would die out on one end or the other, and I don't want that for either one of us…we're not right for each other."
At last she had delivered the blow. Sango steeled herself against the emotions playing out in his eyes, and told herself mentally that she could handle this. It may be hard to ignore said feelings for the time being, but they would move on.
She leaned out again, and cautiously cupped his chin in her hand, "I want what you want for me, so go out there and find yourself a nice woman, who will make you happy… as for the salary part," She trailed off with a grin.
"Doesn't look like that will be a requirement," Miroku continued her sentence for her with a sad smile.
"We can do this," Sango said and drew back when she had the bell above the front door tinkle. The morning rush would be starting soon, and she really needed to keep an eye on her store.
Miroku nodded, and cracked a smile for her.
Despite the fact that his eyes were shining from pain, he was attempting to put on a good face in front of her, and that made Sango want to sing. One day, he would be a great husband to some lucky girl.
"You probably should get back to work now…" Miroku said as he took in the customers that were slowly filing in from the front door.
Sango nodded, and with a smile said, "If I don't keep watch, my own basket of brownies will get swiped."
She glanced up at him standing there, and knew exactly what the proper send off would be. It would hold more promise than any declaration of love, or swear that she had uttered in her lifetime.
"I'll see you next Tuesday," She said and ducked out from behind the counter to assist customers that had been yelling for assistance for the last ten minutes.
Kouga was frustrated trying to acquire the keys to their hotel room from the reception desk. He was speaking in perfect Spanish, he didn't understand why the old man kept looking at him as if he didn't understand. He was about to reach across the desk and throttle the old geezer when Kagome placed her hand on his arms to calm him.
"You're speaking Spanish, aren't you?" Kagome asked, a grin upon her face and laughter in her eyes. Kouga certainly didn't think the situation was very funny.
"Of course I am, we're in South America!"
"In Brazil the people here speak Portugese," Kagome pointed out. Kouga merely blinked at her, looked at the old man in accusation, and then turned back to Kagome with a sheepish expression.
She shook her head at him in amusement and reached inside her purse to pull out a Portugese-English dictionary. She flipped to the frequently used phrases section and requested their room. Kouga snatched the keys from the old man almost angrily and led the way to the elevator.
Once alone in the elevator he grinned at her, and tossed the keys and caught them. "Ready for some fun?"
Kagome walked up to him and slipped her arms over his neck, stood on tip toes, pressed against him and bit the underside of his chin. "I would like to see some of the city while we're here."
Kouga's eyes had darkened considerably and the two stood staring at one another for a full ten seconds after the door to the elevator had opened. Kouga snapped out of his daze when the doors began to close and he punched the door open button.
"I need a shower, this humidity is crazy," Kouga complained as he tossed their suitcases on the bed. He kicked off his shoes and headed for the bathroom, he stripped down to his boxers before looking back into the bedroom. "You're more than welcome to join me," he invited with a mischievous grin.
Kagome tossed a pillow at the door, but he shut it just in time to avoid the collision. She picked up the telephone and used the international calling card she picked up before having left the airport in Houston. She promised Sesshoumaru she'd call once they arrived safely at the hotel.
He answered on the third ring.
"Hey, it's me. I just wanted to let you know we got here safe and sound," Kagome said, lying back on the bed. Her eyes had wandered over to the bathroom door when Kouga started the shower water. She turned her attention back to the phone when she heard Sesshoumaru yelling at someone in the back ground.
"Put that down! I'll feed you to your uncle if you do not cease that activity at once!"
"Is everything alright there?" Kagome asked, fighting back her laughter. After being reunited with his family for two months it was still hard for her to see Sesshoumaru's transition into a father.
"Yes, Shippo is trying to be a menace as usual. Usually the threat of feeding him to Inuyasha works, it doesn't seem to be helping any more."
"Idle threats lose their value," Kagome jested.
"Perhaps it's not so idle. I am beginning to think my brother didn't waste his money on frivolous things but on food. He would eat the horse if there was butter slathered onto it."
Kagome burst out laughing at the image. "How long do you plan on letting him work as a ranch hand?"
"Until he is no longer annoying," Sesshoumaru answered. There was a long moment of silence. "You're not pregnant yet are you?"
Kagome's face flushed bright red. "What? How can you say that?"
"Because if you come back here knocked up I will be calling your brother," Sesshoumaru warned. "And your parents."
"It's not like that!" Kagome protested.
"Just be sure to be eloped before you come back," Sesshoumaru said before hanging up.
Kagome was left staring at the telephone that had so abruptly been disconnected. Why the nerve of him! She could hear Kouga's voice coming from the bathroom, he was singing. He was singing terribly off-key.
It was at that moment she knew he was the one for her. Maybe now would be a good time for a shower.