Chapter 25:

In Conclusion

"Any sign of her?" Sesshomaru asked Jaken. The demon Lord knew it was to ask too much for the young reporter to have survived, but that was why he had his father's kiba with him. He could revive her, but only if they found her body by sunset tonight. Otherwise, her soul would have fully crossed over into her next life, which is why Full Moon Enterprises had a construction team invade the once peaceful Shrine. The noise from the loud machinery and working men was almost as powerful as the stench from the decaying spider. Most of the workers were wearing respirators to protect themselves.

"No sir, but we're still looking," the toad assured. He had been supervising the dig since it had commenced. They had been working day and night clearing the decaying body of the spider demon. They had barely struck the ground a few hours ago. "It's taking longer than expected because we're afraid of damaging the girl's body any further." Turning towards the mass of reporters behind the barricades Myoga had provided for them, Jaken ventured to ask, "Do they know what really went on here?" They both turned to look at the entrance of the shrine. The reporters there were as loud as the machinery, but the officers kept them at bay.

"No, and it's better that way, for the company, and for the world."

"Yes," Jaken agreed, "Naraku's actions could send our society back to the feudal ages, where demons and humans hunted each other."

"How is my brother?"

"They are having trouble keeping him sedated. He insists on joining the search."

Sesshomaru turned to the setting sun. "I'm sure he does, but it would not be prudent in his current state." It had been three days since the defeat of Naraku, and they still were unable to rejoice.

"You can't come in here!" Jaken protested as a young man walked up to the God's Tree. He reached out and touched the grown bark in admiration. How quickly it had been restored to its original grandeur after a decade of sleep!

"Let him be, Jaken," Sesshomaru ordered. The demon Lord walked to the intruder and spoke softly, knowing his stoic face could not hide his heavy heart. "We will find your sister."

"That is why I'm praying," Miroku assured him. "The tree regained its full strength from this fight. I pray that my sister may as well."

Sesshomaru examined the heavy bags under the monk's eyes and the paleness of his skin. "Sango told me of the paintings."

"Oh?"

"What do they depict now?"

"The forest has changed into a shrine… this shrine, as it must have looked when it was first built, well house and all. No people or demons, just the structure."

"And the one that was yours?"

"It's now a town, and the monk is surrounded by children. He no longer carries his rosary beads."

"That was a powerful weapon you lost," Sesshomaru admired.

"It was a heavy burden to carry," Miroku assured, as he stared into his healed hand. "I shouldn't miss it, but it was a part of me for so long. I'd rather the burden of this hand, than the loss of my sister," he concluded turning to leave. The day had turned to night.

"Sesshomaru-sama, I know it's too late to save her, but I would like to have a body to bury."

"We will not stop until we find her," the inu youkai promised.

"Sesshomaru-sama!" Jaken's screams caught their attention. "We found something!" They rushed towards the toad in time to see them dig out a familiar relic.

"Her gun," Miroku whispered as he took it into his hands and examined it. "She only fired two bullets. That's how precise she was. Two bullets were more than enough."

"If she didn't die on contact, there might still be time," Sesshomaru insisted.

"Don't peddle false hope Sesshomaru-sama," the monk replied solemnly. "We both know that there is no way she could have survived the collapse."


524663


Shippo sighed as he rode up the elevator to the top floor of Tokyo Central Hospital. He had wanted to come visit Inu Yasha sooner, but Jaken had insisted he wait with Rin in the country house. He had thought it funny when the toad had dragged him into the limo explaining they were Sesshomaru-sama's orders, but who was Shippo to disagree? After the fight, Jaken had rushed back to the city and had instructed the fox to watch over the girl.

Though he hated to admit it, he had enjoyed his time with Rin. It was easy to keep her sheltered from what had happened, since the girl was more interested in playing outside than watching television. She also thought Shippo was the cleverest fox youkai in existence. Who could resist such a bright child?

The elevator doors opened and he quickly made his way to Inu Yasha's room. He was sure the hanyou would welcome his visit for one very important reason: he had smuggled Inu Yasha some fresh Ramen. He was sure Inu Yasha would praise him, or at least not be mean, which was a big deal when dealing with him.

"I said I'm going home now, and that means I'm going home NOW!" Inu Yasha's loud screams filled the hallway. Shippo sighed again. Niceness was an inch beyond the hanyou's reach.

"Mr. Takahashi, I must insist. You broke several bones…"

"They are healed!" Inu Yasha interrupted the short doctor with bifocals. The man felt confident in front of the hanyou since he had two advantages: Inu Yasha was in a straitjacket and the doctor had a syringe filled with sedative ready.

"Unfortunately, you are still emotionally unstable," the doctor pressed, as Shippo entered the room.

"Unstable? Unstable!" the hanyou exclaimed exasperatedly. He had had enough. Narrowing his eyes, he focused his strength until he had ripped his arms free. The doctor shrieked as he dropped the syringe.

"Then again, you know yourself best…" The doctor nervously made his way to the door. "I'll process your papers personally," he screamed as he rushed out of the room.

"What's gotten into you?" Shippo demanded as he walked into the room. This was too much, even for Inu Yasha.

"None of your damn business!"

"Well, excuse me!" Shippo exclaimed as he prepared to use his secret weapon. "I don't get what the big deal is. So, they're making you stay a few more days. You should be grateful to be alive." Shippo dropped the Ramen as Inu Yasha caught him in a chokehold.

"Not at all," the hanyou informed before releasing him. Shippo coughed a bit before turning to his friend, and without warning, punching him. Inu Yasha fell back in surprise. He could smell the fear radiating from the fox, but the pup stood his ground. Inu Yasha shook his head. The boy was no longer a pup.

"I don't know what your problem is, but you have no idea how lucky you are. I don't know why you would want die, but I do know you won't face it alone. You weren't alone in that damn battlefield; you're not alone now," Shippo declared while praying the hanyou wouldn't kill him for his actions.

"Keh." Inu Yasha stood up and walked past him without attempting to harm a hair on the youkai's head. When he reached the dresser where his clothes were supposedly kept, he whispered, "Kagome didn't make it."

At first, the fox thought he had imagined the words. But, as the canine's silence progressed, they became real. He tried to speak several times without success before sitting down on Inu Yasha's bed. Suddenly, he felt lousy for hitting his friend, even if the hanyou deserved it. Why hadn't Jaken warned him? He would deal with the toad later.

"I'm sorry," the fox whispered to the silent hanyou's back. What else could he say? Kagome was dead. The one bright spot in the hanyou's life had faded. The one woman the hanyou had ever dared to love had gone where he couldn't follow. "I'm really sorry," Shippo spoke as Inu Yasha began to slam drawers open and shut, looking for his clothes. Becoming simultaneously annoyed at the hanyou's actions and fearful of Inu Yasha's state of mind, the young man ventured to ask, "Do you think this is what she would have wanted for you? Do you honestly think she would let you leave against doctor's orders?"

"Keh, the bitch would have tied me to the bed," Inu Yasha dismissed as he knocked over the dresser. "Where the fuck are my clothes?"

Shippo looked at the broken dresser in dismay. Did anyone want to be in the inu hanyou's path?

He watched Inu Yasha storm through the door and stop. Without turning around, the bartender spoke:

"Shippo, if you ever try to pull a stunt like that again, I will skin you alive."

The fox sighed in resignation. He almost missed the strange tone in Inu Yasha's voice. It almost sounded like respect.

"And next time, don't be so damn clumsy! That was some good ramen you wasted!" he declared as he walked towards the nurses' station.

No, things were back to the way they were, with the exception of the added pain in the hanyou's heart. "What do you mean you can't give me my clothes? They're mine! I'll leave naked if I have to!"

Shippo swallowed hard. This was not good. Taking out his cell phone he dialed the emergency number. "Sango, we have a situation," he whispered, praying the hanyou did not hear him.


524663


The doctors at Tokyo Central Hospital had found it best to keep the inu hanyou sedated and in a double straitjacket. Since he had been brought in five days prior, he had done nothing but scream and shout her name. He had sworn particularly painful deaths for any who dared intervene. After this morning's show, the doctors, with the help of a certain security chief, had managed to double the dose.

"It's a shame," he heard the nurses whisper, "to lose each other so soon."

Inu Yasha growled lightly. He had behaved most of the day, in part for the sedation, and in part because he had no strength left. Each passing minute was a cruel reminder that she was no longer with him. His eyes watered as he took in the scent. This had been her room once, and her scent still lingered in the air. How he missed her! He should have let her explain. He should have dragged her into Kagura's car and taken her somewhere safe. None of this would have happened if he hadn't stopped protecting her. This was his punishment.

He looked out of his window in resignation. He would never know happiness, or the soft touch of a companion. No, he had thrown it all away. If only he hadn't let his anger consume him.

"Hello stranger," Sango greeted him calmly. "The doctor tells me you've been good."

He made a motion to his straitjacket before finishing, "Like I've got a choice." She walked into the dim light of the room revealing a strange sparkle in her eyes, which had been dull since the fight.

"She loves you. I read her case notes on you." Inu Yasha growled at her words, but she continued. "Whether you like it or not, Kagome Higurashi was in love with you years before you officially met. You should see what she wrote about your one-night stands, and two-week flings. If there was ever an example of a jealous woman ranting…"

"Shut up, Sango!"

She walked up to her friend. "If destiny gave you a second chance, would you waste it?"

"What are you rambling about?"

"If, by a sick twist of fate, you found yourself with the opportunity to see her again, would you continue with your insufferable attitude, or would you live each moment?"

"Keh, those things don't happen."

"But if they did?" Inu Yasha's room was dark as Sango approached the television. The night's sky was barely visible through all the skyscrapers. The hanyou kept staring out the window without answering. Sango turned on the set and waited to see his reaction.

It was her voice. He turned to the television trying to recall the program. It was so strange to see her face, to hear her voice, to be almost able to touch her, while knowing she was gone forever. Even the word "Live" on the corner of the screen seemed to mock him. When was this episode filmed? She looked older, more tired than normal. She was also very pale.

Slowly her voice began to filter through, and he registered her words,

"Eri, what I am here to tell you today, is something I have only shared with one person in my life… the only man I've ever truly loved, and I'm afraid I might have lost him because I didn't confide this sooner. The truth is, the only man I will ever love- the only man I could ever love is Inu Yasha Takahashi."

The cheers and screams from the nurses' area filtered into the room.

"It sounds like you have been through quite an ordeal." Eri's voice was forced, obviously reading her cue cards.

"She's alive?" Inu Yasha whispered in disbelief. "But how?"

"I think you need to wait until the end of her story for that," Sango answered.

For a moment, he was numb; for a moment, he was in control, but only for a moment. His screams filled the hospital floor as he bashed around trying to free himself. "I'm going to kill her!" he laughed hysterically. "How dare she make me think she's dead?" His growl was more than deadly as he struggled with his confines. The effects of the sedative dwindled in the presence of the adrenaline rushing through his veins.

Sango pinned him to the bed in one smooth move. The nurse that had been waiting outside entered cautiously to administer another dose of sedatives, before quickly disappearing. "Inu Yasha, not even her brother knew. This was all The Agency's doing. Now, stay still and watch the report, or I'll sedate you personally!"

Sango's words had a soothing effect on the hanyou as the new dose of sedatives began to work. The hanyou's movements became groggy and uncoordinated, until all he could do was sit back and watch. He watched Kagome tell the world of her childhood. She talked with tears and difficulty of the death of her family. She spoke fondly of Miroku and their friendship. She explained Naraku's obsession with the jewel, and in part what had happened at the Shrine. She kept her story quite similar to Sesshomaru's press release. She continued to explain how during the final moments of the battle, Kouga had arrived in time to pull her out of the well.

Kouga had saved her, not him.

She did not speak of the Agency.

"My life has been difficult and painful, and I couldn't have survived it without the love and support of those around me."

Eri hugged her on camera. "I consider myself one of those people," she went on to read, "and as part of the team here on FME Networks, I want to thank you for letting us be part of your life."

"Thank you for having given me this opportunity to explain my story after so many years of silence."

"Is there anything else you would like to say?" Eri pressed, a glint of knowledge in her eyes.

"Yes, though I have not spoken of my relationship with Inu Yasha, I do want to clarify one last thing. If it had not been for him, if it had not been for my desire to see him one last time, I would have died inside the well that night. It was my need to spend every single moment of eternity showing him how much I love him and how sorry I am for having betrayed his trust that kept me breathing. He gave me the strength to face my nightmares, and to finally get over my fear of spiders. I love you Inu Yasha."

"Well?" Sango asked as she turned the television off.

"What?" Inu Yasha slurred.

"What are you going to do about it?"

"About what? She lied to me again! She made me think she was dead!" Inu Yasha growled angrily.

"She explained that she was out of it for four days after the battle!" Sango protested.

"And today?"

"Inu Yasha, she just told all of Japan, and part of the world that she loves you. Doesn't that count?" Sango was exasperated. Who could understand a bratty hanyou on sedatives?

"Keh, she lies too easily," Inu Yasha mumbled as he turned his back on her. His heart felt tight as he heard his friend's last remarks,

"Is it that someone else saved her, or that you couldn't do it that's really bothering you?" She knew him too well. "You know, if you let her go this time, it will be forever."

Inu Yasha turned towards the window and sighed. He was tired and confused. Kagome was alive, that should make him happy. Then, what was the growing feeling of trepidation doing in the pit of his stomach? Could he survive losing her again? Could he survive without her? Finally, the sedatives won, leaving the hanyou in a restless dream.


524663


Myoga looked at his case files. Kagome had just cleared up every question he had ever had about her and her family on public television, except for one: who was her father in reality? He had begun studying the files in hope of finding answers and redeeming himself. It had been reduced to a search of dead ends that concluded too late to be of any good. Naraku was gone; therefore, Inu Yasha should be safe.

The low light from his desk lamp was his only companion in the dark empty office. Most of the other detectives had left for the day. Only the night shift was left in the precinct. He wanted to leave, but he knew he couldn't. He hated giving up, and that was what this felt like. But, there was nothing left to investigate. All the evidence was too old, and no one seemed to care.

Dead or alive, Taro Higurashi would always haunt him.

"Does it really matter?" The flea jumped in surprise at the voice of the stranger. He looked up, surprised to find a familiar face from his past.

"You're Miroku, right?" The flea asked.

Stepping closer to the light, the monk nodded.

"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be with your sister?"

"She sent me here," Miroku replied. "She wants to start a new life with no baggage from the past."

"I assume this visit is to intimidate me. You want to make sure I never approach your sister again. Well, you can rest assured that I'm closing her file."

"But not our father's?" Miroku interrupted. "She doesn't care about files. She just wanted to make sure that you were willing to make peace with the past. It looks like that's not so."

"I can't just let go. There are so many questions, cases, loose ends... someone needs to tie this all together."

"I see," Miroku turned to leave, but stopped to ask one last thing, "Does it all really matter? Isn't it enough to know you were both on the same side?"

The monk's words lingered in the heavy air. Myoga turned towards his desk, and he examined the growing pile of active cases, then the much smaller file on Taro. Was it enough? Maybe some questions were best left unanswered. "Yes," he thought as he filed Taro's case, "it is enough. It's about time the dead, whether living or not, be allowed to rest." He grabbed the top file and began to read.


524663


"Just get in the car!" Sango ordered as she dragged the hanyou out of the hospital.

"I want my jacket!"

"When they find it, they'll send it to you!" Sango assured as they got into her Corolla. The hospital had called the security chief, informing that they were releasing the hanyou. What they forgot to mention was that they had misplaced his favorite leather jacket. It was now her headache.

"How can they lose a jacket?" Inu Yasha demanded.

"I don't know. It was tattered very badly; maybe they threw it in the…" catching herself, Sango coughed before finishing, "I mean sent it to be repaired. It'll turn up. I'll check with Myoga in case some idiot took it for evidence," she promised.

This seemed to settle him a bit. As they drove in silence, Sango began to wonder what the hanyou was thinking. Finally she ventured to ask.

"Nothing," he grumbled.

"Nothing, or no one?" she pressed her luck. His growl answered her question. "She hasn't made contact?"

"I don't want her to!" he declared.

"Ok, but did I tell you that yesterday's report wasn't filmed in Japan? They had her in a safe house in China. She might not have been able to contact…"

"I don't want to talk about her either," he growled

As Sango pulled up to the bar, Inu Yasha was sadly reminded of the events from the previous week. The cleanup effort was still taking place, and the streets were still full of debris. "Why did you bring me here? My apartment is across town."

"Not any more," Sango explained. "As a welcome home present, we moved your stuff into your apartment here. We made sure we were out before the start of November to save you a month's rent. Oh, and your brother saw fit to make a few changes, which he will deduct from next months allowance along with the cost of the maids. You know three of the four threatened to quit five minutes into the cleaning if they didn't get back up."

"Keh," he replied as they walked up the stairs. He noticed the construction material had been cleared out of the way.

"Next week, they are coming to install the elevator, which will also be deducted from your allowance," Sango continued as they walked into his apartment. She was a bit surprised, but she hid it well.

The hanyou walked around the red room with white molding and heavy curtains. The furniture was mainly his, for the exception of the dinning room set, something he had never owned. His brother seemed to have similar ideas to Kagome's…

The apartment looked more than livable, the only problem was it still smelled of her, and what they had done there.

"I'm going to let you get some rest. You know my number if you need anything."

"Sango," Inu Yasha called, "thank you."

He spoke so low that she almost missed it.

"You're welcome."

She quickly made her way out of the building. She was going crazy. She could have sworn some of the decoration had been moved. It looked like someone had been there.

"Need a ride beautiful?" Sango stopped short as the taxi driver stepped out of his vehicle. "I thought I would find you here. How about dinner?"

She smiled as Miroku approached her. "I thought you weren't allowed to hit on me any more."

"I've been offered early retirement. We're safe," he explained.

"Your sister?"

"Awaiting transport. She should be back by the end of the week."

"No, is she retiring too?"

"Yeah, first thing out of her mouth when she woke up… no wait, second thing she said was, 'I'm too old for this.'"

"What was the first?"

"She asked where Inu Yasha was. So, dinner?" Miroku asked hopefully. She turned to leave, but changed her mind. Smiling, she turned and slapped him. "What was that for?"

"I owed you one, remember."

His face lit up with appreciation. "So, is that yes for dinner?"

"That's yes for pre-existing relationship. I know you are not quitting."

"You know me too well," he sighed.

"And you don't know me enough," she complained as she slapped him again. "Dinner does not give you the right to touch me there."

"But you said we were dating now!" Miroku whined.

"Not in public!" she growled lowly.

"We're not dating in public?" he asked, confused.

"No. No touching me there in public!" Sango corrected.

A sly smile spread across the monk's face. "So, do you want to go to a more private place to decide what is appropriate to touch where?"

"No," with a quick turn, she was walking away.

"Playing hard to get will only make me want you more," Miroku warned. "Damn, what a woman!" He smiled as he walked back to his car. She would make it fun.


524663


Inu Yasha had raided the fridge, only to discover he was not hungry. He proceeded to turn on the television, but there was nothing good on. He decided a nap was in order. He walked towards the bedroom, praying his futon was still there. He didn't need to break in a new bed tonight.

The hanyou's jaw dropped in surprise, not at the new king-size bed, but what was on it. There, before his eyes, was his most prized possession: his jacket. To add to his shock, inside his jacket was a naked woman… a very beautiful naked woman.

"I should have known you had taken it."

"Am I that predictable?" she asked in a quiet voice. He sensed her insecurity and he smelled her fear.

"Just when something goes wrong, you're usually behind it," he spat, looking away. She might be a figment of his imagination. He heard the bed creak as she stood up.

"I earned that… Inu Yasha, I know I don't deserve a second chance…"

"Kagome," he interrupted turning towards her. Her blue eyes were watery, but hopeful.

"I screwed up… royally! I admit it. There were many things I could have done differently… things I should have done differently, but I can't change the past… All I can do is promise to do rectify it in the future. That's why I'm here… like this."

"And the Agency?"

"I quit. I'm just Kagome Higurashi, now… And, I know I don't have much to offer you, but I'm willing to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life trying to make things right."

"Shut up!" he ordered as he walked away from her. He shouldn't; she was only trouble, but her scent was so sweet. "I don't want to hear any more lies."

Her head dropped in shame. What was she doing here? Offering herself to him in such a drastic way? Like dangling a naked woman in front of him would make him forget the past. He could never forgive her, and she didn't deserve to be forgiven. She should just leave, but she had never been taught how to give up.

"I'm not lying," she whispered. "I love you."

He felt his heart tighten. He couldn't touch her… no, if he touched her it would all be over. He smelled her tears as he turned towards her sad face.

"The truth is that I don't deserve someone as wonderful as you." Her words were soft. She took a step closer to him, followed by another until they were face to face.

"I made one mistake, Inu Yasha. I fell in love with someone who was forbidden, but I don't regret it. I wouldn't trade any of it for all the money in the world. I would do it all again, even if it was only to be able to be in your arms one last time." Her scent, mixed with his jacket's, sent chills down his body. His brain threatened to stop working, subdued by the drug that she was to him. He had to concentrate on the harsh scents of the chemicals. She had obviously gotten the jacket cleaned and repaired. Unfortunately, the smell of ambers was much more pungent.

He looked at her pale, worn face with a hard mask of indifference. He could see the bags, the worries and the tears in her eyes. Even worse was her fragrance. It was pure, unadulterated her. Regrettably, he wasn't prepared to admit or accept that she wasn't lying.

"I won't force you," she finished, walking away. She couldn't stand being under those hateful eyes. She felt herself die a little bit each second under their gaze. It was too painful to know that the man you love can only hate you in return. "And it's all my fault," she thought sadly.

Inu Yasha watched her leave his bedroom. That's what he would do. He would let her leave. That would make everything so much easier. He buried his claws in the palms of his hands to keep from running after her. He could feel his youki demand her presence. His more primal side was ready to forgive… Well, it was ready to forgive after he took his fair share of her.

No. He would let her leave. It was better that way. No one would get hurt. Especially her. If she was no longer with the Agency, and Naraku was dead, then there would be no threats for her. Well, as long as she didn't piss someone off while working on a story.

No. Inu Yasha caught himself, ready to chase after her. He reminded himself that Miroku was there to protect her, and eventually, she would find someone else… Granted, no one could protect her like he could, but he had to think for himself as well. She couldn't leave him ever again if she wasn't there. This was the best way. She could walk out of his life, hopefully leaving the jacket behind…

Wait, if she took off the jacket, she would be walking out naked for any man to see…

Kagome had barely walked out of the room when she found herself pinned to the wall by a hungry hanyou. Her shriek of surprise was swallowed by his hungry mouth. She relaxed as she gave herself freely, letting him take as much as he wanted. His claws pricked her thighs as he pressed her closer. She grabbed on to him and prayed she wasn't dreaming.

"No more lies," he growled as his eyes flashed red.

"I'm not lying," she insisted.

He looked into her eyes and lost himself. He growled lightly taking in her scent. "No more cover-ups!" he demanded as he carefully examined the curves of her hips.

"I won't omit anything else ever again," she promised as she found it harder to breathe with his claws raking over her smooth skin.

"I'm the only one," his eyes glowed dangerously red as he moved his head less than a centimeter from her face. He rubbed himself against her, watching her squirm with pleasure, "You're mine!"

"I don't want to be anyone else's," she whispered in submission, struggling to catch her breath. Then, with a sudden rush of strength, she locked her eyes with his, and declared, "Don't forget, you belong to me as well!"

She barely had time to see the hanyou smirk before his lips were on her again. She drank from him. She drank from his passion, from his life… She drank from his cup, and he drank from hers.

With one swift movement, he had her on his bed. She didn't care how he had done it, just that he had. He straddled her hips in a way that reminded her of a game they had once played. His eyes had turned red then too. She tried to push away her fear. He sniffed her before demanding,

"No doubts!"

Raising one hand to cup his cheek, she smiled softly and whispered, "That goes for you too."

The shock her words gave him pushed the crimson from his eyes. Placing a hand over hers, he took a second to enjoy her warmth on his face. "I have no doubts."

"You're a lousy liar," she smiled. "It's ok. I think we're entitled a little bit of uncertainty." He traced her face with his claw, noticing how it had changed in the past few minutes. She looked younger, happier and just too beautiful not to kiss. "The greater the risk, the greater the reward," she promised as she let her hand slide down his neck and chest.

Her touch was as enticing as it was soothing. It was his woman's touch. The thought ran rampant in his mind as he claimed her lips once again. Her taste was of ambrosia, he was certain of it.

Looking into her deep blue eyes, he decided he would be the one to protect her. No one else could do it better. He placed soft kisses on her cheeks and nose before beginning a southern trail. "What happened here?" he asked as he examined a fading bruise between her breasts.

"The recoil of the gun… it's very powerful," she finished, looking away. Thinking of the first bruise, the one from the destiny changing bullets he had examined less than a month prior, he realized her injuries must have been greater than he first though.

Taking extra care, he examined with soft kisses the rest of her battle-scarred body. The bruises from the chains were still strong around her wrists. The dark scar caused by Madame Centipede taunted him as it rested between the marks left by his careless claws. He reprimanded himself. It would never happen again. Bruises and scrapes adorned her legs from her attempts to escape the well. He sighed, "Perfect… you're absolutely perfect."

"You lie," she accused with a soft smile.

"Flaws and all, you will always be perfect," his words hung heavy around them as happy tears formed in her eyes. "Silly woman," he whispered as he claimed her lips once again.

Feeling the strength she had thought lost return to her, she wrapped her arms around him… around the man Kami had created just for her. She pulled at his shirt, demanding the feel of his skin. She needed proof this was not a dream. She needed proof it was Inu Yasha lying above her.

He obliged, knowing he was feeding his own need as well. His hands traced every inch of her body, worshiping every imperfection. They made quick work of the rest of his clothes, but he didn't let her remove his jacket. He wanted her completely surrounded by him, by his scent.

They made love, surrendering to something greater than either of them, until they collapsed from content exhaustion. Even the silence that followed was filled with satisfaction.

"Kagome," the sudden question entered the hanyou's mind, "did you come here naked?"

"Of course not," she protested.

"Then, where are your clothes? I didn't see them in the apartment!" he protested as the thought of someone else seeing her like this entered his mind.

"In the bathroom, silly! Do you honestly think I would come all the way from China wearing nothing?" Rolling her eyes, she smiled. He was so easy to annoy.

Relaxing a bit, he wrapped his arms around her, "How about I give you a reason not to wear clothes altogether?"

"I'm listening," she smiled as he kissed her once again.


After much anticipation, here is the last chapter of BM. I'm working on the epilogue. It's not going to be long, but I felt adding it to this chapter just made it drag. It will tie the last few loose ends that aren't specifically tied here. It'll be a short happy chapter. The major angst is over with.

I would like to take a moment to thank my wonderful, amazing, ever so patient beta, FoM. She is amazing, and has outdone herself yet again. I have never seen such a keen eye for detail, even in an English teacher. You guys can thank her for the amazing job she has done keeping this chapter as free from errors as humanly possible.

I would also like to take a moment to thank my wonderful readers, who, after a year long sabbatical, were still here waiting to find out what happened next. You guys are awesome.