This is dedicated to the people we have lost that will always be remembered.

And the people no one knows are gone.

This is for everyone who has touched my life and I have freely given my love to (even if they don't know about this story).

And doih…

This is for you. The reviewers who have given me praise and criticism, the OMG and the frustration to get my butt in gear. And for also the readers, who enjoy my little novice and OOC story, in silence.

I write to be free. I write to bring emotion to others. But I never expected I would get so much emotion back in return.

Thank you, from the depths of my heart. Thank you.



Always There

Chapter 17


The air was thick with the smell of sweat and coming success. Exhaustion was mounting, but with the pumping levels of adrenaline filling their bodies and the wonderful thrill of battle, they could keep going for probably another hour. And the reptilian spider youkai had no chance.

Four human like figures stood before it, chests rising and falling with rapid provision, their forearms were sliced and diced with minor cuts, but smiles were alit on their faces.

One young woman, girlhood finally erased from her body, gave a meaningful glance to her companions and raised her bow, pulling back the string with a mocking slowness. The youkai's hundred eyes glittered with sudden apprehension and leaned back. Blood oozed over its eight scaly legs, and with its new position, a ray of sunlight made the visible pink jewel fragment in its forehead twinkle.

A barking chuckle rose deep in the hanyou's throat and he lowered a bit on his knees, hands twisting around the hilt of his massive fang sword. A smirk twisted his lips. His pure white bangs lowered over his amber eyes, giving him a look of danger. But to the miko who had cocked her brow, it just made him look too darn cute for his own good. She blushed and quickly went back to the matter at hand.

The remaining two warriors, full fledge humans, also got into a battle ready position. The male, black hair falling in wisps around his handsome face, pulled out from the dragon tail at the nape of his neck, slammed the end of his golden staff into the ground and wrapped his free hand around the holy beads encircling his opposite wrist. He glowed at the woman next to him, a prideful and fortitude taijiya, who steadied her massive boomerang on her shoulder, ready to fly. She smiled back and there was warmth in her eyes that now was freely shown. The monk noticed this and like all the many other times before, it sent a satisfying leap to his heart.

"You guys ready?" the hanyou ruffed.

Far off in the background, snuggled comfortably against the belly of a transformed neko demon, a kitsune yawned and shouted, "Can we hurry this up? I'm hungry!"

By those words, rumbles went off in each of the warrior's stomachs in answer.

Miroku bit his lip and placed a hand on his mid section, "Yes, Shippo is right. Let us finish this and then have lunch."

"Does PB&J sound good you guys?" Kagome asked.

From the corners of their eyes, they saw the slow bowing of the youkai, getting ready to either flee or pounce.

Inuyasha wrinkled his nose, "Didn't you bring any ramen from your time?"

"Course I did! How could anyone forget with you asking every five minutes?"

"I just wanted to make sure!"

The miko and hanyou both glared at one another but slowly smiles tilted up the corners of their mouths. Their eyes softened. Kagome giggled and steadied her bow. "Silly puppy."

"I'll get you for that later."

"Excuse me," Sango said, "but I believe there's still a task that needs to be finished."

The three blinked. "Oh yes!" Miroku laughed, "How rude of us." His violet eyes narrowed. "Let us get this over with."

"Finally!" Shippo yelled. "Come on! I'm starved!"

The four warriors turned and Inuyasha took a leap forward with a snarl, raising his sword, "Oh no you don't! You're not getting away that easily!"

The poor reptilian spider youkai froze in its weak attempt to slither away. It flipped over and lifted its spiked scaly legs to defend as Tetsusaiga sliced down. It was to no avail. Limbs and sickly green blood twisted across the sky, raining down upon the ground. The demon screamed a curdling, high pitched shrill and bucked around, trying to gain its footing, or what was left of its eight legs.

An arrow pierced through its abdomen, purifying out a perfect hole before striking the grass. "Hurry Sango!" Kagome yelled, running over while pulling out another arrow.

"I got it!" Sango spun and threw her Hiraikotsu. A whooshing sound was the last thing the youkai heard before the boomerang hit and sent its diamond shaped head flying. "Miroku!"

On cue, the monk released the tunnel still cursing his right hand and sucked in the remaining body of their enemy. With talented ease, he wrapped up his purified beads and ended the winds. "All done! And I must say, my dear Sango, that throw was magnificent."

The taijiya laughed and jogged past him, on the way, lightly punching his shoulder. "Shut up, you pervert."

Miroku feigned a wounded look, clutching the robes above his heart, "Oh that hurt! Mustn't you apologize for such a remark?" He grinned and followed the running form of his betrothed. "Perhaps with a kiss?"

"Don't make me whack you Miroku!"

"I'm only asking for an apology!"

Kagome smiled and slowed to a trot, walking calmly to her love. She watched as Miroku grabbed Sango around the waist and spun her in circles. Their laughing and soon wrestling forms (the miko was certain they would start kissing soon. The monk was definitely a bad influence. He wasn't the only one who initiated the smooching,) easily sent a glow of warmth to her chest.

"Shouldn't they try to be more professional? This isn't a game, you know." Kagome raised a brow and smirked at her hanyou. He was resting an arm on the hilt of his sword, where the tip was sunk deep in the oozing decapitated head of the thrashed spider snake.

"Please, like they're the only ones." Inuyasha blinked and slowly a blush inched along his cheek bones as Kagome gripped the neck of his haori and pulled him down. Her vanilla scent relaxed the tense demonic side within him still surging for battle and he didn't fight against her sweet chaste kiss. "Admit it. You'd love to wrestle too."

He snorted, "It would be a short match."

Kagome let out an incredulous huff, "Ah, mister tough guy huh? Think I still can't send you face first? Because I'm still capable even without a rosary."

"Yeah right." Inuyasha straightened and pulled out Tetsusaiga, sheathing it and then patting it affectionately. "I could take you down with one finger."

"I'd like to see you try!" Kagome bent down and snatched the jewel shard entrenched in the corpse's skin. On impact of her touch, the shard glittered pink and the head wisped into dust. She stood up and touched the fragment to a bundle hanging around her neck and it quickly melted into the quarter orb and added to their collection. They had compiled quite a few over the past few months and she had learned a new trick to fuse them together. It was much more useful then having the shards clinking in a bottle.

"You'd like to see me try eh? I wouldn't have to try or use any effort at all. Weak little girl, it'd be all too easy!" Inuyasha smirked, crossed his arms and then strutted off to Shippo and Kirara.

"Weak little girl?" Kagome bit the inside of her cheek and sniffed. "Well then, that settles it."

"Sure does settle i—AH!" out of nowhere a soft body rammed into his back and the hanyou was sent tumbling. Kagome jumped on top of him, struggling to pin his arms. "H-hey! Get off!"

"Not until you learn your lesson, buster! Weak little girl my ass!"

Inuyasha growled, "I told you to stop cussing. That's my thing."

"Whoever said that it was just your thi—mmmph!" Kagome then found herself flipped over and lips over her own. "Hey…not fair…" she mumbled.

Inuyasha stole her voice with another kiss and then stood up, giving a satisfied smile by her groan and her playful punch to his calf.

"And that wasn't fair either!"

"Whoever said I play fair? Now shut up and make me some ramen, woman, I'm starving!" The hanyou gulped in instant regret by the fire crackling in his mate's eyes.

"What did you just say?" Kagome whispered slowly.

"Uh…" Inuyasha took a step back. "Um, I-I said I …love you and…good bye!" He sprinted off.

"Oh no you don't puppy dearest! Get your butt back here!"

A few meters away snuggled comfortably still against Kirara's flank, a little kitsune rolled his eyes by all four of his companions' antics. Really, they were supposed to all be nearing their twenties (who knew about Inuyasha's age though with the fifty years on the tree and his demon blood) and yet they were still acting like stupid kids with crushes.

"Adults, can't live with them, can't live without them. Right Kirara?" The neko mewed in agreement and lowered her big head, purring out a sigh.

Shippo grunted and hopped to his feet, cupping his mouth, "Hey! Mama, papa! Didn't you hear me? I said I'm hungry! H-U-N-G-R-Y! HUNGRY!"

Kagome and Inuyasha, red with laughter and exertion, slowed and looked over at their surrogate son. "Well then make yourself something, Shippo!" Inuyasha yelled twisting as Kagome started to poke along his ribs again. He choked out amid guffaws, "S-stop being a b-baby!"

"Don't call him a baby, Inuyasha, he's grown a lot. HEY!" Inuyasha jammed his knuckles (being mindful of his claws) under her armpits and tickled her back. Kagome's body stiffened and she pushed against him. "STOP!"

"No way! This is revenge!"

Shippo growled and crossed his arms, planting himself down in a familiar pout with his legs folded Indian style. "Adults, can't they see I'm wasting away over here?" He looked over at Miroku and Sango who had stopped wrestling a moment ago out of sheer tiredness. Now they were just sitting side by side being entertained by Inuyasha and Kagome. "Miroku, Sango! Can you make me something to eat?"

The couple looked over and laughed. "Inuyasha is right Shippo. You can make your own lunch. I've seen you do it before." The kit stuck out his tongue at Miroku and went to his feet.

"Fine." Shippo then gave a slow evil grin. "But not until I…"

Inuyasha and Kagome beginning to slow were pushed into another match by the assailing little form of Shippo, jumping from one to another, tickling. The kit snarled and dodged all their tries to snatch him. "Can't catch me! This is for neglecting your son! I'm only a kid, you know. I can't fend for myself!"

"Stop your dribble, brat and come here." Inuyasha gripped Shippo's tail and ripped him over, rubbing the boy's orange hair.

"H-hey, stop. Mama, make him stop!"

That one small word melted her insides. One day that just started, Shippo calling her mama, and Inuyasha papa. They independently decided not to question it and soon it became habit in response to call him sweet heart or honey. Not like Inuyasha said anything like that however, that was a bit too much for his pride.

She smiled and shook her head. "Not this time. You brought this upon yourself."

Kagome stood up and gave the demons room to battle. Walking over to join Miroku and Sango, the taijiya said, "Shouldn't we be worried Inuyasha will go overboard?"

The miko giggled, "It's hard to believe, but Inuyasha really can be responsible. He won't hurt him." She sighed when she sat down.

On the contrary, she thought, he would do anything to make sure nothing hurt him. Inuyasha loves Shippo, it's easy to tell.

When the kit called him papa or asked to sleep with him after a bad nightmare, and there had been a lot of those after Inuyasha's transformation, her hanyou's eyes would soften dramatically. The guy now had a hard time saying no. Even though arguing still happened, Kagome could notice Inuyasha's gentle fatherly side growing. When Shippo got hurt, the hanyou would comfort him. When he asked to play, Inuyasha would comply, but he always made sure to be careful of his superior strange and the sharpness of his claws and teeth.

When the kit jumped on his shoulder or into his lap, Inuyasha would allow it and act like nothing happened. He spoke to Shippo with a softer tone now and gladly taught him all he knew.

And when he thought no one was looking, when Shippo hugged him, Inuyasha hugged back, ruffling his hair with obvious affection.

Her favorite part, Kagome sniffed back sudden tears, was when Shippo whispered four words in her hanyou's ear.

I love you, papa; he look that came on the dog demon's face every time those words were uttered, that was her favorite look in the world. Besides when he said 'I love you' to her of course.

Kagome laughed when the kitsune hopped onto Inuyasha's head and gnawed on his ear. Yep, there was a new relationship now between those two.

Between all of them.

Death definitely changed people.

"Well there is another jewel shard down. Our search is becoming a little thin. There can't be much left." Miroku stretched and plopped down on the grass. Sango nodded and her hand trailed to the monk's head, unconsciously starting to run through his hair. He looked up at her and smiled, closing his eyes and enjoying the ministrations.

"Yeah, I think now the only ones left are what Naraku has." Kagome hid a smirk by her female friend's nurturing. It had taken a while, but bit by bit Sango's shy side had broken down. It was sure to happen what with Miroku stealing a kiss from her every which way.

And now they were getting married. The date was still undetermined and it had been a long, emotional confusing argument over which getting married was a good idea. What if…his curse took him before…?

"Sango, my love, I would rather die knowing you were mine. Please, will you give me the honor of becoming my wife?"

And Sango, with tears in her eyes, held his face and whispered, "Yes. Yes! Yes!"

Kagome and Inuyasha snatched Shippo and covered his eyes as the two kissed.

The miko laughed softly. It was still a worry, Naraku and Miroku's curse. But in her heart and soul, there was another part of her, deep amid the worry and fear that believed it was all going to turn out the best in the end.

How could anyone not believe in miracles, what with Inuyasha and Sesshomaru now getting along?

That had been terribly surprising! It was subtle, and there was—yes--still arguing and—yes—still sword matches, but times before she had walked in on the two in a serious and even—YES—humorous conversation.

She was just now getting used to it.

It's almost like I missed something. Like something drastic happened and I missed out.

That was how she felt with all of these new relationships. Inuyasha and Sango now acted like brother and sister. Inuyasha and Miroku were better friends as well. Inuyasha and Kaede, he and her brother, mother, grandpa, heck even Kirara!

Well, remember the stories he's told you? About when he was Yasha. You know yourself the way you opened up and poured your heart out to that little pup. You couldn't have been the only one.

Kagome bit her lip. How could have Inuyasha coped with that, with all that grief and the unbearable confessions? No one could have gone through such an experience and not change in someway.

And how Inuyasha had changed.

Everything about him seemed softer somehow. The harsh indifferent mask he had always worn was chipped. He laughed now. He had serious conversations. He argued, oh yeah, he still had a bit of a temper. But he wasn't so defensive anymore.

Because the hidden selves of all of us were opened to him, all the wounds and sorrows we carried was dumped onto him. He knows us more, that must be it. And in turn, we know more about him.

We're closer, than ever before.

All the crying that had occurred, tears of pure joy and disbelief. And all the celebration when everyone discovered Inuyasha's rebirth with the pattern of shocked faces, gasps, hugs, and whoops. And also the occurrence of breakdowns and the enormous energy that came when that horrid burden was lifted, when people realized that he was back and he was alive.

Souta's exclamation of, "Big brother", her mother's hard embrace and the whisper of her love to her dear son, her grandpa's playful whack to the hanyou's head and then the ruffle of his hair, Kaede's beautiful smile as she draped his mended haori over his shoulders.

Inuyasha smiled back, he hugged back, he playfully whacked back. Inuyasha had matured.

And she had as well.

Kagome's fingers lightly glided over the love bite on the nape of her neck. She remembered being so shy around boys, especially Inuyasha, not even able to hold his hand without a half hour of self preparation. And now she kissed him when ever she felt like it. That horrible time without him, she wasn't going to waste the time she had with him now.

And he was hers forever.

She stepped out from the night shadows in that same cool, composed, mystery and looked at Kagome. Her dark brown eyes of the dead now seemed to brighten with acceptance. Kikyou stepped over to her young incarnate and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. Kagome had winced, expecting a slap, she had finally stolen Inuyasha's heart after all, so she blinked in surprise by the gentle contact.

"Kikyou…I…" Why did she come here? She had seen the older woman's spirit dragons and had quickly snuck off. That seemed backwards…but she had needed to see Kikyou before Inuyasha did. But what did she have to say? "I…"

"I'm happy for you."

Then Kikyou smiled.

And slowly her long spiritual dragons wrapped around her.

"Wait!" Kagome cried. What the heck was that about? This was going too quick.

Kikyou's face grew serious and she lifted off the ground. "I will be the one to kill Naraku. But I leave you to own Inuyasha's heart."

The woman disappeared with these final words, "Make him happy…like I never could."

Kagome stood there blinking in confusion. But slowly a smile beamed and her eyes filled with relieved tears.

The insecurity in his eyes and the cute little blush on his cheeks as he asked her to become his mate was too precious. She had been confused at first. Mating? What like dogs?

"N-NO! Idiot! I-its just…it's a custom with my father's side of the family…Sesshomaru explained it a l-little. It's k-kind of like marriage…just…more so…" Inuyasha covered his eyes in exasperation and embarrassment. "Dammit…this wasn't how I imagined it…"


"I was going to do all this special stuff and…what?"

Kagome smiled, "I said yes".

It took awhile before it sunk in. "Y-yes?"

"Yes, Inuyasha, I will become your mate. But--!" The slow grin then halted in apprehension. "You have to agree on having a normal wedding like humans too."

He laughed and swept her in a spinning hug, laughter bubbled up to the night sky, echoing off the Goshinboku Tree, "Whatever you say!"

They didn't have a determined date either. It was decided that they would have a double wedding after Naraku was killed. But although the wait was excruciating at times, Sango and Kagome both found great joys at staring at their rings (and showing off too, that was fun).

The miko's fingers spun the band, tilting it to have the sun glisten off the dazzling blue sapphire embedded in the silver. Engraved within the circle were simple but elegant words: My heart is yours forever.

"It had been my mother's."

Kagome gasped and her head bounced up to meet the hanyou's gaze, "What, really?"

Inuyasha nodded, "It was the only possession she had from my father. You know, besides my fire rat fur. She wore it every day."

"A-and…you're giving it to me…?" Her visions blurred with tears, "B-but you can't…this must be so important to you!"

"It is. But it's a wedding ring, dummy, and you said you wanted a traditional human wedding too. Souta said that that means you need a ring. He said it was kind of like my mark in human terms." He grinned, obviously proud of himself, but by the stray tear falling down her cheek, Inuyasha's face twisted in concern. "Wh-what…do you not like it…I mean, I can get something different if you…"

"No!" She cupped his cheeks. "I love it. And I'm so honored. Thank you, Inuyasha."

His golden orbs glowed in relief.

The hanyou grabbed her hand and slowly slid the ring on her finger. Kagome hiccupped and admired the beautiful stone.

"Now your mine both ways, human and demon." Inuyasha stroked her cheek, wiping away her happy tears.

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

There was another excruciatingly difficult part of this whole waiting thing…children. Sexual tension? Oh that was present but it was just going to have to be cooled for now. Sango and she couldn't possibly run around chasing demons pregnant. At least that's what Inuyasha and she had discussed who knew what conclusion Miroku and Sango had come up with. That was their business.

But it seems this conclusion wasn't drawn for Kouga and Ayame. They, what, already had about four kids or so? And boy did little demons grow up fast. Last time they had seen them they were hobbling and jumping all over the place.

But boy, were little demons cute too with those little pointed ears and tails.

Kagome giggled, remembering when she held one.

Inuyasha froze, ears twitching. He cautiously sniffed the air and slowly an evil grin grew along his lips. Kagome and the rest of the gang trudged up to him. Miroku raised a brow, "Um, my friend, are you…is there something coming?"

It had been a new start to the retaking of the jewel shard hunt. There had been a month or two of reminiscing and loving the restored hanyou, but now the much loved hanyou had finally convinced them to get going again after many weeks of griping and moaning.

Already that old groove of traveling came back to them with their leader in front and small chatter coiling around in the warm spring air. It was a beautiful magnificent afternoon with the enjoyment of reliving the "good old days".

And now their leader was giving a most worrisome smirk.

"Perfect, the ass has finally decided to show up. About time." Inuyasha muttered and before anyone could ask, he dashed off into the woods.

The minute the winds calmed from his sprint they picked up again when that familiar tornado headed towards them. Two of them actually and just like that, Kouga and Ayame popped from their spin and slid across the dirt.

The couple gave a shy smile.

Kouga had made a clear effort to stay as far away from the grieving miko. So when Kagome brightly smiled and ran up, clasping both the wolves' hands, the two were most definitely surprised.

"Kouga, Ayame! It's so good to see you!"

"Uh…hi, Kagome. We just…smelled you nearby and thought it a good idea to come say hello." Ayame bit her lip.

Kouga sent a nervous glance to the others. "Um, yeah, hello."

Any moment now, Kagome's brightness would darken with a snap of a lightning bolt. Any minute now…they should go before that happened.

"Oh, Kouga and Ayame, I have someone I need you to meet. He's a friend of ours that I think you've met before." Kagome giggled.

The wolf couple felt the back of their necks prick with apprehension. Or maybe that was the low whisper of, "Hey wolf breath…" hissing in their ears.

Who knew demons could scream.

Shippo lied panting, strewn over Inuyasha's lap. The kitsune wiped his brow and paled when his stomach gave a mighty gurgle. The half breed's answered with a growl.

"How about a truce, kid?" Inuyasha muttered, still trying to catch his own breath.

The kit nodded with a smile, "Okay." He jumped to Inuyasha's shoulder as the hybrid stood up. "So can we eat now?"

Inuyasha smirked, "Yep. Let's get some grub."


Their three human companions smiled as the two walked over to them. Inuyasha warmed by Kagome's clear love in her eyes. "So are you two finally done playing?"

"We were not playing. I was teaching the brat an important survival lesson." Inuyasha crossed his arms, lifting a smug chin.

"Oh yes, tickling is a sure important survival skill."

"I'm serious. Demons learn to fight and hunt by wrestling, it's a big lesson."

Shippo blinked, confused, and slowly comprehension dawned when Inuyasha sent him a meaningful glance. "Uh, yeah, yeah that's right! We weren't playing! Playing is for kids."

Inuyasha snorted and nodded his head in satisfaction, "See?"

Kagome lifted a brow, "Oh yeah, I see. And I suppose after such a difficult lesson you would like some lunch now?"

The demons snorted and said at the same time, "Damn right!"

Kagome glared.

Inuyasha and Shippo sent each other a panicked look, "Uh, no, um, we mean…"


The miko beamed, stood up and patted their heads. "Good boys. I trained you well."

A little while later, Shippo was gulping down a PB&J and Inuyasha was slurping down a bowl of ramen. Kagome, Sango, and Miroku stared in distaste.

"Like father like son I suppose." Miroku mumbled, politely nibbling his sandwich.

Sango grimaced and looked away, "Maybe too much so."

Kagome winced and shook her head, "Um…oh hey! Shippo, Rin wanted to know if you'd like to play with her tomorrow."

The kit slowed and swallowed. "Yeah? Okay, sure!"

Miroku wiggled his brows, "I'm impressed, Shippo, at such a young age and you already have women asking for you." The monk laughed as Sango pushed him.

Shippo only looked confused. "Huh? What are you talking about, pervert? We just like to play."

"I thought playing was important survival lessons." Kagome chuckled by Inuyasha's scathing look. She turned to her surrogate son, "It looks to me like Rin has a little crush on you, Shippo."

That only made the kit look more confused.

"I think Shippo's the one who has a crush." Sango grinned.

Instead of a blush or indignant remark like expected, Shippo rolled his eyes. "I don't know what you guys are talking about. Rin and I are just friends. And besides she likes Kohaku."

What once was word of taboo sent these friends laughing. Sango looked at her companions with bright mirthful eyes, "They would make a cute couple wouldn't they?"

The humans continued chuckling. Inuyasha and Shippo shrugged at each other and continued eating.

"What is that woman's name?"


"The demon slayer who travels with you."

"Oh, you mean Sango. She's strong…for a human."

"What is her connection with Naraku?"

"Remember Kohaku?"



"That's her little brother."


"He reeks of death."

A sad whisper, "He is dead. He lives only by the jewel shard in his back."

"You will need that fragment in the future."


"I know."

"He will die when it is taken away."

"Yeah, I know."

Slow regal footsteps and no goodbyes. Such strange conversations, but it was a beginning.

Over his shoulder, Sesshomaru's soft voice came back to Inuyasha. The hybrid straightened from his relaxed position against a tree.

"I will bring him back."

"What! Why?" Inuyasha called to his brother's walking form.

Sesshomaru never slowed. "Rin is fond of him."

And that was that.

"Ah, that was good." Shippo patted his tummy and burped. He blushed, "Excuse me."

Miroku nodded. "Yes Kagome, that was very appetizing. You have such delicacies in the future." He wrapped his arms around Sango and nestled his chin on her shoulder.

"It was just a sandwich." Kagome laughed from her comfortable place in Inuyasha's lap.

The hanyou sniffed and yawned. "I still liked that green crunchy stuff better."

She rolled her eyes, "Fine, fine, I'll bring pickled radish next time. Happy?"

Inuyasha chuckled and kissed the nape of her neck, loving the way she shivered, "Yep."

"So what should we do now?" Shippo rolled over on his back. Kirara mewed and walked over to curl up next to the child's side.

"Shard hunting, duh. We still have a long way to go." But even with those words, Inuyasha made no move to stand up. He breathed in his mate's scent and sighed.

Kagome leaned back in his chest. "I say we rest for now, we've been walking and fighting for hours."

There was a small silence.

"Inuyasha?" Kagome whispered.

The hybrid snorted, "Hmm? Yeah, fine, whatever."

Sango grinned, "Being a dog those couple of weeks has sure made you lazy, Inuyasha."

Inuyasha opened his eyes and glared at the woman, "Shut up, Sango. I'm not lazy…I'm just…saving my energy for the next fight."

"Hmm? Oh yeah, fine…whatever." The taijiya waved her hand in a mocking dismissal.

Kagome's hand immediately flew up to Inuyasha's ear when he growled, and gently petted. His growl softened and he buried his face in the crook of her neck. "Damn wench…" he muttered. She could feel the heat of his blush and smiled when he relaxed.

"Powers of subjugation." Kagome grinned.

Miroku chuckled, "I have to say these breaks of ours are wonderful but I still haven't gotten used to them"

"Lazy pup," Sango whispered.

"Shut up Sango." Inuyasha retorted, eyes still closed.

"I like the—"

A high pitched, slightly comical scream broke off Shippo's words. Everybody stiffened and turned to locate the sound. A fine chiseled young man, a player no doubt by the way he showed the contours of his chest with his gaping kimono, ran towards them in stark terror. His mouth opened and emitted another shrill scream.

Kagome punched her mate's stomach by Inuyasha's snort of laughter muffling in her shoulder. "Be nice…"

"He screams like a girl…"

Kagome bit her lip to keep from smiling.

"What is the problem si—"

"DEMON! DEMON! DEMON! DEMON! In the village! IT IS SO….UGLY!" The man covered his eyes and shuddered, spinning in circles. "YOU HAVE TO HELP US! IT SMELLS SO BAD!"

The shard hunting companions looked at each other with excited grins.

"Looks like we've got another one."

Inuyasha stood up, Kagome in hand and Miroku did the same with Sango. They all grabbed their weapons. Shippo hopped to a transformed Kirara's shoulder, still shaking with laughter.

"W-well…l-let's go help…" Shippo looked over at the still spinning man and bellowed with mirth.

Inuyasha smirked, walked over and bopped the guy on the head. The man fell on his butt in silence and shock, a lump starting to sprout on his temple.


The hanyou waved his Tetsusaiga, "What? The guy was giving me a headache. Now come on, we've got some work to do!" He began to run down the hill.

Kagome rolled her eyes and followed.

Miroku was the last to leave and when he walked past the dazed man, he dug through the folds of his kimono and pulled out a few coins. He threw them down on the man's lap. "Here go, uh, buy yourself some pride."

"But I don't know where to find that." The baka said.

Miroku raised a brow and decided it best not to answer, he ran off to join a waiting Sango. As they trotted after the others, Sango gave the monk a contemptuous look. "Go buy some pride?"

He shrugged embarrassed, "It was spur of the moment."

"Okay." Sango nodded with sarcasm. "That guy sure could scream, huh?"

"Most unbefitting." Miroku shook his head.

"Hey guys!" Shippo cried from his perch on Kirara.

"What?" Inuyasha answered, sniffing the air to trace the demon's scent.

"Let's have dessert after this!"

"Shippo," The three humans groaned as one.

"Do all demons think with their stomachs?" Sango asked.

"Yeah, dessert sounds great!" Inuyasha answered to Shippo's statement.

Kagome looked back over her shoulder, "I think it's just these two."

Miroku sighed, "Most unbefitting."

They laughed.

And these unlikely companions ran off into the distance…

…ready to kick demon ass.


It's finally over. It's...finally...over? Really? No it's not!


It is...

Wow, it is. Um, I don't know what to feel, it seems so surreal, and I'm a poet and I didn't know it.

Uh, hehe.

Thank you guys for everything. This happened for you and wouldn't have happened without you. Thanks. O.o

It's over?

Well,I guess Sayonara everybody. This won't be the last of me!

I'll be back!