AN: THE FINAL CHAPTER! Yes! Then the real fun starts! Anywho thanks to those of you who while few in number stuck it out and are reading.


Eight

"I don't think this will all come out, Kagome." I sighed as we stood shin deep in a nearby stream washing my kimono.

"Of course it will." Kagome tried to sound positive but she too knew her efforts were fruitless.

"Kagome you wouldn't happen to be trying to distract me would you?"

"No! Of course not! You just can't go around looking like you were at a murder scene!"

"Yep Distraction 101. Look you don't have to try. Him dying wasn't the worst thing ever."

"But you haven't shed a single tear. I know if Inuyasha died…" I rolled my eyes.

"That's different. You love him."

"Weren't you? In love with him I mean."

"Who? Sesshomaru? You really are nuts! I'm not in love with him and I never was." Somehow it hurt me to say that. I didn't know why but it did.

"But he was so handsome, I mean as far as demons go and then strong of course and Sesshomaru seemed to really love you. I know you weren't there when Inuyasha was insulting you in the beginning that was what started the fight, but it looked to me like Sesshomaru…" I held up my hand to stop her.

"First of all don't use love and Sesshomaru in the same sentence."

"But you just did!"

"No, my Sesshomaru had a question mark behind it, yours didn't. Second..." I paused and wrung out my kimono. I looked at the garment disappointedly, the mud had come out all right but the blood had just turned all the white to a light shade of pink. I laid it out on the grass next to my jeans that were already drying. Kagome had let me borrow one of her extra skirts till my clothes dried. I sat so I was facing her and the stream.

"Yes and second?" Kagome urged as she sat next to me.

"Second. I might have shown him I wasn't just a stupid mortal, but that was more for myself. He was heartless to the end just so you know. He well… never mind he isn't worth it." I turned away and Kagome laid a hand on my arm.

"It's okay to grieve you know. I'm right here tears are just fine even if you don't have a clear reason I can understand." I stood and grabbed my clothes.

"I don't have the time or the energy to grieve I have some other things on my plate right now. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to it. You think Miroku has found Ah-Un?"

"Uh I don't know, let's go find out." Kagome linked her arm through mine and we returned to the village. I had spent two days here with them and while it was nice to have the company and I learned a lot about all of them and a little more of Sesshomaru's deal with Naraku, however I hated the looks I was always getting from Inuyasha.

As we came down the path I was surprised to see not only Miroku, but also Inuyasha and Sango attempting to control Ah-Un.

"I'll you the Tetsusaiga!" Inuyasha shouted.

"OH NO, YOU MOST CERTAINLY WON'T!" I yelled and dashed to them. Ah-Un instantly settled when he saw me. I snatched the reins from Inuyasha and called to Rin who came running with Shippo at her heels.

"Are we going to see Lord Sesshomaru now?" Rin asked as soon as she stopped. I bit my lip.

"Well that depends on how you behave, but I also have to tell you something."

"Oh is it a secret?"

"Sort of. Why don't you hold Ah-Un while I change?" Rin nodded and took the reins. I dashed into the hut and pulled back on my wet clothes. I folded Kagome's skirt and set it on her backpack then grabbed the Tensaiga and tied to my makeshift belt leftover from my obi. I strode back out lifted up Rin and set her on Ah-Uh before climbing up myself.

"So I'll see you back in Tokyo then?" Kagome asked.

"Of course. I'll try to be back at school when I can. Good luck with those jewel shards and Naraku." Miroku then came to stand beside Ah-Un as well as Sango.

"It was a pleasure meeting you Lin."

"You too Sango."

"You're sure you won't reconsider my offer ma'am?" Miroku inquired.

"Yes monk. I'm so sure that you can look at it as I will never have your children nor will any other woman I know. " I wanted to add 'except maybe Sango.' But decided it was wiser to let them figure that out on their own. I then snapped Ah-Un's reins and was about to leave when Inuyasha hopped beside Ah-Un.

"I apologize." He muttered.

"For what?"

"For well ya know, but I had to." He left it at that since Rin was with me.

"I'm sure you did, just know that my forgiveness will never be granted, it was unfair what you did and the way you went about it. Have a good day Inuyasha." I then allowed Ah-Un to take off out over the village and the trees.

"Rin,"

"Yes Lin?"

"It is very possible that Sesshomaru has already left for a journey by the time we get back to the castle."

"Did he tell you that the other night when you snuck out to see him?"

"Huh? Oh yes, so he asked me since he is going to be gone a long time, that I find Jaken and then after running one errand that we go to my world and take care of you until he returns and fetches you."

"So I don't get to see him?"

"Probably not for a while."

"Well at least you got to say goodbye to him. He will be alright won't he?" Rin I was pretty sure already knew that Sesshomaru wasn't ever coming back, but I wasn't going to risk the possibility that she didn't and bust the fragile bubble of hope.

"Yes I'm sure he will be. I'm sure he will." I assured her as we headed to the south and for the horizon.

"So you're telling me that this little thing is his father's grave?"

"That is correct my Lady. He must trust you! I knew he would come around!" Jaken squawked with delight while I held the black marble/grave in my hand.

"While that's nice and all, what am I supposed to do with it?"

"You will go to the grave and you shall see what his father has left for you."

"Has for me? But if he's dead…"

"Do not question it! Uh my Lady, I apologize for the outburst I according to Lord Sesshomaru am not supposed to order you around like…"

"Don't worry about it, so I go to the grave and I get whatever is there for me, but how do I know what it is?"

"That is where the Tensaiga comes in. When you reach the grave you will climb inside the large skeleton of my Lord's father and there will be a pedestal where you will slip the Tensaiga and that will unlock something that will give you what is for you."

"Okay that sounds easy enough, so I get to the grave how?"

"Give it to me." Jaken instructed. I handed it to him and he set it in the grass and then tapped the Staff of Two Heads on it and a portal materialized in front of us. Jaken nodded and I jumped into it. The sensation of falling occurred and then my butt hit hard metal.

"OW!" I groaned as I stood rubbing my backside. Taking in my surroundings I saw I was standing on the shoulder of the skeleton. There was a large hole right next to me and looked down and then climbed in it. This probably wasn't the safest and or the smartest way to go about this but my options were limited. I climbed down the bones and landed in even more bones in what I assumed was the ribcage.

As Jaken had said there was a pedestal of sorts in there and I walked up to it and I found the place where it was split and unsheathing the Tensaiga I slid it in until it stopped. I heard a grating sound and a portion of the pedestal fell away, to reveal a small chamber where a scroll sat. I grabbed it and then pulled the Tensaiga out and sheathed it again.

"What now?" I looked around and decided it was probably best if I climbed back out of this skeleton. I did just that and was scared out of my wits when a giant dead bird landed in front of me.

"Am I supposed to ride you?" I inquired, feeling extremely stupid. The thing just walked a little closer and I took that as a yes so I climbed on and it flew over the barren area and back to a portal. This was a quick trip, no big deal. I thought as I landed softly in the grass at Jaken's small toad feet.

"Was it fun?" Rin asked.

"Nothing special." I shrugged. Jaken laid the marble back in my palm.

"Oh thanks."

"We are a day's travel from the castle. You covered a lot of time very quickly before you met me, so let's keep moving then." I nodded as we all climbed on Ah-Un.

"That's just fine Jaken, just fine."

"Isn't this fun my Lady?"

"You're supposed to call me Lin remember?" I tweaked Rin's nose and she giggled.

"Not uh! Not when you are dressed up so pretty!"

"You think it looks good? I feel like the marshmallow woman."

"Who's that?"

"Remember those things I brought you from my home?"

"The white fluffy clouds I could eat?" Rin smiled.

"Yes those. Well there is supposedly a whole man made out of them.

"Wow." I turned from Rin and looked in the mirror in the room of clothes, examining my appearance. Rin, now in her blue kimono had decided that it would be a good day to play dress up, because I looked so gloomy.

I allowed it but she had picked out a chest from the huge room that held a single kimono and all the jewelry with it. It was at least seven layers, my bet was ten and it was of light pinks, the colors of cherry blossoms and the pattern was of the aforementioned blossoms. The instant she started to pull it out I knew it was a wedding kimono. I had my money to bet that it was from Sesshomaru's mother or maybe or his previous "interest", that he'd never have told me about if I spent a million lifetimes with him, but then again maybe it wasn't.

With Rin's help I piled my hair up in a wedding style that I had remembered from a catalog of Gram's and I let her put fresh cherry blossoms that had bloomed abnormally early around the castle in my hair.

"You look like a princess, my Lady." She stated as I put on the jeweled earrings from the trunk.

"Thanks Rin. Oh wait I just remembered! I can't believe I forgot! Rin run back to my room will you and grab the scroll sitting on the futon in there?" I had meant to read the scroll days ago but every time I was about to open it I'd set it back down and not do it.

"Of course! I left my sandals in there anyway!" Rin dashed out before I could say another word. I continued to look in the mirror turning a little so I could see the fabric as it fluttered around me despite it's weight. Looking at myself I noted that my skin was tanner by a shade or two and my hair was a brighter blond. Stupid sun! I also noted how skinny I was. None of the clothes I had brought from Tokyo fit very well anymore. I stopped examining suddenly and shivered a bit. I couldn't help but feel like I was being watched. I turned around and not seeing anyone I almost didn't notice Rin standing beside me.

"Here you go!" She handed me the scroll and I sat down on a chest nearby and with her beside me I opened the scroll. It was handwritten in a neat scrawl and finding the beginning I read aloud.

"… This scroll stands as the only written portion of my will and whomsoever possesses it, whether my son or his chosen, then it is in the correct hands. For this scroll is a vital part to recovering something precious. For my son Sesshomaru it is critical with regards to the Tensaiga. I chose you for the Tensaiga due to your taking after myself in your lack of emotions and attachments, therefore the sword that gives life provides you with a challenge.

To further it's powers and your own, you must travel perhaps far and wide and seek out not an ordinary mortal, but one of fair skin and hair. Eyes as deep as the forests and a fire in her soul to match the burning in your own my son. Should you find her take her into your innermost heart however small it may be.

Keep her at your side and become one with her, and the Tensaiga's powers will be endless. Choose wisely and trust your instincts and all will go accordingly. A change will occur in the Tensaiga and when it does, see the Master Totosai to aid you both."

"Is that all?"

"Yeah that's it. Hmm so that's why he wanted me here…" I muttered to myself, and was about to roll the scroll up when out of the corner of my eye I saw a flick of long silver hair disappear from the reflection in the mirror. I tossed the scroll aside and grabbing the Tensaiga that I for some reason, carried everywhere with me I dashed into the courtyard.

"Sesshomaru!" I shouted. I then ran down the paneled porches and made it past two more courtyards in the traditional sandals and kimono before I had to stop. I kicked off the sandals; there wasn't enough time to ditch the kimono so grabbing up the multiple layers of fabric I ran. Slamming panels and searching every room. Every so often I would shout for Sesshomaru and then keep running.

When I reached the East End I was breathless. Nothing like running in a royal wedding kimono to get the blood flowing. I slowed down a bit as I made my way through the halls still shouting for Sesshomaru. I knew I had seen him I just did. He must have been watching me earlier… but no it wasn't possible. I left him in the forest and…

I had made it to the main entrance and stepped out onto the elaborate covered porch, where I grabbed one of the pillars for support as I gasped trying to catch my breath. I leaned my forehead against he cool painted wood and closing my eyes I slid down to my knees in a heap.

Who was I kidding? One, Sesshomaru was dead. Two, the scroll was probably a load of crap. Three I was in love with Sesshomaru… WAIT! No! That was wrong! I wasn't and I repeat wasn't in love with Sesshomaru, not him! I shook my head furiously, the jeweled earrings jingling. My carefully piled hair was mostly out now and I finished pulling the pins out and thought some more. There wasn't anyway I could be in love with him, attracted perhaps but love no, I hated him, or so I had said, but hadn't I also said that it hurt to hate him? Despite my mind being a muddled mess I was thinking pretty damn clearly. Yes that was it! I wasn't 'affectionate', but I guess I could warm up to him. He wasn't all that bad of a guy, other then the fact that he had supposedly been dead for ten days maybe more. When Rin and I had met up with Jaken, he spoke with me and knew of Sesshomaru's passing and taken care of it all. I was relieved at not only that but that Rin was still clueless.

I rested my head against the pillar again and before I could stop them tears fell down in a steady stream and sobs made me shake. No I didn't want to be crying! I didn't want to mourn Sesshomaru! I'd only known him for a few months he couldn't have affected me that much. I just relied on him to look after me because I had no idea what to do really myself. I wasn't supposed to grieve, I didn't have a reason. Kagome told me I didn't have to have a reason and I told her I'd get around to it, well now was a good a time as any.

I sat there until I was hoarse and my eyes were completely dry. I wiped the last tear away and then looked out over the grassy lawn and at the cherry blossoms floating softly in the breeze.

"Damn it Sesshomaru, you idiot, why? You just have to have a death wish!" I sighed and then I gasped as my eyes rested on an unmistakable figure at the far end of the clearing, walking away through the dancing cherry blossoms. I jumped up with a newfound energy, with the new energy came a spark of anger and frustration. When I had dashed to the middle of the lawn, I stopped and yelled louder then I ever thought I could.

"SESSHOMARU! GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW YOU DUMBASS!" I've been chasing you for so long so…THANK GOD!" I sighed when the figure stopped and turned around slowly, yep definitely Sesshomaru. Gathering up the kimono in my arms, I made an all out sprint to him. This wasn't a very good idea considering the wet grass from the morning rain and the cherry blossoms littering the grass and my bare feet. I ended up sliding the last few feet and would have slammed into him if I hadn't grabbed a nearby tree.

"You screeched wench? What could you possibly want?" Sesshomaru stepped towards me. He looked real enough.

"You should be having your eyes eaten out by maggots and not looking like so… well…" I wanted to say 'so down right sexy.' Despite my logical distaste, but I didn't.

"I still see that you detest me then?"

"No, I never said that, it's just that you should be dead as a doornail." I commented, half hiding behind the tree.

"Your vote of confidence overwhelms me. Not that I care or need it." Sesshomaru retorted with sarcasm, which surprised me.

"I'm sure you don't, but if you want to prove you weren't dead then why didn't you come sooner?"

"I had errands and traveling after being gutted is no easy task." I stepped from behind the tree with my hands on my hips and an arm's length from him.

"You mean you walked here all by yourself?"

"Perhaps, however…" Sesshomaru grabbed me around the waist and pulled me to him. It was rough, but it was different then when he had done it before. I was pressed tightly against his chest. He lowered his face to meet mine and stopped within centimeters of our lips touching, I assumed he was going to kiss me and I finished his sentence for him.

"However what matters is you're here." I then closed the space and kissed him softly. I noted his surprised flinch and uncertainty, and then he relaxed. This time his lips were warm not just physically and I felt a little jolt of something there, lust maybe, need or was it, to be cliché, love?

It didn't matter it took my breath away no matter what it was and my heart sped up to an unnaturally fast pace. I closed my eyes and leaned into him and running my hands up his chest and over his shoulders, being careful of his new armor on the one shoulder, and then up into his hair where I twisted it's sleek silk like strands through my fingers. His arm stayed firmly planted at my waist. When I felt him pull back I too followed suit. I quickly averted my gaze when he stared down at me still holding me up against him. This wasn't real. It wasn't what my head was telling me should have been happening. It didn't make any sense at all; I guess somewhere deep down something told me this was what I wanted. Oh well only one way to find out if I was hallucinating. I pulled one hand from his hair and bringing it back behind me and as hard as I could I slapped him sharply across the face, so hard my palm hurt. I had expected my hand to pass through, but the smack that the contact made was reassuring but Sesshomaru's eyes told me otherwise. I heard a growl from deep in his throat and on tiptoe I kissed his reddening cheek quickly and whispered.

"I was just making sure. I was right."

"The abuse was uncalled for woman! I should punish…" My anger flared up battling my happiness at his remark. I pushed out of his hold.

"You haven't changed a damned bit! I'll bet you just came back here just because it amuses you to see me suffer! You don't give a shit about how much I worried and didn't sleep!"

"Perhaps."

"Perhaps! What kind of answer is that? Oh and another thing it's not mortal, woman or wench, it's LIN! L-I-N!"

"I heard you the first time I am not hard of hearing."

"I wasn't finished damn it!" I turned and began to move away and then stopped at his amused voice behind me.

"You are both attractive and amusing when your rage consumes you." I whipped back around and slammed into his chest.

"Do you have to do that quick moving thingy?" I snapped as I rubbed my nose. It had hit the armor pretty hard. He looked down at me with what I could have sworn was the beginning of a smile on his face.

"Yes I do."

"Well then I think we are about finished here once you stop mocking me!"

"I would never mock you… Lin." He let out the last word with a sigh.

"Oh right it isn't your style is it… Wait! Say that again?"

"I would never mock you."

"No the last part!"

"…Lin?" I let out a squeal of delight and without thinking or warning I jumped into him and wrapped my arms around his neck. We both teetered on the edge of falling and then I felt two, yes two arms encircle me tightly. I let out another squeak right by his ear and kissed his cheek. Damn! I had to admit this was the best thing to happen to me since I'd moved to Japan! Sesshomaru set me down and pried my arms off and then shook his head.

"Must you do that?" He was referring to my squeak.

"It's a girl thing and yes I must. Now let me see that arm!" I grabbed his new hand and yanked up the sleeve all the way up to his shoulder. It was almost seamless except for where the new and old skin met there was a thin pink scar.

"Oh I know I'm dreaming now. There's no way in hell… I mean even the medicine in my world couldn't…"

"No one ever said it was medicine."

"What then? A shape-shifting demon?" That was too farfetched. His nod however screwed that suspicion. I looked at him questioningly.

"So what was the occasion? For me perhaps because if it was then you should…" Sesshomaru held a finger to my lips.

"Not entirely. I have come to realize that my arm was continually cramping after having to drag and haul you about plus defending myself and I found that having another arm to assist would prove beneficial."

"Are you saying I'm fat?" I glared at him. He had never learned how to compliment a girl.

"This however does not mean in any way that I show 'love' or affection for you." I snapped my fingers.

"Damn I knew there was a catch! But I think we've just had our first Hallmark moment. Can we at least agree that we're warming up to each other then? Cause, there not a chance in hell I'm in 'love or affectionate' towards you either." I grinned and wrapped my arms around his neck again. He leaned his head down so our foreheads touched, possibly he was going to finish the journey for another kiss, when he stopped.

"Psst! Lord Sesshomaru… psst…Lady Lin?" I heard Rin's voice and I looked down. She had sidled her way in between us and was looking up at Sesshomaru with a smile. I sighed and let go of Sesshomaru. Then bent down in front of Rin.

"Yes Rin?"

"I'm sorry, but look! The scroll when you ran out, I was rolling it up and then this was written on the back!" Rin handed me the scroll and standing back up I read it aloud as Sesshomaru looked over my shoulder.

"Torment, lies, distrust, anger and lust. These are the Trails of Courtship of which must be endured in order to give life to the eternal blossom of love, that such through the bearings of such trials will sprout up between two persons and grace the two with both understanding and eternal peace of the heart." I turned the scroll over and still saw what was written earlier.

"Hmm. It would seem that we accomplished this test." Sesshomaru proclaimed thoughtfully.

"Yeah, but what does this have to do with… wait! The Tensaiga! It was supposed to change somehow!" I handed the scroll back to Rin and then pulled the Tensaiga from its sheath where it lay on the grass and holding it looked at it.

"It doesn't look like it changed at all! Look Sesshomaru." I turned the sword so I was holding the tip and he could take hold of the hilt. He gripped it firmly and before I let go I saw a spark of blue. I touched my finger to the point again, another spark. I then rested my hand on top of Sesshomaru's and the sword glowed brightly fro and instant and then nothing.

"What the hell… hold on, what's this? Look characters, were they there before?" Sesshomaru shook his head. I looked at the engravings in the metal.

"Human… Demon and… Love. You don't think… "

"Perhaps." I let go of the sword and it hit the ground, even though Sesshomaru's grip should have kept it up.

"Uh why don't you lift it up?"

"That would be the issue Lin. I cannot."

"What do you mean you can't?"

"Precisely what I just said." He snapped. His patience was wearing thin despite the happy mood. Maybe that was what was making him disgruntled. I could see the strain of his hand and arm as he attempted to lift it. I grabbed the hilt again and together the sword came up easily, so easy in fact that the two of us almost lost our balance.

"So if we both hold it, it's fine but if only one… Sesshomaru, we have to go see Master Totosai."

"How do you know of him and why?"

"Because your father said that the Tensaiga would change and when it did we had to seek out Master Totosai." I helped Sesshomaru slide the Tensaiga into its sheath and secure it back in his sash. I turned to look at Rin who was still standing beside us.

"You wanna come with us?"

"YES! I'll get Master Jaken and we will saddle up Ah-Un right away!" Rin scampered off before Sesshomaru or I could say another word to her. I turned to Sesshomaru and asked.

"So now that you are apparently among the living, would you care to explain what you were muttering about that night in the woods?" Sesshomaru looked confused for a minute and then taking my hand slipped it underneath his kimono. I spread my palm out on his warm skin. His heart was beating there strong under my hand. I pulled my hand back out.

"I knew it was there… all the time." I began to move away and towards the castle but Sesshomaru grabbed my hand for the third time or something and I stopped. While the rest of his face held no emotion his eyes showed concern and worry.

"What?" I inquired.

"After this trip to see the old man… you won't be going back to Tokyo?" I was taken aback by his question. I bit my lip and then giggled.

"That all depends on what that Totosai has to say and how this whole 'companion' thing is supposed to work out."

"Companion is too common a word. I forbid you to use it."

"Oh do you now? Then what should I replace it with?"

"Lady. Simply Lady." I smiled.

"Wow two upgrades in one afternoon. I must be coming up in the world."

"Perhaps." I could still sense his nervousness about me not answering his question so answered it.

"You know I think Tokyo can live a little while without me. Come on don't lag behind Lord Fluff." I said and began to run again.

"I will not tolerate that behavior! Get back here right now!" Sesshomaru ordered, but I kept running.

It had been one year or so since I had decided to pack up my bags and ship off to Japan. Now three months into the New Year I had tons of new clothes, a roof over my head a friend or two and someone I could begin to warm up to… Damn this was going to be one hell of a year… I can't wait!

THE END… maybe


Come on did you really think I'd kill Sesshomaru? I mean really? I can't make a sequel if I kill him! (BTW do you want one?)