DISCLAIMER: I think I finally understand that each story really only needs one of these things on the first page…so really, I kind of wasted my time adding a new one each chapter…oh, well. For old time's sake, I don't own characters of either the Inu-Yasha or Harry Potter Universes. The belong to, respectively, Rumiko Takahashi and J.K. Rowling, both ladies whom I revere and consider genius storytellers, and thank them very much for inspiring me to stay off the streets.
RECAP: Kagome's eyes unclouded as she let her hands fall to her sides, the ash from his bones drifting off her lips and flying off into oblivion.
"Rest now, for I have purified you."
Kagome sank to her knees after having completed a task that sapped her of all her strength. To purify a demon of Voldemort's fortitude would have been taxing enough; but to purify a human so enveloped in evil while still in a weak condition was enormously draining.
Inu-Yasha hobbled to her side, while Harry looked down forlornly at the fallen figure before him. The teacher who had sought to protect them all, and who had finally died in the process.
"Harry…" Hermione mumbled, tears pooling her eyes as she looked down at the body of the rough, but wise professor.
"He…he killed Mr. A…" Ron said, shock on his face as he crept next to Hermione.
Harry bitterly looked away. "It was because of me…"
"No! Harry…Professor Antoniello was called to be here as your bodyguard. It was useful to have him hired as the teacher so that he could keep an eye on you when I couldn't, and in the end, he tried his best to protect you, and he succeeded!" Professor Dumbledore said immediately. "Do not make his sacrifice into a tragedy, for he would not have taken back his choice."
Harry frowned, not cheered up in the least. "Well, he's still dead, and there's nothing we can do about it!"
Suddenly, the door burst open, as a harrowed Ginny, bloody Soutaro, rumpled Shinamichi and perfectly groomed and pressed Sesshou-Maru entered. "I'd say this fine piece of youkai would have something to say about that! Who's dead?"
"Ginny?!" Ron exclaimed in surprise. "How did you get in here?!"
"And who's a 'fine piece of youkai?'" Inu-Yasha said, glaring at his brother.
"Old Yeller here has got this wicked sword he picked up from Scabbers! He's been bringing people back to life left and right!" Ginny said enthusiastically.
"He even saved me…" Shinamichi said dreamily, looking for all the world like she wanted to stroke Sesshou-Maru's beautiful, enormous, lengthy tail.
Wordlessly, Sesshou-maru glided over to the old man on the floor. With a graceful swing of his newly reacquired Tenseiga, He decimated the invisible demon pallbearers, and Mr. A was resurrected as he took in a big gulp of air.
"Mr. A!" Hermione shouted, her face beaming. Harry was in shock as he looked upon his teacher.
Inu-Yasha was in shock for quite another reason, as he looked his brother up and down, still clutching an unconscious Kagome to him. "…why did you save him? Or anybody else? You hate humans!"
Sesshou-Maru shrugged, sheathing his sword. "Because I knew your woman would avenge Rin's death by killing that pestilence. And I am not too proud to show my appreciation."
Harry smiled, as he and Professor Dumbledore helped the dazed Mr. A to his feet. Hermione ran to get the details of the prior battle from Soutaro and Shinamichi, and Inu-Yasha seemed to drift off to a light sleep as he rested his head on Kagome's.
Ron shook his head, trying to digest the day's events. "So, wait. You never answered my question—how did you get in here?"
Ginny grinned, placing a hand on her brother's shoulder. "Same as you, I guess. I think it was the power of love."
After the group emerged from the room, they were met with the gory remains of their final battle. Luckily, many of those once killed in the Order were better off than those injured, thanks to the Tenseiga. Few death eaters were left alive, and no demons survived Sesshou-Maru's wielding of the Toukijin, but for Kouga and his wolves.
Bodies were immediately shipped off to hospitals on levitating stretchers, and Mr. A swiftly escorted Professor Dumbledore to the amputee ward for a prosthetic.
Kagome spent the next three nights in a deep, dreamless sleep. Inu-Yasha, who had been taking vigil over her still body, had since healed his foot, thanks to several teeth-grinding hours with Madame Pomfrey. When Kagome's sleep-crusted eyes finally cracked open, she was somewhat bemused to find two purple-blue ones gazing back at her.
"Inu-Yasha…?" She said tentatively.
"Keh," he said, unable to hide his smile. "Who else would I be?"
She studied him, returning his smile, noting the black hair that framed his face. Her eyebrows sank thoughtfully. "Why are you human?"
His lips sagged down in displeasure. "That bastard…the powers he got from you purified me. So now…" He looked down. "…It looks like I'm stuck bein' one of you."
Kagome gave him a sympathetic rub on the shoulder. "I'm sorry."
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, well, you should be. Now that I'm human, I'm gonna have to work twice as hard to keep you in one piece, and you didn't exactly make that easy for me earlier!"
She sheepishly looked downwards, avoiding his stern gaze. Sitting on the bed next to her, he cradled her head in his lap. "I'm serious, Kagome. I…I was…I was scared for you. I don't get scared. I never felt so…helpless." His lips parted, letting a heavy sigh escape. "I hated it. You looked worse than dead…I really thought I'd lost you, until I—"
Abruptly, he stopped what he was saying. Kagome peered up at him curiously. "Until you what, Inu-Yasha?"
He blushed, his face blanching, and shifted uncomfortably. "Nothing. I didn't say anything!"
Kagome's lips turned into a goading sneer. "What did you say, Inu-Yasha?" She pried in a sing-song voice.
"I told you, wench! I would never say something so embarrassing!" Inu-Yasha argued, unable to cool his rubicund cheeks.
"So, you're finally up." Harry interrupted, entering the room with Hermione, Ron, and Ginny.
"Kagome!" Hermione squealed, rushing to her side. Kagome grinned as Hermione kissed her on the forehead. "We were so worried!"
"Yeah, you gave us all a bit of a fright…we thought kissing V…Voldemort killed you right off." Ron jeered, standing with his sister.
This time, it was Kagome's turn to blush. "Yeah…I don't know why I did that. I hate the man, and I ended up kissing him twice in one horrible day."
A collective shudder shook the group.
"Well. At least you killed him in the end. Better be on your guard though, Inu-Yasha! Looks like Kagome's got lips of death!" Ginny cracked, causing the both of them to flush even harder.
Harry rolled his eyes. "How are you feeling?" Kagome yawned in response, allowing Inu-Yasha to help her sit up and use his shoulder to lean on.
"Not bad…a bit achy and woozy, perhaps…yourself?"
He laughed a bit. "I'm just glad this time it's not me in the hospital bed!" He exchanged knowing glances with Ron and Hermione. "But I guess I'd rather it'd been me and not you…so I'm just happy you're alright."
"We all are." Hermione warmly put her hand on Kagome's.
Kagome closed her eyes contentedly, then opened them abruptly. "Oh! That reminds me!" She said, as a sudden thought came to her. "Where's Shippou?"
Hermione looked uneasily at Ron, Harry, and Ginny. Ginny finally stepped forward, reluctantly opening her mouth to speak. "I'm sorry, Kagome. The path to the past had to be sealed, and Shinamichi, Soutaro, Kouga and the others had to return as quickly as possible."
"And let me tell you, that wolf was pretty hard to coax back into the past!" Hermione said, with a note of exasperation. "I say, Kagome…he may be a bit—well, a lot of bit—easy on the eyes, but he's persistent and delusional to the point of being an absolute nuisance!"
"Keh! You're telling me," Inu-Yasha retorted.
"Yeah, well, Shinamichi seemed to get him to follow her back…sorry, Kags, but it looks like your dear Arnold SchwarzePuppy has found romance with another." Ron chuckled, falsely sympathetic.
Kagome laughed a little, but felt sad that she was unable to bid her friends good-bye. But she took comfort in knowing that this time, they could live and thrive as demons without worrying that Naraku could return. That, and the fact that Inu-Yasha had stayed by her side.
But bedridden or not, now that Voldemort was dead, there was still one more issue to deal with.
Carefully creeping out of bed—much to the protest of Inu-Yasha—Kagome threw a sober look at Harry, who nervously averted his eyes. "Ah, will you all excuse me for a moment?" She requested to the others and made to leave. "Harry, may I speak with you?"
The two stepped outside and walked along the hallway. They strolled in silence for a while, neither of them wanting to be the first to say anything. Finally, Kagome spoke.
"No, wait." Harry interrupted. They came to a halt just before the courtyard. "Kagome…I've come to realize something."
He turned to face her, his hands on her shoulders. "I love you. Before the battle, I knew I was in love with you, but the fact that I came through the ever-locked door to find you made me sure of how powerful my feelings were for you."
Kagome looked down sadly, trying to stop him. "I'm sorry, Har—"
"But Inu-Yasha also came through the door, and I respect his feelings for you as well." He continued. "I know where your feelings lie, and I believe—at least, I fancy to think—that your heart is so enormous, you would have been able to open that door had I been in your place. I know how much you value me as a friend, and I know how powerful your love of your friends is." He paused.
"But that's not the sort of love I wanted to express to you that day." He took his hands from her shoulders, and paced around the courtyard, admiring the clarity of the sky. Kagome looked at the ground, stress of the moment causing her back to knot.
"Harry…it's true. I care very, very much for you. I love you! But I also love Hermione, Ron, Mr. A, Inu-Yasha…"
"You love Inu-Yasha differently from the way you love me." He stated factually. "You love Inu-Yasha…the way I love you."
Kagome looked at him wistfully, connecting with the quiet defeat in his eyes. "Yes, I do."
Harry did not look away. Instead, he smiled, the smile of one who achieved second place but worked hard for it. He walked towards her once more, his finger catching a tear snaking its way down her pale cheek. "Harry, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean—"
Wrapping her in a tight hug, he silenced her. "Shush. You didn't do anything. Well, I mean, you did something…I guess you did everything, actually. But you didn't do it on purpose, and you didn't do anything wrong."
He chuckled a bit. "Actually, you did everything right. Kagome, I love you. I loved you for a long time, and I don't think I'll ever stop. It might not always be the same kind of love I felt the day I kissed you, but…I'm trying to respect the fact that those feelings aren't—and probably won't be—requited. And I'm happy to regard you as one of my best friends."
Kagome laughed, crying a little. "And you are! Harry, you mean so much to me…" She hugged him tightly. "And the girl who does return your love will be very lucky." The two parted slowly, making their way back to the room. "In fact," Kagome continued, a coy look on her face. "I think I know at least one girl who might want a piece of that Gryffindor Seeker action…"
Harry snickered as they came through the door to greet their friends. "And just who might that be?"
"Harry!" Ginny cried, her sparkling eyes of aquamarine calling out for him. "I desperately need your help with studying for the Arithmancy O.W.L! Hermione stopped taking it, and Ron said you paid more attention than he did, and I'm positively terrible at it!"
"Ah. Well, so am I, but if it doesn't make any difference to you, I suppose we could do it after dinner tonight." Harry mused.
Ginny's eyes lit up merrily. "Great! It's a date. Now, I have to go join Neville—he's a great Herbology tutor, he is…"
Kagome gave a sly look to Harry, who reddened a bit, shaking his head. "What?!" He asked, laughing.
"Nothing, nothing…just thinking about what a lucky name 'Ginny' is…"
"Alright, I suppose you must be a little weary, Kagome. We'll leave you to rest a bit more, and catch up with you later, alright?" Hermione jovially bade Kagome fare well, as she sank back into bed next to Inu-Yasha, waving the rest of them off.
"What'd Broom Boy want to speak about?" Inu-Yasha questioned gruffly.
Kagome sighed. "Oh, nothing. Friendship, love, that sort of thing…"
"Wha—?!" Inu-Yasha sputtered. "Love? Why, what, which love?!"
"Nothing, I said! Now, back to before; what were you saying to me when I woke up during the battle?" Kagome dug stubbornly.
Once more, Inu-Yasha turned red-faced. "And I already said it—love! I mean, nothing! You were talking about how I love you! I mean, who you love! Or loving friendship…waking the hell up…shit."
Kagome turned to look in his eyes. "Inu-Yasha…are you upset you're no longer a hanyou?"
He frowned. "Where'd that come from?" Kagome lowered the lids of her eyes halfway, hiding her gaze from him slightly. He sighed. "Well…it'd be a lie to say I wouldn't miss it. It's part of who I am, who I always have been. But…I guess, it makes more sense to live this way now."
"But you could've gone back in time, through the portal!"
"I was made human before we had to seal the portal."
Kagome sighed in distress. "I'm sorry, Inu-Yasha…had Naraku not gotten you with the purification energy he stole from me, you wouldn't be the way you are now. And you would've been able to go back to where you belonged."
Suddenly, Kagome felt two warm arms lock her in a sinking, comfortable embrace. Inu-Yasha nuzzled into her hair, his breath puffing at her neck, making the tiny hairs stand up. "You are where I belong, Kagome. Even if I had been a hanyou, this is still where I would choose. And I don't mind being a human anymore, because I know it's not because you wanted me to be. I know you didn't care whether I was man, demon, or both. No one but my mother has ever felt that way about me…and it means a lot." He sniffed her hair, taking in its scent and closing his eyes. "And I guess it's for the best, really. I mean, if I were a hanyou, I'd live longer than you, and I don't want to."
Kagome gasped, turning to gaze at him fully as he reopened his eyes. "Inu-Yasha…" She smiled, her smile so bright, it made him quiver inside. Her lips, cherry-red and tiny, but soft…
Leaning forward, he touched her lips with his, holding them there gently. Kagome let her eyes close and melted into the kiss, their mouths meeting in a pure caress as she slipped her arms about his shoulders, enjoying the feel of his hands supporting her waist and back. He moved, a hand reaching to lift her chin and stroke her jaw line, his eyelashes falling across his bronzed cheek like a raven's wing. Briefly, their faces parted, and Inu-Yasha mustered up the courage to whisper onto her pert nose.
"I said, 'I love you,' Kagome…and I do."
Her heart soared at the words she had longed to hear but never thought she would. Giggling in giddiness, she responded with a quick kiss, whispering likewise. "I have loved you for such a long, long time, Inu-Yasha…and I will continue loving you forever."
Well…what do you think? I initially had a lemon ending for this, but I felt this story was better off as pure as possible. (But I wrote one anyway, so if you're really that interested, let me know and I'll post it on Mediaminer as a mature chapter. But not on they don't seem to approve of that…)
I had a good time writing this. A big thank you to all who followed it! It's been about 2 years, and I'm glad to have finished it.
I had a lot of backstory and explanations, so if you're confused about something and are just DYING to know the answer, let me know! I'll try to explain it for ya. :D
Thanks again for reading! Hope you enjoyed it a little!