Chapter 111: Happiness

Kagome and Inuyasha remained atop the trees' branches, long after the sun had set and the stars that had started to shine on the blanket of night. The time was spent with soft conversations of their life, in past, present, and future, using the time to get to know more about each other, personally, before the miko needed to leave and follow her long awaited dreams. Throughout the whole time, Kagome was either wrapped in the hanyou Lord's arms or holding tightly to his hand, chuckling softly with him or sitting in complete and comfortable silence.

After two hours of absence from the Ball, both the Rebel Leader and Western Lord thought it best they returned before the people started to really believe any rumors their Buddhist Monk would probably be spreading.

Inuyasha had gently picked the miko up, being mindful of her dress, and jumped from the trees' branches to land safely upon the ground. Kagome had laughed and grinned as Inuyasha placed his arm around her waist to pull her closer, before she put her own hands to clasp around the one resting on her stomach.

Both Kagome and Inuyasha were happy to say the least that after their emotional confession, the two were very much comfortable with each other, both in conversations and physical contact. The thought brought both blushes and happiness to their beings.

Their steps were slow as they continued their trek back towards the Gardens and Palace, both not wanting their alone time to end, yet knowing that the others and their future were waiting for them.

"What do you think will happen when we do appear before everyone else?" Kagome asked with curiosity, her hands tightening on his as she leaned her head on his shoulder, "I have this feeling they will all be cheering and saying, 'Finally!'"

Both Inuyasha and Kagome chuckled as they passed by the Dandelion Patch.

"I'd actually be surprised if they didn't," Inuyasha stated with a smirk.

Kagome chuckled again just as the two exited the Garden Pathway, surprised to find the whole Garden vacant. The lights and candles near to the tables were flickering lightly and the crickets were whispering with the wind. Both Kagome and Inuyasha quirked an eyebrow at the sudden emptiness and warily made their way to the Palace Doors.

And both the Hanyou Lord and Rebel Leader received the surprise of the night as cheers echoed in the decorated Halls once the Doors had opened to the Throne Room. Inuyasha's ears pinned back from the loud yells and shouts while a light blush tickled Kagome's cheeks, her eyes wide as everyone in the room clapped and 'Congratulated' them.

Izayoi and InuTaisho were immediately in front of Kagome, taking turns in embracing her and speaking the tell-tale 'Finally' line. She turned with a laugh and watched as the older couple went to harass their son, the Inu hanyou already trying to push away a grinning Miroku and a protective-looking Kouga.

"The two of you took quite a while getting back," The Buddhist Monk stated with a suggestive wraggle of the eyebrows.

"Dog-boy, you better treat Kagome right, you hear me?" Kouga threatened with a shaking fist, "You hurt her, I hurt you!"

"It took you long enough," A feminine voice stated behind the miko, leaving Kagome to grin as she turned around to face her company.

Sango, Kikyo, and Ayame were standing with matching grins on their faces, Kagome blushing under their scrutinizing stares. The Rebel Leader took a single step forward, a genuinely happy smile spreading across her face.

"Thank you," She stated over the loud uproar of noises, "All of you…For helping me with this…For being there for me, and…everything…"

"Oh Kagome!" Ayame shouted as the three girls surged forward and embraced Kagome into a tight hug, chuckling as tears of happiness sprouted at the corners of their eyes, "We love you. Of course we'd help you. We're so happy for you!"

Kagome smiled, wounding her arms around three of the best friends she could have ever asked for in her entire life, "No, you girls are the best."

Across the Throne Room floor, Inuyasha was catching his breath, having had to sneak away from his parents, the Monk, and Wolf Prince; but with hair as flamboyant as his, he wasn't sure how long he would be able to keep away. Surely he'd have to go back into the fray so he could find Kagome again anyways.

From the corner of his vision, Inuyasha was surprised to find his older half-brother walking towards him, face firm and stoic, but amber eyes trained intently on his form. Inuyasha immediately knew that look, having been shown it many times beforehand. It was the look of someone planning something, whether to embarrass him or get him angry. With a frown, Inuyasha stood tall, not willing to back down, although his posture was incredibly tense.

Subsequently the older, amber orbs weren't trained on him anymore and the Inu hanyou watched with suspicion as Sesshoumaru's gaze was turned downward, somewhere where the crowds of people blocked the Western Prince's sight.

And then it happened…

Through the legs and elegant gowns of their guests, Inuyasha watched as small hands pushed through, followed by more small hands, and then the sounds of high pitched voices.

"Is he this way Sesshoumaru-sama?"

"He has to be here!"

"I can't wait to see Inuyasha-sama!"

"Hurry and find him!"

"Oh no…" Inuyasha muttered softly before he looked up to see Sesshoumaru faintly smirking at him, and before the young Lord could turn and flee, or even curse his older half-brother, he was tackled to the ground in various hugs, the scene causing others to stop and stare, point and coo, much to Inuyasha's utter dismay.

"Inuyasha-sama, did you and Auntie Kagome kiss?" Shirori asked as she tugged on his ears and spoke into the sensitive appendages, just to make sure he had heard her important question.

"Are you and Kagome going to get married?" Shippo asked excitedly as he tugged on his other ear, green eyes peering into pained, gold ones.

"Are you going to be my new Papa, Inuyasha-sama?" Rin inquired with a broad grin as she straddled Inuyasha's torso, her head tilting to the side innocently, expecting an answer.

"Come on, please tell us!"

"Yeah, Inuyasha-sama!"

"Sesshoumaru said you would answer our questions!" Shippo shouted eagerly, making Inuyasha – again – cringe and curse Sesshoumaru, promising he would enact harm for bringing this havoc upon him. Shippo then smiled as he leaned fully over his older brother's face, wanting his full attention, "I have a question you can answer Inuyasha! Where do…babies come from?"

Inuyasha immediatle paled, amber eyes wide, before he tried with new vigor to escape, gently removing Rin from his chest and standing up, placing the young girl beside her two companions, who were continuing to watch him with bated breath, hoping their questions would be answered.

With a frown, and ears drooped, a part of him praying for a miracle, Inuyasha leaned forward, "I'm sure Sesshoumaru can answer all your questions…Uh, why don't you go find him?"

Shippo responded with a sly smile, a shake of the head, and arms crossed, "Sesshoumaru said you would answer our questions, and then you'd give us a ride on your back!"

"Yeah!" The two girls chorused with glee.

"What?" Inuyasha bellowed, earning curious stares from surrounding guests.

'Damn you, Sesshoumaru…'

Kagome gave a soft smile as she stood at the balcony, away from the Throne Room and constant speaking and Congratulations towards her and Inuyasha's evolved relationship. Nothing could make her happier really and she was glad that perhaps she had that chance to find love again, had the chance to be able to find a love with someone she felt so strongly for.

Although it was a new and exciting step, Higurashi Kagome also knew that there was going to be more coming her and Inuyasha's way. Not all things went smoothly, but she was sure that they could work through and get passed anything, because maybe their love was that strong, because what they had, despite how new it was, was worth it.

A happy smile graced her beautiful features, grey-blue eyes watching the many stars on the vast expanse of dark skies.

"Congratulations Kags."

The smooth baritone startled Kagome slightly and she turned to find her Best Friend standing at the glass doors toward the Throne Room, an authentic grin on his expression making the miko relax with relief, because her heart would just break if she had seen her Best Friend in sorrow due to all the things they had been through the passed few weeks.

"Thank you Bankotsu…" She whispered, watching as he purposefully walked towards her.

He shared a smile, leaning against the strong rail beside her, possibly to help steady his still-recuperating body, "I figured it was Inuyasha."

Kagome stiffened a bit, "…You did?"

The Eastern Prince nodded, turning his head to face her, "He'll be good to you…I may not know him much, but from what I have heard, I know…That he'll be good to you…"

Kagome remained silent, at a loss for words and a bit afraid that if she did speak, she would say something stupid.

"I truly am happy for you," He stated as he gently took her hand into his, "I'm happy that you finally found a man, who will treat you the way you were supposed to be treated all those years ago…"

"Bankotsu…" She breathed.

"Tell me you're happy," He interrupted, dark eyes staring deeply into hers, "Please."

Kagome smiled, placing her free hand over his and squeezing tightly, "…I'm happy Bankotsu."

He smiled and gently lifted her hands up to place a chaste kiss on her knuckles, "And I'm glad to hear it…Because as your Best Friend, I desire for your happiness. I love you Kags."

And as she heard those words, she could hear the complete truth and they were said in a tone that suggested that all was well between them, that they were friends and nothing could stop it or take that away from them, and because of this, the miko was glad and she embraced her long-time friend in a fierce hug, "Thank you Bankotsu…I love you too."

Kagome smiled gently as she entered her hut back in the 'Grand Uprising' Encampment, Rin sound asleep in her arms, Souta and Kohaku behind her dragging their tired selves to their room, and Sango offering a 'Good-night' and small smile before she and Kirara disappeared in their room for rest also.

It was late, the moon shining high in the sky as everyone tiredly returned to their homes after both an exciting and amusing Ball of Celebration. A part of Kagome was actually saddened that it was already over, because it brought her that much closer to leaving the Western Region, leaving all of her friends and family…

…Leaving Inuyasha…

Shaking her head from such depressing thoughts, Kagome managed a small smile, convincing herself that she wanted this, wanted to travel like she had always dreamed, and that a month away from everything, being in solitude, will be good for her. She was going to cleanse herself of all problems, all insecurities that the Sin War had brought forward from her and return a better person, for everyone, and most especially, for herself.

Laying Rin gently into their bed, she gave another soft smile while brushing away the bangs from her adopted daughter's face. Luckily, she and Shiori had changed out of their kimonos at the Palace for better comfort so Kagome was given the easy task of only having to tuck in the child.

The small movements stirred the younger girl and her eyes blearily opened, Kagome offering an apologetic smile as she caressed her cheek.

"Sleep Rin…" Kagome whispered before kissing her cheek, "Rest now."

Rin nodded groggily as she closed her eyes again, a lazy smile spreading over her features. Without even opening her chocolate eyes, Rin found the miko's hands and rubbed them softly.

"…Love you Mama…"

Again, a smile lit Kagome's features, "…I love you too Rin…"

And after a final kiss, Kagome blew out the candle and left the room, fatigue having not yet caught up with her due to the events that had transpired between Inuyasha and herself just hours before, and the departure she would be making when the sun rose again and was at its highest. Walking over the boys' room, she suppressed a chuckle when she found both Kohaku and Souta sprawled lazily on their bedrolls, sleeping attire messily thrown on, and deep snores already exiting their gaping mouths.

With an amused grin, Kagome left their room and made her way outside, allowing the evening breeze to weave through her raven locks as she contently leaned against the railing, watching as the hut fires below her slowly began to flicker out. Above her, the stars shined beautifully while the moon's radiance bathed the white marble of the Palace in a stunning glow.

As Kagome watched the fireflies dance around her, she couldn't help but know that she was indeed going to miss the simplicity and beauty of her home when she left for her journey…

"Mmm…" She sighed as she closed her eyes and craned her head upward, allowing the cool breeze to caress her skin.

Admittedly, Kagome was feeling anxiety and nervousness towards her inevitable departure the following day since she had never been away from the encampment and her companions for more than five days, or a week at the most. And even if she had been separated from the 'Grand Uprising' Encampment for more than a month before, she still had Miroku, Inuyasha, Shippo and the rest of the Western Region to keep her company. However, beginning the next afternoon Kagome would be completely isolated on her travels for a prolonged amount of time.

"Besides Koru…" Kagome whispered thoughtfully, "Although he isn't conversational company."

A soft sigh escaped the miko's lips, her mind knowingly whirring with the fact that she would become rather lonesome on her journey and homesick, but she also knew that it was her only chance to do what she needed – what she wanted - to do. The 'Grand Uprising' and Western Kingdom were well looked-after and protected so she had little to worry about. She only hoped that when she returned home, all would continue to remain well and at peace.

"I will, undoubtedly, miss Inuyasha…" Kagome spoke quietly as she played with her raven tresses.

The miko couldn't help but smile as she thought about all the times she had spent with the Western Prince. From their first argument about marriage to their times horseback riding, from their dances at the Balls and long-awaited confessions of love toward one another; they were shared events Kagome would never forget. Switching her gaze to the stars, Kagome's free hand moved towards her neckline, removing the Location Necklace Lady Izayoi had given to her. Panning her gaze to the object resting in her palm, a gentle smile graced her lips as she observed the stone continuing to shine a bright gold, symbolizing her and Inuyasha's love. Quirking a curious brow, Kagome was confused to see the gold mixed with white when it should have been grey, signaling the distance Inuyasha was away from her if he was at the Palace.

A moment later, a soft thud sounded behind Kagome, the miko immediately spreading her aura to discern if the newcomer was either friend or foe.

She relaxed. The hanyou Lord was closer than she initially thought.

Allowing the necklace to fall back to her chest, Kagome slowly turned around, smiling as she caught Inuyasha near her hut's entrance, his amber eyes wide with surprise as he spotted her, white ears pinned back with wariness. As Kagome crossed her arms over her chest into an expectant posture, Inuyasha offered a small, sheepish grin.

"What do we owe the visit Inuyasha?" She asked, amusement laced with her words.

Inuyasha pouted briefly as he scratched the back of his silver head, "I thought you were sleeping already…"

Raising a single brow, Kagome tilted her head inquisitively, "Were you planning to watch me sleep?"

The hanyou spluttered, holding up his hands defensively, "N-No! I just thought that…I could have a little more time…to see you…"

Kagome smiled warmly as she watched the faint trace of pink touch the Prince's cheeks, his amber eyes avoiding hers in embarrassment, so she walked forward and happily embraced him, "That's very sweet Inuyasha…Actually, I'm glad you came, I can't sleep and I could use the company."

Inuyasha's arms wrapped gently yet firmly around her petite waist, pulling her smaller form towards him as he buried his nose in her dark hair and eagerly took in her unique scent. When he pulled back, Kagome took that opportune moment to plant a chaste kiss on his lips, moving away with a chuckle as she began to pull him towards the hut's interior.

"Let's go inside," She explained, "I believe our Buddhist Monk is trying to catch a show."

Sure enough, when Inuyasha subtedly glanced to the where the Monk resided, his hut only a few trees away, light filtered from the door and windows and a dark figure was peeking through the thin curtains to watch the exchange. Inuyasha growled playfully while the miko giggled, contently leading the amber-eyed hanyou towards the futon where they could comfortably sit. Pulling her feet up, Kagome leaned her head against Inuyasha's broad shoulder while he draped his arm around her frame.

Both were quiet, satisfied with the simple gesture of contact with one another when a question began to arise in Kagome's lazy mind. Smiling, she turned her head to look up at her companion.

"Do you mind if I ask you something, Inuyasha?"


"Can you tell me…What attracted you to me?" Kagome grinned, before giggling and plowing forward, "What made you love me? When did you start loving me?"

Inuyasha laughed, arms tightening around her shoulders slightly, "I thought you said one question wench."

The miko pouted in response, "I'm curious."

For a long moment the couple sat in silence, the cackling of the firepit filling the void as Inuyasha stared intently at the dancing flames. Beside him, Kagome could feel her heart slow in wariness with his continued silence, brows furrowing in slight confusion and great anticipation for his answer.

"…There's a lot to love about you, Kagome," Inuyasha started softly, the miko's heart jolting at his sincere words, "You're beautiful, you're strong, you're intelligent, you're brave, you're gentle, you're caring, the list goes on and on. You're just you and it's hard not to fall in love with that."

Kagome couldn't help but let the smile on her lips widen into true appreciation for his words, the hold on his hand tightening briefly before she started to caress the skin in a gesture of gratitude and happiness. In response, Inuyasha's arm around her shoulders tightened also.

A deep chuckle rumbled from within Inuyasha's throat and Kagome's brow quirked once more in curiosity, "When I first met you, though, I thought you were an annoying wench–" Kagome pinched his side playfully and the hanyou Prince was quick to placate her, "But just after a day of getting to really know you…Seeing your determination and drive, especially your selflessness when it came to helping my family – freeing my Father from Naraku's control, protecting Shippo with your own body when he attacked him, saving my Mother from sickness and possession. You just amazed me. And you continued to amaze me the more I got to know you."

Kagome lifted her free hand up to touch her warm cheek, already knowing that they were pink with embarrassment, "…You're making me blush, Inuyasha."

He laughed again and held her tighter, his gentle voice reaching her ears, "…But it's true."

"I'm not that great…" Kagome muttered, still blushing.

"…Yeah, I guess you do have that problem with always making rash decisions and running away from problems," Inuyasha added thoughtfully, earning a smack to the thigh from the flustered miko.

"Thank you Inuyasha," The woman answered sarcastically.

Inuyasha laughed once more, "No problem." The arm resting around her shoulders lifted slightly so his hand could stroke her hair, loving the silky feeling on his fingertips and silently apologizing for his comments. It worked, as Kagome relaxed in his arms and he took it as a sign to safely venture forward, "And what about you, rebel leader? What made you start loving a hanyou Prince like me?"

"Your ears," Kagome answered instantly, a grin on her face and a giggle following when Inuyasha retaliated with a light pinch of his own, "…Hmmm. I think I started liking you when we fell into a routine as friends. Horseback riding, Library visits, Training. I guess I didn't realize it until Kikyo came back into your life. And I think it wasn't until so many events chained together – dancing with me at the first Ball, saving me from Onigumo on the Battlefield, hearing you getting married to Kikyo, our kisses, staying with me at the Encampment, imprisoning me, attacking me in your full-demon state, dying…Those events, looking back on them, slowly had me admitting my love for you to myself…" She closed her eyes and breathed him in, "…And then breaking out of my denial and finally telling you were other things thrown into the chaos. If it hadn't been for the encouragement from everyone else I might not have ever told you how I felt…"

Another silence, content and comfortable. Kagome's eyelids were already lowering in fatigue and the scent of Inuyasha and the safety his arms provided allowed her to completely drop her guard and snuggle into his hold.

"I'm really glad we've told each other how we've felt, Inuyasha…" Kaogme murmured sleepily.

Inuyasha smiled as he rested his chin atop her head, closing his eyes in bliss, "Me too, Kagome, me too."

A/N: Eh…heh…heh. Uh, Hi. Well, I'm not dead, I just had a very serious case of Writer's Block…And I know I had said in my Author's Note about a year ago that I was going to finish the story in March or April of 2009, but, as you can see I never got to it. I deeply apologize for that, especially to those readers and reviewers who had been completely loyal to this story. I have no excuses but the fact that my love for Inuyasha had unfortunately diminished once the series had ended. However, I had stumbled upon Inuyasha: The Final Act, was able to get my animated closure and my spark of Inuyasha fandom returned. I don't know how long it will last, so I'm jumping on this opportunity as soon as possible, even when I should be working on my College Research Papers and studying for Finals. But I OWE you all BIG TIME so please accept my deepest apologies and I hope to get these final chapters to you as soon as possible.

On A Side Note: I rewrote the ending I had originally planned out, or tweaked it. My initial outline is still there but as I read back on previous chapters so I could finish it all up I realized how poor my sentence structure and wording and dialogue had been. I mean, I may not be any better presently but I wanted these final chapters to really portray growth not only in my characters but also in my writing skills. For anyone reading my Naruto Fics you could probably see a difference in the styles I had before and now. So I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I'll try to get the new one out as soon as possible.

I don't exactly have time to list all my AWESOME REVIEWERS but THANK YOU for doing so! I really appreciate it!

To Stevie Dee: I'm really sorry for my MIA status. I really was excited to give you the secret mission and if you're up to it I will send it to you after the next chapter is posted, that way you'll have an understanding for the reason for this secret mission. I'm also really sorry for not getting back to you in emails or messages sent to me, 2009 had been a really tough year after another car accident my family and I got into, I'm not really sure if I ever mentioned it to you. I can understand if you're upset with me but I hope we can stay friends! :) And keep in touch, because you were one of the few people who really stuck with The Lord And The Leader and me and I really appreciate that. Hope to talk to you again soon! Got AIM? Lol And I really hope you liked the Dog-Pile Scene, of course it was dedicated to you!

By the way: Any readers and followers out there who really like my stories or just particular Anime Fandom in general? (Inuyasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, Pokémon, lol), let's be friends. I have a Twitter, haha. Follow me at DreamCreateLove. :) I'm new so, bear with me? lol And give a shout out to me so I know who you are!

And as much as I want it to be like old times and put up Stevie Dee's Music Recommendations and a TEASER, I'm sorry to say that I don't have them ready. Maybe next chapter?

Disclaimer: I do not and will not own Inuyasha. :(

aka Len83

Oh, and Mel says Hi too! She actually kicked my butt into getting this done again too! lol