I'm so sorry it took me so long. =/ I'm a bitch. It's ok, you can say it. But I still missed you! *hugs*

On a sidenote: shout out to takowa and skull prince. No more sad panda?

WITH KAGOME:

Kagome blinked as the sun shone into her eyes. She frowned and moved her hand up to block it, allowing her eyes to adjust and look around.

The memories of the night before were slowly starting to creep back into her consciousness. Kai, the police, Inuyasha being shot, the hospital, his brother… So much to take in… she must have fallen asleep as they had fled from the hospital.

She looked around, noting that they were outside…and in the top of a tree. She took a deep breath and turned to look at the hanyou that was cradling her in his lap.

His eyes were still beneath his lowered lids, his breaths were deep and slow, his heart was beating steady against her shoulder. SHOULDER! She moved enough that she could slide his ruined clothing out of the way and investigate the bullet hole. Her heart soared when she saw that a small pink dot was all the evidence that was left of his body's trauma.

She sighed and leaned her head against his chest, listening to his heart while gently petting a strand of his smooth silver mane. His hand moved up to gently brush her shoulder before wrapping the rest of the way around her waist.

She tilted her head back up to look at him and saw the faint purple still on his cheeks…the red flecks marring his beautiful golden eyes. Who was this; her loving Inuyasha, or the demon that had taken over him last night?

He kissed her forehead, "I'm sorry." His voice was barely more than a whisper.

Kagome couldn't help but smile softly; this was her hanyou, her Inuyasha. "For what?"

"Everything…I almost killed Kai when you didn't want me to get into a fight, I nearly got myself killed and made you share the pain with me, I made you get out of your bed when you were still too weak to walk…and I have dragged you away from everything that you ever loved," his head was hung, eyes looking at everything but her.

She wiggled a bit, winced, but managed to scoot closer to him, "I don't think I've ever been happier than I am right now." She nuzzled her cheek against him, "My stomach feels better, I'm no longer stuck in that stupid hospital and most importantly, you are ok. Better than ok even: healthy. There's no reason to be upset anymore."

He shook his head and took in shaky breaths, "No. I fucked up, Kagome. This was all my fault."

She struggled to move and cringed but didn't stop until he had moved his hands to hold her waist. "Help me or I'm going to hurt myself trying to do it alone," she laughed as she tried to move her legs between them so that she could straddle him…face him...

He sighed but helped her. They both seemed to relax as she settled against him, her hands braced on his chest.

She leaned forward and kissed his neck softly, then his jaw bone, then his cheek, and finally his soft lips. It made her sigh happily when he groaned softly against her lips and returned her gentle caress. She parted her lips and rocked them against his, peppering his lips with slow open mouthed kisses.

After a few moments she pulled back a bit and met his eyes; she had his full attention now. She gave him a soft smile, "What was it you said to me when I was in the hospital? I was upset that you would blame me for the baby…that you would hate me…that you didn't want to be with me anymore…that you suddenly saw me as hideous? You said something…"

He smiled softly at her.

"What did you say?" she asked with her face still close enough that their noses brushed when either of them moved.

"Stop worrying about stupid shit," the hurt in his eyes started to soften and reflect something akin to amusement.

She nodded and smiled brightly at him, "Exactly. Stop worrying about stupid shit. There is nowhere in the world I'd rather be than right here, in your arms, with a hole in my stomach and both of us covered in dried blood."

He chuckled, his hand coming up to brush his fingers across her cheek, "I guess I should get us back to the apartment so that we can get cleaned up."

She shook her head, "Not until my point is made. Repeat after me: I'm glad you're happy Kagome. I'm happy too."

He started to object but her glare silenced him, "I'm glad you're happy Kagome, I'm happy too."

"I know that none of the last few days was my fault. They were hard but they are over now," she dictated.

He glared at her but repeated all that she said.

"Now, I look forward to a wonderful future with my beautiful goddess of a mate," she smiled, "and all the little ones that we will someday make together."

WITH INUYASHA:

His heart hurt. She was so amazing. He was so fucking lucky. He pushed back all the worry and the guilt he felt every time he thought about how he had acted last night and focused on her dark confident eyes.

"Now, I look forward to a wonderful future with my beautiful goddess of a mate," he kissed her nose softly, "and all the little ones that we will someday make together."

She was quiet as she studied him, like she was trying to see what he was thinking. In the end her eyes softened and she smiled sleepily at him "I love you, Inuyasha."

"I love you, Inuyasha," he repeated, unable to resist.

She punched him in the shoulder, "How dare you ruin such a beautiful moment! It was so perfect!"

He laughed softly and tightened his arms around her, "I love you too Kagome and nothing is ever going to tear me away from you. I may need tutoring in just about every subject but I'm smart enough to know a good thing when it's sitting in my lap. No one is ever this lucky twice."

The light pink the suddenly filled her cheeks made him grin.

She leaned up and gave him a soft peck on the lips, "Take me home."

Ever-so-gently he lifted her higher in his arms and then gathered his feet under him so that he could launch them both out of the tree with one jump.

"What happened last night after I fell asleep?" Kagome asked as Inuyasha pulled her closer to his chest and started the long walk back to the apartment.

He shrugged, "I ran for a long time, until I realized you had fallen asleep. Then something changed in me and I went from needing to get you somewhere that I could claim you into getting you somewhere safe and quiet where no one would bother you."

She glanced around, "The park was a good choice."

He gave her a crooked grin.

"So…I met a demon last night claiming to be your brother," she avoided looking at him but she felt him stiffen.

"I haven't called Sesshomaru my brother in a long time."

She could feel a cold sensation coming from him where usually his warm and affectionate emotions were. "Will you tell me why?"

"It just happened, after my parents," he mumbled.

She rested her hand on his chest over his heart and tried to let him feel how badly she ached for him, "I had the perfect family growing up. We were always laughing and going places together. Then, just after I turned eleven, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer."

Inuyasha had stopped his walking and was frowning down at her, "I can feel how bad it hurts you to say this shit so just stop."

She shook her head, "Just listen to me. I was eleven when he came home from the doctor and told us. I remember mom crying but I didn't know why; I didn't understand what it meant. Kikyou and I went on blissfully unaware of what was happening; we knew dad was sick but he looked ok. He kept looking ok for another year after that. Then, between all the chemo and radiation treatments, he started to waste away. He was tired all the time and so weak that we could bruise him just by hugging him too tight."

Inuyasha felt raw with her pain and he wanted her to stop talking. Listening to her talk like this just made all the shit with his parents seem fresh again.

"He finished his round of treatments and they thought they had gotten rid of all the cancer cells in his body. It was about three and a half years after the original diagnosis that he was diagnosed again. Just when he had started to feel like his old self he was sent back to the hospital for more treatments. It went on for months until he was so weak he hardly got out of bed and was so sick of the chemo that he refused to continue with it. Every day after that was harder. Each day seemed to last forever; mom and Kikyou were always crying…I just walked around in a daze listening to the body-shaking coughs coming from his room. The days were so unbearably long but the weeks flew by. We all knew our time was limited. I climbed into bed with him every night for three weeks. I'd cry and he would hold me."

Tears were flowing freely down her cheeks as Inuyasha moved over to a bench and silently sat them both down.

"He would tell me about all the great things I would do one day, trying to prove to me that I would be ok and feel happy again even if he was gone. I didn't believe him but it always made me feel better to listen to him daydream about future holidays with me, my husband, and our babies. He would tell me that after college everything would fall into place and I would finally realize that I was a much stronger woman than I had known. I would get a worthwhile career that I loved and then come home to a family I loved even more. My children would play tag with Kikyou's and then they would run behind their grandmother for shelter. He laughed when he told me that they would give me a hell of a time, just like Kikyou and I had done to him."

She stopped to sob and curled tighter against Inuyasha, "I loved him so much and there wasn't anything I could do to stop what was happening. I didn't even want to have babies if they wouldn't be able to sit on their grandfather's lap while he told them stories like he had told me when I was little. I would have given up my entire future for his if I had had the option." Her voice grew quieter, "One morning I woke up and he was so still I thought he had died next to me while I had slept. When he slowly opened his eyes and gave me a weak smile I bawled my eyes out; I knew he was close to leaving but there were so many things that needed to be said and done. He took my hand then and I had cried harder because he was too weak to hold my hand so I had to cradle his. He held my hand and asked me for a favor. I had to promise to never give up, he said, to push myself to be the woman he knew I could be, even when I didn't want to. He told me that I had to promise to graduate high school and go on to college, and then to make a family that would make me happy until the day that I was the one dying and my children were the ones lovingly supporting me. I had cried and agreed because it was the only thing I could do. Then he told me to go to school, Inuyasha. He told me that I would be fine and that I couldn't let this thing end my life just because it had ended his. When I refused he simply looked at me. He watched me cry for a long time before he said 'please'."

Inuyasha's throat was burning; even if he hadn't been able to feel the pain pouring off of Kagome in huge tidal waves he would have ached with her. Her story felt struck a chord in him and he had to clench his jaw to keep from sobbing back against her.

"He said please…and there was no way I could say no. We hugged and he told me he loved me and then I left to get dressed for school. That day was the worst of my life and I can't remember a damn thing that happened after I got to school. I was like a zombie until I got home and found Kikyou waiting. She told me dad had been taken to the hospital and that mom was with him. We caught a cab and followed them. At the hospital everything was cold and my dad was hooked up to a bunch of machines. Mom was crying loudly in the corner and he was just lying there…sleeping. The doctors said he might make it to the end of the week if he was lucky. We stayed the night at the hospital and hovered next to him for two days without him ever waking up again. The morning of the third day he died. Nothing changed in the room except the noise of his heart monitor beeping."

She looked up at Inuyasha and found his cheeks were wet with tears too. "I miss him more than anything…but he was right. I am strong. I don't need college to teach me that. What he was wrong about was that I could be strong alone. Only with you, Inuyasha, do I feel like I am invincible like no matter what happens things will still turn out ok. Now, you are as important to me as he is and I can only hope that you feel the same way about me. I won't make you tell me about your parents but I want you to know that I'll here be to hold you and listen for the rest of my life."

That was more than he could have ever wished for. Their roles in the conversation had somehow changed and Inuyasha found himself crying silently against his beautiful mate. Kagome cried too but something inside her was convinced that everything was ok now. She wrapped her arms around Inuyasha's neck and felt his body jerk quietly against her as pain he had been ignoring for a long time welled up from deep inside him.

Minutes passed and slowly their tears stopped flowing. The pain was still raw and aching, the wound bleeding like it was fresh, but the tears were abating.

"Take me home," Kagome said again as she used the tail of her long hospital gown to wipe first his eyes and then her own. Silently her impervious demon lifted her in his arms and carried her back to their little apartment.

Both were emotionally and physically exhausted when they walked in the door and Inuyasha sat Kagome down on the bed.

Isaki walked in not a second later, "I knew you would be back sooner or later." Her tone was gruff but her eyes reflected her worry as she moved quickly over to Inuyasha and checked his side and shoulder. Relief flashed across her face before she then moved to Kagome and forced the blushing girl to lift up her hospital gown and show the woman her stomach.

The older woman nodded, looking almost relaxed, "I'm glad you are both well. Lie down and get some sleep; I'll be back in a few hours with some dinner." She watched Kagome give a half hearted smile and nod in response while Inuyasha simply stood woodenly next to the bed with his eyes on the floor. Her heart went out to the demon she had come to think of as a pain-in-the-ass son; he had endured something deeper than physical pain recently. Before she left them she walked over to him and pulled him into a hug.

Inuyasha stiffened in surprise as Isaki tightened her arms around him and rubbed smooth circles into his back. His mother used to do that.

Kagome blinked back a few tears as a fresh wave of pain swept over Inuyasha but she was glad to feel the warm gratefulness on its heels. She watched his arms slowly come up and awkwardly wrap around the older woman.

"Go to bed, you both look exhausted. I'll be back," she said softly and gave Inuyasha a gentle pat as he pulled away from her and went to the bed.

The couple watched Isaki walk out the door and Kagome turned to look at him.

"You know she really likes you?" she gave him a soft smile.

He snorted, "I doubt that; all I have been is a pain in her ass for the last three years."

Kagome winced as she climbed under the blankets on the futon, "She does. She told me so. I believe her words were 'that little punk is a good kid even though he doesn't want to be'."

Inuyasha felt a smile tug at his lips as he climbed into the bed next to her and pulled her into his arms, "That old hag is a lot mushier than she likes to pretend."

Kagome gave a short laugh before she buried her face against his chest. Sleep took them both in record time.

They both woke up to the soft knocking on the door. Kagome mumbled sleepily and Inuyasha got up to open it for the hag while grumbling about her sudden care for the privacy of others.

"Since when do you knock," he growled with only a hint of irritation as he swung open the door and found Kagome's mother. His eyes widened and his mouth stopped working.

Kagome, who had yet to get up or really open her eyes, felt something akin to anxiety wash over her from Inuyasha and she gingerly rose up on her forearms to see what he was doing. She sucked in a surprised breath when she caught sight of her mother.

"I came to talk to you…both…" she said hesitantly.

Inuyasha looked at Kagome with uncertainty and after a moment his mate nodded. He stepped out of the woman's way and shut the door behind her.

"How are you," the woman said softly while looking at the floor.

Kagome chewed her lip and slowly moved to sit on the edge of the bed, "Sore but better now that I'm home."

Her mother blinked at her, "I was talking to him."

Inuyasha felt like he had just eaten a pound of cotton balls. Do you know how many of those things it takes to way a pound?

"His demon blood healed up the wound quickly once the bullet was removed." Kagome said and then gently ran her hand down her side, "And I think he broke a couple of ribs because they are still sore…but he is ok, he carried me home."

Her mother nodded and nervously fidgeted with her hands, "About Kikyou's child…"

Inuyasha barely held back a growl of irritation; he noted that his mate suddenly looked less than pleased also.

"I had blood test done…it wasn't yours," she said, giving Inuyasha the courtesy of speaking straight to him now. She had never done it before other than to yell at him.

"I already knew that," he said with a level voice. He was surprised the woman could admit it to herself though.

She nodded, "I have yelled and cursed and even gotten violent with you, and none of those things are me. I am not the person you have been dealing with these last few weeks and I would not blame you if you never wanted to see me again but I wanted to come and apologize to you in person."

Inuyasha blinked in uncertainty as the woman looked at him with tears filling her eyes, "You have done many things that I am not pleased with where my daughter is concerned…but you were never deserving of the hatred I gave you."

Kagome had stood and walked over to stand next to Inuyasha, both shock and distrust written on her face.

"I realize that I have probably ruined my relationship with the one daughter of mine that wasn't out of control and for that I am sorry too. Kagome…you didn't deserve how I treated you either. You grew into a woman without me realizing and I panicked."

Inuyasha watched the woman wring her hands. He shut out all his human emotions and looked at her only with his demon instincts. Her eyes were meeting theirs, her pulse calm, and her shaking hands seemed uncontrollable. His gut told him she was telling the truth.

"Kagome can move back in with you until we graduate if she wants to but I won't ever be out of the picture," he said softly. "I intend to grow old with her in my arms."

The woman wiped at her eyes and studied the demon, "You would let her leave?"

"I didn't force her here; you did."

She nodded, knowing what he said was true. "I am sorry you lost your baby," she whispered achingly.

"I'm sorry you lost your grandchildren," he said softly.

Kagome watched them not only speak calmly to each other but also sympathize with the other's pain. She couldn't seem to get over the shock.

The woman sobbed, "Why would she lie about that?"

Kagome had so many hateful answers to that question.

"Maybe because she needed more of your attention than you were giving her," he offered thoughtfully rather than vindictively.

Kagome's mother nodded, "I have been…a failure as a mother…for a long time now."

"That's not true," Kagome finally spoke. "You tried; you were just lost without dad." She waited for her mother to pull away like usual but watched in surprise as she started to sob in earnest instead.

Inuyasha nudged her from behind and she blinked him in uncertainty. He motioned to her mother with his head and Kagome hesitantly stepped away from him and wrapped her arms around her mother.

"I still miss him every day," she said softly.

Her mother cried harder, "He would be so ashamed of me! He would have never let things get so far out of hand!"

Kagome silently agreed with this wholeheartedly but it would have been unfair to say so out loud when her mother seemed to actually be trying. The woman in her arms shook with every sob and Kagome felt her own eyes welling with tears.

"It's not too late to fix it," Kagome mumbled. "I still love you and so does…Kikyou." It made her angry just to say her sister's name. That was one relationship she doubted could ever be fixed.

Minutes ticked by and Inuyasha seemed to have moved back to quietly sit on the bed and give them the time they needed. Gradually her mother's crying slowed.

"You are more like him that I had ever guessed," her mother smiled and wiped at her face.

Kagome smiled a bit, "Thanks." She would never be as great as her dad but it did make her feel proud that she could be considered similar to him. "I won't be going back with you." She watched her mother pause for a moment and then nod.

"Is it because of me?" she asked softly.

"No, this is because of him," Kagome mumbled. "We are getting married when we graduate but I'm not going to cut myself off from him until then."

She nodded again, "You are both welcome to visit whenever you want." She looked over at Inuyasha who was watching the interaction with a pained look he almost managed to hide. "I will cook dinner for you sometime."

Kagome smiled a little, trying to reward her mother for trying, "I'm sure we will, but for now I think we are going back to sleep."

Her mother nodded, gave her a gentle hug and then walked over to give Inuyasha one as well. "Thank you for talking to me…"

"Thanks for trying," Kagome said back and watched her mother shut the door quietly behind her as she left.

"That was…strange," Kagome mumbled and walked back over to the bed.

Inuyasha nodded and held out his arms for her. Kagome smiled and crawled into his embrace before settling down to rest against him.

A knock sounded on the door before Isaki opened it up and walked into the room, "I brought your dinner kids." She smiled and watched Kagome instantly get up and move over to the small coffee table Isaki had sat the food on. Inuyasha grumbled as Kagome left his arms and then the hanyou moved to sit next to her.

"Eat and rest," she said, "I'll come check on you both in the morning."

They nodded and she left.

Inuyasha took a bite of the food and realized he was starving. Kagome giggled as she watched his eyes widen before he started tossing back the food in earnest.

She ate until her stomach was so full it hurt and then lay back on the bed and watched Inuyasha move. Her cell went off and she leaned over to pick it up. She winced but smiled when she saw Sango's number.

"Hello?"

"WHERE ARE YOU TWO?" Sango yelled.

Inuyasha's ears flattened on his head and he glared at the phone while sitting his finished dishes to the side. Kagome laughed at him, "We are back at the apartment, safe and full and ready to go back to sleep."

"SLEEP! I'M GOING TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU AND THAT DEMON BOTH! DON'T EVER WORRY ME LIKE THAT AGAIN!"

"I'm sorry Sango, I wasn't exactly worried about calling all my friends last night when Inuyasha was trying to die and then turned all demony and stole me from the hospital," Kagome smiled.

Sango snorted, "Yeah, well you damn well better next time!"

"I will, I will," Kagome laughed. "Can I call you back after we sleep for like 15 hours?"

"Promise you won't disappear?"

Inuyasha leaned over to kiss her shoulder and then got up to go to the bathroom. Kagome heard the water turn on and was instantly distracted. Her mate was in there stripping down without her.

"Uh…yeah…promise. I got to go!" she hung up and tossed the phone the couch before waddling into the bathroom while holding her tender stomach. The sigh of Inuyasha leaning over to touch the water with nothing but his jeans on made her stomach butterflies flutter.

"I think Isaki fixed the hot water heater…it's still warm," he said and glanced over his shoulder at her with a soft smile. "Want to take a hot bath?"

"I didn't think you liked baths," Kagome mumbled, suddenly paralyzed as he walked up to her and ran his hands down her sides and then back up.

He smiled as he moved behind her to untie the hospital gown, "I like anything that involves you." He kissed her neck and she shivered. The gown fell to the floor and her tiny little pair of pink panties were next.

"Well I love baths," she smiled at him.

"I do too then," he laughed and tugged off his pants before moving in front of her and climbing into the steaming water. He again held out his arms for her and again she didn't think twice before moving into them and sitting down in front of him in the tub.

"Do you have a hair tie?" he mumbled into her ear. Kagome handed him the one off her wrist and then was surprised to feel him pulling up her hair and tying it up into a messy bun on her head.

"What are you doing?" she asked softly and glanced over her shoulder at him.

He gave her suddenly available lips a kiss and then set his hands on her shoulder and started to rub them. Kagome groaned and slumped against him as his hands started to work at her tense shoulders and he was hard pressed not to groan back and give up of the massage idea in favor of something a little more active.

Her head lolled around as he pressed his fingers into the knots her stressed body had formed in her muscles.

"If I didn't already love you, I definitely would now," she whispered quietly as she leaned limply against him and he was forced to put his hands between them so he could rub down her neck and back. Minutes passed and Inuyasha found himself content just to listen to her soft happy sighs. He grinned to himself and finally allowed his hands to roam to the front of her body and up to cup her beautiful breasts.

He groaned softly and leaned down to nibble at her neck while his hands kneaded her smooth flesh. After a moment of no reaction he tilted her head to look at him and found her eyes shut and her mouth slack with sleep. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to laugh or cry.

As gently as possible he lifted her out of the water and carried her to the bed. Quietly he brought back a towel and dried off her skin before tucking her sweetly under the blankets and going to get himself ready for bed.

Did you like? It was a pretty emotionally and fluff oriented chapter but I think thats what the two lovers needed, ya? As you may have guessed, this is still not the ending chapter. I still have a few i's to dot and t's to cross, but we are getting close. Send me lots of love and I will update when I can (definitely won't take as long as it did this time). =P