I don't own these characters.

18: Let's start over

Kikyo watched as Naraku tried to taunt her by aiming a threatening spike at her. She was waiting for him to launch whatever attack he had in mind. The spike was one of the hanyou's fingers that he was manipulating. He seemed to want to see which one of them had faster reflexes. He believed that he would have her impaled before she had a chance to harm him, not that he believed she would even do that. And even if she did, he believed that she was not powerful enough to truly hurt him.

Naraku let the thorn fly forward and it crashed against a spiritual barrier. He was stunned that Kikyo could do such a thing. He growled and pushed forward, trying to break through. She grunted as she tried to keep the barrier up. He was stronger than she had given him credit for.

Naraku smirked as he released more spikes and stressed the barrier to the point of collapse. Kikyo gasped, both because her barrier had been breached and he managed to impale her. He had thorns in her right shoulder and arm, pinning her to the wall behind her. His hand was not unharmed, but he did not mind that there were cuts on his hand.

"It does feel special having your blood on my fingertips," he commented.

"Don't think so highly of yourself yet, Naraku," she replied as she grabbed his wrist.

Kikyo pumped Naraku so full of spiritual energy that she burned his hand off. He fell back while she ripped the hand from her flesh. She then turned her attention to him because he was laughing. She wondered what was so funny and then she noticed what was seeping out of his charred stump, miasma. She turned her attention to her wounds and noticed that they were purple-ish in color. The bastard had poisoned her when he put his injured hand into her flesh because that miasma leaked into her system.

"You filthy wretch!" she shouted as she tried to advance on his, but her arm pulsed with agony and she fell back against the wall. Blood gushed from her wounds.

Naraku continued to laugh. "I could cure you, but you have to come with me. If I can't have you, no one can," he replied.

"That's where you're wrong," Sesshomaru commented as he stepped into the alleyway, causing attention to be turned to him.

"Sessho," Kikyo whispered.

"Are you all right?" Sesshomaru asked Kikyo as he marched into the alley toward her. He ignored the half-breed for the moment, but he was going to deal with him soon enough.

"Look out!" Kikyo warned the dog demon as Naraku tried to impale the dog demon.

Sesshomaru calmly turned around and countered the hanyou's attack with his energy whip. He cut through the remainder of Naraku's arm, burning cleanly through, so no miasma oozed out from the wound. He growled and was about to march over to the hanyou who seemed so anxious to die in his opinion, but Kikyo collapsed.

"Kikyo," Sesshomaru gasped and he was by her side in a split second. "What's wrong?" he demanded to know.

"Don't worry about me. Don't let him attack you too," she replied.

"Do you think I'm worried about that flea? He couldn't harm this Sesshomaru. Now, tell me what's wrong with you," he commanded her.

"I've poisoned her, mutt. If I can't have her, she'll die. Simple as that," Naraku announced in a proud tone.

"As if I would allow someone like you to continue to taint my angel," the dog demon declared and he charged Naraku in pure anger.

The half-demon tried to flee. He got up and ran to the mouth of the alley and he ran right into Midoriko. She grabbed him by his shoulders and then noticed her fallen sister. She knew that he had something to do with Kikyo's state, so she let him have it. She sent a good jolt of spiritual energy through his body, enough to cause him to drop to the ground when she let him go. She then rushed to Kikyo's side.

"Kikyo," Midoriko said.

"Big sister." Kikyo forced out a weak smile. She was so glad that Midoriko was speaking to her again.

"What happened? What did he do? Where are you injured?" the eldest inquired.

"Poison in my wounds," Kikyo replied in a low voice.

"Sesshomaru, we have to get her to a hospital!" Midoriko informed him in a frantic tone.

"I can take her," he replied. He could move faster than any ambulance if he wanted to and he would do that to have his angel's life.

"All right, let me purify her wounds first," Midoriko said.

"Do it," he replied.

Midoriko went to work on Kikyo, hoping to get whatever poison Naraku used on her out of the younger woman's system. Sesshomaru watched the sisters for a moment and then he turned back to the front of the alley. Naraku was climbing to his feet.

"Impossible," the sisters muttered together.

"It seems you just want me to kill you," Sesshomaru commented, speaking to Naraku. He was happy to oblige.

"Kikyo is mine, mutt," Naraku growled. His body was still smoking for the treatment that Midoriko gave him. He suspected had he been a lesser demon, she would have fulfilled all of the threats that she had made over the years about reducing him to a pile of ashes. But then again, Kikyo probably would have done the same earlier when she took his hand off if he was a weaker hanyou.

"If you think you can, come take her," Sesshomaru dared the fool.

Naraku seemed to take the dog demon up on his offer and strained to create some more spikes from his body. As soon as he started his attack, Sesshomaru was on him within the blink of an eye. The nobleman put his hand through Naraku's chest. The hanyou began laughing and the dog demon wondered what was so funny about being impaled on his arm. Then he found out what had Naraku so tickled. It would seem that the poison he used on Kikyo came from his own disgusting body.

"You'll die just like her," Naraku informed the full demon.

"Your stench has no affect on me," Sesshomaru replied as he released his own poison into Naraku through his claws.

"What?" the hanyou growled.

"As if I would allow a weak-willed fool to be the death of me," the platinum-haired male replied.

Sesshomaru gracefully yanked his hand out of Naraku, dropping the hanyou to the ground once again. The half-breed began coughing and he felt like all of his insides were being turned into powder. Sesshomaru was about to turn his attention back to the sisters when he heard the sound of approaching sirens. The police showed up moments later. It would seem someone noticed all of the commotion in the alley and called it in.

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Kikyo's eyes fluttered open. She groaned softly while silently noting that she was in some pain. She stared at the ceiling since that was what her head was facing.

"You're finally awake," Midoriko commented.

"Sister?" Kikyo asked in a weak voice as she turned her head to the sound of her older sister. Taking in the background, she was able to tell that she was in a hospital bed.

"We were all worried about you," Midoriko replied.

"All?" the younger female echoed.

"Auntie and her family are here. Kagome dragged Inuyasha, who claims he doesn't care as long as you're alive. Kaede is here and Rin is keeping her company."

"I thought…I thought everyone was done with me," Kikyo said.

"No, we're all here for you, little sister," Midoriko promised.

Kikyo wanted to ask about Sesshomaru. She could not recall exactly what happened, but she remembered him being there. Had she imagined that? She decided against asking, though because she thought that it might upset her big sister and she was happy that Midoriko was there, speaking to her again.

"Kikyo, I'm sorry for abandoning you when you needed me, when you needed us. I shouldn't have judged you. You do love him, after all," Midoriko apologized.

"You don't have to apologize. I went about all of this wrong," Kikyo said.

"You did all that you could. If you had asked for a divorce, Naraku would have never agreed. He would have never allowed you to leave him of your own will. You should be allowed to seek peace and remain with it where you find it. It was wrong of me to make it seem as if you should be content with your misery. I don't wish that on you, sister," the eldest explained.

"Speaking of Naraku, what happened to him?"

"I'll tell you once you're totally better," Midoriko replied.

Kikyo nodded and accepted that. Through the day, she was visited by everyone that was at the hospital for her. They all seemed so genuinely glad that she was all right. She was glad that they were not upset with her.

Kikyo glanced out of the window in the room when she was alone. She thought her family was going home because visiting hours were over, but they were actually giving her sometime alone for a specific reason. She turned her head to face the door as she heard it open. Sesshomaru stepped in, holding a bouquet of red and white roses.

"Sessho…" Kikyo said in a low voice.

"Good evening. Are you feeling better?" he inquired as he walked over to her. He handed her the flowers, which earned him a confused look from the bedridden female.

"What are you doing here? Why are you giving me flowers?" she asked in a suspicious tone.

"I thought that it would be a step in the right direction for you to one day find it in your big heart to forgive me for being a fool," he informed her.

Kikyo was so stunned that she was speechless. She could not believe that he was admitting to being something other than being perfect. She just stared at the dog demon because she did not know what else to do.

"Should I bring a bigger bouquet?" he inquired since she was not speaking. He had actually purchased the largest one possible, but he supposed that he could purchase a few more and just put them altogether if that would make her feel better.

"No," she finally managed. "I thought…I thought that you hated me now," she pointed out.

"I could never hate my angel. I merely made a bad decision on certain things."

"What things?"

"Well, let's just say, you and your cousin look disturbing alike," he commented.

"What does that have to do with anything?" she asked and then she remembered who her cousin was dating. "Did you see Kagome with Inuyasha and assume that it was me?" she inquired curiously.

"I did," he confirmed.

Kikyo could not help it, she started laughing. It was not the first time there had been a case of mistaken identify with her cousin. Sometimes, people thought that she was Kagome or that Kagome was her. There were also occasions when she was mistaken for her older sister or the other way around. People usually had to get very close up to tell which one of them it was if they did not know all of the relatives well.

"Is it so funny?" Sesshomaru asked. He thought that her laughter was a better sign than anything else that she could have done.

"You hurt me so badly over something that could have so easily been shown false had you spoken to me. It is funny like when a clown dies," she answered.

"I fail to see how that is funny," he commented.

"Indeed, I agree with you. I fail to see how it is funny. It was such a harsh pain that all I can do is laugh," Kikyo explained.

Sesshomaru was a bit taken back by that. It would seem that he was not going to get out of things so easily. He supposed that he deserved such a thing.

"You can leave now, Sesshomaru," Kikyo said in an almost curt manner.

"Wait," he objected.

"There's no reason for you to be here. You so easily thought so little of me. How can there be anything between us if you would think that I could be with your little brother while being with you? This whole thing started off wrong and it should just die," she commented.

"Don't say that!" he snarled. "This was far from wrong. I made a mistake, but that doesn't make this wrong."

"You assumed that I cheated on you with your little brother. I'm sure the fact that I was married and cheating with you influenced that idea. You probably assume that it is so easy for me to do such a thing."

"I do not think that. I let him get to me, all right. I should have spoken to you rather believing pictures."

"Pictures?" she echoed. "Naraku sent them?" she was willing to bet it was him.

"Yes."

"And you believed something that Naraku sent you over me. That's even worse," she pointed out.

"Kikyo," he said while searching his mind for someway to keep her in his life. "I admit that I was wrong and I judged you most unfairly. It was a foolish thing to do, but I would never make such a mistake again. I don't think lowly of you."

Kikyo looked skeptical on that. She felt like if she continued anything with Sesshomaru, he would always be suspicious of her. He would always wonder where she was going and what she did when she was alone. He would never trust her and they could not have anything if he did not trust her.

"Angel, I love you," he announced and that was second big shock that he delivered to her. Kikyo was pretty sure that her heart stopped beating for a few seconds.

"Sessho, don't."

"I love you," he repeated forcefully.

"No, you don't," she objected and she shook her head. He could not love her. He did not trust her, so he could not love her and it was not fair of him to lie like that.

"I do," he vowed and he leaned down to embrace her. He held her carefully, but she struggled in his arms.

"No, you don't," she repeated with tears falling from her eyes. She was hurting her injured shoulder trying to escape him.

"Be still," he ordered. "And do not cry. I do love you. You are my angel and I will cherish, protect, and love you always," he promised.

"You say that now."

"And I will say it everyday. I was a fool. I will work for my whole life to get you to forgive me for what I did, just stay with me. I need you. You are the best thing in my life aside for my little sister," he informed her.

"You don't mean that," she said with tears continuing down her face.

"I do. I will be your eternal slave if that would make up for my actions," he said and he meant those words.

Kikyo could not believe what she was hearing. The proud dog demon had actually just offered himself up as a slave to a little human? Even if he did not mean the words literally, they were still powerful. He was Sesshomaru, after all. The greatest thing ever made as far as he was concerned and he had just offered himself to her.

"Sessho…" she whispered. She was not sure what she wanted to say.

"Make a command and I will do it," he promised her.

"I don't want that," she replied.

"What do you want? What can I do to get you to stay with me? I want you to stay with me," he informed her very sincerely. "I'll be so good to you, angel. Just give me another chance. I'll be so good to you."

Kikyo bit her lip. She could hear the distress in his voice and the honesty in his words. She could only answer him in one way because she loved him too.

"Sessho, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to give me anything. Just love me like this always, please," she requested.

"I can and will," he promised and he gave her a tender kiss.

They both missed the feel of the others lips and thoroughly enjoyed the sweet embrace. Sesshomaru pulled away; he did not think that she needed to get too excited in her current injured state. He noticed that she was crying new tears, so he wiped them away with a gentle sweep of his hand.

"So, what happened with Naraku?" Kikyo asked curiously.

"I killed him," Sesshomaru answered nonchalantly.

"You killed him?" she inquired in disbelief. She could not believe how easily he admitted that.

"I did," he confirmed.

"What happened? I don't really remember," she said.

"Well, it would seem that your older sister had attempted to kill him with her spiritual powers after she discovered you in the alley. I would have dispatched him before that, but you were so hurt that I went to your aid first. He unwisely remained alive after Midoriko's treatment of him and I finished it. He was not even dust by the time the police arrived," Sesshomaru reported.

"The police?"

"Yes, the police arrived and they are the reason I wasn't here sooner. I had to give a statement."

"Are you in trouble?" she asked.

"No," he answered bluntly. He was not in trouble. Naraku's demise had been ruled a justifiable homicide once he explained what happened and there were a few other witnesses that had backed up his story. Had Naraku not been a half-demon, charges of manslaughter might have been brought up, but two demons going against each other was different from two humans going at each other.

"Then, it's all over? I don't have to worry about him again?" she inquired as if she did not understand.

"No, you don't."

Kikyo smiled. She knew it was wrong to smile because someone was dead, but she had her life back. She could finally go back to working and she would never have to look over her shoulder for that lying, insane hanyou.

----(New day)

"Sessho, come on or we'll be late," Kikyo called into his workroom.

Kikyo stepped onto the room to try to pry him away from his painting. She did not live with him, but they were planning to move in sometime soon. She thought that they needed to start their relationship over and rebuild, which he agreed to just because he felt he owed her. So, for the past few months they had been trying rebuild their relationship and believed that they were doing a decent job.

"One moment," Sesshomaru replied as he put the finishing touches on his latest painting. He had done a portrait of a white dog looking into the midnight sky, seeing the silhouette of an angel.

"Now, or we'll be late," she pointed out.

"All right," he sighed.

"Don't make that noise. It'll be fun," she assured him.

"I doubt it."

Kikyo offered him a smile for his troubles and sat down on his lap. He turned his attention to her as she made herself comfortable against him. He rested his hand on her hip.

"You promised," she reminded him.

"I know," he replied.

"It'll be fine. You promised you'd come with me. So, get up and let's go," she said.

Sesshomaru groaned, but he did not argue. He did have better ideas on how they should spend Kikyo's day off, though. She was now a doctor at a small clinic and she thoroughly enjoyed her job. She got weekends off most of the time, but sometimes, she went in to help out on the weekends. She always said that people got sick no matter what the day and she wanted to help.

The dog demon got up, careful not to let Kikyo fall. He went to change his clothes and they finally left. Sesshomaru drove them to Kikyo's aunt's home. They were getting together for a family barbeque. They pulled up just time to almost hit Rin with the car.

"Rin, what do you think you're doing?" Sesshomaru inquired as he parked.

"I was going to jump garbage can over there until you showed up," Rin answered while pointing to the can on the sidewalk. Her brother turned to look; she never would have made it in his opinion.

"Where's Inuyasha? Why isn't that fool watching you?" he asked.

"Because I'm thirteen," she answered.

"That doesn't excuse either of you," he stated. "Now, where is that fool?" he pondered as he marched off into the backyard to give their brother a piece of his mind.

"It is so tough being the middle child. You do know you got Inuyasha into trouble, right?" Kikyo asked Rin.

"Hey, if not me, he'd do something stupid sooner or later," the child replied with a shrug.

"I suppose. Where's Kaede? I'm stunned she's not out here egging you on to break your neck," Kikyo replied.

"Oh, she was. She went to get some lemonade and I was just doing a practice to see if I could do it," Rin explained.

Kikyo shook her head. "How about you forget the stunt and go get some lemonade too while your big brother is around?" she suggested.

"I guess," Rin sighed. She did not want to stress Sesshomaru out or he would start treating her like a child and she did not want that to happen.

The two walked into the backyard where Kikyo greeted Kaede with a hug. Kaede and Rin then walked off to get into trouble more than likely. Kikyo spotted Sesshomaru, who was scolding Inuyasha about letting Rin out of his sight. Kikyo's family and Sesshomaru's family was at the barbeque because everyone was either friends already or just getting to know each other.

Kikyo spotted her sister speaking with Izayoi. She tried not to be rude and interrupt the conversation, but Midoriko saw her and greeted her. The sisters embraced and then Kikyo turned her attention to Izayoi. It was not their first time meeting and they had quickly grown to like each other, despite the fact that Izayoi knew that Kikyo had been carrying on an affair with Sesshomaru, but that all seemed like such a long time go. The trio struck up a conversation.

Sesshomaru was done with his brother after a while and was approached by his father. His father was finally all right with him being with Kikyo now that he had come to see she was an outstanding female. He accepted her as she was.

The barbeque was a good gathering. Somehow during the time, Sesshomaru had got stuck working the grill and Kagome made sure to get a picture of that. She also had to make sure to get a picture of Sesshomaru and Kikyo sitting together in a corner, trying to be alone for a moment. She got plenty of pictures of everyone getting along, looking like one big, weird, but happy family.

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"I told you that would be fun," Kikyo said to Sesshomaru as they settled down into his bed. She had a deal with him to spend the night as long as he went to the cookout.

"It wasn't wholly unpleasant," he replied as he gathered her into his arms.

"You are too much," she stated in an amused tone. "It was rather funny to see you cooking, though. I'm sure you had fun because you didn't complain about it," she pointed out.

"I merely wanted everything to be perfect," he defended himself.

"Uh-huh," she teased.

"I do want everything to be perfect," he insisted and he placed a small kiss to her lips.

"Let's work on getting close enough to perfect," she remarked.

He nodded and leaned in for another kiss, a deeper one. They were working toward perfect and he was certain that they would get there sometime soon. After all, everything was working well between them, even better than before. They were in love and they could now express that whenever they felt like it, which helped a great deal, even though they were both against anything over the top and they did not do public displays of affection. Still, the fact that they could be open with their relationship worked wonders. They worked.

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The end.