Finally Finale

"You want me to see a book?" Kagome asked skeptically. Really, after all the wicked awesome stuff she had seen in the basement, he brings her here, to the library, and expects her to be impressed by some dusty old parchment?

A sideways look from Sesshomaru though immediately dropped her into silence. Well…not complete silence.

"Grouch," she mumbled under her breath when he turned back to the shelving unit.

Sesshomaru ignored it…for the time being, at least. He would have plenty of time later to get retribution. For now, however, he was focused on only one thing: her. And what it would take to make her stay.

She had been quiet on the way back up from the cellar, but every once and a while, he would catch her stealing a glance backwards. It wasn't the riches or wealth that caught her eyes though. It was as though she were trying to catch a thought she had left behind. And then she would turn, looking back to him in question or wonder. She did it conspicuously, or tried to at least. On the first two occasions, he'd allowed her this illusion. But on the third he'd turned to meet her eyes, smiling in reassurance.

Yes, it was real. Yes, everything he had told her was truth. Yes, all she needed to do was say the words and all he had offered and more would be hers.

She had blushed and tried to look away, biting her lip to hold back her own smile. It was charming and, dare he say, even cute. He might have rationalized that it was only another measure of convincing her, but what the hell, it was fun. He teased her, saying that if she really wanted to go back and find herself a crown he was not averse to props. She had stuttered, then looked up sharply to face him. He didn't waste a step. He leaned in and stole her lips as he did the breath that would have scolded him.

By the time he had finished with her, the flush in her cheeks had absolutely nothing to do with embarrassment, and the smile on her lips teasing and seductive not timid and shy. Her response, when it came, was just as teasing. Maybe she would find a nice collar for him, she informed him as her fingers traced the circle of his neck. Or if not that – she let her trailing fingers slip down the front of his shirt, parting it as she made her way downwards – then maybe a leash.

He had actually jumped when her hand brushed against his arousal, understanding perfectly what she was implying, and loathe to admit that it was far more enticing than it should have been. He had tried to cover with a low warning growl, but she had only laughed and shoved him away, making quick work of the final stairs leading into the study – Giggling to herself the whole way.

Another stolen moment, another breath of life that only ever came when he was with her. He could almost imagine what other moments they would share, what a lifetime of them would be like, and a lifetime more. She was not just a breeding mate he would take to bear his pups and carry on his line, but a partner, someone he wanted to share his life with, to spend his life with.

And hearing her teasing laughter, the taste of her still on his lips and the feel of her still alighting his senses, he knew there was simply no alternative. She would stay. She had to. Ambition, determination, and a new rush of exhilarating anticipation had him taking the last stairs in a single bound. She would stay, he would see to it. And she would be happy, laughing and smiling just as she was now, just as she always seemed to make him do. He would see to that, as well.

Having found what he was looking for in the small alcove behind the large tome he had removed from the shelving, Sesshomaru turned back to the young miko. She was watching him curiously, had even tipped up on her toes to try and peer over his hand to see what he was holding. Oh, how he enjoyed her antics. They always seemed to bring out the worst in him, but never ceased to result in bringing out the best.

He made sure the small item was concealed from her curious search, only relenting it to her when she huffed her impatience and sent him one of her 'I am so annoyed with you right now' glares. But he only smirked as he watched her snatch the object from his hands. She was so easy to rile, and Kami, did she ever smell good when she was angry.

Kagome ignored the smirking dog, refusing to give His Highness the satisfaction of her annoyed response. Besides, it would probably have only ended up with him jumping her again, and though tempting, it would not help her figure out what the deal was with the little black carving he had eventually let her get a good look at.

It was entirely black, but not the pervasive black of an onyx stone. Shades of gray streaked through in swirling patterns. Marble? she thought. Quite a big step down from all the precious metals and stones she had seen in the treasury. But it wasn't the stone or the material used that made this item curious. It was the carving itself, the shape, the image it represented as Idol to a God.

It stood, having the body of a man; but its head was all wrong. It was…a dog? She had never seen the InuKami depicted in such a way. It was too sharp, too rigid, too dark to ever have been one of the weightless, those that prowled the land and skies.

No, she realized. Not a dog.

Her fingers grazed over the strange markings that ran along the central axis of the body. It was a symbolic language, but not her own. This was different, older, the words not conveyed with dashes and lines but with carefully chiseled pictures.

"It's Egyptian." She said it out loud, but mostly to herself. She had finally placed the strange markings, even knew the name for them: Hieroglyphs – the symbolic language of the desert sands. "And this…" Her fingers shifted to trace the head of the man-beast God. Not a dog. No, she knew it now. A Jackal. "This is Anubis, right?" Every school-age child in her time had been taken on a class trip to a museum at some time in their life, and if it wasn't the massive bones and towering displays of ancient beast that captured the imagination, it was the idea of walking mummies and cities of gold ruled by Gods so powerful they could even wake the dead.

She looked up to Sesshomaru for confirmation and he nodded. If he was surprised that she knew of the gods of such a distant land, he didn't show it. "I am old, Kagome, but there are things in this world older still, and magics more powerful than that of your Shikon. When I told you that I have been to Rome, what I did not tell you was that it was by way of my travels to the sands of Egypt. The rituals of the desert were barbaric, but well worth the secrets they guarded."

"Uh huh." Kagome was at a total loss. What did this have to do with anything? He spoke of rituals, of barbaric rites, but what rituals, and why? And how could he consider them barbaric when his own people engaged in battles over the rights to mate? Her gaze wandered back down to the little figurine she held, and again she wondered about the strange Dog God of the desert sands and what connection Sesshomaru had to it and its people.

But with thoughts of battles forefront in her mind, she couldn't help but think of what a match it would be to see the Gods of her land engaged with those of another. Oh, indeed, to see the dark-skinned warriors of Anubis facing off against the Silver Kamis would be a sight to behold.

Of course, as she was thinking this, she also came to the realization that she was referring to Sesshomaru as a God. That thought caused an involuntary snort of amusement. He may think himself a God at times, but he wasn't, wasn't even close.

"Something amuses you?"

She looked up at his question, trying to shrug off her line of thought by saying, "Just wondering if you could pull that whole 'Body of a man, head of a dog' thing as well as this guy." She tapped a finger against the statue to emphasize her point. "With a face like that, it's no wonder he went down in the history books."

"I do believe it has more to do with the thousands he slaughtered," Sesshomaru informed her. "As well as the fulfillment of a promise for retribution from beyond the grave after his followers turned on him and entombed him within the very deserts he had commanded."

Kagome rolled her eyes. The guy just couldn't take a joke. "Geeze, aren't you just a killjoy. Alright, I give. What's the deal with the Lord of the Underworld? I mean, this doesn't exactly fit with your usual 'mementoes', so what? You gonna try and tell me you went all the way to Egypt to have a little meet and greet with Death, only to come back with this crappy statue?"

"Things are not always as they seem, Kagome."

He reached out for the figurine, and though Kagome held it up for him to take, instead, he merely twisted the head of the jackal until the seal within was cracked and lifted it away to reveal the flask concealed within the stone. Once it must have held some sort of liquid, but long ago. It was dry now, not even a drop of whatever mystery it had held remaining.

Her question went unspoken, but he could see it brewing just beneath the surface of her expressive eyes. He explained, "A mortal boy was dying little by little for every new moon that came and went, the fatal wound sealing him bleeding freely on the nights that passed in darkness. Within the sands lay the secret of a death that was not a death, and of life come again even after blood and breath had left the body."

She should have known. "You did it for him? For Inuyasha?"

Sesshomaru didn't answer, only took the decorative flask back from Kagome's hands and set it down on the desk. "There are others," he told her instead as he looked back, "Legends of forbidden fruit and life-giving springs, secrets held by the earth and the creatures that have inhabited it since before the time of your people." He reached for her hands, taking them into his and pulling her closer. His eyes found hers and held them as well, every depth of his meaning found within them. "We will find them together."

The Quest would go on. Even after the Shikon was retrieved, even after Naraku was destroyed, with him, the journey would never end. Even with all she knew, how much more in this world still lay in secret? What wonders would he show her, what more would they see for the first time together?

But there was more, because she too had heard the legends. Even if it was possible – and with him, she almost could believe anything was – immortality came with a cost she had seen, and a price she wasn't sure she could live with.

Perhaps consciously, perhaps not, she took a step back from him. "You would have me change? Not…not be human anymore?"

"No, Kagome." She couldn't be more wrong. He lifted his hand, reaching out to her so that he could trail his fingers gently across the soft curve of her cheek. "I would have you live, give you the years that you might see your family again and be able to watch your children grow." With a slight pause, he moved to close the distance she had put between them. His eyes never left hers, letting her see the eager anticipation that brightened the golden surfaces. And he smiled, because he could almost see them looking out at him from her eyes, "Our children."

She though perhaps she was weeping, but she could be sure. Thoughts and images were whirling through her mind so quickly she could hardly grasp one before another would take its place. And when she spoke, her voice was so distant she hardly recognized it apart from her spinning thoughts.

"They will be hanyou."

It was a statement or a question, but either way it was the product of shock, the first words that came to her being spoken without taking the time to rationalize them. He, of course, had already done so, and already accepted the fact.

"They will be perfect," he assured her with confidence. With his power and knowledge to train them and her beauty and love to guide them; how could they not be?

His arms wrapped around her, and Kagome sagged bonelessly into his embrace. She let his strength be what held her, feeling the warmth and comfort of the security he would offer her even through her tumbling array of thoughts and emotions. It seemed as though she were feeling every emotion she had ever known, but all at once, and each so overwhelmingly powerful they left her breathless and weeping. He stayed with her. Even as she wept, sobbed, chocked, and trembled, he would bring her some measure of calm by the way his hand stroked so gently though her hair or his lips pressed in chaste kisses against her crown.

And how she loved him, for even that simple comfort among so many other things.

She was clinging to him, afraid to let go, afraid that if she did that somehow it would no longer be real, that he would no longer be real. And she was crying, but she couldn't understand it. The tears she wept weren't of any pain or sorrow. They couldn't be, because she had never been so happy.

Hearing the eagerness and expectation in his voice as he spoke of the children they would have together, seeing the excitement and determination gleaming in the gold of his eyes – her heart had swelled so full of these things it felt close to bursting. There was no more question for her. She knew beyond any kind of reason what path she would take, and that it was by his side that she would walk it. There was no doubt. Doubt was for those who would have regrets, and she would have none.

There was only acceptance. Eager, happy, easy acceptance.

"Sesshomaru…" She began pulling back from him, her voice trembling almost as much as she was from the powerful currents of emotion running through her. "I…"

But he stopped her, placing his hand against the back of her head to guide her back against him. "You need not give me an answer tonight, Kagome."

"N…No." She shook her head, more firmly now, and again pulled back from him. This time he would not hold her. She wouldn't let him.

Hearing the heaviness to his words as he resigned himself to wait was too much. He had already done so much for her, far more than she ever had the right to ask for – and hadn't – but he had done it all the same. He had given her time and care that surely he wouldn't have needed to take with one of his own, and he did even more by showing her that it was not only power or presence or wealth that he had to offer, but a wonderful promise for the future. Their future. He had done it all just for her, showing her everything that she could ever possibly want so that she would give him the answer he so wanted to hear.

How hard it must have been for him. Every time she hesitated to give him her answer, every time she denied these wonderful things he was offering to her, it was like she was refusing him. How many times had she done it without even knowing how it was affecting him? How many times had he just taken it in stride, so seemingly without effort, that she hadn't noticed how harsh her rejection must be to someone who was rarely refused anything?

But she was noticing now. And to hear the resignation in his voice – as though he thought that there was nothing more he could give her, nothing he could do to convince her to stay – it was breaking her heart.

No. He was wrong. She did have to give her answer tonight. For all of the fears and doubts she had, he had given her an answer. For all her uncertainties and confusion, he had made things so very clear. And now for him, she would do the same.

She would not make him wait…At least, not for long.

"Follow me," she said, taking him by the hands and pulling him with her over to the desk. Once there, she turned, lifting herself to sit. An impish smile was pulling on her lips as she reached out and guided him forwards to come to rest between her parted legs, but she fought it off, focusing instead on how her hands were slipping into the lining of his garments, pulling away at the ties that held his pants around his waist.

"Kagome." Sesshomaru took hold of her hand to stop what she was doing. "I do not think…"

"Shhh." She swatted his hand away and went right back to untying him. "This might take awhile."

Sparing a glance down at his fully alert member, Sesshomaru lifted an eyebrow at the miko in curiosity. He had been hard as a rock since she had given herself over to his embrace, not to mention still working off of some rather serious interruption anxiety from earlier. He was pretty sure that if he sheathed himself in her welcoming heat at this precise moment, he wouldn't last all of five seconds.

"Kagome." He tried to sound stern. "I do not think…" His words were cut off with a sharp intake of breath that hissed through his teeth when her hand stroked him.

Kagome giggled. "It's such a big house," she told him coyly. Pulling him a step forward with only the gentle clutch of her hand around his hardened length, she smiled when she felt it twitch in expectation. With her free hand, she slipped it into the folds of her own dress, parting them down the centre to expose herself to him. His gaze lingered, heating with every blush of skin that she revealed, and she watched raptly.

But still he held himself back. When she tried to coax him forward those last few remaining inches, he groaned deeply, his arms dropping down at her sides to trap her as his hands gripped tightly to the edge of the desk.

"Kagome…" He couldn't believe he was about to tell her to stop.

But she wouldn't listen. Her eyes glinted with seductive charm when she lifted them to his. "It might take a while to break in all the rooms," she explained.

Break…in? Sesshomaru had his answer when she brought her legs up behind him, using his moment of distraction to pull him just that inch needed forward so that he slipped inside of her. She gasped softly in pleasured bliss, encouraging him to go forward with that sound almost as much as by the quivering of her inner muscles as they sought to draw him in. And, since, really, he couldn't have objected if he wanted to – and he didn't – Sesshomaru let himself fall into the full welcome and unmatched pleasure of her glorious heat.

Held tightly within her, though, once the initial thoughtless, heedless urge to thrust as deeply as possible and stay buried there had passed, Sesshomaru pulled an arm around her back to keep her locked tightly with him even as he leaned back to see her face.

"Kagome…" He was breathless, and though how and why were lost on him, he didn't care. "Are you saying…?"

But she stopped him by pressing a finger to his lips. "That," she whispered as she lifted herself up to him, "Is for me to know, and you to find out."

She kissed him. And though he wouldn't forget, couldn't forget, the promise carried in her voice with those elusive words, he kissed her back, long and hard, determined to have her riding so high on a wave of ecstasy that she would scream out the answer that every part of him was aching to hear.

He thrust his hips forward to claim her. He head dropped back, a deep, throaty moan slipping from her lips. She encouraged him with that sound as much as by her body as she arched it against his to draw him deeper. Gods, how could a creature of light be so sinfully tempting? She was irresistible, and he gave into her completely. Pulling back sharply, he entered her again with force. It was demanding, controlling, possessive. He took her as she took him – completely – and he wanted her to feel it to her very core.

He had no control over what he was doing beyond that which was driven by need, a need for her so consuming it became all he knew. The beast within howled with every powerful thrust, a voiceless demand heard only in the roar of the fires rising up around him. Submit. It was an order born of instinct that his bitch submit to his will, but a plea as well to the woman he wanted more than any instinct could know. Submit to me.

Her moans had been lost to her panting and breathless cries of pleasure, but it wasn't enough. It would never be enough until he heard her say she would never part from his side. And when still the words had not come from her lips, he took more from her body. Leaning forward, he grasped carelessly to the far edge of the desk, using it as leverage to pull himself forward and drive into her over and over again. So deep, but always harder, needing more, wanting to become so much a part of her that they would never be separate again.

The way he took her was raw and reckless, wild as the untamed beast, and Kagome relished every second of it. His driving force, his consuming desire, his endless need – she took it all in as thought it were the first even as he was clinging to her as though it were the last.

It didn't take very long for him to push her over the edge. And what an edge it was! She cried out to him, screaming his name, but still he pushed, harder and harder, consumed by his need. Her whole body was shaking, refusing to come down from its trembling high. Too much. Her senses had been thrown into overdrive, speeding so fast, headed for a crash.

"Oh, God," she moaned desperately, helplessly, a part of her so overwhelmed it only wanted it to end, another so overcome it prayed that it never would.

But he wasn't stopping, wasn't slowing. He just kept thrusting into her, every impact within quaking through her entire body. The wild burn without restraint was everywhere, adding chaos to the turbulence, throwing more heat into the inferno.

She groaned deeply, knowing she couldn't take any more. "The…the bed," she panted breathlessly. She hoped he would hear the waver of pain in her voice and not question it, though it was hardly the hard surface he had pinned her against that was causing her pain – if so much pleasure counted as pain. She just needed a moment, a moment to come down, to rest, to feel him inside her without the hard impacts, to just hold him tight within herself as she finally descended from the impossible high.

He growled, low, deep vibrations that rattled through her as she suddenly found herself crushed to his chest. He was lifting her, and she had hardly known the loss of the hard surface at her back. She did, however, hear it when the desk slammed harshly into the far wall, wood cracking and breaking into shatters even as screens were torn and brackets wrenched from their holds.

Oh shit! She knew what would come next. "Not the door!"

Not trusting her voice to be enough to stop him in that moment, Kagome used the only sure-fire thing she had to call off the dog. She blasted him. Hard. So much energy went into her attack that he stumbled from the force of it. She hadn't meant for it to be so strong, but her power just came so easily when she was with him. It had sorta slipped. Her senses were set into overdrive.

"Sorry! Sorry!" she pleaded for forgiveness when those crimson-bled eyes fixated on her. "But please, not the door."

The clarity that always came in the wake of her powers broke through the lusting haze of red that had clouded his mind. He understood what she was asking and why. She was right, of course. He probably would have saw the door to the same fate as he had the desk…Damn. He actually liked that desk. He'd had it for nearly fifty years. At least it had gone out in a blaze of glory though. As for the door, well, it probably would be best to have some sort of privacy.

Funny how these thoughts only registered now.

His only response was a vague grunt that seemed only half-committed. But he did concede, shifting his hold on her to manage with only one arm while he reached out with the other to slide the door panel properly. The movement caused him to shift within her. Only a tiny bit of pressure in exactly the right place, and Kagome moaned as she was flooded with the tremors of an aftershock.

Well now… Sesshomaru looked down upon hearing the throaty, sensual moan coming from his little mate. The image she presented him with – skin flushed and shimmering with a fine layer of moisture, back arched and body pressed flush against his own, eyes closed and lashes fluttering softly, and lips, so full and inviting, parted ever so slightly just to tease him – was entirely too tempting to ignore.

Door forgotten, he brought his arm up to wrap around her shoulders, leaning her back at the same time as pulling her hips forward. She gasped at the unexpected movement, then shuddered as he hit a place so deeply within her it sent spasms of pleasure rippling through her all over again.

Just because his mind was clear, still tingling with the jolts of her electric power, that didn't mean his body had cooled or his urges subsided. Falling back into the rhythm was all too easy. With her in his arms, so light, so pliant, so hot, so ready, it wasn't just easy, it was right.

He controlled her, and she let him, gasping and moaning with every thrust and urging him onwards. Her body was his completely, his to control, to bend to his every whim. And yet it was he that bended, folding over her to keep that closeness even as his hips thrust forward into her blazing heat. And it was to her whims that his movements were directed, to her gasps and moans that he set his rhythm.

Still hard and deep, no amount of clarity could alter his need to take her, to have her, to claim her; but filled now with a different kind of drive, a different kind of need. With the fire subsided, the fury of the burn calmed and soothed as much by her light as by her willing submission, he could feel it so clearly. The straining pulse, the painful, glorious, tightening in his loins, the building pressure that could only be relieved by an explosive release, it was his to know as he only ever could with her.

He was pulling into him with every thrust, gaining just an inch more leverage that made all the difference. So tight. She was writhing against him, muscles spasming, contracting, pulling him deeper, making it all the harder to wrench back again. But every time he did he could feel the heat building as her efforts to keep him within her would strain against his already straining shaft, building the pressure to impossible limits. And then forward again, his arms jerking back from her shoulders and waist to bring her to meet with him in another shuddering impact.

Slick heat coated every thrust, pulsing pleasure filling him every time he sunk fully into the depths of her, and in his ears the only sound other than the hammering pulse of his rushing blood was the sweet music of her voice as she called out to him.

A roar broke through the sound barrier. His own as he lost himself in her.

Panting heavily, his body still quaking with euphoria, he stood unmoving, simply reveling in the wash of sensation. Only when Kagome mewled softly in his arms, struggling with leaden limbs to pull herself up against him, was the spell broken. Unthinking, only responding to that pleading sound from his little mate, he shifted, brining her close and holding her snug against his chest. And she fell against him, her head lulling onto his shoulder, her heaving breaths tickling over his heated skin.

She just lay there, breathing him in. She could feel the damp slick of sweat that matted her hair to her forehead, felt the waves of heat coming off her body where it pressed to his, but it didn't matter. She just wanted to hold him, feel him with her, inside of her. His hands were tracing lazy patters down her back. It was soothing, calming, and though it seemed impossible given the burning of her body, prickled her skin to induce a small shiver. But she only murmured something unintelligible and pulled closer to him.

Though thankful she was still too delirious to feel the pain, Sesshomaru was wincing inwardly as his hands brushed over the sores of red skin and welts that marred her back and shoulders. His careless claws had done that to her. So caught up in the moment, in the pleasure, the passion, he hadn't even realized he was doing it. But he had. And she had done nothing to stop him.

He wrapped his arms fully around her, cradling her protectively to his chest. The wounds would heal, the marks would vanish, but that didn't change what he had done, what more he could do without meaning it if he wasn't cautious. How easy it would be, in just one moment of carelessness, to go too far, to push too hard, to damage her in ways that would not heal.

She suddenly seemed impossibly light where he held her. So small. So fragile.

He could think of nothing else as he carried her from the study into his bedchambers. When he laid her down on the bed, every movement was carefully tender, deliberately gentle, as though he feared he would break her. And he did, he realized. He feared nothing, and yet he feared for her. Feared that he would be the one to cause her pain.

"Kagome." He called her name softly, lifting his hand to brush away the matted strands of midnight locks that had fallen over her face. "Are you all right?"

"Mmmm," she murmured, eyes rolling aimlessly behind closed lids.

"I was too rough." He cursed himself for it. "I shouldn't have…"

"Shhh." Lifting a lazy hand, she pressed her fingers against his lips. She blinked tiredly up at him, the azure blues swimming in a glow of contentment. "I like it. I wouldn't want you holding back."

"But I…"

She shook her head against the pillows, silencing him again with a press on his lips. "It isn't very Lordly of you to be second-guessing yourself," she teased lightly, and smiled at the narrowing of his eyes. "You wouldn't hurt me."

Her fingers brushed over his lips as she spoke those words, so calmly, so filled with confidence and trust. She had no idea how close he had been to ripping that trust to threads, her along with it. Taking hold of her hand, he pulled it back. Her skin was so soft, so warm against his preternatural flesh. She was so soft, so delicate. So breakable.

And yet…

He brought her fingers back to his lips and kissed them. "No." He knew she was right, but he needed to say it, have her hear it, hear it himself and believe it. "I wouldn't."

She smiled, her hand slipping free of his so that her fingers could trace along the runs of crimson that marked his cheeks. "Sesshomaru?" Her voice was hushed and drawn, but wavered slightly with something more than exhaustion. "Would you regret?"

Her question froze him. He pulled back, searching her eyes, not quite able to grasp how she could possibly even feel the need to ask. He shook his head in denial and disbelief. "Never." But words just weren't enough. He leaned down to her, taking her lips in promise. "Never. Never," he told her again between kisses.

He heard her soft sigh, felt the brush of air against his lips. But it wasn't heavy like remorse or resignation. No, it was light, wistful, almost teasing.

"Help me up."

Her arms had wrapped around his neck, and she gave a gentle tug. He was grateful for that. She wanted freedom to move, to hold her own supports, but she wouldn't ask that he pull out of her. Probably for the best, he thought. He wasn't even sure he could pull out of her. It wasn't so much a physical inability as a cognitive one. She was his mate. That knowledge stayed with him on every level of his consciousness. If he were to push the restraints of the beast now, he wasn't sure it would be as receptive to the idea as it had been before – which, given the pain the dog in him inflicted every time he would leave her before reaching the end of his rut, wasn't very.

But she didn't ask this of him. Instead, she was accommodating to his needs, asking only that he be accommodating to hers as well.

Fair enough. He slid an arm beneath her, lifting with easy, even pressure so that he would not slip from his deep place inside of her. He sat back, bringing her to rest on his lap. Once there, she folded her legs behind his back, even wiggled slightly against him to get herself comfortable – Lord, it was almost his undoing. He clenched his jaw, gritting his teeth to fight off the urge to thrust against her.

Patience, he told himself firmly. This was her time, and he would give it to her, needed to give it to her if he ever expected to hear her mind and know the decision she had come to. Patience. But he was feeling anything but patient. And when her hands stated stroking against his skin in soft, feathery motions of touch, no amount of patience could have stopped him from giving into his urges.

Kagome giggled when he finally abandoned his forced restraint and bucked his hips upwards to meet hers. He really was insatiable. But that, she had known already, so it didn't stop her in her lazy exploration of his skin. She traced lines over the swell of his muscles, arms, shoulders, back, and chest, taking her time, savoring every detail. From the hard, sculpted, definition of his musculature, to the flawlessly smooth pallor of his skin, to the stark lines of crimson, always hot to the touch, that cut in bloody paths down the length of his arms, she took it all in.

She even found herself twirling and catching her fingers in the fine, downy hair that curled in the centre of his chest, following the trail that directed her downwards, over the rippling muscles of his stomach. Stopping just before her focus could drop too far south, she was left smiling when he groaned at the loss and his hips surged upwards in yet another involuntary thrust.

Taking the hint, knowing that much more teasing would find her too breathless to speak once again, she brought her focus back to his face. He was watching her, though his eyes were hazy, pinpricks of red seeping into the placid gold. Her smile was for him as she reached out and brushed back the heavy silver strands that had fallen forward over his face.

"Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?"

Her hand came to rest against his cheek, and he turned into her touch, kissing her palm. "I do believe that is supposed to be my line," he replied when he looked back to her.

But Kagome shook her head. "It suits you better."

"Hn." He had no idea what game she was playing at this time, but he wasn't about to let her win at it. He brought his hands up from where they had been resting on her thighs, sliding them along her skin until he held the small of her back. Only the smallest pressure, and he had her arching into him. His gaze was fixed on the exquisite display, the lift of her breasts before his eyes, the hard nub of the pink nipples begging to be suckled to relieve the painful pucker.

"I beg to differ," he told her as he gave into the compulsion, leaning into her and taking one of the lush mounds into his mouth, licking and nipping and sucking until she was moaning and quivering around him before moving onto the next.

Between pleasure and purpose, pleasure had presented a far more convincing argument. She brought her hand to the back of his head, stroking his hair, and every so often applying just enough pressure to coax him into taking more greedily to her breast. It excited him almost as much as it did her. She could feel it so clearly with every twitch and pulse from within her. It made her wonder how it would be different once her body started changing, if his animal nature would take even more greedily to a breast heavy with milk meant to feed his pups...

Focus, Kagome. Lordy, he was entirely too good at this whole distraction game. She was going to have to step it up if she ever hopped to get to her point.

"You know," she drawled out slowly, forced to pause and gasp as he pinched against a sensitive nipple with his teeth. But she caught her breath and regained her focus quickly. "It's not always going to be this easy. I hear pregnancy hormones can be a real bitch."

She was giving him just enough, just enough to know she had already made up her mind without saying it. She was toying with him, knowing exactly what he wanted to hear and stretching it out. It should have made him angry, annoyed, something. But all he seemed able to do was smile and play along – because she was his, and that was all that mattered. And her feisty, stubborn, playful, teasing demeanor with him was only one of the many reasons why he knew that in her he had found his perfect mate.

With reluctance, he pulled back from her tender breast to look up at her. "Do you know the best cure for bitchiness?" he asked.

There was a cure? "No. What?"

He smirked, his hands dropping to hold her hips as he gave her a sharp thrust.

Kagome blinked wide, partially in shock from the sudden jolt of pleasure, and partially in understanding. "Really?" What a cure!

"Yes, well, you, no doubt, will require several treatments daily." He mocked a sigh. "But I suppose that is what I get for taking a human as a mate."

Shock turned to disbelief, disbelief to horror, and horror to righteous anger. "You pompous, arrogant, son of a-"

Before she could finish – a finish that would likely have come complete with one hell of a burn as her agitated defenses shifted drastically to take the offense – he used his hold on her to quickly spin her, allowing her weight to pull her down even as he rolled to cover her.

It took her a moment to get past the start of being overturned so quickly, then a moment more to realize that he had her pinned, but once she did, the glare in her eyes told him that she wasn't about ready to be beat. He felt it then, a sharp sting at first, but rapidly becoming a burning, painful pulse coming from deep within her.

He growled deeply. It hurt. God, did it ever! But that didn't stop the object of her attack to twitch and jump in eager pleasure, begging him to sink deeper into it, into her, submit to more of the burning torture for all the more pleasure it would bring. He gave into it, thrusting hard against the whisper of logic that wanted to hold him back, immersing himself completely in the searing burn of her power. His mind clouded with it, the light blinding him in the fog between pleasure and pain.

He heard her sigh in frustration. The force of her powers began to ebb, but it took much longer for their effects to begin to fade. His eyes were crimson-bled and hazy with lust as he looked down at her. And when his vision finally cleared enough that he could focus on her, he found her shaking her head, trying for all the world to look exacerbated.

"Why do I love you?" she asked, as though she didn't already know the answer.

His smirk was knowing, teasing, and self-assured as he replied, "Because I am so incredibly charming."

She snorted in an effort to cover a laugh. "Yeah, that must be it."

"You do not think so?" He cocked a brow, knowing how she liked the curious gesture. It drew her eyes like a magnet, saving him from having to hide his devious smirk. "Is there, perchance, another reason, Kagome?" As he spoke he pushed into her, slowly, but with strong pressure, sinking deep and holding there.

"Mmmm…maybe," she half-moaned.

Despite her efforts to hold him against her, he began pulling back. The agonizing slowness of the stroke made her pull against him all the more, but he wouldn't give into her just yet. Stilling just before the point of separation, he prompted her response, "Such as?"

A tiny whimper of loss left her before she could contain it. Damn, he was too good at this. She almost, almost gave in, but then thought better of it. This was her time to be teasing him. She wasn't about to let him get the upper hand until she was good and ready to give it to him.

She just hoped she could hold out that long.

"Aww," she cooed, a toying smile rising on her lips. "Does my little puppy need to be told he's being a good boy?"

He glared at her. Not only had she completely avoided the question, but she had used that ridiculous nickname again. He really was gong to have to break her of that. Soon. But for now… "No. You tell me well enough with your pants and moans. I can be satisfied enough to know that it will only be better the next time."

"And what makes you thing there's going to be a next time?"

She was pushing for him to ask the right question, and though he played along, he knew that they were no longer playing a game.

"You shouldn't be more respectful of your Lord's wishes, Kagome."

"Ah, yes, of course. How silly of me. Anything you say, my Lord."

Everything seemed to still, even the air in his lungs. "Kagome…?"

She spoke before he could finish the question. "I want a wedding."

He pulled back somewhat at the bluntness of her tone. "What?"

"A wedding," she said again. "You know, that thing us humans do sometimes. And since it's my tradition, not yours, that means it's alright for your sister to come, and her mate, and their children. I want to meet them."

"That can certainly be…"

"And I want the Lady's room remodeled," she interrupted again. "I want a wall put up so that it's divided into two rooms. One for Rin, and one for Shippo. You're just going to have to put up with me sharing your room."

"I am sure that…"

"And I'm going to bring back a handyman's guide next time I go home. You are going to learn how to run pipes and fix them yourself. I won't have the knowledge given to anyone else before its time. Ours will be the only home in the entire world with indoor plumbing, but I don't care."


"Oh! And this one's really important. I want…"

This time, it was Sesshomaru's turn to interrupt. He practically pounced on her, kissing her feverishly even as his arms wrapped around her and lifted her from the bed. "You'll stay?" he asked between kisses. Then again, only not in question, but with just as much excitement, "You'll stay."

Kagome laughed merrily. In her mind, she could almost see him wagging his tail in glee. "Yes, Yes!" she managed to fit in between more of his fervent kisses. "I'll stay. My Lord, my Love, my mate; I'll stay."

He pulled her so tightly to him that the air was forced from her lungs. For a moment, Kagome struggled, wiggling against him to try and free herself.


She froze. Her eyes widened in muted shock and recognition as she felt the searing, spreading heat that washed though her. "Oh." She blinked. "Oh!" And was thrown into a bout of giggles. She heard his low growl of warning, but she didn't care. Still giggling, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a tight hug.

The words came so easily. "I love you, Sesshomaru."

He was purring, but what the hell. She was going to stay. He had never felt the kind of joy that filled him when she finally agreed. It had been so powerful that he had actually spilled his release within her. She had laughed. That irked him, but still it didn't matter. She was going to stay. She was his, his mate, and soon she would be the mother of his children. She was going to stay.

"My mate." It felt so good to speak those words to her.

"Yes." She pulled back from him so that she could meet his eyes, and in hers shimmered tears of a joy so incredible, so consuming, it hurt. She smiled shyly, her lips trembling, and even that barest movement caused the moisture pooling in her eyes to slip free in a shimmering crystal path. "And I'm sorry you had to wait so long for me to figure it out."

He lifted his hand to face, brushing away her tears. "It matters not how long I had to wait, Kagome. Only that you are with me."

"Even…" She didn't want to say it, didn't want to think it was even possible. But it was something she had to know, something he had to know. One last barrier she prayed they could overcome together. "Even five hundred years?"

"Five hundred, five thousand; it makes no difference. I would wait for eternity for you, my mate. You and no other."

And she smiled because she knew it was true. "I love you, Sesshomaru."

He didn't reply with his words, but with the warmth of his smile and the tenderness in his eyes as he looked down at her, the passion that burned in his kiss as he took her lips, and the fire he ignited within her when he gently laid her back and brought them together as one. And that was all the answer she would ever need.

She told him again how she loved him, whispering the words to encourage him onwards. He didn't need it, but it felt good to say, and so wonderful to hear the low rumble that he growled in his chest as he responded to her words by pushing deeper, filling her more completely, making love to her as she gave the words of her heart to him.

It was ecstasy. It was rapture. It was pleasure, passion, elation, bliss, joy, and love. It was perfection.

And it was only the beginning.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ah, such a perfect ending to a story that was forever leaving its readers just on the edge of knowing what came next. Don't you agree?

I know I've been unusually silent in my notes to readers over the past few chapters, and I'm sorry to anyone who's missed my quirky sense of humor. But there was a reason for it…well, probably not a good reason (I don't think laziness counts as a good reason ;P), but a reason. See, I pushed this story out just in time for the deadline of A Single Spark's closure. I wanted to make sure I could finish, going out with a bang so to speak, so I held all four of the final chapters back until everything was completed. I only posted chapter by chapter here because…well, because I'm a review whore XD. No, seriously, because if I didn't, I would be getting end-of-story reviews and for the most part have no idea what people thought of the chapters in between. You know how it works. That shiny little 'Next Chapter' button is far too tempting. No denying it now, you all know it's true.

But being patient does have its advantages. As so often happens, I found myself rewriting after the fact, so anyone reading this now will most likely be getting the better version of the finale…err…I hope XD. The last chapter was a bit rushed, and going on a few suggestions and a bit of my own interpretations that hadn't been expressed to my satisfaction the first time around, I think I've got it straightened out.

I truly hope everyone has enjoyed their reading experience. The finale has been a long time in the coming, I know, and for everyone that stuck with me right through to the end, I thank you all so much. It never ceases to amaze me how much support and inspiration I receive from my readers. And that's why you all get cookies! Of course, my cookies usually come in words, with less to do with eating than…well, maybe a bit of eating ;P Lol, sorry, couldn't help myself. I'm behind on my Author's Notes, remember?

Alright, let's wrap this up. So long VfD, you were a good story, a great story. You kept me up far past my bedtime on far too many occasions, drove me to the brinks of insanity (if I wasn't already there), and filled my head with enticing, mind-boggling, sensual images at the most inappropriate times. Yeah, it was a rockin' trip. But now, I think, it's about time to start out on another adventure.

So till next time, Cheers Everyone