As promised, the epilogue, and I'm actually quite proud of it (I say that a lot don't I). Well, I won't keep you here. I hope everything's clear and understandable in the finale, and I certainly hope that you readers, most of you at least, are pleasantly surprised. Enjoy.
Epilogue: Bringing Up Hanyou, Plus
Two years later…
"Come on, kid, fetch! The ball, get the ball!"
"InuYasha, what on earth do you think you're doing?"
InuYasha froze next to his son and peeked over his shoulder at a very cross looking Kagome, her arms full with the clothing basket, kerchief in her hair, new, blue kimono wrapped around her body, and a frown on her face. The hanyou dropped the toy inflatable ball from the modern era and it softly bounced off Sosuke's head and onto the ground.
"Um, I was playin' with him," he said quickly, rising from his squatting position.
"He's not a dog, InuYasha," she sighed.
"Hey, you've done it to me!"
Kagome's cheeks flushed with indignation. "Th-That's completely different! You can't compare…You can't compare…"
"Heh," he chuckled and folded his arms into his sleeves. "Looks like I win this one."
"You…" Kagome huffed. She set down the basket and walked over to them, giving InuYasha a quick kiss, the leaning down and picking the boy up in her arms, rocking him against her chest. "Has daddy been making you get the ball, Sosuke?"
"Yes mama, it's fun," he said. "Wanna play too?"
"No, dear," she said, poking his nose, "Mommy's busy right now, but I'll play with you later." She turned to the hanyou. "InuYasha, do you know where Sango is? I have Jun's kimono all cleaned for her."
InuYasha scratched his head. "Yeah, uh, Sango's resting at home after her morning exercises. And Shippo, Rin, and Kohaku are playing with Jun somewhere."
"Those two are here again so soon?" Kagome asked. She was surprised. Rin and Kohaku had finally left the village with Sesshomaru for his lands in the west several months after the babies were born, but it was so often that they took Ah-Un for a quick trip to the village that it seemed sometimes like they still lived there. The daiyoukai didn't seem to mind their trips, as long as they remained safe while there.
"Yeah. Ah-Un dropped them off earlier. They really like the babies."
"I'm not a baby, papa," Sosuke protested.
"That's right, you're a big boy," Kagome assured him, setting him down and patting his head. She undid her kerchief and threw it in with the rest of the washed clothes. "Want to come with mommy to find your sister?" Sosuke nodded excitedly.
"I'll go too," InuYasha said. He picked up the basket so Kagome could hold the boy's hand. They walked along the a trail out of village, for InuYasha knew exactly where his daughter's scent was already. It wasn't much of a walk, since almost right after they exited they came upon a small, grassy hill where they found the three children playing, rolling down the hill, climbing back up, and rolling down again. Jun only rolled a short way each time before standing up and moving back a few feet to start over. She squealed with happiness when she spotted their visitors.
"Daddy!" She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her. "Mommy Kagome!"
InuYasha put down the clothes and bent down so Jun could climb into his arms and be lifted up. Kagome reached over and gave her dark fuzzy ear a tweak. Kohaku and Rin came jogging over as well. Kohaku had recently undone his topknot, and now his somewhat longer hair fell down to his broadening shoulders. Rin, too, had grown a little, though she was still shorter than the boy.
"Jun, your kimono's all clean," said Kagome, reaching into the basket and presenting the kimono to the small girl. "Would you like to try it on?"
"Uh-huh, I'll try it on later, when me and Kohaku and Rin are done playing."
"Now, now," Kagome said, "Those two seem pretty dizzy already. I think you'd better take a break from your rolling."
"Okayyyy," Jun replied sadly. "Where's mama?" She asked, referring to Sango.
"I'm right here," came a sleepy voice from behind. They turned and saw Sango walking towards them, rubbing her eyes. She came over and took Jun from her mate's arms.
"Hi mama," Jun said.
Sosuke tugged on Sango's kimono. "Hi mommy Sango."
"Did you rest up?" InuYasha asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Mmhm, I'll be wide awake in a few minutes."
"Alright then," he said. "How about we all head back to the village and—" He stopped short and tilted his head curiously, his nose twitching as he sniffed the air. "Kagome, Sango" he began, turning to her and setting his Jun down next to Sosuke, who tweaked her ears as well, and got his hair tugged in return, "Do you sense that?"
Kagome's brow furrowed slightly. "Sort of… That scent, it's kind of…"
"Familiar," he finished. "Though, I can't put my finger on it yet. And…there's another with it. This one's even less familiar, and it's kind of farther away… But, one thing's for sure, it smells like…"
He didn't get a chance to finish; he was cut off by his name being called loudly from just over the next hill. "HEY, INUYASHA! KAGOME!" It was a man's voice. Everyone's eyes swiveled over to the spot where it was coming from and squinted under the bright sun to see who it was. InuYasha raised his hand as a visor over his eyes.
"Well, I'll be damned," he said a few seconds later.
Sango's eyes widened a bit. "Can it be…?"
"He looks familiar," Rin whispered to Kohaku.
"Miroku!" Kagome exclaimed. Sosuke and Jun looked at each other curiously, while everyone else looked surprised. Indeed, the monk made his way over to the group. He looked the same as he always had, but that didn't stop InuYasha from leaning in with a twitching nose when he arrived at their location. Something was different about him, that was for sure, even if it didn't look it. Miroku had looked nervous upon approaching, and InuYasha's sniffing made him more so.
"Hi, guys," he began, trying to sound casual. He glanced around at everyone, seeing how much of a difference three years had made. Physically, only Rin and Kohaku looked a bit older. He turned to Sango, who was staring at him calmly. "I suppose…this might be awkward," he admitted, scratching his head with his staff-free hand. InuYasha realized what he meant and turned to Sango to see if she was ok.
"No, don't worry about it," she replied, answering both men at once. "Miroku and I left on decent enough terms. And I believe things turned out for the better, so there is no reason for anyone here to be uncomfortable." Just to emphasize the point, and to make it perfectly clear that she was comfortable enough seeing Miroku after all this time, she extended her hand, grabbed Miroku's, and shook it. Kagome was glad at how sincere Sango was being in her maturity; she had known that Sango had moved on long ago, but seeing her response to the situation cast any doubts from her mind.
"Mama, who's that man?" Jun asked.
Sango squatted down to her daughter. "This is an old friend of ours, sweetie. His name is Miroku, and he's a monk."
"Oh." And that was it for Jun's interest in the matter, and she went back to playing with her brother's hair.
"I see things have really changed around here," Miroku commented, looking down at the two hanyou children. "I presume these are yours, InuYasha?" He motioned to Sosuke and Jun.
"Yeah," he confirmed. He reached out and pulled Kagome and Sango close to him. "They're ours."
"Oh? Oh. Ohhh… OHHHHH!" Miroku's phases of "oh" ended with his eyes widening, startled. But what confused the others even more was when his face quickly changed into a calm smile, and he said, "I thought so."
"Huh?" InuYasha raised an eyebrow.
"That you had taken Kagome and Sango as your mates is what I was referring to."
"I know that, but I'm wondering how you knew." The hanyou leaned forward again and sniffed some more. "And that's not the only weird thing about you that I've noticed."
This time, Miroku sighed and pushed InuYasha's head away. "Honestly, I would be surprised if you didn't sense anything different about me."
"Now you're really acting strange," InuYasha growled, frustrated that he couldn't identify what was so close to his memory.
"Mama," Sosuke said, craning his neck forward to look at this stranger, "That monk had red marks on his neck."
The three mates' perked up at this and looked at Miroku's skin. Sosuke was right. Right on his neck were two small, perfectly similar red points, and they looked just like…
"M-Miroku," Kagome stammered, the knowledge suddenly hitting her. "Did you…?"
"Hah!" InuYasha let out a laugh. "Looks like everyone here mated to a youkai after all."
"Mated…to a youkai…" Sango echoed. "But…who…?"
Miroku didn't answer, but raised a hand to cup his ear. "Well, you're about to find out," he informed them.
InuYasha's senses then picked it up. The second scent that had been farther behind was now approaching. Fast. And it smelled like Koga. Smelled like…wolf.
"Wha…?" Kagome asked as she saw a figure dashing towards them rapidly, leaving a small tornado in its wake, just like Koga had before he lost his shards. Moments later, the twister trail dissipated, and next to Miroku now stood a young woman. A gorgeous, semi-scantily clad young woman, Kagome noted. White fur covered her shoulders, leaving her slender arms and collarbone exposed; white bands also wrapped around her wrists and lower legs. It also made up a short kind of skirt covering her hips, revealing her legs from the thighs down. A red-hilted blade hung from her waist. Bright red hair cascaded down her back, giving her the appearance of a fiery seductress; above her bright green eyes, a tiny ribbon was tied around her forehead, and a three-leaved violet flower, an iris, was lodged in her hair. Kagome stared. "You're…Ayame!"
"That's right!" Ayame responded, laughing.
"So, Miroku," InuYasha gestured towards the voluptuous wolf, "This her?"
"Hey, I'm right here!" Ayame exclaimed, rubbing up against Miroku's robes. "You can ask me questions too, InuYasha."
"Right, uh, sorry…" Boy, he thought, she's just as spunky as those times we met…
"But yes," Miroku answered. "Everyone, Ayame is my mate."
InuYasha snorted. "I thought you left 'cause you couldn't commit to just one woman."
"I know," he said, looking down at the ground, embarrassed. "I still cannot believe how young and foolish I was back then, to leave simply because I could not control my urges…"
A question formed in the hanyou's mind. "Rin, Kohaku," he said, "Take Sosuke and Jun back to the village. Can you do that?"
The two nodded and took the hanyou kids by the hand and headed off to the village. Kagome looked at her mate.
"Miroku," InuYasha began, "The things you're saying… I can't imagine how a lecherous guy like you was able to ever settle down with one woman. How…?"
"I understand how you can be confused," the monk nodded. "But," he took Ayame's soft hand in his and kissed the palm gently, eliciting a soft giggle from the girl, "Things changed… I changed… As hard as that may be to believe."
"Yes, changed. But I will admit, it wasn't easy. These past three years have been rough on me. And just when I had finally hit rock bottom, I met up with Ayame for the first time in ages. She…she saved me, in the end, and we fell in love."
"Miroku," Ayame chimed in with a teasingly scolding voice, "here you are saying how you've been 'reformed' and how much you've 'changed'. That may be so, but don't lie to them. Hehe, you're still a major perv."
"A-Ayame!" Miroku stuttered, turning red in the face. Ayame laughed again and kissed his neck, to the amusement of everyone else.
"Don't worry, lover boy." She then lowered her voice to a lustful, throaty moan that made even Kagome's hairs stand on end, in the good way, practically moaning into Miroku's ear as she slid her legs up his, "I absolutely adore that you are a hentai…"
InuYasha gulped. Heh, Koga, you idiot. How the hell did you turn this down? The humor of it almost sent him sprawling to the ground in laughter, but he managed to control himself. Miroku, too, had to exert enormous effort to control himself, though in a different way, from Ayame's radiating sexuality. But then, to the surprise of the three mates, that hot, irresistible vixen suddenly transformed back into that cute, high strung girl she'd been just moments ago. Almost as if she was just playing a game to show them how much power she could have over them sexually before returning to her normal self. Ayame laughed innocently, for she had won by sending erotic shivers through everyone's spine. They had no idea that underneath that perky exterior lay the heart and the desires of a truly passionate woman, and an incredibly lustful wolf.
"Anyway," said InuYasha lightheadedly, still recovering from his recent intoxication. "Come on, Miroku," he said and lowered himself to the ground, motioning for the monk to do the same. Miroku did, and the three women followed suit. "I don't know about the others, but everything you've been saying's somehow got my interest. Sounds like it makes a good story."
"Perhaps," Miroku agreed, "But everything in it is true, I can assure you. The good, and the bad."
"Let's hear it then" Sango said, curious as to what could have possibly happened to the monk these past three years that were so eventful, so meaningful, that as he had been speaking of it before, he had looked serious, depressed, hopeful, and joyful all at once.
"Miroku sighed. "Are you sure? It might take quite a while for me to tell you everything."
"Go ahead," InuYasha echoed his mate. "We got time. And we can always continue it later. No rush."
"If you insist," Miroku conceded. "You see, it all began sometime after I left the village, those three years past…"
And, under the warm noon sun, with InuYasha, Kagome and Sango sitting next to each other and opposite Miroku and Ayame, the monk began his story…
My note: And thus one story ends, for another to begin… Well, I pretty much did all the talking and thanking last time, so I'll spare you here. I realize that an Mir/Ayame pairing is highly unusual (I couldn't find more than one story when I searched their names, then again, I only spent 5 minutes looking), but, I take that as a personal challenge to make the story just as eventful, deep, and especially as hentai, as this one's been. Actually…even though I say it's a Mir/Aya pairing, it won't be so for the first part of the story… Miroku has 2-3 years worth of story to tell, after all, and one woman for the pervy monk for all that time? I don't think so (also meaning they won't be staying on that hill for the whole duration of his story). Oh, and also, for the next story, and I'll say this again once it begins, the manga, for my purposes, will end around chapter 530. So, while a final battle with Naraku took place, it didn't necessarily go exactly as it is going now. That's just a heads-up.
But, now that It Takes Two is finished, I'd like to say thank you once last time, and that I hope you enjoy the next story just as much, cause I'm gonna be working even harder on that one than I did this one (on the negative side, it means the updates may be much slower). Until next time, readers.