Laz comes in with a  lowered head, bowing profusely. I'm very sorry this took so long to get out, minna-san. I have been busy with work, school, stress, and writer's block! Of all things to have in the last chapter. Heh Yes, this is the last chapter, and I am very glad for all of you that stuck around so long for this story. You have all been great, and supportive of me through this whole thing. Thank you so much!!

Shared Blood

Chapter Seventeen

By: Lazuli

lazulidreamer@yahoo.com

           Kagome felt almost suffocated as the crowd closed in around her and Inuyasha, Kikyou in the front, her thin face marred by a smirk. She finally had the upper hand, and was playing it for all it was worth. There was still one card that was not played yet, though—Kikyou wasn't aware that Kagome had miko power herself…and she would use it for all it was worth when the time called for it.

~~

           Miroku walked up the school steps, feeling an aura form over the building. He hurried to where Kagome and Inuyasha were, hoping that he wasn't going to be too late.

~~

           Inuyasha glanced down at his mate, biting his lip. So much hate—he didn't want Kagome involved in this. She didn't deserved to be hurt like this. He tightened his arms around her, glaring balefully at Kikyou.

           "You have no right, Kikyou…don't involve Kagome is this. She is not a youkai." Inuyasha held her protectively, but Kikyou just laughed at him.

           "She is your mate—is she not? Such a …barbaric term." She sniffed disdainfully. "Like an animal." She gestured to someone in the crowd. "Grab me a set of a bow and arrows." She commanded. "I have to make sure these youkai don't bother us anymore."

           The girl she had asked to get the items laughed at her. "You want me to help you kill youkai?" She asked, amusement thick in her voice. "Can you not tell a youkai?" She asked, this time laughing.

           Kikyou froze, her eyes widening. Kagome snickered as she let her senses extend over the crowd. Most of the people that were here *were* youkai. Anger and spite was a high emotion, and more than a few wore feral grins as they regarded the miko.

           "You can't be youkai." Kikyou mumbled. "You don't look it…"

           Kagome shook her head softly. "Can't you sense it, Kikyou? The magic that surrounds them to hide their forms?"

           "I don't….I can't…" She looked scared.

           The girl laughed again. "Let me introduce myself, then." She smirked. "My name is Kagura." Her eyes flashed red for a moment, and Kikyou backed away slightly. "I know of you."

           Kikyou glared. "You don't know me at all. What are you talking about?"

           Kagura smiled, a fan appearing in her hands. "I know you, miko. You are the one who relished in our deaths, enjoyed killing off families." Her eyes were cold. "Did you think that we were without loving emotion? That we would not mourn the death of our loved ones?"

           Kikyou's eyes were wild as she looked for help in the crowd of hostile faces. Again—her life was going to end in a brutal way. Her arms hung limp at her sides as she awaited her fate.

           Kagome couldn't stand to look at this. No matter what Kikyou did in the past—and what she did now—she didn't deserve such a death as Kagura would deliver her.

           "Kagura—stop it." Her voice was quiet as she stepped forward. "Kikyou deserves punishment, but not death."

           Kagura sneered. "Why should I listen to you, freak?" Another fan appeared, and Kagome could smell…wind…forming around her. She looked up at Inuyasha worriedly.

           "You will listen to her because she is my mate." His eyes were serious as they stared into Kagura's. "Princess of the Inuyoukai family. Higher than you."

           Kagura backed off slightly. Kagome looked astonished. "Inuyasha…your…family?" She questioned. He nodded, looking amused.

           "It doesn't  hold the same status in human circles, Kagome, but in ours my family is still the ruling family. Kagura should remember that."

           Kagura nodded hastily, but she still sneered at the cowering miko. "Why do you want me to save her, Kagome-hime? She tried to have you and your mate killed."

           "She deserves to be *punished*." Kagome's own smirk answered Kagura's for a moment, and she stared at the miko. "But not killed. We will hold trial for her, and contain her."

           Inuyasha nodded. He regretted now killing the girl so hastily before—this was the cause of it. Although he wondered what Kikyou had been doing in this world to cause some animosity to her.

           "Fine." Kagura gestured to two boys behind her, who held Kikyou easily. "We will take care of her." She flashed Kagome a smile. "We won't kill her. Do not worry. She will be…detained."

           Kikyou's eyes stared into Kagome's as she was dragged away, and Kagome shuddered at the pleading in her eyes. Perhaps death would have been more merciful…

~~

           Miroku stared at the crowd dispersing, and he searched out the two people he knew would be there. Smiling, he ran up to Kagome and Inuyasha, arms reaching around Kagome. She moved away from him, glaring at him suspiciously.

           "Kagome-sama! Do you not remember me?" He asked, hurt. Inuyasha was glaring at him, too. This wasn't fair…he knew them, but they were treating him as if he were someone to not be trusted.

           "I know you, Miroku." Her voice was amused. "I just don't want to be groped." Inuyasha growled beside her.

           "Don't even think about it, cousin."

           Miroku tried his best to look offended. "I see you two healthy and together for the first time since our last life, and you treat me in such a way?"

           Narrowing her eyes at him, Kagome suppressed a grin before throwing her arms around Miroku. "I'm glad you're safe, too." She whispered.

~~

           Shiru looked up when Inuyasha walked in the door, his black hair vanishing to be replaced by his usual white color. He held Kagome by the hand, and she wasted no time in hugging the girl.

           "Kagome—" She smiled at her. "You are doing good, I see."

           Kagome nodded, returning the smile. "I am glad to be back here." She said softly. Shiru nodded.

           "Kagome—how is your life now? Your family and friends?"

           Kagome sighed. "Lonely… I've lead a totally different lifestyle here—I feel so apart."

           Shiru nodded. "Has your family noticed your differences?" She raised an eyebrow at the claws that tipped Kagome's fingers. "I know you have tried to hide, but even after a time, your mother will have to have seen something."

           Kagome sighed. "I told Mama before I went after Inuyasha." She said quietly. "I don't think she was too happy…"

           Shiru looked concerned. "It would not be easy for her, Kagome. This world—youkai exist, but are in hiding, feared. There are but a few miko, and they are not strong enough to sense what is under their noses."

           Kagome nodded. "My mother seemed very frightened for me—and concerned when I told her about the baby."

           Inuyasha started, and stared at his mate in shock. "Baby?" He gasped out. Kagome blushed and looked down at the floor.

           "I think…I may be having a baby." She whispered. She looked nervously at him. "I…are you…happy?" She asked, her voice nearly inaudible. Her words were cut short when Inuyasha lifted her in his arms.

           "Why wouldn't I be?" He asked. "My mate.. is going to have my child." He grinned happily at her, swinging her around.

           Kagome giggled. "Yep! I told you in our dream…you don't remember?" She hugged him tightly. He looked slightly worried.

           "Mate… where are you… we… going to live?" His ears drooped slightly. "You have a family, now—a brother and a mother who love you, where you don't have to fear anything."

           "I also find my mate again." She chided. "Do you think I would give you up?" She held him tightly. "I do not belong with them. I belong with you. My family as I know it died a long time ago."

           Inuyasha pouted. "But they are here, now—" He didn't know exactly why he was encouraging his mate to be away from him.

           "Inuyasha—my mother knows about me now—and I … I should introduce her to you, so that she knows who my mate is."

           Shiru nodded. "I would like to meet your mother as well, Kagome. But first…" She tilted her head to take in Kagome's appearance. "I think you must be taught how to hide your…new attributes."

           Kagome looked down at her hands, and nodded. "I think so…" She mumbled. "I don't think they like youkai very much…it wasn't like before. They don't fear them anymore—but they are not accepted. They are outcasts…"

           She frowned. "I don't like this world." She said softly. "It feels wrong… what was the purpose of reverting everything if it turns out like this?"

           Shiru sighed. "In any world, there are bound to be problems, prejudices. Not everyone holds the same. Now…let's get you both ready to tell your mother the whole truth."

~~

           Kagome looked at her appearance in the mirror—it hardly seemed her. She was so used to the youkai attributes that she had, that it was strange seeing her as a normal human. And Inuyasha as a normal human as well.

           He snickered at their images in the mirror. "Remember me being human that one night? You almost skewered me."

           Kagome blushed. "I didn't know who you were!" She muttered. "I'm glad I didn't." She turned her face up to him, smiling. "I would have never had a mate."

           He hugged her close. "Yeah…" He kissed her lightly, then paused as he heard snickering.

           "Gods, you guys are sick." Inuyasha turned to glare at his brother.

            "You're just jealous." Inuyasha muttered, but the tips of his ears were red at Sesshoumaru catching him being so … open with his feelings.

           "No, you guys are disgusting. I'm surprised you haven't thrown her to the bed to have your way with her."

           Inuyasha snorted. "I have more respect for my mate." He grinned. "You don't even have one, and you are the older brother."

           Sesshoumaru sniffed. "There is no one good enough for I, Sesshoumaru." He said loftily. "I will not taint father's blood."

           Kagome rolled her eyes. "He hasn't changed." She mumbled, and turned to look at the youkai. His hair was cut shorter than she remembered, and was a rich, thick black. His eyes were ice blue as they narrowed at her, and she could sense his confusion.

           "Do I know you, wench?" He asked. "I do not believe I have ever met you before." He was staring at her intently, though. "Although…"

           Kagome smirked. "The great youkai, Sesshoumaru cannot remember his brother's woman?" She asked, grinning. "And I thought you were all superior."

           Sesshoumaru gave her a dirty look. "I do not have to remember my lowly brother's choice of female." He said quietly. "It is beneath me." He left the room, nose up in the air.

           Kagome snickered. "Ah, poor youkai is all confused." She knew that he would hear her, and she grinned at Inuyasha. "I think I've missed him.'

           Inuyasha mock glared at her. "And not me? I'm hurt." He pulled out of her arms. "C'mon, Mother is waiting for us."

~~

~~

~~

           Kagome giggled softly at the sight of her children tackling each other, little growls announcing the pounce before it happened. They were so active—more so than she ever remembered being, although her mother claimed otherwise.

           "Yoru! Hiru! It's time for dinner. Your papa will be home soon."

           Wide, identical grins lit up the faces of her children, and they bounded to her happily, throwing themselves into her arms until she lifted them up.

           "Now, you have to behave when Papa gets home. You can't be jumping all over him." Kagome tried to keep her face straight. Inuyasha wants his children to jump all over him more than anything.

           "Are you serious, Mama?" Hiru pouted up at his mother, ears dropping. "You're not trying to trick us again, are you?"

           Kagome smiled. "Now why would I do that to my children?" She grinned, her own ears moving in amusement. Yoru took that chance to grab onto her left ear, and Hiru the right.

           "Mama!" Both children shrieked in her ears.

Kagome winced. "That hurts…" She mumbled, trying to pry their hands off of her. "I know you're fascinated with these, but can't you grab Papa's and not mine?"  She pleaded.

           Yoru shook her head, silver-black hair flying in her face. "Uh-uh. You said that Papa didn't want us climbing over him. So we'll play with you."

           Both children managed to successfully knock her flat on the ground, and she laughed as they pounced on her.

           Kagome laughed as they climbed all over her, and she had to exert a little more strength to push them off of her so she could sit up. She heard someone coming in the room, and she turned to look at Miroku, Sango, and Inuyasha staring at her in amusement.

           The children took that opportunity to throw themselves at their father, giggling madly. "Papa! You're home!" The stared at Sango and Miroku.

           "Who're you?" Yoru demanded. "You smell like Mama after Papa has…" The rest of her sentence was cut off as Inuyasha muffled her mouth. He turned to Sango and Miroku with an apologetic look, while Kagome blushed.

           Sango just grinned, ruffling the little girl's hair. "You have a sharp nose. I am expecting…a child." She said softly.

           Kagome smiled brightly. "Congratulations!" She said happily. "I'm so glad that that perverted youkai finally did something right." She mock-glared at Miroku.

           Miroku held up in hands in self defense. "I have no idea what you are talking about." He said loftily. "I am always a perfect gentleman."

           At the loud sounds of protest, Kagome grinned, sitting back in her chair as everyone settled down. She thought about how much happier she was now—and her and Inuyasha's job in this world was more enjoyable than the last.

           Finding youkai that had been abused, hanyou children in hiding—and building a home for them, and a safe place—society was slowly beginning to accept them under the strong rule of Kagome and Inuyasha. Inuyasha's father was the head of this district of Japan, and Inuyasha followed in his footsteps.

           This world was different from the old Japan Kagome first lived in, the Japan that held youkai rule—it was an entirely new world, and one they found easy to shape to what they needed.

           Her mother had taken to the news better than she expected—it helped that Shiru was a well known and respected figure in the community, even more so than before.

           Kagome held her tiring children close to her after they removed themselves from their father, and smiled contentedly. She touched the ring on her finger lightly, looking over at Inuyasha.

           I love you. He returned the smile, eyes soft as he gazed at her.

           And I love you, my Kagome.