I do not own Inuyasha or its characters - Rumiko Takahashi does.

Rated M for fluffy lemon

Deserted 32: Unification

The flight home was short, in Kagome's estimation, anyway. In and out of consciousness, there was very little Kagome could remember of when the helicopter had arrived. She didn't have any memory of boarding the chopper, nor of the takeoff either. However, she did remember the excited ramblings of her pack mates as they recalled Naraku's demise to their rescuers.

The steady thump of the helicopter's propellers lulled her in and out of sleep. Inuyasha's gentle embrace kept her firmly rooted to his chest, his quiet whispers reassuring her that all was well.

They were finally going home!

Kagome found herself nestling closer to the heat of her husband's body, closing her eyes against the steady brush of wind that blanketed her. Her voice wouldn't work beyond the barely audible protest she tried to give, begging someone to please! close the door. Wait - did helicopters even have doors?

"Wind… it hurts," she muttered, relieved when someone shifted to block the current causing her discomfort. Sesshomaru's aura swelled a moment later; the wind stopped its assault on her wounds as his youkai folded around her.

His aura was welcoming, easily recognized, and Kagome felt her power shift. The responding nudge was pleasant when Kagome felt Inuyasha's youkai rise. The combined heat of the brothers' individual powers blanketed her in warmth and security. She focused on their comfort, ignoring the throb in her shoulder and the burn in her throat until once again, darkness embraced her.

When next she woke, she was being settled onto a wheeled hospital bed. The pain from her injuries had quieted some, and the youkai doctor examining her shoulder seemed surprised by the rate of her recovery.

"You've healed up quite nicely already, Miss Kagome," the doctor observed. "I'd like to check your vitals though, just to be sure. We wouldn't want to send you home to early after all."

By the time the doctor's words made any sense, the nursing staff was wheeling her across what appeared to be the roof of a hospital toward a waiting set of elevator doors.

"Is there anyone else who needs medical assistance?" one of the nurses asked.

"Nope," Shippo replied, "Everyone's fine 'cept Kagome here. Still, she's better than she was a while ago."

Kagome's bed was turned and the elevator doors opened.
"I assume this young lady was given a blood transfusion on the flight in," another nurse asked.

"You might say that," Koga quickly agreed.

"If no one else requires medical attention," the doctor said, "it would be best to have you wait for the next elevator. Unfortunately, there will be limited space in this one, what with the medical bed and the staff."

"You guys go on home and get some rest." Inuyasha offered. "I'll stop in and give you an update once I get Kagome home and comfortable. We're just across the hall from all of you anyway, so you'll know when we get in."

"Do you all live together?" the doctor asked.

"We live in the same apartment complex just across town," Sango clarified. "We're all very close. "

"Pack members, actually," Kirara announced, interrupting from behind the group. Kagome nearly giggled when she saw the neko-youkai, draped in what appeared to be a bed sheet. Smiling instead, Kagome merely shook her head.

"You guys head on home," Kagome encouraged, her gaze moving from pack member to pack member before settling momentarily on Miroku. These were her friends, her family. They were pack, and Kagome hated the idea of making them wait for her release. They were all just as weary as she was, and probably hungry, too.

"I'm sure we'll be right behind you. Get some rest, and grab something to eat, too." Kagome added. "Heaven knows we could all use a shower."

"I could help wash your back, Sango," Miroku teased, his eyebrows wriggling suggestively as the elevator doors slid closed, "or even your front."

The elevator bucked gently before being lowered to what Kagome and Inuyasha assumed would be the ER.

"He'll never change, will he?" Kagome giggled.

Inuyasha tightened his grip on her hand reassuringly. Smiling down at her, Inuyasha shook his head in the negative. "No, I doubt he ever will."

"That's quite the group of friends you've got there," the doctor observed as the elevator doors opened.

"It is," Kagome confirmed while her bed was moved out to the waiting floor. "But, we wouldn't have them any other way."

"Can we go home now?" Kagome asked quietly.

The doctor, Mr. Yamaguchi, had thoroughly checked her over. He had declared her vitals to be stable and her injuries mended enough that blood loss was no longer a concern.

"I'd kill for a nice, hot bath right now."

"The doc says you're healing just fine, Kagome. Let's wait and see how well you're doing when we get home. I don't need you passing out in the tub."

"Oh...okay. Does that mean we can go home now?" Kagome asked again hopefully, excitement written plainly on her face.

"We can go home," Inuyasha announced playfully. "They are checking you out now and the nurse-"

"Is here with a wheel chair to escort you to the car," Ms. Yumi, the head nurse, announced.

"Can't I just walk?" Kagome begged. "I'm fine, really."

"Sorry, Miss Kagome," Ms. Yumi replied, "hospital regulations."

Kagome wrinkled her nose, and Inuyasha merely smiled at his wife's stubbornness. "I sent Sesshomaru and Rin home, too," he told her as the nurse helped her into the wheel chair. "Rin was asleep on her feet, yet determined to stay and wait," Inuyasha laughed. "Sesshomaru finally managed to haul her home, though. And Sango called a few minutes ago to let us know that everyone there is turning in for the night."

Clutching Kagome's hand, Inuyasha walked calmly beside her. She was wheeled from the ER and out to the waiting car Sesshomaru had provided.

"I'm just glad that this is all over. I can't wait to go home to my apartment."

"Our apartment," Inuyasha reminded gently while carefully helping her into the car. "We'll be home soon," Inuyasha whispered as he cuddled Kagome close. "Everything's gonna be just fine now."

Sesshomaru paced, agitation spurring the movement, while he debated his next course of action. They hadn't been home long, nor had they eaten since their arrival. Instead, Rin had gone to bathe. The need to soothe her building anxiety had sent her rushing to the sanctuary and comfort of the jetted tub in their shared bathroom. Sesshomaru could still feel the emotion roiling through her, though.

Sesshomaru's anxiety had built as well, multiplying steadily after leaving Inuyasha and Kagome in the care of the hospital's staff. Initially, Sesshomaru assumed Rin's discomfort was the result of leaving her best friend at the hospital without knowing for certain when Kagome would be released.

Inuyasha had since called to inform them that the doctor had released her on a strictly cautionary basis. Shippo had called not long after to notify them that Inuyasha and Kagome were safe and sound in their apartment.

Yet, the feeling that something was wrong still ate at him, and Rin's discomfort had only worsened.

Sesshomaru paced slowly, his mind dissecting the probable cause of his and Rin's shared anxiety. He was certain it had something to do with what had happened on the had trespassed against the only absolute law known to demon-kind. Sesshomaru wasn't sure if the repercussions of their decisions would be rectifiable, or worse, survivable.

Releasing the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, Sesshomaru made his way across the plush carpeting of his living room. Picking up the telephone receiver, Sesshomaru called the one demon he hadn't ever expected to consult with regarding demon mating rituals.

Kagome's unease seemed to grow with each passing moment. It had been like this for the last few hours. As Kagome's anxiety increased, so did Inuyasha's. She paced back and forth, the movement aggravating her injuries. Despite Inuyasha's countless attempts to get her to lie down and rest, Kagome just couldn't seem to relax.

Hours had passed since they'd locked themselves in their apartment. The only thing he knew had relaxed his wife in the past was a long, hot bath. Leaving Kagome alone in the tub wasn't something he'd planned on doing for at least a few days. He told her as much when they'd left the hospital a few short hours ago. Still, Kagome's discomfort eased, if only slightly, while she relaxed in the heated bath water, and so Inuyasha had grudgingly agreed to allow it, again, despite the doctor's orders to the contrary.

This was her third bath of the night.

"You sure you're all right?" Inuyasha questioned gently. Running his claws tenderly through Kagome's hair, Inuyasha wrapped the shimmering length into a bun. He secured the strands easily with a clip he'd snagged out of the cabinet drawer.

"I'll be fine, Inuyasha," Kagome answered quietly. "I just feel so weird," she mumbled. "Don't you feel strange?" Kagome questioned, her gaze lifting to follow him as he moved toward the linen closet for a towel.

Tossing the forest green cloth onto the floor, Inuyasha spread it over the beige tile with his foot, his sunlit gaze rising to meet hers.

"Something just doesn't feel right, you know?" Kagome continued. "The only time I've ever felt like this is when we've been separated. It almost feels like – like separation anxiety, you know? You're right here, though, so it doesn't make any sense."

"I know," Inuyasha agreed softly. "Your emotions are all over the place."

"Which means that yours are, too," Kagome sighed. "I'm sorry, Inuyasha. I don't know what's gotten into me."

Dropping easily to his knees, Inuyasha rested his forearms against the side of the bathtub. The wound on Kagome's shoulder was healing pretty quickly, as was her hand. The flesh was still pink and slightly swollen, although the edges had already mended together quite nicely. His gaze dropped momentarily to the bite-mark on the front of her throat. It didn't seem to be healing as fast, and that bothered him.

Sesshomaru hadn't wanted to inflict any kind of damage on Kagome. Inuyasha knew that. And he didn't fault Sesshomaru for what he'd done, either. Demons were forbidden to bite, or otherwise mark, another's mate. It was an unspoken law, ingrained into every demon's psyche from birth. It simply wasn't done.

And Inuyasha, like Sesshomaru, had been forced to do the unthinkable: he'd bitten Rin – his brother's mate.

The night the yacht had been blown sky-high, Inuyasha had gladly broken that law in an effort to jump-start Rin's heart after she'd drowned. And it had worked. Rin was alive. Regardless of some stupid demonic rule, Inuyasha couldn't find it in himself to regret what he had done to save her.

So how could Inuyasha fault Sesshomaru for what he'd been forced to do? If they had had the time to finish the blood sharing ritual, Sesshomaru wouldn't have had to bite Kagome. The tai-youkai had been forced to cross that forbidden line, too.

Biting Kagome to keep from being purified was Sesshomaru's only option given Naraku's sudden appearance and subsequent attack. Kagome's blood had to be introduced into Sesshomaru's system quickly or her purification would have reduced the tai-youkai to a dust-puppy.

Kagome shifted, and Inuyasha forced the worry from his mind. Leaning forward, he pressed a lingering kiss to Kagome's lips. He pushed the rise of his libido away when she deepened it. She reached forward with her good hand to run her fingers through the silken strands of his silver-spun hair, holding him close.

Smiling softly, Inuyasha slowly pulled away. Closing his eyes he rested his forehead against hers.

"You are a beautiful woman, Kagome. And while I would love to distract you with hours and hours of sex," he breathed, "you are still healing. We have to wait."

Kagome had the good grace to growl at him, and Inuyasha grinned wickedly at the sound. She smiled back. Miniature fangs peaked at him from behind kiss-wet lips, and Inuyasha couldn't help but be amazed at the difference the change made in her appearance.

He'd noticed the change on the yacht, before it had been reduced to timbers in an epic display of oceanic explosions. Not quite human, not quite demon, Kagome made a tempting picture sitting naked in the bath before him. Despite the effort he'd made to sweep her hair off her shoulders, ringlets still fell from the clip to frame her face, beautifully enhancing her features.

The temptation to remedy their shared anxiety with the distraction of another soul-searing kiss was almost too much to bear. He desperately wanted to climb over the edge of the tub to share in her nakedness.

Still, the risk of hurting her was enough to cool the fire in his blood, and Inuyasha pushed himself away from Kagome's touch. Not being intimate with her when she tempted him like this was going to be hell and moving away from her was fast becoming a necessity.

"I, my dear Kagome, will get you a cold drink from the kitchen if you swear to behave while I am gone," Inuyasha bartered.

Once Kagome's bath was finished, however, Inuyasha knew he would need to find something else to occupy her. Keeping her distracted seemed the only way to ease the unexplained tension that had been gripping them tight since their return home.

Hot baths helped her relax. And, hot sex, it seemed, also aided in distracting her. Inuyasha filed the new tidbits of information away for use at a later date. For now, though, Kagome needed something cold to drink.

And so did he.

Preferably a beer - lots of it with the hope that it would numb the need burning hot throughout his system.

Making his way into the kitchen, Inuyasha's attention was drawn to the television. Breaking news pulled his eyes and ears to the broadcast. The coast guard, it seemed, had caught up with Bankotsu in a speed boat several hundred miles north of the island. Jakotsu, an employee at the Marina, had reported one of the company's speed boats missing, placing the coast guard on high alert. Several men, Bankotsu included, had been arrested during their escape attempt and turned over to the police for questioning.

Damn. It was wonderful news, yet it was also a slight bummer. He had really been looking forward to hunting the demon down. On the other hand, at least the bastard would never be able to reach Kagome again.

And if he tried, Inuyasha and his pack would see to it that no one ever found the body.

Pounding on the front door pulled Inuyasha's attention from the news broadcast. His attention was diverted from the noise at the front door, however, when Kagome made her way into the kitchen.

"I borrowed your bathrobe," Kagome said softly.

"I told you to wait for me, Kagome. What if you had fallen? You could have gotten hurt!" Inuyasha growled. The damn woman never worried properly for her own safety!

Rising to her tiptoes, Kagome kissed Inuyasha once on the tip of his nose, then pressed a chaste kiss to his mouth.

"Best go answer the door before whoever it is gets us kicked out," Kagome teased. "Who do you think it is, showing up here at one in the morning?"

"Sesshomaru, by the sound of the growling," Inuyasha clarified softly before moving to open the door. "He's gonna buy me a new door if he keeps banging on it like he is. He'll break the damn thing off its hinges if he hits it any harder."

Sesshomaru and Rin had been dealing with a similar situation in the anxiety department too, it seemed, because the moment Inuyasha opened the door, Rin plowed straight into him. She nearly knocked him off his feet right there in the doorway. Inuyasha caught her against him, arms folding protectively around her as he fought to maintain his footing.

Sesshomaru's gaze drifted over to Kagome, his focus sharpening on the wound he'd left on her neck. It hadn't healed as quickly as her other wounds had, and Sesshomaru moved forward instinctively before hesitating. The need to heal her, to check Kagome's well-being hit hard, and Sesshomaru was stunned by the ferocity of it.

Inuyasha's gaze found Sesshomaru's as the older demon made his way into the apartment. Leaning against the door frame, Sesshomaru didn't move forward to steady his mate. He simply watched trustingly as Inuyasha steadied her himself.

Subconsciously, Inuyasha noted that the unexplained tension he'd felt since leaving the hospital simply melted away with his brother's impromptu arrival. Judging by the look on Sesshomaru's face, it seemed they had a whole new set of concerns.

"We need to talk," Sesshomaru growled, "because it seems that the four of us are bound to each other indefinitely."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Inuyasha grumbled back. "You aren't making any sense."

"The anxiety and tension that's been predominant since we separated at the hospital isn't going to simply stop," Sesshomaru pointed out while Inuyasha settled Rin on her feet.

"You've been feeling it, too?" Kagome interrupted.

"What we did on the island has repercussions. This tension and anxiety we've all been feeling since we separated is part of those repercussions."

"How do you know?" Kagome asked. "I mean, we all knew there could be side effects; this doesn't make any sense at all."

"I spoke with Totosai," Sesshomaru began.

"Wait- the crazy old fart that hasn't seen a mate in…?" Inuyasha blinked, then reached to scratch the back of his right ear before continuing, his tone confused. "Has Totosai ever had a mate?"

Sesshomaru pinched the bridge of his nose in an effort to head off what was sure to be the equivalent of a human migraine- which demons did not suffer from. But then, the standard population wasn't related to Inuyasha, either.

"Listen, Inuyasha. This is as close to an explanation as I could get from the old man before his brain lost focus and he began rambling on about demon oxen and their refusal for house-training…"

Inuyasha blinked.

Rin shook her head.

Kagome giggled. The pack had begun to wear on the tai-youkai. Sesshomaru had just cracked a joke, after all. And that wasn't a normal occurrence.

"Demon's mark their mates, as they have done for centuries. Once marked, no other male can trespass against it. It isn't done because the need for the physical reaffirmation of the health and happiness of a mate isn't shared with anyone. The need is constant, ingrained into a demon's psyche, an instinct that can't be denied.

"It is this, Totosai believes, that the reason biting another demon's mate is so forbidden. Demons are territorial creatures, possessive and protective enough of their mates that crossing the boundary routinely would certainly trigger on-going retaliation, thus the unspoken law. Since the beginning of time, it has been an instinctual boundary set to prevent the bloodshed of war.

"And because of our actions on the island, Totosai believes that I am bound to Kagome, and you, Inuyasha, are bound to Rin, though not like a mated pair. As demons, we only mate once which makes a second mating impossible. As a result, physical intimacy isn't necessary, although the need to reaffirm a continued connection is.

"The time the four of us spent apart was too much for our inner demons to ignore," Sesshomaru pointed out. "It is why we each felt as we did, and why the longer we stayed apart, the worse the anxiety and tension became.

"Indefinite separation would destroy emotional stability for all involved. For the next few weeks, we'll need to keep near one another to avoid the physical discomfort of being separated too long. It is unknown whether this strange side-effect will wear off, as it seems we are the first to ever over-step this boundary."

Sesshomaru's attention shifted once more to Kagome. Her wound would only respond to the antibodies in his saliva. It would not heal without his aid, no matter how often Inuyasha tried to heal it. And the same could be said for the wound on Rin's wrist. Inuyasha was the only being capable of healing that injury, because he was the demon responsible for causing it.

Had the women not been mated, their injuries could have been treated easily. According to Totosai, it was because the women were mated that they were in this situation to begin with.

Sesshomaru didn't like it. In truth, he hated the thought of another male, regardless of blood ties, touching his mate in such an intimate fashion. And yet, forbidding his half-brother from aiding in Rin's recovery would result in a far worse situation.

As a bonded foursome, they would each have to put aside their initial resistance to what needed to be done. They'd have to visit regularly, and once Kagome and Rin's injuries were healed, the oddness of their situation would pass.

Stopping beside Inuyasha and Rin, Sesshomaru reached for his mate's wrist. Lifting her arm gently, Sesshomaru brought her wrist up for Inuyasha's inspection. The mark on Rin's wrist was similar to Kagome's in that it wasn't healing as quickly as it should have, despite the many times Sesshomaru had cleaned it.

"This injury, left by you, won't respond to my efforts to heal it," Sesshomaru pointed out quietly. And that isn't the only issue we have to discuss, either."

Instinctively, Inuyasha reached for Rin's wrist, his gaze shifting to Kagome.

"You may have to be the one to heal it, Inuyasha," Kagome said as she made her way forward, the urge to move closer to her mate and Sesshomaru getting the better of her. "I'm not sure what's happening here. Obviously something has changed in the dynamics of our situation," she finished.

Inuyasha shook his head, his brow creasing as he studied the mark he'd left on Rin's wrist the night he'd bitten her on the island. The urge to clean it himself was strong, and that left him highly confused. It hadn't bothered him on the island; however, they'd had a life and death situation to contend with, too. And they'd been near one another the entire time as well. Yet, even he had to admit that the injury seemed less pronounced then than it did now.

It resembled Kagome's. There was no hint of infection, nor was the area swollen at all. Nevertheless, the wound itself seemed to be healing far slower than it should have.

Both marks should have disappeared by now.

"Instinct tells you to clean your mark, yet your brain tells you it is wrong," Sesshomaru observed.

He understood, because he, too, was feeling that same instinctual call toward Kagome.

Sesshomaru felt the unexplainable need to mend the damage he'd done, felt like it was his responsibility to check on her well-being, something previously only felt with Rin. "It feels off, and wrong, yet required all the same," Sesshomaru added.

"Yeah," Inuyasha agreed, his gaze rising to meet Kagome's. "And even though I don't want you to touch my mate, I also feel like it needs to be done… by you no less," Inuyasha growled. "Normally I'd kill anyone who touched Kagome, but-"

"Strangely you're all right with it so long as it means she is taken care of?" Sesshomaru finished.

"I think Totosai is right, Sess. I feel better since we came here," Rin announced, though she knew that Sesshomaru already felt the difference upon their arrival. The anxiety and tension they'd been feeling since leaving the hospital had simply disappeared.

"I feel a little better, too," Kagome admitted. "It hasn't gone away completely, though."

"I thought the tension I felt was Kagome's," Inuyasha agreed. "But, I feel better, too."

"That's because you are still cuddling with my wife," Sesshomaru pointed out dryly.

"Hey! She rushed into my arms, remember? Besides, this is your fault, you know," Inuyasha gruffly pointed out. "If you hadn't insisted on bonding with my wife, we wouldn't be in this predicament."

"I believe you bit my mate first, Inuyasha. You are no less responsible for our current dilemma than I am," Sesshomaru reminded, though there was no real harshness to his tone.

While true, agreeing with Sesshomaru was simply too easy. Sesshomaru prided himself in knowing the possible repercussions of everything.

Watching Sesshomaru embrace Kagome wasn't something Inuyasha had ever expected.

However, there were many things he hadn't expected since their return to civilization. Instinct said that no male should ever touch his mate. But there was also a very real feeling of peace when Kagome's anxiety vanished the moment Sesshomaru reached to embrace her.

The group resolved then and there that they were all bound by the decisions they'd made, no matter how odd their situation was.

Still, it was also agreed that in order to reduce the likelihood of bloodshed, the required wound cleansing would be done separately, and only as often as what was absolutely necessary to aid in the healing process.

Three weeks later…

"I don't think I'll ever get used to this," Inuyasha mumbled when he allowed Sesshomaru and Rin into the apartment, "especially when we move."

"We can deal with this, Inuyasha," Rin murmured, laughter brightening her words. "You saved my life, and if this minor requirement is needed, I think we can get past the weirdness of it to make it work."

Inuyasha snorted, pulling Rin in for a brotherly hug before letting her go and pulling her wrist up to his nose. Sniffing lightly, Inuyasha nuzzled the scar left from his bite while taking in her scent. Once his demon was satisfied, Inuyasha released her hand gently before making his way to the kitchen.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," he grumbled lightly. "Still don't make it any less weird though."

Watching Sesshomaru complete the same process with Kagome was strange as well. Nevertheless, they were adjusting.

They had no choice after all.

"Just be glad that the rest of the pack doesn't have to do this, too." Kagome pointed out. The pack stayed close, the group keeping their apartments and visiting regularly. "We knew that things might change." Shrugging offhandedly, Kagome added, "Remember, it could be worse… we could all be dead."

The events on the island had solidified the bond between them all, and their pack was strengthened by their ongoing closeness.

Everyone agreed, and a moment later their attention shifted to other equally important discussions.

"We need to finalize the building plans, Inuyasha," Sesshomaru reminded while making his way to Rin. Pulling her close, Sesshomaru kissed the top of her head. His gaze shifted to his half-brother as the hanyou made his way out of the kitchen, beer in hand.

"There's wine if you want some," Kagome offered, already clearing the table to make room for the blueprints Sesshomaru had brought. "We might as well get something ready to eat while you two look through the plans. Rin, would you help me in the kitchen?"

"I'd love to," Rin agreed. "I'm starving!"

Inuyasha stopped long enough to drop a kiss to Kagome's mouth before making his way to Sesshomaru's side at the table. Rin and Kagome made their way into the kitchen. Their laughter rang through the apartment, and though neither male would say as much, the contentment they each had found in one another's company was welcome and comfortable.

"I never thought I'd have to build a house with you," Inuyasha growled amiably.

Their required contact had only served to bring them all closer together. They spent much of their time together, and despite the initial weirdness of it, they had all grown accustomed to it. At first it was odd, uncomfortable even, yet eventually the thought of being separated was something that was frowned upon. They were pack, and Inuyasha and Sesshomaru had decided that as a pack, they needed a den.

"Not a house, Inuyasha, a closed complex. We'll build houses for the rest of the pack out here," Sesshomaru indicated before bringing Inuyasha's attention to the main structure. "This will be the main house. Your family will have the left wing, while mine will have the right. This area here-" Sesshomaru pointed out, his claw tapping said location on the blueprint "-will be the common area for guests, the rest of the pack, and-"

"A place for you to cuddle with my wife," Inuyasha reminded.

Sesshomaru shook his head, raising his hand to slap the back of Inuyasha's head.

Kagome and Rin looked on from the kitchen, both smiling before Kagome asked, "How are we ever going to explain this to our kids?"

Rin shrugged and laughed. "We'll figure that out after we figure out how to keep those two from killing each other," she answered, nodding her head in Sesshomaru's and Inuyasha's direction.

They were finally alone!

It had been three weeks… three weeks since he'd touched her last, since he'd loved her last. Kagome lay beneath him, her body glistening in the lamplight. She arched against him, her breasts filling his hands, nipples beaded in anticipation. She called his name, husky tones that hardened him as he bent to taste her heated flesh.

Her desire called him, fueled his need, and surrounded him from head to foot in her essence. Inuyasha reveled in it. Fingers trailed over her skin, over the swell of her breasts to her collarbone. Claws tickled, raising goose-flesh in their wake, caressing the mark on her skin that made her his.

Her harsh intake of breath pleased him, played to his beast in ways that only heightened his passion, the demon within bleeding through his pores. Crimson flooded his vision, pooling over irises that watched his mate writhe beneath him, her response as primal as his. Her head was thrown back, her eyes closed, raven tresses tangled and spread over the pale sheets beneath her.

He delighted in her passion, took pride in the female that owned the beast within, both his own, and hers as well. He took her lips in a kiss that seared his soul, scorching her image and scent into his subconscious, and feeding the demon within with sight and sound, taste and smell.

Her fingers threaded into his hair, her tiny claws scraping over his scalp as she pulled him closer, her fangs nipping his mouth while she devoured his kiss. He could feel her breasts, their firmness crushed against his chest as she pressed closer still.

Kagome's legs cradled him, her feminine core wet and welcoming as she sought to ease the primal call to mate. Sliding down her body, Inuyasha followed the valley between her breasts, teeth nipping, lips kissing, and tongue laving those places in turn until her muffled cry of his name echoed off the walls.

His fingers trailed over her wetness, searching, teasing, and tracing the path to her opening. Replacing his fingers with the velvet heat of his body, he sank deep, biting back the growl that rumbled to life in his chest. He focused only on the way her body rippled around him, pulling him in as she called his name, moist heat wrapping around him as her body shivered inside and out.

He moved over her, inside her, their bodies dancing in time as she rocked beneath him. She stole kisses between moans, the husky tone of her voice calling him, begging him, declaring her love of him. And he answered in kind: whispers of her name, of his love, of his intense relief that she was his, through and through. He told her of his fear, and let his tears fall like rain over her skin as his fingers caressed the newly-healed wound on her shoulder.

She soothed those fears, even as she opened beneath him to accept his engorged length even deeper inside, wiping the wetness from his face as she kissed away the trail of his tears. She told him, over and over, that she'd never leave him, swore to be at his side until the end of time, and longer.

And when they reached that peak, that indescribable culmination of heart and soul, they claimed each other once more. Fangs sank deep in a reaffirmation of love, of devotion, and of a final declaration that their union was meant to be.


Has it really been nearly four years since the first chapter of this story was posted?

My goodness, lol. I never, ever expected this story to do so well, nor the nominations and support you all have so freely given me for it.

It was your continued support and encouragement that brought us this far, and I want to

Thank you ALL!

I am sad to see it end, but excited at the same time. Now I can start something new, and I dearly hope you all will follow me into whatever new ventures my warped little mind comes up with.

I am sorry it took so long to reach the conclusion, though.

As many of you know, my health issues and pain have worstened over the last few years. I still struggle daily, but your support of me as an author, and as a friend, has kept me trudging ahead.

And I will keep writing for as long as there are readers who want more from me, lol.

Many thanks to Snow for her beta skills, too, and for the friendship she has so freely given. And many, many thanks to all those who sent prayers out to me, and for those who continue to read and review despite my slow updates.

This chapter kicked my butt, first refusing to be written, then refusing to be posted until it was worthy of all those who have supported and reviewed it for so many years now.

I initially rushed to post something, but so many of you told me to take my time, that you would be there no matter how long the wait. And you all kept your promises, so I rewrote this chapter because I wanted it to be worthy of all the time you all have devoted to me in reading and reviewing no matter how long the wait...

I hope, really hope, that you all enjoyed this final chapter. And I would dearly love to hear from everyone who has supported it throughout the years, both in long-time readers, and in new ones.


Thank you again for making the writing of this story such a joy.

And thank you all again for your patience, and for your continued encouragement and prayers.