-Disclaimer: InuYasha is the property of Rumiko Takahashi


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-This entry in Three Years is dedicated to my dear, dear, long suffering Beta Crimsonangel23 with all my wishes for an extremely Happy (and profitable) Birthday! Thanks for putting up with the angst, delays, typos and dreadful grammar mistakes including my ever frequent YOU'RE YOUR THEIR THERE THEY'RE sccrewing-upedness.

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-Nee-chan=Sister

Chan, Sama= Honorifics (kind of like our Mr. Mrs. Ms.)


Three Years

Reunions


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Kagome gasped, her eyes huge as the tiny speck of blue appeared in the bottom of the bone eaters well.

"Kagome?" Mrs. Higurashi pushed the door open and Kagome turned to her.

"Mama..." She whispered, then turned back to the well where the speck was growing steadily larger.

"Mama...the well..." Kagome pointed "Look..."

Mrs. Higurashi stepped to the side of the well and looked down. She couldn't say she was surprised, after all, it had been just the day before that the man in white had appeared to her. She had known this was coming, she just didn't expect it so soon.

In the distance Sota loudly announced his arrival home.

"Sota!" Mrs. Higurashi yelled as he passed the shrine. The door slid open and he poked his head through. "Quickly, in the hall, go get Kagome's bag."

"Kagome's bag?" He questioned

"Hurry Sota" His mother urged "We might not have much time."

The boy ran off, his face replaced moments later by Grandfather.

"What's all this commotion?" He asked, his wrinkled face worried.

"The time has come." Mrs. Higurashi smiled and put her hand on Kagome's face. "It's time for Kagome to go and live the life she wishes to live."

"Mama!" Kagome threw herself into her mothers arms "I want to go...I want to so much...but, what about you?"

Mrs. Higurashi remembered the words of the stranger from the day before.

"I can promise you Higurashi-san, even if you let go of her now, you will see Kagome again. I can not tell you when, or where, but, she will return to you."

"You've stayed here for three years Kagome. You finished school for grandpa and I... now, it's time for you to begin the life YOU want." She smiled and cupped Kagome's cheeks in her hands "I want you to be happy Kagome. Even if that means losing you for a while."

"Oh Mama!" Kagome threw her arms around her mothers neck as Sota burst through the door. The shrine was now engulfed in the bright blue light of the bone eaters well.

"Kagome!" Sota yelled as he ran into the shrine and stopped in front of the others "You're going back aren't you? Back to InuYasha."

Kagome let go of her mother and turned to her little brother.

"I am." She wiped the tears from her face and pulled Sota into her arms "Thank you Sota...if not for you, I would have lost my hope a long time ago."

"I'll miss you nee-chan!" Sota hugged Kagome tightly "I'll miss you so much!"

He kissed her cheek as she pulled back. "Tell InuYasha 'hi' for me okay?"

Kagome ruffled his hair as she took the backpack "I will."

Grandpa stood with his hands on the side of the well, staring down into the blue light, his body shaking.

"Gramps?" Kagome slung the bag over her shoulder and put her hand on his back "Are you..."

He nodded and then turned to her with a small smile, even as tears poured down his face. "This is what is best for you dear. As sad as it is for me to say goodbye, only this can make you truly happy. And, like your mother, I only wish for your happiness."

Kagome wrapped him in a tight hug for a moment then he pushed her away. "You better go now." he nodded encouragingly "You've been waiting for this for a long time...it would be a shame to miss your opportunity because you dillydallied."

Kagome nodded and turned to her mother one last time.

"Mama..." She fell against her mothers chest a final time. "Thank you...thank you for understanding."

"After all this time...after watching you suffer these past three years...how could I not understand? You don't belong to this world anymore Kagome. You belong with the one you love, you belong with InuYasha." Mrs. Higurashi stepped back and cupped Kagome's cheeks in her hands again. "Be happy my Kagome."

She kissed Kagome's cheeks and then stepped away. She watched with a full heart as Kagome stepped up on the side of the well and turned back, giving them a final wave.

And then, she jumped into the sea of bright blue light. The light dimmed and then went out completely.

The Bone Eaters Well was silent once again.


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"InuYasha..." Miroku began "I think tomorrow we should return to the village on the other side of the river."

"What for?" InuYasha looked at Miroku suspiciously.

"I believe I sense a strong demonic aura still lingering around it."

InuYasha rolled his eyes "Strong demonic aura my ass."

"Miroku!" Shippo yelled as he shook his head "You just want to scam them for more rice!"

"Really Miroku!" Sango shook her head "I thought you'd changed your ways."

"Well my dear wife." Miroku grinned and scooped his daughters up from the ground, one in each arm. "We DO have three children to support."

"That's no excuse!" InuYasha gave Miroku and extremely dirty look "The village has harvested more than enough to get us through the winter!"

"Girls..." Miroku smiled at his daughters "Go play with Uncle InuYasha while Papa helps mama." He set them down, one on each of InuYasha's shoulders.

InuYasha's heart swelled as their giggles filled the air around his head, enjoying himself as he tickled the bottoms of their feet...

...then, they went for the ears.

"Miroku..." he grumbled "Do something about the twins."

"Not the ears kids." Miroku admonished softly as he pinned a diaper to the clothes line

Sango looked at InuYasha apologetically as she bent over her basket of laundry "Sorry Inuyasha."

"You're a toy!" Shippo snickered

InuYasha gave him a look then scooped the girls off his shoulder and plopped them atop Shippo "Go slay the kitsune."

"SLAY SLAY!" The girls cheered as they gleefully attacked Shippo

"Hey!" Shippo yelled in indignation. 'slay indeed!' "What's this all of a sudden?"

But InuYasha was no longer listening. The wind had shifted and his nose began to tickle, picking up a faint scent from the direction of the forest. He jumped to his feet, his eyes fixed on something in the distance.

"InuYasha?" Sango asked "Are you..."

But he was gone before the words were completed. The scent grew stronger the deeper he ran into the forest...a scent that made his heart hammer and his spirit leap with joy.

It was HER scent!

Even as he ran toward the well, her scent growing stronger and stronger, his mind cautioned him to be careful. To not get his hopes up. He had followed her scent once before, nearly two years earlier, and all it had lead to was her old broken down bicycle, left in ruins in the same place where it had been destroyed.

But the old bicycle hadn't smelled like this. It was unmistakably Kagome...yet her scent had changed subtly, matured.

He stopped at the beginning of the clearing, glaring over the top of the bone eaters well, afraid to take another step closer. Then his ears picked up a rustling coming from inside. Someone was trying to climb up the vines. His mind screamed...

'Kagome!!!'

Was it really her? Had Kagome somehow returned to him? After all the moons that had passed...all the times he had nearly lost his hope...after all the pain he had suffered over the last three years...

'Kagome!!!'

InuYasha ran to the side of the well and stuck his arm inside. Warm fingers wrapped around his own and InuYasha nearly sobbed out in happiness. He would have recognized that touch anywhere...it was...

'KAGOME!!!!!'

He pulled and slowly her face emerged, the fall of dark bangs, then soft brown eyes and at last, soft pink lips over a stubborn, determined chin.

His eyes locked onto hers as he pulled her the rest of the way from the well until she stood on the side ...Kagome...somehow, his best friend, his koishii, his Kagome...had returned to him...at last

"InuYasha...I'm sorry..." Her voice was even sweeter than he had remembered. Matured with time, yet still so beautiful. "Were you waiting...?"

"Kagome..." His heart soared, rearing up from his stomach and taking flight. He bit hard into the side of his mouth, afraid that this was once again one of the many dreams he'd had over the past three years and InuYasha was afraid ...afraid that once again the light of day would take her from him. He tasted the blood, tangy and bitter in his mouth...and he knew. This was no dream...this was Kagome...his Kagome...restored to him at last.

He pulled her into his arms and said the first thing that came to mind. "You idiot...what have you been doing?"

Tight in his arms, Kagome's body shook with gentle laughter. InuYasha...he was still so eloquent. But then,...only InuYasha could greet her with an insult, and still sound so precious...so loving.

"Ka...!" Shippo's voice filled the air, and then Sango...

"Kagome-chan!"

"Miroku-sama! Sango-chan! Shippo-chan!" Kagome felt like she could have fainted from pure happiness. "I'm back..."

She was back...back in the place where she belonged. Once again she was embraced by the people she had dreamed of seeing again for so long.


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That night the village held a feast in honor of their returned miko. They danced until the stars rode high in the sky and they had exhausted half of their stores of Saki. InuYasha found himself once again frustrated. It just wasn't fair. Of all of them, he had missed Kagome the most...yet every time he had tried to steal a moment alone with her they were interrupted.

It wasn't until nearly dawn, as the first pink streaks of light appeared on the horizon that he pulled her away from the village to sit under the branches of the sacred tree...their beloved Goshinboku.

"They suit you." InuYasha smiled as he put his arm around her "The miko robes."

Upon returning to the village Kagome had cast off her modern clothes in favor of the traditional miko clothing she had discovered tucked into the bottom of her backpack.

"Are you sure?" she asked nervously "It's okay...I mean...I don't remind you too much of Kikyo when I wear them?"

"No." He shook his head and pulled her closer. "I stopped seeing Kikyo in you a long, long time ago. The clothes you wear don't really matter to me. I'm just..." he stopped, not trusting his voice any longer.

Kagome had never been one to let him off the hook and she wasn't about to start now.

"Just what?"

He smiled, his cheeks turning adorably pink "I'm just so happy that you've returned."

"I am too." Kagome smiled up at him, her eyes sparkling with tears. "I never wanted to leave you. The last three years, Inuyasha...they've been like living in hell for me."

She sighed and relaxed against him. "I wondered the whole time, how is InuYasha? Is InuYasha happy?"

InuYasha laughed "I'm sure you thought of the others too."

"Of course I did!" Kagome grinned "I missed them all so much! Kaede and Shippo ...and Miroku and Sango...I tried to search, to see what happened to them, but, I couldn't find them. It made me so sad."

She stopped and took a deep breath "But the one I missed the most, the one who I missed so much it broke my heart...was always you."

InuYasha pulled her completely into his arms, his hands gently stroking her soft hair...the hair he had missed so much and dreamed about.

"It was the same for me." He confessed "I missed you so much Kagome, at times, I couldn't breathe because it hurt so much."

Kagome pulled back slight to look into his eyes "Really?"

"What do you mean 'really'? InuYasha's voice was irritated "What did you think I was doing here, all alone without you?"

"But, you never were alone InuYasha!" Kagome protested "The others...Miroku and Sango...Kaede and Shippo...they were here with you."

"And you had your family with you, and those annoying giggling friends of yours...and that...that homo bastard." he looked at her "Right?"

"Hojo" She corrected with a roll of her eyes "Well, yes, of course...but..."

"But?" he crossed his arms into his sleeves.

"They could never replace you InuYasha!" She yelled, a fresh batch of tears rolled down her face as she threw herself into his arms and held on as if for dear life. "Because...BECAUSE I LOVE YOU INUYASHA!"

"So what makes you think..." he said softly against her hair "...that it was any different for me?"

"What do you mean?" She asked, her voice confused.

"Kagome." he pulled away from her "Did you ever finish school?"

"What?" Her eyebrows knitted together in confusion

"Did you ever finish high school?" he drew it out like she was slow or something "Did you ever gratulate."

"You mean graduate, and yes I did." She said smugly, his tone nettling her "In the top ten in my class I'll have you know. But, what has that got to do..."

"Then how can you still be so fucking stupid?" he grinned

"Who are you calling stupid?" She pulled away from him, definitely feeling a return of the irritation he had always brought out in her "You...you dough head!"

InuYasha began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. He laughed so hard he nearly rolled off the roots they sat on.

"What's so damned funny?" Kagome crossed her arms over her chest

"You." he sobered down into his familiar, cocky, smirk "You're just still so CUTE when you get mad!"

"I hardly think it's 'cute' to call someone fucking stupid." she glared "Especially when that someone has spent the last three years miserable without you."

"You're right." InuYasha tried, and failed, to wipe the smirk off his face "But...you are. Stupid I mean."

Kagome opened her mouth to argue but InuYasha silenced her with a finger on her lips.

"You're stupid Kagome, because you seem to think it was easy for me to be without you all this time. You're stupid because even after I as much as said it, you still don't see the truth."

"InuYasha...?"

"You said you were miserable without me, because you love me. Well, I was miserable too...and why do you think that was?"

Kagome looked up at him, her eyes growing damp again as a lump the size of a garbage truck lodged in her throat, cutting off her ability to speak.

InuYasha smiled and took her face in his hands. "I swore that when you returned to me, I would tell you something that I should have told you a long time before you were taken away from me."

His eyes were more intense than she had ever seen them. More than the night Kikyo died, more than when they had fought the final battle with Naraku, more than when he found her in hell. Even more intense than they had been when their eyes first met that afternoon as he pulled her out of the well.

"I swore that, when you returned..." he closed his eyes and rested his forehead against hers"...I would tell you...that...I love you."

"Oh InuYasha..." Kagome felt the flood of tears break from her eyes. She reached her hands around him and held him tight. "Hearing you say that...it makes it all okay now. All the sadness and pain I felt these past three years...it's all better now, because I know now...I wasn't alone all that time. You were sad with me. You hurt with me. The whole time we were apart we were still joined by our desire to be together again...because...because we loved each other."

"Love each other." he corrected "We love each other. And now, we can both move on."

Kagome looked at him and smiled "Together."

InuYasha smiled back at her and wiped her tears away. "Together."

Then, as the spectacular sunrise broke over the Sengoku Jidai, he lowered his lips to hers and for the first time ever...

...InuYasha kissed her.


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Epilogue


Kagome


Now that I am a hanyou, I cringe when I think of all the little body sounds that InuYasha was always so easy to pick up on. No wonder he always knew when I was hungry, or tired. He could hear my stomach, softly growling and my soft sighs of exhaustion. But I can't complain too much, the sounds made it so he always took such good care of me. And...the hearing of a hanyou came in awfully handy when our six children, two girls and four boys were small.

InuYasha's been teasing me lately, saying that now that the last has left the nest it is time to begin on a new batch of pups. I keep telling him I'll let him know, though of course, I would be proud to bear him another six, or twelve, or whatever the fates decide we need. Thanks to Midoriko we have plenty of time.

It wasn't long after my return that she came to us. She told us that the time apart had been nescisary, so that we could truly know our hearts before making the choice we would soon have to make. For, in gratitude for destroying the Shikon no Tama and setting her soul free, she offered us the chance for me to become like InuYasha, a InuYokai hanyou. We took it of course, with the provision that we wouldn't interfere with my history. At the time, it seemed like such an easy promise to make.

It's been horrible at times. I wanted so badly to warn my grandmother of the cancer that was eating her up in side, and even more, to stop my father from boarding the train to Osaka that would lead to his death.

But, even as hard as all that was...the last three years have been the hardest. It's torn InuYasha up, watching past me in such sadness over the bone eaters well closing. I found him more than once, sitting outside my old bedroom window in the middle of the night...listening to me cry while tears poured down his own face. I too wanted to go to my past self, to encourage myself to never give up hope...but then I remembered, I didn't have to. Sesshomaru would do it for me.

I worried at first, his resemblance to InuYasha is obvious...even with the silver fangs we wear that hide our true yokai forms. But then I remembered that neither Sota nor Mama ever mentioned a visitor that looked like InuYasha, so, it must have been okay.

Today, I watched myself go to the well for the very last time. InuYasha and I sat in Goshinboku, watching as the familiar blue light filled the shrine, our words of farewell drifting out on the wind...and I heard every word thanks to the miracle that is InuYokai hearing. My heart broke as I watched Mama, Sota and gramps...their arms linked together, walk into the house as fat tears rolled down their faces.

Once they were inside, InuYasha and I jumped from the tree. At last, it was okay for us to go to them. To tell them of everything that had happened over the past five hundred years. Our reunion was so happy...worth the years we had to stay away. Our children will be coming this weekend...returning from the places around the world that they have spread out to, and soon, they will meet their uncle, great grandfather, and grandmother.

We will all be together...at last.


InuYasha


I use to think that the three years Kagome and I were apart was the worst time in my life.

I was wrong.

The worst, was when the years brought us to her time naturally and I had to watch her suffer for three years, unable to go to her and bring her comfort.

I hated every minute of it, knowing that Kagome was hurting and it was because of me. But, when Midoriko gave us her blessing and allowed Kagome to become an InuYokai hanyou like me...thus matching our lifetimes, we'd had to make a promise...that we would never interfere with Kagome's history, because, even the simplest change could cause incredible chaos.

I guess some would say we cheated. But I don't think that is technically true, since Sesshomaru made the decision to go to Sota and Mama Higurashi on his own. Over the years the two have become almost insanely close...it's sickening to watch at times to be honest, like a big brother with his little sister...always arguing one minute, the next attempting to hug the stuffing out of one another. Some years ago, Kagome got Sesshomaru addicted to chocolate...now we can't even get into his house without giving him and his wife a Hershey's bar.

It's kind of sick really.

But still, even with our large family at her side, even with Sesshomaru, her best friend in the world supporting her... It's been hard on Kagome, having to stay away from her family, having to watch from afar as things happened that she wished more than anything she could change.

But it was the price we had known from the beginning that we had to pay to be together.

As I watch Kagome sleeping next to me, the moonlight shining on her silvery hair, I know that it was all worth it. Those three years were like a test, proving to the fates how much Kagome and I loved each other and belonged together.

You can see it when we look at each other, when you look at our children. Kagome and I have a love that can not be broken. Not by Naraku, not by distance, not even by time.

So even though it hurt so much to be apart from her, it was worth it.

Because in the end, when you look at the big picture....

...Three years wasn't such a horrible price to pay in exchange for forever.


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Hope you've enjoyed this ending...I had to inject the little chocolate bit because it was my very favorite thing from my most popular story of all time "The Search"

I know I strayed fairly far from canon while dreaming up my epilogue...but, thats why they call it "Creative License" right? LOL I had considered a sequel, but, decided at the last minute not to do it. I'm feeling more and more lead these days to leave fanfiction behind and start my own projects. Whether I actually will or not...eh...who knows. I have a bunch of projects to finish, and I am considering picking up my story Dr. Miko again. I'd really like to finish all my stories that are on Hiatus.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed and loved "Three Years."

InuPuppy Wuvs and Kisses!

CJ


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