This is it, last chapter; the conclusion to a long and complicated story!

Epilogue: A Beginning

"Whatcha watchin'?" Kagome probed as she draped her arms around Sesshomaru's shoulders.

Looking up into her smiling face, Taisho reached up and snatched the lovely fledgling, pulling her over the back of the couch and into his lap in a giggling heap. Leaning down, he claimed her grinning mouth in a chaste kiss, murmuring against her lips as he withdrew, "The news."

Scooting off of him, Kagome focused on the television, frowning and giving a little grunt of displeasure. "More protestors?"

The streaming footage depicted a mob of angry, billboard wielding humans marching determinedly in front of The Institute of Medical Science – currently focusing on their study of reviver DNA, chanting their message to passersby.

"Why are we wasting our time trying to help these creatures? Their murderers, and they deserve to be treated as such!" a short woman with glasses sneered into the anchorman's microphone, shaking her sign as she spoke.

"Don't these people have jobs… or lives?" Kagome griped sourly, narrowing her eyes at the rotund woman on the TV screen.

Chuckling, Sesshomaru leaned over and nuzzled her temple, responding, "I doubt it. Likely a bunch of overly righteous, uppity housewives who'll look for any excuse to cause uproar."

Blowing a raspberry, Kagome muttered, "I wish they would give it a rest already. Would they rather we stayed in hiding, continuing to live as we had before?"

"Not everyone is as open-minded as you were," Taisho teased.

Pouting, Kagome crossed her arms and whined, "That's not fair; my circumstances were a lot different!"

"I know," he placated, bending his head to steal another kiss. When she turned her head away with a huff, he jabbed his fingers into her side, smirking in triumph when she squirmed and spluttered with laughter.

"No more!" she pleaded, swatting at his hands in a feeble counter-attack.

Retreating, Sesshomaru gave her a firm spank on the rear and settled back into his side of the couch, eyes fixing on the television once again.

Straightening her clothes, the young fledgling queried, "Any word on how the research is going?"

He shrugged. "It's coming along. No cure yet, though."

He noted her cheerless expression, reasoning, "You shouldn't be so negative, Kagome; you've changed a lot of lives for the better. We've come a long way since the signing of the no hostilities pact, and the number of human supporters has grown substantially. For now, we can continue living off their donations."

"I know we'll get by, but it would be nice to walk down the street without being glared at for once," she mumbled in response.

Placing an arm around her, Taisho responded, "Let them glare; most of them are completely harmless."

"What about all the anti-hematonist extremists? They killed a couple last week, y'know?"

"I know, and the authorities have dealt with them accordingly. Some people will always be afraid of the unknown, but in time, I think that most will come to see that we are not so different, and that coexisting peacefully is quite possible. For now, you still have your friends and your family. Isn't that all that matters?"

Smiling softly, Kagome responded, "Yeah, I suppose it is."

Glancing up at the clock, she noted the time and announced, "We should get going; we don't want to be late."

Deflating a little, Taisho grumbled, "Is it absolutely necessary that we go?"

She gave him a sound swat on the arm. "Yes, it is necessary. It's your brother's wedding!"

"I'm not sure if you recall, my dear, but my brother and I are not exactly 'pals'."

Gripping his wrist and hauling him up from the couch, she told him, "Give it up, Sesshomaru, you're not talking your way out of this. You and Inuyasha have come a long way. He made such a big effort to get along with you, and – if you don't recall – it's because of him that you and your father reconciled. That's a huge deal!"

"The boy only started making an effort to please his girlfriend."

"Why he did it doesn't matter, it's the fact that he did it that counts, so go easy on him."

Sesshomaru huffed as he pulled on his suit jacket. "I have refrained from insulting his intelligence, isn't that good enough?"

"You're so surly. How on earth did someone like you manage to attract someone like me?"

"Don't you know?" he asked with a mock serious expression as he reached out and captured her in his arms. "I used my hematonist powers of seduction to entrance you. You didn't stand a chance."

Tittering when he bent his head and nibbled her neck, she batted him away and straightened her dress. "Let's get going. You might be alright with the idea of being late to your brother's wedding, but I refuse to be late to mycousin's wedding."

Grabbing his tie from the back of the couch, she looped it around his neck and adjusted it to her liking, tucking the end under his suit jacket. Leading her reluctant partner into the foyer, she slipped into her heels and collected her purse from the coat closet, flashing him an encouraging smile as they headed out the door.

"You know where we're going?" he asked her as he slid into the car next to her, pulling the seatbelt strap across his shoulder.

She nodded, pulling a piece of folded paper from her purse. "I printed out a map, so we're set."

"Why they have to have their wedding out in the middle of nowhere is still beyond me," Sesshomaru muttered as he started the car and began down the driveway.

"Kikyo was very insistent about having the wedding outside, and I imagine they wouldn't want to have it too close to the city for privacy reasons."

"Why couldn't they just do it in a park?"

"She prefers the beauty of the wilderness; landscaped, manicured areas never held that much appeal to her," Kagome informed him with a shrug, glancing over at him with a little grin. "Are you still upset at your brother for quitting?"

Taisho glared at the little female next to him. "I assure you, I am not upset over it; the whelp can do as he pleases. I simply feel it was a poor decision on his behalf to refuse the promotion I offered him. He is giving up a great deal of money."

Kagome laughed lightly, pointing out, "It was his choice to make. Besides, he did it for Kikyo. He knows what he's giving up by leaving the city to go live in a small town; love makes you do all kinds of crazy things. Personally, I think it was very romantic of him."

He hummed at that last statement, slanting golden eyes toward the raven-haired fledgling to his right.

She sighed wistfully, commenting, "Everyone's married. Miroku and Sango, Kikyo and Inuyasha, Kouga and Ayame are next. Before you know it, Shippou and Rin will be getting engaged."

Sesshomaru lifted both brows, querying, "Is that supposed to be a hint?"

Blinking and pursing her lips, Kagome shook her head, insisting, "Of course not."

He grinned as silence fell over them, counting the seconds in his head.

"I don't like big, gaudy rings."

Chuckling under his breath at the mumbled utterance, Taisho glanced sideways at his lovely little journalist, noting with amusement the expression false disinterest on her face.

"Something simplistic will do, but nothing yellow gold. Oh, and a princess cut – preferably inlaid," she went on, eyes still focused intently out the front window.

"Anything else?"

Shaking her head, she responded, "Nope, I trust your judgment."

Leaning over with a devious grin, he placed a kiss on the side of her mouth, nipping her lower lip with a short growl. "Do you now?"

"Eyes on the road, mister!" she chastised, though he could see her struggling to withhold her enjoyment of the attention.

"Whatever you say, love."


So, there you have it. They finally get their happy ending! Of course there are a lot of obstacles to overcome when dealing with these things, but I'm sure they'll make out alright. Progress is usually a slow thing, after all.

I am aware that I could have put a lot more detail into the process of them gaining their freedom, and perhaps someday I will look over this again and add to it. For now, however, this is all she wrote. I could likely squeeze another two or three chapters on the end – talking about the struggles they face and all that – but right now I'm leaving it as it is. Review if you have any questions.

Thank you to everyone for reading!