They had forgotten to close the blinds last night, Kagome thought as she stretched out on the massive bed. The pre-dawn light was beginning to filter in, soft purples and yellows just giving enough light to the room so she could see things, not that it mattered much. Over the last year she had learned to manoeuvre her way around his bedroom without tripping over obstacles in the dark. Sesshoumaru was not messy or disorganized in the least, and though he had his quirks, such as hanging his coat over a chair in the main room, everything in his apartment still had a place.

She had disrupted his routine for a while when she left home and made the decision to live with him. She was not disorganized, but her organizational skills differed from his. There were days when she thought the things they fought over were going to tear them apart. Even last night he was displeased with finding week-old leftovers in his fridge. She had made the meal as a surprise to him, a new recipe that didn't turn out to be so great. He had eaten it quietly, more so to humour her, but she had forgotten to throw out what was left. For a dog, he was incredibly pristine, more than she, who happened to be human.

The battle between them had been one of epic proportions and she found it odd that he would get mad over something so small. Both of them had stormed off in opposite directions of the apartment to do their own work. He had business he needed to work on; she had an essay due in two days. Somehow, despite their fight, she had been able to focus her attention on the task at hand. And come bedtime, it was as if the two of them hadn't had an altercation at all.

His body was just as warm as it always was, his lips just as inviting, and she found herself reaching for the hair she didn't realize she had missed until he grew it back again. She had grown so used to his short, shaggy hair that she had forgotten what it was like long. Last night it acted like a silk shield as it was draped over her. It only added to the intimacy.

Pressing her lips to his bare shoulders, Kagome smiled as his arms wrapped themselves tightly around her, preventing her from leaving the bed.

"I have to use the washroom," she whispered, brushing the long silver locks away from his face. Hooded, sleep-filled golden eyes stared at her for a moment. "I promise I'll come straight back," she continued as he reluctantly let her go.

Her thoughts were scattered this morning. She had finished her paper after midnight last night and Sesshoumaru would look at it later. Neither she nor he had anywhere they needed to be today. It was Saturday and both were determined to take a day for themselves. It was two years to the day since they had first met, just over a year since they first became truly intimate with each other. While they had worked through their pasts together, they had both agreed that this was a day that should be for them.

"Good morning," she murmured as she crawled into bed next to him again, curling into his warmth. This was the best part of the day as far as she was concerned, the minutes before either of them had to move to start their day. "No work," she sighed with a smile, confirming what she already knew.

"No work," he agreed, his hand lifting to fall on her back, stroking the soft skin there. She melted beneath his touch, a sign of great trust. Once upon a time she had dreamed of his brother touching her like this, and then she had learned to shy away from men who would think of touching her in such a matter. Now she found sanctuary in it. His claws didn't scare her like they once had. The fact that they had once tried to kill her didn't faze her anymore. In the beginning she had flinched when she saw his poison at work, well aware of the pain it could cause as well as the damage. But he had not turned them on her since that first day in his father's grave.

"More," she demanded, hoping he'd take the hint and put more pressure on his touch, massage away the sore spots and kinks from being bent over a desk for the bulk of an evening. She was already feeling rejuvenated from the previous night's events after lights out. He responded with ease, pulling her over him and finding the spot on the nape of the neck that would cause the most trouble. He smelled all male, she thought in bliss as her face was pressed against his shoulder. He never bothered to hide himself, something she was thankful for. He no longer smelled of the Earth like he used to, but it was something close. "I've talked my mother out of coming to visit today," she told him, pressing into him further.

"Good."

"I don't want to see her today," she admitted. Her relationship with her family had been strained since she informed them of her desire to move in with Sesshoumaru. Neither wanted to marry. It was a ridiculous to even consider binding her life to his or vice versa. She wasn't even sure if she loved him, or if he loved her, at least in the way that she believed love should be. But she did feel as if she were a part of him, and he a part of her. Somehow, since they had found each other again, she had managed to become an extension of himself, and she was thankful for this.

Nobody in the world, not even her mother who witnessed her darkest moments, understood her like Sesshoumaru. That was a feat in and of itself.

"Your plans?" he asked, in reference to what she would do instead of sit with her mother. He understood her reluctance to see the woman. It was unheard of for a shrine maiden to live with an unmarried man.

"Lie in bed all day," she teased, moving her hands up to play with his ears. She loved his ears. So different from Inuyasha's, but just as fascinating. She could feel his body vibrate beneath hers as she rubbed them.

"Keep it up..." he warned and she grinned. They weren't nearly as soft as Inuyasha's, or as cute, but they had their perks as well. Much like a dog, Sesshoumaru could often be found groaning and kicking his feet when she touched them. He despised it, she loved it. He didn't seem as untouchable when he was like this. Still, she dropped them and lay her head down next to him instead.

"My mother is waiting for a wedding," she finally admitted, opening up to what was really bothering her as of late. "She's not happy with this arrangement."

"And you?"

"Marriage is pointless, don't you think? People fall in and out of love every day. Inuyasha loved two women and it made Kikyou bitter and myself miserable. Marriage would have only complicated it, being tied to one woman while still wanting the other."

"And you think I'm like Inuyasha?" There was no anger in his voice, no malice. He understood her better than that, just as she understood him. They were devoted to each other, comfortable with each other. Happy even. He wouldn't contemplate another woman while he was with her, just as she hadn't thought of being with another man since meeting up with him almost two years ago.

"You know better," she replied, swatting him. "I just don't know why we have to complicate things. I'm happy. For the first time since I returned, I'm truly happy, maybe for the first time since I first fell into the well."

"It would merely be a signature on a piece of paper," he argued, playing devil's advocate. "It would take all of ten minutes to arrange and two minutes to finalize." His words were enticing, if that was what she were looking for. It would certainly satisfy her mother. She had never wanted her mother to suffer for her actions. She had suffered enough standing by all of those years, knowing the dangers she faced fighting by Inuyasha's side. It would be something Kagome never wanted her own daughter to face...if she had one. But then she would be bound to Sesshoumaru, just as he would be bound to her. There would be no choice if one of them chose to leave. There would really be no choice if they remained together. The piece of paper would take away free-choice.

"You need to change perspectives on this," he argued as he continued to stroke her back. "We're already together. I know you have no intentions of walking away. You are not the type of girl to 'flit' from male to male. It took you years to get over Inuyasha. If one of us wanted to walk away, we could still do so, no repercussions."

"Except the stigma of divorce," she replied bitterly. Still, he was beginning to make sense. If anybody could keep it quiet and free of ill intent, it would be Sesshoumaru.

"Divorce is not an option for you and I. You think now that it could happen, but if it could, then neither of us would be here right now. We go beyond what a piece of paper could offer. You're already bonded to me, just as I'm bonded to you. We don't need marriage to stay together. I'd sooner not have to deal with the details that come with a marriage, but in the end it's a formality, and if it makes eases your strained relationship with your family, why not?"

They were silent for a few minutes and while she thought initially that it might have been uncomfortable given their topic of conversation, it turned out to be more contemplative than anything else. Sesshoumaru didn't strike her as a man, or youkai, who would propose marriage so easily, and years ago she would have accepted heartily. When had she changed and become so jaded? When did romance die? It wasn't all that long ago when she sat around with her friends gushing about boys. She had her own stories of Inuyasha to tell, ones that made him out to be more like Prince Charming than the confused boy that he really was. While her friends' accusations were technically true, she had felt the need to defend him. Was it to defend him or justify her feelings? While she used to blame her pain on Inuyasha and his inability to choose, it was, in fact, her fault. She didn't move forward when she should have. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. There was no way for him to ever have chosen without there being pain that followed. Even if he chose her, he would still be drawn to Kikyou and vice versa.

But with Sesshoumaru, it was an entirely different story. And he was right; he would remain committed to her. He just had to say so and she believed him. Not once had he lied to her, nor had he ever tried to cover up the truth. She reached over across his chest and grabbed his arm, entwining her fingers with his, and lay there a minute staring at them. His were pale against hers, his fingers long and slender, yet they seemed to fit. Even the claws seemed to fit as he carefully made sure they didn't harm her. He always made sure.

It would be a leap of faith, she thought. She hadn't taken one of those in years. Maybe it was time to do so again.

"My mother would want to see more than a signature on a mere sheet of paper."

He chuckled beneath her. So much had changed. Neither of them were the same anymore, and it was okay. They worked well together, they understood each other. Whatever they ended up doing would be okay too. He was right, in the end it was merely a signature on a piece of paper. They were already bonded.

"What do you want?" Sesshoumaru asked, pulling her so she lay atop of him. His amber eyes intensified and for a moment, they looked like they could read her soul.

"You," she replied, gazing back at him. "Just you."

END

AN

Thanks for sticking around. The story was written for Dokuga_contest's Six Course Challenge, which required it to follow 6 different prompts in the order they were presented. This is the sixth and final chapter, following the prompt: Dessert – Melting sweetness, finishing touch. A big thanks goes to Wiccan for her beta work on this. I don't say it enough, but she's awesome.