Disclaimer: The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Author's Note: Alright guys! This is the final chapter! I'd like to thank all my readers and reviewers! The journey has been absolutely wonderful! Please feel free to tell me your thoughts! Enjoy!

The Black Dog

"Intuitive Reward"

Chapter Eight - Epilogue

Colors of pink, violet, and orange painted the morning sky. The sun appeared as a globe blocking the baby blue mass. Sparrows chirped in the surrounding trees. A zephyr permeated the calm air. It teased Kagome's onyx fur. Playfully, her long tail swished side to side. Nature's beauty never left the future. Hidden on the grounds of the Higurashi shrine, the oxygen was unpolluted, grass soft beneath her paws, and the holy power of the gods whispering delights in her pointed ears. She was right about leaving the past. The kamis gifted her with an intuition the miko still didn't quite understand. Kagome admitted regrets lay on the other side of the well but peace belonged to her.

There was an empty space within her heart. The figure she could be with Tsuki. Without the holy instrument she could never feel true love's embrace. Her mind wandered frequently to the western lord. The memory of his lips latched onto hers. Sesshomaru's length embedded into her innocent folds. He gave her more than any other. A piece of him for her sacrifice, the tai-youkai rescued her from insanity. Deep down, she liked to believe she did the same for him. The icy barrier she chipped with annoying persistence. Whether he found lust in her human-dog form or momentary companionship, she thanked every god. He was a strong creature, stronger than she.

Kagome spent over a year debating trivial details. She reran what could have happened and what did. The pain from Inuyasha's hatred faded long ago. At first, the miko thought he'd travel through time with the sword. Guilt always rid his conscience after they fought, but this time was different. The scars each held ran deep. She knew he forgave her as she did him. Tsuki, however, was the price. It was an unspoken item she dared not retrieve. For betrayal and the death of his love, he took her human identity. Could she truly blame him? Kagome didn't agree with his actions. She would have never traveled his path, but she understood. The miko was no longer human. Hiding beneath the veil of Totosai's magic wouldn't change that fact. She killed and slept with his enemy. In a way, Inuyasha and she carried the same fate. Both pained for near identical situations. No, the priestess could not blame him.

It was this realization that kept her family clueless of her true person. Souta found her deep within the well barking. He couldn't lift her. Their mother called the fire station for service. When they pulled her out of the abyss with a plastic sling, her sweet brother begged to keep her. Mother burrowed her eyebrows for but a moment. The pleading look in the teenager's face broke her. Kagome swore to honor them as a guardian. An enormous dog she was but holy. The only speculation was the outdoors were her home. It didn't bother the miko. Years of resting under the stars felt more comfortable than being pinned in the kitchen. Only Souta snuck her indoors occasionally. He'd feed her human treats knowing how she detested dry dog food. The large bowl would sit for days without being touched. Kagome took it upon herself to hunt on the shrine's grounds.

Twice a week, Souta took her on walks outside the shrine. He had purchased a spiked collar a week within her appearance. Police passed shady looks in their direction frequently. After all, the miko appeared more wolf than dog. Her height on four legs reached Souta's hips. People stepped aside on the sidewalks scared she'd attack. Kagome boosted her brother's ego immensely. No one owned a dog like she and never would. This is how he named her, Hitori. Alone, she was the most unique creature on these foul smelling streets.

These walks opened the miko's senses to other things as well. Crippled by human senses, Kagome never realized how many youkai actually existed in her time. They hid behind mortal masks. She always glanced at Souta remembering Naraku's illusionary act. Looking back, the priestess realized how foolish she had been. Deep in the dark forests, she chased her magical brother without hesitation. Her love and excitement clouded her intelligence. It was for the better though, no more needless death or destruction. Her idiocy saved thousands of lives. However, she knew the hidden dangers surrounding this era. Her family would never fall victim.

It was fall now. Her brother attended school. The walks extended only for weekends. Her mother let her inside the house more during this period. She felt guilt for leaving her alone. Kagome lavished her with attention. She obeyed annoying commands like sit, lie, or speak. The sorrow her mom held deep her brown eyes would always vanish momentarily. To the miko, it was worth it. At nights, she could hear the elder woman crying inside the house. She'd whisper "Kagome" into her pillow. It was nights like those she almost broke. Once, her canine howl roared into the night. Every dog in Tokyo could hear "I love you Mom." Too bad, her mother didn't understand canine.

Kagome stretched her limbs on the patio. Her sharp claws dug into the wood. A yawn escaped her furry muzzle. White razors peaked behind pink gums. Souta was running inside the house. His socked feet slid across the polished surface. He was running late. The miko heard a clunk as his sat on the wooden steps putting on his sneakers. She rose from her cozy spot and looked at the door. Three, two, and one... "Good morning, Hitori!" His large hand scratched her forehead. "I'd pet you some more but I got to get school! See you in a little while!" With that, her gangly brother ran down the shrine's steps to the bustling street. A doggish smile spread across her jaws. God she remembered running around town trying to get school before the bell rang.

Up and awake, her padded feet exited the porch. A long sprint sounded good. She needed to stretch her long legs. Visitors would approach soon. It was hard to run wild with patrons viewing the holy monuments and forestry. Kagome had scared one too many children. A pink collar didn't detract her fearful appearance. Grandpa insisted she was harmless. The priestess tried to the best of her ability to look tame. One couldn't walk right up to people like she had with Rin. They shared a knowing relationship. If only all children were as brave as that little girl.

Flying through the greenery, Kagome placed her thoughts aside. She enjoyed the fresh scent of dew hugging leaves. The trees hovered over her like protective parents. Over the years, the wilderness changed little. The miko recognized each sapling from centuries before. It warmed her heart that the shrine kept history alive. A piece of her loving past could be found in the ancient maples and jutting rocks. Every natural piece kept her alive. Knowing they lived hundreds of years rooted in the same place speaking not a word challenged her. How much longer could she push down the human piece within her? It was okay in the thick of Inuyasha's forest to be a dog. Kagome dreamed of two legs and a human voice, but the old world made her choice righteous.

When the sun fully raised high into the sky, the miko returned. People began to flood through the gates. The house rested on a secluded side of the grounds. It was the only area she couldn't disturb anyone. Grandpa and Mother would be their guides leaving her alone. The delicious burn in her muscles kept her sated. She strolled past the porch and sprawled out into the lush grass. Playfully, Kagome rolled onto her back and rubbed the sweet smell into her fur. Her pink tongue lopped out of her mouth and her tail wagged. At least her family didn't live in an apartment downtown. Oh, the misery.

A powerful aura interrupted her play. The canine priestess's body jumped. Her four legs found the earth and dug into the soil. She felt her body lean forward. The demon in question remained unseen but close. Her brown eyes latched into its direction. A youkai hadn't dared test her. Even under the guise as a dog, the tainted Shikon no Tama radiated energy. The petrified looks given off the street proved it. Without her fang, she couldn't hide it. At first she thought her lack of skill would put her family in danger. Kagome figured if the jewel was pure this would have been the case, but its darkness scared even the most trying. Her wolfish appearance with holy powers also kept demons puzzled. After all, what kind of animal has god given affinities?

The intruder revealed himself gracefully floating from the sky. Clad in an expensive business suit and carrying a large leather case, he landed softly. His colorings were unrecognizable. He had long black hair falling loosely to his waist. What little skin showed was kissed by the sun. His face was familiarly handsome set with a pair of light golden eyes. The demon stared at her with recognition. His face was a mask devoid of emotion. Kagome felt no danger from him which was odd. His aura screamed regality. The priestess eased herself out of her stance and whiffed the air. His scent smelled of the earth. Its beautiful flavor soothed her nose. The smell was unmistakable, Sesshomaru.

She didn't know what actions to take. If he was here, it'd been over five hundred years for him. The appearance the tai-youkai chose was common. He wore the hues of a traditional Japanese man but the godly facial structure of a demon. The vanity of his station remained clear in his designer apparel and stoic expression. Sesshomaru stepped towards her slowly. His leather shoes strode quietly. It was like he was ghost. Kagome made no movement. She waited patiently. Her eyes blinked once to see if he was truly real. His vision remained the same. He stopped only when he was foot from her. The miko's large head lifted upwards to stare him directly in the eyes.

Moments passed. The priestess saw his eyes flicker with unrecognizable emotion. He took a knee. Their heads level with each other. Sesshomaru analyzed her. He took in her chocolate eyes, wet nose, and shiny hair. Kagome felt a childish desire to lick his face. His movements stopped her. He pulled the case between them. With two flicks, the lid opened revealing Tsuki. Her blade gleamed. Centuries hadn't touched her. The leather was still a vibrant purple, the moons etched beautifully in the blade, and the holster unscathed from wear. The miko turned her attention back to the lord. He waited five centuries to return his fang to her. Inuyasha confessed her secret. The hanyou returned the fang to its original owner. She knew he had forgiven her.

Sesshomaru's false human hands pulled Tsuki from its home. He held it out to her so that she might take it. Kagome stepped back. Her ears pressed down onto her head. The same look crossed his eyes. The emotion seemed tried and sad. It appeared unnatural on his handsome face. Never had the miko seen such an expression on him. A low whined fell from her lips, "I can't."

The demon lord continued to extend the sword. "Miko, I must see you one last time in your other form." His words were gentle. He demanded nothing. It was a foreign request, a plea. Kagome melted. She could never say no to him. Even in the trials of seduction, the canine priestess gave into him. He was the only creature that broke her resolve. Hadn't she left the feudal era to rid herself partly of his hold? Her eyes looked down at the blade once more. The western lord waited centuries to return his gift. He deserved one last transformation.

Kagome inched towards Tsuki and grasped it within her jaws. The morphing instantly began. Her fur disappeared. The contortion of her body twisted into human limbs. Her muzzle flattened into her exotic face. The only similar part that stayed was her doe eyes. She took Tsuki from her lips rising to her feet. Sesshomaru followed suit. Her naked skin tanned darker than their previous meeting. The toned muscles of her form were more distinct. Days of further training made her more individualized. The look on his face told her she looked even more inhuman. She felt so.

A comfortable silence spread between them. The sad expression in his eyes spread to his entire face. It was the first time she'd ever seen him lose control. The mask lifted. Kagome raised her calloused hand to his face and struck his cheek. She didn't want the emotion to disappear. It was gift, an open vulnerability. Yes, the miko had seen lustful passion but this was different. It was a look shared between distance lovers. Kagome had given this look to him before, the night they made love for the last time. She opened her heart knowing the pain. Her dog reflection mirrored it as well.

Sesshomaru leaned into her touch. His eyes never closed. Flecks of molten gold rose to his irises' surface. His forehead rested on hers. The heat from his body coursed through hers. Slowly, his lips descended. He kissed her gently. It was a tender touch. The softness of his lips grazed hers slightly. Kagome returned the embrace. The inu lord lingered near her mouth when it ended. The miko could taste his breath. He wrapped an arm around her back and pressed her into another. This kiss more passionate. His tongue slid into her mouth and caressed hers. It wasn't a battle for power but of need.

Kagome broke away hesitantly. Fear gripped her. She could not travel backward. The miko could not deny her desires. She wanted him more than ever but it'd only break her further. Accepting the path she took meant ridding herself of this pain. Sesshomaru would never love her. He missed her touch probably but that wasn't enough. The love of her dear brother was all she could hope for. She had decidedly dedicated her life to their protection. The tai-youkai could not whisk her away for his lust. He cared not about feelings. Sesshomaru never had. Of course, he protected her. The canine in him took some responsibility for her because she executed Naraku, but that was all.

"You belong to me, Miko. Come with me," he whispered. His voice fully expressed anguish.

"I can't Sesshomaru," her voice wavered. "I've never truly belonged to you. How can you come here? You've never wanted me as pack, a friend, or love. I cannot uproot myself from my family for your carnal desires. It's taken me sometime to finally accept this choice. Please don't make me go through this again. I can't bear it."

Lord Sesshomaru shook his head. He closed the distance she created. Kagome could feel tears collecting within her eyes. Why, she thought. Why can't he just let me be?

"Kagome, you are wrong. You became my pack when you carelessly cuddled me into Totosai's cave. The touches of our canine forms created a bond forever unbreakable. The old youkai knew and so did I." He paused smiling softly. The first tear rolled down her cheek. He instantly swiped it away. "You became a friend to this Sesshomaru when you killed that offending demon during our hunt. Your valiant protection and kiss crossed a boundary I could not recognize." The miko shook her head. Sesshomaru gripped her chin holding her still. "Love, Kagome, was returned when you disappeared. This Sesshomaru does not deny the physical attractions held first, but when you left-I lost myself. You, little miko, became a piece of me. I tested my distances in the past. The feelings were new. I did not enjoy them. To feel weak around you confused me. Only after decades of contemplation and you plaguing my thoughts, I realized the endearing emotion for what it was, love."

Raging tears broke loose. Like a leaking faucet, her face was stained. Kagome pulled the demon lord into a tight embrace squeezing Tsuki. She wept openly onto his shoulder. All her broken heartbreak emptied onto his silk jacket. His strong hand massaged circles on her lower back. The words she thought she'd never hear. Sesshomaru left his heart open for her to bear. The sadness he carried was for the centuries without her. He feared rejection. The same he bestowed upon her a year ago. Her intuitive push to return gave her everything she wanted: her family, her dual identity, and the demon she loved. With him she would never have to hide. Their histories weaved from the same cloth.

"You belong to this Sesshomaru," he repeated.

Kagome nodded into his chest. He loosened his grip and knelt down. The miko took the time clear her face. Sesshomaru pulled out the holster and wrapped it around her naked waist. Kagome sheaved Tsuki in its leather holder. With her hands free she embraced the inu youkai once more. He snapped the case shut. His arms took strong hold of her. A white-lavender cloud constructed beneath them. Their bodies soon flew into the noon sky. Together, they latched on one another fearful the other would disappear. Fate truly was a boundless, impossible thing.