AN: Oh man. It really has been a while, hasn't it? All my rambles will take place at the end so look for that if you're interested :)

Bitter or Sweet?

Disclaimer: nothing has changed

Chapter 28: Bitter and Sweet

Let me riddle you a ditty, it's just an itty bitty, little thing on my mind.
About a boy and a girl, trying to take on the world one kiss at a time.
Now the funny thing about, ain't a story without it, but the story is mine.
And I wish you could say, that it ended just fine.

We all want to know, how it ends.

~He Is We: Happily Ever After


Putting down the last of my boxes, I finally collapse onto the hard, wooden floor.

Moving is an absolute pain, one that I don't plan on going through again anytime soon. Though, looking around the place that was, no matter how small, all mine, I don't feel any regret; this was the best choice for me. At least, for now.

"I should probably start unpacking..." Curling into a ball, I contemplate between being responsible, proper, and start arranging all the furniture and boxes in a respectable manner or just sprawling on the sofa and sleeping the day away. "Maybe I can call Sango, Ayame, and Rin to help me sort everything out."

I turn my head toward the door.

Then again, it might be more convenient to ask one of my new neighbors for help. They are right next door, after all.

So, with three short knocks, I rock back and forth on the heels of my feet, waiting for someone to open up. When it finally does, I'm met with a fierce scowl. Upon seeing who it is behind the door, however, it eases into a warm grin.

"Well, well. Who are you?"

"Um. I just moved in next door. My name's Kagome, nice too meet you." I stick out a hand.

He cocks his head to the side and studies me carefully. When he leans forward to place his mouth at my ear, I stiffen. "That's too cold," he complains in a low voice, and putting one hand at my elbow, yanks me forward.

Lips entangling with mine, he presses me back against his wall, one hand slamming the space beside my head and the other on my waist. On cue, I raise my arms and lace my fingers behind his neck, feeling the warm heat of his pulse beat into my palm in a rhythm so steady, so comforting, that I can't bite back the sigh that escapes my mouth. I've missed this.

Using the opening presented to him, the sneaky bastard slips his tongue in to twist and wrestle with mine.

I adjust my weight so that I'm leaning heavily on him before jumping up to wrap my legs around his hips. I feel his hands playing and tugging my now-long hair from its messy ponytail, curtaining our faces from the rest of the world. And in that perfect moment, it's just us. Just two people who love each other. As simple as that.

With a smile that tugs on the corner of my lips, I bite down lightly on his lower lip, and he yips. "Ow!"

Laughing, I pull back. "Okay, enough. I moved in today- I don't plan on getting kicked out on the same day for causing a public disturbance. We should at least have the decency to close the door."

"Oh, come on. Nobody can even tell us to get a room, 'cause we are in one. Besides, once school starts up, we'll both be too busy to do much of... that. Unfortunately." He brushes his thumb along my temple. "Then again, I suppose we could always just make time."

I hop down and jab him jokingly in the arm. "Oh, I see. So you're going to be so stressed about getting into med school to give me the time of day, huh? It's a hard life." With a melodramatically exaggerated moan, I wave my arms around. "What am I going to do with myself? Back at home, my mother's back in cooking school, my baby brother is too wrapped up in soccer to play with me, Gramps is more in love with the shrine than anything else... Then there's our friends... all off doing great things in universities far away from mine..."

Inuyasha snorts. "Sorry to crash your self-pity-party, but Sango, Miroku, and the rest of them are only an hour away if we take the subway which, considering, is not that bad. Plus, you have me here to eat the disgusting cafeteria food or cram for finals with. That's a pretty good deal."

I smile. "Yep, you're right. Life is good. I just wish I knew where I was going, like you."

He pats my head. "Being an undecided major is not a bad thing; it gives you plenty of time to weigh and consider your many, many options. Besides, I have you to thank for giving my life direction, really. I recall you telling me that if I actually applied myself, with my brain, I could do great things. More or less your words from when you were my tutor."

"I'm sure one of these days, I'll find something that I'm good at and like doing. And when I do, the world better watch out."

"Damn straight," he agrees.

"And I know that we can see our friends pretty much whenever we want, but... I do wish I could be there beside them as we grow into college students. Plus, I want to know the details of what is going on in their love lives. I believe Ayame was actually giggling when we talked on the phone yesterday. She says she, "finally found a Best Opposite-Sex Friend, a BOSF or whatever that is, who also happens to be her lover." I'm kind of worried about Miroku's perverted tendencies though... I mean, it's a new school, new pool of hot girls... And I'm no longer there to be the mediator who makes sure they don't kill each other. "

Inuyasha clears his throat. "I don't think you need to be too concerned with them."

My brows furrow. "Why?" When he doesn't answer me, my eyes narrow, voice dropping a few dangerous notches. "Inuyasha..." I warn. He's keeping something from me.

"He bought a ring."

A few seconds tick by as I try to process this.


"God, I swear, you cannot tell Sango, alright? Miroku will cut off my balls and head- in that order- if he finds out I told you. For the sake of their future happiness, don't do it. Resist the temptation, Kagome. Resist."

I shriek breathlessly and grab his hands, jumping up and down like a little kid in a candy store. "Holy crap, it's finally going to happen! After years and years of tumultuous dating, he finally decided she's the one! Does that mean I'm going to be a bridesmaid? Or even- maid of honor?! And, oh my goodness, there's so much to plan-"

Inuyasha scratches his head wearily. "Don't get too excited. Even if he does pop the question, the actual wedding isn't going to happen anytime soon. Miroku told me that he's going to propose that they wait until their finish their college degrees before actively settling down. Which is probably a good idea since he now has a ridiculously expensive diamond he needs to slowly pay back on top of his student loans."

My smile is so big that is threatens to tear my face. "I'm so, so happy for them. They deserve it."

He nods. "I'm with you there. Oh- I know we have dinner plans but there's somewhere I'd like to take you before that."

I raise a brow. "Really? Where?"

Inuyasha smirks, and the familiar image still manages to make my heart skip a beat. I wonder if that'll ever stop. "I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya."

The moment I step out of the car, the smell of salt fills my nostrils and I know immediately where we are.

"You brought me to the ocean?" I whisper.

He silently comes to my side. "I know it's been hard for you to face large bodies of water since your dad died... You told me so that night when you were outrageously drunk and puked in my car. When I found out you had joined the swim team, I was so proud of you but I just couldn't tell you at the time because I didn't feel like it was my place. So I'm telling you now."

My breathing hitches as I look out into the vast blue water. I didn't even realize my hands were trembling until Inuyasha holds them in his and waits for them to calm down.

As he smoothes my disheveled hair behind my ear, he smiles a smile for me that is so warm I can't help but cry.

Inuyasha takes me into his arms, just like the night of prom, and lets me soak up the sleeve of his shirt. "He's proud of you, too. You've come so far, and it's because he's been watching you, helping you, all this time. You know that right? He'd hadn't ever left."

And I do know. "I think the reason I've made it this far is because of my guardian angel," I admit, laughing. Because finally, finally, finally things are good. Great, even.

I'm exactly where I ought to be and happiness is, at last, in my reach.

"Come on," Inuyasha says, leading me back to the car. "We have to meet Sesshomaru and Rin at the restaurant by six. Mom's expecting us as eight."

I grasp onto his hand tightly, never to let go. "Is Kikyo coming today? I was hoping she'd bring Naraku along so that we could smother him with thanks for his amazing work. He saved Izayoi's life."

"Don't worry about it; I'll make time sometime this week to go meet him and thank him personally. I owe him way too much for my liking but it's the least I can do. And no- When I texted her earlier, she said she was going out to supper... with Bankotsu. Kind of out of the blue."

My jaw drops slightly. That was not what I was expecting. "No way."

He shrugs. "I've seen weirder things happen. Who knows- each of them might be just what the other one needs. The world works in strange ways."

We would understand this best.

Once we're back on the road I take a sip of the coffee sitting in his cup holder. Bitter. I should've known he takes his coffee black.

Inuyasha sees me shudder in the corner of his eye and tosses me the apple he'd been snacking on (while driving, which is not commendable).

I smile as the fruit juices fill my mouth and counteract- yet, at the same time, mingle- with the lingering hints of coffee. Sweet.



Thank you to all the readers who have kept up with this story. Your endless support has always been a great inspiration. As always, thank you to Daichi for beta-ing all these chapters; you've been a great help.

The epilogue was something of a challenge to write because for the longest time, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to end Bitter or Sweet. I hope this sufficed.

On an entirely separate note, I've been working on a new project that I'm going to be uploading very, very soon, so subscribe to my page so that you can read it as soon as it goes up. (Pst, it's *school* related)

I adore you all very much, and I hope all your summers have been magical :)