A/N: Thank you to the following reviewers: ScarletCamellia, Taraah36, blackdame, butterfly here i come, xxdarienchibaloverxx, and HeatherLee. I had one reviewer tell me that she thought I was going to leave it as a cliff hanger. I'd ask if you all thought I'd be that cruel but I remembered that I have done that in the past. No, this epilogue wraps things up nicely and flows into the prologue of "Family Reunion." The prologue of that story will be up later today. Probably most of you will be able to read both one right after the other, depending on where you live as opposed to me. New stories do take 4-8 hours to appear in the public listing but an author alert should get around that. Unless I'm very much mistaken. I hope you all have enjoyed this story and go on to read the fifth and final in the series.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Rumiko Takahashi et al.

The Nekomata Guardian


Kagome stared at the ceiling of the bed she shared with her husband and mate, thinking of all that had happened since stepping through that portal only hours ago. Inuyasha dosed beside her, happy to be away from the faeries who had been a constant nuisance since he arrived in the faerie realm. Apparently it wasn't only human females who liked dog ears. "Is it me, or did Shippou's true form get bigger?"

"It's your memory, wench. Can we go to sleep now?"

"When do you think we'll be able to go see Mama and the others?"

"Two years, you know that. Your mother knows we'll come see when we can."

"But what if she thinks something happened to us because we didn't come home right away?"

"She knows Kirara would have told her, koiishi. Just go to sleep and in the morning we'll begin our new life. Soon you'll be able to see that trio of school friends of yours too."

"Yes, I wonder how they are."

"No doubt they're fine. Kagome, please go to sleep. Sesshoumaru has threatened me with a mound of paperwork and a week straight in the office. I can't rest unless you do."

Kagome turned and laid her head on his chest. A clawed hand gently stroked her hair. "You've always been like that." Closing her eyes, the miko went to do as he asked when another thought occurred to her. "Who was that nekomata with Kirara?"

"Arashi, her mate."

"Kirara has a mate?"

"What, you didn't think that she gave birth to those kittens without help did you? Nekomatas are different from normal youkai but not that different." Unable to help himself, Inuyasha chuckled. "You can be such a ditz."

"Watch it dog boy, I can still make you sit." Her beloved knight just kept laughing.

In another wing of the estate Kirara listened to Inuyasha's laughter and felt tears burn in her eyes. Arashi sat up on his elbow, studying her face. "What's wrong, koneko?"

"Do you hear that laughter? That is the reason I stayed so close to this clan all these years. To be here the day I heard that carefree laughter." Turning her head, Kirara allowed him to kiss the tears rolling down her cheeks. "There is no sweeter sound to me than that laughter. It tells me that after every sorrow, there is joy."

"You are the best nekomata guardian in history," Arashi soothed. "It is because you loved kittens not your own that the Inutaisho's sons were able to prosper and take their rightful place in youkai society."

"I will always love them, and I will always be their nekomata guardian."