"We've done it." The words were spoken in a lowered tone of disbelief. The light had just faded from the eyes of those gathered in the courtyard of what had once been a grand palace. Naraku was finally defeated, destroyed through the combined efforts of all those present. The words came from a certain lecherous monk who had ripped the prayer beads from his cursed hand and noted that the gaping wind-tunnel was now gone.

"We've done it!" This time, the words were spoken with more enthusiasm that could only come from Shippo, the young fox demon which traveled with the group, who bounced forward onto the shoulder of the young priestess who seemed to be in shock. "Kagome, did you hear? He's finally gone! We did it!" Ever the excitable one wasn't he?

Kagome slowly rose to her feet, staring at the two demons on either side of her who were both covered in their own blood, wielding their swords of ultimate power. Against all odds, Sesshomaru and InuYasha had put aside their differences momentarily to focus upon the one enemy that they all wanted destroyed. Kagome watched as the ever stoic-faced Sesshomaru sheathed his Bakusaiga and turned away from the group, paying little mind to his wounds as he departed the battlefield without so much as a glance over his shoulder. It was then that the miko's attention shifted to the hanyou to whom she had, years ago, given her heart. "Inu…Yasha?" Kagome moved towards him, placing a hand on his shoulder as he surveyed the large crater where Naraku had formerly been standing.

InuYasha straightened, sheathing the mighty Tetsusaiga and snorted. "Heh, that was for Kikyou," he whispered softly, closing his eyes in remembrance of the once all-powerful priestess whom he had fallen in love with. After a moment, he turned his attention back to Kagome as she lifted the jewel shards from the crater and placed all the remaining shards back together to their original glory. "Hey, Kagome! What are you gonna wish for?" he demanded, moving towards the girl along with the rest of their friends.

Kagome watched as the Shikon jewel in her grasp suddenly became whole again, finally, after three years, their quest was finally complete. She clutched the jewel to her chest and looked up at all of the friends she'd made over the years. Shippo, the adorable fox demon that they rescued from the Thunder brothers, he was perched on the shoulder of Sango, the demon slayer who had been forced to witness the destruction of her entire family and village. Beside Sango was Miroku, gripping his staff and looking as if he'd love nothing more than to fondle Sango's backside. Her eyes next fell to Koga of the wolf demon tribe, who had come with them to battle Kagura, the woman who had destroyed so many members of his pack. And finally, there was InuYasha.

InuYasha was the love of her life, the one person that she really and truly had always come back for. She rose to her feet, approaching her friends before looking down at the jewel in her hand. "I wish for the kami to do as they see fit," she stated clearly, watching the jewel glow in her grasp. The light grew so bright that all present were forced to avert their gazes, and when the light died down, finally, the Shikon no Tama was finally gone. Then, as Kagome looked back to the friends of her faces, there was only one that she had any time for, and she fell into the arms of the white-haired hanyou to whom she had promised herself.

Lifting Kagome bridal style, InuYasha leaned his head down enough to press his lips to her forehead. "Let's go, Kagome," he replied softly and with a single look towards the rest of their friends, he turned and ran, carrying Kagome with such ease that the little miko would have sworn that they were flying. When they stopped, after what felt like hours to Kagome, the light in the sky was already fading, and they were in their favorite spot. The place where InuYasha had vowed to make Kagome his Mate once their mission was complete. This place, a clearing on the edge of a series of hot springs, was where they had pledged their undying love for one another. Kagome let InuYasha place her on the edge of the rocks surrounding the hot springs, a faint blush to her cheeks as she looked to the ground, suddenly feeling exceptionally bashful. She wasn't sure why.

At 18 years of age, surely she should be past blushing like a 12 year old girl. She was a grown woman! Bringing her lower lip into her mouth between her teeth, she slowly looked up to see that InuYasha stood with his back to her. She rose slowly, gently placing a hand on his shoulder. "InuYasha?" Kagome watched as he turned to face her. "What are you thinking about?"

A faint smile graced his lips. "You, of course," he stated softly, reaching up to gently cup her cheek. His claws lightly scraped across her skin, not daring to break the soft and creamy flesh as he leaned in for a kiss. As their lips met, his hand moved to her neck, the other wrapping lightly around her waist to pull their forms together. He felt Kagome's arms circle around his neck as he slowly pulled away from the kiss, looking down at her. "Are you ready for this, Kagome? You know that this is forever, don't you?" he asked, watching her carefully, his smile returning only when Kagome nodded.

'Excellent,' his inner beast growled, rising to the surface as InuYasha pressed another kiss to her lips. His eyes closed, though they were already beginning to bleed bright red, his claws lengthening even as he held Kagome close. He pulled away, trailing kisses down her throat, nipping the junction between shoulder and neck that would soon bear his Mark for all eternity. He could hardly wait, and in his haste to claim her as his own, finally, he heard the faint sound of ripping fabric.

"InuYasha, slow down a little," Kagome said with a bit of laughter in her voice. After all, these were the only clothes she had! And she didn't fancy walking around with huge holes in her clothes after tonight, how embarrassing would that be?

"I can't…" InuYasha's voice was guttural, almost a growl. "I need you now, Kikyou." More sounds of ripping fabric and the cool breeze of the wind on delicate white skin.

"InuYasha! What did you just call me?" Kagome demanded, hands moving to InuYasha's shoulders to attempt to push him away. Her attempts were for naught, after all, InuYasha was considerably stronger than her. "InuYasha! Stop!" His grip on her arms was starting to hurt, and suddenly, she was so very cold. InuYasha had made short work of her shirt and her short skirt had been hiked up quite a lot. "InuYasha! No!" But the demon within him would not comply. Then, there was even more pain to go with her newly forming bruises. His nails really were quite long as they grabbed her legs. By now, she was panicing, and all she could think of was getting InuYasha off of her.

(MEANWHILE)

Blood. The scent of blood in the air. Sesshomaru walked silently through the night away from the battle scene where he had exacted his revenge. Tonight, of all nights, he should not be surprised by the scent of blood on the wind, but this blood, it was familiar. He flashed back to the last time he had smelled this particular scent of blood, in a battle nearly a year ago. Kagome was bleeding, she had taken a hit to the arm and though she was injured, she moved around to help villagers who had been injured in the crossfire. It had been then when he'd realized that perhaps he had been wrong about this human. She had a strength and loyalty that rivaled that of any full-fledged demon.

Kagome had not been physically injured in the fight against Naraku, though her purifying arrow had provided himself and InuYasha the perfect path to follow to destroy him. Which could only mean one thing: someone else was hurting Kagome. Instead of wasting valuable energy to fly, he simply began to run in the direction the wind was carrying Kagome's scent from. It wasn't long before the sound of her screams met his keen ears, and what he heard made him see red. So his brother had decided to claim her this night, only it seemed like she wasn't all that keen on the idea. Entering into the clearing, the scent of Kagome's blood filling his nostrils, her screams ringing in his ears, he hoisted InuYasha from the fragile human girl, hurling him into the rocks surrounding the hot springs.

"Usually, when a female tells you to stop, it indicates that she does not wish to continue the actions which you are pursuing," he stated softly. He turned to face the girl on the ground whose clothes were torn into tatters as she tried to cover herself up with the scraps of cloth which remained. He held out his hand to her to help her up before his ears caught the sound of InuYasha's approach. He turned to face the male, raising his hand to strike when he was beaten to the attack by a simple word.

"SIT!"

Sesshomaru watched as his brother was forced to the ground roughly, tilting his head as he slowly lowered his hand and straightened himself.

"Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, SIT!" Kagome yelled, tears in her eyes as she forced InuYasha to the ground over and over again. She slowly rose, ignoring the beads of blood rolling down her legs and arms from the scratches inflicted upon her by InuYasha. She held what remained of her shirt to her chest in an attempt to keep her front covered. She looked up into the eyes of her rescuer, blushing furiously, even as she continued to cry silently. "I'm sorry, Sesshomaru, you should not have to see me like this."

Sesshomaru turned to fully face Kagome, reaching down to grip her chin as her gaze had drifted back to the ground. "Little miko. You avert your gaze to no one. Do not apologize for the actions of a worthless scrap of meat." He raised his own chin, looking down at her slightly. "This Sesshomaru apologizes for the actions of one who shares his blood. He has disgraced our father and his own mother by his actions tonight. This Sesshomaru requests that you allow yourself to be taken elsewhere so that you might clean up and acquire fresh clothing." He held out his hand to the female, watching her carefully with cold eyes.

Kagome slowly looked at the hand Sesshomaru had offered and then slowly raised her gaze up to his gaze. She straightened slightly, using all her will power to keep her voice from cracking. "Yes, please." She reached out, taking his hand, and then they were flying.