Complete the Circle

Chapter Forty-Eight: Complete the Circle

            He looked at it distastefully, and then glared back at his mother, refusing to do as she had told him to.

            "How hard is it to give this to a girl you like?" she asked, sighing as if he were hopeless.

            "I know what you're trying to do, and it ain't gonna work!" he shouted.

            "Why?" asked Rin, looking curiously at her brother. "Everyone knows you like Kagome, anyway."

            "Quiet, fool!" he shouted, getting angry. They had no right to butt into his business. He was going to go at his own pace, and no one was going to rush him into anything.

            "Inuyasha, just give it to Kagome," his mother said in a very motherly way. "It's her birthday, after all."

            "Why?" he asked suspiciously. "You keep on trying to make me give her this piece of crap. What's so special about it?"

            "How dare you call the family heirloom a 'piece of crap?'" his mother said in angry surprise. "I'll have you know that this hairpin has been around for more than a millennium, and has even been worn by the Great Empress Himiko herself!"

            "Who cares if an old hag wore it once upon a time?" Inuyasha said, holding the hairpin as if it were poison.

            "An old hag?! How dare you?!" his mother shouted in frustration. Both he and Rin had to cover their ears. His mother had sure recovered quickly in the past few days.

            "Inuyasha, you're taking this to school, and no more will be said about it!" she said, shoving the priceless hairpin in his pocket. For something supposedly so valuable, she sure is treating it rough, Inuyasha thought, as he stopped himself from taking the hairpin out.

            "If you try to take the hairpin out without giving it to Kagome, you are going to be very sorry," she said in a menacing voice. "I've put a little spell on it, and I dare you to try and disobey me." He gulped visibly, and he could tell by the expression on Rin's face that she was glad she wasn't in his position.

            "Now, off you two go to school," she said pleasantly, the previous atmosphere completely evaporated. "Don't forget to take your lunches." He quickly grabbed his lunch and made his way out. Whatever his mother had planned, he was going to have to follow it…for now.

            Kagome rushed through the house madly, grabbing her jacket and pulling it on while trying to wear her socks at the same time. She heard the bread pop out of the toaster as she quickly drank her orange juice, still struggling with one of her socks. She put the cup back on the table none too gently, and grabbed her backpack. I'm going to be late, I'm going to be late, she thought in a panic. Even her thoughts were rushed.

            "Mama, I'm going to go now!" she shouted, swinging the backpack on her back and grabbing a piece of toast. She threw the toast in her mouth as she hurried down the steps, struggling with her shoes.

            "Be careful!" her mother shouted as she started to walk down the steps.

            "Mmphf!" Kagome said, unable to respond with her mouth full. Suddenly, she tripped and fell down the steps of the shrine, dropping her backpack and losing her toast.

            "Kyaa!" she screamed, falling backwards. I'm going to die, she thought. Barely a week after we've destroyed Naraku, and I'm going to fall down the steps and break my neck. I survived youkai and the world of the Shikon no Tama, only to die at the steps of the family shrine. Kagome could feel the air move out under her, giving her no resistance to her coming tragedy. This is embarrassing, she thought. "Girl who survives Time Travel, Youkai, and Dream Worlds dies while trying to eat breakfast and wear her shoes at the same time." That would be an interesting headline.

            As she fell, she heard the sound of her backpack hitting against the hard concrete, and she knew that she was going to have the same fate. But just as she expected to fall and crack her head, she instead fell into something soft and warm, and that something seemed to say "ow!" followed by a string of cussing.

            "What do you think you're doing, Kagome?" Inuyasha demanded, rubbing his head where he had bumped it. "Learning how to fly?"

            "Very funny, Inuyasha," she said, trying to collect her wits and calm herself down. She was glad Inuyasha had been down there to break her fall.

            "Oh my!" said Miroku as he saw the pair on the ground. "Sango, don't look!"

            "Shut up, you pervert!" both Inuyasha and Kagome shouted angrily at Miroku. Kagome quickly got up and brushed herself off. Inuyasha did the same.

            "Sure, just try to cover it up," Miroku said in an annoying voice. "But I know the truth."

            "Sure, Miroku," Sango said, rolling her eyes. "Come on, Kagome-chan, Inuyasha. Shippou, Souta and Rin have already gone ahead of us."

            "Leave them be, Sango," Miroku said, starting to walk towards the school. "Just leave them be. I'm sure they want some more private time together. They probably—"

            He was never able to finish his sentence for quite a few people knocked out his senses in hopes of keeping him from further embarrassing himself with his rather…strange ideas.

            And so the merry trio and the unconscious pervert marched merrily to school, unaware that this was the start of a fateful day that would affect the rest of their lifetime, and perhaps beyond.

            Kagome sat in class, bored with what the math teacher was saying. She didn't even try to understand it anymore. All she was doing now was just to memorize the formula and memorize the method of solving the problem. If she really wanted to know the wonders of mathematics, she would just ask Inuyasha later.

            She stole a peek at him, and saw that he was dutifully taking notes, something that she should have been doing for the past minute. She started copying notes again. The everyday routine of homework and learning was boring after the recent events that she had experienced. She still couldn't believe that most people took the strange dark cloud that had filled the city and fouled everyone's personality to be a "freak storm caused by the strange meshing of warm air currents with cold air currents." What kind of lame explanation was that? Even a child wouldn't believe such bogus, but much to her chagrin, she found that most adults did believe it. She supposed that they believed only what they wanted to believe, and Kagome wondered why on earth did she ever bother making Shippou promise not to use his powers when the rest of the world seemed to dismiss such phenomenal occurrence to be a glitch with the weather.

            Kagome turned into a zombie and copied pages after pages of notes for each of her classes, until finally the lovely bell that signaled the end of the school day rang, and she was free for the rest of the weekend.

            "Kagome, are you going to go out with Musashino again this weekend?" asked her friends, following her as she walked out of the school.

            "I am not going out with him," she said. "We're just friends, okay?" She wondered why she and Inuyasha were still beating around the bush even though they had both basically declared their love for each other. Maybe I'm still not sure, she thought, but she knew that wasn't true. She was just waiting for something, but for what, she did not know.

            "Kagome-chan, we're going to the ice cream parlor. Are you coming?" asked Sango, walking next to Miroku and Inuyasha, who were currently making a very pointless discussion on how the color of gumballs affected people's intelligence.

            "Sure!" Kagome said. She turned to her friends. "You guys want to come?"

            "Oh no," one of them said.

            "Don't have the time," another said.

            "We don't want to be a third wheel in your little party," one of her friends winked. The three of them walked off, waving and wishing good luck to her. Kagome sighed and walked next to Sango.

            "I'm telling you, red makes people lose their brain cells," Inuyasha said.

            "I guess you would know, wouldn't you?" asked Miroku. "But I'm telling you, it's blue. There's something seriously wrong with that flavor, and it probably gives you brain damage, or something."

            "Brain damage?" asked Sango, not believing a word the boys were saying.

            "Yeah, right," said Inuyasha. "It is so not blue. If it was blue, then the green one would taste weird and give you brain damage, but that's obviously not true since we both decided that the green gumball is the one that makes people more intelligent."

            "What does that have to do with anything?" asked Miroku. "Blue is not green."

            "But green comes from blue, so you're definitely wrong," said Inuyasha stubbornly.

            "Is there a point to this conversation?" asked Kagome, wondering if both the boy's brains were damaged.

            "Of course there is," said Inuyasha.

            "We have to know which color is better so that we can avoid losing further brain cells in the future," Miroku said wisely.

            "You're both losing brain cells in this stupid conversation," said Sango, wondering how she ever became friends with these two idiots.

            "Hey, maybe yellow is the one that causes—" started Inuyasha.

            "Oh, that's right!" agreed Miroku.

            "That has to be it!" asserted Inuyasha.

            "Okay, it's decided," Miroku said. "Yellow it is."

            "What?" asked Kagome. Sango decided she didn't want to know. Kagome wondered what the yellow gumball caused. Intelligence or idiocy? But it was a mystery that she would never discover the answer to.

            "All right, we're here," Sango said, opening the door. She remembered this ice cream parlor from before. Last time they had come here, Inuyasha and Kagome had gotten into a fight. She hoped that this time, things were going to end differently.

            "You order it, Sango," Miroku said. "I want to discuss things with Inuyasha some more."

            "What flavors do you want?" she asked.

            "Who cares?" asked Inuyasha as he and Miroku got into a heated debate about how doughnuts affected brain waves.

            Sango came back with their ice cream, finding that the two were still discussing the same thing. She placed the ice cream in front of everyone and cleared her throat.

            "Inuyasha, don't you have something to give to Kagome?" she asked, starting to put into the motion the plan that she, Miroku, and a certain mystery person had concocted.

            "Oh yeah," Inuyasha said, reaching into his backpack. "Happy birthday, Kagome," he said as he handed her a wrapped gift.

            "Thank you," Kagome said, surprised that Inuyasha had gotten her something. She unwrapped the gift and found that it contained a tiny golden heart on a gold chain.

            "It's so pretty," Kagome breathed, smiling in thanks at Inuyasha.

            "Happy birthday, Kagome," Miroku and Sango said, each giving her their presents. She unwrapped Miroku's present and found it to be a small angel statuette made of crystal. She opened Sango's present last and saw that it was a heavy book about ancient Japan, particularly in the Sengoku Jidai, as well as a coupon for exterminations.

            "Got to advertise when you can," Sango said, joking. Kagome smiled.

            "Thanks, you guys," she said. "But you really didn't have to."

            "We know we didn't have to," Miroku said. "But we wanted to."

            "Why do people always say 'you didn't have to' when they get something?" Inuyasha asked in annoyance. "It's so obvious that we know we didn't have to, so why bother saying it?"

            "It makes you seem more polite," Sango said, starting on her ice cream.

            "Well, thanks anyway for these gifts," Kagome said, putting her presents back in their packaging so that they didn't get damaged in her backpack.

            "Inuyasha has one last thing to give you," Miroku said. He and Sango had it all planned out. They were going to take the gift that his mother had told him to give from his pocket and hand it to Kagome. They knew that giving that particular gift to someone basically meant that you were going to marry the person whom you were giving the gift to, but Miroku knew that, Sango knew that, and Inuyasha's mother knew that. The point of Sango and Miroku being there was to diplomatically inform Inuyasha of what they knew. Miroku grinned as he readied himself to reach into Inuyasha's pocket.

            "Yeah, I do," Inuyasha said, surprising Sango and Miroku. He reached into his pocket and took out the hairpin. "Here you go," he said, quickly handing it to Kagome so that she wouldn't see his hand shake in nervousness. Sango and Miroku exchanged looks, wondering what was going on.

            "Wow," Kagome said, looking at the pin. It was made from ebony, and was quite heavy, but the tiny carvings on the hard would were very beautiful and impressive to see, not to mention the jeweled decoration at one end, followed by a jade ornament and chain. The hairpin had taken a great deal of skill to make, and that wasn't lost on Kagome.

            "Inuyasha, do you know what you just did?" asked Miroku, still trying to follow his plan somewhat.

            "Maybe," Inuyasha said, looking down at the table, his cheeks flushing slightly.

            "Giving that gift to Kagome means that you're going to eventually marry her someday," Sango said. Kagome nearly dropped the gift.

            "What?" asked Kagome, her heart starting to beat faster, causing her to blush.

            "So what?" asked Inuyasha, annoyed.

            "You just gave it to Kagome," Miroku said, trying to get his friend to understand. "That means you just proposed to her."

            "I know that already," Inuyasha said in irritation. "And I already gave it to Kagome. Is there any question about it?"

            His three friends looked at him in surprise. Inuyasha had already known, and yet he had given it anyway. Did that mean he really…?

            "So how 'bout it, Kagome?" he asked in a gentler tone. "Would you accept this engagement?" Kagome smiled, and tried not to blush too hard.

            "I'll have to ask my mom," she said, knowing that they were both too young to start deciding these types of things on their own. But she already knew the answer.

            "Well, I'll eagerly await your reply," Inuyasha said, grinning. They both knew what it was going to be, anyway.

            "Okay, that was a colossal waste of time," Miroku said. "Sango and I worked so hard this morning to set up the situation to force Inuyasha to give it to you, only to find out that he planned on giving it to you anyway." He sighed.

            "Oh well, at least he proposed," Sango said, looking at Miroku funny.

            "Mm…" Miroku said, looking at Sango warily. He smiled in nervous innocence. "What?"

            "Nothing," Sango sighed, finishing the last of her ice cream.

            "What's wrong, Sango?" asked Inuyasha, eating his ice cream.

            "Nothing," Sango said, avoiding eye contact with Miroku.

            "Oi, Miroku," Inuyasha said, poking Miroku in the ribs. "Why don't you just give it to her already?"

            "Give her what?" asked Kagome. Miroku looked down at his knees, blushing furiously.

            "It's nothing," he said, putting a protective hand over his pocket so that Inuyasha wouldn't steal his little present.

            "Too late, Miroku," Inuyasha said, holding a box in his hands. "I jacked it from you this morning at PE."

            "What?!" asked Miroku, trying to reach for the box.

            "Yo, Sango, catch!" Inuyasha said, throwing it to Sango. She caught it easily, and looked at Miroku, wondering if he wanted her to open it.

            "Uh…" Miroku said, not quite sure what to say. "Would you please…?" He swallowed and began again in a calmer tone. "In times long past, I would complete the phrase with 'bear my child,' but seeing as this is a different time and circumstance," he said, getting down on one knee. "I'll say it like this: 'would you please marry me?'" he asked, taking the box from Sango's hand and opening it. Inside was a gold ring with a very strange jewel set in the middle.

            "Miroku…" Sango said, happy, and sad at the same time. "If Inuyasha hadn't thrown this box to me, you wouldn't have asked me?"

            "Of course I still would have!" Miroku said. "I just wanted to wait until the mood was right, but since Inuyasha already spoiled it, I thought that I might as well give it to you now."

            "Is that true?" asked Sango, looking at Miroku. He nodded, knowing that the real reason was that he had been too nervous and afraid to give it to her, but since she already knew what he wanted, he hoped that she would consent her hand to him.

            "And your answer is?" he asked, hoping that he wasn't rushing her. Sango hugged him tightly, almost crushing him.

            "Yes, yes, and forever, YES!" she said, laughing. Miroku relaxed and laughed along with her, happy that she had accepted.

            "Then this belongs to you," he said, slipping the ring onto her finger.

            "Why does the jewel look so strange?" asked Kagome, noticing the ring.

            "They're spells," Inuyasha said. "Miroku's been working on them ever since we came back."

            "What kind of spells?" asked Kagome, but Sango didn't seem to care.

            "Protection spells," Inuyasha said, seeing that Miroku and Sango were too lost in each other to pay any attention to he or Kagome. "Let's go, Kagome."

            "Okay," she said, slipping away from the two and heading out with Inuyasha. She knew that they were going to be happy for the rest of their lives.

            She walked next to Inuyasha, the afternoon sun warming her cool skin. She remembered how it had also been afternoon in the Sengoku Jidai when they had had their confrontation with Naraku in what seemed ages ago. She had lost so many of her friends then, and it was such irony to see the same glowing red orb in the sky on such a happy day. She moved a little closer to Inuyasha, careful not to bump him with her backpack.

            She could hardly believe that a year had passed since she had met Inuyasha. They were still in the same class by some stroke of miracle, and they were all alive, contrary to what many believed would happen to them. Sesshoumaru had changed from a seemingly uncaring older brother to one who deeply cared about his family. And Shippou and Souta were growing up, although she didn't like to admit it sometimes. She wanted to cling on to the past, but she knew that she couldn't, and wasn't sure if she completely wanted to. She enjoyed this new atmosphere she shared with Inuyasha, and she didn't want to ever let that go, even if it meant that it was time to move on to the future.

            "You know, Kagome, we've really completed the circle," Inuyasha said suddenly.

            "I know. The Shikon no Tama is complete and gone now," she replied, remembering how that world had disappeared like a dream.

            "Not only that," Inuyasha said. "But us, too."

            "What do you mean?" she asked.

            "I mean, we started out as friends," he said, remembering Kikyo, "Then we became enemies, and ended up being friends, tried to fight Naraku, but failed, met each other again and became friends again, but then we became enemies," he said, recalling how he had blamed Kagome back then, and how Naraku had switched bodies with him. "Then we became friends again, and fought Naraku again."

            "But this time we defeated him," Kagome said. "That means it's not a circle."

            "Fine. A spiral, then," Inuyasha said, remembering something about how a spiral was the path of every living thing.

            "If it's a spiral, then that means it'll never be complete," Kagome said.

            "Well, I think that it's pretty complete now," he said, looking at Kagome. She smiled and reached out for his hand.

            "Well, maybe you're right," she said, walking closer to him than before. He smiled. Only she could make him feel this way, only she could make him feel so warm and loved. He remembered how they had met in the beginning, and wondered how she ever managed to stick around him for so long. I wasn't exactly the nicest guy back then… But I guess that's Kagome. She'll give anyone a chance.

            He saw the shrine before him, and was reluctant to let Kagome go. I'm lucky to have met her and to have known her, he thought, watching her ascend the steps. And I hope that that luck will stay with me for the rest of my life.

            "See you later, Inuyasha," Kagome waved. He had a hard time seeing her. The afternoon sun shone behind her, illuminating her as if she were a goddess descending from the sky.

            "Bye," he said, waving back. Kagome will always be Kagome, no matter what, he thought, remembering the numerous things that had happened to her. And I don't want to change that. I hope that I can match her in her determination and kindness, but I guess she wouldn't really care about that. She just wants me to be me, whatever that may be, and I suppose that I want the same for her. For Kagome.

            My Kagome.

Author's Note: Thank you all so much for reading this story in its entirety, and many thanks to those of you who reviewed. Without them, I don't think this story would ever have been finished, so I give you my eternal gratitude.

I hope that this story has been enjoyable to you, and if any corrections are still needed, please do not hesitate to tell me.

Again, thanks for reading this little (or not) story. It means a lot to me. ^_^

I hope to see y'all later!