A/N: Oi, I know, I know. Much regret with the lateness of this chapter. But here it is finally, the conclusion to this lil' fic. Hope you all like it and don't beat me for ending the story so soon.


**CHAPTER 4**


Inu-Yasha woke to bright sunlight in his eyes and the warmth of soft breathing against his chest. Looking down, he saw a dark head of hair nestled in the crook of his arm and Inu-Yasha stared in shock at Kagome's sleeping form. His free hand was wrapped around her waist of it's own accord and the hanyou's mouth dropped open.

"What did I do?!" he asked aloud, sniffing at the girl's neck. He roamed his nose behind her ear and took in his own stronger scent as well as her own. Inu-Yasha could smell himself on her but not *in* her and breathed a sigh of relief. "At least I did not lose control completely," he whispered, grateful that his heat had not made him unconsciously do more.

Kagome stirred at the sound of his voice and snuggled closer, clutching at the folds of his robe involuntarily. She smiled in her sleep and Inu-Yasha's heart sped up as her lips brushed against his skin.

The hanyou knew he ought to rouse the girl at his side and apologize profusely, but he couldn't seem to move the arm draped over her hips, or the one supporting her head. The heat that had tormented him since yesterday was sated for the moment and Inu-Yasha closed his eyes, resting his cheek against hers.

"I wish I could tell you," he whispered softly into Kagome's ear, grazing her hair with a tentative claw. "Tell you that you are my match," he tilted his head and gently kissed her closed eyelids with a tenderness he never would have shown if she'd been awake.

The girl stirred again and Inu-Yasha quickly lifted his head, afraid she had heard him.

"Kagome?" he asked tentatively.

"Mine...." She mumbled in sleep, sliding one hand up inside his robe to his chest. Inu-Yasha blushed to his ears as her fingers roamed down his waist and rested on the small of his back. "Hmmmm," she murmured and nuzzled closer, wrapping her legs around one of his.

Inu-Yasha looked down at the compromising position her shift had just made and swallowed hard, trying to remember again that she was not his mate and any overt actions could ruin their friendship forever.

The feel of her thighs though was starting to make Inu-Yasha's self-control slip and the hanyou urgently shook Kagome's shoulders, desperate to wake her up.

"Wha--? What is it?" Kagome's eyes opened reluctantly and she looked up at him in confusion. "What's wrong?"

"Look at us!" Inu-Yasha exclaimed, his cheeks burning red.

Kagome's eyes widened as she saw the suggestive contours of their bodies pressed together and memories of last night flew back in a rush.

They stared at each other, speechless. Before they found any words, the sound of footsteps broke the silence and stopped just behind them. A man cleared his throat meaningfully and Inu-Yasha and Kagome craned their necks back to see Sango and Miroku wearing amused smiles.

"Uh... this really isn't what it looks like---" Inu-Yasha began, untangling his arms from around the girl at his side and Kagome nodded.

"Save it, we know," Miroku winked and Sango gave a wide grin.

"We just stopped by to say good morning," Sango looked down at her best friend and pulled on the monk's sleeve. "And I guess we'll be going. It looks like you guys are busy with other things."

"Hey Inu-Yasha," Miroku whispered, darting a glance to Kagome. "You'll give me the details later right?"

"Come on, let's leave them alone," Sango dragged the monk away, giving a little wave back as they disappeared into the trees.

"Hey! It was just Inu-Yasha's heat!" Kagome called after them. "He came onto me and--" Kagome released the hanyou's leg from between hers and tried sitting up, but he pushed her back down.

"Wait a minute. It wasn't all me. Notice your arm up my robes?" Inu-Yasha reached in and pulled out a thin hand with a raised eyebrow.

"Well I was asleep, I couldn't help it!"

"Same here!"

"Yeah, well..." Kagome's turned red. "At least when I did it I didn't make you feel like second-rate leftovers!" She burst out angrily. "You were thinking about Kikyo when you were holding me and I was just the warm body that was around," the girl frowned and stared down at her lap, unable to meet Inu-Yasha's gaze.

"Is that what you think?" Inu-Yasha asked in a soft voice, staring at Kagome's bent head.

"I *heard* you. You said 'mine' when you held me and I know you meant Kikyo," Kagome sniffled despite herself and wiped away the wetness gathering in her eyes.

"How do you know?"

"I just do. Yesterday you talked about how your match has never been within your reach and how youkai are only meant for one other being. You fell in love with Kikyo 50 years ago. She's your soulmate,"

"You're wrong," Inu-Yasha said, shaking his head. "Yes, I *did* love Kikyo a long time ago, but she's not the woman I'm supposed to be with forever." He took up her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. "You are, Kagome."

Kagome blinked in surprise and raised her face, meeting Inu-Yasha's gaze with disbelief.

"What?"

"You're the only one I've been thinking about and I can't get you off my mind. You're my match," Inu-Yasha managed a small smile, despite the fact that he couldn't feel the lower half of his body. He had just bared his soul.

"But Kikyo---" Kagome stopped when she saw the intensity of Inu-Yasha's gaze. His hand moved from hers to cup her face and a low rumble started up from his throat.

"I love you Kagome," Inu-Yasha said gruffly. "And I want to spend the rest of my life with you." He leaned forward and put his mouth over hers, closing his eyes and losing himself to the taste of her lips.

Kagome's hands went up behind his neck and before she knew it, she was pulling him closer, deepening the kiss. The minutes ticked by and when they broke apart, it was only for air.

Inu-Yasha looked over at the girl beside him and blushed as he saw his fang marks on her lower lip.

"I know I'm not much," he began. "But I would give anything to keep you safe and make you happy. Would you... I-I mean... could you... ever consider... being my mate?"

Kagome heard the vulnerability and fear of rejection behind his words and realized the limb Inu-Yasha had just put himself on to propose. She smiled and grabbed his chin, pulling his face towards hers.

"Well I have to warn you, I hog covers, drink from the carton and steal the TV remote."

"Perfect," Inu-Yasha returned the smile and Kagome's grin grew.

"Than yes."

Inu-Yasha's face lit up and he jumped to his feet, scooping her up in his arms. The hanyou bent to kiss her again and then stopped, a thoughtful look on his face.

"Hey Kagome, what's a TV remote?"



[fade to black]



The End.


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