It's been almost six years since I updated this story. I honestly can't tell you why I never finished this one in particular, but I can say that life has had me very busy. I always told myself that once I was eighteen, I would throw fanfiction behind and I did. I started writing original novels and I've completed seven thus far and this year, I'm going to self publish my very first and see where it goes from there. However, it would plague my mind from time to time that I didn't finish Shattered Innocense because of the reviewers.

I did decide to finish writing, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the password to fanfiction or my email. Well, recently I tried every combination I could think of and I finally was able to access my account. I've spent the past few days doing some minor grammar edits and reading over the story (because I couldn't even remember it all) and then I started on the final chapter.

I know it's been a long time coming, but I hope it's well worth it. I hope you all don't despise me too much, but I broke my sacred rule and came back for you guys. It's also giving me some peace of mind as well.

But keep in mind that I started this story way before the series ended and the ending will be very close to my original one, so rules that I created prior may vary from the series end.

But without any further delay, here is the final chapter of Shattered Innocence.

Chapter 28

The wind howled and chilled the tears on her face, but she did not feel their frost or hear the screams of the wind. She could sense the battle of two great demonic auras so much that it made her hands shake, but she was oddly calm. She had fallen to her knees and forgotten about the world around her. She would never be able to appreciate the beauty of life or be inspired to compose another song that would speak out her soul. She even pushed Jaken's panicked screams out of her head. There simply wasn't room for it. There was only room for one agonizing thought that grew until it had manifested her whole entire being. "I'm going to lose him," she mumbled.

She completely broke down after she had come to accept that Sesshoumaru was going to sacrifice his life for her's and take Hikakustu's life as well. She didn't understand who she was anymore and it didn't matter. She would be utterly nothing without them.

"Hey!" Jaken waved his arms in the air and ran in front of her face. "You cannot let Sesshoumaru just die! Our Lord is too great!" Jaken began to cry with panic. "What am I to do if left with this half breed maniac?"

Sesshoumaru was too great to die, but to help him meant the end of both demons. If she only assisted Hikakustu, Sesshoumaru would easily fall without having time to implicate his attack. The most logical choice was to help Hikakustu. After all, she was Koibara. Wasn't she?

'I cannot imagine what a day would be like without him. I don't care that he's killed. He's saved my life. I don't care if he's cold hearted. His heart has been warm towards me. He is the most handsome creature I've ever encountered and he would fight the whole entire world to have me...' She realized something then. Sesshoumaru might not have confessed that he loved her, but he must have. Even if he lied to himself about his affections for her, it was still better that she knew. You don't put you life on the line continuously or go out of your way to protect a little girl. Koibara had once suspected Sesshoumaru's feelings, but Rin was able to figure it out and she smiled.

'I have to save Lord Sesshoumaru,' Rin thought.

"You cannot! What of Lord Hikakustu? He will not listen to reason regarding Sesshoumaru's life, even if I got on my knees and begged for him to be spared. The only way to save him is to somehow defeat Lord Hikakustu and I do not have the strength to accomplish such a thing nor the heart to bear it!"

"Then you have to let me take control!"

"I will not! This is my body now and I cannot let you hurt the one I love! Besides, you cannot fight. You wouldn't know how to defeat him!"

"I will figure it out!"

"I will not let you!"

"This is my body and I am in love with Lord Sesshoumaru! You love chaos and pain. It doesn't matter if you love Lord Hikakustu. What sort of future would you have together?"

"He plans on resurrecting our fallen brethren. We shall have an empire!"

"I know what you've done to me and how you've made me hurt people. You will have nothing but ashes! True love creates. It does not destroy! And we shall create life!"

Rin closed her eyes and imagined the world the way she wished it could be and tears streamed down her face at the image of wandering through Sesshoumaru's lands accompanying her lord. She smiled as she touched her stomach and saw herself cradling her swollen gelly and thought of how she wanted to bless her husband with a powerful son. Sesshoumaru would be anxious for an heir to his legacy, but he demonstrated such affection for their daughter as he carefully watched every step to make sure she would not fall. It was the life that she wanted and wished for so badly that she believed she was prophesying it into existence.

"That will never happen!" Koibara said in their shared mind. "Sesshoumaru would never allow such a thing. He doesn't see the world that way. He only cares about power and those who are powerful. If he ever chose a bride, it would not be a mortal girl who borrows demonic power from his sworn enemies!"

"You're wrong!" Rin knew that she was just a child some time ago. He tried not to show that he cared, but he did. He showed much affection towards her, his adoptive daughter. She was not that way anymore and it saddened her greatly, but change could be good if she learned to make the most of it. He began to accept the fact that she was a woman. In his own way, Rin knew that Sesshoumaru loved her deeply. Their circumstances might have been greatly unique, but it only made for a unique kind of love and a potential for an even greater future.

"You're fooling yourself, girl. He has many prospects, many who were not once raised by him!"

"I will have Lord Sesshoumaru!" Rin had been so shy and hesitant before concerning her feelings towards Sesshoumaru. Suddenly, she couldn't take being that passive. If she didn't learn to fight, she would never have her children and her husband. If she didn't fight, he wouldn't even live to see another day! "I will have him and I will fight every woman in the world who tries to say otherwise. I will fight him claw and fang until I make him realize the truth!"

"And what truth is that?" Koibara asked indignantly.

Rin smiled with a peace that swept over her, yet gave her the strength to stand on her own two feet, in charge of her own body. "That the two of us simply belong together."

"Rin!" Jaken screamed. "Lord Sesshoumaru is in great danger and it's all because of–"

"–Silence, Jaken!" She commanded him with a grace and only a hint of raising her voice, in the exact same manner that Sesshoumaru would have. "Bring me my sword, Rikoistu."

"But it is broken!"

"Bring me my sword, Master Jaken!" She didn't mean to yell at Jaken, so she calmed herself down before continuing on. "It's the only way."

"It was left behind during the battle with Hikakustu. It's pieces were abandoned."

Rin didn't exactly know what she could do with a broken sword, but she did believe in it's power and the unlocked potential it possessed. "Rikoistu is the sword that my Lord gave to me. I believe in Lord Sesshoumaru so I must believe that he believed in the power he gave to me. He's spent all of this time saving me, well now I'm going to save him!"

"You do not possess the power to save Lord Sesshoumaru!" Jaken yelled offended. "How dare you!"

"Jaken!" She yelled fiercely enough to silence him. "We must find my sword."

'I do not wish for her to go insane and kill me.' "Fine! But it's only because I want to prove you wrong!"

She smiled. 'Today, I shall finally save you, Lord Sesshoumaru!'

"I must say that I am impressed that you have last quite this long, Sesshoumaru." Hikakustu had attacked Sesshoumaru nonstop with a ferociousness that did not disappoint from his legacy. With every blow, Sesshoumaru was there to counter, but he was not quite fast enough to land a blow on Hikakustu. "Of course you must know that I'm toying with you, boy!"

It did frustrate Sesshoumaru to no end, but he did his best to remain calm and keep a clear head. It was rare that he fought an opponent that could match up against him. It was very rare indeed, but he did not fear his death and nor did he welcome it. One of his goals was to challenge the strongest demons in the world and once he had defeated Hikakustu, he would truly and confidently say that he had surpassed his great and powerful father. "Your end shall be met by my hand, Hikakustu."

"Do you know what's the very first thing I'm going to do when I resurrect my clan?" Hikakustu truly was a twisted character. The thought of blood and destruction empowered and thrilled him in a way that nothing else on the planet ever could. "I'm going to go to the Western Lands and slaughter every single one of your brethren."

Sesshoumaru gripped tighter onto his Tokijin. "You won't live to ever get that far."

Hikakustu pretended like he hadn't heard Sesshoumaru's threat at all. "But the first thing I'm going to do once I kill you, boy, will be to destroy Rin's soul with the Shikon Jewel and to take my woman!"

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes in on Hikakustu and charged him as fast as he could.

Hikakustu laughed amused. "Do you truly love this girl?" Hikakustu caught the Tokijin in his hands and began to squeeze it, cracking the blade. "You fight so vigorously to protect her."

"Don't be foolish!" Sesshoumaru denied it, but he couldn't stop his mind from going back to a time when Rin was only a child and the way she would laugh or smile. It was a foolish memory to have in the midst of a battle, and yet it came.

"You are truly pathetic!" Hikakustu was disgusted. He had spent so much time trying to seduce Rin, but only because his lover was inside of her. He hated humans. The only thing that intrigued him was their taste in his mouth when he devoured them. "Humans are nothing. You are nothing for protecting her!"

Sesshoumaru fought to free his sword, but Hikakustu's grip tightened even further and the sword continued to crack. Sesshoumaru forced his own energy through it as an energy attack, but Hikakustu was unscathed. He was barely even flinching.

"Her soul shall be mine!" He licked his lips and cackled and each bit of laughter disgusted Sesshoumaru.

Sesshoumaru's memories again distracted him and he was brought to when she leaned up against him while she slept. He watched her and realized how different she was when in his presence. She had become so frightened of her new demonic nature and her womanly instincts confused her, yet it was all nothing when she was with him. He calmed her completely. It baffled him before, but he suddenly understood. She depended on him because he did always protect her and he intended on doing so. Even when he had slain her, it was in her best interest. She was troublesome, but her soul didn't deserve to be devoured by someone like Hikakustu. She might have been a mortal borrowing demonic energy, but she was worth more than many demons. Her life had proven to be worth more than most everyone he knew. After all, she listened to him and respected him. She understood his greatness and often praised him. He didn't need a traveling companion, but her company was much more satisfying than others would be.

No. He couldn't let someone like Hikakustu destroy Rin's soul. Hikakustu did not deserve to exist and neither did Koibara. If that meant that he would have to risk his life to defeat his foe, then he would do it. If that meant that he'd have to destroy Naraku, Inuyasha, and everyone else who valued the Shikon Jewel to obtain it, then he would simply have to do it. Finally, he would admit to himself that he would protect Rin from the threat of the Eouros.

But the one thing Sesshoumaru could not do was die for Rin, because the great and powerful Lord Sesshoumaru had no intention of dying. "You will perish!"

Sesshoumaru's Dragon Strike began to brilliantly flash in Hikakustu's hand. At first he tried to smirk and laugh at what he thought was another one of Sesshoumaru's pitiful attempts to attack him. Then, his hand began to smoke and he gritted his teeth. 'Where is this power coming from?'

'Hold on you fool and lose your arm!' "Dragon Strike!"

Hikakustu was brave and brash and could afford to be foolish because of his strength, but pain was very foreign to him and he was not foolish enough to continue establishing his dominance at the cost of his own limbs. He grunted in pain and pulled away from the sword, but not before snapping it in two.

Sesshoumaru's attack weaned and he discarded his sword. 'Just as I thought. My Tokijin was not strong enough to hold up against Hikakustu.' He drew his Tenseiga, having no other options left.

Hikakustu looked at his burned and bloodied hand and arm. It was cut up significantly and streaming with blood. He had forgotten what pain had felt like. He knew it's scent and it's array like the way he would coat blood on a battlefield like a vibrant painting. It wasn't as fun on his end, but it was at least a little bit more exciting. "I'm extremely interested in what you'll do now, considering that you do not have a weapon to fight me with."

"My Tenseiga will do just fine."

Hikakustu threw his head back and laughed hardily. "Just because you managed to injure me does not mean you stand a fighting chance."

"There was never any chance, Hikakustu. Only your demise."

'He's either gone completely insane or is in a mood to die. Either way, I'm pleased.' "I'll even let you shoot me, boy. Do your worst!"

'The fool!' Sesshoumaru began to concentrate. It was true that the Tensiega was crafted in order to be a sword of healing, but there was another way. 'It is Tensiega's will that I keep Rin alive. Tensiega will allow me to do what I have to in order to save her life and soul, but it will take a price.' Surely Rin's life wasn't more valuable than his, but he could not allow Hikakustu to prevail as the strongest demon in the world.

'It is my destiny to be the strongest. I shall prevail!'

Hikakustu foolishly laughed to himself as he waited for Sesshoumaru to embarrass himself. "What do you expect to do with a sword that cannot cut?"

'Tensiega, you can recall a soul after the body has been destroyed. You who has power over the soul shall remove Hikakustu's from his own body. All you require for the task is the proper amount of energy.'

"Have you found it yet, Master Jaken?" Rin was frantic while looking for the pieces of her sword that she overturned every stone and stick, yet continuously overlooked everything.

Jaken's panicked behavior had him fumbling about, but he calmed himself down. "I can find it!" He slammed the Staff of Two Heads into the ground three times and the staff began to float.

Rin gasped. "The staff will lead us to the sword?" The eyes of the old man began to glow bright red and began to move in closer towards Rin. "What does it mean?"

Jaken followed the staff and moved behind Rin and climbed on top of a boulder sitting behind her. "Ah! Rin, you insolent fool!" He jumped down and grabbed the handle of the sword and lifted it up into the air. "Your sword is right in front of your eyes!"

Rin bowed her head three to five times. "I'm so sorry, Master Jaken!"

"Foolish girl!" Jaken would have continued yelling if he had not burst into a set of flames. "Ah!" He began running around screaming while Rin looked on bewildered.

"The sword is broken, yet it's barrier still works." She quickly caught Jaken–who was too frantic to drop the sword–and pulled it out of his hands. He began rolling on the ground to put the flames out while Rin observed it more closely. 'I don't have much time. I don't know what I can do with this, but I do believe in Lord Sesshoumaru!' "We should find the other piece."

Jaken had put out the flames, but he was a toasty crisp, unable to speak.

"I don't have time to wait for you to get better." Rin did feel bad about it, but she ran to Ah-Un and climbed on his back. "Lord Sesshoumaru and I will come back for you, Master Jaken!" She tapped on Ah-Un and journeyed away without another thought towards Jaken.

'Wretched girl...'

Hikakustu still laughed cruelly as he watched Sesshoumaru hold his worthless sword. It sparked a few times from Sesshoumaru's energy, but Hikakustu did not fear it. There was no smell of death on the sword and Hikakustu was not a creature from another world. 'He's delusional!'

"Do you recall when you daddy had to come and save you from me?" he mocked. "Who will save you now, boy?"

Sesshoumaru did recall that time. It was one of his few defeats, but he was only a child at the time. His father held nothing against him. When his father took him home to recuperate, his mother pretended not to care, but she spoiled him rotten and the servants tended to his wounds while she watched over him. It annoyed him. He was already embarrassed from his defeat. When his father confronted him in his room later, he thought he was going to be scolded.

"Are you alright, Sesshoumaru?"

"I'm fine!" He tried not to look at his father because of his shame, but he was upset with him and crossed his arms stubbornly. "I could have taken Hikakustu and his wench on my own."

"Don't be so naive about your powers, son."

Sesshoumaru wasn't naive, so he didn't argue about his lack of power. It frustrated him having such a magnificently powerful father while still being so small and weak himself. It would be so long until he would be strong enough to take someone like Hikakustu, let alone his father. "Well, one day I'll be powerful enough to defeat any demon, even you!"

"Even me?" He laughed playfully, but with no disrespect meant towards his son. "Yes, I believe so, Sesshoumaru. You will have to challenge me one day when you believe yourself to be ready."

Sesshoumaru looked confused. "And this doesn't anger you, that I want to be stronger?"

Inutashio joined his son's side and placed his hand on his shoulder. That gesture alone ached Sesshoumaru's wounds, but it amused Inutashio how Sesshoumaru fought through his pain to appear invincible. "Every father must prepare his son to someday surpass him. It's the greatest legacy he can achieve. One day, you shall have a son and shall feel the same."

"I'm not sure about that." He didn't doubt his father's wisdom, but he understood himself. "I want to be the strongest demon that ever lived!"

Inutashio could relate. His son was so much like his mother, but they shared the love of battle and a thirst for power. He could never doubt his son for his ambitions. He admired him greatly for it. "I used to feel the same way and I haven't faced a demon yet that could match me, but do you know what I've discovered?"


"There's more to power than strength."

Sesshoumaru valued his father's words and his wisdom, but he hated when he wrapped himself up in mysteries. It took him such a long time to figure out what he ever meant. He tried, but he had to ask, "What do you mean?"

He smiled. "That's something I'd like for you to figure out on your own, Sesshoumaru. I'm certain that you will be wise enough to find the answers."

"There's more to power than strength," Sesshoumaru said aloud.

Hikakustu heard, but he didn't understand. "Only a fool would say that!"

Sesshoumaru still didn't quite understand, but he was beginning to. "Perish!" Sesshoumaru slashed his sword forward and a bright light of blue energy swept across the land. It did not disturb one rock, one tree, or disrupt the current of the wind all too greatly. Hikakustu was going to openly mock his attack before it reached him, but then it did and he fell to the ground with his eyes completely dark.

"I think I see him." Rin said while approaching the battlefield. She gasped once she saw Hikakustu lying on the ground. "He did it?" Her heart was overjoyed and she clung Sesshoumaru's sword across her chest since she knew he would not allow him to hold her. "My Lord Sesshoumaru has prevailed!"

Sesshoumaru heard familiar laughter and looked up into the sky. For some reason, he knew that it was somehow Rin and he smiled. It was rare for him to smile, but death seemed like quite the fantastic occasion for someone as grand as Lord Sesshoumaru.

"Lord Sesshoumaru?" Rin saw her beloved fall and she began to cry out desperately. "Please don't die. Please!" Ah-Un flew as fast as he could towards his master, but Rin could not wait another moment and jumped off of the monster before he could reach the ground.

'He couldn't have died for me! I was supposed to protect him. He was supposed to live!' She got to his side and fell onto her knees quickly enough to skin them and rip her kimono. She never thought the day would come when she would approach his lifeless body. "You can't be dead..."

She was supposed to die first. She was the mortal. All she thought would be left of her was a memory. She never thought she'd have to carry one of him in her heart until she passed on. "Lord Sesshoumaru..."

Her tears overwhelmed her and she broke down on his chest. She couldn't hear his heartbeat and it devastated her. She had foolishly convinced herself that her dreams with him would one day come true. She wanted to bear his children. She wanted him to hold her with such undeniable affection. She wanted to live at least one thousand years by his side and watch his dreams of strength and power be fulfilled the way he fulfilled her.

"I didn't want you to die without admitting that you loved me." She raised her head up and stared at his handsome face. It would be a waste if he never loved anyone. It would be a complete waste! Why shouldn't he say those words to her? Who else did he protect day after day? Who else had he sacrificed his life for? Whether or not Sesshoumaru wanted to admit it, he did start his war on Naraku after she was abducted. "You can't convince me of anything else, even if you're dead."

She smiled beautifully as her tears fell onto his cheeks. "Ever since I grew up, I think all I've wanted to do was know what your lips tasted like." She blushed. "I'm not a little girl. I'm a young woman and cannot deny my feelings for the demon that I love."

She closed her eyes and tasted his lips. There was still warmth to them, such incredible warmth. It was bittersweet. It wasn't quite what she wanted because he was still gone. "Thank you for freeing me from Hikakustu, Lord Sesshoumaru."

"Not quite!"

She gasped and rose to her feet stunned. She was too frightened to turn around at first. She gripped onto Rikoistu "It can't be."

"Oh, but it is!"

She took a deep breath and faced the all powerful and angry Hikakustu. "How is this possible? He wouldn't have died for nothing!"

"He was always going to die for nothing! That coward had to rely on a trick and tried to force my soul out of my own body. I was strong enough to piece myself back together. Unfortunately for Sesshoumaru, he is not and never will be as impressive as I am."

'Then there's a chance?' "Stay away from me!"

"Why are you not Koibara? Why are you this human child?"

"Because this 'human child' was strong enough to overcome her completely. I'm in charge so you had better get used to it!"

"A human is stronger than my Koibara?" he asked angrily. "Then I suppose I'll have to part ways with Koibara and destroy you both now."

Rin gasped as she felt something inside of her soul ache. 'Koibara is aware...' "You would kill her after all that trouble to have her?"

"Every powerful person needs a son. She was the strongest female among my people and we had our fun together. Her life doesn't mean anything if she can't overcome a human girl!"

Tears began to flow from her eyes, even though she did not feel sad for Koibara. It seeped out of her as Koibara realized how unworthy of adoration he truly was. "And you don't care for an heir?"

"Why should I? I don't need some spoiled brat slowing me down and it's clear that I will be immortal. No one is stronger than me."

Then Rin began to feel Koibara's rage and she gripped onto her sword even tighter. 'I hear you, Koibara.'

The remains of the sword began to pulse into her hand and her own heart began to beat faster. 'What is this power?' She held up the sword as it was engulfed in a light brighter than that of the sun. Rin closed her eyes, but she could feel the energy emitting from the sword and it's weight dramatically increasing. When she was able to open her eyes again, the sword was once again whole. 'Lord Sesshoumaru's will lives on, even though he is dead.'

That alone gave Rin the power and the courage to face Hikakustu. "My Lord gave me this sword to protect myself. I believe in his will and you will not have me!" Rin did not know how to tap into all of her power, but she could feel Koibara inside of her guiding her as she tapped into all that she had and aimed it within Rikoistu. 'He will keep me safe!'

"Die!" Rin slashed her sword forward with all of her might and an unexpected wave of power released from her body and the sword. She instantly turned into a human and dropped to her knees before the magnificent attack arrived to Hikakustu. There were colors so bright that she couldn't have imagine them all within her wildest dreams. The power was so grand as it ripped through everything in it's path just to reach Hikakustu.

Hikakustu should have braced himself, but there was no time after he got over his shock of a broken sword magically becoming whole again and spewing forth in multiple hurricanes. He put up a barrier, but it pierced right through as if it were a leaf and he was once again introduced to pain.

Rin lost sight of Hikakustu's body due to the smoke and ashes. She thought of what she told Koibara, but her love for Sesshoumaru didn't just leave destruction. The energy left by his sword began to rain down glorious blue lights of energy, as if a million fireflies came to comfort her in the time of her grieving. She clasped her sword to her chest and felt the warmth all around her and could not help but cry and smile. 'This is the love that my Lord has for me.'

She couldn't even be overcome with sadness, because she knew the power behind what they had. His will to protect her was far too great to complain about. Surely she would miss him, but she had never felt his presence so strongly than as she did then and she was somehow at peace.

"I will wait for you on my own..." She began to sing, but her tears made it practically impossible. Still, she pushed through and continued. "I will wait for you on my own. Please return to me, waiting all alone."

There was a pulse, like a strong heartbeat. Even Rin's dull human ears could hear it. She opened her eyes and turned around on her hands and knees, but still couldn't see anything through the dust and the wonderful lights. "Lord Sesshoumaru?"

The Tensiega pulsed again in Sesshoumaru's cold hand. It pulsed again and it intertwined with his heartbeat and his eyes flashed open.

"Human!" Hikakustu yelled as the ground around her began to shake. She had enough will to continue fighting, but certainly not the strength. 'Lord Sesshoumaru!'

The face of a monster appeared into the smoke. It was not the handsome face that seduced her into darkness, but it was a creature with fangs bigger than her entire body and a tongue that slithered out almost like a snake. It's body was made up of scales, but they appeared to be harder than any stone she had seen, but it was smooth and shinny like obsidian. His body was shaped much like a serpent, but it was too wide and he possessed wings and limbs. He was far too huge. She could only recognize Hikakustu from his dark red eyes. "I will devour you, human!"

For some reason, she was not afraid. She closed her eyes and cried his name, expecting that he would be there for her. "Lord Sesshoumaru!"

Behind her was an explosion of power and the magnitude of it swept away the dust and the beautiful lights. It had even dried the tears on her face. "Lord Sesshoumaru!"

It was indeed Sesshoumaru. The Tensiega was sheathed, yet there was a beautiful array of power exploded from his missing arm and the shape of a sword engulfed in the light. 'What is this sensation?'

Sesshoumaru picked up the sound of a cow mooing in the distance and he knew. 'Toutousai? Then that means...'

He felt something extend and form in the light. Hikakustu was before him, great and powerful in his transformed state. He had never seen it, but he of course was not intimidated. 'Disgusting.' He gripped onto the sword in the light with his newly made arm and used his own great power to strike Hikakustu in a splendiferous wave of destruction.

With Hikakustu's great size, it only appeared to scratch the tip of some of his belly. "That's the best you can do, boy?"

But the attack was not over. His body continued to shatter and explode and no matter how Hikakustu braced himself, it would not stop from extending. "What?"

Even Sesshoumaru was a bit surprised with his new power, but Rin was not. 'Sesshoumaru does not stop fighting until his enemies are completely destroyed. It's only fitting that he would create a sword that would attack in the very same manner.'

Rin smiled as she watched Hikakustu, the man who had haunted her dreams and tormented her soul, scream and break apart. There was nothing he could do. It was all over.

She didn't know what the final explosion would be like, so she found what little strength she had to run away, but she was too weak and began to stumble. It was a good thing that Lord Sesshoumaru was there to catch her as she stumbled right into his arms.

Hikakustu let out an agonizing scream and his body released a wave of pure energy as his body was destroyed. The Tensiega put up a barrier quick and strong enough to protect the both of them, since they were not worried at all. Rin was so happy to have him hold her in his arm and to stare into his eyes. 'He doesn't have to ever say it, because I know.'

Sesshoumaru thought there was a significant chance that he might not be able to see Rin again. 'She survived.'

The two of them observed each other for a little while until the dawn of the day broke through the destruction and poured the hope of a new day on the both of them. "Can you stand, Rin?"

"I believe so." She tried to apply pressure on her legs, but she began to fall over again. His arms were there to catch her again and she did her best not to blush.

"Ah-Un," Sesshoumaru called. He emerged from the sky and came to Rin's side. Sesshoumaru lifted her up like a true gentleman and placed her on the creature.

"Thank you, my lord."

Toutousai's faithful cow began mooing again to let them know of their arrival and he landed in front of Sesshoumaru. "It's finally appeared. The Bakusaiga!"

"Bakusaiga?" Rin asked.

"Let me see it, Sesshoumaru." Sesshoumaru did not question the famous sword smith and gave it to him. "You always had this power inside of you, but you have to believe in it. You had to stand on your own."

"But he often stands on his own," Rin said. "What was so different than all of his other battles?"

Sesshoumaru glanced at Rin and recalled his fathers words. "There's more to power than strength." "I understand."

Toutousai returned Sesshoumaru his sword and turned his sights towards Rin. "And you were able to unlock the full potential of the Rikoistu. It was more powerful than I imagined."

"It was indeed very powerful." Rin smiled.

"Sesshoumaru, you can now truly say that you've surpassed your father."

Sesshoumaru gripped onto his sword. He still wanted to challenge his father in a final battle, but he had a certain peace of mind that he hadn't experienced before. Perhaps it was better that he stop obsessing about his premature death. He hated how his father died, but everyone does have the right to die in their own way. 'But I will have overcome death,' he thought.

"Bring Bakusaiga to my home and I shall create a sheath for it." 'Normally I wouldn't want to be so generous towards Sesshoumaru, but he's different than before.'

Sesshoumaru nodded.

A week had passed and things were back to the new normal for Sesshoumaru, Rin, and Jaken. They were traveling the countryside looking for Naraku, who must have been significantly weaker without the large fragment of the Shikon Jewel. They had been attacked by random demons more often for possessing the jewel, but it was nothing Sesshoumaru couldn't handle with Bakusaiga and Rin could even take care of with her Rikoistu.

"I am hungry," Rin muttered.

"Jaken," Sesshoumaru said, "go find her some food."

Jaken's mouth dropped, but he quickly picked it back up and nodded before running off. 'That wench has changed Lord Sesshoumaru!'

Rin chuckled, knowing that Jaken must have been upset. To be fair, she was cleaning Ah-Un. It was good that Sesshoumaru kept things almost fair.

Sesshoumaru didn't mind spending time with Rin. She had learned not to question him so much and she had the upmost respect for him and she didn't say such foolish things herself. She had proven herself to be worthy of a lot of things, perhaps even his company. "Rin."

Rin was surprised that he joined her side. "Yes, Lord Sesshoumaru?"

"Has Koibara bothered you since you returned to your demon state?"

"No. I believe she wanted to die with Hikakustu." 'I feel sorry for her. She never truly knew what love was.'

"Do you still wish to use the power of the full Shikon Jewel to turn into a human?"

"I'm not sure. With Hikakustu and Koibara gone, I'm not in danger of their influence. With your sword, I am able to keep my demonic power in control. Then if I lost all of my demonic power, I wouldn't be able to wield the great sword you entrusted to me."

Sesshoumaru once believed that she would never be able to wield such a sword. She amazed him. "And you were able to wield Rikoistu's true power."

Rin was quite pleased with herself. It wasn't too often that Sesshoumaru was impressed with anyone. "I believed in the power you gave me, my lord. That's how I knew I could survive. Even when you had died, I still felt a peace over me. Because of your fang, I knew there was still someway that we could both make it."

'She never doubted in my power, even when I appeared defeated by Hikakustu.' "Then I suppose you were indeed worthy of my fang."

She blushed fiercely and hid her face as she continued to brush Ah-Un. "My decision to stay a half demon or turn into a full human depends on you, my lord."

"Me?" he asked with a hint of surprise in his voice.

"Yes. It depends on what you would like better..." She was much too embarrassed to look up at him.

Sesshoumaru thought about it. Rin was such a bother, but things were different with her having control of her demonic power. However, if she wished to become a human again, he would want her to do as she pleased. He did like the fact that she always thought of him first. After all, he was her lord. But such a decision belonged to her and he did not want to take that privilege away from her. "Either way, Rin, is fine."

She smiled and turned to face him as she burst full of excitement. "Then I think I will remain a demon. I could fight by your side one day. I could live alongside you and see your empire rise. I could even stay in the Western Lands when you return!"

Sesshoumaru was a bit surprised. "And you plan on staying with me that long?"

"I would stay with you an eternity!" She calmed herself down, feeling silly all of the sudden. "...if you'd have me, my lord."

Sesshoumaru had been battling with himself ever since he defeated Hikakustu. He had been acting as he normally would and she did as well, but he knew things were different and would always be different. After her little outburst, he knew that he did not wish to keep the secret forever. Why should he give himself such a burden? "When you believed that I had died, my energy was exasperated and my consciousness or what you would refer to as a soul was misplaced, but I was never truly dead, Rin. I was never unaware. My presence was still there."

"Oh..." She turned bright pink. 'Oh no!' "So you saw me..." 'Kiss you...' She turned her face back towards Ah-Un and continued brushing, but she was so nervous that she stroked him much too hard and the creature began to grunt and moan in pain. "I hope you are not too angry with me, my lord."

Sesshoumaru grabbed her hand to stop her from hurting his pet and she somehow found a way to blush even harder. He had never held her hand before and she wasn't sure if that was a good or bad sign. "If it angered me so greatly, you would not be alive, Rin."

At that revelation, she calmed down. If it was such a great problem, then he would have spoken up about it sooner. If it meant absolutely nothing, then he would have never mentioned it. Then Rin recalled that she was not a girl and it was time for her to remind her lord that she was a woman. "And if it were to happen again," she smirked, "would I be punished?"

It was unusual, but the tiniest smile appeared on Sesshoumaru's face. Perhaps he was amused with her. "No. I don't believe so."

"I know how you feel about humans and half breeds. I'm both of the things that you hate and yet–"

"–Silence." He stroked her face, her soft and delicate skin that was still much stronger than it appeared. What she said was true, but Rin had proved herself different. Her scent wasn't as bad as he pretended it to be. He had actually grown quite fond of it. "You are my ward, Rin. If you displeased my sight, I would cast you out."

That pleased her so much, but she remembered her vision of her children and their future. So much would have to happen first. They would have to defeat Naraku, but that was no longer a hard task. She wanted her future and she wanted it now! "And what if I wanted to be more than your ward?"

"Such as?"

She was so nervous that she reverted into a child and shrugged her shoulders instead of admitting the truth. 'Your bride.'

Sesshoumaru was no fool. She did after all kiss him and admit to loving him. In still some ways she was a child and he was nearly one thousand years old. "You have time to contemplate it, Rin. After all, you did pledge yourself to me for an eternity."

"That I did." She smiled and was so beautiful. Her shattered innocence was regained and he remembered why he saved her life in the first place.

He did save a child and raised her for a little while and he would never forget her as she was, but it was difficult to see her in that light anymore. She was different and he didn't mind it all that much. He could honestly admit to himself that he rather enjoyed the new Rin. 'She is much more useful in this way.'

Things had indeed been complicated for them, but whatever they were to each other now, they did have an eternity to figure it out.


A/N: There you go! I hope you all enjoyed the final chapter. I can't promise that I'll have time to finish my other fanfictions, but I'm glad I did decide to return to this.

If any of you are interested in me contacting you when I publish my first novel, let me know in your review.

Thanks for reading and for always believing!