Part III


"Mother? Father? What are you doing here?" Inuyasha said finally finding his voice. He'd been washing the sleep from his eyes, and became worried when he'd heard the commotion at the door.

"The better question is what the hell are you doing here?" Inuyasha's father began. "I didn't raise a coward, someone who runs away from their responsibilities. You have not only jeopardized my reputation but you have put your livelihood on the line!"

"Have you ever considered I never wanted those responsibilities, that all I did want was to have some control over my life? You never even stopped to ask me!" Inuyasha yelled back, his face turning red from his anger.

"Yasha." his mother said jumping in to diffuse the conversation, "please come home. We can all talk this through and work it out. You've been gone for so long, everyone misses you." The woman stepped forward and towards her son, her face gentle and full of maternal concern. She reached out ready to embrace her child, but he took a step back just out of her reach.

"I can't do that. If I come home now nothing will have changed. I'll still be unhappy." He said lowly, feeling guilty for putting that flash of hurt in his mother's charcoal eyes.

"That's enough! You will come home and you will fulfill your duties as a Takahashi. Kikyou has been waiting-"

"Who's Kikyou?" Everyone turned at the sound of the small voice. Kagome could feel heat of Mr. Takahashi's glare at her interruption, but she dutifully ignored him. There was only one set of eyes in the room that mattered to her, and right now the owner of those eyes didn't have the courage to look at her.

Inuyasha continued to stare at the floor, his fists clenching at his sides and his silence only causing Kagome's anger to boil over.

"Who is she Inuyasha!" She yelled, tears already brimming in her cocoa eyes. She felt a sick satisfaction when he flinched at the desperation in her voice.

"She's my fiancee." He whispered. He brought his head up, finally giving her his full attention. The room swam as the pressure in her chest threatened her breathing.

"W-what? But you never mentioned her. You don't even wear a ring!" Toga took that moment to clear his throat, holding a beautiful 14 karat diamond ring between his large fingers.

"Kikyou wasn't the only thing he forgot about when he left New York." He said somberly. While he was desperate for his son to come home, he hadn't meant to get this girl caught in the crossfire.

"Kagome." She jumped from Inuyasha's unexpected proximity, too caught up in staring at the engagement ring meant for another woman. He reached for her and the hard slap she delivered to his cheek rang out across the room. Hot tears bubbled to the surface, spilling over and coating her face. The sting in her palm was the only thing keeping her grounded to reality.

"Don't you dare touch me." She seethed. "You told me you loved me, said we were meant to be, and all this time you knew there was someone else; someone waiting for you." Her voice cracked and she took a step back to put some distance between them.

"Kagome...please, just let me explain." His voice strained with the effort to keep his tears at bay. He reached for her again, but she side stepped him and began to gather her strewn clothes from the floor.

"I'm very sorry for any trouble I've caused." She said speaking to Inuyasha's parents. She avoided eye contact, not wanting to see the pitiful looks they were surely giving her. She wanted to walk out of here with at least some shred of her dignity intact.

She made a beeline for the door, but Inuyasha's grip around her wrist stopped her just shy of the exit.

"Don't go." His voice broke and she looked up in time to see a tear fall from his left eye. "Stay; talk to me...please."

Her knees buckled at his pleas and her resolve almost shattered at the sight of his tears. The thought of staying skirted across her mind, but then a ray of light bounced of the ring pinched between Toga's fingers. That piece of jewelry told her everything she needed to know, there was no coming back from this.

It was over.

"I have nothing left to say to you Inuyasha. Good luck." Pulling away the moment she felt his grip slacken Kagome bolted from the room and down the emergency exit stairs. Tears blurred her vision and she almost tripped several times, but she had to keep going. She ran through the lobby, out the hotel doors, and continued running for several blocks.

She collapsed on the side of the closest building, her lungs heaving and her nose snotting. Falling to her knees she desperately tried to catch her breath, but every inhale was a shuttering sob and every exhale was shakey at best. She felt her heart ripping to shreds and not even the strange looks being sent her way could motivate her to get it together.

So she sat there, on the side of that building, in that fluffy white bathrobe, crying until her sobs turned into hiccups and her body could no longer physically produce tears.


The sound of the heavy hotel door resounded throughout the room and Inuyasha felt an empty space open up in his chest. The image of Kagome walking away from him replaying over and over in a torturous loop in his head.

He turned to his parents with tears running down his face, not even bothering to wipe them away.

"How could you do that to her? She didn't need to find out like that!" When both adults stayed silent he laughed bitterly to himself.

"I really shouldn't be surprised though. Anything I've ever wanted, anything that's ever mattered to me, you find way to ruin it or take it away. Toga Takahashi the world's greatest business man! Always getting what he wants, no matter who he has to crush to obtain it."

"Inuyasha-"

"Save it." He spit, cutting off the older man from finishing his statement. Without anywhere else to go Inuyasha made his way into the bathroom, slamming the door and locking it for good measure.

Gripping Kikyou's ring in his hand Toga heard the telling sniffles coming from the bathroom. The last time he'd seen his son cry the boy been nine and he'd just broken his arm after falling out of a tree in their backyard.

Guilt hit him hard, knowing that he was a contributing factor in his son's pain. Emotional wounds were always the slowest to heal.

"Let's go Toga, we'll return later when it's time to go home." The large man let himself be ushered out by his wife. In business there was never a way to satisfy everyone, there was always collateral damage.

Unfortunately Inuyasha and that girl's heart hadn't been able to be spared.


Kagome sat on the edge of the pier. Her skirt fluttering around her knees and her hair wiping about her face. The sun was setting and she watched the colors slowly bleed into the ocean. Her journal sat carefully in her lap. Opening the small book, she tore her eyes away the sunset and began to write.

October 17th

It's been a week since I last saw Inuyasha. I called his hotel (yes I know I'm pathetic) and they informed me that he'd checked out the same afternoon everything went to hell. I spent that whole day crying, and as much as I didn't want to see him, it hurt when I realized he wasn't coming after me.

It shouldn't hurt this much. We'd only known each other a little over four months, but to me it'd felt like a lifetime. I hate myself for feeling like this is it, like I'll never be able to love someone like I loved him, and maybe I won't. Maybe Inuyasha was the love of my life, but the Gods have something else planned. They say if you love something let it go and if it comes back then you know it was meant to be.

So I'll wait and I'll pray. Every night I'll pray that somehow, some way, Inuyasha makes his way back to me.


6 months later...

"Do you Inuyasha Takahashi take Kikyou Hayashi to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"

Inuyasha looked on into the large crowd of guests. He barely recognized any of the faces witnessing such an intimate moment in his life. He saw his mother dabbing her tears, his father looking at him expectantly, felt the annoyed presence of his best man and brother standing behind him.

He moved on from the crowd and onto Kikyou's face as she patiently waited for him say his line. His heart clenched as he realized this wasn't where he wanted to be and Kikyou wasn't the woman he wanted to be with. His mind drifted back to the happiest time of his life and the face of the woman who had brought him such joy.

Six months and still she was the only one he could ever want.

"Son?" The priest said bringing him back to reality. Inuyasha smiled apologetically.

"I do." He whispered, the words burning his throat and choking him up. The priest repeated his same line and Kikyou said hers, with significantly less hesitation than him. He went through the motions, his moves mechanical and his spirit hurting.

"You may now kiss the bride." He lifted Kikyou's veil and slowly leaned in to capture her lips. The kiss was quick, almost a peck, and he was startled slightly when Kikyou reached up to wipe the lone tear from his face.

They left the alter hand in hand, using their free arms to unsuccessfully shield themselves from all the rice. Outside the church was a stretch limo already packed with their things. They'd forgone having a reception and were heading straight on their honeymoon. Three weeks to be spent in the south of France.

Kikyou waved enthusiastically at the flashing cameras and the smiling guest, as rice continued to rain down on the limo. The large vehicle began to pull off in the direction of the airport and silence stretched uncomfortably between the newlyweds.

"For what it's worth I'm sorry." Inuyasha turned as he met Kikyou's sad gaze.

"For what?"

"I know this isn't what you want. My parents tried to shield me but I know there was another girl, someone who means more to you than I do." Inuyasha looked away ashamed. The soft touch of her hand on his brought his focus back to her face and he was confused by the small smile gracing her features.

"You know I love you Inuyasha and I know right now you don't feel the same, but we were friends long before this arrangement. Even if you never reciprocate my feelings, I'd like for us to remain that way." She said sincerely. Though her words were surely meant to comfort him they only succeed to make him feel worse.

To see Kikyou be so selfless and kind after everything he'd done, the least he could do was try to love her in return. He gripped her hand and brought it his lips, kissing the appendage softly.

"I don't know what the future will bring, or how I will come to feel, but for you I'll try." Kikyou smiled and scooted closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. He hadn't made any promises, but he said he would try and that was all she could truly ask for.


10 years later...

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome New York Times bestselling author, Kagome Higurashi!" The now thirty year old woman walked on stage, smiling and waving for the cameras. Shaking hands with the interviewer she finally took her seat on the couch across from him, smoothing out her skirt in her nervousness.

"Welcome to the show Ms. Higurashi."

"Thank you for having me, and please Kagome will do just fine."

"So Kagome, how does it feel to be an award winning author so young?" the interviewer began.

"It's...something." She said earning a laugh from the crowd. "It's definitely not something I saw myself becoming. I've always loved to write but it was confined to my journals; more therapeutic than entertaining."

"I've read that you traveled the world as a young adult, seeing many parts of the world. Your novel is a love story, was it inspired by anything you've seen on your travels?" Kagome's cocoa eyes saddened for a moment and for a split second the smile on her face disappeared.

"The story was actually inspired by some events in my own life. I won't go into any detail, but like I said writing for me has always been therapeutic. This story was born out of the pain and sorrow from losing someone who meant everything to me, and me using my writing to move past that."

"I see and incredible story indeed. I hope you've been able to find love since?"

The smile was back as Kagome blushed. "I have. He's a wonderful man and I hope to spend the rest of my life with him."

The crowd released a collective 'aw" and the interviewer finished up the last of their questions. Informing the audience that they'd all received free copies of Kagome's book and that she would be signing them at the local bookstore down the street.

.:.::.:.

Kagome smiled as she posed for another picture, signing the young girl's copy of The Last Rose To Bloom after taking the perfect photo.

Four hours later and Kagome had finished signing the last of the books. She rubbed her right hand to loosen the cramps she gotten from repeatedly signing her signature and writing messages.

"I'm sorry sir, but the book signing is over."

"Keh! Come one would it really kill her to sign one more book? I've been waiting forever!" The sound of the masculine voice had a shiver running down Kagome's spine. Her breathing quickened and she was suddenly afraid to turn around, nervous about what awaited her behind her back.

"Hey! Let him through." She yelled over the sounds of the man struggling with the security guards.

"You sure Ms. Higurashi?" She nodded and the man straightened his rumpled jacket in annoyance. He moved forward, slowly and purposefully , and she could see that he too was nervous.

"Got time for one more?" He said handing her a copy of her novel. She smiled and motioned for him to sit down at the table with her. She quickly wrote a small message inside the front cover and handed the book back.

For awhile they said nothing, simply looking at each other and taking each other in, before Kagome decided to break the ice.

"What are you doing here Inuyasha?" She looked over his face and realized that nothing had really changed. His face had matured, loosing that boyish charm and becoming all man. He'd cut his hair too, just below his shoulders. She noticed the wedding band on his right hand and blushed when he put his left hand on top to shield it from her gaze.

"I...wanted to see you." He said matter of factly. When he'd read online two weeks ago that a young author by the name Kagome Higurashi would be in New York to promote her novel, he had to make sure it was her. He'd picked up the book soon after and began to read. The contents of the novel the only confirmation he needed to know that it had be his Kagome from all those years ago.

"Congratulations, on your book and the engagement." She looked confused until he'd pointed the ring sitting on her finger and she chuckled nervously, toying the with it to give her hands something to do.

"Thank you, Hojo's a great guy."

"Keh, Hojo?" Inuyasha snorted, "he sounds like a pansy." He laughed when she slugged him in the shoulder, yielding when his now sore limb began to throb.

"Still an ass I see." Kagome said with a dramatic eye roll and a wide grin playing on her face. "How's your life been? How's Kikyou?"

"Fine I guess. My father passed a few years ago, so my brother and I had to step up and takeover the company. Not my dream job but it keeps the lights on." He ignored her snort and continued on with his update. "Kikyou's fine too, probably running around with Satomi. She turned two yesterday."

Kagome squealed in delight and asked to see a picture. Producing his wallet Inuyasha pulled out the family photo he kept in there. The toddler sat in her father's lap, looking up at him with a toothy grin and him smiling right back at her. The woman who could only be Kikyou was looking at them both, pride and love shining in her eyes.

The young woman wiped her misty eyes, and had to calm the man beside her before he could panic.

"They're happy tears Inuyasha. I won't lie to you, I was hurt for a long time after you left. After the dust settled though I was able to focus on myself again. And more than anything I just wished for your happiness and if this picture says anything, then I know you've found it."

Inuyasha reached for her hands and for a fleeting moment they both felt complete. Ten years he'd been without her touch and he relished in the feel of her skin against his.

"I sent you a letter." He whispered, still holding onto her hands.

"I know." She answered, her thumbs running across his knuckles.

"You never replied." He frowned and gripped her tighter.

"Well it took me a year just to open the damn thing." She chuckled, "and by that time I figured sending you anything would just only cause problems."

Inuyasha went to say something else, but the burly security guard from earlier beat him to it. "I'm sorry to interrupt Ms. Higurashi, but your fiancee is waiting for you outside."

Nodding to the man Kagome grabbed her coat as Inuyasha walked her outside. He saw her wave to a sandy haired man who wisely chose to say by his car, allowing the couple to say their goodbyes in private.

"I thought about you everyday you know. I never forgot about us, or about what you meant to me." He pulled her into his arms as tightly as he could without crushing her.

"I never forgot either, and I never will. I love you Inuyasha." She whispered as the tears she'd been trying to keep at bay finally flowed down her cheeks.

"I love you too Kagome." The two pulled away, Kagome wiping her face as she began to head towards her fiancee. She turned and waved before she got in the car and Inuyasha began to walk in the opposite direction.

"You okay babe?" Hojo asked sweetly when noticed her puffy eyes.

"Yeah I'm fine. Goodbyes are just hard is all." Hojo smiled and planted a sweet kiss to her lips, understanding what she meant and giving her the comfort she needed.

"Let's head back to the hotel for some sleep, we've got to be up early to head back to California."


Inuyasha entered his home on the upper east side. It was pretty late, so he wasn't surprised to see Kikyou in bed and Satomi down for the night. She set down the book in her hands as he entered their room. He shed all his clothing except his boxers and slid in bed beside her, giving her a chaste kiss to her cheek.

"How'd it go?" Kikyou said softly, running her fingers through his hair knowing exactly where he'd been.

"Better than expected. I thought it would be hard you know, painful even, but it was the opposite. She's happy, I'm happy, and I'm content with that." Kikyou smiled and placed her reading glasses on the nightstand beside her. She gave her husband a small peck on lips before turning off her bedside lamp and rolling onto her side to find sleep.

Reaching onto the floor Inuyasha picked up his copy of The Last Rose To Bloom, and opened the inside cover. He turned on his beside lamp to read the small message Kagome had scribed to him.

My dearest Inuyasha,

Here's to falling in love at the wrong time and hoping we meet again in another life. Maybe we'll get it right the next time around.

With all my love,

Kagome


Probably not the happy ending some of you were expecting, but this is how the story was always meant to be. Sometimes you find your perfect love, and it's not perfect time.

Thank you for reading and please don't forget to review.