Disclaimer: No. I don't. Now start reading before I start crying.

"…" – speech

Italicised lines – thoughts

.

Goodbye

.

It was finished.

Naraku was dead.

Finally, after four year's worth of a shard hunt, the Shikon no Tama was whole again. The mission that we set out to perform, was done.

That bastard was finally dead.

I know I should feel happy. I know I should be glad that Miroku's hand has returned to normal. I know I should be happy for Sango since Kohaku has not only been freed, but has also been brought back to life by that half-brother of mine.

I won't call Sesshoumaru a bastard anymore.

But I can't feel happiness.

Hell, I can't feel at all.

Because…

Because she's gone.

Because to deal the final blow to Naraku, she'd used up all of her energy. It was because of her that we'd won. Naraku, being the greedy bastard he was, had absorbed all of the Shikon jewel into his body, but that had been his down bringing. With the last of her energy, she'd purified the shards, at the same time, wiping the slimy excuse of a hanyou out.

The idiot.

The damned, stupid idiot!

She brought down Naraku, but in doing so, she'd sentenced herself to death.

I can feel my fists clenching and my claws cutting into my palms, but I don't care.

I want to feel pain- I'd deserve it.

And I never told her…

Here I stand, at the edge of a small lake. I remember talking to her here before, so long ago. This was where she had wanted her ashes to be spread. And so this is where I've brought them. From the ground, I pick up an earthenware jar. I watch as my hands work the lid off of the small jar, revealing the ashen dust within.

Her ashes.

The lid drops to the dirt ground.

I can't believe it.

She's really… truly… gone.

…Never told her that…

The reflection of the full moon glints on the surface, and for a moment, my eyes close and a wonderful numbness seeps through my body.

If I can't feel pain, I don't want to feel at all. I want to ignore this chaos inside of me. I want to just let go and be numb. Physical pain is nothing compared to what I'm feeling now.

…That…

"Inuyasha?"

I hear my name being called by a voice that's so familiar and a sudden surge of guilt washes over me.

I turn around and see her watching my sadly. I know she realises how I feel, and the connection we- me and her-had once had. She's been by me all this time with silent support, even through the times my heart remained divided.

"K--"

A hand raises to cut me off.

In the moonlight glow, I look at her.

So much alike, the two of them.

And yet at the same time, unlike.

She shakes her head, raven hair dancing in the breeze and takes a hesitant step up to me. "Say goodbye, Inuyasha." Sad yet understanding eyes look at me. "Say goodbye to her." Slowly, she takes my free hand, squeezing it. "I'll be waiting." And with that, she lets go and steps backward.

Waiting.

Waiting.

How long has she been waiting?

I nod to her. "I won't be long."

She smiles ruefully. "Take as much time as you need." And then turns around and walks away. "I'll be right here."

Right here. Right there.

She's always been by my side, whether I realised it or not. She has always been waiting for me to make my choice. Through these years since I was revived, she has always been supportive, helpful… she's always been here, by my side, with me.

I hate hurting her, but I know that she knows this will be my last farewell.

I turn back to the lake.

… That the one I had chosen…

With shaking hands, I wait for the breeze and with it, I throw the contents of the jar before dropping the container itself. It smashes on the hard ground, crumbling into jagged pieces of pottery, but I don't notice it.

The ashes dance in the wind, being carried away over the surface of the lake.

I watch, almost mesmerised as the last of her drifts further and further away- further out of my reach. And as I watch, I remember.

I remember the times we'd had together.

The anger, sadness and happiness.

The betrayal and the loyalty.

I remember the hatred we'd once shared.

But I can't hate her now.

No.

Hell no.

I know our bond had been deeper than friendship, but at the same time, events that had transpired kept me from growing any closer to her than I dared. She was a mystery to me. Much like a fire is to a moth- fascinating and enticing, but so very dangerous.

Did I love her?

I suppose I did.

I suppose that once upon a time, I had loved as a man might love his wife, but now… now, I don't know.

Too much had happened. Now, I guess I still do love her, but perhaps as a boy might love his sister or a good friend, and not as a lover. Love is love, no matter what, but there are different degrees of it as well.

Strange.

But I realise that now.

Hell, it took four fucking years, but I finally know.

But…

Did she know?

…That the one I had chosen wasn't her…

On some level, perhaps she did. Maybe through my actions, she somehow realised that I had made my choice, and that it didn't involve her. Even though I hadn't told her, she had acted differently towards me- more distant, colder.

But I'll never know.

And now it's too late…

Too late to tell her face to face.

… That I wouldn't be going with her…

The dust has long since disappeared, yet I still stand here.

I can't bear to say goodbye- not when there are so many things I should have told her. Not when there were so many open wounds between us.

…That I had chosen another…

But she wasn't stupid.

No.

Far from it.

She was insightful and perhaps, she even knew what I didn't. Maybe she knew what had taken me years to discover- that my heart had changed. That I had changed.

… That I had chosen…

Damn it!

I hate feeling like this- feeling unsure- feeling like I shouldn't. I made my choice, so why is it so hard to let go? I close my eyes and shake my head.

But then…

The breeze carries another scent to me- one that's fresher than the ashes I just threw away… one of summer… one I knew so well so long ago… it reminds me of her.

I glance down to where the scent is coming from.

"What?"

Flowers.

Five small bellflowers in full bloom.

But at night-time?

Slowly, I kneel down and glance at the blossoms, and abruptly, the turmoil within me stops.

I'm calm.

And I know I can do this.

I gently pick the five blossoms and stand up straight. I can feel a small smile lifts the corners of my mouth as I hold my palm out. Another soft breeze blows by, and one by one, the flowers leave my hand to dance away and float onto the lake's surface. The last one, however, makes a complete circle around my before it floats away to join its sisters. Together, the five small bellflowers drift away over the dark lake.

It's a sign. I know it is.

…That I had chosen… Life…

My head bows in a last sign of respect.

After all, she'd been one of the first people I ever truly respected.

…And so…

She's gone now, but her memory stays with us.

So…

She was my past, and that, I could never, ever forget.

…So goodbye…

The way she had gone… was probably the way she would have wanted it. She brought down Naraku- the one who represented the origin of our troubles. She was able to achieve her revenge.

… Goodbye…

She sacrificed herself for us. And now, because of her, I can lead a normal life- well, as normal as the life of a hanyou can get. I can have a family… that is, if the one waiting for me would agree. And I have a feeling she will. The smile grows larger.

… So goodbye, and thanks…

I search out the lake again and find that the flowers have gone, as have their fragrance.

She's all gone.

Finally.

…Kikyou…

She's finally found her peace.

Shaking my head, I turn around and head back towards Kaede's village. The old hag would have come to deposit of her sister's ashes, but lately, she hasn't been feeling too well.

A sudden and almost unwanted wave of concern washes over me and I scowl.

I'm growing soft.

"Inuyasha?" From out of the shadow of the trees, she steps out, a questioning look of anxiety on her face. "Are you all right?"

I study her silently.

So like, and yet unlike.

Kikyou was my past, but Kagome… she's my present and future. Near her, I feel… I fell at peace. Calm. Accepted. Needed. Wanted.

And dare I say it…?

Loved.

"Inuyasha?"

I snap out of my daze and smile just the slightest bit. "She's free."

"I'm glad." She smiles back "But are you?"

"Am I what?"

"Are you free? Are you okay?"

I can see the concern on her face and have the sudden desire to take it all away; To make her feel better. "Of course I am, wench. Why wouldn't I be?"

A slightly exasperated expression flickers over her face before a consenting smile replaces it. "It sounds like you're feeling just fine." She shakes her head. "Come on, let's go back to the village. Remember that Kaede-ba-chan said Sango-chan would be going into labour soon, and she's not feeling very well, so we have to be there to help. Miroku-sama's been having kittens about the early delivery."

Slightly amused, I raise an eyebrow. "Kittens?" I feel so much lighter now. As if a heavy burden has been taken away.

"It's an expression." Shrugging, she grows impatient, grabs hold of my hand and starts to drag me towards the village. "Come on! We need you to keep Miroku-sama from hurting himself. I've never seem him so anxious- not even when he found out Sango-chan was going to be pregnant during the fight with Naraku." She glanced back. "Besides, Kohaku-kun just ran up and told me that the birthing pains are getting worse. If we don't hurry, we're going to miss it!"

I stop and dig my heels into the ground. Jolted by the sudden inability to move forwards, Kagome turns back and sighs. "What's up?"

I make no sound and only stare.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Worry flashing in her eyes, she moves towards me. "Is there something I should do?" Spontaneously, I sweep her small frame up into my arms. She gives a startled squeak and stiffens. "Inuyasha? What's wrong? Are you hurt?"

Kagome… always so worried about my well-being.

"Just stay with me…" It's a request I didn't dare make before, but now, it just seems so… right.

She relaxes into my grip and sighs. "You know I will."

"Right…" We ease away from each other. In the little moonlight that filters through the trees, I can see the small smile glowing on her face. "I know."

She nods and tugs on my hand gently. "Let's go. Remember- you have to stop Miroku from killing himself."

"Why the hell would I want to do that?" She frowns at me. I hold up my free hand to keep her from reprimanding me. "Joking. Of course I'll stop the pervert from doing anything."

She glares at me and begins to stalk away, tugging me along with her. "Let's go. I still have to tell Kaede how to use the equipment I brought from the modern era."

As I follow, I cast a last look backwards, at the dark surface of the lake. Kikyou's finally found peace, and in a different respect, so have I. I've found my peace in Kagome.

…So this is… …Goodbye…

…Kikyou…

…Goodbye…

.
[A short oneshot I wrote purely on impulse. If you're confused, the italic lines are to be read together. They're Inuyasha's thoughts and his final thoughts to Kikyou, you could say. The italic 'her' and 'she's are to represent Kikyou and distinguish her from Kagome.

There isn't much else to say, so…

Till next time…

Ja!]