Sorry! Not a new chapter. Just an annoying author's note at the end of the story!
He found them in the snow, the blood since faded from crimson to dull rust, the slaughter complete and all hope had been lost. He'd been trying to follow her scent, trying and failing over and over again. Damn her anyway, why did she have to be so set upon getting herself killed? He was the one who'd offered her a home, a place by his side, she would be mother to his children. He would never place her in danger, she would always be safe with his protection. Still, she turned away his offer and clung to that miserable half-breed.
The hanyou had no place, he had no history. His family shunned him. How could he ever think he'd make her happy, offering her nothing more than a cold place to sleep on the floor of a hut or the hard ground of the forest. He had a home, he had a den, he had a tribe, damn it all to hell. He didn't have the love of the woman he wanted, that still burned at him, not being of the temperament to accept a rejection or back down from a challenge. If he wanted the strange miko, she should be his. Why didn't she see it like that? His woman didn't have to roam the countryside looking for shards of a cursed jewel, not when she could be safe at his side. Mutt-face couldn't protect her, who else did she have? A demon slayer and a cursed monk? A kitsune pup that couldn't even defend himself, let alone her?
The wolf didn't know how to give up, even in the dead face of winter he searched her out. For Kagome, for the woman he wanted to love, he'd give up a lot more than cold nights and aching limbs. Sure he didn't have the shards in his legs anymore, having lost them to Naraku's trickery. It did not matter, the shards weren't what made him strong, his heart made him strong. The soul of a wolf, the heart of a warrior, his determination wasn't measured in the length of his father's sword. It was measured in what he was willing to do for his woman, what he'd sacrifice to keep his tribe safe and avenge those who had fallen. Why? Why did she want that damn dog anyway? He didn't treat her as mate, he didn't even have the nerve to bed the girl who adored him.
He snorted, brushing snow off his hair as he ran. Didn't have the nerve to bed her, that alone was reason for him to suspect that the hanyou was defective. How did he do it, how did he ever resist those huge eyes, that delicate flower of a body? He himself would sell his soul to Naraku for that loving gaze to be turned his way. It wasn't fair, he was a prince, he was the leader of his tribe. He had every right to challenge that damn half breed to a fight to the death over his woman. His woman, not dog-boy's. If only he could make her understand how much he felt for her, how deep the passion of a wolf demon could be. He would never be confused by an undead lover's presence, he would never shout or scream at her, call her stupid bitch or make her cry. It wasn't right, but it was the situation. He wasn't a patient man by nature, but he had better sense than to try to force Kagome to love him. He would wait, he would bide his time until the mutt made a fatal mistake. And he'd be there for her, help her pick up the pieces of her heart and take it for his own. He just wanted the chance to have her see him as something more than a friend. He would wait.
And now he was too late, he stood staring at the bodies in front of him. Dog face was lying on his back, gold eyes gone dull and glassy in death, the long white hair stained with his own dark blood. He'd gotten the others killed too, the wolf thought in disgust. The demon slayer had fought to her last breath, he was sure of that. He had respect for her and he didn't ordinarily respect humans or understand when they let their females fight. Wolf demon females were fierce, they would protect their young and den with a viciousness unrivaled. That was right, that was natural. He didn't ask them to go into battle for him, not when they had pups who needed them. Females were too valuable, without them the tribe would die, the pups starve and be uncared for. He would never ask them to go out into the wilderness to protect the territory or wreak vengence on the enemy. Just like he'd never risk his Kagome.
The monk looked peaceful, he decided, sitting on his haunches to stare into the dead houshi's face. One of his arms had been torn off, causing a mortal wound that had bled out his life even as his companions died. The wolf prince felt a passing regret for all of them, even dog-boy didn't deserve to die like this. Here and there around the bodies were pieces of some strange substance, bone made metal, fang made weapon. The Tetsusaiga had failed him, the wolf determined grimly. And once that sword had been destroyed, the rest of them were easy pickings for Naraku. He was sure that the monster had enjoyed this battle immensely. Completing the jewel had made him more powerful than his enemies.
Thinking of the jewel, he moved on to the next body, the one most unfamiliar. This was a priestess once, he thought, taking in her traditional garb and bow. Her face was composed in death and his nose wrinkled at the unnaturalness of what he was seeing. She did not smell of blood and fear, she smelled of old death and failure. This was the one who should have kept the jewel safe, he thought, kept bastards like Naraku away from such power. Instead she'd sold her duty and life for the price of a worthless hanyou, let herself be tricked into losing what power she'd had and not put things right when she'd been brought back to the earth. Good riddence to humans who meddle in the affairs of demons. He hoped she and Inuyasha were together in hell, they deserved it.
Now his heart was breaking as he moved on the final set of bodies. Even in death she was beautiful, pure and innocent. She held the kitsune pup to her chest, her arms still rigid with trying to protect what she thought of as her young. What a fine mother for his pups she would have been! He reached out to stroke the hair away from her eyes, something he'd always wanted to do but never quite dared. Not only would mutt-face have made a scene, he wasn't sure that Kagome wouldn't have swatted his hand away. She'd swatted him once before when he'd gotten too familiar, but that slap had simply sealed the fate of his heart. He didn't want her because she could see damn jewel shards, he didn't want her just to piss off the half breed. He didn't want her just as a toy to fuck or something to warm his bed at night. He wanted her, Kagome, all of her. That fragile innocence and that stubborn temper. The kindness of her nature that seemed to be a foreign language in his ears. He wanted all of her, even her strangeness, the feeling that somehow she didn't quite belong here. He didn't care. He was in love.
Now all he had left to give her was a decent burial. His Kagome would not be left out to rot in the sun and attract scavengers. He would kill anything that defiled that perfect face. No, he'd make a cairn, bury her deep, to hell with the snow and frozen ground. A wolf demon didn't answer to the weather or the elements. After a quick pause, he realized he'd bury the rest of them too, even dog-boy. He had that much respect for a worthy adversary. Gently, somehow not wanting to disturb her rest even though he knew he could not, he tugged at the lifeless kitsune boy. Once he had the bodies prepared, he'd put little Shippo back in her arms when he buried her. Just in case her spirit would be lonely for her child.
To his surprise, the space under Shippo was still warm. The wolf was confused, he'd seen enough death to realize that bodies cooled swifly in the icy snow. This tiny hint of warm was confusing, the kitsune was quite obviously stiff and dead. Could it be? No, he had never been that fortunate. Shaking, he placed his hand on her breast as he'd wanted to do once in passion, now done in grief and faintest hope. A touch of warm on his cold fingers, her skin looked so still and icy, but there it was. One beat. He waited, not breathing at all just trying to feel. Another beat. Kagome was still alive.
He wasted no time after that, forgetting the dead bodies of her fallen friends, hauling her up out of the snow with a desperation that his own people wouldn't have recognized. His Kagome was alive, he had to do what he could to keep her alive. Cursing, he ran as fast as he could, her tiny body clasped in his arms like a treasure he would not give up. He found a cave, built a fire to warm it. Then her held her tight all night long, willing whatever strength the gods had blessed him with to go to her, rubbing her limbs to dispell the cold, chase away the horrors of death. Skin to skin he held her, trying to share his heat with her, whispering her name over and over and kissing her cold lips. He was a wolf, as long as there was a shred of hope he'd never abandon her. After hours of his vigil, the wolf prince reaped his reward. His woman opened her eyes and stared blankly at him.
"Koga." Her voice was dry whisper of pain.
"I'm here," he said, rocking her in his arms. "I'm right here."
"Inuyasha." Why was the first thing out of her mouth always about mutt-face? Didn't she live for herself at all, had she given everything inside her to that stupid hanyou? He'd damn near got her killed and the wolf wasn't about to forgive that. Still, he knew her, knew he had to be gentle and truthful and honest with her or she'd despise him.
"He's dead, love," the wolf said quietly. "I'm so sorry. I thought you were dead too."
She didn't answer, no tears, no bitter words against Naraku. She only reached up to touch his face with the tips of her fingers before she dropped into a more natural sleep. Sighing with relief, he thanks the gods themselves for this gift, this second chance. At the moment, he thought himself the luckiest wolf to ever walk the earth. He couldn't possibly know how wrong he was.
It had been nearly a year, the wolf thought, looking out over the snow covered forest. For almost one year, Kagome had been his and his alone. He should have been happy, he would have given anything to be happy right now. She was not happy and so he couldn't be. There wasn't much to be happy about anyway these days, he had to be content with bare survival.
Naraku's evil was a plague that was destroying the land. Not that he himself was worthy of Naraku's notice anymore, he might even have forgotten about the prince of the wolf tribe. He spread his corruption across the countryside, bringing sickness and evil wherever he touched. When Naraku was in the area, ordinary humans went into rages of slaughtering each other. The abomination could only inspire death, no life, but that didn't stop him from spreading his poisonous power. Nothing would grow where his miasma had been, tens of thousands of humans were starving from the famine he'd created. All the wolf could do was lead what was left of his tribe into hiding, hoping to keep from being noticed. He personally thought the sun would one day cease to shine from that monster's destruction.
As far as he knew, the inuyoukai of the West were still fighting with the most success against Naraku. Led by Sesshomaru, the dog demons were trying to destroy Naraku before he destroyed everything else. It was selfless and heroic, the way they were sacrificing themselves, but even a wolf could tell it was futile. Naraku would wear them down, his evil sapped hope and joy from everything it touched and even dog demons could feel despair.
That wasn't his problem, he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to keep his people safe. And his woman. She was finally his in every way, wasn't that what he wanted all this time? Kagome was as lovely as ever, her body healed from the injuries that should have killed her. But she didn't smile anymore, in fact she didn't do anything at all. She responded when spoken to in a flat monotone voice, her movement were jerky and harsh. She would sit for hours in their den, just staring at the fire. He couldn't draw anything from her, not anger, not grief, certainly not love. She was an empty vessel, a wax doll of a woman. Her flesh warmed his at night, but his soul couldn't warm in those cold eyes. She never resisted him, not in the slightest. He made love to her with all the passion and tenderness he could, touching her joyfully at first, then less and less as even mating with the woman he loved brought him sadness. She just laid there quietly, her eyes staring into the darkness while he called her name and begged her to love him in return.
At first he thought she was in shock, too numbed by watching her friends die and Naraku conquer. Now he knew better, whatever it was seemed permanent. He'd hoped that her womb would quicken with his seed, pups would give her purpose, something to live for, something to love. But even her body remained as barren as her soul and all a wolf's devotion and need flickered to nothingness in the icy wind of her detachment. Ironic to discover so late that he needed her to love him, otherwise everything he wanted for her and from her turned to bitter ashes in his mouth. Even saying mutt-face's name brought no reaction from her, she never spoke of Inuyasha. He would have even welcomed that, as long it meant that Kagome was somewhere in there and able to be reached.
"Please," he begged, kneeling before her. "Tell me what I can do, Kagome. Tell me how I can bring you back to me. I love you so much, don't shut me out. You did not die with them, you are alive."
"You can't bring me back. I'm not really here," she said, her voice emotionless. She often said ridiculous things like that, as if he couldn't see her sitting before him. He threw his arms around her waist and crushed her to him, almost wanting to cause her pain if that was what she could feel. He kissed her hard, pressing his body against hers. Not really here? But he could feel her, smell her, taste her. What other proof did she need?
He tipped her face back so he could look at it, her lips swollen and red from his attempts to pry some kind of response from them. "I will do anything you want," he whispered.
"Take me home."
Home? She was talking nonsense again, her home was with him. Did she mean that dirty little village that her and dog-boy used to frequent? A glimmer of hope entered the wolf's mind. There was an old miko there, an elderly priestess. Maybe she could cure Kagome, it was worth a try. Anything was worth it to him, just the faintest of hopes that she might become herself again and he'd move the mountains themselves.
The village was small and ugly. Naraku's poison was strong here, the wolf thought as he looked around. He thought that most of villagers had run off or been slain. The few people still there were too scared of him to talk, but when they saw Kagome, they threw themselves at her feet with pleas for help and protection. Wasn't she a priestess after all? Hadn't she come to protect them at last, fight the great evil that was devouring the world? Please Kagome-sama, the villagers cried. Save us.
His heart fell when she turned away, seeming to barely even notice the wretched humans. "I can't help you," Kagome said in a distant cold voice. "I can't even help myself."
The old priestess was dead, he found out. The time taken to find her was wasted, there was no one here that could answer his prayers. The wolf felt more tired than he ever had before, more sapped of strength and will to live. It was getting to him, the constant despair, the blackened earth. Winter held a cold grip on the earth and he knew that everything around him was dead and dying. The wolf tribe would die out, as would the inuyoukai tribes of the West, as would all the forest creatures and all the humans. When the earth itself had been cleansed of hope and beauty, then Naraku would be satisfied.
"Koga." His ears pricked up when she said his name. How long had it been since she'd addressed him directly instead of just answering his words. Weeks? Months? He clasped her hands in his and brought them to his lips, but she just remained as impassive as ever. "I want you to take me home."
"Of course," he said, thinking she meant his den. Better to get her out of here anyway, too many memories of the past, too many bitter reminders of Inuyasha and her friends. She shook her head at him, more response than he was used to seeing from her. Kagome's large eyes met his and for the first time in a year, he thought he saw something more behind them.
"This is wrong. I don't belong here. This isn't what was supposed to happen."
Now what was she talking about. He didn't think of himself as overly bright, but she only talked in riddles these days. Gently, he tipped up chin and stared down into her eyes. "Tell me what you want me to do."
Moving painfully slow, she raised her arms. "Carry me into the forest."
He lifted her, she was like a bird in his arms, a feather would have weighed her down. The wolf demon walked into forest, carrying his woman as she told him which way to go. Eventually, he came to a glade in the forest, covered by pristine snow. Something was different here in this forest, he decided. There was life here, something deep inside the land was resisting and for a moment, the wolf thought his heart was open to happiness. "Kagome," he whispered into her hair.
"There's a well," she murmured back, her eyes closed as she pressed her face into his neck.
"A well?" Strange place for a well, too far from the village to be useful when the river was so close. He saw the outline in the snow, a dark pit surrounded by white. He drew closer, frowning a little as he did so. "Kagome, what does this mean?"
He felt her small hand reach up to touch his face. "It means that I need to go home. I'm not supposed to be here. I should have died with Inuyasha."
That made him angry beyond words. "You are not supposed to be dead with that goddamn mutt!" He was the one who'd saved her, she was his woman now, by the gods he wasn't going to let her follow that bastard into death, not when he'd worked so hard to save her.
She seemed to sense his anxiety and stroked his cheek to calm him. "Koga. Please. If you care about me at all you will do this thing for me."
"What do you want me to do?" he asked, closing his eyes tight. No, please don't ask me to kill you, Kagome. I can't do it! Don't ask that, he begged silently. Not that.
Her silence was the most telling answer, he shuddered as her hands wove into his hair. "I think you know what I need from you," she said at last.
No. He would not.
"I don't belong to this world."
"You can't save me now."
Fuck if I can't.
"You must kill me then throw my body in that well. Koga, do you understand? It's the only way to undo this terrible wrongness. Naraku can't be allowed to win."
"I CAN'T DO IT!" he screamed, tears pouring from his eyes, clutching her so tight that she might break in his arms. He fell to his knees in the snow, sobbing hysterically and wetting her hair with his grief. Hadn't he lost enough people he loved? Did the universe have to deprive him of Kagome too?
"If you love me, if you really truly ever loved me, you will do this. I'm not here, not all of me anyway. Please Koga. I need you."
She needed him. It was a far cry from loving him but he already knew that she wouldn't ever be able to do that. Something inside him stirred at her words, a challenge to make this ultimate sacrifice to save the tribe, his people, her people, hell the whole fucking world for all he knew. He'd never seen himself as the kind of demon who would give up hope, but now with Kagome in this awful hour, the snow falling around them like a benediction, he gathered the pride and strength of the wolf tribe around him.
He nuzzled her hair. "Say you love me, Kagome. I know you won't mean it, but I always wanted to hear it from your lips."
Her cold hands took his face and Kagome looked at him. Her eyes were full of unshed tears. "I love you, Koga. And I do mean it, I swear I mean it."
He almost believed her and somehow, that was suddenly enough for him. He kissed her gently, parting her chill lips with his tongue so that he might have one last taste of her to remember. Then he snapped her neck and cradled her limp body against his. The wolf demon stood up, moving slowly to the side of the well where he buried his nose in her hair, inhaling her essence one last time. "I love you, Kagome."
Letting go was the hardest thing he'd ever had to do. He just uncurled his arms and let her tumble into the darkness. His legs didn't want to move his body now, he wanted to sink down into the snow and let himself die too. What did he have left to live for? His tribe was dying slowly, there was nothing left for him without her. He'd clung to her because as long as he loved her, he was still alive inside. Miserably he threw back his head and howled in despair, his voice sounding muffled and lost in the snow. It was too much, it was more than he could bear. He flung himself at the edge of the well, desperate for one last look, one final glimpse of her face before he let himself die also. "Kagome!"
His voice echoed back to him and a ray of sunlight broke through the clouds to bathe the old well in radiance. Koga stopped and stared into the depths without comprehending.
The well was empty.
Author's Notes regarding His Woman:
Sorry! Not a new chapter, this is really a one-shot. Just a note regarding this story. Since I had more than a couple people asking why Kagome's death would help defeat Naraku and why did Koga have to throw her body in the well, I thought I would just let you guys know where my mind was going in this, just in case it was a bit too vague.
In theory, Kagome doesn't really belong to the Sengoku Jidai, does she? She is Kikyo's reincarnation, born (I assume) with the sacred jewel implanted in her body for safe keeping. It is Kagome's sacred duty, just like Kikyo's, to keep that jewel safe and pure. Having failed in this storyline, her duty is incomplete.
Kagome will be born again in 500 years, even if she dies in the Sengoku Jidai. By killing her and throwing her remains in the Bone-eater's Well, itself a kind of spiritual portal, Koga ensures that she will reincarnate, come through the well again, and do the whole damn thing over. Her duty is two-fold, not only to protect the jewel, that could have been accomplished by never coming through the well. But Inuyasha would have remained sealed to the tree possibly forever, all the people they rescued and influenced would have died, and Naraku would be free to continue his evil without challenge.
She could have very well done this numerous times, it would explain why she feels such an intense bond with Inuyasha. Anyway, that's my take on the subject, hope that clears up a few things. Temporal mechanics give me a headache.
Thanks for reading,