Here, beneath his tree, he sat contemplating everything that was occurring in his life. Oh, how it had changed over these past years. The quest would be ending within this year, at least, he hoped and thought it would. His little, odd pack had collected nearly all of the shards of the Shikon no Tama and that means he would have to decide betwixt Kikyou and Kagome.

Kagome… once the jewel was completed and Naraku was defeated she would have no reason to stay. This one fact hurt him more than the death of his past love Kikyou. Wait, did I just say 'past love'? He jerked his head, surprised. I did, didn't I? That's odd…

Kagome had done so much for him and changed him for the better. She showed him unconditional love, care, and devotion. No matter what, she was always there for him, even when he was in his pathetic human form or his dangerous, destructive Youkai form. Always, always, he could see her smiling face. Unless she ran off to her time again. Then I am not able to view her at all. Stupid wench. He turned to face the wind; it blew his pearly white hair back behind his face and gave him a sense of cleansing.

It bothered him that he couldn't make up his mind. This really shouldn't be that tough of a decision. He leaned his back against the Goshinboku remembering something from his past. He remembered how everyone rejected and ostracized him once his mother passed on… no one would speak with him and almost everyone tried to murder him. He was alone, hunted and hated by everyone he knew.. For goodness' sake, his own brother hunted him down.

Then, he met Kikyou. That changed his life, somebody truly cared for him. She helped him, befriended him, conversed with him… she didn't flinch when he touched her. She was not scared of him. Well, she was at first… They trusted each other, and he was going to turn human for her and then spend the rest of his short, mortal life with her.

She betrayed him. What? Where did that thought come from! No, she was tricked. By Naraku. He did it, he copied his form to look identical to Inu-Yasha's and then fought Kikyou, mortally wounding her and causing her to believe that it was he who did it. He caused Kikyou to loose faith in him, to despise him… Nothing was worse than when he saw her face when she

'Twas pure agony when he knew she was out to kill him. When that arrow went through his body, his heart broke. People could not be trusted, and he was worthless. No one cared about him no matter what he would or could do. Only his mother loved him and she was dead because of him. Now, two women he loved were dead due to him being alive. Was this how life worked? Cruelly winding fate's strings across poisonous barbs and thick, sharp thorns? He was innocent and ceaselessly accused of being guilty. Guilty of living and being a product of his parents' forbidden love.

This was getting to be quite confusing, why deny it any longer? Kikyou is right. He deserves to follow her into eternal torment. Then why does it feel so wrong? He loved Kikyou, right? Yes… at least… I think that I do. What is stopping him from going off with her and making her happy? Blast it all, I know what it is…

He crept over to the Bone Eater's well. Kagome is why. She needs him here to protect her, and he loves fulfilling her expectations. The emotional and physical rush that he received each time he saved her life made him feel as though he really does have a reason to live his life out. Not that I like her getting that close to death… The hanyou chuckled and looked down the well. This area smells of her, that wonderful floral scent that is so full of mysteries, innocence and enticement. She really is an amazing creature.

Every single time she left to go back to her time, he felt empty inside. The only fear that he's felt for this amount of time is that she one day will not come back to him and he enjoyed having her by his side. This journey that he's made with her is something that has changed his soul and his outlook on life.

Oh, that Kouga… he was such a fool. Kagome was his, not some dumb wolf's. Didn't that wimp realize that if Kagome wanted to travel and live with him that she'd go with him now? Such a lovesick fool.. wait! I just said that Kagome was mine. No, she's not. Inu-Yasha's golden eyes narrowed, he didn't even want that wench. Or did he?... He ran and leapt into his tree to consider this very meticulously. Did he seriously think of Kagome as his? Well, he did care about her health.. and he adored that smile she always wore (though, he would never admit this to anyone.) Oh! And she always was there for him. Maybe this is why he kept finding himself staring at her whilst she slept… but no, he loved Kikyou. Though, if Kikyou was tricked so easily, didn't that mean that she didn't hold much faith in him to begin with? He knew that Kagome trusted him, she trusted him with her life on a daily basis. It never wavered. He also knew that she would never attempt to kill him… or pin him to a tree. There's also the fact that when he heard her and Sango speaking at the last hot spring she admitted to loving him in more than a platonic way. That statement had his body on overdrive, his face was flushed and his stomach fluttered.

Perhaps she did mean more to him than he was allowing himself to believe.

Suddenly, a familiar scent ascended upon his nose. He looked down, and gazed at the beautiful, cheerful girl hoping out of the well with difficulty. Smirking, he thought to himself; If I help her, I'll be able to hold her again. Yeah, I'd like that. He jumped to the ground and popped down the well to help her out. She grinned at him and thanked him. "Feh." But he smiled too and they walked down the hill to their village.

Maybe… just maybe, he could get used to having her with him every day for the rest of his life. After all, he still needed to teach her many thing, he had to repay her for her lessons that she had unwittingly given him.

It was time that he released his tendency to evanesce… and show the world how proud he was of himself.

Yes… he had chosen.