If Only

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.

Note: The ending is not meant to be direct.

It has barely been two days.

She kneels for hours, praying to the spirit of the little brother she had loved so dearly. She asks for forgiveness.

Forgiveness for what she could not change before the final life that kept her going had been extinguished. Not for lack of trying. She had done too much. I told her that myself ever since Kohaku had lain in her arms, never to wake again.

Ihead outside to the cemetery to tell her that she needs to eat something. She has not eaten anything. Her life means nothing to her now that he is gone.

I can tell she is hurting. It is obvious to all that her endless pain cannot be understood, not even by the ones that are closest to her. Her head is bowed and her hands are in her lap, although not in a direct praying position. As I kneel down next to her, to see if she is alright, I notice something.

A shard.

Clenched tightly in her fist is a shard of the jewel. Dried blood is still coated across it, and the edges of the shard dig into her skin, drawing a thin line of blood which steadily drips off of her skin to the cold ground. Little by little. She does not care. The physical pain is nothing compared to what she has lost. She has not let it go. Not quite yet.

For it still symbolizes the end of Kohaku's dead existence, and the fragile hope that she carried for him. She hoped he could live, even as she knew he could not.

She does not want to let Kohaku leave her again though she knows she must, and she refuses the possibility of a future without her little brother even if she has survived.

Therefore, death is her answer.

She is welcoming it with every passing second, every minute, each day.

I ask her again if she is alright. She does not answer, but continues praying, her eyes closed, her form as still as if she has died.

In a way she has.

The only life that she cared about, the life that motivated her to keep going, is gone. Forever.

And with it, all her pain, her emotion. Her tears, her anger. Everything. She is silent.

She is nothing but a human being devoid of life now that her hope has been utterly destroyed. What about me? Do I mean nothing to her?

I do. Just not as much as Kohaku did. Nothing can replace family. If only her family had not been destroyed, maybe she would not have been the sad, quiet person she is, longing for just one chance to make things right, and now, wanting death to take her from her lonely existence.

Although she kneels beside me, not looking at me, showing no reaction to my presence, I know she is gone. She knows I am here, but at the same time, it does not matter. She can only find everlasting comfort in a place that is beyond my range.

Finally, after an agonising moment of silence, she opens her eyes, still not looking at me, but at the grave that bears her brother's name.

Her cracked, dry lips part slightly to speak in a quiet whisper, which I strain to hear.

"I'm at peace, Houshi-sama."

If only.